Biblical Witnessing and Evangelism Courses Part 2
Table of Contents
- Session 2 – The 2nd Key to Evangelism: Lifting the Veil
The 2nd Key to Evangelism: Lifting the Veil
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. – 2 Corin 3.18
As a person understand they are under the law, they have remaining on their hearts the veil of ignorance (2 Corin 3.14-15). When a person truly turns to Christ, the veil is lifted and they are changed from one degree of glory to another (2 Corin 3.15-17). This is the purpose of preaching and witnessing is to change the people we speak to, to be more like Christ, and so they are changed from glory to glory.
Many preachers turn the call to the gospel into a selfish appeal to the sinful human nature, appealing to the appetites of the carnal nature. Even the appeal to a persons desire to go to heaven can become an appeal to the selfish desires of a human heart. Many people come to God so they can obtain heaven, worldly riches, and live in peace and joy forever. They come to God selfishly to get the best out of a situation, rather then come to God because they love Him and because He alone is glorious & worthy.
People may first come to God because they have a need or are looking for contentment or salvation from their sins, they are saved when they put their trust and faith in Jesus (Rom 10.9). Although faith is a lifelong walk with God, the Bible tells us some turn away because of their own selfish hearts still seeking to satisfy their own desires (Matt 13).
Look back at the parable of the sower, some of those who understood and turned away, lost faith because of their desires for the things of this world. People take pleasure more in the things of this world then in God. Jesus said wherever you make into your treasure, or whatever is your personal treasure, there your heart will be also. We have the choice to make whatever we want into our greatest treasure; Money, power, our families, or God.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matt 6.21
God wants us to treasure Him above all things. He is infinite and gave us all that we have, He is infinitely worthy of our affection and the treasuring of our hearts above all things. Everything created is finite and pales in comparison to the affection we should have for the Creator.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. – Phil 1.21
After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” – Gen 15.1
You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, – Ex 20.5
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14.26
This understanding should be implemented when we share God’s word with others. It is critical to have those whom we desire to be saved to ‘come to God’ and desire Him, to know Him, to trust in Him.
“Jesus died for us so that we may be with Him in heaven. God created the entire universe, He moves galaxies with His fingertips and spoke the fabric of time into existence!”
“He wants us to have a deep intimate relationship with Him, so that we may walk with Him in our lives, and desire nothing besides Him.”
“Every time we have our sinfulness revealed it should cause us to run deeper into the arms of our Savior because we love Him so much we just want to draw closer to Him and away from anything that is contrary to Him.”
Unbelievers Are Blind
Would you make fun or get frustrated at a man that cannot see while he stumbles around knocking stuff over? no that is absurd, he CANNOT SEE, we are supposed to help those whom are blind to come into the light!
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25. correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26. and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. – 2 Tim 2.24-26
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. – John 3.3
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. – 2 Corin 4.4
They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. – Ephesians 4.18
burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. – 2 Timothy 3.7
Questions / Discussion
- How does God lift the veil in an unbelievers heart?
- What happens when we behold God’s glory?
- Why are unbelievers blind?
- Just because you learn about something does that mean you understand the truth about it?
Course 2.1 – The Sinners Conscience : The Witness’s Ally
Sinner: “Are you trying to make me feel guilty? “
Witness: “No, I’m just trying to show you that you are already guilty!”
The very definition of conscience comes from two Greek words ‘con’ meaning ‘with’ and ‘science’ meaning ‘knowledge’. The very term conscience means that we are already ‘with knowledge’ about moral right and wrong, it is programmed into us. Whenever a sinner feels guilty about their sin its because their conscience is telling them that they are guilty. This is also the reason why people get offended and angry because they know their conscience is bearing witness to their own wrong doing! The guilt we feel when we are doing something wrong, comes from our conscience, which was given to each of us by God.
