Many people have this idea in their minds that the Pastors, the church leaders, and the Evangelists are the ones that are to lead people to Christ – this is not entirely true. We need every Christian to be equipped to lead someone to Jesus Christ in order for the job of evangelism to be completed. This article is to equip you and inspire you to get out and win souls for Jesus Christ.
Evangelize simply means to preach the Gospel. There are many ways that we can preach the Gospel to someone, it does not have to be from a pulpit with a loud thundering voice. Preaching the Gospel can be a one on one encounter in a conversational tone. Preaching the Gospel can also be in the form of a Gospel tract.
One very important thing is that you must realize the importance of Evangelism. One main reason that evangelism is important is that without Christ people are lost for all eternity in the Lake of Fire.
Revelation 20:11-15 “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away ; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another bok was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it: and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire”
We must find a way to get people’s names written in that book. The Lake of Fire is a place of torment. The unredeemed will have no peace day or night. As Christians we do not like to talk about hell, but we need to have a realization of the realities of hell. We need to be aware that there are people all around us that are on their way to a Godless eternity in the Lake of Fire. This should inspire us to win souls for Jesus Christ. It makes my heart sad when I am in a place with a large crowd of people – I am often filled with the realization that so many people are on their way to the Lake of Fire. It makes me want to do something about it. We cannot save everyone, but I believe so strongly that there are people in our lives that we alone can reach. There are people that we see daily in our work places or in our routines of life and we are the ONLY Jesus they will ever see. The Evangelist cannot be where you work. He is not a part of your family; he cannot see all the people that you see. They are people that only you are able to reach with the Gospel. I want to equip you to reach them with the Gospel.
A second reason that evangelism is so important is that God has chosen to use human beings to evangelize other human beings. The ministry of Philip the Evangelist is shown in Acts chapter eight. He traveled to Samaria and had a powerful revival there. Demons were being cast out, people were being healed, and many were saved. The Lord spoke to Philip to leave the revival – He had a Divine appointment for him. A true evangelist is not concerned with the numbers. He wants to be any place where there is a sinner who needs Jesus. God led him to a certain man, an Ethiopian eunuch – the first African Christian. Before he knew Christ, this man was sitting in a chariot reading from the book of Isaiah. The Spirit spoke to Philip to go up to that man. As he approached the Chariot he could hear the man reading from the passage of Isaiah 53. he asked him “do you understand what you are reading?” The man’s response is so important for us to understand. He says to him “How can I understand except some man should guide me?” (Acts 8:31) Philip then began from that passage and preached Christ to him; the man was converted and baptized that day. Do you see that this man needed another human being to explain the Gospel to him? This is because God has chosen for human beings to evangelize other human beings.
The Apostle Paul had a powerful conversion when the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him on the road to Damascus. I want you to notice that Jesus did not preach to Paul and explain to him the way of salvation. He told him to go into Damascus and there a man would explain to him what he must do (Acts 9:6). It is amazing to me that God has chosen the first and foremost method of winning the lost to be by humans preaching to other humans.
Acts chapter ten and eleven we have the account of a man named Cornelius. This man was not yet born again, but he was seeking the God of heaven. Suddenly, an angel appears to him. Does the angel preach the Gospel to him? Alarmingly, NO. He says to him to call for a man named Simon Peter and he would come and tell him what he must do to be saved (Acts 10:5,6; 11:14). Can you see how consistently throughout the Word of God it is human beings that have been used to evangelize other humans? Now there are some exceptions, even in modern times, but as a general rule it is our responsibility to do the work of evangelism to other people in the world.
