Worried about missing something vital when conveying the gospel message?

When we’re sharing the Good News of salvation in Christ, we need to be incredibly aware of the danger of false conversion so that we’re not unintentionally leading anyone down that path. So how do we combat that? By not getting caught up in arguments about doctrines or philosophical debates. Instead, focus on these 3 points that will make clear the reality of sin and hell, the identity and finished work of Christ, and the need for repentance and trust in Him.

1. Point to our inescapable sinfulness and the reality of hell

Have you ever noticed that, in His call for repentance, Jesus most often warned of hell? It’s true that the message of the gospel is the greatest message of love in existence, but to appreciate that gift of salvation, people must first realize that they stand in dire need of saving.

It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. | Hebrews 9:27, KJV

This verse makes it clear that there is no reincarnation, there’s no coming back to earth as a ghost… We all will die once. And the moment after bodily death, we will appear before almighty God and give an account of our lives. And here is further affirmation that this will happen:

Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. | Romans 14:12

Just think about it. Death is a fact. Each person knows they’re going to die. Many are complacent about it, thinking there’s nothing they can do about it, seemingly unbothered about where they’ll end up.

Others think they cease to exist, and yet others hope that everyone goes to heaven, ignorantly having created a false god in their minds that is appeased with anything—far from the reality of the one true righteous and holy God.

So many people assume they’re good enough to get to heaven. After all, they reason, they haven’t killed anyone or raped anyone. But that’s the difference between us and our Creator God. He is so very holy that no evil escapes His sight, and being our Creator who has blessed us with the gift of life, He will hold us responsible for what we’ve done with our lives and for the sins we’ve committed.

Just realizing that we each must answer to Holy God and taking a look at His expectations should send each of us scrambling to find forgiveness!

When sharing the gospel, the best way to wake up someone to the wretchedness of their sinful condition before God is to reference the Ten Commandments.

Here’s a refresher from Exodus 20:

You shall have no other gods before Me.

You shall not make for yourself an idol.

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Honor your father and your mother.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness.

You shall not covet.

It’s true, by our own human standards, we don’t seem so bad. After all, most of us have never murdered anyone. But to even think this is breaking the first commandment—it’s creating a different false god who is less holy. But these Commandments are the moral law of the one true God. And to Him, sin is sin. And we all stand guilty.

Every single person has broken God’s law.

A simple way to make this point when sharing the gospel is to ask someone if they believe themselves to be a good person. When they answer that they think they are, give them a little test and ask them several questions like this:

How many lies have you told in your life?

Have you ever stolen something, even something small when you were a child?

Have you had sex before marriage?

Have you ever taken the name of God in vain—such as saying “OMG”?

From here you can further point out that God’s standard even goes above our actions and looks at our innermost thoughts—Jesus said that whoever has looked at someone with lust has committed adultery in their heart, and anyone who has hated another person has committed murder in their heart. (Matthew 5:27-28 and 1 John 3:15)

🤯 This goes to show just how sinful we are and how righteous and holy God is!

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. | Romans 2:23, NKJV

There truly is no one who can stand blameless before Him, and these questions along with our guilty answers reveal that no, there truly is no one who is a good person, not even one of us.

As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one.” | Romans 3:10, NKJV

So what does this mean then? We’ve shone the light on an individual’s sinfulness, but where do we go from here in the evangelism encounter? To the consequence of that sin—the wages of death that they’ve earned—by revealing the truth of the reality of hell.

This point may seem unpleasant, but it’s of the utmost importance! After all, if a person doesn’t know he or she is headed for hell, how can they see their need to repent and trust in the Savior? How can they grasp what a merciful, necessary gift of salvation is if they don’t realize what they truly deserve? We have to make them see what they need saving from—a horrid and everlasting eternity of torment in hell.

You can do this by sharing eye-opening, frightening truths from God’s Word by saying something like this:

Do you know what the Bible says death is? Death is wages. It’s what we’ve earned. We’ve rebelled against God and, because of our sins, we’ve earned the death sentence. And the Bible describes hell as a place of darkness and torment, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth, and those who are unbelieving and have sinned will have their part in the lake of fire.

