A Gospel Presentation

Communities 4 Christ

A Gospel Presentation

06/05/19

Connection/Invitation:

Offer the bracelet to the person as a bridge into sharing the gospel. “Would you like a free bracelet? May I explain the colors to you?” “The gold stands for Heaven. Do you believe in a place called Heaven?” Diagnostic Questions:

“Have you heard the million dollar question?... Are you 100% sure that you would go to Heaven, or would you say that is something you are still working on?”

“Why do you think God might let you into Heaven?”

Permission:

“Based on your answer, I have some tremendous news for you. May I share it with you?”

Dark Bead (5 sins) (10 Commandments):

“What are the bad things we do called? (sin) Let’s look at a few. You’ve heard of the ten commandments, right?”

“I have lied, many times, how about you?”

“I have stolen, how about you?” (Steal an answer on a test when you are a kid, copy a c/d without permission, download music on the internet without payment, leave work 2 minutes early or take 2 minutes too long on a break)

“I have lusted, and you?”

“I have hated, and you?” (even for 5 or 10 secs, wanted to punch someone, gossiped?, called someone a name?...fool, idiot, moron)

“How about using God’s name in vain?” (O-M-G)

Sin Review/Confession

“Let’s review…

“What do we call someone who tells lies?” (Liar) “So what does that make you?” (Liar)

“What do we call someone who takes things?” (Thief) “So, what does that make you?” (Thief)

“Remember, Christ said that if we lust, we commit adultery in the heart. So, what does that make you?” (Adulterer)

“Hatred is actually murder in the heart. So, what does that make you?” (Murderer)

“Using God’s name in vain is blasphemy. So, what does that make you?” (Blasphemer)

“Here’s the point…No one is good, except God alone.” (Luke 18:19) Courtroom scenario/Electric Chair

“Let’s transition now into a courtroom, God is your judge, that is your record, you’re on trial right now, and would you be innocent of guilty?” (Guilty)

“And do you know the penalty for your sin?” (Hell)

“Does that concern you?” (Hopefully, yes)

“There is an electric chair in the courtroom with your name on it. If God gave you justice, he would put you in the chair and you would go to Hell. Hell is what we deserve because we have broken God’s laws. It’s not what He wants, but because He is a good judge He has to punish.”

What can you do?

“Let’s fix this today before it’s too late. Is there anything you can do in the courtroom to be justified with God, so you don’t have to go to Hell?” (Please forgive me, I repent, I won’t do it again, I am sorry, I will do better, I will change, I won’t do it in the first place.)

Simple illustration

“If you commit a crime (speeding ticket, rob a bank, murder), and you say to the judge (Please forgive me, I repent, I won’t do it again, I am sorry, I will do better, I will change, I won’t do it in the first place.) What does he say?” (Guilty, I can’t let you go.)

Ask the question again

Is there anything you can do in the courtroom to be justified with God, so you don’t have to go to Hell?” (Please forgive me, I repent, I won’t do it again, I am sorry, I will do better, I will change, I won’t do it in the first place.)

Use another illustration if necessary

1) Speeding ticket (Cover all, Easiest)

2) Great Depression (Please forgive me)

3) Mirror Illustration (I will change, I will do better, I won’t do it again) There is nothing you can do

“God says that He will save you, if you stop trying to save yourself.” “Are you the Savior?” (No) “Can you save yourself?” (No)

“Who is the Savior?” (God) “What did He do so you could be saved?” (Died) What God did for you (His person and His work)

“2000 years ago, your judge, God, became a man. His name is Jesus. Jesus is God Himself in human form. Jesus is fully God and fully man. Did you know that?”

“He lived the perfect life that you could not live. At the end of His life, He sat in your electric chair. Who was executed for you? (God) All the judgment that should have fallen on you, fell on Him! All the wrath that

should have fallen on you, fell on Him! God was judged guilty in your place 2000 years ago!”

“After he died, what happened three days later?” (He rose) “That is your resurrection receipt, ‘Paid-in-full!’”

Invitation

“God really loves you and wants to save you today. God will save you today if you put all of your trust in Him.”

“So, if you put all of your trust in Him, how sure would you be that you would go to Heaven?” (100%)

“Yes, and why?” (He died for me)

“And was that enough?” (Yes)

“How do you know that?” (Resurrection receipt, ‘Paid-in-full.’) “Wonderful. And who is Jesus?” (God)

“Now, when we started, who were you trusting?” (Self)

“And when you trust yourself, where do you go?” (Hell)

“Are you ready to transfer your trust from yourself, and trust only in God as your Savior?” (Yes)

“Any questions before we pray?”

Prayer

“God, I can’t save myself. I’m not the Savior. Today, I repent…I change my mind. I stop trusting in me and I start trusting in you. Come into my heart, take all my sins away, and give me eternal life. In Jesus name, Amen.”

Clarification/Assurance

“What did He just do for you?” (He saved me, forgave me, came into my heart, changed my life)

“How does that make your heart feel?” (Cleansed, warm, relieved, filled, better, new)

“Here is a scripture for you: ‘Whoever believes in Me has eternal life.” “Who said that?” (Jesus or God)

“Does He lie?” (No)

“Do you believe?” (Yes)

“What do you have?” (Eternal life)

“When do you have it?” (Right now)

Growing in your new faith

“The bible says, ‘God is love’. Who is in your heart? (God) What is in your heart? (God)”

“Remember all the commandments we went through. Love is the fulfilling of the law! In other words, if you let Him love through you (surrender), then He will automatically, all the time, by the Spirit, be keeping all the commandments for you! It won’t be you; it will be God in you.”

“The law giver on the throne becomes the law keeper in your heart!”

“Remember, you couldn’t save yourself, you needed to trust God the Son for that. Now, don’t try to live this new life, trust the power of God the Holy Spirit in you and through you.”

“Do you appreciate God sitting in the electric chair for you? Are you thankful? Show your thanks by how you live the rest of your life. Honor Him, love Him, and serve Him.”

“Do you have a church?...Bible? Talk to God in prayer.”