We as Christians have the only answer that can save people from Hell, bring forgiveness of sins, and a restored relationship with God. That answer is Jesus. Acts 4:12 – “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved”. John 14:1-6 Jesus explains “I am going to prepare a place in heaven for you, and you know the way” (the way to heaven). Thomas says “how can we know the way?” Jesus says “I am the Way, the truth, and the life”! He did not say that he was one of the ways. We live in a very dangerous time on the earth. The men of this world are pushing us for widespread tolerance, and trying to say that all roads lead to heaven. We all worship the same god. No! Jesus is not on par with Muhammed or Buddha. The psychiatrist cannot provide forgivness for your sins. Jesus is the only way. He is the only name under heaven that provides salvation for lost sinners. We as Christians have the remedy. He is in us, and we must know how to share him with other people. We have the ONLY solution to the problems the world is facing. “He that winneth souls is wise” (Prov 11:30). Learning to lead people to Christ is learning how to be wise people.
The Evangelist is one of the “Five-Fold Ministry Gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4:11-15. One of his jobs is to equip the Saints to do the work of evangelism. He is not the one who is to do all the work of Evangelism. “Equippng” means training, giving proper tools to accomplish a task. There is an old adage that says “give a man a fish you will feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime”. Winning souls is becoming fishers of men. One of the duties of an Evangelist is to teach other people how to become fishers of men. This is the purpose of this treatise. I want to equip you to be a soul-winner in the Kingdom of God. I also want to stir up your heart and inspire you to get out there and start fishing. It is so important that every Christian learns to share the Gospel message in a very simple and clear fashion. I cannot emphasize this enough! I have painfully listened to well meaning pastors trying to share the Gospel with the lost, but making it so confusing and distorted in the process. We have to learn how to clearly communicate a simple and basic Gospel message. Remember that the unsaved are not sitting in churches on Sundays. They don’t know such words as “atonement” or “propitiation”. Sometimes when we are sharing the Gospel with people we can give the idea that Jesus is important because he can help us get a better job, a bigger house, a better car, and to come out of poverty. These are false premises to receive Jesus Christ. This is what I call the “social Gospel”. In the next few paragraphs i want to explain to you how to lead someone to Jesus Christ in very simple and basic terms. My aim is that even a child can read this, understand it, and put it into practice.
There are many “conversation starters” that can be used, and many transition questions that can be used when sharing with an unbeliever – the purpose of this work is not to delve deep into those right now. Suffice it to say for now – when we begin a discussion with someone that we want to lead to Jesus CHrist we oftren will begin talking about other “natural” things first as we are praying for an open door to discuss “spiritual” things. This is the pattern we see Jesus using with the woman at the well in John chapter four. Once in a conversation with an unbeliever, you may want to ask if they have any kind of spiritual beliefs, or if they have any church involvement. If the person seems to be open to you and having a discussion with you, at some point in the conversation you can pose a question like this “Has anyone ever taken the time to show you from the Bible how you can be sure you are going to heaven?”. If they say “no” you can continue by saying something like this: “May I show you right now?”. If their response is positive you can begin sharing the Gospel.
When we first begin to share with peopel we must Build the Need and/or Build the Desire. We must show people why they need a Savior, before you can lead them to Jesus. If you have ever met a good salesmen or seen certain television commercials you will see how they show you their product and make it look so appealing. They try to convince you that you cannot live any longer without this product. In a similiar way, when sharing the Gospel with a person we must show them why they need this Jesus that we have to offer them. The difference between us and these commercials is that people really do NEED what we have to offer them. One way a person can build DESIRE is by talking about the benefits of serving Christ, or what he has done for them. This is a personal testimony. We all have a personal testimony that we can share. We can talk about what we were like before we knew Jesus, and how he has come in and changed our lives. This is a good way for someone to witness for Jesus, especially when they are just getting their “feet wet” in evangelism. Often times people are concerned that they dont know what to say or that they will mess up when sharing the Gospel, but in giving your testimony it is easier. We can never forget the man born blind who was healed by Jesus. He did not know all that the Pharisees were saying and accusing Christ of, but he did know “one thing”: “This one thing I know, I was blind, but now I see” (John 9:25). I personally have had many opportunities to share my testimony with others and use it as a spring board to share the Gospel. I spent some time as a younger man in drugs, alcohol, and other things. God miraculously brought me out and delivered me from those things. I know that the same God who did that for me can also help other people in what ever problems they may have. You see, by sharing this way I am building a DESIRE in the heart of the one listening to me.
