Are you ready to get to the gospel with the person on your pew? Let’s not be surprised that religious people show up at places where the Scriptures are read and preached and where God’s people gather to pray and praise Him . Let’s not assume that the person sitting next to us knows the God whose rules they are trying to keep. Let’s listen for opportunities at church, whether it is a message that is preached, a prayer that is prayed, or a song that is sung that would give us opportunities to ask gospel questions. Then, let’s be ready with our Bible to get to the gospel with our religious friend.
This is the second of three blogs where we are considering some ways we can get to the gospel with people we know. Becoming familiar with the following passage of Scripture in order to walk through it in a question-and-answer format is one possible way to get set to get to the gospel with someone who is counting on the things that they do or don’t do to make them right with God.
1) Get to know their understanding of the gospel- You are both hearing the same sermons, singing the same songs, participating on some level in similar ways in the life of the church. It would seem natural that the gospel would be a part of your church conversations. In other words, if the gospel is being faithfully preached at your church, it should not be difficult to bring it up in conversation.
2) Get to know your Bible- Become familiar with some bible passages that demonstrate the error of self-righteousness and the need for Christ’s righteousness. Luke 18:9-14 and Philippians 3:3-9 are good places to start. If it becomes plain through conversation that your friend is counting on their own righteousness, ask if you can share a bible passage that was helpful to you (if it was helpful). Have your friend read Luke 18:9-14. Then, go back and walk through the text as follows:
- Ask– To whom is Jesus telling this parable? v.9
- Answer– To those who think they are basically good people
- Say– We can see the parable contrasts a Pharisee (a very religious person) and a tax collector (a person everyone would know as an obvious sinner).
- Ask– What do you notice about the Pharisee’s prayer? v.11-12
- Answer– He considers himself a good person.
- He compares himself to other men (wrong standard).
- He talks to God about the bad things he does not do.
- He talks to God about the good things he does do.
- Ask– hat do you notice about the tax collector’s prayer? v.13
- Answer– He knows he is not a good person.
- He has a posture of sorrow- eyes down, beating his breast.
- He pleads with God for mercy.
- Ask- What is the result? v.14
- The one who believe he was good went home still in his sins.
- The one who knew he was a sinner and cried out to God for mercy, went home right with God.
- Get to the gospel!
- Ask– Where do you see yourself in this text? How come?
If your friend identifies with the Pharisee ask:
Are you willing to humble yourself, admit that you are a sinner, and cry out to God for mercy?
- Say– Jesus lived the righteous life you failed to live, died on the cross to take the punishment you deserved, and rose from grave.
- Say– If you will turn from your sin and trust Jesus alone to save you, God will forgive all your sins and count Jesus’ righteous life as belonging to you.
- If your friend identifies with the tax collector ask him to tell you about it.
- Make sure his testimony is one that expresses humble dependence on the mercy of God expressed in repentance of sin and faith in Christ alone.
- Go to church ready to hear the gospel and speak the gospel.
- Go pray for gospel opportunities at church.
- Go prepare for those opportunities with your Bible.
- Memorize the questions and statements that go with Luke 18:9-14 from the above section.
- Practice walking through these verses with someone until you are comfortable.
- Consider where your friends might have questions and how you might answer them.
 Stott, John. The Spirit, the Church, and the World. IVP, 1990, p. 312.