Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com
Believe me, there are multitudes of people who claim the formula for salvation, not only, all religions, but also within Christianity. Actually, if we take the Bible at face value, it is rather simple. The reason we can take the Bible at face value is because Jesus did, and He came back from the dead. Why wouldn’t we take the word of someone who came back to life after He had been murdered? I would.
Anyway, here is the deal. Let me lead you through simple steps to know for sure that your sins are forgiven and you have defeated death and have eternal life. That is a big statement, but it is true. Let me show you.
Oh, one more thing, what I present here has additional value, because it teaches one way of explaining the gospel of Jesus Christ to someone else. Many Christians are confused on how to do this.
ESTABLISH A POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP
1. The first step is to establish a friendly relationship. This presentation can be given to a friend, family, adapted to a preaching situation, or used in a home visitation. The idea is to move gradually in a non-offensive way from one point to the next. If you are talking to a stranger and do not know what to say, then talk about family, their occupation, recreation – then go to the gospel message.
In talking to people, one secret is to get them to talk about what they liked to talk about. People seldom like to visit with people who only talk about themselves. However, we all love to talk about ourselves if we can get someone to listen. In human relations, the idea is to treat the other one as someone very special and important. Be genuine.
After you talk for a while, you can begin to bridge the gap from the secular things of conversation over to the sacred. We can call this the “bridging of the gap.”
BRIDGE THE GAP
2. The second step is to bridge the gap from the secular to the sacred. This can be scary, because it is the point where the biggest barrier comes, “the fear of rejection.” One vital key is to know the Holy Spirit is working with you. In fact, unless the Holy Spirit opens up the mind and heart of the unsaved person, they cannot be saved. You and I cannot convince anyone to be saved, that is the job of the Holy Spirit. We just establish the relationship, pray, and present the precious gospel message.
Let me illustrate how this partnership works. When Paul brought the gospel to Europe, his first attempt was in a town called Philippi, which is near to the present day town of Kavala in Greece.
Paul and his companions found a group of women at a place of prayer alongside of the Krenides River. I let the writer of Acts tell the story, “And a certain women named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord open her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 16:14; cf. Ephesians 1:13; 2:1, 5, 8, 9; 2 Thessalonians 2:13).
There you have it. Paul was explaining the gospel, Lydia was listening, and God opened her heart, Lydia then believed. I ask the question: why didn’t all the women believe, they all heard the same message? Simple, God did not open their heart.
Ok. Now here’s how to ease into the gospel message and to detect if the Holy Spirit is working in the heart of the hearer. Maybe that hearer is you. Do you sense God working in your heart right now?
a. Simply ask this harmless question: “do you often think about spiritual things? Let them talk. If the person shows marked resistance, then do not go any further. You are testing the water. If it is cold, then don’t plunge in. If the person shows interest, then proceed to the next question. It probes a deeper.
b. Ask, “If there was a way you could know for sure you were going to heaven, would you like to hear about it?” (1 John 5:13). This question will gradually in a non-offensive way measure resistance and determine the person’s spiritual condition. Most important, if they say yes, then they have given you permission to proceed further.
Here is your promise. You can assure the person by saying, “The Bible has good news. It tells us that God loves us (John 3:16) and has offered us eternal life and forgiveness as a free gift (Ephesians 2:5-9). It tells us we can know for sure if we are going to heaven. That is good news, isn’t it?”
Go to the next question.
c. May I ask you a spiritual question? If the answer is yes, then proceed, “If you were to die tonight and stand before God and He would say to you, ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?’ what would you say to Him?”
Just let the person talk, then summarize, “let me see if I understand you correctly. You would tell Him something like this, ‘I did the best I could.’ Is that correct?” Most everyone, if they are not a Christian, will have some kind of works method. That is, “If my good works outweigh my bad works, then God will let me get into His heaven.”
This question is critical in that it gives you two vital pieces of information: one, you will know if the person is a Christian. Second, if the person is not a Christian, then it will tell you what they are trusting in to get to heaven.
How about you, dear reader? How would you answer that question?
