We born again Christian believers have been given orders from the high command to: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
It is a high calling. Yet many of us find ourselves on the sidelines instead of the frontlines in the battle to win souls. No matter our reasons, whether it’s fear, inconvenience, or anything else, when circumstances do arise for us to present the good news of our salvation, what we say depends entirely upon the situation.
Whether it’s a family member, close friend, business acquaintance, or a total stranger, the Holy Spirit will lead you in your opening statement, if you will let Him. What follows is a list of potential conditions you may face, based upon the differences in knowledge, experience, and preconceived biases of the person you are witnessing to.
These are only a few suggestions dependent upon certain circumstances and it’s not meant to be exhaustive.
(1) If you are speaking with someone who seems bitter about the suffering in the world and they claim to have a hard time accepting a God who would allow so much evil to exist, then you can say the following:
As darkness is but the absence of light, so evil is but the absence of God. Have you ever heard of the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? The narrative of the story is the forbidden fruit which is usually depicted in illustrations as a woman named Eve standing next to an apple tree as a serpent speaks to her. In reality, the story is about freewill and mankind’s fall into sin. God gave Adam and Eve a command not to eat the fruit of a particular tree which God called “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:17).
God told Adam and Eve that they could freely eat from every tree in the garden except that one tree. The serpent, who was the devil, attempted to deceive Eve into breaking God’s commandment by eating the fruit of the forbidden tree in order for her to gain knowledge and become like God. It is clear that God gave Eve the freedom of choice. She chose to take the devil’s advice instead of obeying God.
Afterward, when Adam also chose to eat the same fruit, both Adam and Eve suffered the consequences of their disobedience to God. Ever since the Garden of Eden humankind has been acting according to freewill; reaping both good and bad consequences, depending upon the choices made. However, through it all, God has always been and always will be guarding and guiding those who accept His salvation and seek His protection.
(2) If you are speaking with someone who says too many “good” people suffer in the world, then you can say the following:
“As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). And, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Yet…
“Those who trust in the Lord are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever” (Psalm 125:1-2).
(3) If you are speaking with someone who says that they cannot believe in a God who created a place called hell, then you can say the following:
Yes indeed there is a place called hell which God prepared for the devil and his angels, the demons (Matthew 25:41). If anyone chooses to reject God they will join Satan in hell for eternity.
However, in light of the fact that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), it is very merciful that not one single person on earth has to go to hell. God has offered everyone the free gift of eternal life to anyone willing to enjoy the treasures and glory of heaven with Him.
“So that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:7-9).
It is only according to the choice of those reject God’s free offer of salvation that anyone has to spend eternity in hell.
(4) If you are speaking with someone who claims that they cannot worship God without proof that He exists, then you can say the following:
“Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). God has already provided evidence of His existence through His creation (Romans 1:20). Imagine a world without a caring Creator: Could DNA program itself without making mistakes? Do common animals like rabbits and squirrels look harmful? Are they harmful? What about animals like tigers and snakes? Don’t they look as harmful as they are?
What if songbirds flew at night and bats trilled soft melodies at noon? What if insects like spiders grew to the size of elephants? What if butterflies carried venom? What if wolves really did look like sheep? Has another planet with an atmosphere like earth’s ever been discovered? What if trees did not regenerate their fruit and chickens did not regenerate their eggs?
What if rain did not return back to the sky to bring life to the fields once again? What if fish did not replenish the oceans? Who feeds giant gorillas in the forest and big cats in the wilderness? Who gives great sight to eagles and provides refuge for their young? Order and balance in nature demonstrates the intelligent design of a thoughtful Creator.
When God walked among humans on the earth, even after seeing Him perform many miracles, many still rejected Him: “But though He (Jesus) had performed so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him” (John 12:37).
(5) If you are speaking with someone who claims that many paths lead to heaven and no one group has the right to exclusively claim that their “religion” is the only path to heaven, you can say the following:
There can only be one God the Father and “He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16). It is not God’s fault that people around the world have created their own gods and ignored Him. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).
And to all you can say:
If you are ashamed of your own sin then repent and ask God to forgive you and believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins and that He is risen and alive today.
“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).