The Bridge – Leading Someone to Christ

This is a study in ‘spiritual obstetrics’.  Becoming a Christian was referred by Jesus as ‘new birth/being born again’ (John 3:3f). This is a very helpful analogy. In the same way as natural birth would have some ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ (cutting umbilical cord, clearing and cleaning), there are certain things we can think of and apply when someone expresses a desire to follow Christ.This isn’t about a formula. These steps/principles are there in order to give that person the best start in becoming Christ-followers. We must exercise wisdom & discernment in this process and be aware where the person is at in their journey. In providing a model for how someone became a Christ-follower we will examine Jesus’ teaching & the Early Church practice.

Beforehand…

  • Do not rush anything – early births can be problematic
  • Wait until the person expresses a desire to become a Christ-follower
  • Make sure it isn’t just a spur of the moment, emotional, naïve decision
  • Give them time/space to evaluate this crucial decision
  • Do not pressurise people – it is the Holy Spirit that convicts/convinces: John 16:8-13
  • Rev. Peter Collinson’s Tips:
    A life that has to be lived – as an attractive example
    A love that has to be shown – 1 Cor. 13 – building bridges, caring
    A light that has to given – pray for opportunities: conversation, booklet, invitation.

Believe!

  • Salvation is an act of faith: 1 Corinthians 2:14
  • Faith underpins the whole process: John 7:38; Acts 16:31
  • Believing in the authority & inspiration of the Bible: 2 Timothy 3:16
  • Believing main doctrines of Christianity: 
    (Creation, The fall, Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Return)
  • Faith in itself is a gift from God: Ephesians 2:8
  • Personal faith is to be expressed – Romans 10:9-10

Repent!

  • Personal recognition of personal sinfulness: Romans 3:23; Luke 15:18, 21
  • Personal recognition of need for forgiveness: John 16:8
  • Repentance = change of thinking/turn around (away): John 8:11; 1 Corinthians 6:-11
  • Repentance is not just regret: 2 Corinthians 7:-11a
  • Personal repentance is to be expressed: 1 John 1:9; Acts 18:18-19
  • Repentance may mean practical restitution: Luke 19:1-10;Acts 26:20

Receive!

  • This is the death of the old life: Galatians 2:20
  • This is the beginning of a new life/death of the old one: 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • The Holy Spirit is promised by Jesus: John 16:7
  • The Holy Spirit will indwell us: John 14:17; Acts 5:32; 1 Corinthians 6:19
  • He will be the Helper/Counsellor/intercessor: John 16:8,13; 1 Corinthians 12:11; Romans 8:26

Be Baptised!

  • Baptism does not appear to be optional
  • Jesus showed the way: Matthew 3:13-17
  • Jesus commanded it: John 3:5; Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:16
  • The Early Church practiced it: Acts 8:26-39;10:44-48
  • Powerful message: burial/washing: Colossians 2:12 /Acts 22:16
  • Public demonstration of our conversion: Acts 2:38, 41

Afterwards…

  • You have a new relationship with God: Galatians 4:6;
  • You need to have an assurance – 1 John 5:13
  • Press on – there is more: John 10:10; Philippians 3:12-15a
  • Marks of authentic disciple: prayer, Bible-reading, fellowship, serving, evangelising


‘Conversion is so simple that the smallest child can be converted, but it is also so profound that theologians throughout history have pondered the depth of its meaning.’
  
 Billy Graham

‘The sincere convert is not one man at church and another at home.
He is not a saint on his knees and a cheat in his shop.’       
 Joseph Alleine (1634-1668)

‘We should think of conversion, not as the acceptance of a particular creed, but as a change of heart.
Helen Adams Keller (1880-1968)

 

©. CFM LIFE Groups, November 2007

 

 

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The Bridge – Telling Your Story

The testimony is a powerful and effective way for us to tell our story of faith. It isn’t so much about us (though it will be personal) but about the Lord. This is not a sermon but a human interest story that should be intriguing, especially if those who listen are your friends. You are like a witness in a court of law expressing what you have seen, heard or experienced.Sometimes we are tempted to think that (comparatively) our testimony is ‘tame’ and not quite as ‘interesting’ as that of Nicky Cruz. Every conversion is a dramatic and extraordinary expression of God’s undeserved gift of grace!

Here are some passages that can be studied:

  • Mark 5:19
  • Acts 4:20
  • John 9:13-34
  • Acts 22:1-21
  • Luke 24:13-35
  • John 4:39-42

CONTENT – what to say

  •  It is very important to prepare beforehand
  •  Everything needs to be prepared with a prayerful attitude
  •  You need to decide what you will say and write it down (either in full or bullet-points)
  •  Imagine that you are making a presentation of Christ (focus on Him)
  •  Think of using some relevant Bible verses (not more than 2-3 verses though) – Hebrews 4:12
  •  There are 4 sections you need to cover:
    What was it like before I surrendered my life to Christ
    What happened? What made you think? Why did you decide?
    How did your life change (benefits/cost)? Is it noticeable?
    Why should the listener consider it?

COMMUNICATION – how to say it

  • Have 2 versions prepared (3 & 10 minutes)
  • Be genuine – no impersonation necessary
  • Be compassionate & passionate
  • Be clear – project voice, head up, eye contact, vary your tone
  • Be short
  • Do not preach – share!
  • Do not try to entertain!

CLANGERS – mistakes to avoid

  • Do not give a ‘bragamony’ – be honest, do not exaggerate
  • Do not use ‘Christianese’ jargon (paraphrase or explain): i.e. ‘born again’
  • Do not criticize people/Churches
  • Do not put yourself in the spotlight
  • Do not be simplistic (‘Christianity is a bed of roses’)
  • Do not keep apologizing (‘my testimony is not that good/ I did not have enough time to prepare it’?

 

Come and listen, let me tell you what he has done for me.’   Psalm 66:16 (excerpt)

 

‘All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God’      2 Corinthians 5:18-20

©. CFM LIFE Groups, November 2007

 

 

Authentic Discipleship

Missionary Karen Watson counted the cost of following Jesus. That’s why she left a letter with her pastor before going to Iraq. She went to provide humanitarian relief in the name of Jesus-but she was gunned down in the country she came to serve. The letter began, “You’re only reading this if I died.” It included gracious words to family and friends, and this simple summary of following Christ: “To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, his glory my reward.”
“Missionary Slain in Iraq Mourned,” Los Angeles Times (3-17-04)

Refreshing to see that we still have Christ-followers ho have trully grasped what discipleship is all about: death to self, new ownership, sacrifice and mission. I feel so humbled and inspired by such an attitude. This is a counter-cultural message in today’s Western Church consumer/entertainment/feel good culture – a deeply needed message!