They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them – Rom 2.15
At the heart of the enemies of God (sinners) is the very ally of the Christian witness, the persons conscience. This is the very human attribute we appeal to when we confront someone to show them their crimes against a Holy and Perfect God. People prefer to live in darkness concerning their conscience, rather than seek out in repentance to the very things that their conscience bears witness of. The darkness shrouds their lives and allows them to believe they can continue in the pleasures of their sinful flesh without being noticed.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. – John 3.18
But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, – Eph 5.13
The Seared conscience
Unfortunately in today society, and throughout the world many sear their own conscience so the sting of their guilt has little or no effect. As long as their conscience is seared the guilt of their crimes against God will continue to be softened. By living a continual lifestyle or making any sin a person habit, they have justified themselves so much, that in time, they actually believe what they are doing is alright, or isn’t really even a moral sin anymore.
Through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared – 1 Tim 4.2
Although this is true, there is no escaping the 10 commandments that destroys any and every self justification and leaves the sinner guilty before God. A person conscience is independent of their sin loving will. Every person that thinks they are good will have revealed in their hearts the truth of their sinful in their flesh and the fact they must be totally dependant on the Savior for salvation. In other words it all comes down to this, when God’s LAW is preached, a persons CONSCIENCE affirms its TRUTH! Never forget that the sinners conscience is your ally.
Questions / Discussion:
- What affirms God’s law in our hearts
- Who experiences a guilty conscience?
- What is a seared conscience?
- Is it possible to reverse a damaged and seared conscience?
When once God the Holy Spirit applies the law to the conscience, secret sins are dragged into the light, little sins are magnified t o their true size, and things apparently harmless before become exceedingly sinful.
Before that dread searcher of the hearts and trier of the reins makes His entrance into the soul, it appears righteous, just, lovely and holy; but when He reveals the hidden evils, the scene changed. Offenses which were once styled peccadilloes, trifle, freaks of youth, follies, indulgences, little slips, etc. then appear in the full color, as breaches of God, deserving condign punishment. – Charles Spurgeon
Course 2.2 – The Necessity for Repentance
In the Hebrew the word for repentance is ‘nacham’ which means to change your mind about something or to be sorry. In the Greek it is ‘metanoeo’ which means to think differently or reconsider. Repentance simply means to turn away from sin and turn towards God. God commands us to turn towards the Savior and repent of our sins. We are to forsake a life of sinfulness and turn to a life of Godliness. A life that involves God, trusting in Him.
The Bible warns against those who continue on a path of sinful living, even many who believed they where saved because they did so many good deeds, will be surprised on judgment day because they where ‘workers of iniquity’ whom ‘did not depart from their sins’.
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. – Matt 7.21
A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. – Matt 7.18
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20. idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21. envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. – Gal 5.19-21
Repentance is a daily and moment to moment choice to not follow the temptations of sin, and to follow God’s way. It is also the choice you are asking someone to make when you tell sinners about asking for forgiveness stand up and walk with God in obedience for the rest of their life. Repentance is about choosing the path of becoming obedient to God, bringing someone to desire to change their mind to desire God’s ways and turning away from a sinful lifestyle.
Mankind’s Depravity & Sinful Nature
Contrary to the majority of mankind’s believe, people are not good, in fact there is only one who is good and that is God! (Luke 18.19) God alone is good, and He is the definition of all goodness.
Everything good comes from God alone (James 1.17). Everything that is good, is of God, and anything that is not from of God CANNOT be good, but is sin. Man has a sinful nature and the only part of man that can be good is when God the Holy Spirit is dwelling inside of him. Man is full of sinful wickedness and selfish lusts and desires. This is our sin nature (Rom 7.14-25) also known as depravity which is true of every person from birth:
- We are void of any original righteousness. (Ps 51.5)
- We do not possess any holy affection for God (Rom 1.25; Rom 3.10; 2 Tim 3.2-4)
- All the sins and defilements of men come from his own heart (Mark 7.15, 21-23)
- We are biased towards evil (Gen 6.5; John 3.17)
Christians Are Still Fallen Creatures, but Repent… Daily!
As Christians, some get the impression and believe we have to live up to the standard of holiness. This is of course the goal, to live a holy life, because it pleases us to be like the Father; but we still fail, mess up, repent and get back on track. The Christians life is not about keeping the 10 commandments, they just prove we cannot make it without God, no one will ever keep the 10 commandment. The best Christian will fail daily to keep all 10 of them!
