Personal Evangelism

By the Editor

This term, personal evangelism, is a mystery to many Christians.  When most people of faith think of evangelism they think of the ministry Billy Graham has been doing all his life.  Before Dr. Graham there was Billy Sunday and before him, Dwight L. Moody.  Each generation has produced powerful men of God who conducted public meetings and converted many sinners to Christ.  There has been a long, fruitful history of individuals, both men and women, who have spoken to their neighbors and friends about their need for the Lord.  Some of these had great success in winning their loved ones to Christ.  Whether from the pulpit, or door-to-door witnessing, there have been those who personally engaged people in talk about their need for faith and salvation.   The Apostle Paul was one who did this work with tears going house to house as he tried to bring people to a saving knowledge of Christ. 

Let’s break it down for simplicity.  Personal evangelism, whatever it is…no matter what term is used to illustrate it…this special work is personal.  It is a work for God that you, the individual, can do for God on a personal level.  Many, many (I am sure far too many) Christians have been hindered in doing this work by statements from so called well-meaning friends or associates like this, “There are two things you should avoid talking to people about; politics and religion.”   Why?  Because these two subjects are too personal.  You might offend them. 

I don’t concern myself with what position you might take on politics.  I am not bothered whether, or not, you ever engage a person about his or her political views.  But evangelism?  Now that is a whole other subject and matter.  Jesus Christ left a personal and ongoing command that we should engage others in personal evangelism.  He didn’t use that term.  He said it more clearly and with far more power.  Here’s what He said:   

Matthew 28:18-20 (King James Version)

 18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 

 19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 

 20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

 Jesus gave this commandment directly to His disciples.  In Verse 20 He instructed the disciples to teach their students, their converts, all that the Lord had taught them.  “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo,  I am with you alway…” 

Do you have any doubt that Jesus came to this earth to save sinners?  You shouldn’t, because it is clearly recorded in Scripture that He did  just that, and for that specific purpose.  “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  — Luke 19:10.  It would be impossible…let that word, impossible, sink into your heart.  It is impossible to be saved apart from the work that Jesus did on the cross.   That  precious blood running from his wounds was spilled for our sins, not for any wrongdoing He might have done.  He did not sin!  He was perfect!   Hear what the Apostle Paul said, “For he hath made him (Jesus Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” — 2Corinthians 5:21. 

Paul was so moved to win the lost that he said, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.”  –First Cor. 9:22 

Paul was given the commission to take the Gospel to the Gentiles — that is us.  We, who are not Jewish by birth, are Gentiles.  Paul was given a commission to make sure we understood and heard the good news–the Gospel.    Jesus wanted His disciples (all of His disciples, including Paul) to go away from their homes, their city and into the world to win people to Christ.  When you win one–don’t stop–your work is just beginning.  Make a disciple out of that new convert.  How do you do that?  Start by getting him to church and willingly presenting himself for baptism.  Biblical baptism is a picture of what God has done in the heart of a man or woman.  It is also a public testimony that  the new convert has trusted Christ for salvation and  is promising to live out his life for Him.    As that new convert learns the Bible and learns fully what Christ has done for him he is instructed to go out and win someone else just like he was won.  Evangelism is not to stop until Jesus comes back to get us, or until we die.  It’s the one work that God wants us to do and to do it all the time.  Dr. John R. Rice, author and long-time editor of The Sword of the Lord, said, “Every Christian should win souls.  Some Christians should do it so well that they should become full-time evangelists.”  

Dwight L. Moody, famous evangelist of yesteryear, won many, many thousands to Christ in his public meetings.  But did you know that Mr. Moody won many to Christ in face-to-face witnessing as well?  He personally engaged men and women in conversation about their standing with the Lord.  He made a vow to never go to bed until he had spoken to at least one soul about eternity.  He lived by that vow and was most effective. 

You, my friend, as a Christian are under the divine order of Christ to win souls.  He died for them.  You are now the eyes, the hands, the feet, the heart that Christ and the Holy Spirit have to work with on earth.  If you will be faithful to learn how and then to engage others, you can be sure the Holy Spirit will go before you and prepare hearts to receive your witness.  You may not see each soul to whom you witness become a Christian, but you can know that each soul that hears your message will never get away from that word.  You will be doing the work of God.  God’s most precious work;  Winning souls!  

Here are the basic tools you will need:

1.  Yourself.  You must be saved and know you are saved.  Are you?  

2. Bible.  I want you to go to the nearest Christian bookstore and purchase a New Testament.  Get one large enough to be used conveniently, easy to read.   