Desire is important, and sharing this way is good; however at some point in witnessing we need to move beyond building a DESIRE and get to the NEED. We need to learn how to build the need in the one whom we are witnessing to. We have to be able to communicate to the person WHY THEY NEED JESUS. Jesus is not just some good idea, or a way to get help in your life, but YOU NEED HIM. Why does a person need Jesus? This is where we have to deal with some bad news – the issues of sin and Hell. These are the real reasons we need a saviour. Many times we make Christ a personal helper – he helped me do this – he helped me out of poverty – he helped me find money – BUT this is NOT the real need that we have in our lives. Jesus is not just something that you can take for a personal benefit in your business or in your family, but you NEED HIM to save you from hell!
Often in witnessing we want to move directly to the good news that Christ died for them to forgive them of their sins, but they will not be prepared to receive Good news, if they do not fully comprehend their need. I heard a story once to illustrate this. Imagine that you owned a car and I came to you one day and said “I have good news for you, i paid your speeding ticket for you.” Now you know that your car was parked in the garage all day and you had not been anywhere. You may be annoyed that I would suggest that you had broken the law and got a speeding ticket. You would reject my good news, on the basis that you did not need me to pay a fine that you did not incur. The story would be quite different though, if I came to you apologetically and said “I have some bad news. I am sorry but I borrowed your car without asking you yesterday. While i was driving it I got pulled over for speeding and got a large speeding ticket. They impounded the car, but don’t worry I have some good news for you. I went and paid the fine and paid for the car to be released. The car is now back in your garage where you left it.” Now because I started by telling you the bad news about what I had done, you were now ready to welcome the good news that I had paid everything for you. Now the fact that I stole the car in the first place – that is a whole different issue that we won’t comment on here. The point that I am trying to make is that when I was telling you what I had done with your car I was preparing your heart and building the need so that when the good news came you would be ready to receive it. In a similiar way when we are sharing the Gospel with people we should begin by talking about their need – the bad news. This will make them realize the need for a savior and then they will be prepared to receive the debt that Christ paid on their behalf.
What is the bad news that needs to be understood? The bad news is found in Romans 3:10 – “There is none righteous no not one!” It continues in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Absolutely everyone in this world is a sinner. We have sinned! We are not righteous! God is Holy and He is righteous but we are far from Him. There is a mammoth sized gap between us and God. No matter how religous we are, we cannot bridge that gap. No matter how much money we give we cannot attain to God’s righteousness. Going to confession cannot do it. We are all sinners – with no remedy within our grasps. “And fall short of the Glory of God”. To illustrate this little point I want you to imagine that you and I were going to have an archery competition. The difference in this competition is the placement of the target. I am writing this from my home in Lusaka, Zambia. Wherever you are right now, imagine that you are here with me, but we are setting the target in London, England. Maybe we have purchased the best and newest archery equipment – the most aerodynamic arrows, and the most powerful compound bow. The end result will be the same as we line up and aim for our target – you may shoot farther than i do, but neither one of us will ever come close to hitting the target. This is what the verse is saying about sin. Sin is missing the mark (the target); it is falling short of the intended mark of God’s glory and perfection.
Some men may dare to say “but I am no sinner”. I often will answer this statement before one can utter it. The Old Testament Law is a school master that will bring us to Christ if we use it appropriately (Galatians 3:24). At this juncture I will often use the Law to reveal sin in a person (Romans 3:20). I may say something like this “do you know what sin is? Sin is a breaking of the law – God’s law. Are you familiar with God’s laws? God’s law is essentially the Ten Commandments. Have you ever told a lie, stolen something, or looked at another person with lust in your heart (this is adultery in the heart according to Jesus)? If so, you have broken God’s laws and therefore you are also a sinner. You will stand before GOd on judgment day and be sentenced according to his laws. WIll you be innocent or guilty?”