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. – 1 John 1.8
True Christians understand and see the great amount of wickedness in their hearts, THAT is why they run and cling to the Savior, and He helps us come to repent of the evil in our hearts and get back on track doing the things that please God. The apostle Paul even said he was the chief of all sinner and daily he did the things he did not desire to do:
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. – 1 Timothy 1.15
Christians life is about asking the question “How close can I draw to the Savior, my God?” and “How can I fall more in love my God my King!.” Its all about a relationship with our God and being with Him now and forever. It is from this love we desire to be obedient and to please or Heavenly Father because we love Him!
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. – 1 John 4.20
This what it means when it says that believers are no longer under law but under grace. We have complete freedom to do all things good! We do not keep the law, nor can we; we have the Holy Spirit in our lives to guide us in holiness and a real relationship with God to lead us to Him daily.
Contrition and Repentance
God desires us to have a heart like His, to break at the though of evil and sin, and be sorrowful (contrite) over the depression it causes because it is against God’s ways. Repentance it the next step to actually forsake the path of sin and ‘turn away’ from it.
Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; 2. but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. – Isa 59.1-2
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. – Isa 57.15
When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.” – Acts 11.18
Call Sinners to Repentance
If someone is going to truly come to God and say their believe in Him, how can they continue on the path of sin? Sin is contract to God, so if they continue to walk on that path it means they are actually trusting in sin and not in God. If you really trust God you will be obedient to Him because you know He has the best intentions for you, and is able to give you the greatest joy in life by being with Him! You cannot partake of both the take of God and the table of sin, you must choose with every decision in your life what you are going to trust in.
You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. – 1 Corin 10.21-22
So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. – Mark 6.12
And that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. – Luke 24.47
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. – Acts 2.38
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, – Acts 17.30
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. – 2 Peter 3.9
Horizontal & Vertical Sin
This is a reference to the direction of offense when we commit a sin. Horizontal sins are against the people around us that we hurt or are effected by our wrong doing. Vertical sins are sins against God and His purposes for things in this world. However we find that all sin is actually primarily, and first against God.
Offense to God
Offense to People <——— SIN ———>
We must get the sinner to realize he has sinned against God, that every sin he does is a direct offense against God and His purposes on earth. A sinners crimes against people are primarily an offense to God first. As we see throughout scripture when men of God where tempted or sinned, they realized it was against God primarily:
Joseph when tempted to have sex with Potifers wife said “how can i do this against God” – Gen 39.9
King David when he killed and innocent man and slept with his wife said ” I have sinned against God.” – Sam
The Prodigal son said “I have sinned against heaven.” – Luke 15.21
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. – Psalms 51.4
People must come to the understanding that when they sin, it is God whom they sin against, it is God whom they have offended and His law they have broken, and it is to God whom they must come to ask for forgiveness. People think they have offended or only hurt other people, they never realize that it directly effects God and stirs up his anger and sorrow, whatever you do to the least of people, you have done unto God:
I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43. I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’44. Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45. Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ – Matthew 25.42-45
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. – 1 John 4.20
Questions / Discussion
- What is repentance?
- What is the importance of repentance?
- do Christians still need to repent after being saved?
Course 2.3 – Witnessing Jesus’ Way
“Before I preach love mercy and grace, I must preach sin, law and judgment” – John Wesley
Lets breakdown how to witness to someone Jesus’ way by examining how he approached the woman at the well in John chapter 4. This of course is not the only way to witness, nor is it Jesus only way (as he had many), but it is a good lesson to remember on how to learn to witness to strangers or acquaintances.
Step 1 – One or Many – Personal or Open Forum (John 4 v.7)
In many instances we find Jesus speaking to people either in a group setting or to people one on one in a personal private setting. In this verse we see him approaching the woman in a private personal setting to speak to her one on one. When we witness, we can typically get a more open and honest opinion from an individual when we talk to them one on one because they don’t feel the pressure of their friends or family around them. People who are alone sometimes appreciate the brief company to pass the time, so it also makes a nice benefit to meet and witness to those you find sitting alone or whom appear to be bored!
Step 2 – Relate Naturally (v.7)
When Jesus begins to speak to this woman He didn’t immediately begin talking scripture to her, he relates to her about something in the natural word, get a conversation going, in this instance it was the water. The Bible teaches us the natural man (unspiritual) receives not the things of the Spirit of God (1 Corin 2.14). It is good when we are able to speak to someone about something they can relate to:
- Is the person a technician or engineer, start by talking about the wonders of design.