“Who in your life would be excited to hear what God did for you today?” “Tell that person.”

“Any questions?”

“Let’s pray.”

Communities 4 Christ

Analysis of Gospel Presentation

06/05/19

Connection/Invitation:

The point here is simply to connect with the other person. This connection will serve two purposes: (1) it will facilitate love in your heart for the other person and (2) it will create an interest to hear in the other person for what you have to say.

Connection suggestions:

1) Introduce yourself and get the other person’s name. Use their name frequently throughout the presentation. This will go a long way in keeping the love in your heart for the other person, and keeping the interest of the other person in what you are saying.

2) Be yourself. Transparency, even when your nervousness and fear is exposed, will actually engender compassion in the person towards you.

3) Feel free to connect with regards to normal initial pleasantries: where are you from, what do you do for a living, your family etc. Caution: Don’t spend too much time here. Your fear of sharing will keep you here too long.

4) Trust the Holy Spirit. He will help you and give you the words to say. He wants to save the person more than you do.

Notice the two invitation questions: (1) “Would you like a free bracelet?” And (2) “May I explain the colors to you?” Having two questions that people can say ‘no’ to gives people a way out. Let’s not be overzealous in reaching

the lost. Be comfortable in the silence. Wait for the person’s response before asking the second question.

God will draw the ones who are interested and ready. Many times people sense the Spirit of God and know what this is all about. Let the ones go who are not interested and not ready. Sharing with someone who is not interested will wear you out and keep you from the ones who are interested.

“The gold stands for Heaven. Do you believe in a place called Heaven?”

This is a good transition into the gospel presentation. Most people do believe in a place called Heaven, and a ‘yes’ answer for both parties takes the pressure off and sets the stage for what comes next.

(In the event that the person says they don’t believe in a place called Heaven, or has doubts about it, we are still able to proceed into the gospel presentation with the following adjustment. (1) Make sure that you connect with the person on their courage in being honest with you and letting you know what they truly believe. Many ‘non-believers’ are scared to be honest with Christians, for fear of condemnation. Affirm their answer, letting them know that you really appreciate their honesty. This will disarm them. Then, simply rephrase the initial question with the word suppose:

“Okay, let’s just suppose there was a place called Heaven, do you think you would get in?”

It is not our job to convince people of the reality of Heaven or Hell. That is God’s job. Our job is to simply share the gospel with them.

Remember, Romans 1:16 tells us…

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation…”

The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Make sure they hear the gospel! God will take care of the rest. Arguing about the existence of the after-life will not get you anywhere. Simply share the gospel with the law (the Ten Commandments). This will give the Spirit of God an opportunity to convict the conscience of the person with whom you are sharing. The existence of God becomes very real to people whose consciences are bothering them.

Also remember that we don’t have to prove the existence of God. The bible tells us that people already inherently know He is real. They simply suppress that knowledge because they don’t want to believe. It’s not that they cannot believe, it is that they will not believe.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them, for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood though what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:18-20)(Italics mine)

Diagnostic Questions:

Before treating his patient, any doctor worth his salt will first attempt to ascertain the problem. Treating a symptom without first diagnosing the problem is foolish.

We use two questions to attempt to accurately diagnose a person’s spiritual condition. No test is fool-proof. However, we have found, and others as well, that these two questions are the most effective for determining a person’s spiritual condition:

(1) “Are you 100% sure that you would go to Heaven, or would you say that is something you are still working on?” This question also may be rephrased to something like: “From 0-100, how sure are you that you would go to Heaven?”

The point of the question is this: We want to determine if the person has the goods, that is, eternal life. When we have something we should know it… 100%. Eternal life is a present possession for those who have trusted Christ:

“Whoever believes in Me has eternal life.” (John 6:47)

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that you have eternal life…” (1 John 5:13)

It is possible for a person to currently possess eternal life, but be lacking in the assurance of that.

The next question really helps bring things into focus for us:

(2) “Why do you think God might let you into Heaven?” or you may use something like, “If you were to stand before the Lord, and He were to say, ‘Why should I let you into my Heaven’, what do you think you might say?”

With this question, we are attempting to discern what the person is trusting in for eternal life. Remember, salvation is placing all of our trust in Jesus Christ alone.

“…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31)

The word ‘believe’ shows up 124 times in the King James Version of the New Testament. This word in the Greek is translated ‘pistis’. Pistis basically means to ‘rely on, or to trust in’.

So, in the English language, this word believe is more accurately translated trust. We want to know what people are really trusting in.

You might say, “Why not just come right out and ask people, ‘Do you believe in Jesus?’” Well, for one, many people will say ‘yes’ just because that is the right answer and they want to give you the right answer. Two, as already mentioned, people are not understanding that the meaning of this word goes deeper than the word believe. It goes to the heart: trust.

The beauty of asking this question the right way is that you bypass their intellect and go right to their heart. What is on their heart comes to the surface, and then at the end of the presentation they are given an opportunity to repent.

People need to repent, or, ‘change their minds’. They need to repent about trusting themselves, and instead, trust only in Christ.

When you ask people this second question, here are some of the answers that you will get: (good person, lived a good life, did my best, helped others, went to church, sincere heart etc.) All of these answers are indicative of what the person is really trusting in: self.

If you asked these same people if they ‘believed in Jesus’, almost all of them would probably say ‘yes’. However, when you ask the question in a different way, you begin to discover the real truth about most people…

People know what Jesus did for them (died on the cross), but their trust for salvation is really in themselves. In other words, biblically speaking, people are not really believing in Jesus.

Again, salvation is trusting in Christ alone. People need to transfer their trust from their own work, and instead, trust in the work of Christ alone… (Repentance)

You now know this person is not trusting in Christ alone for their salvation. Don’t tell them this. Share the gospel in such a way that the Holy Spirit can show them the truth. Then, at the end give them an opportunity to repent and trust in Christ alone. You have probably heard it said, ‘Some people have to get unsaved first, before they can be really saved.’

