Using Steps to Peace with God

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1 Skill-Building Resources: Personal Evangelism Using Steps to Peace with God a guide for helping others find faith in christ But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you the reason for hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 PETER 3:15, NIV Steps to Peace With God Introduction Always be prepared to give an answer God called us to make a difference, to be salt and light, in the world around us. If we are not, we are missing what God has for us. The Gospel tract Steps to Peace with God has been used by Christians throughout the world to lead people to salvation. The following is an instructional guide to help you effectively use the Steps to Peace with God booklet as a witnessing tool. You will find insightful comments to coach you through a presentation of the Gospel, including page-by-page dialogue boxes showing what an actual conversation would look like. Very few people have the spiritual gift of evangelism, but we can all be fearless and effective evangelizers using this tool. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord Your own life is a great part of your witness.the apostle Paul wrote that we are God s letters (2 Corinthians 2:2, 3); to be read by everyone. You don t have to be perfect for God to use you, but your life should reflect a heart that has set apart Christ as Lord. Others will notice and respond to the Christ-likeness they see in you. Every Christian can build bridges of friendship that may lead to opportunities to share the Good News about Jesus Christ, and earn you the right to be heard when you give an answer to everyone who asks the reason for hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect Remember, you are presenting the living person of Jesus Christ not a formula, outline, or theological system. Each of us was born with a Godshaped hole in our heart that can only be filled by a relationship with Jesus Christ. The people we encounter as we work, live, shop, go to school, etc., are often searching for answers and for someone who cares. It is your job to introduce your listener to Jesus and to help him or her enter into a relationship with Christ. As you prayerfully seek to engage someone in conversation about their faith, remember to let Christ s love and joy be evident in you even before you speak. Smile, be personable, make eye contact, and give your listener your full attention! Make every effort to keep him or her actively engaged as you use the Steps to Peace with God booklet as a focal point between you. tab 7 page 1

2 dialogue: introduction Some possible conversation starters: Have you ever seen this booklet? Have you ever thought about how to have peace with God? What is your religious background? Do you ever think about spiritual things? God knows everything about you. He loves you and wants to have a relationship with you The whole world is looking for peace. The Bible teaches that a person can have peace with God. Billy Graham has explained how in four steps that are easy to understand. Let s look at these together. STEP ONE GOD S PURPOSE: PEACE AND LIFE A helpful insight from Billy Graham in witnessing to others is this: always turn to Scripture as your authority. The Holy Scripture is the authority that testifies to the Peace and Life that all people inherently need. As you share this booklet with your listener, read (or have the individual read) each Scripture passage, beginning with Step One. Personalize John 3:16 (and other verses as you feel led) by inserting the listener s name into the passage. dialogue: step one god s purpose God loves you, and He wants you to experience peace and a life that is both abundant and eternal. The Bible says, We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible also says that God loves us (lets read this together), For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Are you familiar with that verse? I want to read this a little bit differently so you can see that God, in His Word, wrote this for you. For God so loved [name] that he gave his one and only Son, that if [name] believes in him [name] shall not perish but have eternal life. That s really a tremendous promise, isn t it, [name]? So God wants us to have peace, He wants us to have eternal life, and He loves us. The next verse tells us that He wants us to have an abundant life. Let s read what His Son, Jesus Christ, said: I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. If all of that is true, then why is it that most people do not have this peace and abundant life that God planned for us to have?* *Always respond in an encouraging way to any responses that are given. Use phrases like, That is a very thoughtful answer or, That is a very interesting perspective, now let s see what the Bible has to say. The goal is to bridge beyond what they say and direct them back to Scripture. tab 7 page 2

3 STEP TWO THE PROBLEM Be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. You may need to take time here to ensure the listener has a basic understanding of the concept of sin and be prepared, if necessary, to briefly share how Adam and Eve chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden. dialogue: step two the problem: our separation There is a problem that keeps us from God s purpose: we are separated from Him as a result of choices that we make. God created us in His own image to have an abundant life through our relationship with Him, but He did not make us as robots to automatically love and obey Him. God gave us a will, an independent spirit, and the freedom of choice. We chose to disobey God and go our own willful and selfish way. This side of our nature is called sin, and it separates us from God. Sin can be expressed as a thought, an act, a failure to act, or an attitude, but sin is really something deeper than any of that. Sin is a condition that causes these things. So on one side, we see that God is holy that means He doesn t do anything wrong and He does everything that is right. On the other side we see people, and we are sinners that means we don t always do the right thing and sometimes we do things that are wrong. And because of our choices we are separated from God. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We have all fallen short of His standard. Now the standard is not me, it is not you, it is not your friend down the street, but it is God s standard. Because we have fallen short, there is a penalty, For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. So, How do we get to God? While pointing to the illustration, give examples of some of the ways people try to reach God. dialogue: step two our attempts to reach god People try to reach God to bridge this gap between themselves and God in many ways. They try good works giving time or money to help others. They try religion observing a certain set of actions, like going to church, or restrictions, like what they eat or wear. They try morality being honest and not hurting others. They try philosophy pursuing knowledge and wisdom. People try to fill in the gap with a lot of things work, possessions, pleasure, relationships. Some of the things we try are destructive, and none of them work. All of the man-made bridges we construct to try to reach a holy God will always fall short. Let s read this verse, There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. You may be doing the best I can, but it s not about that. This next verse says, but your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. It sounds hopeless; but look, no bridge reaches God... except one tab 7 page 3

