Matthew 4:17-19, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’”
1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
In a web article written by R. C. Sproul published in 2014 for Ligonier Ministries, the Reform Theologist declared,
“One of the most important subdivisions of theology is Christology, which is the study of the person and work of Christ. Within that field of study, when we want to get at the aspect that is most crucial, the aspect that we may call the “crux” of the matter of Jesus’ person and work, we go immediately to the cross. The words crucial and crux both have their root in the Latin word for “cross”, crux, and they have come into the English language with their current meanings because the concept of the cross is at the very center and core of biblical Christianity. In a very real sense, the cross crystallizes the essence of the ministry of Jesus.” (Sproul, R.C. “What Does It Mean to Know Nothing except Christ and Him Crucified?” Ligonier Ministries, 11 Apr. 2004, http://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-does-it-mean-christ-and-him-crucified/.)
Every Christian should be in the business of witnessing for Christ and the power of the Cross in our lives. We should be sharing what Christ can and will do for those of whom we are speaking to, or communicating with. When Jesus told Peter that he was going to be a “fisher of men”, he meant that his purpose in life was to make disciples. This is the mission of every Christian who is on the face of the earth. The first part of discipleship is the process of personal evangelism. As we see by the example of Paul, the cross is the center or our message.
This is our objective then, to share Jesus Christ, and his work of salvation that was completed at the Cross, Jesus declared on the cross, “it is finished” (John 19:30). These are probably the most important words ever said in the history of man on earth, maybe even in all creation.
What are we trying to tell the individual about this work of the cross?
Personal Evangelism is about relaying this information:
- The individual is lost
- Christ made sufficient provisions for them
- Salvation is only obtained by faith in Jesus and the work of the cross
- A choice must be made
As we begin our personal evangelism efforts; we must consider how important our relationship with to whom we are speaking. It is actually very rare to find someone, especially in the United States, that has not already heard something about Jesus. They have been informed from a wide variety of sources.
Most of these sources are unfortunately untrustworthy. There have been a lot of false teachings, frauds, and legalist that have convoluted the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to gain authority or financial supremacy over others. Many have been enslaved by false doctrines and blinded by Church Dogma. Their perception of Christ has been understandably distorted.
For this reason, evangelism is an ever changing process, but one thing will always remain true. The best way to evangelize is always through a personal relationship with the prospect. Gaining the trust of the lost soul, in order to show them Jesus Christ. In this manner we can show what a personal relationship with Jesus looks like.
A genuine relationship disproves lies, and breaks down fears, stereotypes, pain, and anger. It gives you an opportunity to speak to the heart of the individual and address their spiritual need on an ongoing basis, developing trust, and opening doors through the intervention of prayer and the Holy Spirit. The importance of this was relayed by God himself.
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” (John 1:14a). God, through Jesus Christ, became accessible to man on an intimate level. To dwell among us means to reside, or live with. God came and shared his time with us. This is what the church needs to do. This is what you need to do as a Christian. Get into the neighborhood, embrace a neighbor, learn their stories, develop relationships for the sake of spreading the gospel, showing them Jesus. Jesus ate with sinners, ministered to the sick, confronted false doctrine. If we are the salt of the earth, then this is how we must live to be effective for the cause of Christ.
The most common route of scripture that is used for leading someone to Christ is referred to as “The Roman Road”. This is a selection of scriptures from the book of Romans. These verses lay out the plan of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. There are some small variations, however they following verses are commonly used.
The “Roman Road” Plan
- Gain the attention
o Romans 3.23
o Romans 3.10
o Romans 5:12
- Establish the Need
o Romans 6:23
- Supply the Answer
o Romans 5:8
- Close the Deal
o Romans 10:9-10
o Romans 10:13
o Romans 10:17
We must never assume that whoever we are speaking to has a proper understanding of God. We must also never assume that they are ignorant of scripture. When I share scripture with someone I generally either tell them the scripture in a form of conversation or either locate the scripture and pass my bible to them and have them read it aloud for themselves, then I begin a dialog with basically asks them to tell me what they have read and what they think it means. This is where knowing other scriptures than the Roman Road comes into play. The other scriptures can be used to explain the text and give it context. Your personal witness gives you the ability to make it real to them.
Romans 3.23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 3.10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
With these opening verses we establish some facts concerning God. We show that God is a holy God. “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5). He has established a set of laws, we commonly refer to as the 10 Commandments. These were established to show us the holiness of God, and how impossible it is to be righteous and holy like God is.
It does not matter how “good” we are in compression to someone else. If we point the finger at our neighbor who cheated on his wife, and yet we look at his daughter with lust, we are still just as guilty of adultery as our neighbor is (Matthew 5:28). So when the Lord said thou shalt not commit adultery, you violated that commandment. But the list goes on, how many “white” lies have you told? How many times have you passed on gossip about someone else? If so then when the Lord said thou shalt not bear false witness of they neighbor, you violated the law in both external application and internal intent.