Some answers people give are easier to diagnose: “They are 100% sure they are going to Heaven because Christ is their Savior.” (Trusting Christ) Or, “They are hoping they might get into Heaven because of the good life they have lived.” (Trusting Self)

Others are more difficult: “They are hoping they would get into Heaven because they are a Christian”, or “I believe in God.”

For these difficult answers, the easiest way to find out what the person is really trusting in is to simply ask another question. For example, “What makes you a Christian?”, or, “What is it that you believe?”

Many people will say things like, “I was raised that way”, or, “I believe that God exists and that He created me.” Both of these answers indicate this person does not have real saving faith.

So many people say they ‘believe’. But, when it really comes down to it, they are believing in the existence of God just like the demons believe. Or, maybe they have progressed and are also believing that God is present in their lives, but don’t know where they are going when they die because they have not exercised saving faith in Christ alone. These people have temporal faith but not saving faith.

Sometimes you get a mixed answer, that is, the person indicates they are trusting in Christ and in themselves…i.e.…”I hope I make it to Heaven because I have accepted Christ as my Savior and I try to live a good life.”

The best way to respond to this answer is, “Is accepting Christ enough?”

Remember, salvation is trusting in Christ alone, not adding any of my works to what He has already done for me. Some of these people may never have been genuinely converted. Others may have, but have moved away from Christ as the book of Galatians so wonderfully illustrates. Whatever the case may be, your job is to bring them to a place of trusting in Christ alone, whether for the first time or once again.

The possibilities here are endless. The more you share, the more you will learn and will know how to proceed with each person. Always assume the person really doesn’t understand the gospel. Better to share with someone who is already saved, than to assume someone is, when they really aren’t.

It is a good idea to repeat the person’s answer back to them at this point…

“So, you are hoping you would get into Heaven because you lived a good life?”

Sometimes, I even tell the person…

“Put that answer in the back of your head. I am going to share my message with you and then, at the very end, I am going to show you how your answer ties in with my message.”

One of you will need to remember their answer at the very end. More on this later.

Based upon the person’s answer, we have a pretty good indication that they are not saved. At this point, they don’t know this, but we do. Again, we don’t tell them they are wrong. Instead, we are about to share the gospel with them allowing the Holy Spirit to show them the truth.

This leads us to our transitional permission question:

“Based on your answer, I have some tremendous news for you. May I share it with you?”

Instead of pointing out their error, we increase anticipation and expectation by letting them know we have some great news for them.

Also, we ask permission. There are times you can share without getting ‘official permission from the person’. These are the times you can tell from the person’s body language and expressions they are interested.

When in doubt, always get permission. It takes the pressure off. Most bad experiences with sharing the gospel could have been avoided simply by getting permission from the person with whom you are sharing.

There are times the person looks uncomfortable, and I can’t wait to get to the permission question to give the person a way out! There are so many people who are desperately hungry for the gospel. Don’t waste your time with someone who isn’t!

Once they give you official permission, you now have been given the floor. Now you can share with the utmost confidence!

A few points to remember as you share. Witnessing is not a dialogue. It is a trialogue: you, the other person, and God the Holy Spirit. Make sure you give Him space to talk.

Also, think about the side of a steel ship, a pneumatic gun, a hand, and a rivet (nail). The steel ship is the stony heart of man. The pneumatic gun is God the Holy Spirit. You and I are the hand and the gospel is the rivet. We must hold the gun in such a way that we allow God the Holy Spirit to drive the gospel into the stony hearts of men.

Dark Bead:

Don’t be afraid to show people their sin. Almost everyone already knows ‘they are a sinner.’ We want to go deeper with this. Here’s why.

Charles Spurgeon said, “Nothing can damn a man but his own righteousness; nothing saves a man but the righteousness of Christ.” (Again, here, trusting self vs. trusting Christ)

To the extent that a person is trusting in ‘their good’ (their own righteousness), to that extent the person is not trusting in Christ. Remember the Pharisee in Luke 18, “God, I thank thee that I fast twice in

the week and I give tithes…” (Trusting self) vs. the publican, “God, may your wrath be turned aside by the sacrifice…” (HCSB) (Trusting Christ)

The point here is to show the person their sin, so that they will see their need for Christ. Strip away all self-righteousness by showing people their sin. Then, offer them the solution: the perfect righteousness of Christ. Sometimes you have to hurt people before you can help them.

However, when you do this, make sure you preface it with, “I have done this too, or, I have broken all of these.” We should be identifying with people with respect to having committed sin, instead of preaching down to them. People can tell when you share with a humble heart.

If I gave a person a life-preserver while they were in a baby pool, what would they do with it? Probably set it down. If I gave the same person the life-preserver while they were in a raging ocean, what would they do with it?

We want to share the reality of sin, and the depth of it, not to condemn the person, but to show them their genuine need, so that, when we give them the life-preserver, Christ, they will sincerely cling to it!

We like to use the Ten Commandments, God’s moral law, to show people their sin. Almost everyone is familiar with the Ten Commandments.

“What are the bad things we do called? (Sin) Let’s look at a few. You’ve heard of the ten commandments, right?”

“I have lied, many times, how about you?”

Almost everyone admits to having told lies. Some people like to call them ‘fibs’. (Self-justification) Again, we don’t like to see sin in all of its ugliness. There are a handful of people who will tell you they have never lied before.

I have stolen, how about you?” (Steal an answer on a test when you are a kid, copy a c/d without permission, download music on the internet without payment, leave work 2 minutes early or take 2 minutes too long on a break)

Most people, either with the first question, or, going through the specific list, will confess to having stolen something. When most people think of stealing, they are thinking of robbing a bank. They need to be reminded that in God’s eyes it includes anything and everything.

“I have lusted, and you?”

Obviously, we don’t use this question with children or young teens. Remember what Christ told us…

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27, 28)

Some people will deny ever having lusted. This is simply because they don’t understand what it is. However, when you explain what it is, then yes, they confess to it.

