Altana fortified church in Transylvania, Romania
Evangelism

How many religions exist?

Go and make disciples

Matthew 28:18-20, the Great Commission, is an interesting command.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

Why did Christ not say, “go and make believers?” Disciples are who you tutor after someone is a believer.

Notice what Christ said in Matthew 9:37.

“…the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”

Doesn’t this sound like much of the growth and prep work is already done, all you need to do is be there. Keep this in mind, we’ll return to it later.

So, how do we share the gospel?

The Messenger

Let’s look at Isaiah 52:7 and Romans 10:15

How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

Oh, to be used by God, what a grand privilege.

The Message

  • Jesus is God and He created us – Genesis 1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…”
  • Jesus is Holy – 1 Peter 1:16 “…I am holy.”
  • Man is sinful – Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
  • Sin deserves justice – Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death…”
  • Jesus pays the price for our Sin and offers salvation –  Romans 10:9 “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace, you have been save through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Memorize the spirit of these verses as a coherent explanation.

Please note that we have the gospel as part of our website.

The Power

Romans 10:17 shows the power of salvation. Obviously, it’s the Holy Spirit that facilitates all this.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

That’s the power. Not a convincing story or a sad story or deep emotions. All that’s fine, but it’s the word.

Introductory Questions

Two questions may help in opening a conversation with an unbeliever and help you understand from where they’re coming.

  1. If you were to die today, do you know for sure you would go to heaven?
  2. If you were to go to heaven and God asked, “why should I let you in?” what would you say?

These are diagnostic questions and are designed to see where the person’s heart is. Are they aware, sure they’ll go to heaven, and based on what, being a good person?

Discussion

I also usually get into a discussion of how many religions exist. Why? One of the objections you often encounter is, even is I buy the above, what makes your religion better than all the other religions?

Here’s how I answer.

Let’s assume there a fundamental basis for religion. You might assume it’s to help us do good things or be good but you can do good thing by working at a soup kitchen or animal shelter. You don’t need religion for that.

No, religion addresses what happens to us or where we go when we die. Nothing else addresses that. Nothing. So religions lays out how you can go to heaven once you die and avoid going to hell.

Now of all the thousands of religions in the world, the truth is there are only two. Only two.

  1. There are religions of doing good deeds and avoiding bad deeds in order to earn your way into heaven and avoid hell. In other words – works. All the religions that exist, except one, believe in this – believe in works. Here I go into, for example, Catholicism with venial and mortals sins. Or discuss their religious background. Works is what they’ve been taught.
  2. Christianity is the only religion that believes that salvation is a gift from Jesus Christ who paid your sin penalty by dying on the cross. Good works are not required to be saved. In fact, good works are the fruit or results of salvation.

Bringing it all together

Restate the bible verse or verses above and ask if they would like you to lead them into a prayer of salvation. Let them know all they need to do is to turn away from their sin life and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Do not say, “just ask Jesus into your heart.” That’s too trite (sorry).

Let’s circle back

Remember the harvest from above?  Here’s the secret – God has already been working on them and He causes the salvation.

Let’s look at 1 Cor 3:6-9:

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.  So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.  Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.  For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.”

God is already working on them. You may not close the deal. That’s not the point, you’re God’s fellow worker.

Before I was saved, I told someone that the bible was full of old wife tales. He humbled me by asking if I ever read the bible. I hadn’t. That was God working on me. Shortly thereafter, I became a believer.

John Newton, the author of “Amazing Grace” was a slave trader who heard the word from an aunt who took care of him when he was younger. It wasn’t until much later when he was almost shipwrecked that he accepted Jesus. Prior to that however God was working on him through his aunt.

Discipleship

Most believe the goal is to just get someone to accept Jesus. The real goal is to be used in God’s field so that after they do accept Jesus you can disciple them. Your job has just begun.

How are you going to disciple the next person Jesus entrusts to you?

 

 

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