4 STEP THREE GOD S BRIDGE: THE CROSS Plan to have multiple copies of the Steps to Peace with God booklet with you so that you can leave this copy with the individual. Use every opportunity to personalize it for them: write their name on it, have them circle certain words in the Scriptures, pencil in their name in place of words such as you, us, our etc. People are very visual, so if you share the Gospel without a copy of Steps to Peace with God, draw your own simple diagrams as you go through the steps and verses. Just start with two rectangles, separated by a gap, and the words People and God. At this or some other point in the presentation of the Gospel, the person you are speaking to may raise questions. Don t be discouraged or distracted by tough questions. Instead, acknowledge the questions by asking their permission to deal with the questions later, after you have finished sharing the entire booklet with them. Their questions and concerns will often have been answered by then, or may no longer be an issue. You might say, That is a good question. It is one that I have /have not thought about. I would like to come back to that in a few minutes, after we finish looking at this material. dialogue: step three god s bridge: the cross Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the grave; He paid the penalty for our sin and bridged the gap between God and people. So God did something for us that we couldn t do for ourselves. We could not build a bridge that could reach Him, but He could. He did it by coming to earth as a man and as God the God-man, Jesus Christ. And on the cross, Jesus took our sin my sin for the whole world, and He paid for it. He took our wages for sin our penalty and paid it for us. And, He rose again from the grave, making a way to God open. Look at that diagram a huge difference not our puny bridges, but Christ on the cross for us. Let s read this verse, For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. You see He had to be both God and man in order to die on the cross for the sins of mankind. Why did He do it? To bring us to God. Let s read the next verse, For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. The way is open. Why did He do it? Because of His love, But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. So, God has provided the only way, but, you know what? Each person has to make a choice. What do you think that choice is? tab 7 page 4

5 STEP FOUR OUR RESPONSE: RECEIVE CHRIST Through the first three steps, you have allowed Scripture to be the authority and through it the Gospel has been made clear. Now, simply help them to make that step of faith. A great verse regarding trust is John 14:1, where Jesus says, Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in God; trust also in me. It requires some faith to step out onto the bridge Christ has designed to help us restore our relationship with God. dialogue: step four our response: receive christ We must choose to trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and receive Him by personal invitation. He wants to come into our life, but He is not going to force His way in. Let s read these verses, Here I am, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me. That relationship that you have always wanted is just outside the door, but you have got to open the door, and you have to receive Christ. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. If we will only receive what He did for us on the Cross A bridge is a wonderful thing, but if you don t step out on it, it will never take you where you want to go. So it requires some faith, doesn t it? If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. That is God s promise to you today. So the question comes, where are you in relation to God s bridge? Are you on this side (people / sin) or God s side? You may want to draw a dotted line, vertically, through the center of the bridge, or point to the spots on either side of the top of the cross, to signify that there is no middle ground you are either on one side or the other and ask the individual to make a mark showing where they are. Individuals may become very vulnerable here as they realize they are not on God s side. Stress the love of God. God s love for them, rather than their own sinfulness, should be the starting point from which you approach people. We must admit that we are sinners and we all need the Savior for cleansing and forgiveness; but it is best to present the love of God before the judgment of God. Encourage them that this is the first step in something very positive. Show this as an opportunity for God to pick you up right where you are now, and move you across the bridge and into a relationship with Him. tab 7 page 5

