Armed with a biblically understanding of ‘spiritually dead’ and understanding that in essence, unbelievers are ‘dead men walking’, and knowing that our friend ‘Pat’ realizes that the issue if sin is the root cause of evil in the world, we can offer Pat the solution to the problem of sin in a manner that honors God.
Since the conversation is reaching ‘critical mass’ there are a few important things to remember.
First of all, pray that God would open Paul’s heart to receive this all important part of the message of the gospel. Secondly, remember that God alone saves and you are just the messenger. It’s not your job to get a decision or otherwise ‘close the deal’ – the Holy Spirit does a fine job of applying the solution to a God opened heart! As one evangelist expressed it:
“Christ is going after His lost sheep, and He wants to use our lips that they may hear His voice today, and our hands that they may feel His touch. He is the soul-winner. People are not won by us for Him. They are won through us by Him. He can win them without us, just as He can speak to them through the Bible quite apart from anything we might say. But He has chosen to work through us and with us.” Leith Samuel
Spend a few moments going over a few things with Pat. You might want to briefly summarize where the conversation has gone up to this point:
- The world is full of ‘bad stuff’ (evil).
- The Bible calls the bad stuff ‘sin’.
- Sin is a human problem that began when Adam blew it and disobeyed God.
Once you and Pat are on the same page it’s time to address the solution. You might want to ask Pat what he/she thinks is the answer to the problem. The answers you receive might be good answers even if they are just about temporal things like passing more laws, doing a better job of raising our children, raising the quality of our schools, easier access to higher education, and/or government programs to get rid of poverty. If so, talk about them, acknowledge that they might solve problems, but that they are only external answers and cannot really address the inner problem of sin that we all have.
This is a good place to introduce, in simple terms and directly from the Bible (not a 25 lb. Schofield reference Bible, but the small one you tend to carry around with you), God’s plan for dealing with sin. Be gentle! This is a conversation, not a used car lot!
Here are some suggested passages of scripture that were all written by the Apostle Paul. You can even introduce some or all the following scriptures by telling Pat that this guy named ‘Paul’ who absolutely loved to kick Christians around all over town wrote them! Make sure to tell Pat how each passage relates what you have already discussed.
The natural consequences of the problem:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord..” – Rom 6:23
God’s plan to punish his own Son in our place:
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Rom 5:8
The applications of God’s plan – believe and call on the name off the Lord:
“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Rom 10:9
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” – Rom 10:13
The result of believing and calling on the name of the Lord:
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Rom 5:1
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – Rom 8:1
The above passages are by no means a set method that must be followed. You might want to use other passages of scripture that also talk about the problem of man’s sin and God’s solution. John 3:16 is a good example and a passage we probably all know by heart. It also expresses God’s solution to our problem.
Always anticipate questions, and be ready with an answer or willing to find an answer. Be able to talk about the Biblical context of passages you use in the conversation. This communicates that you didn’t just memorize a few passages, but you know and are convinced of the truth of scripture. That’s huge!
In the next post we’ll talk about the response to God’s offer.