For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Luke 19:10

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Personal Witnessing - Confronting the Person Directly (Part 8)

This is the final post in this series on Personal Witnessing. We have been learning some lessons from the approach Jesus used with the woman at the well in John Chapter 4. The Lord Jesus turned a seemingly small conversation into an eternally significant encounter

There is no cookie-cutter approach to personal witnessing. So much depends on the relationship, the personalities involved, the circumstances related to the encounter(s), etc. Godly discernment and a Spirit-led conversation is the objective. Make personal witnessing a matter of daily prayer.

Staying on track and making sure you are not derailed or side-tracked is so important. That was the subject of the last posting. Once again the quotes are taken directly from Paul Little's classic: How to Give Away Your Faith. If you don't have a copy of this classic, you really should click on the title and place your order.

Confront the Person Directly
Finally, in declaring to the Samaritan woman that he was the Messiah, Jesus reached the crucial point of His message to her: "I who speak to you am He." Likewise, whether we spend one or many sessions with friends building bridges of friendship, we must eventually cross this bridge and bring the non-Christians into a direct confrontation with the Lord Jesus so that they realize their personal responsibility to decide for or against Him.

Many are comfortable building all the bridges and connections to the people, taking time to establish trust and building relationships but they are totally afraid to go the next step. We have a personal responsibility to take them further. The conversation needs to come to a head. Some questions need to be asked by you. What they do with Christ is their responsibility but you need to ask the question.

Paul Little says:
For a period of time I used to say to people: "Are you a Christian?" but I discovered that wasn't the best way to go about it for several reasons. In the first place, a great many people would say 'yes', thinking they knew what being a Christian was all about. Soon I was quite sure in the light of the New Testament that they weren't Christians. But once you get a yes answer to that question you have a problem. You can't say, "I'm sorry, friend. You're all wrong for the following reasons..." Somehow they don't appreciate that kind of thing. ...

Here are some questions you could more safely ask and they will be more revealing:

"Have you ever personally trusted Jesus Christ or are you still on the way?"

Immediately, this question defines clearly what a Christian is and beyond that, it lets the person know that you're prepared for a negative response without being shocked. It is very common to have a person respond with, "You know, that's exactly how you can describe me. I'm still on the way."

With a response like that you can say:

"That's interesting. How far along the way are you?"

This second question follows up the first one and draws people out more fully. It's absolutely amazing how often I have had people explain to me, without the slightest hesitation or embarrassment, how far down the road of their spiritual pilgrimage they are. And that's tremendously valuable information to have. Once we hear them tell us where they are, we can fill in any gaps they may need.

If their door is still open int he conversation then you need to go further. Ask them:

"Would you like to become a real Christian and be sure of it?"

What a wonderful opportunity it is to present Christ to a thirsty person. To explain the work of Christ at the Cross. What a thrilling experience is to point someone to the Lord. 

Remember this - even if you never have the joy of seeing them saved or knowing of their salvation, you have fulfilled your responsibility before the Lord and to them. The rest you must leave to them and the work of the Spirit of God. Your conscience is clear. You shared the best news one could ever hear. You didn't hide it from them. You were open with your faith.

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