- Is the person a waiter, talk to them about service
- is the person a teacher, talk to them about teaching.
It not difficult to strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know about natural things “good morning,” or “”beautiful day we are having.”
Step 3 – Bring up the Spiritual – Open up Spiritual Opportunity (v.10)
Jesus goes from talking about physical things, right into talking about spiritual things. He simply mentioned the things of God (specifically the gift of God), and the woman responded. This is the part of witnessing that take courage and ‘the lead of faith.’ You can begin by beginning to talk about church, or ask if the person believes in God. You may also wish to just hand them a gospel tract and ask “did you get one of these?”
Every person is different, and will respond differently all the way from being very positive and open to very closed and hard hearted. You have no idea what kind of background this person comes from, but remember we are to be the light of the world and seek to save that which is lost. (Matt 5.14 ; Luke 19.10) Regardless of the response, either positive or negative you can go right into to next step:
Step 4 – Bring the Knowledge of Sin – The Law (v.16-18)
Jesus continued their conversation be convicting her of her sins, by revealing the adulteries in her heart. She was an adulteress that had five husbands and was currently with a man that was not her husband. Just as we are told in Romans (3.19,20) the law brings the knowledge of sin. At this point we can go through the 10 commandments and reveal that they are a sinner and have broken God’s Divine Holy commandments and deserves Hell as punishment.
We can ask questions like “do you think you have kept the 10 commandments?” most people think they have so it is easy at this point to reveal to them there is no one good, only God is good and that we are all sinners.
Their conscience will bear witness to them that they are guilt of being a criminal before God who has broken all of His commandments (Rom 2.15.) “If God judged you on the day of judgment would you be innocent or guilty?” Everyone needs to come to a place of contrition in their hearts where they know they are guilty criminals before God, and they are wicked sinner who need to cling to a Savior until they die!
If the person you are witnessing says “I know in guilty but I’m still gong to heaven,” they usually say this because they still believe they are good enough for heaven, or that God is an all loving God that doesn’t punish sins. Point out that if a good judge would make sure that a criminal get a just punishment for his crimes, so will the just and righteous God on the day of judgment.
If the person your witnessing to says they know they are going to hell, but doesn’t really care, point out the fact he values his body parts more then his souls which should be valued above everything else, and that he WILL care on the day of his death.
Would you see 1 eye for $1 million dollars? many would say ‘yes’; Now would you sell both eyes for $2 million dollars? (or even a $1 billion) No one would, why, because they value their sight more than money no matter how much you would give them!
Step 5 – Reveal the Glory of God – Treasure God (v.22-26)
If a person humbles themselves before God, they are ready for His grace. If they continue to harden their hearts they remain prideful and puffed up in God’s sight, it will only lead to their condemnation. Share with them God’s love and mercy and grace, but coming to God isn’t about selfish gain or to appeal to their carnal worldly needs.
Living for God is about treasuring Him above all things and seeking His face. To seek after God is to forsake everything else in your life (Matt 19.28; Luke 14.27-28). It is to be totally dependent on God for everything and longing for Him above everything, the giver of every good and right thing.
Reveal to them how to walk with God in obedience and the purpose of life is to have a relationship with God. If you really believe God exists and He rewards those who seek him, of course you will be obedient to Him out of faith! (Heb 11.6) Encourage them to read their Bible at home, and to pray and seek fellowship to draw closer to God.
- Relationship With God
- Treasure God
- Take Pleasure in God above everything
- Depend and be desperate for God and realize He is the all sufficient supplier of all your needs
More then a need for obedient children, or a working marriage, more then the need to stable finances, more then the need for healing over sickness, everyone needs God, the all sufficient supplier and wise God in our lives. He know which lives to take and change for the purpose of His eternal kingdom to bring souls into His light. God knows how to take care of us.
This is why the gospel is not about our carnal natural sinful selfish desires, because we are to be dependent on God and delight in Him above everything, and rely on Him for everything in our lives. When we are transformed by His spirit our desires are changed and we delight in Him above everything else, it is our pleasure and highest joy to be obedient to Him.