That is very bad news, but the bad news does get worse than that. Romans 6:23a tells us that “the wages of sin is death…” We will all die one day, but this is also referring to the “Second Death” which we mentioned earlier. The “Second Death” is when all the unredeemed will be cast into the Lake of Fire where they will be for all eternity. The word “wage” here is so important. Imagine that I hired you to come and do some yard work at my house. At the end of the day if I gave you twenty or thirty dollars that is your wage. You have earned that money for the work that you have done for me. It is similiar to what sin has done for us. Because of our sin we have earned a wage. Our wage is a one way ticket to the Lake of Fire. Our sinful human nature is totally corrupted – rotten to the core. We are in rebellion against God. Our sin is offensive to him and if we die in that state we will be forever separated from him. The Lake of Fire is where we are going. This is an irreversible sentence. After a million years in the Lake of Fire our sentence has gotten no shorter. There is no eligibility for early release or parole. Once we die our future is forever sealed. This is very bad news! Can you see how we are building the need in the heart of an individual? As we are explaining these things to them it is natural that they begin to feel convicted by the Holy Spirit (we cannot convict them) and recognize their utter hopelessness and lostness. We are successfully building the need and now a person may be begging for the remedy (perhaps not audibly). This is where we can begin to point them to the Savior.
A short little summary to remember the bad news.
- Romans 3:10 – “There is none righteous, no not one.”
- Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.”
- Romans 6:23a – “For the wages of sin is death…” This is also referring to the “Second Death” which is the Lake of Fire.
Once the ground has been prepared we want to move on to the good news. John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” This is one of the most popular verses in all of scripture,and it reveals something so important and valuable to us. God loves people. He loved them so much that He wanted to do something about our predicament. We need to communicate to the one to whom we are witnesssing that God does not want people to go to the Lake of Fire; in fact He has done all that He can do to prevent it. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God is “not willing that any should perish”. Anyone that perishes in the Lake of Fire is outside of God’s intentions for their life. As a matter of fact, hell and the Lake of Fire were created for the Devil and his angels. (On a side note – so often we as Christians are too willing that people should perish. We are too caught up in the busyness of our lives, or maybe we are living in fear of what people will think if we tell them about Christ. Whatever the case may be, God is not willing for the lost to perish, and we should get on board with God’s program of saving souls.) God loves human beings and he shows us that love through this very powerful act: Romans 5:8 “God commendeth (or shows) His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” We were lost in sin, depraved, and headed for an eternal damnation, and in that state Christ came and died as a substitionary sacrifice for our sins. Christ took the sins of the world upon himself when he went to the cross and died in our place. He did this to placate his Father’s judgment, for justice surely must be served. To understand this concept, I have heard an illustration that fits well. Perhaps you were in the hospital dying of cancer and there was a technological advancement that allowed us to remove all the cancer from your body and put it in my body instead. The results of this action would be that you would live, but now I would die in your place. This is precisely what happened when Christ went to the cross. His Father allowed the sins of the world to be placed on Christ so that He could die in our place. He suffered a cruel death on the cross for us. He died and his body went into the grave. His soul went down into hell for three days and three nights. Jesus did not stay dead, but he rose again from the grave, defeating sin, hell, death, and the Devil. Hallelujah! He did that for you and for me.
Just because the payment has been made for all mankind to have their sins forgiven does not mean that it is an automatic transfer to our account. No, there are men and women who will still go to the Lake of Fire because there is something that we must do to be saved. This is where the good news gets even better.
