This is the second of several short articles about sharing Jesus in a normal and natural manner that is not dependent on a specific ‘method’. In Part 1 of this short series of posts, we talked about starting a conversation that can lead to sharing Jesus and the message of salvation with a family member, friend, co-worker, or anyone for that matter. The goal of the conversation was to arrive at the conclusion that the reason people do bad things is because they have an inner problem that the Bible calls ‘sin’.
Sharing Jesus – Part 2, The Sin Problem
Before we start talking about ‘sin’ let’s give our conversation partner a name. We’ll call him/her ‘Pat’ (good gender neutral name).The next step in the conversation we are having with ‘Pat’ is to define the extent of this ‘sin’ problem. And just like we asked a lot of questions when we started the conversation (the Colombo technique), we’ll continue our discussion with another question:
“So ‘Pat’, what do you think sin is?”
The first answer you will get will most likely have to do with bad things we do and/or mistakes we make, which is the most immediate and natural response. You might get the same answer from the vast majority of believers, but that’s another post.
You might also hear that sin means NOT doing things we ought to do. We do have a natural sense of what the ‘right’ thing to do would be at certain times, but we fail to do it.
And since we left off the first part of our conversation agreeing that we all have an ‘inner problem’, you might even hear an answer that talks about our natural selfishness and/or inner tendencies. And that, my friends, is where we want to go now – the sinful human nature, or tendency to sin. Once you’re there, you can ask the big WHY question:
“So Pat, since you have rightly recognized that we have an inner problem, a natural tendency to do bad stuff, and sometimes to NOT do what we know would be right, WHY do you think we have a natural tendency to sin?”
It’s the natural and logical next question. Regardless of the response, this is the opportunity to discuss what the Bible has to say about the WHY. We did the same thing earlier in the conversation when we said that the Bible calls man’s inner problem ‘sin’. And remember that you are sharing the ‘Christian worldview’ and not trying to convince Pat of your personal opinion. Just share what the Bible has to say and let God do the convincing. It would be good if you have a Bible handy to share straight from scripture.
In sharing what the Bible says about our sin problem, you can take it all the way back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the story of creation and the fall of man. After all, that’s where our sin problem started – when the first couple disobeyed God. The point is that God created everything good, and it went sour because of man’s disobedience. Adam’s sin impacted the ‘nature’ of every human being born since then.
Regardless of what we think about the fairness of Adam’s sin affecting the rest of the human race, it did. We are told several things about the ‘natural’ man that describe him in rather ‘dark’ terms.
The entrance of sin into the world rendered the human heart deceitful beyond all things[i] and desperately sick, the human mind blind to spiritual things,[ii] hostile to God[iii], and unable to please God.[iv]
It’s really important for us who share Jesus with others and for those listening to our message to grasp just how bad the sin issue is. It’s in knowing just HOW bad the bad news is that we can most fully understand and appreciate the good news of what God has done in sending his Son to die for OUR sins. The main point about sin is that it’s more than what we do or don’t do, it’s part of our very nature as sons of Adam.
Sadly, much of today’s ‘evangelism’, both in churches and person to person, minimizes the real issue of our sin problem and in some cases, omits it entirely. We would rather attract sinners to Jesus with our ‘changed lives’ rather than speak the truth about our bondage to sin while trusting God to open stone cold hearts and effectually draw men to the cross. Are our lives irreversibly changed when we have trusted in Christ for forgiveness of our sins and in his death on our behalf? Of course they are, but as a result of the cross, not as the reason for believing in Jesus.
And once the reality of sin has, with the help of the Holy Spirit, sunk into Pat’s heart, the conversation can move on to the consequences of, and a solution to the problem. Stay tuned for Part 3.
[i] “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “Jer 17:9
[ii] “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Cor 4:4
[iii]“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” Rom 8:7
[iv] “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.. Rom 8:8