“I have hated, and you?” (Even for 5 or 10 secs, wanted to punch someone, gossiped? called someone a name? fool, idiot, moron)

“Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer…” (1 John 3:15)

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say unto you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing’, shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool’, shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” (Matthew 5:21, 22)

In today’s politically correct society, some people don’t like saying that they have ever hated. They qualify and say, “I have strongly disliked.” Again, this is self-justification. With these people I like to say…

“If you get honest with God, He will get honest with you. I have hated, you may call it ‘dislike’, but God calls it hate.”

If they still want to call it ‘dislike’, move on. Ask them if, like you, they have ever gossiped or called someone a name? Most will say ‘yes’. Explain that this is murder with the tongue.

“How about using God’s name in vain?” (O-M-G)

“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7)

Almost everyone admits to this. Some people say, “No, my mom taught me never to do that!”

Agree with them that mom’s teaching was good. Then, ask them, if they still have slipped up, one time? Most will say ‘yes’.

Feel free to use as many or as few of the commandments as the Spirit leads. If the person has a problem seeing their sin, don’t hold back! On the other hand, if the person is already trembling because they have sinned, don’t overdo it. Remember: law to the proud, but grace to the humble.

Sometimes I tell people, “Better for me to be hard on you now, so that God can be easy on you later.” I don’t want to sugar coat the truth, and then have God be hard on them when it is too late.

Sin Review/Confession

I like to have the person repeat the identification of each sin back to me: liar, thief, adulterer, murderer, and blasphemer. Again, this really drives the point home. We are not calling them any of these things; they are simply saying it about themselves.

We have no problem calling somebody else a murderer, but can we say it about ourselves? When we hear it about ourselves, we see that we are not good, and it helps us to move our trust to Christ alone.

We can also recognize this part as people ‘confessing their sins’. There is scriptural precedent and value in this.

There are people who struggle with this and don’t want to cooperate. Don’t try to force them to cooperate. Allow them to be themselves. Explain the life-preserver illustration to them so they know why they need to understand the depth of their sin.

Many try to justify themselves, “I haven’t told many lies. They were white lies.” “I did those things a long time ago.” “I hated, but they hated me first.” “Yes, I do those things, but I really try not to.”

It is our pride that tries to justify ourselves. Remember: “Nothing damns a man but his own righteousness; nothing saves a man but the righteousness of Christ.” Self-righteousness is a hard nut to crack. These people need to

repent: they need to see that they are not good and cannot save themselves. They need instead to trust only in Christ.

Explain that God really loves them and wants to justify them. However, if they persist in self-justification, then He is not able to justify them. This is pride. Tell them to be brutally honest with God, and face their sin in all of its ugliness. This is humility.

When a person gets honest with God, God will get honest with them. We should not be afraid of confessing the depth of our sin. It is the acknowledgement of our sin that drives us to Christ.

Remember the sinful woman and the Pharisee in Luke 7:36-50. She saw and knew the depth of her sin. Thus, she was able to receive full forgiveness from God the Son. What was the result? A tremendous demonstration of love for her Savior! (Tears, perfume, washing his feet)

How about the Pharisee? He did not understand the depth of his sin. The result? Little love for Jesus.

Show people the depth of their sin so they can receive the depth of God’s forgiveness. This will result in genuine love for our Savior.

Courtroom Scenario/Electric Chair

Once people see their sin, they now need to understand the consequence of their sin. The courtroom scenario works really well for this.

So many people know that Jesus died for them on the cross. However, they don’t understand the legal implications of that. The courtroom scenario brings to life what He really did for them, and really helps them to understand the legal implications of that. When they see it and understand it, they are able to put their trust in Him.

People can relate to a courtroom scenario and they understand terms like ‘on trial’, ‘innocent or guilty’, ‘the judge’. Here, we take them into God’s courtroom and place them on trial before the ‘judge of all the earth’.

Would they be innocent or guilty? Sometimes I tell people, “Let’s settle this today, so when you stand before Him one day, you won’t have to worry about it.”

In answer to this question, most people will say ‘guilty’. This means they understand to some degree the depth of their sin. If they say, ‘innocent’, or, ‘guilty?’ (With a question in their voice), then they obviously did not understand the whole sin issue that we just talked about. If this is the case, simply ask them…

“Okay, so why would you be innocent?” or “Why are you not sure that you would be guilty?”

Their answer here will tell you a lot. If they say, ‘because I have not done anything wrong’, then go through each sin again to help them understand. Be patient. Usually, going through it again or just through some of it again, is enough to drive the point home: they are guilty before God.

If they say they are innocent because, ‘I haven’t done that much bad’, or, ‘I have done more good than bad’, the following scripture comes in handy:

“For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.” (James 2:10)

Usually, when they read this scripture they get the point that they are guilty before God.

Now, we want the person to understand God’s penalty for their sin. It is surprising how many people; even professing Christians, don’t understand what God’s penalty for our sin is…

“For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23(a))

The penalty for our sin is simply death. That is spiritual death, or separation from a Holy God. It is ultimately death in a place called ‘hell’. Don’t be afraid to say the word ‘hell’.

“Jesus talked more about hell than He did about heaven in order to warn men on its reality.”—John MacArthur, “The Ultimate Religious Decision.”

“Jesus said more about hell than about any other topic. Amazingly, 13 percent of his sayings are about hell and judgment…”—Mark Driscoll, “6 Questions on Hell.”

To find out where the person’s heart is once you mention that the ‘penalty for sin is hell’, simply ask them…

“Does that concern you?”

Most people say ‘yes’. Some people say ‘absolutely’! No need to tarry here, move on. However, there are people who respond, ‘not really’, or ‘no’. With these people, I want to ask ‘why’ and then spend some time talking more about what kind of a place hell really is.

In God’s courtroom, once they understand they are guilty before God, and that the penalty is hell, I want to give them a mental picture they can relate to. So, I talk about an electric chair with their name on it being wheeled into the courtroom.

I want them to see that if God gave them justice, he would put them in the chair and they would go to Hell. People need to see that hell is what we deserve because we have broken God’s law. Too many people think they deserve Heaven. No, we all deserve hell, and a humble heart acknowledges this. It is the proud heart that thinks it deserves Heaven.