Questions / Discussion
- What is one way Jesus share the gospel with others?
- What elements should you incorporate when sharing God’s word with someone?
- Is it wrong to selfishly desire & treasure God above all things?
Course 2.4 – Leading a New Convert
There is valid evidence in scripture as many faithful preachers point out that when you present the truth to someone and they are born spiritually, it is similar to a natural birth (John 3). When someone is being born in the physical world, the doctor just needs to guide the head and the person is born. We simply need to do the same thing spiritually and guide ‘the head.’ make sure the person understand what they have heard/ read. We see an example of this in Acts 8.30, when Phillip the evangelist confirmed with the eunuch ‘did you understand what you read?’
The Sinner’s Prayer
You don’t have to lead a person in a sinners prayer, because it is not a prayer that saves someone, it is living by faith and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Corin 5.7) Although it is good to get to pray with people and it is Biblical in Romans 10.9 to confess Jesus is Lord, which can be done in a prayer, because confession is made unto salvation.
Remember that the first part of this verse is BELIEF, if the person you are speaking to doesn’t truly belief in their heart then you are setting them up for failure, telling them they are saved when that is God’s job to tell them! We see another example in the parable of the sower that a true convert is good soil for the word of God. A good heart WILL produce good fruit, they hear and understand.
Understanding only comes by the Spirit whom convicts the world of sin (John 16.8). If a sinner comes to the savior it is because the Holy Spirit draws him (John 6.44). This is the reason why we as Jesus disciples must be faithful not to do the work of the Holy Spirit when someone isn’t truly repentant (desires to turn to God). It is sometimes best to encourage a person to pray on their own seeking God in their heart, unless you are lead by the Holy Spirit to pray with someone in their prayer of repentance.
Other times it is good to pray with them right there because the Devil may distract them later on to keep them away from God. It is good to encourage a person to read their Bible, spend time with God daily and even point them to Christian websites that encourage faith building.
Steps for Beginning Believers:
- 1.) Origins
- 2.) Truth of the Bible
- 3.) Apologetics
- 4.) Basic Doctrinal Truths
Questions / Discussion
- 1.) Do you have to pray the sinners pray in order for someone to be saved?
- 2.) If you choose to pray with someone, how will you lead them?
- 3.) Do you pray daily for those who are not saved that they may come to know God?
Course 2.5 – True & False Believers
“This is the reason that we have so many ‘mushroom converts,’ because their stony ground has not been plowed up; they have not got a conviction of the law; they are stony-ground hearers. – George Whitefield
Many proclaim “I used to be a Christian, but now I know all this is just a bunch of junk.” This is proof that they never really believed and repented towards God, or that he knows God exists but is choosing to follow his own path. For example, if you ask, so did you know the Lord?
Then they answer “yes,” then they are admitting they know God exists but are deliberately rebellion against Him,
If they answer “No,” or “How can I know someone that doesn’t exist,” then they just admitted they never knew Him.
We can continue the conversation to these people and share with them what the Bible says about “stony ground hearers.” Those that hear the word, many times even with joy and gladness, but over time fade away from believing due to things of the world, temptations, tribulations and persecutions, pulling them away. This includes false belief systems such as naturalistic evolution, atheism, etc. Then we can lead the person through the 10 commandments of God’s word that reveals that they are sinners.
The true test to deciding the condition of a false convert, the Bible teaches, is that they will eventually fall away from the faith. That from the moment of they proclamation that they are believers they never truly put their trust in God, or rather they never repented, turning away from their own way, and turned to God’s way.
What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? And what profit do we get if we pray to him?’ – Job 21.15
Do you see the heart of the wicked?