3. Obtain a yellow ink highlighter pen for lightly coloring certain key verses in your New Testament.  You will want these verses to stand out when you turn to them.  You will often refer others to these verses and you want them to be easily seen.      With a black ink pen you will number each of the verses we will use in our plan to win others.  You are plotting a path in Scripture that you will encourage others to follow as you share the Gospel.  This simple plan will be a powerful tool as you prayerfully lead your subjects  to that point in their lives where they must make a decision to either accept Christ, or reject Him.  

4. There are a number of places in the Bible where you could point individuals where they can find God’s plan for them.  Your job is not to show your vast understanding of Scripture, but to provide a quick, simple and easy to grasp plan so as not to confuse your subject. 

God made the way–plain, simple and easy to believe.  His way is simple enough for a child or a college professor.   Although the professor will most likely have the greater difficulty accepting this wonderful truth.  Salvation is a complex subject in Scripture, but not in obtaining it.  If  God is not willing that any should perish–and the Bible states plainly He is not…then the way and the plan must be simple enough that the most uncomplicated human can see it and believe it.  Don’t try to make this matter difficult.  God and Christ did the hard part–the complicated part–He has commissioned you to do the simple, easy part.  

We will use the letter that Paul wrote to the church at Rome for our Path to Salvation–ROMANS.  I am using the King James Version of the Bible for my teaching.  Why use the old KJV Bilble?  First, it has been around a very long time.  No, it is not that difficult to understand.  Yes, it is reliable.  It is also in Public Domain.  We can freely copy it and share it without concern we might be violating a copyright law.  

Number1:  Turn to Romans, chapter one.  Take your yellow pen and color verses 20 and 21.   These verses will serve as a little background.  Here Paul refers to “invisible things” and “creation of the world.”  Never be afraid or concerned that your subject might not believe the Bible, or that he does not believe in creation, or, for that matter, he may not even believe in Jesus Christ.  Remember, you believe these truths!  With the conviction of your belief  you are to preach or teach in your witness.  The Holy Spirit is going to help you with the teaching and you can bank on Him being right with you in all of your witnessing.  Never fear.  Paul says that from the start men knew that God had created the world and even today we can see things that clearly point to the creative hand of God.  Paul says when they saw those things and knew those truths and rejected them, they were “without excuse.” 

Why did Paul use that dogmatic statement, “without excuse?”  Look at the next verse and color it–verse 21.  “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” 

Note: There are some words in those verses you should look up in Webster’s dictionary so you will know their meaning and be able to weave those thoughts into your witness or faith talk.   We all know the meaning of the word, “excuse.”  Billy Sunday said, An excuse is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie!”  Until you learn a better saying, you might hold on to that one.  I like it and when you think about it–you probably will, too.   Evangelist Billy Sunday used it again and again to impress his audiences that men and women who reject the Lord are “without excuse.”   God is saying in these verses that man has no excuse that will hold water when it comes to the salvation He has provided for lost souls.  You either come His way, or be lost forever.  There are no two ways, three ways or a dozen ways to Heaven.  There is only One Way–Jesus Christ.  Only one road–and it runs through the cross.  Any other route men and women seek is an EXCUSE.  What’s our definition for “excuse?” 

These verse in Romans chapter one, testify that man, in the very earliest days of creation,  knew God, but rejected Him.  People who say they do not believe in God are really saying, “I will not have the God of the Bible ruling over me.”  It’s as simple as that.  It’s not that they don’t believe–they will not believe!  Being lost is a matter of the will.  Either you will be saved, or you will not. 

So take your black ink pen and mark verse 20 as “Number 1”  This verse will be the first Scripture you share with your subject.  You must become comfortable with your Bible so you can quickly explain why you are showing them a particular verse and when necessary give them the simple background.  You are establishing that all man-kind, not just your subject, has rejected God down through the long history of the world.  They rejected God in the early days of the world, they rejected the Lord in Paul’s day and they are still rejecting God today. 

Now, let’s go to the next verse where you will write the “Number 2”.  This next verse opens the big door to WHY we need salvation in the first place.   Here you will show your subject the fact of our sin.  Sin is an awful thing.  God hates sin.  Sin has its roots in disobedience.  Adam disobeyed God…and in doing so flung the whole future world into sin.   The Apostle sums up the spiritual fix of the human race succinctly in Romans 3:23, 

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” 

Note: How many does God say have sinned?  Of course, the answer is “all.”  I have a friend, a Bible teacher, who often said to his class, ” the word All means all and that’s all that all means.”  I have never forgotten his simple definition.  You will most likely remember it, too.   Here, in this one Scripture you learn the great need for salvation.  All have sinned.  At the end of life where do people go who are not saved?  Hell.  How does one qualify for Heaven?  You must be saved.  The Bible clearly teaches that sinning keeps you from Heaven.  Christ died for sinners.  His blood cleanses us from all sin.  How many of our sins does His blood cover.  All.   The Bible says, “…if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” –First John 1:7. 

