By Shawn Lazar
My good friend, Dr. Steve Lewis, President of Rocky Mountain Seminary, recently told me of an easy way to evangelize and I tried it out on a plane ride back from Portland.
Here’s how it works.
First, you have to meet someone who professes to believe in Jesus, or who goes to Church, or has some sort of connection to Christianity. If they’re born-again, you’ll be teaching them how to do evangelism. If they’re not, they might be by the end of your conversation!
Either way, you both benefit.
The man sitting next to me on the plane introduced himself and mentioned he was a Christian because he saw I was reading a Christian book.
That’s your opening.
At that point you ask him, “Would you like to know an easy way to share your faith with others?”
They’ll probably say, “Sure.”
You then ask, “Are you familiar with John 3:16?”
“I think so,” they’ll probably say.
So you take out your Bible—or a copy of the Gospel of John—turn to John 3:16 (or another favorite evangelistic verse, such as John 3:36, 5:24, or 6:47) and start going through it with them.
“If you’re going to evangelize someone, you might do what Jesus does here, and tell them about God’s love for them.”
“And then tell them about who Jesus is, and why He was sent. You know, that Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sin debt.”
“And now for this next part, it can get tricky.”
“Yes, because you really need to make sure they get this. What’s the one condition Jesus mentions here to be saved? What’s the one thing they must do? And, by the way, when you ask most people that, they’re going to give all kinds of answers—you have to do good works, give to the poor, get baptized, etc. So be prepared for that, and point them to what Jesus says here. So what is Jesus’ one condition, according to John 3:16?”
Hopefully they’ll answer, “It says, ‘Whoever believes in Him.’”
“Right, so is the condition works?”
“Is it baptism?”
“No. It’s believing.”
“Right! Believing is the only condition. Make sure they understand that. Now what do they get if they believe? This is really important too, because people believe in Jesus for all kinds of things, without understanding the ‘big picture’ of what He offers. So ask them what believers get according to John 3:16. If they hesitate, point to the words ‘everlasting life’ to help them out.”
“Oh. They get everlasting life.”
“Right. And then you tell them what that is—eternal salvation, life with God forever, life that can’t be lost, etc. Make sure they understand they’re not just believing in Jesus for a good job, or a pay raise, or a physical healing, or something temporary. They are believing in Him for everlasting life. That’s what He offers. Life forever.”
“Oh yeah, yeah,” they’ll say.
“And now, this is really important. Make sure the person you are witnessing to understands when they get everlasting life.”
“Yes. Because most people just don’t know. They think they might get it after they die, or sometime in the future. But when does Jesus say a believer gets everlasting life?”
“Umm…I don’t know.”
“Well, what does Jesus say right here? Does it say they’ll get everlasting life in the future? Or does He say believers ‘have’ it.”
“Oh. He says they ‘have’ it.”
“And what does that mean? If they have it, when do they get it?”
“…Umm…When they believe?”
“Exactly! In other words, it’s a present possession. The moment you believe in Jesus for everlasting life, you have it. You’re born again forever. Isn’t that great? So many people go to church all their lives, and they miss those simple things, right?”
“So you’ve got at least three things there you need to make clear to anyone you are witnessing to. The condition: believe in Jesus. The consequence: everlasting life that cannot be lost. And the when: believers have everlasting life as a present possession. And that’s all from one simple verse. Easy, right? And then you do one more thing.”
“You ask them a question to make sure the message has sunk in. You ask, ‘If Jesus promises that believers have everlasting life as a present possession, and you believe that, then what do you have?’”
“I have everlasting life!”
“Exactly. Now, isn’t that an easy way to evangelize someone?”
“Wow,” the guy on the airplane exclaimed. “I’ve never heard it explained like that. Thanks!”
It’s simple. It’s non-confrontational. It’s inductive. Give this simple way of sharing your faith a try and watch your evangelism opportunities take off!
Shawn Lazar is Director of Publications for Grace Evangelical Society. Be sure to buy his new book, Beyond Doubt: How to Be Sure of Your Salvation in the bookstore.
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