Right after that, you can ask them something such as this:

We’ve looked at several of the Ten Commandments, and by your own admission, you’ve broken ____ of them. So on Judgment Day, will you be innocent or guilty?

And by God’s judgment, would you be on your way to heaven or hell?

Hopefully at this point, the person you’ve been talking with will realize their sinfulness and have enough humility and self-preservation to admit it.

But if they still maintain their goodness or their false belief that God wouldn’t send anyone to hell, or that hell simply doesn’t exist (find out more about hell in this article from Answers In Genesis), address their issues by pointing out that, even though it might be uncomfortable to face, God’s Word is the ultimate truth, and we will also stand before Him in judgment one day.

Then once more lovingly bring them back to their own specific sins, praying that they might have their eyes opened to their need for sorrowful repentance.

Remember that it’s not our job to bring about someone’s repentance—only God can do that. But follow after Jesus by warning them of their sinfulness and their need for repentance, and of the consequence of eternity in hell.

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2. Point to the identity and sacrifice of Christ

After making the truth known that all of us are sinners in need of repentance—and after having then made that personal for the individual that you’re talking with, so that they realize they stand guilty before God and will wind up in hell, it’s time to reveal how they can avoid that outcome!

The wonderful good news of the gospel of Christ is like foolishness to those who are perishing, so by having the person answer to several of the Ten Commandments and realize that they’ve personally broken God’s law and will stand guilty before Him, they’ll better understand why they’re in need of the Savior.

Here’s a good transition question to use (thank you, Ray Comfort!) that shifts the conversation from the reality of sin and hell to the glorious hope of the gospel:

Do you know what God did for guilty sinners so that we wouldn’t have to go to hell?

At this point, some people will recall the name of Jesus, but they might not really understand who He is or what He did.

Other people will simply say that they have no idea, or that they’ve forgotten.

This is where we have the opportunity to explain who Christ is and what His sacrifice on the cross means for us.

Jesus Christ is God’s Son—fully man and fully God—who came to fulfill God’s law in our place. Being fully God, He lived a life free from sin, and He gave Himself up to death on the cross so that our sins can be forgiven when we trust in Him.

The Bible tells us that there is no remission of sins without the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22), and the shedding of Christ’s sinless blood purchased our forgiveness, cleansing us of our sins—once for all—when we turn from them and trust in Him to save us.

When we believe in the Lord Jesus, our sinfulness is imputed to Him and His righteousness imputed to us. That means we’re identified in Christ Jesus, as belonging to Him and being covered by His cleansing blood. Our sins are added to His account and His righteousness is credited to our account—the greatest and most gracious transfer in history!

It’s incredibly important that we make clear to the person we’re talking with that they are just like the rest of us, a sinner, and that they will be held accountable to Almighty, Holy God for their own personal sins. But it’s equally important that, alongside the wretchedness of sinners, we share the great and everlasting love that God has for us, demonstrated through Christ Jesus.

I have loved you with an everlasting love;

Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. | Jeremiah 31:3, NKJV

I have loved you with an everlasting love;

Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. | Romans 5:8, NKJV

Jesus’ sinless, perfect sacrifice on the cross redeems us from our sins when we trust in Him as Lord, but not only do we receive His forgiveness, we also have eternal life through His resurrection!

Christ defeated sin, death, hell, and Satan once for all. I love how Charles Spurgeon puts it in this poem inspired by 1 Corinthians 15:

He hell in hell laid low;
Made sin, He sin o’erthrew:
Bow’d to the grave, destroy’d it so,
And death, by dying, slew.
Lives again our glorious King!
Where, O death, is now thy sting?’
Once he died our souls to save;
‘Where’s thy victory, boasting grave?’

So wonderful! What a privilege and blessing it is to have our identity caught up in Christ the moment we surrender our sins and our lives to Him!

