Chapter 6 - Leading people to Christ | Book | Sharing Your Faith
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Chapter 6

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Ask the question
When people want to receive Christ
When people reject Christ
When people hesitate
When people make excuses
Your assignment

Asking people if they would like to receive Christ is the most important question anyone will be asked, receiving Christ is the most important decision anyone can make, and leading people to Christ is the greatest privileges we have. Everything you have shared, and everything in their lives, has led up to this moment. Eternity is in the balance. The angels in heaven are waiting to see if they are going to start rejoicing. (Luke 15:10) At the end of everyone’s life, the only thing that matters is if they have received Christ. This chapter will help you lead people to Christ and help you know what to do when people reject Christ, hesitate, or make excuses.

Ask the question
Before those you share with receive Christ, you need to ask if they would like to receive Christ. Sometimes believers don’t do this at first. This is usually because they can’t believe God actually used them. Some forget because they are so relieved they shared the gospel. The reason why you share the gospel with people is to give them an opportunity to receive Christ. When people are confronted with this question, they will either say, yes, no, hesitate, or make excuses.

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When people want to receive Christ
When you ask people if they would like to receive Christ, it is important to let them decide. Don’t pressure them. Most people won’t give an answer immediately so you often need to be patient and wait. When people want to receive Christ, or they simply say yes to your question, lead them in a sinner’s prayer. The sample prayer below is an example. Go slow and say only a few words at a time depending on how well they follow you.
Jesus, please forgive me of my sins. (repeat)
I repent of my sins. (repeat)
Come into my heart right now. (repeat)
Be my Savior. (repeat) Be my Lord. (repeat)
Give me your gift of eternal life. (repeat)
Give me a personal relationship with you. (repeat)
Make me the person You want me to be. (repeat)
Thank you, Jesus, for saving me. (repeat)
In Jesus name I pray, Amen. (repeat)
After you pray with people, you should notice that they have peace and joy, although it may take a few minutes for it to show up on their faces. If you want to check, ask them if they die right now would they would go to heaven? You will be surprised how confident they will be. (If they don’t know they will go to heaven you may want to go over everything again.) If you feel they received Christ, let them know they just made the best decision of their life. They just received the greatest gift they will ever receive! They are born-again! (John 3:5-7) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Sometimes you may not be able to tell if people have received Christ, but if they understood and agreed with the gospel, and they prayed, God is faithful to give them eternal life. One evening when I was on the way home I wondered if two people who had received Christ really did because they showed no emotion as though it was no big deal. As I thought about this, God spoke to my heart and asked, “Did you give them the gospel?” I told the Lord yes. Then God asked, “Did they understand the gospel?” Again, I told the Lord yes. Then God asked, “Did they receive My Son?” After I told God yes for the third time, He asked, “So what’s the problem?”

If you can, spend a little time together. Of all the believers they will ever fellowship with—you are the first! They will remember the time you spend together forever, so enjoy it. Encourage them to start their relationship with God by praying and reading the Bible. Read some scriptures together. I still remember how the Bible came alive when a believer read scriptures right after I received Christ. Let them know they can always pray because Jesus has taken away our sins, and they can go straight to God with their requests. Encourage them to pray and tell them about the importance of fellowship. Invite them to church if you can. Answer any questions they might have. If they don’t have a Bible, try to get them one. Consider inviting them to church or asking if you can meet with them again. Paul was constantly checking to make sure the flocks were flourishing. He told the Philippians, “...I shall abide and continue with you for your furtherance and joy of faith.” (Philippians 1:25)

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When people reject Christ
When people do not want to receive Christ, you need to respect their decision. You may want to make sure they understand everything, review some points, and then ask again, but don’t pressure them or try to talk them in to it. If they still do not want to receive Christ, you could stress the importance of their decision, but don’t hang around too long and bug them. When you leave, try to leave on a good note but try to avoid saying things like, “God bless you” or “Have a nice day.” This lessens the importance of the gospel and God is not going to bless them after they just rejected His Son. The Bible says, “The way of transgressors is hard” (Proverbs 13:15), and “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked.” (Psalm 32:10). Thank them for listening and ask them to reconsider in the future. I often tell people that the only thing that matters at the end of their life is whether or not they have received Christ.

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When people hesitate
When people hesitate they just can’t quite say yes. They may just stand there and say nothing, or look down as though they are at a loss as to what to say. They often want to receive Christ but are struggling with taking that last step of faith. You can review something or stress the importance of their decision. Less said is often better. Again, don’t pressure them. Let the Holy Spirit do His work. Ask God to help you know what to say.

The first person I shared with on my first missionary trip was a man who couldn’t decide if he wanted to receive Christ. It was raining a little at the time, and there were three other Christians there. We all just stood there and waited, and silently prayed under some umbrellas. Every so often one of us would share a scripture or remind him of the seriousness of his decision. He finally decided to receive Christ after almost ten minutes. Waiting like this can feel uncomfortable because we usually feel we have to say something, but God is the One who speaks to their hearts and does the convincing.

As they’re thinking, pray that God will speak to them and ask God to help you know what to tell them. You may feel the lead to share a scripture, a short testimony, or summarize something you have already said. You could tell them there’s no guarantee they will be alive tomorrow. You could tell them that the only two days that are important are today, and the day they enter eternity. I often tell people that the Bible says, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2) Chapter eleven is full of short statements you can share as they are thinking about receiving Christ. Some of these statements are a result of sharing with people who are thinking about receiving Christ. You could ask if there is any reason to put this decision off, or if they realize what would happen if they were to die today. You could also remind them of someone famous who recently died, and ask if they think that person knew they would die that day.

