In leading someone to Christ, we must be aware of several key principles. We could possibly be leading someone astray, or giving false assurance that they are saved, if we do not use these principles. This is not to suggest that there is a particular technique or formula. However, to ignore what the Bible teaches about this subject could mean spiritual disaster for those we are trying to lead to Christ.
The following principles could easily be a lengthy teaching, but have been stated in brief here for your reference.
ROAD TO REDEMPTION
As you seek to lead people to Christ, it is helpful to have a “planned route” in mind. These scriptural pathways will help you keep moving forward in the right direction. Being very familiar with these simple steps can give you great confidence in leading someone to salvation. It is strongly recommended that you memorize the scriptures used in each step.
One of the simplest of the scriptural pathways to salvation is called the “Roman Road”. It is called this because the relevant Scriptures to each step were taken from the Book of Romans in the New Testament.
- Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory [standard] of God.”
- Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the (free] gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.“
- Romans 10:9,10: “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Here is another simple set of guidelines that can help you lead someone to Christ by helping them realize: ·
- ALL MANKIND ARE SINNERS “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory [standard) of God” (Rom 3:23).
- THE PENALTY OF SIN IS ETERNAL SEPARATION FROM GOD “The wages of sin is death [separation from God)” (Rom 6:23).
- GOD IS NOT WILLING THAT ANYONE SHOULD PERISH “The Lord is… not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet 3:9).-
- JESUS CHRIST HAS PAID THE PRICE “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3).
- WE MUST BELIEVE AND CONFESS THIS TRUTH “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9).
As you can see from looking at these sets of guidelines, they both deal with sin first. This is because often people may not know they are sinners in need of salvation. In other words, the Good News of the Gospel may not be “good news” until they have heard the “bad news”! The bad news is that they are sinners who will spend an eternity separated from God if they die without Christ as their personal Savior.
So, the first thing that must be dealt with in leading someone to Christ is their sin.
Sin is not a popular subject these days. Modern man prefers to refer to sin as “social indiscretion”, “personal preference”, “genetic traits”, or “personality defects”. Many other people refuse to concede that there is any such thing as sin at all. This kind of notion must be challenged and defeated with the Word of God. The Bible clearly teaches, from its earliest chapters, the reality and penalty of sin. Unless one is ready to agree with the Bible on this basic subject, the whole matter of salvation is out of the question. If there were no such thing as sin, there would be no need for salvation or a Savior. That means that the whole plan of redemption would be irrelevant and unnecessary.
We must understand that sin is what separates man from God. Initially, in the biblical picture, it was Adam and Eve’s disobedience that constituted the first sin. Their disobedience caused the whole human race to become separated from God. So, in the first instance, men and women are sinners, not because of anything they do or don’t do, but because of Adam and Eve’s transgression. We inherit our sinful status from our original forebears. We are therefore sinners by inheritance.
Romans 3:23 puts it as simply and plainly as possible: “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory [standard] of God.” (For additional information on this subject, please see the article on “Salvation” in this issue of ACTS.)
This teaches the universality of sin. All people, everywhere are sinners. It teaches the nature of sin; i.e., to fall short of the glory (standard) of God.
When we endeavor to show someone that they are a sinner. In the sight of Almighty God, we are not singling them out for criticism, or suggesting that we think that their personal behavior or standards are worse than the average person. We are simply stating that they, together with all of mankind, come short of God’s required standards.
Next, they must be told that there is a final and ultimate accountability to God for our lives. As part of this accountability, there is a penalty for sin.
2. The Penalty Of Sin
Romans 6:23 says: “The wages of sin is death.” Not just physical death, when the human spirit leaves the physical body; but spiritual death, which means continuing and everlasting separation from God. This is the penalty about which God warned Adam and Eve. He told them that if they disobeyed Him, “in the day that you eat of it [the forbidden fruit] you shall surely die” (Gen 2:17).
Through their transgression, physical death began to work in them. They became mortal (death doomed) beings. Physical death and its symptoms began immediately to work in their lives, the consequence of which was that one day they would die (see Genesis 3:17-19).
But the greater tragedy is that dying in sin means that one will be separated from God eternally; that is what the Bible calls hell. This is an absolute judgment without exception or excuse; and it is eternal, not temporary.
By this time, the person we are talking to may be ready for the Good News of salvation through Christ.
The latter part of Romans 6:23 introduces a positive aspect when it states: “But the Gift of God is eternal Life in [through] Jesus Christ our Lord.” We emphasize that salvation is not through works, self -effort, good living or kind deeds; it is through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We must show the people their absolute need of a Savior. If one is not aware of one’s need, then there is no motivation to look for a Savior.
We must further show them that Jesus Christ is the Savior. “For unto you is born a Savior, that is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
He is the Only Savior. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
He is a Complete Savior. “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him” (Heb 7:25).
He is a Powerful Savior. “That through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb 2:14,15).