6 dialogue: will you receive christ right now? Are you realizing that you ve been building your own bridge? Would you like to invite Christ into your life as Lord and Savior and trust in God s bridge instead? Here is how you can receive Christ: 1. Admit your spiritual need. (I am a sinner.) 2. Be willing to turn from your sins (repent). 3. Believe that Jesus Christ died for us on the Cross and rose from the grave and that God accepted Christ s death and resurrection as the perfect payment for our sin problem. 4. Finally, and most importantly, through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to come in and control your life through the Holy Spirit. (Receive Him as Lord and Savior.) The Bible tells us that when we make this commitment, we become a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and a part of His family (John 1:12). Jesus becomes our representative before God. Will you turn from your bridge and step out on the cross and trust in what Jesus Christ did on the cross for you right now with everything you have and everything you are? Will you pray this simple prayer with me?* *If your listener is willing, lead him or her in this simple prayer, then rejoice with and encourage them as you lead them to Scriptures which give assurance of God s promises regarding their decision (see next page). Encourage them to make note of today s date as well, as this is a day they will want to remember! It may be that your listener is not yet willing, or has questions which have not yet been resolved. In anticipation of some of the questions or concerns that may be raised, some sample questions, statements, and responses have been included at the end of this material. dialogue: how to pray Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior. In Your name. Amen. tab 7 page 6

7 STEP FOUR GOD S ASSURANCE: HIS WORD dialogue: god s assurance: his word If you prayed that prayer and sincerely asked Jesus Christ to come into your life, do you think God heard? You better believe it! That s the prayer He always, always responds to. The Bible says, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13). That s God s promise! Where is He right now? (In my heart.) What has He given to you? (Eternal life.) And you know that what you have been given is a gift, received by grace. The Bible says, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). That verse tells me this, if salvation depended even one percent on me, I might always have doubts. But because it is all of Him, I can be sure totally sure. Why? It is not because of me. It s not even my faith. It says He even gives me the faith. It is because of what He has done. And because of that I can be sure. The next verse tells us that whoever has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 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 5:12-13). Receiving Christ, we are born into God s family through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit who indwells every believer. This is called regeneration, or the new birth. You are a new creation! Rejoice with them! This is also the time to ask if their earlier questions have been resolved, as you said you would. (See possible questions, statements, and responses at the end of this material.) After any questions have been answered, take the time to make suggestions and to help them start their new life in Christ by going over the back panel of the tract, This is just the beginning. dialogue: god s assurance (continued) If you sincerely prayed to ask Christ into your heart and life as Lord and Savior, this is just the beginning of a wonderful new life in Christ! When you start any new relationship you do things to help you get to know that person better. Your relationship with Christ is no different there are things you will want to do to deepen your relationship with Him. We will go over some of those in just a minute. But first, are there any questions that came to you while we were talking that you are still unsure about? tab 7 page 7

8 Steps to Peace with God : A Guide for Helping Others find Faith in Christ (continued) dialogue: this is just the beginning Now let s talk about some things that will really help you in your new life in Christ. You should: 1. Read your Bible every day to know Christ better. You ll learn more about Him through what He says, what He does, and what His friends say about Him. 2. Talk to God in prayer every day. Set aside a little time every day (morning if you can) to spend with God. Have conversations with God! Thank Him for coming into your life (perhaps spend a few minutes listening to songs that praise God). Tell Him about your hopes and your struggles. Ask Him to help you understand what you are reading or hearing about Him. Most importantly, take time to listen! When we are quiet and still and focus on His Word and His character, what we learn can help us make decisions and bring about changes in our lives. 3. Tell others about Christ. This is too good to keep to yourself! 4. Worship, fellowship, and serve with other Christians in a church where Christ is preached. This is very important! A church family can help us learn more about God, encourage us when we experience hard times or doubts, and help us discover and use the special talents (gifts) God has equipped us with. 5. As Christ s representative in a needy world, demonstrate your new life by your love and concern for others. Friends will begin to see the difference Christ is making in you, strangers will see that you are different from the world. Be ready to give them all a reason for the hope that you have within you. Do you have any other questions for me now? May I pray for you before we go? Offer a simple prayer of thanksgiving for this new life in Christ. If appropriate, offer specific information or invitations that might help this individual join into fellowship with other believers or begin a discipleship/mentoring relationship. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association offers free resources to help individuals start their new life in Christ. Please contact them at GRAHAM or visit tab 7 page 8