Now, I also want them to see that God does not want to punish them. He loves them and wants to give them Heaven as a gift, but because he is a good God, a just judge, He must punish because they have sinned against Him.

Once we have painted this picture, and the person sees the predicament that they are in…in the courtroom before a just and holy God, already guilty because of their sins, in the electric chair heading to Hell because of their sins…

We want to see this person justified before God. We want to help this person understand how they can be justified before God.

I want to take them through a process here, where they come to understand that there is absolutely nothing they can do to be justified before God. We don’t want to tell them this at this point. It would not mean as much. We want to draw it out of them so to speak, so that when the solution comes, it will mean much more to them.

What can you do?

So I like to ask, “Is there anything you can do in God’s courtroom to be justified with God so you don’t have to go to Hell?”

There is a bank of 7 standard answers that people will give you here. Almost everyone uses these standard answers over and over again.

Standard answers from people:

“Please forgive me, I repent, I won’t do it again, I am sorry, I will do better, I will change, I won’t do it in the first place.”

In having shared with thousands over the years, these are the standard answers that almost everyone gives. Our job is to help people see the inadequacy of these answers in justifying them in God’s courtroom.

All people really need to do is simply stop and think about their particular answer. Remember, these answers are indicative of what the person is really trusting in.

Sometimes the person sees it right away. That is, when you ask them the question, “Is there anything you can do in God’s courtroom to be justified with Him so you don’t have to go to Hell?” they say, ‘I can’t do anything.’

If this is this case, then you can move right to There is nothing you can do, to emphasize that point, and then right on to What God did for you.

However, most people will have at least one of these answers they hang on to, or, a whole host of these answers that they give you. Remember, self justification is a hard nut to crack. Sometimes it does take some time here in the courtroom. Be patient. Human pride runs deep in the heart. God was patient with us, let’s be patient with them.

Please keep in mind the point that we want them to see:

“There is absolutely nothing they can do to be justified in God’s courtroom.’

People need to be brought to an end of themselves. The reason God cannot save so many is simply because they are still trying to save themselves. People need to come to a place where they abandon all efforts and attempts to save themselves, and simply trust in another.

That is the point we want people to see in God’s courtroom. Initially, their sin shows them their need. Then, instead of relying upon another, they rely upon themselves to fix the situation. They must understand there is nothing they can do.

Again, sometimes, the person sees it immediately. That is, they immediately understand that there is nothing they can do in God’s courtroom to be justified with God. For other people, it is a process of them suggesting one of these standard answers, and you showing them, step by step, why this particular answer will not work to justify them with God.

We want the people to repent. The word ‘repent’ in the Greek comes from two words, ‘meta’, and, ‘noeo’. ‘Meta’ means to change. ‘Noeo’ means mind. People need to change their mind.

What do people need to change their mind about? Simply this: They need to see that they cannot save themselves and instead trust in another. Repentance is a transfer of trust from self to Christ.

Most people want to be saved. They are just going about it the wrong way. When they finally see that they can’t save themselves, then they usually gratefully trust the One who has already done it for them.

The simplest way to show people the inadequacy of these seven standard responses is to show them the following:

“If you commit a crime (speeding ticket, rob a bank, murder), and you say to the judge (Please forgive me, I repent, I won’t do it again, I am sorry, I will do better, I will change, I won’t do it in the first place.), what does he say?” (Guilty, I can’t let you go.)

Most people can understand that when a crime is committed, there has to be a punishment. Simply saying one of these seven standard answers will not justify the person in the eyes of the judge.

Ask the question again

Once we explain this, then we want to ask the question again to find out if the person really understands…

Is there anything you can do in the courtroom to be justified with God, so you don’t have to go to Hell?” (Please forgive me, I repent, I won’t do it again, I am sorry, I will do better, I will change, I won’t do it in the first place.)

If the person says ‘no’, then you have achieved your goal and they have gotten the point. Move on to There is nothing you can do in order to emphasize the point, and then on to What God did for you.

Sometimes the person will give you the same answer again. This means they did not really understand. Go through the simple criminal illustration again, or use another illustration below.

Other times they will come back with another answer. You can use the criminal illustration again for the new answer, or, you may wish to clarify with one of the following illustrations:

1) Speeding ticket illustration (Cover all, easiest)

2) Great Depression illustration (Please forgive me)

3) Mirror illustration (I will change, I will do better, I won’t do it again.) The Speeding Ticket illustration

The speeding ticket illustration simply gives a little more detail to the criminal illustration. This illustration covers all seven responses so we will refer to it as the ‘cover all’ illustration. It is also the easiest to learn and to use.

Ask the person if they have ever gotten a speeding ticket. If so, what was the fine? (If not, just make one up) Then, ask the person if the judge would let them go based upon the answer they gave you:

“Please forgive me, I repent, I won’t do it again, I am sorry, I will do better, I will change, I won’t do it in the first place.”

Would the judge let them go based on that answer? Certainly not.

What is the one thing the judge demands in order to justify, or let the person go?

The payment!

No payment, no release, no forgiveness!

People do not understand the concept of God’s justice. They simply think that if they say, ‘Please forgive me, I repent, I won’t do it again’…etc…any of these standard answers, the judge will let them go.

People are thinking there is still something they can do to be justified in God’s courtroom. As long as I am still trying to do something to be justified, or still hoping there is something I can do, then how can I completely trust in the work of Christ?

It is when I come to an end of myself: my strivings and tryings to justify myself…it is then that I am free and able to trust in another. My end is God’s beginning.

I have now repented. I have changed my mind. I cannot save myself. Instead, I trust in another. “It is no longer I, but Christ.” Self-justification has yielded to Christ-justification. This is my salvation.

Back to the illustration:

Once the judge receives the payment for the violation, he is now legally free to let the person go free. Because his justice has been satisfied, he is now legally free to forgive, or, dismiss the charge.

People do not understand why God forgives them. They still think it is because of something they do. If they ‘stop sinning’, or ‘do better’, or ‘ask forgiveness’, or ‘be really sincere this time’, then they ‘hope’ God will forgive them. This is all ‘sinking sand’.