He is a Universal Savior. “Who is the Savior of ALL men … who believe” (1 Tim 4:10).
They must next be directed to how they can actually have Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
4. Salvation is through faith in Christ
“Believe on [in] the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
These powerful words were spoken to the Philippian jailer in response to his pointed question, “What must I do to be saved?” They are applicable to all men everywhere, and constitute the only way of salvation available.
Romans 10:9 says “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, YOU WILL BE SAVED.”
To answer their question – “What do I have to do to be saved?” -we must give a complete answer. This would include:
- Realize you are a sinner, and sincerely repent of your sins (see 1 John 1:8; 2 Corinthians 7:10 and the article on “Repentance” in this issue).
- Confess those sins to God and ask for His forgiveness (see 1 John 1:9).
- Believe that Jesus died on the cross for you as payment for your sins, and that God raised Him from the dead as proof of Christ’s deity and accepted His payment for your salvation (see Romans 5:9,10; Titus 2:14).
They must also understand that this salvation comes by faith. Faith is the decision to believe what God says. It is activated by “hearing … the Word of God” (Rom 10:17). Something deep within you tells you that God is speaking to you. You decide and determine to believe and accept what God says. You agree with God – that is faith. Your faith may often move ahead of your mind. You do things by faith that your mind cannot yet understand or accept. You often accept things by faith before your emotions have time to respond.
The next and ultimate step is for a person to receive Christ as his Lord and Savior.
5. We must “receive Christ” into our life
John 1:12 says-. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right [authority] to become children of God, to those who believe in His Name.” What does it mean, to “receive Christ”, and how do we accomplish this?
What the Scriptures teach is very simple and straightforward. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus compares our life to a house and says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” When we show someone this verse, we can ask them: “If someone knocked on your door, how would you get the person inside?” They will likely answer: “Well, I would open the door.” Then you can ask: “And then what would you do?” Invariably they will say, “I would invite them in.”
It is just that simple, and most people will realize what they must do to receive Christ. The Lord Jesus is knocking at the door of their lives. But He will not break the door down and force Himself on them. They must open the door to Him and invite Him in. They can do this in their own words in prayer. And they have His promise that He will come in and be with them for eternity.
So, when a person receives Christ, they receive Him by faith, irrespective of natural thoughts or feelings. He enters their life through their spirit, but He wants to function through their thoughts and feelings too. He wants their whole person to surrender to His compassionate rule and enjoy the blessings and benefits of His presence in every area of their life.
Having received Christ as Savior, the next step is a practical working out of that decision. To confess Him before men may seem not as important as the other steps on the salvation pathway. But it can be a crucial part of keeping a new convert in a relationship with their new-found Savior.
6. We must confess Him before men
Paul said: “Confess with your mouth… and believe in your heart…. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom 10:9,10).
Jesus Himself said: “Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father Who is in Heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father Who is in Heaven” (Matt 10:32,33) .
Having believed in Jesus as Savior and Lord, it is obvious that the need to acknowledge and confess Christ openly before men is vital and indispensable to the process of being saved. A person’s confession of this fact is often a definite factor in their receiving a personal assurance of salvation. On occasion some would say, “I have believed on Jesus, but I do not seem to have any assurance.” So ask them, “Have you confessed your belief to anyone yet?” The answer is invariably “No.” To that, our response must be: “Go and tell someone what you have done, and confess that you have received salvation through trusting in Christ.” The result will almost always be that once they have done this, the inner assurance has come.
We should also strongly encourage them to begin to tell all their unsaved friends about receiving Christ. Their joyful enthusiasm can be a powerful tool to win their friends for Christ. Their changed lifestyle will be a point of curiosity and interest to their friends from the “old way of life”. People will want to know what it is that has so changed the new convert’s way of living. It is never too soon to begin to share our faith (see John 4:1-42; Matthew 5:13-16; Philippians 2:14,15).
Finally, no committed, sincere Christian leader would want to lose that newborn “baby believer” in Christ. We must teach them how to grow in their new life with Christ to help secure them in God’s Kingdom.
7. We must grow in Christ
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 3:18).
How can we simply and dearly tell a new convert how to grow in their faith and relationship with Christ? Here is a simple plan based on the word “G-R-O-W-T-H”.
G – Go to God every day in prayer (1 Thess 5:17).
R – Read your Bible every day like the Bereans; search the Scriptures diligently (Acts 17:11); like Timothy, know the Scriptures thoroughly (2 Tim 3;15,16).
0 – Obey the Lord and His Word in your daily Life (1 Sam 15:22).
W – Worship regularly with other believers in a local church (Heb 10:25; 13:15).
T – Tell others about your new faith in Christ (Matt 5:13-16).
H – Help serve God and His people in your church (Eph 4:16).
This is a very simple pattern for personal spiritual growth for both the new believer and someone who is older in the faith. Much more could be said about how to grow, but if they will do these things daily, they will be grounded in their salvation and alive in Christ.