3. Point to our need for repentance and trust in the Savior

Understanding one’s personal sinfulness and eternal destination of hell along with Jesus’ identity and sacrifice on the cross is of no effect if it is only believed as a mere fact. Having the knowledge of these things and understanding them does nothing to save anyone.

It is true godly sorrow for one’s personal sins that works repentance that leads to salvation.

For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. | 2 Corinthians 7:10, NLT

It’s good that we share that all of us are sinners fallen from God’s grace and that none of us are good. But that is more of a general understanding and does little to address someone’s personal sins—it doesn’t speak directly to their conscience. And as the verse above clearly states, only those who are truly sorrowful over their sins will turn in repentance to the Lord Jesus.

For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. | John 6:44, NLT

And while only God can work repentance in someone’s heart and draw them to Himself, they need to hear the truth of His Word about how they have rebelled against Holy God and are lost in their sins, giving the Holy Spirit an opportunity to speak to their conscience.

avoiding false conversion - 3 things to focus on when sharing the gospel

So when sharing the gospel message, we need to make it clear what the Bible says, that the wages of sin is death. We all die, and we all know that day is coming for us, but we don’t stop to think about why we all die. The Bible tells us why—that death is our wages. It’s what we’ve earned from our sins.

The fact that we die shows how very seriously God takes sin, that He’s given each of us the death sentence because of it!

But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. | Revelation 21:8, NKJV

This truth is horrifying! All of us are liars. All of us, if we reject Christ, are unbelieving. All of us are murderers at heart, having been angry and hated someone, having committed adultery in our hearts by looking with lust. All of us, without Jesus, are bound for the lake of fire—eternal death.

This is why repentance is necessary. Just believing that Jesus died on the cross doesn’t save—even the demons believe that.

It must be something that you decide to place your faith in, to trust in Jesus personally like you would trust a parachute to save you. If you were on a fiery plane 20,000 feet in the air, knowing you had to jump, you wouldn’t believe that a parachute could save you but then cast it aside, you would put it on and trust it with your life! In much the same way, we must “put on” the Lord Jesus, transferring our trust from ourselves to the Savior.

When sharing the gospel, we need to share exactly what happened on the cross—that just before Jesus died, He cried, “Finished!” That what He was saying was that, while we broke God’s law, Jesus paid the fine for us, and that is what happened on the cross!

Because Jesus took our sins upon Himself, shedding His life’s blood to pay our sin-debt in full. And because our debt has been paid, God can legally forgive us because Christ has paid the fine in our place.

When we have true sorrow for our sins, so much so that we repent and choose to turn from them—no longer living a life of lying, fornication, blasphemy, hatred, or putting other things or desires before god (that is, not just saying we’re sorry for our sins but continuing to live in sin like a hypocrite)—and place our faith in Christ as our Savior and Lord, our sins are imputed to Him and His righteousness is imputed to us.

Not only do we have to convey the truth about sin, hell, and Jesus’ death on the cross, we have to make it clear that just believing those truths as mere head knowledge will still leave an individual lost to hell.

Sorrowful repentance of sins is needed for forgiveness, and following after Jesus and making Him Lord over your life is the only true way to salvation and eternal life.

The gospel must be personal. It must address each individual’s conscience. So we do our part by sharing these 3 essential points when sharing the gospel message, and we pray and trust God to open the spiritual eyes of those we share with, that they would come to repentance and faith in Christ.

Final thoughts on points to focus on when sharing the gospel

I hope that looking at these 3 points we should focus on when sharing the gospel message has been helpful! False conversion is a silent epidemic in the church today, so we must be clear when we share with people how to be born again. Focusing on these 3 points will ensure that we’re not letting someone believe a false gospel that is based on facts alone nor feelings alone, but on God’s Word alone.

I’d like to give a shout out to Ray Comfort of Living Waters. His videos on YouTube of evangelism encounters have impacted my life so greatly for the better. Thank you for your service to the Shepherd and the sheep!

Free Prayer Board printable

Ever commit to pray for someone and forget to follow through? I’ve got the solution! Get the password for the library with the free Prayer Board printable here by filling out this form:

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