A Simple Framework for Sharing the Gospel in a Short Conversation

I often use the italicized points below when sharing the Gospel on-on-one. But I don’t have a “standard script” — I try to be sensitive to the body language and responses of the other person in order to guide the conversation. The main thing, though: Cover the bold points below at whatever depth time allows. Below represents a variety of elements to include in a short, 2 to 5 minute presentation. You have to watch body language to judge how long to push the conversation. Some people are polite, but tuned out and aggravated if they’re not really interested.

Hopefully, your short encounter gets someone thinking about their need for salvation. Possibly, it opens the door for a longer discussion. I never know whether I might be in a conversation for 2 minutes or 2 hours.

It’s important to memorize Scripture. There is rarely time or opportunity on the street with someone to go fumbling through the Bible. But questions will come up where it’s important for you to KNOW the answer Scripturally, and not just claim that you “know it’s in the Bible somewhere.”

INTRODUCTION: Approach with a smile and a tract. Try to get eye contact 15 to 20 feet away. It’s important for people to have a couple of seconds to size you up. Otherwise you will startle them and they will almost always keep moving.

How are you doing? Let me give you some good news . . . it’s a comic book with a story and a Gospel message . . . you know, life / death / Heaven / Hell? Do you ever think about the big issues?

Listen carefully to what they say and note the body language. The true Christian will respond differently from the unbeliever or the phony professing Christian.

JUDGMENT: The sinner has got to understand that judgment is coming. America is sick with complacency. Everyone thinks they’re going to live forever and then God will just be ‘merciful.’

Guaranteed: you don’t get off this planet alive. We’re all going to face God some day. If this were the day you died . . . and some day will be that day . . . where would you be? Heaven or Hell? Innocent or guilty?

LAW / SIN Many people claim to be “good enough” to merit heaven. But even if they claim to be a Christian, I’m going to try to challenge them with the law. If they claim “goodness”, then (with a smile) . . .

So are you “good enough”? The Bible has a “good person” test. You’re familiar with the 10 commandments? Let’s start with an easy one . . . Have you ever told a lie? Hey, I’m guilty, too. What does that make you? (a liar) Here is some bad news. The Bible says that God loves you, personally, but that He also is holy, and just, and righteous. He cannot stand to have sin in his presence. You see, God’s standard of justice is so high, that liars will be condemned to the lake of fire, namely hell.

Do you believe that murderers should get into Heaven? Ever murdered anyone? Jesus said that if you call someone a fool, or you’ve been angry without cause, you’ve committed murder in your heart. Ever have wicked thoughts about someone? In God’s eyes you are guilty of murder and murderers will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The 10 commandments also include ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery.’ But Jesus said that if you look at a woman with lust, you’ve committed adultery already in your heart. Innocent or guilty? Pornography is a sin of lust, too. Adulterers are condemned to Hell, along with murderers.

HELL (the penalty for sin): Most people really don’t believe in Hell, or can’t imagine that they would deserve it. If a sinner admits he would likely go to Hell if he died right now, compliment him for his honesty!

Here’s the problem: If we say, “God, give me what I deserve”, God could say, “I know everything you’ve ever done, said, and thought. You’ve broken my laws thousands of times – willfully — and you deserve Hell.” God didn’t create Hell for people. He created it as a prison for Satan and the angels that rebelled against God. But when we sin, we rebel just like Satan. Whenever we sin, we’re telling God we don’t want Him telling us what to do. If we die in our sins, we share the devil’s fate – Hell.

GOSPEL: The good news of the Gospel can only make sense if someone understands that she NEEDS escape from judgment. But if she believes she is lost, she will be desperate to be saved. In a cold turkey witness, at least try to get someone to consider that if she is guilty before a holy God, she had better find the one way to escape.

God did something for you because He loves you. Do you know what He did? 2000 years ago the Creator of the universe became a man – Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect life, never said a wrong word or thought a wicked thought. He lived His life loving people, helping them, healing them, and telling them the truth, even when they didn’t like it. He made people mad by preaching that we must repent. When He went to the cross, He was innocent. He shed His blood for your sins and mine. He suffered hell on the cross – it was more than physical torture, it was the supernatural wrath of almighty God. He took the wrath of God on Himself so you and I could go free. He died and was buried. 3 days later He rose from the dead. Nobody else ever did that. Do you want the technology to overcome death? Only Jesus Christ has it.