“On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

This is why so many people are ‘hoping’ they will get to Heaven instead of ‘knowing’. They are trusting the wrong thing. Again, they are not really believing.

Remember Romans 3:26…

“…that He might be just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

Because God is completely just, He has to punish sin. People forget that. They talk about God’s love, and that because He is love, he will therefore forgive them. No, it is God’s justice that must be satisfied first. Then, He is able to forgive.

The justice of God was completely satisfied in Christ. He completely bore my full punishment on the cross. Because of that, God is free to legally forgive me.

If God does not require a penalty for our sins then He is not just. If He makes us pay the penalty, then there is no way that He can justify us. (We go to Hell) The only way that God can be both ‘just and the justifier…” is simply because He satisfies His own justice by paying what we owe. Now He is free to justify us.

God can justify the one who ‘believes in Jesus.’ (Romans 3:26)

That is, the one who places their trust in what Christ did for them. The one who abandons all efforts to save themselves, and trusts only in the work of another. This is the one who ‘repents’, or changes his mind.

Now, remember, we don’t owe God ($200 or whatever amount) as payment for our sins. We owe God the payment of ‘spiritual death’. (Romans 6:23)

Do any of these standard answers pay that penalty?

“Please forgive me, I repent, I won’t do it again, I am sorry, I will do better, I will change, I won’t do it in the first place.”

Not on your life!

Only on His!

Because of his ‘spiritual death’ for us on the cross, God is now free to justify us, forgive us, and let us go. It is not anything we do or promise to do. It is all because of what God has already done for us in Christ.

All of these answers:

“Please forgive me, I repent, I won’t do it again, I am sorry, I will do better, I will change, I won’t do it in the first place.”

…are things that the person is still trying to do to be saved. Again, the person needs to come to an end of themselves. They need to see that there is nothing they can possibly do to be saved.

And this is the disconnect with the use of the word ‘believe’ today. People will tell you that they ‘believe in Jesus’. However, this is what that really amounts to:

They know that Jesus died on the cross for them. However, in their heart of hearts, they are trusting in themselves for eternal life. That is why they give you all of the aforementioned answers. They are still trying to save themselves.

Thus, biblically speaking, they really have not ‘believed’. They have not ‘believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.’ They have actually ‘believed on their own dear selves.’

The Great Depression illustration

This illustration works very well to show people the inadequacy of simply saying ‘please forgive me’ to the judge. Most people, even many professing Christians, do not understand the legal reason why God can forgive us.

It is not ‘our asking’. This is why so many people ‘ask and ask and ask for forgiveness’, but they have no idea where they will go when they die. They are ignorant of a key point:

“Why does God forgive us?”

So many people say, ‘because I ask’, or ‘because I promise not to do it again’, or ‘because I try really hard’, or, ‘because I am sincere or really sorry’. None of these are the legal reason why God can forgive us.

Say something like…

“Do you remember the Great Depression back in the 30’s? A grandmother stole a loaf of bread to feed her three starving children. The judge understood this and wanted to forgive her. Sensing this, the store owner stood up and said, “Your honor, if you let her go, everyone is going to hear about this, no one is going to respect the law, and everyone is going to steal.”

We want the person to see the tension here. Yes, the judge loves the woman and wants to forgive her, but, at the same time the judge is a good judge and has a responsibility to punish according to the law. Because he is

a just judge, he must punish. Because he is loving, he doesn’t want to punish. What is the solution here?

So, I say something like…

“What can the judge do here, to both forgive the woman and also punish according to the law?”

As already mentioned, scripture records this tension as…

“…that he might be just, and the justifier of him…” (Romans 3:26)

How can the judge be ‘just’ (punish according to the law), and also ‘justify’, (let go, exonerate), the grandmother?

Some people say, ‘make her pay for the bread.’ Well, she doesn’t have any money to do that. Other people say, ‘give her a lighter sentence.’ Well, that is half punishment and half forgiveness. That would mean the judge is ‘half just’ and ‘half-loving’.

What can the judge possibly do?

There is only one thing…

Say something like…

“The judge looks at the store owner and says, ‘How much for the loaf of bread?’ Storeowner says $10, and guess who pays for the bread?”

“The judge!”

“The judge pays the debt that the woman owes! Has justice been satisfied? Yes, by whom? The judge! Did she have to pay? No! He paid for her! That is love! Full forgiveness and full love for the woman!”

Now, take the illustration back to God…

Say something like...

“You don’t owe God $10, what do you owe God for your sins? (Spiritual death) So, what has to happen to the judge to pay your debt?”

It is amazing here how many people don’t immediately know the answer. If people (even professing Christians) really understood the legal reason why God can forgive them, they would know the answer immediately.

“He has to die! Who died for you? God! 2000 years ago, God became a man and he went to the cross to pay your ‘spiritual death’ payment. Because of what he did for you, He is now able to forgive you. It is not because ‘you ask’, ‘repent’, ‘promise not to do it again’, ‘do better’, ‘change’. No, His forgiveness is not based on anything you do. It is based completely upon what God did for you in Christ.”

“God can forgive you simply because He paid your debt. Now, here is what He wants from you. He wants you to place all of your trust in what He has already done for you in Christ. Stop trusting what you are doing. Stop trying to justify yourself. Trust Him to justify you simply because of what He did for you at the cross.”

The Mirror illustration

This illustration works really well for people who use the answer, ‘I will change, I will do better, or I won’t do it again.’

So many people think that ‘their changing, doing better, and not doing it again’ will justify them with God. Christianity is not behavior reformation. Christianity is heart transformation.

There are many people out there who have ‘changed their lives’ or ‘turned over a new leaf’ but are just as unsaved as they were before their change. I have spoken to many people who say they are going to Heaven because they ‘have made amends’.

“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?...” (Jeremiah 13:23) We can will-power outward change, but are powerless to change our hearts. This was the problem with the Pharisees.