9 Steps to Peace with God : A Guide for Helping Others find Faith in Christ (continued) QUESTIONS OR ASSUMPTIONS YOU MAY ENCOUNTER A word of caution as you honor your promise to address questions or concerns: Keep it simple. Don t make the mistake of thinking that you have to prove the Gospel or create an intellectual argument to impress people. The apostle Paul stayed with the simplicity of the Gospel, and God blessed his work tremendously. When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:1 2). I grew up in church my parents were Christians I ve always been a Christian. It doesn t work that way. We each have to make a decision for ourselves. We have got to step out on God s bridge personally and receive Jesus Christ. Have you done that? It is possible to forget the day, time, and hour but if it did not change your life enough that you know you have done it, you need to get it settled today. I am a good person In your heart you are saying that you are building your own bridge. Do you want to put your trust in what you may be able to do, or in what Christ has already done? You have got to admit your need. If you are still building that bridge and you think, I am doing just fine, you will never come to Him. But today if you would say, I know my bridge is not going to make it. and you say, I am a sinner, He will meet your need. Why must I pray a prayer?... Is there something magical about this prayer? Praying a prayer doesn t make you a Christian, but it is a great way of expressing to God the attitude of your heart. It shows God that you believe enough to step out with everything you have and trust in His bridge. Christ said, I stand at the door, and knock: if anyone hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in (Revelation 3:20). This prayer is your invitation to Christ to come in and become Savior and Lord of your life. I have to change things in my life first then I can ask God to accept me. Remember that the Bible says that while were still sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Christ knows all that you have ever thought or done, and yet, knowing that, He died for you. Every person who comes to Christ, comes with sin in their life some may be more hidden than others, but it is there in everyone s life. It was certainly there in mine. There isn t anyone who could ever get it together enough to deserve a relationship with God. God is Holy; we are not. The only One who can approach God without sin is Christ. And Christ made the decision, over two thousand years ago, to take on our sins so that we can be clean before God. No matter how hard you try, you can t earn what God is offering you for free. tab 7 page 9

10 Steps to Peace with God : A Guide for Helping Others find Faith in Christ (continued) I don t know if I can give up certain things. There are all kinds of things in our lives that we know in our hearts are wrong some that we just don t want to give up, and some that have a hold on us that we don t have the strength to break. The Bible promises that when Christ is in us, old things pass away and we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). You must be willing to turn from your sin; willing to turn away from the bridge you ve been building and step out onto God s bridge believing that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins and rose from the grave for you. Think about it if you say, Lord if you will help me, I want to turn away from the things that are wrong in my life, you ll be asking for help from Someone who defeated death! I grew up in church I have known a lot of Christians and that is NOT the kind of person I want to be. It s important to understand that the choice God is asking you to make is something that is just between God and you. You are being asked to choose if you want to have a relationship with Him. We have talked a little about our sinful natures, and how only Christ never did anything that was sinful maybe that explains some of what you have witnessed in your past. But God is asking you now about your future. God isn t asking you to trust your future to anyone or anything other than His son, Jesus Christ. Are you going to trust Him? No. I m not ready now or No. That s fine for you, but I m just not interested. Is there anything that we have talked about today that is not clear? Do you have any questions about anything that I have said, or that you have read in this tract, that I can try to answer for you? Please keep this booklet. There is a number on the back that you can call if you decide you want to talk to someone. NOTE: If this is the answer you received today, don t be discouraged! We cannot convince anyone to accept Christ only the Holy Spirit can do that. Continue to pray for this person, that God will use your encounter with him or her today to plant or nourish a seed that will someday be ready for harvest! tab 7 page 10

11 Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Steps to Peace With God A Guide for Helping Others Find Faith in Christ Sharing these steps and Scriptures with others can help them begin a right relationship with Jesus Christ. Keep this guide in your Bible, purse, or car as a handy reference. Step 1: god s plan peace and life God loves you and wants you to experience His peace and life. The Bible says: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16, nkjv). Step 2: our problem separation Being at peace with God is not automatic, because by nature we are separated from God. The Bible says: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Step 3: god s remedy the cross God s love bridges the gap of separation between God and you. When Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the grave, He paid the penalty for your sins. The Bible says: [Jesus] Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness by whose stripes you were healed (1 Peter 2:24, nkjv). Step 4: our response receive christ You cross the bridge into God s family when you receive Christ by personal invitation. The Bible says: But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name (John 1:12, nkjv). to receive christ, you need to do four things: 1. Admit your spiritual need. I am a sinner. 2. Be willing to turn from your sins (repent). 3. Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross and rose from the grave. 4. Pray and invite Jesus Christ to come in and control your life through the Holy Spirit. (Receive Him as your Lord and Savior.) When you make this commitment, you become a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and a part of His family (John 1:12). Here is a suggested prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins. Please forgive me of my sins. I now invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior. If you ve made a new commitment to Christ or would like more information about our ministry, please call us at GRAHAM ( ) or visit our Web site, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC tab 7 page 11

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