Back to the Basics of Evangelism

by Feb 21, 2024Evangelism Training

I have told people for more than fifty years that when it comes to presenting the gospel, “Be clear! Be clear! Be clear!” Clarity and simplicity are so important in evangelism. Fortunately, God, in His Word, has given us a clear and simple way to share His message of salvation.

The basics of evangelism have not – and should not – change. While our methods may vary, the basics of the message should remain in their clear and simple form. What does a clear presentation of the gospel include? Three things are absolutely essential.

An explanation of sin and its consequences

Unless I understand my problem, I will never see my need of Him.

The word often translated sin in the Bible means “to miss the mark.” God has set a standard. That standard is perfection. But whether it is through a wrong word or a wrong action, one sin or a thousand sins, we  have missed that standard. Romans 3:23 tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Nobody is excluded. Ecclesiastes 7:20 states, “For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.”

The problem is that a holy God cannot overlook sin. Sin must be punished. That punishment is death and eternal separation from God in what the Bible calls hell. Hebrews 9:27 tells us, “And as it is appointed for men to die once and after this the judgment.

An explanation of substitution

Once I understand my problem, I then have to understand His remedy. The remedy for sin is for someone to take my place and suffer my punishment. That someone has to be perfect. One sinner cannot die for another sinner any more than one criminal can take another criminal’s place.

The only one that qualified was God’s perfect Son Jesus Christ on whom we are told in the first part of 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us.” His death on the cross was not to show us how to die – putting others first. It was a substitutionary death – in our place. Had He not died, we would have.

The third day He arose victorious over sin, the grave, and the devil himself. As the angel announced to those who visited His tomb, “He is not here, but is risen.”  (Luke 24:6)

Our sin being paid for, God now had a basis on which He could pardon instead of punish.

An explanation of saving faith

There remains one problem. That remedy for sin – the death of Christ in our place – has to be accepted by us. The only one way that remedy can be accepted by us is by faith. We are told in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not if works, lest anyone should boast.”

That is why in the book of John, the one book God specifically wrote to tell us how to receive eternal life (John 20:30-31), the word believe is used 98 times. Jesus said in John 6:47, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” Recognizing that Christ died in my place and took the punishment I deserved, I must come to Him as a sinner and place my trust in Christ alone as my only way to heaven. Saving faith is not trusting Christ AND my good life, promises to live for Him, or my baptism or church attendance to get me to heaven. Saving faith is trusting Christ ALONE to save me.

Many find it helpful to tell God in prayer that as sinners, they are now trusting Christ as their Savior. But saying a prayer is not what saves.  One is forever a child of God when he has placed his trust in Christ alone as his Savior and received His free gift of eternal life.

In getting back to the basics of explaining salvation to an unbeliever, we must clearly explain sin, substitution, and saving faith. These are the clear and simple truths, so present them clearly and simply. A person without Christ can then understand how the Savior can become his or her Savior. That person then lives prepared to die and dies prepared to live – forever!