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Sometimes when we get into conversations when we witness for Christ we will come across wrong perceptions about, Jesus, heaven, and eternal life. On other occasions, we will be asked tough questions. The way that we deal with these issues and questions is very important. The more you witness, the more experienced you will become at dealing with wrong perceptions, objections or questions with regards to the Gospel.
No doubt you have heard some people say that in effect they believe it’s possible to earn their way into heaven, through beliefs such attending church once a year at Christmas, to being part of a church choir or any other church activities. In other words, through doing works.
I am going to use a different way of using a simple technique that is well used known as, “DO versus Done” to explain what Jesus accomplished at the cross. Using what I am going to go through is proven in its effectiveness. Try it. It works!
Over the years, I have never been slow to let work colleagues know that I am a Christian. Some years ago I was talking to a new colleague who had joined our financial advice office. Whilst chatting one day he very soon discovered that I was a Bible believing church goer. “He said , “I go to church” in a very definite way. I replied, “Hey that’s brilliant, where do you go”? His reply was, “Well……I go with my wife to the Christmas eve service where we live every year”. I thought about his answer for a moment and asked him, “Tell me, why do you only go then”? He said, “I think that’s enough, to be honest. It means I believe in God, and He knows I’m there, so I will end up in heaven.”
When you witness to people about Jesus you will find that they come up with all kinds of theories and beliefs about God and Heaven. They mistakenly believe that they will receive eternal life by giving answers like “I’m in the church choir”, “I am a member of the chapel” and “I give money to charity”. When a person does that, they are saying that they know more than God and are basically putting Him under their feet.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast” Ephesians 2: 8-9
There is nothing we can do to merit our own righteousness, earning our way into heaven. Salvation is a gift from God that we must willingly receive. There is no other way. So here is a simple example of how you can explain the answer. There are many others, but I like this one because it is quick to share and more importantly, it is easy for a person to understand.
“Things I do” vs. “It’s been done”
Things I do: I will often say, “When people talk about doing things like you have suggested, you could probably call it religion, which is simply doing things, hoping that you have done enough to get into heaven. Very often that could be through church attendance, helping in the church or doing other types of good works. My question to you is really very important, ‘How will you ever know that you have done enough to get there?”
The different approach: It is very effective if you keep silent and resist the temptation to speak until the person has answered. Even if it means waiting for thirty seconds, which can often seem like an eternity. Be patient and wait. Keeping silent gives the person time to consider their answer. Very often during the thinking time, the person will realise that the belief that they have built up has no foundation. The result of this means that very often that seeds of doubt will have been sown in the person’s mind regarding their beliefs. This will give you more opportunity to share.
I will often explain religion in this way: It’s rather like a salesman who has to make sales justify their salary. But the simple fact is that they never really know whether they have sold enough to reach their target. If they end up missing their sales quota, it will mean that they will be out of a job.
The truth is that we will always fall short of hitting the target through doing things to earn our way to heaven because scripture says:
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3: 23
No matter how hard we try will never be able to hit the mark. Doing things, will never mean that a person can earn forgiveness and favour from God”.
It’s been done: I will say something like, “I have got some great news for you. Real Christianity means that the work has already been done for us. When Jesus came to earth, He lived a perfect life which we could never live, and then He willingly died on the cross to pay the penalty we owed for the wrongs we have done. To become a real Christian means that we should ask the Lord to forgive us for our sins (Things that we know are wrong). When we do that He adopts us into His family and begins to change us from the inside out. You can know without a doubt and you can be sure that you will go to heaven once you have accepted Jesus as Lord.”
Scripture says, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5: 13
Another way of explaining it is using the idea of spelling the word religion as “D – O ” and the word Christianity as “D – O – N – E”. Doing this can often help the listeners understanding.
Key Point: There is nothing wrong with preparing answers to questions that people may want to ask
It is very important to remember that there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a few answers that you have spent some time preparing. People go to Bible school to study apologetics to be able to answer questions like this. They do it so that the can defend the Gospel as well as being able to explain it.
At the very least, having answers prepared means that you will be a more effective witness for Jesus. The more you do something the better you will become. Without a doubt, preparation increases effectiveness.