Perhaps as a Christian, you would like to witness to others, yet just don’t know how to go about it. That’s understandable. We all feel that way when we are just starting out. In this article, I want to strip it down to the essential nuts and bolts of how to go about the task of presenting the plan of salvation to someone. With two or three hours of preparation, you can be ready to lead someone to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Before we begin, though, it is essential that you have assurance of your own salvation. You can’t very well tell someone else how to be saved if you are unsure about your own salvation. In a nutshell, salvation consists of the following:
1. You realize that like all people you have sinned in your lifetime.
2. You realize that Jesus Christ who was God in the flesh, died on the cross and paid the entire penalty for your sins. (The resurrection was proof that Jesus actually was God and not just a man. If he was just a man, he would still be dead just like any other man. Romans 1:4 tells us the resurrection was a powerful declaration of this.)
3. You have trusted Him to apply that payment to you personally. That is, you have trusted Him to save you.
There you have it. Salvation is simply trusting in Christ to be your personal Savior- plus or minus nothing. He did it all and all you just have to do is just accept it by personal faith in Him. The assurance of your salvation is not dependent on feelings, but is based solely on the promises of the Bible.
Now, here is how to present it more fully to someone else. There are many different ways to present the plan of salvation to someone. As you gain more experience, you will find the Holy Spirit leading you in different ways to approach the subject to someone with whom you are talking. However, it is good to start out with a basic presentation you can learn with which to start witnessing. As you gain more experience, you will find yourself being able to expand on this basic presentation as the need arises.
The Basic Two Step Presentation
Here are the two main steps:
1. Be able to give your own personal testimony.
2. Present the plan of salvation using what is commonly referred to as “The Romans Road”.
Preparing Your Personal Testimony
You can find a helpful article on preparing to give your testimony here.
Creating a Road Map: The Romans Road
The Romans Road is like a road map you can draw in a small New Testament to present and explain each step of the plan of salvation to someone.
1. Get a small New Testament Bible you can keep with you in your pocket.
2. Turn to Romans 3: 10. You might want to write this reference down in the front of the New testament to begin with so you will always know where to start.
3. In the margin by Romans 3:10, write Romans 3:23. This is the next verse you will turn to.
4. In the margin by Romans 3: 23 write “Romans 6: 23”.
5. In the margin by Romans 6:23, write “Romans 5:8”.
6. Turn to Romans 5:8 and in the margin write “John 3: 16.
Note: Most people, when using the Romans Road will turn to Romans 10: 9, 10. I will explain in a moment why I prefer using John 3: 16 instead.
1. When you have the permission of the person you would like to witness to, turn to the first verse at Romans 3: 10. Read this verse to the person and explain to them that in God’s sight no one is righteous. We have all done wrong things in God’s sight. Even though to ourselves, we don’t seem to be all that bad, God’s standard is perfection because God is a holy God.
2. Next turn to Romans 3:23 and read the verse. This verse tells why we are not right with God. We have all sinned. The word sin means to “miss the mark”. The idea is that God’s standard we have to meet is perfection. In linear measurement, a yard is exactly thirty six (36) inches. Thirty five (35) inches is not a yard. It falls short, or “ misses the mark” of being a yard by definition. In the same way, God’s measure by which He must judge us is His own perfection. This is because He is completely holy and cannot allow sin in His presence.
3. Next turn to Romans 6:23 and read the verse to the person. Explain that this verse tells us that the wages (results) of our sins is death. Physical death is when the soul and spirit of a person is separated from their body. Spiritual death is when the soul is separated from God. This verse goes on to say that the gift of God is eternal life in (through) Jesus Christ.
4. Next turn to Romans 5:8. Explain that this verse tells us that God loves us and has provided a way by which we can escape the penalty of sin. Jesus Christ, God’s Son died and paid the penalty for our sins. The Bible teaches that Jesus, the Son of God, is fully God just as much as God the Father. When He died on the cross, He paid the entire wages (penalty) for our sins which we normally would have to pay, . He was our substitute in paying for our sins.