 Number 3: Next, we go to Romans 3:10.  Use your black pen to write the “Number 3” and your yellow highlighter to color the verse.  “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.”  –Romans 3:10.  That word righteous means “upright” or “good.”  Paul is saying, there are no exceptions.  All of us have sinned.  You might tell your subject, “We have all sinned.  I have sinned.  My partner has sinned.  It also means that…(pause)…you have sinned.  All of us.  No exceptions.   Some might think if they do enough good deeds they will earn favor with God.  That is not so.  No amount of good can overcome what sin has done to your soul.  After a man is saved God wants him to do good.  Expects him to do good and, in fact, the newly saved man will want to do good.   There is absolutely nothing–no thing–the sinner can do to merit God’s forgiving grace.  

Number4: Get out your black pen and mark the next verse, Romans 6:23 (a).  With your yellow pen color just the words, “For the wages of sin is death.”   Point out to your subject that God has placed a price on sin.  A wage is the sinner’s payday.   God is holy.  His holiness demands a penalty for sin (the consequence for sinning against Him).  This penalty is registered on each of us for our sins.  God refers to this penalty as death.  Death is separation from God, forever.  This is not a physical death, it is an eternal death that prevents one from ever being near God again.  Separated without a road or a gate to escape.  God is a just God and demands punishment for every sin.  Justice is getting what we deserve.   We deserve death.  We deserve being separated from God. 

Number 5:  I am sure you are getting the hang of this now.  Turn back  to Romans 5:8 and write “Number 5.” Then color the verse.  “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8.  “Commendeth”  is a big word that simply means to show.  God showed His love toward us.  How?  By sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die, or to pay for our sins.  The only way sin could ever be blotted out was by the shedding of innocent blood.  There is no innocent blood since all have sinned.  So God sent innocent blood to the earth–His only begotten Son.  Jesus was the only soul who could pay the sin debt.  There was no other way.  No other payment would be accepted.  It had to be Him.  He suffered greatly for our sins.  It was through that suffering that God was showing all of man-kind that He truly loved us.  He didn’t wait until we got good enough to save us.  He knew that was an impossible matter.  “While we were sinners…Christ died for us.”  Justice demanded death.  But God extended mercy.  His mercy was Jesus paying our sin debt.  God’s grace is unmerited favor extended to each of us in love.  We don’t deserve it, but God gladly gives it.  

Number 6:  God promises eternal life.  We learned earlier that God place a price on sin and illustrated that price as wages.  He said, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” —
Romans 6:23.  Be careful with you black pen.  You have already used the first part of this verse and it was numbered Number 4.  This time we must write the Number 6.  Here we find God recording His love gift to us.  He took the Crown Jewells of all His treasure Heaven and gave it for us–the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus would became our substitute.  We deserved to be on that cruel cross, not Him.  But God showed His love.  Christ died for you.  The Penalty for YOUR sins has been paid in full.  You don’t have to go to Hell.   In fact, it’s the greatest insult to a loving God when you reject His gift.   You can go to Hell, but you don’t have to go.  The next time you hear the old Gospel song, “Amazing Grace,”  I hope you will remember just how amazing it is.  That grace was Jesus on the cross instead of you.  He was there in your place.  

Number 7: 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.”  –Romans 10:9,10 

From the beginning of our short Roman’s Road to Salvation we have learned some of the background to the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.   With Him dying on the cross that leaves us with a responsibility.  That responsibility is to do one of two things. One, we can accept His free gift of salvation, or Two, we can reject that free gift.  In one way or another your subject has gone through life rejecting each offer God has made to him.  Those offers came through many circumstances and various encounters along life’s way.  Most people never have the good fortune of having a personal witness to share the Gospel story with them in a logical, systematic fashion as we are doing with this Roman Road to Salvation.  When a man or woman has no help in the matter, the Bible says the way of life is very narrow and few find the way on their own (Matthew 7:13,14).  

