Guiding the Conversation

You can present the gospel to unbelievers in a variety of ways. The Bible does not give one specific presentation. Jesus in the Gospel of John gave two different presentations to two different people (John 3 and 4). The apostles did not always preach the gospel in the same way either. What is important to note is that the core elements of the gospel are always mentioned – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

In this lesson, we will study one method that thoroughly presents the gospel. Memorize the key verses and truths associated with each point of the presentation. At least once a month, get together with your evangelism partner. Practice the points you are memorizing in real-life witnessing opportunities. By doing this, you will cement the truths of the gospel in your mind and fuel an evangelistic passion in your heart.

Starting the Conversation

In any gospel interaction, you are looking for an open door to start talking about Jesus. Not every conversation will yield this result. However, it should be your expectation that any conversation with an unsaved person throughout the day could turn into a gospel opportunity. As one writer put it, “Live as though you’re one word away from a life-changing encounter every moment of your life.”

This introduction provides you with a simple way to get to the gospel in a conversation by asking questions. Rather than jumping to the gospel too quickly, you want to discern if the lost person is open to the message. Questions are a helpful way of doing this. This part of the presentation also relies heavily on your interaction with the Lord in the moment. Ask the Lord if the situation is appropriate to share the gospel. Avoid over-thinking or second-guessing. Just be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading in the situation, and he will give wisdom.

During the conversation, be aware of several important time factors: the lost person’s time, your own time, the time of day, and anything else that affect the length of your conversation. Do not feel bad if a conversation is cut short because of these factors. In these scenarios, shorten your presentation as needed. However, be sensitive to how distractions can easily cause people to lose focus. Satan has already blinded the eyes of the lost, and he can even cause distractions to prevent the gospel from being heard and received (Matt 13:19; 2 Cor 4:4). Pray against distractions, and ask the Lord to allow the conversation to be profitable.

Sharing Your Testimony

At a point when you see an open door, turn the conversation towards spiritual things. This can be done in different ways. Use a question or statement that will naturally lead towards the gospel. One example of this is your salvation testimony. Briefly describe your life before you knew the gospel, how you came to know the truth, and how your life has changed since. Close your testimony with an indication that the gospel message has given you assurance of a relationship with God because your sins are forgiven, and you have eternal life. This will lead to asking the key questions.

Key Questions

“If you died today, or five years from now, are you 100% sure that all of your sins – past, present, and future – are forgiven, and that you have eternal life?”

This question is helpful because it distinguishes between various levels of understanding. For a genuinely saved person, this is not a hard question to answer. For a lost person, this question provokes thinking about his sin and eternal destiny. The ideas of death and sin for most people bring uncomfortable thoughts to mind. This question confronts people with the scope of their worldview – do their beliefs answer these questions?

Whether the lost person responds with a “yes” or “no,” you should continue to the second question. The first question is an introduction to the subject of the gospel. The second question is more specific because it examines the foundation of his worldview.

“What do you think you must depend on to receive forgiveness of sin and eternal life? Anything else?”

This question gets to the heart of the issue for lost people. You should be able to discern if this person you are talking to already believes the gospel based on this question. His answer will tell you what he really believes. For example, if he claims to be a Christian but his answer includes good works, then you have cause to question his understanding of the gospel. Unsaved people may give you many different answers, in addition to Jesus. Here are just a few:

  • Baptism
  • Church attendance
  • Follow the Golden Rule
  • Follow the Ten Commandments
  • Read the Bible & pray
  • Confess your sins every day

More examples could be given, but you get the idea. If the person indicates by his answer that he is not trusting Jesus alone for deliverance from sin, then you can assume he needs to hear a clear gospel presentation.

Transitional Question

If the lost person has indicated at all that he is unsure of forgiveness from all sin, then quote or turn to 1 John 5:13 in your Bible. Have him read the verse, then explain to him that God wants him to know for sure that his sins are forgiven and that he has eternal life. Then ask the following question:

“May I show you from the Bible how you can know for sure that your sins are forgiven and that you have eternal life?”

This is an excellent question to use for those who don’t think they can be sure of eternal life. The verse he just read clearly shows he can be sure. In fact, God wants him to know for sure. If he responds with a “yes,” then proceed to share the gospel. If he responds with a “no,” politely thank him for his time and wait for the next opportunity to start a gospel conversation.

Assignment

  1. Memorize 1 John 5:13.
  2. Memorize the following outline of the section “Guiding the Conversation.” This will be tested orally with another student in the class.
I. Starting the Conversation
II. Sharing Your Testimony
III. Key Questions
  • “If you died today, or five years from now, are you 100% sure that all of your sins – past, present, and future – are forgiven, and that you have eternal life?”
  • “What do you think you must depend on to receive forgiveness of sin and eternal life? Anything else?”
IV. Transitional Question
  • 1 John 5:13
  • “May I show you from the Bible how you can know for sure that your sins are forgiven and that you have eternal life?”
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