Eph 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith and tht not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.” Grace is favor that we do not deserve. Faith in this case essentially means to put our trust solely in Jesus Christ. That means that we are trusting what He did on the cross as the sole means of our forgiveness and salvation. “Not of works lest any man should boast”. This clearly is showing us that we cannot earn our salvation through good works. It is a matter of faith, believing, and trusting Christ’s “once for all sacrifice”. This is something that we have to do – we have to choose to put our trust and faith in Jesus Christ. This is an act of our will – encourage those that you witness to that it is a choice that is being presented to us. Now certainly I believe in God’s sovereignty – Had he not drawn the individual we would not be to this place in witnessing. Now he has been drawn and the choice is being presented to him. It is “the gift of God”. Now in order for someone to be a benficiary of a gift that another wants to give them, they have to reach out and accept that free gift. John 1:12 says “But as many as received Him to them he gave the power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe.” Here is an important point, we are not saved because we go to church or because we were baptized, or went to confession. We are not saved because our Dad and Mom are saved. There comes a time in our life where we have to make our own choice. Where we choose to put our faith in Christ and “receive” him. This is an act on their part – to “receive” Christ.
A short summary of the Good News.
- John 3:16 – God loves mankind, and has made a way for him.
- Romans 5:8 – He showed us this love by sending Jesus to die in our place.
- Ephesians 2:8-9 – if we will put our faith and trust in Christ, turning from our sins we can be saved.
- John 1:12 – We Must Receive Jesus Christ.
When sharing the Gospel with someone please do not stop now that you have finished your message. Don’t stop,”but bring it home”, lead the person to receive Christ right then and there if possible. How does someone “receive Christ”? Romans10:9-10 states “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” The person must believe in their heart the message that you have just preached to them, that Christ died on the cross for their sins, and rose again from the grave. The person also must confess with their mouth. Confessing out loud that we believe seals our salvation. You have to encourage the person to declare out loud with their mouth that they believe. The “confession” with the mouth also has the connotation of confessing our sins to the Lord Jesus. When one first gets saved they might not be able to list and confess every sin they have ever committed, but one should take the time to confess any that they know of. Over time the Lord may bring to their remembrance certain sins that were committed in the past – I would encourage that person to instantly confess those sins as they come to remembrance. In regards to confession, I also encourage them to tell someone else very quickly that they have received Jesus Christ. We cannot be closet Christians. New Converts are often the best evangelists because they are filled with a vibrancy and passion to share with others what they have experienced.
When leading someone to Christ it can be helpful to end with a little prayer where you lead them in confessing out loud that they believe, and lead them to literally ask Jesus to come into their life, forgive them of their sins, and be their Lord and Savior. I am confident that anyone reading this can lead another person to Christ. Remember it is not some special prayer formula that is saving them – you are simply leading them to confess what they ALREADY believe in their heart and asking Jesus to come in. Here is an example of a simple prayer:
“Lord Jesus I know that I am a sinner, and I recognize that I need you to save me. I believe that you died on the cross for my sins, that you rose again the third day, that you are alive today, and that you are God. I am sorry for my sin, and I ask you to come into my life and forgive me. Lord Jesus, please be the Lord and Savior of my life. Please give me strength to turn away from my sins. Amen.”
It is so important that we take a short time to exhort them about the importance of repentance and turning away from former sins. This cannot be overemphasized. A person who receives Christ and continues in their former sins is not really a Converted Christian; I would have to question the validity of their experience. I encourage you to push for people to receive Christ, but make sure they truly understand the requirements. Receiving Christ definitely includes turning away from your sin.
Here is a simple way to remember how to lead someone to receive Christ. I call it the abc’s of salvation.
A – Admit you are a sinner.
B – Believe that Christ died for you and rose again.
C – Confess with your mouth that you believe, and confess your sins.
D – Depart from your sin. This is Repentance.
I hope this little article has more fully equipped you to lead someone to the Lord Jesus Christ. This truly is the greatest employment in the Universe. Oh what a dispensation we have been entrusted with. What a treasure we have hidden within us! Let us not keep it hidden. Amen!