“Can you share the Gospel with me?”
He looked shocked and asked if I was a Christian. I told him I was and repeated the question. He paused and told me “You need to believe in Jesus so your sin can be forgiven otherwise you’ll go to hell.” There was nothing wrong with his answer. My goodness, what he said was true. However, the next part of the conversation was very troublesome.
I asked, “When was the last time he shared the Gospel?” He stated emphatically, “All the time!” I smiled and restated what he shared with me. Then the truth came out. He admitted that he does not share about sin and the reality of hell. He “shares the Gospel” with people by inviting them to church!!! It is good to invite people to church, but it is not the Gospel. (This article addresses that topic.) People, especially Christians, cannot get this wrong. If they don’t clearly understand the distinction, their own salvation and the salvation of others are at stake.
There are three things I fear for this gentleman and others like him.
- He may not be saved
Before you label me a hater, listen to what this gentleman thought the Gospel was. Going to church. What!? Jesus says in Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Many people will say that they are saved, but the evidence of salvation is our changed hearts that affects how we live and what motivates us. This gentleman was movatied to love people according to his definition of love which was to pray and invite them to church. He was doing this exclusively rather than combining them sharing the truth of sin and the need to repent and place your faith in Jesus.
- He does not understand the Gospel
This was his biggest problem; he did not understand the implications of the Gospel enough to lovingly communicate the truths found therein. When the Gospel invades a person, it is more than a few memorized words we spit out. He knew the right words to say, but when asked if he shared Truth with people he told me, that he “just prays for them and invites them to church.” Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 15:8 “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” We can say all day we believe in Jesus. That means nothing. Here is a better question: what is your heart motivating you to do? Someone who truly understands the Gospel cannot stay silent because of what is at stake: the glory of God and the souls of man.
- He does not understand how to lovingly communicate the Gospel
If I asked you to communicate the Gospel in such a way that you persuaded me to see my need for Jesus, could you do it? I role played with this gentlemen by stating, “I am good person. I don’t need Jesus.” He accurately responded, “No one is good”. I pushed the role play a little further by stating, “I am.” He was not able to use God’s Word to show me my sin. This is a major problem. We can say something (People are not good) but can we show them that from scripture? The commandments are a great way to expose man’s sinful heart. Galatians 3:24, “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.” I encourage you to start using the Ten Commandments in sharing the Gospel today!
Our conversation ended with me telling him that I was concerned for him. I challenged him to examine his life to make sure he was saved. I showed him who God was in His word. I exposed his sin by using the commandments. I shared the good news of the Gospel, and challenged him to examine his life to make sure he had responded to Gods kindness found in the cross. Where did I get that from? 2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?” Matthew 7:19-20 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
In closing, remember that just because someone says they are saved does not mean they are saved. Be bold enough to ask them to share the Gospel with you. Let them know you are role playing to take some of the tension out of the conversation, but don’t let them off the proverbial hook. If they can’t explain the Gospel to you, they may not be saved.
Here is the mental template I keep in mind.
- God (Holy & Just)
- Man is sinful (commandments)
- Respond to the good news
If a person tells me that they are saved I ask “Will you please share why I need Jesus? Will you please tell me how to be saved?” I encourage you to find a variation of this question that you feel comfortable with.
If you have any questions on your own personal salvation please feel free to contact us at any time.