Stick around as long as they seem interested. I have found that when people do not want to pray to receive Christ after asking twice, it’s usually time to move on, but not always. Every situation is different. You don’t want to stay too long, but you also don’t want to leave too early because the Holy Spirit may be working on their heart. The more you share, the more you should know when the Holy Spirit wants you to stay and when He wants you to leave. Waiting for people to decide if they want to receive Christ is one of the main reasons you need to be flexible and let the Holy Spirit lead.

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When people make excuses
When people make excuses, they just can’t quite say no. Since they didn’t say no, address their excuse, and continue sharing with them. They could end up receiving Christ. Jesus told a story, or an illustration, about people who made excuses when they were invited to dinner, which parallels being invited to heaven. One person said he couldn’t make it because he had bought some land, another couldn’t be there because he had bought some oxen, and another couldn’t come because he had married a wife. (Luke 14:16-20) Not much has changed. People still come up with some very poor excuses, but as long as people are willing to listen, continue sharing until you are convinced they are saying no.

The following excuses are some of the common ones I’ve encountered many times. I am surprised how often I’ve heard the same excuses. It’s as though everyone took the same class about how not to receive Christ. The following responses to these excuses are just suggestions. Try to think of other things you could say, keeping in mind that the goal is to quickly see if they want to reconsider, not get into an argument or a theological discussion.
  • I’ll pray later by myself
  • I’ve already received Christ
  • I already pray everyday
  • I already go to church
  • I need to clean up my life first
  • I may lose my friends
  • I need to think about it
I’ll pray later by myself
This is an excuse I hear all the time. Many who say this don’t want to pray because they’re embarrassed. Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and my words...of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed.” (Mark 8:38) I often explain how important this question is, and tell them that if they died today, they would not go to heaven, they won’t get a second chance after they die, and there’s no guarantee they will be alive later. Heaven is free, but they need to make reservations in advance. You could ask if they would wait to pick up a huge check. Some people are surprised that you want them to make a decision right now, and say, “You mean now?” I usually tell them, “Yes, right now!” The Bible says, “ is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2) After Paul shared the gospel with Felix, he said, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” (Acts 24:25) For Felix, there was never a “more convenient time.”

I’ve already received Christ
Some people feel they have received Christ, although something they said makes it questionable. For example, they may not know they are going to heaven, how they would get in, or they are living in sin with no conviction to stop. You could address any one of the reasons why it doesn’t appear that they have received Christ. I sometimes tell them, “If I’m mistaken, and you’ve already received Christ, you won’t lose anything by asking Him into your heart now, but if you’re mistaken, you will be separated from Christ for all eternity.” Ask again if they would like to receive Christ. Sometimes people who give this response are a little hesitant about taking the last step of faith.

I already pray everyday
Some people think if they pray—they’re saved. This is common when talking to those who come from a religious background. Let them know that God will not acknowledge our prayers until we acknowledge His Son. Some people who say they really don’t pray, but if they do, they should be interested in what God has to say to them. The Bible says, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither is his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God; and your sins has hid his face from you, that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1, 2)

I already go to church
Those who give this response are probably trusting their church, not the Lord. Let them know that churches don’t save anyone. Jesus is the only one who saves. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” (John 14:6) Churches only point the way to Christ—or at least that’s what they should do. They may have their own church, but they need their own Savior.

I need to clean up my life first
Those who give this excuse may not understand that heaven is free and there is nothing they can do to earn eternal life. Jesus paid the price in full—not in part. We must come to Him as we are or not at all. There is nothing we can do to clean up our lives first. Coming to God is not about cleaning yourselves up; it’s about surrendering yourself. Explain that heaven is free. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9) You may want to share the “pink slip” illustration, and ask again.

I may lose my friends
They very likely will lose their friends. Most believers testify they do, but they also testify that God gave them better friends. At the same time you can’t predict the future, and they could end up sharing with their friends and leading them to Christ. This is where they are going to have to trust God. What God thinks is more important than what their friends think, and Christ is a better friend anyway. Jesus said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5) You probably won’t hear this excuse very often, but when you do you can commend them for being honest. I believe many people feel this way, and are afraid of what people will think, but they don’t admit it.

I need to think about it
God wants us to think about it too. God said, “Come now and let us reason together saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” (Isaiah 1:18) If you lived to be 100, and got everything the world had to offer, in exchange for eternal life, it would be a terrible deal. Many people are killing themselves for a small slice of the world. Jesus said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36) What’s to think about? If someone is drowning they don’t need to think about grabbing a life ring. There is no guarantee we will be alive tomorrow. We are all one heartbeat away from eternity. Try to get them to think about the seriousness of the situation and try asking again.

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If you are not sure you would go to heaven, go back and say the sinners prayer. Confess you are a sinner, ask Jesus to forgive you, and ask Him to come into your heart as your Savior and your Lord. If you’ve already received Christ, but you’re still not sure you are saved, you may need to ask God to give you the assurance that you are saved or pray again for Christ to be your Savior and your Lord. You have nothing to lose. It’s better to error on the side of caution when it comes to eternal life.

Your assignment
Now all you have to do is approach someone, share the gospel, ask them if they would like to receive Christ, and lead them in the “sinner’s prayer” if they choose to receive Christ. You could share with someone on the list you made at the end of Chapter One.

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