For the last five years or so, I’ve been thinking about the gospel message; what it is and is not, trying to learn how to witness more biblically, rather than according to popular modern evangelical methods. I am not questioning the motive of teachers of modern methods of evangelism; I know their desire is to reach the lost with the gospel, and make disciples, out of love and obedience to God, love and compassion for the lost, and gratitude to Christ for salvation. I’m just considering the gospel message that is presented.
The more I studied the bible, observed what happens when I witness to people, and observed others in action using the modern methods (the modern gospel message), it just seemed like there were things missing, and things included that did not seem biblical.
For example, an explanation of God’s righteousness, holiness, and commandments was missing. Sin was presented as ‘missing the mark’ or falling short of God’s glory. What does that mean? Many people have no idea just what this means, and how hopeless we are in our guilt before God (without Christ), in order that they may understand why our only hope is in the Savior.
The message of the fact of Judgment Day was missing. People may not know why Jesus ‘died for our sins’. There’s a reason, and it was to save us from the judgment of God against our sins that we have committed against God. Often, people do not know what sin is. One cannot repent if there is no conviction of sin, and without repentance, there can be no salvation (Luke 13:3,5).
It just seemed too “easy”, with almost no response or committment sought except for a ‘decision’ for Christ, or to ‘accept’ Christ. The motivation offered was to ‘know for sure you were going to heaven when you die’, not to flee to Christ for forgiveness and protection against God’s judgment against sin. Repentance was missing. I didn’t see where ‘accepting’ Christ, making a ‘decision’, ‘asking Jesus into your heart’, or ‘praying a prayer’ are in the scriptures. But I do read about repentance towards God, and faith in Christ.
In this article, the three steps mentioned are, 1. A person who is proud or self-righteous, 2. A person who is humble because they have been convicted of their sin and know they are guilty before God, and 3. A person who has repented and trusted in the grace of God, and in the forgiveness offered through Christ.
The “Cheap Grace” of Modern Evangelism
Not everyone makes it through these steps to become born-again. Modern evangelism, (“God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life Quick! Say this prayer and you’ll know for sure you’ll be heaven when you die!”) seeks to eliminate the middle step by not mentioning God’s Law. When we skip this, it often produces people we call “backsliders” or as the Bible calls them, “False Converts” who have skipped this and never really repented (Jesus said repentance is necessary for salvation- Luke 13:3, 5). They may have repeated a prayer and asked Jesus to come into their heart, but without repentance they are not truly Christians.
Some people get to the second step, admitting their guilt but not accepting forgiveness. A true Christian goes through all three. To become a Christian, one must repent of his sins and trust in the God of the Bible.
So I’m asked- why do you talk about the 10 Commandments? Why not just tell people about God’s love?
Why? Because Jesus didn’t do that. There is no model in Scripture of the disciples preaching “Jesus loves you!” They knew what Paul knew: “The Law is a schoolmaster, to bring us to Christ.”
From the website, Adventures in Christianity.
What Did Jesus Do?
He gave Law to the proud, and grace to the humble. He gave the Law to the proud, arrogant, self righteous Pharisees and grace to humble Nicodemus, the woman at the well, and the woman caught in adultery. When ‘witnessing’, Jesus bypassed the intellect, and addressed the conscience.
He always preached Law to the proud and arrogant, and grace to the meek and the humble (see Luke 10:25-26; 18:18-20; John3:1-17). Never once did the Son of God give the Good News (the message of the cross, grace, and mercy) to the proud, the arrogant, or the self-righteous. He followed His Father’s example: He resisted the proud and gave grace to the humble (James 4:6). Paul did the same, as seen at Athens, when he used the essence of the first and second Commandments to reprove the Athenian’s idolarty (Acts 17:15-34), and on other occasions (see Romans 2:22-23). Biblical evangelism always proclaims the Law to the proud, but grace to the humble.
From the book, The Way of the Master, by Ray Comfort, p. 85.
I wholeheartedly recommend to you the teaching and training provided by
Ray Comfort. Please check out The Way of the Master website, Way of the Master Radio, and LivingWaters website links to the left under “evangelism”. There is free online audio teaching available, and teaching is also available on video. It is very helpful and biblical training. Also, check out the book, The Way of the Master, by Ray Comfort. I’ve read a few books on evangelism, and this one was by far the best and most biblical. Here is the basic teaching from a previous post, to get you started:
Here is an example of witnessing using the 10 Commandments, to help a person understand why they need the Savior; that they might be convicted of their sin and, by God’s grace, repent and put faith in Jesus Christ to save them.