The Ten Commandments are only an outline of the Law, if you could not even keep them, then how could you ever hope to keep the whole law? But even if it were possible to keep the entire law with every jot and every tittle you would still have the inherited sin of rebellion that has been passed down from the original sin of Adam. Some sins follow generations.
Ever here of “Sins of the father?” This is an illustration that shows a spiritual principle, “Sin has a consequence for the sinner and his whole family, even to the children and grandchildren.” This is also why some sins take what is called a Break in the Cycle to alleviate. An example is child or spousal abuse, or even alcoholism, or drug abuse. Lee Strobel cites that almost down to the last, every predominant atheist in history has had issues with their Father, either abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Prisons are filled with men and women who had the same issues.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The argument then comes to “I didn’t know”. There are some terms that are thrown around in the legal system.
- Malum in se (latin) – meaning wrong or evil in itself. In other words, “the act is inherently wrong by nature, independent of regulations governing conduct.
- Malum in prohibitum (latin) – meaning wrong because prohibited.
- Ignorantia juris non excusat or inorantia legis neminem excusat (latin) – basically both terms mean that ignorance of the law excuses no one.
So if we as mankind expect adherence to our laws, customs, and norms of society, and do not excuse ignorance of the law as a defense to defer adjudication, then why do we expect God too?
Now knowing that we are all guilty of violating the law of God and thus fore failing to live up to God’s standard of Holiness what does that mean? Just like when you violate a law in society there is a consequence. The consequence is death.
“Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:15).
Death brings an end to the hope of redemption. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27).
Death brings a time for judgement. You can kind of explain it like this. When you break the law, the police come and arrest you. You are put in jail and then you are brought before the judge. But unlike here in the United States, you only have a prosecutor, “Satan” and no lawyer for your own defense. You are brought before the court, God is the Judge, the Word of God is the Law you are judged from. Satan is the prosecutor and the witness against you. It doesn’t matter what kind of “cool dude” you thought Satan was while you were living, he is revealed as your enemy and takes pleasure in insuring you fate, a sentence of Death. There is no appeal process. Because God is just and holy, and there is no higher authority, His judgement is final. Ignorance, willful or not, is no excuse.
The death penalty is so fierce it is described as “weeping and gnashing of teeth” and described as fiery torment.
- Matthew 13:42 – And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
- Matthew 13:50 – And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
- Matthew 22:13 – Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
- Matthew 24:51 – And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
- Matthew 25:30 – And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
I know there are allot of preachers out there that say we should not speak of hell, but I don’t see how we can love someone and not warn them of the truth of their fate without Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Ignorance is no excuse, and judgement is final, the consequence is death. But there is hope! “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:17). Jesus Christ himself, who is God, provided the payment for the penalty. Jesus died in your place. This was the whole purpose for Jesus coming to the earth. He voluntarily took your place and received your death sentence.
He died so that you would not have too. In doing this, he stepped in as your lawyer in the throne room of God. Every sin you have ever inherited from Adam, or committed in your life or will be has been removed from your account by the death of Jesus. You have been set free from the penalty of death because he died.
That is what is so different of Jesus from any other religion on earth. God loved you so much the God died for you. NO other religion, no other philosophy, no other science can, nor will make that claim. Not Buddha, Not Mohammad, not the Pope, no one can say that they restored you to God, but God himself in the form of Jesus who is the Christ, the living Son of God.
On top of that, you did nothing to earn it. Look again at Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” It is a gift! A gift is a contribution, bequest (inheritance), bestowment, payment on behalf of someone else. In it’s truest form requires no cost to the receiver. This is more than just a “get out of hell free card”. More than just getting into “heaven”. This gift is eternal life in communion with God. This gift restores you whole being to what it was meant to be before Adam ever sinned.
Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
If you confess faith in Jesus, and Lord and Saviour of your soul and really believe in your heart that Jesus provides justification through his death, and believe that Jesus rose from the grave then you shall be saved according to your acceptance and profession of faith. It takes an internal belief, acceptance in faith that results in a public profession in Jesus.
Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Whosoever means “anyone who will” believer and choose to act on their belief will be saved. The bible says that even the demons believe in Jesus. So believing in God, or even believing that Jesus existed and was a “good man” or a “prophet” won’t save you. You have to understand that Jesus is the only way to salvation and call out to him. You have to depend on him for your salvation. If you were hanging out the window of a burning building, and a fireman on a ladder told you to take his hand and to trust him not to let you go, you can say all you want to, but until you take his hand you wont be saved. It’s the same with the kingdom of God.
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Now is your time to choose. Do you believe what I have told you? Do you understand what the scriptures say about life and death? Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God that was sent to die for you? Do you believe that he wants you to live in freedom, right by his side? Will you accept his give of life, or will you choose to die?