Go on to the next major step: giving the gospel presentation.
PRESENT THE GOSPEL
3. Step three is presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are several patterns or methods you can use. The Four Spiritual Laws from Campus Crusade for Christ is absolutely wonderful, as is Billy Graham’s Steps to Peace with God. All you have to do is read the booklets. The method of the Way of the Master is good, although it may be a little too harsh and blunt.
The problem with these tracts, however, is that you may not be able to get them. Consequently, I give you the old standard Roman’s Road, which points out salvation based on four verses in the book of Romans. All you need is the New Testament. Here is how it goes. There are four precepts. It is good, if you can, read and explain the verses out of the Bible.
a. Precept one: the Bible tells us everyone is a sinner in need of salvation. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). If you want detailed proof of this, read Romans 3:9-23. All of us have broken some if not all of the Ten Commandments.
b. Precept two: the Bible says there is an eternal penalty for sin. Sin is a crime against God. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Roman 6:23). This is really bad. In fact the Bible even says that our crimes place us as helpless, ungodly sinners, under the wrath of God as God’s enemies (Romans 5:6-10). That is not a good place to be!
We are told we need to be perfect to stand before God (Matthew 5:48), but only one sin is enough to send us to hell (James 2:10). We are doomed before God.
You can use this illustration. Let us say we have committed only one sin per day, you know, have a bad thought, tell a lie, steal something, curse God – things like that. To make it very scary, look at the list of sins in Mark 7:20-23. Measure yourself against that list. It isn’t good.
Now, to continue with the illustration: if we lived to be 70 years old, that would be over 25,000 sins. Consider this: if we stood before a judge and were convicted of 25,000 crimes, what would the judge do to us? He would lock us up and throw away the key, wouldn’t He?
But praise God, in these verses we also see the glimmer of hope through Jesus Christ, and the fact that God loves you and me. Wow!! We can blow away some of the gloom.
c. Precept three: the Bible says the Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins. All of them. Forever. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). It is like this: when Jesus Christ died on the cross he paid all the penalty for all sin for all time for all who place their trust in Christ. To add on this, because of His resurrection, He also gave us eternal life. He beat death on our behalf. That is astonishingly good news!!!
Here is an illustration. We are told that all our deeds are written down in a book and we will be judged on them (Revelation 20:11-15; 22:12). But we are also told that “the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him” – that is, Jesus (Isaiah 53:6).
A visual is to hold your hands out with palms up and about two feet apart. Visualize all your sins piled up on one hand. They are all there. Then move over your hand full of sins and dump them all into the other hand. All your sins were dumped onto Christ when He was sacrificed for you on the cross. He became your substitute, and took your sins.
There is a catch, however. That is next.
d. Precept four: the Bible says all who believe and receive Christ are saved. “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed…Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:11, 13; cf. verses 9-13). You can receive Christ by what is called “saving faith.” All faith does not save us. Even Satan believes in God but he is not saved (James 2:19).
Here is an illustration. Look at the chair if you have one close by. You can believe the chair exists and that it will hold you up, yet still not trust yourself to that chair. When you sit in the chair with your entire weight, then you are truly trusting the chair to hold you up. In the same way, we must trust completely in Christ to save us based on His death, burial and resurrection from the dead.
Salvation is by faith alone through Christ alone. We receive His free gift like we would receive a pardon from a judge. For example, if you were standing convicted before a judge, but he pardoned you, you would need to personally take the pardon in hand and walk out of the jailhouse.
Here is another illustration that I often use when preaching before a crowd. In your mind’s eye, imagine me holding a coin in my clinched hand extended toward you. You can do one of three things. I tell you I want to give you the coin free.
First, you can say that you believe I have a coin in my hand but you do not want it. Likewise, many people say that believe Christ existed, and that he really can save. But, they don’t want Christ’s pardon. I sure hope that does not describe you.
Second, you can say you do not believe I have a coin in my hand. Many people do not believe Christ will save them by faith or any other way. They believe He may not even have existed. I sure hope that does not describe you.