Let’s look again at Romans 10:9-10 and take it bit by bit, step-by-step.   The Apostle Paul says we are to “Confess with our mouth…” Confess what?  Not what…but confess a Person.  You could substitute the word acknowledge for this word confess and you will not do damage to the meaning.  You must acknowledge that you know who Jesus Christ is and you acknowledge what He has done for you on the cross.  Then the Scriptures require you to “believe” something.  Believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead….if you do this with sincere belief the Bible delares you saved.  “Thou shalt be saved.”  

Paul does not leave you in doubt about this.  He continues in the next verse by explaining what is happening.  “For with the heart–that is your heart…man believeth unto righteousness…that is… your subject believes unto righteousness (up-right-ness) and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”   Man makes an inward or internal belief of the Gospel ( I mean he truly, without reservation, believes what Jesus did on that cross was for him.  Once he believes that in the heart and then from his heart…frames the words reflect that belief in his mouth and speaks them to God and to others. –Romans 10:10. 

Number 8: The great assurance verse, or recap of the matter,  is found in verse 13.  This will be Number 8, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  –Romans 10:13 

Three things to point out to your subject as you close out your presentation of the Gospel.  First, look at that word, “whosoever.”  Charles Spurgeon said of it, “It is a wide word–wide enough to include all of the people of the earth.  It is wide enough to include me, wide enough for you and everyone we know.  “Whosoever.”  That is much better than God having placed your name in the Bible.  For if you read your name and it was the only name there–you might correctly wonder if he means you.  Surely there must be hundreds of people in the world with a name like yours.  No, His choice of  “whosoever” was just right.  You are, indeed, included in that.  The second word Mr. Spurgeon directs our attention to is an easy word, Call.”  He says this is an easy word, a simple task. Easy because any of us can perform that action.  Call.  We call people on our cell phones, we call them from the yard, we call people at work.  We know how to call–it is a simple thing to do.  God says, “call upon the name of the Lord…”  We can do that.  The third word is a certain word, “shall be saved.”   This is not a hope so word, or a may be word, this is a certain word!!!

That is a wonderful time to bring your witness to a close.   Before there is any additional discussion let your subject know you want to have a brief word of prayer for him.  As you are praying you might stop your prayer and ask your subject “this is really what you want isn’t it?  You want to know you are going to Heaven when you die?”  If the subject answers, “Yes.” then you might suggest he take hold of your extended hand and you might say, “Lord , my friend George (name of subject) wants to be saved.  He wants to know he’s going to Heaven when he dies.  He’s going to invite Christ into his heart right now.”  While holding his hand, instruct George to pray (you will supply him with the words to a simple prayer) these words–assure him you are going to give him the very words of this little prayer–and instruct him to believe the words–to make these words his words, the very expression of his heart.  Then give him the words to make his prayer.  When you are done, before you open your eyes and release his hand, ask, “George, did you mean the words you just prayed to God?   Do you believe God has saved your soul?  If you died tonight, where would you go?”  George if you truly believed all of that and meant it with your heart I want you to squeeze my hand as a token of your belief.” 

You will need to review this a number of times until you are comfortable with the words.  It’s a very simple exercise and one of the most meaningful exchanges you will ever have with another individual. 

If there is another person in the room suggest that George (your subject) tell that other person what he just did.  This helps him solidify the experience.  Suggest he share this experience with two or three of his closest friends or loved ones. 

Before you dismiss him or leave you should give him some additional verses he can meditate on later for added assurance.

Number 9: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

George look at this verse.  Since you have invited Jesus Christ into your heart and He has saved you, look what the Bible says, “There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION…to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”   

 and let’s look at one last verse, Romans 5:1:  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Peace is a wonderful spiritual blessing that God ushers into your heart when you receive His dear Son as your Lord and as your Savior.  Your internal spirit is no longer at war with God.  You are at peace with Him.  You are saved.

Note:  This little exercise from the Scriptures is a simple way to become an effective witness of the saving power of God.  Some people find an inexpensive version of the New Testament and buy several copies.  They will color the verses as I have suggested in this article.  They will number the verses in the order they plan to follow.  When they win a soul to the Lord they will leave the copy of the New Testament they are using with the subject.  He can review all of the Scriptures you used in your presentation anytime he chooses.  He will also have a tool he can use later should he decide to share the Gospel with a friend.   You might write the following in the blank page at the front of the Testament, “The Plan of Salvation starts on page _________.  Write the actual page number in Romans where you began your presentation.   I like to have the subject write the following testimony, ” I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior  on ____________ 2010.  Signed _________________________. 

When your subject signs this testimony you are leaving it with him.  He will never forget this day and he will never forget you.

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