Over the last few weeks we’ve discussed the task of evangelism, why followers of Christ should participate, tools God has given us, and how to deal with problems that might keep us from doing it. However, the big question is, “What does a gospel conversation actually look like?” Today we will take a look at an example dialogue.
A great model for this task comes from Jesus in John 4. Jesus speaks with a woman of Samaria. The basic structure he uses is 1) Begin a conversation about ordinary things (Jesus asks the woman for a drink of water). 2) Move the conversation to spiritual matters (Jesus tells the woman about ‘living water’). 3) Use the law to reveal sin (Jesus asks the woman to call her husband, bringing to light her sin) 4) Share the good news that Jesus paid the price for sinners (Jesus reveals that He is the long-awaited Messiah).
The following dialogue is fictional; however it is based on many conversations I have personally had over the years. The dialogue is not intended to be a script to memorize; rather, to show what a conversation about spiritual matters looks like. “Chris” is the Christian and “Norm” is his unbelieving friend. They’ve just finished watching a movie.
Chris: What did you think of the film?
Norm: It was alright. I don’t buy the ending. Why do filmmakers always feel like they have to have a happy ending?
Chris: Doesn’t everyone like “they all lived happily ever after?”
Norm: Yeah, I guess so, but it just isn’t very realistic.
Chris: I think that’s kind of the point. We already deal with so much garbage in the world that sometimes people just want to escape.
Norm: If only it was true though, right? If only we could live “happily ever after…”
Chris: We can.
Norm: What do you mean?
Chris: Well, take this movie for instance. The couple ends up happy, right?
Norm: Yeah, so?
Chris: What happens when one of them gets cancer and dies? They’re happy now, but the fact still remains that terrible things happen in this world and eventually everyone dies.
Norm: So… how can you live “happily ever after?” You’re going to die someday.
Chris: Because I know that death is not the end of the story.
Norm: Okay, so we all go to heaven when we die. Yay! I’m looking forward to floating on a cloud.
Chris: Yeah, cartoons have really given us a bad picture of heaven and eternity.
Norm: What, no sitting on clouds?
Chris: Let’s just say, it’s much better than sitting on clouds. But more importantly, no, not everyone goes to heaven.
Norm: What do you mean?
Chris: Well, God has a standard and if we don’t meet His standard then we don’t make it to heaven. Think of taking your car to emissions. If you don’t meet the standards, you don’t pass.
Norm: Okay, so what are God’s standards?
Chris: Would you consider yourself a good person, Norm?
Norm: Sure, I’m not that bad. I give to charity and I’ve never cheated on my taxes.
Chris: Okay, let’s use God’s standard to test if that’s true or not. Would you like to?
Norm: Sure, what do I got to lose?
Chris: Norm, the Bible says “you shall not bear false witness.” Have you ever told a lie?
Norm: Sure, who hasn’t?
Chris: What do you call someone who tells lies?
Norm: A liar.
Chris: The Bible says “you shall not steal.” Have you ever stolen anything?
Norm: When I was younger.
Chris: Which would make you…
Norm: A thief, I guess.
Chris: The Bible says “you shall not commit adultery.”
Norm: Ah, I got this one! I’ve never cheated on Sally.
Chris: Good, glad to hear it. However, Jesus says that if you even look at a woman with lust, you’ve already committed adultery in your heart. Have you ever done that?
Norm: I guess you got me.
Chris: So Norm, according to your own admission, you are a lying, thieving, adulterer at heart. And that’s only 3 of the 10 commandments. So if God’s has to pass judgment on you according to this standard, would you be innocent or guilty?
Norm: I suppose I would be guilty.
Chris: So what would be the sentence, Heaven or Hell?
Chris: Does that concern you?
Norm: I guess I never thought about it before.
Chris: You see, Norm, God created us, He provides for us daily, and yet we sin against Him constantly. But God provided a way for us to be forgiven. Do you know what He did for us?
Norm: No, what?
Chris: God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ, He lived a perfect life, and died a sacrificial death. When we believe in Jesus and what He did for us on the cross we can be certain that our sins are forgiven. Think about it this way, it’s like you owe a huge fine in court, there is no way you could ever pay, so you’re going to jail. Just as the judge is about to sentence you, someone comes into the courthouse and pays the fine for you. That’s what Jesus was doing on the cross. We broke God’s law, so we should have been the ones to pay for it forever in Hell. However, Jesus loves His people so much that He suffered in their place so that they wouldn’t have to, He took our punishment.
Norm: That’s… amazing. What should I do?
Chris: I’m glad you asked, Norm. Repent of your sin– that means turn away from it–and turn to Christ alone. Trust and believe that when Jesus was on that cross He was dying for you. It’s done with a simple prayer. Call out to God, Norm, ask Him to save you. He will never let you down. That’s the only way we can truly have a “happily ever after.”
By Pastor Nick Jones
Maranatha Baptist Church
1320 E. Saguaro Dr. Globe, AZ