Then there are even people who were going in one direction and turned completely around and decided to follow Jesus. Unfortunately, when you ask these people if they are going to Heaven, they say, ‘I hope so because I am doing my very best to follow Jesus!’

Now, I am not suggesting that ‘doing better, changing’ and following Jesus are bad. No! What I am saying is that we don’t trust in these things for salvation. We trust in Christ alone.

Again, these people need to understand that there is nothing they can do to be saved. These people need to repent. They need to change their minds and realize that ‘changing and doing better’ doesn’t save them. They need instead to trust in Christ alone.

Many times ‘following Jesus’ amounts to this: I am doing my very best to be just like Jesus. Hopefully God will account my efforts as good enough and He will then let me into Heaven. We may not say this, but in our heart of hearts this is what is really going on.

These people need to stop trying to save themselves. They need to recognize there is absolutely nothing they can do. This is repentance. Then, they need to trust in another, that is, Christ. It is not in their following. It is in their trusting…trusting the finished work of Christ.

Now, once I do truly trust in Christ then I do in a sense ‘follow’ Jesus. The ‘following’ is the fruit. ‘Trusting’ is the root.

The reason I use the phrase in a sense follow Jesus, is because of something Pastor Kerry has said. Following Jesus is pre-Pentecost. It is now Christ in you, the hope of glory!

When a person truly places all of their trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ, then God gives this person a new heart…’purifying their hearts by faith’. (Acts 15:9) This inward heart change is followed by an outward life change.

The inward precedes the outward. This is real change. But, I must be careful not to trust in my change. Changing is the fruit. Christ is the root. I trust in Christ alone. Otherwise I may be tripped up by, ‘I hope I am going to Heaven because I don’t know if I have changed enough.’

So, here is the mirror illustration…

Say something like…

“Do you ever play in the mud when you were a little child? What did the mirror tell you when you stood in front of it? (Dirty) Did you ever take the mirror off the wall and try to clean yourself with it? (No!) What would that look like? (Silly)”

“Here is my point. God’s moral law (the Ten Commandments), all of these that we just looked at, is the mirror. What does the mirror say about you? (Dirty) Do you see what you are doing? You are taking the mirror off the

wall and trying to clean yourself with the mirror! Your ‘changing’, ‘doing better’, ‘not doing it again’, will not justify/clean you in the eyes of God. Stop relying on the mirror for your justification/cleansing. What is it that you need to rely on instead?”

“God! 2000 years ago God became a man, the God-man, Jesus Christ and He sat in the electric for you. God will cleanse you, justify you, if you stop trying to do it yourself, and instead rely solely upon you. Transfer your trust from you to Him.”

There is scripture to back up the mirror illustration:

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” (Romans 3:19)

The law is the mirror. Its function is to ‘stop every mouth and make everyone guilty before God.’

“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20)

The law reveals our sin…’for by the law is the knowledge of sin.’ The mirror shows us that we are all dirty. This is the true function of the law or the mirror.

Now, notice the misuse of the law or the mirror…’by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight’. People rely on the law to be justified in God’s sight.

How do people rely on the law to be justified in his sight?

‘I will change, I will do better, or I won’t do it again.’

All of these answers are what a person is still trying to do to be justified in his sight.

People are taking the mirror off the wall and trying to clean themselves with it! That is not the function of the law! The law won’t cleanse us or justify us!

What will cleanse us our justify us?

“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested…even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe…” (Romans 3:21-22)

Notice the way to be right with God (the righteousness of God) is without the law. Law is what we do. Grace is what God does.

All of these answers…

“Please forgive me, I repent, I won’t do it again, I am sorry, I will do better, I will change, I won’t do it in the first place.”

are things people are still trying to do to be justified, or righteous in God’s sight. People are relying on the law (mirror) instead of Christ. Remember, self-justification is a hard nut to crack. Pride runs deep in the human heart.

Remember what Paul said…

“…If I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offense of the cross ceased.”

Back in Paul’s day, the Judaizers were telling new converts that trusting in Christ was not enough to save them. They also had to be circumcised. Pastor Adrian recently preached on this.

Today, circumcision is anything I think that I have to do to be saved. It is relying on something other than Christ for my salvation. Paul says that if I believe this, then is the offense of the cross ceased.

What is the offense of the cross? Simply this, I can do nothing to be saved! There is absolutely nothing that I can do!

What does this offend? My pride! The pride in my flesh says that I can certainly do something to be saved. No, the offense of the cross says there is absolutely nothing that I can do!

If I still believe that I can do something to be saved (If I still preach circumcision), then my pride is not offended and (the offense of the cross is ceased).

The cross offends my pride and tells me there is absolutely nothing I can possibly do to be saved. This is why Paul was suffering persecution.

The solution? Back to Romans…

“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested…even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe…” (Romans 3:21-22)(Italics mine)

If I want to be right with God (the righteousness of God), I must not rely on the law. I must not rely on anything that I do. (Without the law)

I must instead simply rely on another (the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe…).

Again, this is true repentance. I change my mind and transfer my trust. I recognize there is nothing that I can do to be saved. I instead trust in another, Christ.

Let’s review…

The criminal illustration is the most basic illustration we use to show a person they cannot save themselves in God’s courtroom. It is the easiest and fastest. Use in those situations where you have to be brief.

To give more understanding, use any of all of the following: 1) Speeding ticket illustration. (Cover all, easiest)

2) Great Depression illustration. (Please forgive me)

3) Mirror illustration. (I will change, I will do better, I won’t do it again)

Remember, the goal is to help the person see that there is nothing they can do in God’s courtroom to be justified. They can do nothing to save themselves.

When you believe the person has adequately understood this, you may proceed to the next section:

There is nothing you can do

We start with…

“God says that He will save you, if you stop trying to save yourself.”

Just to summarize what we have showed the person in God’s courtroom. This is the point we have been trying to make.

Next, we press the point home with…

“Are you the Savior?” (No)

Most people answer ‘no’ to this question. You may add emphasis here by saying…

“All those things you have told me indicate that you are still trying to be ‘your own Savior’. Again, God will save you if you stop trying to save yourself.”

