Personal Evangelism: Are You Really Ready For This?
Personal evangelism is a reference to a Christian trying to help someone else get saved by accepting Christ as his/her savior by faith.
Even though many Christians may not have the gift of evangelism, as a part of our Christian growth, we should all be telling others what we know to be true about the Lord (i.e., witnessing). The following are my suggestions for personal evangelism and witnessing:
1. Make sure you are saved. If you were to die tonight, are you certain you are going to be with the Lord? Why do you think God should let you into His kingdom? Saved people should answer "yes" to the first question. And they should answer "because of my faith in Jesus' substitute payment for my sins" to the second question.
You can be a frequent "church goer" who is familiar with the plan of salvation but yet not be saved. Make sure that you have asked God and are trusting God to save you from going to Hell because of your faith in Jesus' payment for your sins.
2. Understand that some will never be saved, no matter what you do. A great fear in personal evangelism is the fear of failure. There is the fear that the person will say "no." The reality is that many people will say "no." Some will never say "yes." Others will say "yes" in another season.
Leave these matters to God and the person. Your job is to make sure you have given your best in personal evangelism - gave them the information to consider and urged them to say "yes."
3. Start with familiar people. It is a good idea to start with receptive family members and loved ones. All family members and loved ones are not receptive. Start with the receptive. Let them know that you want to practice on them. In fact, you are both practicing on them and checking in with them to see if they are really saved or not.
4. Use the "Plan of Salvation" model. The four statements and John 3:16 are all that you really need to know. There are other models like the Roman Road. But keep it simple.
The four statements are as follows:
- God loves you and wants to bless your life (Jn. 3:16 talks about God's love)
- Your sin separates you from the blessings of God (Jn. 3:16 talks about perishing. We were going to perish because of our sins.)
- Jesus' death satisfies your sin debt (Jn. 3:16 talks about the giving of the Son, which means Jesus died for us.)
- You must accept Jesus' death as payment for your sin (Jn. 3:16 talks about believing on Jesus.)
5. Use questions and explain areas that are unclear. Instead of simply telling someone about the four statements and John 3:16, try questions and explanations as needed.
For example, ask, "If you die tonight are you sure you are going to be with the Lord? Why do you think God should let you into His kingdom?"
Do you really believe that God loves you and wants to bless your life? What makes you think so?
Do you believe that your sin separates you from the blessings of God? What makes you think so?
Do you believe that Jesus' death satisfies your debt? What makes you think so? Do you believe that you must accept Jesus as your savior by faith? What makes you think so?
Have you really accepted Christ as your savior by faith or are you simply familiar with Him? Are you really willing to accept Him now? Repeat after me, "God, please save me because of Jesus' death for my sins. Help me to live right. Thank You, in Jesus' name, amen."
John 3:16 teaches that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life, right? Do you believe? What does the Bible say you have? So now you can be assured that if you die tonight you are going to be with the Lord, right? And your trust is in Jesus' paying the price, right?
Use wisdom in how many questions you ask and the tone of your voice in asking. This should be a guided conversation, not an interrogation (smile). Make sure you listen and respond appropriately, instead of simply giving a one size fit all response.
6. Have good literature to leave. Find a good personal evangelism tract or write your own, and leave it with the person. Now the person has your verbal explanation and the written piece to ponder.
7. Follow-up. Matthew 13:19 talks about how the devil can snatch the seed of God's Word from a person. As part of your personal evangelism, check back from time to time to see if the person has any questions or comments.
Try to impress upon them the importance of joining a church, not to be saved or stay saved, but so they can grow in knowledge and obedience. Try to find a balance between being a pest and being a concerned friend or acquaintance.
In summary, make sure you are saved. Understand everyone is not going to believe. Start with familiar people, the simply four statements, and John 3:16. Use questions to guide the discussion, leave literature, and follow-up.
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