Here you could give an illustration:
Suppose you broke a law and went to court. The judge finds you guilty and you must pay a fine. But the judge is a personal friend. As a judge, he must pass sentence on you. But then, he takes off his robe and steps down from the bench. He says to you, “I will now act as your friend instead of your judge. I will pay your fine if you will let me. That way, justice is served for your offense and you can go free as I will pay the penalty for your offense.” You then have a choice of accepting his offer or rejecting it. That is what God did for us. Jesus paid for our sins and we can accept that payment and be made right with God, or we can reject it and suffer the penalty ourselves.
Note: Here is a optional verse you can also give:
I Corinthians 15: 3,4 says that Christ died for our sins, that He was buried, and that He rose from the dead. This resurrection proved that He was indeed the Son of God and paid the price for our sins. If He had been only a man, he would still be dead and buried just like every other man who has died physically. These two verses contain a full summary of what the Gospel is all about.
5. Now turn to John 3: 16 and read this verse to the person to whom you are witnessing. This verse tells us that we only have to believe in Jesus as our Savior to be saved. The phrase, “ believes in”, means to “trust in, rely upon, cling to”. If we truly believe that Christ died for our sins and He is the only way to Heaven, we will just rely on this to be so. When we do this we are saved. (Note: if someone doesn’t trust Christ to be their Savior, then this is really an indication that they actually don’t believe the Gospel. It could be that they don’t believe they are a sinner, or that there is no penalty for their sins. Or it could be they don’t believe that Christ actually paid the price for their sins, or something else about the Gospel message. If a person truly believes this message and the plan of salvation, all they have to do is rely on Christ to apply the payment for their sins, to them personally, which He made when He died on the cross.)
6. At this point, you can ask the person if he believes this plan which you have presented to him or her. If they say yes, simply ask them, “Will you trust Christ now to save you?” You can then lead them in a simply prayer thanking Jesus for saving them.
7. After you have prayed with them, show them how they can know they are saved. Tell them the assurance of their salvation is not based on feelings, but on the authority of God’s Word, the Bible. Turn to John 3: 18 and read it to them. Ask them which two classes of people they see in that verse (hint: those who believe and those who do not believe). Ask them which class they are in. If they have understood your presentation, they should say, “Those who believe”. Then ask them what it says about those who believe. The answer is that those who believe are not condemned. Explain to them that this means that now, God will never condemn them for their sins. Christ died and paid the full penalty for all their past, present and future sins.
At this point you might want to refer them to material on how to grow as a Christian. You might also want to do a search on the web for other material resources to which you can refer them.
If they refuse to accept Christ or are not yet fully convinced of the truthfulness of the Gospel, leave the door open for them to consider it later. Encourage them to think about what you have told them and to look into it further. Leave your contact information with them and possibly a tract, so they can get in touch with you should they later want to do so. Then thank them for their time and let them know you will be praying for them.
There you have it. A simple, yet complete way to present the plan of salvation to someone.
Why I Like to Use John 3: 16 instead of Romans 10: 9, 10 after Romans 5:8 (Step 5 above).
In Romans 10, Paul is writing in a slightly different context. To use these verses requires a little explanation. Here is what it says:
Romans 10: 8-10
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9 That 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. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
In verse 10 it says that it is the believing with the heart that justifies (saves) a person and confessing with the mouth is simply confessing what was already done in the heart of the person. It is the believing which saves a person. The resurrection of Jesus was proof that Jesus was indeed who he said He was- the Savior. The verse about believing in the resurrection of Jesus, means that a person believes that Jesus was who he said he was and that He accomplished the payment for our sins when He died on the cross.
Explaining this to someone whom you are trying to lead to the Lord can be confusing however. These verses are part of an presentation Paul is using to develop certain teachings about the Jewish people and their view of Christ. I personally find it easier to use John 3: 16 to explain receiving or trusting Christ to someone to whom I am witnessing instead of these verses in Romans 10.
Witnessing Without The Answers
One fear we sometimes have is that the person we are witnessing to will ask a question we don’t have the answer to. There is a simple solution to that problem. Just admit you don’t know the answer. You can tell the person you will try to find out and get back with them. Then you can do some studying or call a Pastor for help.