REPENT & BELIEVE: So here is salvation: Admit to God that you’ve sinned against Him and deserve Hell. God already knows all your sins. He wants you to agree with Him about how wicked you are, and submit / surrender. Confess specific sins to God. Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. But your conscience will convict you about which sins you’re holding onto to keep you from repenting. The hard part for most people is to admit they are wicked and lost. Turn from your sins and your selfishness to God (that’s repentance – turning around), and trust Jesus Christ for salvation. Jesus calls it a born-again experience. He said to a religious man named Nicodemus that except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of Heaven. Are you willing to let God change you? He wants to save you for eternity, and that includes changing the rest of your life. Eternal life isn’t just for after death. It’s for right now! God will give you the strength to change your life! The reason most people won’t get saved is that they love their sins. But that’s a bad deal. You can enjoy sinning for a season, but death is coming . . . and judgment, and Hell.

A lot of people would like Jesus to give them a ticket to Heaven and then get back to their party. No, it’s a package deal. Jesus is both Saviour and Lord. That means He gets to call the shots in your life.

Here is a very blunt illustration on repentance . . .
Imagine I go to my fiancee and say, “Honey, let’s get married next week, but before we do, I’ve got something to confess to you.” You see, salvation is likened in the Bible to marriage. Believers are called ‘the bride of Christ.’ When my fiancee says, “Sure, honey, I’ll forgive you of anything,” then I say, “You know that woman who hates you, your worst enemy, who has done you wrong hundreds of times. Well, I’ve been having sex with her and I need you to forgive me so we can get married.” After my fiancee blows up, and eventually calms down, she’ll certainly ask, “Well, have you told her to get lost? Have you broken up?” I respond with, “Well, no. I like having sex with her. I don’t want to give that up. I just want you to forgive me so we can get married.” Is that going to work? When you get married, you must forsake all other women. To become a child of God, to get forgiveness of your wicked sins, you must be willing to forsake the devil and all his works. Do you ever get perfect in this life? No, but you get on a different road, with a different attitude toward sin. And you’re willing and eager to get God’s help to get the junk out of your life and put some good things in.

If someone understands he is lost, one heartbeat from Hell, then he should readily turn to the Saviour. He needs to spend some time with God, doing eternal business. I’m happy to hang around, but this might take some time, perhaps even hours. Answer all the questions he has. He may repent & believe in minutes, or it may takes hours or days before he really ‘gets it.’ How much repentance and faith does it take to be saved / receive Christ / acquire the indwelling Holy Spirit? Enough so that you are regenerated and become a new creature. The Spirit will bear witness with his spirit that he is now a child of God. Don’t pretend that you have magic glasses and can see the moment.

So . . . Don’t “pull the trigger” by prematurely provoking a “sinner’s prayer.” You don’t know when or if he has a repentant heart! Don’t presume to think that you can lead him in a prayer that produces salvation. There are no Scriptural examples of “repeat this prayer after me and really mean it.” When he repents and trusts unto salvation, he can tell you AND demonstrate it with his changed attitudes and changed life. If such evidence is clear, go ahead and baptize him and befriend him as he starts to live the Christian life. Note how Philip dealt with the Ethiopian in Acts 8. And how the Lord Jesus dealt with the Samaritan woman in John 4. And how Paul challenged the Jews right within their synagogues. And many other cases. The TRUTH is presented and the sinner responds to the challenge with a yea or a nay, not merely in a verbal profession, but with a life transformed, sins forsaken, and a sudden burning desire to reach out to others with the same Gospel.

By the way, when you lead a sinner to Jesus, and he really gets saved, you are committing yourself to discipleship and friendship for life! The Great Commission includes preaching, teaching ‘all things’, and baptizing. That requires commitment on your part.

– Dr. Dave

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