Monday, July 19, 2010

10 Telling the Story

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There are three things to be covered in this lesson. The first one deals with the gospel story. The second is concerned with some do's and don'ts in telling the story. The third emphasizes our need of our presenting the true gospel story to those we are seeking to win for Christ.


How can we get an opening to tell the story? This is not an easy question to answer for there is no formula or infallible rule that we can give. There are, however, some specific suggestions that will help us to get an opening so that we can share the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with another individual. One suggestion is that we use an appropriate, attractive looking, gospel tract. There are many good gospel tracts available, but rather than just shoving one into a person's hand, we can approach him something like this. We might say, "Here's something that I would like you to read. It is well worth a thinking person's time. Read it over and then later on I will ask you what you think about it." At least, we should use some such approach to show to the person with whom we are dealing that behind our handing him a tract, is our own personal interest in his eternal welfare.

Another way to find an opening is simply to ask permission to speak about the Lord Jesus Christ. We could say, "May I tell you something that has meant more to me than anything else in my life?" This will open up a way in a manner that will show courtesy and thoughtfulness to the person to whom we would speak.

I remember an experience I had when I lived in Seattle, Washington. In order to reach my office I had to use an elevator. One day I said to the operator, "Polly, you know I have told you about my wife and family and how much they mean to me. But I feel a little sad about something, and it's this. I have found something that means more to me than married life, more to me than being a father, and I haven't told you about it."

She asked, "What is it?"

I answered, "Well, I'm afraid if I start to tell you now you will get another call. But sometime when you have 15 minutes I would like to share with you that which means more to me than anything else in life to me." You can well imagine that she had 15 minutes on her next lunch hour which gave me a wonderful opportunity to present the gospel of the Lord Jesus.

We can see from this that if we have our own personal testimony clearly in mind, that we can share it with another person. This is an effective way to make an opening for telling others what the Lord Jesus means to us.

In one of the previous lessons we saw from Acts 22:14,15 that witnessing is simply taking a good look at the Lord Jesus Christ and then telling others what we have seen. We are to take time to look and listen that we might share with others what we have seen and heard of the Lord Jesus. But whatever we do, as we look to the Lord to give us an opening to share the gospel, we must always be courteous.

Thoughtfulness and courtesy are always in order. A key passage on this subject is II Timothy 2:24,25, "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." To be courteous and gentle does not mean to be devious. Rather, we should come straight to the point. My own experience in personal witnessing in these recent years has convinced me that people appreciate it if we will tell them straight from the shoulder what Jesus Christ means to us. They do not care so much from the back door, devious method of approach.

Then, when we get to the point, stick to the point. Do not let somebody get us off by saying, "Well, what about the contradictions in the Bible? Where did Cain get his wife?" If we cannot show them where Cain got his wife, we could say, "I don't know the answer to that, but I am sure there must be one. Here, however, is something I do know. I know that the Lord Jesus Christ can change a life. He has changed mine. I know what it means to walk with Him daily." We must bring them back to the person of Christ. A study of the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John discloses that in our Lord's dealing with the woman at the well, He had to bring her back to the main point several times, for she tried in various ways to side track Him. So, stick to the point.


Here are some things to do and some things not to do as we present the gospel story. We should not presuppose a negative reply. I fear that many of us approach a person about the Lord Jesus Christ and the gospel, assuming that he is going to disagree with us. Somehow or other that attitude on our own part calls forth a negative response on his part. We should, instead, assume a positive response knowing that deep down in that person's heart the Holy Spirit will produce the conviction that what we say is the truth. The one we are dealing with may not outwardly admit it, but the conviction will be there nevertheless.

Consider now some things we should do. We must bring people face to face with the person of Jesus Christ. Remember it is Christ who saves, not a theory, not even a system of doctrine. So we must be certain to bring them face to face with Jesus Christ Himself.

As soon as we are into the interview, we need to use our Bibles. Show them from the Bible what God has to say. Turn from one Scripture to another as the need indicates. This provides with the Holy Spirit a weapon to use to pierce their hearts. As we noted once before, the Bible is the seed which we are to plant in the soil of their hearts. The Holy Spirit will then work a miracle and give the increase. Moreover, as we use the Word of God in this way we will see to a greater degree the importance of memorizing Scripture.

We must not try to force a decision from a person. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. The new birth is a miracle and we cannot produce it.

Another thing to avoid is argument. As soon as we start an argument the other person stops listening to us and just waits for us to finish so that he can make a statement.

Furthermore, keep the message simple. Our Saviour used no hard to understand language when He said concerning His mission to this world, "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).


Finally, and above all, be sure that we share with them the gospel. There are many messages which I have heard - supposedly gospel messages - that have not proclaimed the gospel in my judgment. The gospel concerns a certain body of facts. It is the gospel that is the power of God unto salvation. It is to the gospel and the facts of the gospel that Satan has blinded people's minds.

Just what is the Gospel? I know of no better definition than that which is given in I Corinthians 15:3,4: "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures." This is God's definition of the gospel. So, whatever else we say in personal witnessing, let us be sure that we present the gospel.


1. Review your verses.

2. Begin to read the Topical Memory System. See the Chapter "Beginning With Christ" for information on this.

3. What are some reasons why argumentation does not work in individual witnessing?

4. How far do you think you should go in trying to answer the "pet doctrines" of cults, etc?

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