Third, you can simply hold out your hand and receive the coin as a free gift. That is saving faith. In the same way you must personally receive Christ as your Savior. I sure hope that describes you.
Here comes the next big step.
CLOSE THE NET.
4. Step four is closing the net. Jesus called us to be fishers of men (generically, speaking). When we have a fish in the net, we need to close the net and haul them in. When a person understands the gospel, ask them to receive Him. If you have never received Christ as your savior, here is your chance. If you are a soul winner, here is how to help the other person to receive Christ.
The “close” is just a natural outgrowth of the previous presentation. It is not a “magic spell” you cast on the person. It is not a slick sales trick. Remember, it is the Holy Spirit that must work in the heart of the person to receive Christ. It is called being born again (cf. John 3:1-16). Relax. Lean back, smile. Be friendly. Have compassion. Don’t be their judge, because you are not. Again, recall that genuine conversions are by the Holy Spirit. You are only speaking the words. Let Him do His job; you just do your job.
This is critical: (person’s name), do you recall a bit ago I asked you the question that if you were to die tonight, stand before God and He would say to you “Why should I let you into My heaven”? You replied, “I did the best I could?” Do you see how that is different than trusting Christ alone for your salvation?
Wouldn’t you rather receive Christ now and be sure that when you died you would go to heaven?
If you sincerely mean it in your heart, just repeat this prayer after me. God doesn’t look at you words, but at your heart.
My father in heaven (pause), I thank you for free salvation through Jesus Christ (pause). I admit I am a sinner in need of salvation (pause). I cannot save myself (pause). I believe Christ died for my sins (pause). I believe He rose from the dead to give me eternal life (pause). I receive Christ as my Savior (pause). I want to live in obedience to you the rest of my life (pause). I ask this in Jesus’ Name, amen.
There you have it. That is how to lead someone to Christ. And, if you have not received Christ, then I urge you to do so. Even right now.
Here is another step for this article: the assurance of salvation. The person needs to know for sure if they are saved. If you have just received Christ, then here is assurance for you.
ASSURANCE OF SALVATION
5. Step five is giving assurance. A new convert needs to understand clearly what has happened.
a. Read 1 John 5:14, 15, maybe consider verses 10-15.
b. Did you ask Christ to save you and come into your life?
c. Did He? How do you know? (Answer: because He said so).
d. If you say Christ has not saved you, what would we be calling God? (Answer: a liar).
It is critical to do follow up. Just as when a new baby is born, the parent must feed them make sure they are warm, and care for them. Likewise, when you come to Christ, there are some steps you need to take to grow as a Christian. You have entered into a new and personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That is incredible!!
If you are the evangelist, then bring the new convert to a Bible believing Church, and get them involved in a follow up program. Leave them with Christian literature and a good easy to read Bible. If you have received Christ right now, then you can download the app for the International Version of the Bible at www.youversion.com and explore our website at www.Bible-teaching-about.com. Do this:
a. Confess your sins daily (1 John 1:9). When a Christian sins they do not lose their salvation, but their fellowship with their heavenly Father. When Christ paid the penalty of your sin, it was permanent and final for all sins.
b. Read the Bible, starting the Gospel of John. Memorize verse (1 Peter 1:2).
c. Attend church regularly (Hebrews 10:24, 25).
d. Pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
e. Witness. Lead others to Christ (Matthew 28:18-20).
f. Worship God (John 4:24).
g. Surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in your life (1 Peter 1:2).
h. Serve God with the ability and opportunity He provides (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).
As a final note, here is a list of Bible verses relating to salvation that will be helpful to you. They will have greater impact if you memorize them.
Revelation 3:20. Behold, I stand at the door (of your heart) and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door (of your heart), I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.
Gospel of John 1:12, 13. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Gospel of John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Gospel of John 11:25-27. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”
Gospel of John 14:6. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”
Hebrews 10:10, 12, 14. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time…For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
Acts 16:30, 31. And after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved”? And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household.”
Ephesians 2:8, 9. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
1 John 5:13. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.
All the best to you. See you next article.
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