“Can you save yourself?” (No)

Hopefully, at this point, the person will say ‘no’, demonstrating that they understood the previous section. In the event they still say ‘yes’, ask them ‘how’, and then go back to previous section and review with them.

The next question transitions us to Christ.

“Who is the Savior?” (God)

Most people answer this immediately. It effectively contrasts with the person being the Savior.

“What did He do so you could be saved?” (Died)

Again, most people know that He died on the cross, but they don’t understand the legal implications of that. When they finally understand it in

the courtroom scenario, the whole thing comes to life and finally has meaning to them.

The person understands they cannot save themselves, and now we explain what God has already done for them…

What God did for you (His person and His work)

Salvation is trusting in Christ alone. We must trust both in the person and the work of Christ.

Let’s start with His person…

Most people know that Jesus is the Son of God. However, many of these same people don’t realize that Jesus is God himself, God the Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity.

Jesus said…

“…for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)

The word he is actually not found in the original Greek text. They put it there to make it more grammatically correct.

So, it actually should read…

“…for if ye believe not that I AM, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24) Where have you seen the words I AM before?

“…thus shall you say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Exodus 3:14)

The Greek translation of I AM in John 8:24? Ego eimi.

The Septuagint Greek translation of I AM in Exodus 3:14? Ego eimi. Remember also…

“Verily, verily I say unto thee, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58)

Jesus Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity, God the Son, is none other than God himself manifest in human flesh.

Say something like…

“2000 years ago, your judge, God, became a man. His name is Jesus. Jesus is God Himself in human form. Jesus is fully God and fully man. Did you know that?”

“2000 years ago, your judge, God, became a man.”

The person already knows that God is their judge. We are stressing the point that He became a man.

“His name is Jesus.”

His name of course is Jesus.

“Jesus is God himself in human form. Jesus is fully God and fully man.”

This seems to be a very simple but effective way of sharing the divinity of Christ.

“Did you know that?”

This gives the person an opportunity to raise an objection here. Surprisingly, when we explain it this way, most people will agree.

If the person has an objection, I like to clarify by sharing the Trinity… (More later)

Once we get an indication the person understands the person of Christ, move on to the work of Christ…

Say something like…

“He lived the perfect life that you could not live. At the end of His life, He sat in your electric chair. Who was executed for you? (God) All the judgment that should have fallen on you, fell on Him! All the wrath that should have fallen on you, fell on Him! God was judged guilty in your place 2000 years ago!”

Key points here…

1) God lived the perfect life that the person could not live.

It is not our perfect life that justifies us with God. It is his perfect life instead, which is imputed to our account when we place our trust in Him.

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

2) God sat in the person’s electric chair. God was executed for the person.

God completely took the persons’ punishment. The electric chair makes it personal and also brings a finality to what God did. There is nothing left to be done.

Remember the last words of Christ on the cross…

“Tetelistai…” (It is finished!)

3) God took all of the person’s judgment. God took all of the wrath that the person deserved. God was judged guilty in the person’s place.

“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)

Propitiation means ‘satisfaction’. God the Son satisfied the wrath of God the Father for all of our sins, and also for the sins of the whole world.

People need to see that God has already been judged guilty in their place 2000 years ago. Most people think they will stand before God and God will then ‘weigh the balances’ to determine if they ‘measure up’. That is, has their good outweighed their bad? No, this is the judgment for the non-believer.

The eternal judgment for the believer has already taken place. Christ was judged eternally 2000 years ago. All of our past, present, and future sins were placed upon Him. Now, yes, there will be rewards and loss of rewards for the believer according to how we lived our lives, but that is not the subject at hand right now.

If I am still fearing eternal judgment, how can I be trusting in Christ?

On the other hand, if I see that Christ has already taken my eternal judgment, then because of that, I am now able to place my trust in Him.

Remember the law of double jeopardy. No one can be tried twice for the same crime. Christ was already judged guilty for me.

Also, how do fire-fighters sometimes put out a prairie fire that is completely out of control? They burn the ground in front of the fire.

When the fire comes to the previously burned ground, because it has nothing to burn, it goes out. The fire of God’s judgment previously completely consumed Christ in our place.

Because we are in Christ, there is no ground left to burn!

Continue with…

“After he died, what happened three days later?” (He rose) “That is your resurrection receipt, ‘Paid-in-full!’”

To bring even more closure to the work of Christ as an already finished transaction, we like to use the resurrection as a receipt.

“Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.” (Romans 4:25)

Christ’s death on the cross paid for our sins. His resurrection is proof that God completely accepted this payment in full…’Paid-in-full!’

Also, remember the words of Christ on the cross…

“Tetelestai…” (It is finished!)…i.e…’Paid-in-full!’

So, the person simply needs to understand the finished work of Christ. They need to see that His death paid the debt that they owed God. Then, they need to see the totality and completion of that payment in the resurrection…’Paid-in-full!’

This brings us to the…

Invitation

Now, what does the person want to do with the information they have been given? How does the person want to respond to the gospel?

They have a decision to make. Do they want to continue trusting in themselves? Or, do they want instead to trust in Christ alone?

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life. He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:30)

Does the person understand that they have been trusting themselves? (Remember their first answer) Do they understand the implications of trusting in themselves? (Hell) Do they understand what Christ has already done for them? (Completely paid their sin debt/paid in full) Do they understand that they need to transfer their trust from themselves and instead trust in Christ alone? (Repentance, change of mind) Do they want to make that decision today? (Receive Christ by faith)

Again, the person needs to see that it is not what they do, but instead, it is what God has already done for them in Christ. God wants to justify the person, but He can only justify them if they cease trying to justify themselves, and instead, trust alone in another. (Repentance i.e. change of mind)

Say something like…

“God really loves you and wants to save you today. God will save you today if you put all of your trust in Him.”

“So, if you put all of your trust in Him, how sure would you be that you would go to Heaven?” (100%)

“Yes, and why?” (He died for me)

“And was that enough?” (Yes)<