Ultimately it comes down to this, false converts and wicked men say in their hearts “what will it profit me to serve God?” They are still seeking their own way
Unrepentant = NOT turning away from yourself to God
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. – 1 John 2.19
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. – Psalms 14.1
For if we do evil on purpose after we have had the knowledge of what is true, there is no more offering for sins, Heb 10:27 But only a great fear of being judged, and of the fire of wrath which will be the destruction of the haters of God. – Hebrew 10.26-27
But the upright man will be living by his faith; and if he goes back, my soul will have no pleasure in him. 39. But we are not of those who go back to destruction; but of those who have faith even to the salvation of the soul – Heb 10.38-39
We see that the wicked man even if he claims to have at one time believed in God, will eventually:
- Turns back to seeking his own pleasures, away from God (Heb 10.38)
- Becomes a hater of God (Heb 10.27)
- Has no respect for the Spirit (Heb 10.29)
- Says in his heart “what profit is it for me to know God” (Job 21.14-15)
This is why believe is not the only part of salvation, it is the continual choice to turn away from sin in our lives and choose God. Just as the warning in Hebrews 6 goes, those whom fall away think they know everything about God and harden their hearts towards Him. They willfully choose not to follow Him nor to care about the things of Him.
They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. – Titus 1.16
My brothers, take care that there is not by chance in any one of you an evil heart without belief, turning away from the living God: – Hebrews 3.12
The word hypocrite comes from the Greek word hypokrites meaning ‘actor.’ Hypocrites are those who profess to be something that they are not, they are pretenders. True believers are sinner the same as everyone else, the difference is that they fight (and sometimes lose) the battle against sin, while non-believers just indulge in sin, or make excuses for it. False believers are hypocrites, they come into the church with ulterior or selfish motives, not to seek the Lord.
Unfortunately when Christians stumble, many see them as hypocrites as well, this is why God tells us not to do anything that makes our brother stumble (Rom 14.21). Only God knows what is truly in our hearts, this is why God also tells us not to judge one another (Rom 14.4). Rather we each individually need to challenge and judge our own hearts, asking God to search it and take out any weed of unbelief.
The world is always watching Christians, judging us because they love to point out the flaws in those whom are seeking God in constant attempt to bring them down. This is why when it you are going witnessing not to offend anyone on account of anything, but rather do everything in love. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be bold about the truth. Telling people about repentance is not judging anyone, its telling them the truth about the condition we are ALL in!
True converts may go through times of testing and even backslide, they stumble but they cannot fall away from God, because they belong to Him, they are sealed with the Holy Spirit. In their heart they still will eventually cry out for God, and long for Him even as they willfully go through a road of sin. It is a fearful thing to truly belong to God and choose sin, because He will discipline you in this life with punishment because you are grieving the Holy Spirit by continuing to sin. This is why we are to workout of salvation with fear and trembling, fearing our Father in Heaven who will punish all sins.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. – Eph 4.30
though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand. – Ps 37.24
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, – Phil 2.12
It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’” – Luke 15.32
Even though they turn to their own ways, in the end God’s true children will always return back to Him.
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? – Luke 14.28
True converts are willing to give up everything in their hearts in obedient for God
Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. – Heb 6.9
But Christ as a son, over his house; whose house are we, if we keep our hearts fixed in the glad and certain hope till the end. – Hebrew 3.6
For if we keep the substance of the faith which we had at the start, even till the end, we have a part with Christ; – Hebrew 3.14
Teaching of True & False Converts
Many churches avoid the plain teachings in scripture about true and false converts. Typically it is because they are afraid of driving away the church numbers! Although, one we have a clear understanding about these concept, the scriptures make since when we read the parables about:
- The Wheat & Tares
- The Good & Bad Fish
- The Wise & Foolish Virgins
- The Sheep & the Goats
- The Good Fruit Tree from the Bad Fruit Tree
False converts remove from their heart any genuine contrition (sorrow) or understand for sin. They believe they can continue doing whatever ‘THEY’ want to do, and just get heaven added to it at the end of their life. We need to ask God to search our hearts to see if there is an evil heart of unbelief in us.
My brothers, take care that there is not by chance in any one of you an evil heart without belief, turning away from the living God: But give comfort to one another every day as long as it is still Today; so that no one among you may be made hard by the deceit of sin: Heb 3.12-13
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 2 Corin 13.5
This lesson should be combined with appendix 1
Questions / Discussion
- 1.) What is the difference between true and false converts?
- 2.) Do true believers struggle with sin?
- 3.) Are false converts able to come to true repentance if they earnestly seek God?
- 4.) Are true believers hypocrites?
- 5.) How can you apply this key to your witnessing habits?