4 Essential Truths that are required for someone to convert!
At least four fundamental truths must be accepted by a seeker before he/she can be converted to Christ. After setting up a one-on-one study with a non-Christian friend, what lessons should be studied? It is up to you to guide the discussion with lessons that meet the student's needs. What are the needs? This article will identify and discuss four of those needs. After the seeker accepts these truths, continue teaching lessons that bring the person to Christ.
It is of vital importance that non-Christians realize the authority of Christ revealed in the Scriptures. In this area we are battling many liberal trends. Some view the scriptures as a high quality literary work. Others feel that the Bible is outdated and contains no relevant information for us today. Some even feel the Bible cannot be understood by the common man. And still others think that the scriptures are not all sufficient.
It is interesting to note that most of the people we study with on a one-on-one basis already accept most of the basic principles of Bible authority. The authority of Christ tends to be a non-controversial subject and serves as an excellent neutral ground introduction that emphasizes a belief you have in common with the seeker. If a person does not accept the Bible as God's word, the rest of the lessons will not have any impact.
A prevalent belief today is that false doctrine won't send you to hell. People have been unable to comprehend the horrible results that logically follow from having one Bible and 500-plus different denominations. The masses are forced into accepting that one church is as good as another! Jesus, however, has a different point of view and we must teach this to the seeker. It is important to show that all churches use creeds in addition to the Bible. At first, do not dwell on specific false doctrines taught by these churches. Rather, show that the creed book is used as doctrinal authority in addition to the Bible. Do this by confronting the student with the teachings found in the creed book used by his/her own church. Show that the creed book teaches things foreign to the Bible. Let me illustrate by two examples.
First, from the Discipline read the following: We have therefore expected that the discipline would be administered, not merely as a legal document, but as a revelation of the Holy Spirit working in and through our people. Then ask, Does the Methodist church use the Bible only? Second, read the following: Wherefore that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine and very full of comfort. Then compare this statement with James 2:24.
First, from the Articles read the following:
Then ask, Do the AGC Pastors use the Bible only to determine doctrine? Second, read the following: Baptism is not a saving ordinance . . . nor is it necessary for salvation. Then compare this statement with 1 Peter 3:21.
Strongly emphasize the Lord's teaching on false doctrine and then make the application to the seeker's denomination. You must have the applicable creed book in your possession. It will take some work but it will pay off in effectiveness. Otherwise, the seeker will not believe you when you say his/her church has a creed book.
Have you ever met anyone who believed they were going to hell? Think about it! Everyone thinks they are going to heaven! It doesn't matter if they haven't been to church for 30 years or are living in fornication, they still think they are going to heaven. After the disciples had walked with Jesus for a few months they asked him, Lord are just a few going to be saved? The Lord answered: Seek to enter by the narrow door for many I tell you will seek to enter in and will not be able to (Luke 13:23).
We need to present the gospel in all its power in order to show people they are lost. This can be done by presenting a simple lesson on baptism. Emphasize the how, who, and why of baptism and then compare it to what the seeker has done. By this we can show the seeker that they have never obeyed the gospel of Jesus. Yes, they obeyed the gospel of men or some creed but not Jesus. It can be a highly emotional study when teaching someone they are lost after they have believed for 20 years that they were saved!
Quite simply, will the seeker ACT upon the words of Christ? A simple way to determine if a person has a commitment to God is to ask if he/she attends church every Sunday. This is the true acid test. It is simple yet 99 percent effective in making the determination. Unfortunately, one of the hardest obstacles to overcome when teaching people who are not in the habit of attending church every Sunday is to get them to make the commitment. Those who forsake the assembly are lost. The world teaches that attendance is an option that may be chosen. Attendance is not an option and it needs to be taught thoroughly.
All seekers must commit themselves to the Lord to the extent that they are willing to make changes in their lifestyle and any personal sacrifices needed to conform their life to Christ. Such changes or sacrifices may include the getting out of bed on Sunday morning, ceasing an illicit relationship, being forsaken by friends, etc. Teaching that points out the costs involved in being a Christian is needed. When they realize the costs involved, they may think twice. Help overcome their second thoughts by enumerating the blessings to be found in Christ.
The emphasis should be doctrine and teaching them that they are lost. Start with the lesson on doctrine and then follow with a lesson showing them that they are lost because their baptism was not the baptism taught in the Bible. When studying commitment, emphasize that they need to leave their false religion and that this may result in being persecuted by others. Resistance encountered may be from family, friends, church friends, or their religious leaders. Prepare them for these possible encounters. The important question to ask in advance is: If leaving your church causes you to be ostracized by all your family and friends, will you still make the change? A lesson on Foundation of Authority is unnecessary unless you wish to establish common ground at the beginning. Most strongly religious people already accept the Bible as God's word.
Seventy-five percent of the populace are not committed to Christ. The big question will be whether they are willing to put the words of Christ into action. Most already know they should attend church every week; they just don't feel like doing it. For the uncommitted, the choice is not which church to attend but whether they will obey Christ at all. It is important to show that Jesus is Lord and that we must obey him. Begin with a lesson on commitment. The focal point needs to be church attendance and purifying their lives of sin (ceasing fornication, etc.). There is no need to waste your time on those who are not interested in acting upon the words of Christ. If they aren't ready after the first session, they won't be ready after the 10th! Determine up front if they are willing to commit. It may save a lot of time that could be better spent with those willing to obey Jesus. If they are willing to commit, follow with a lesson on doctrine. Finally, show them they are lost by teaching a lesson on salvation which includes the teaching on Bible baptism.
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