How can a man be born when he is old? (John 3:4)
I came to know the Lord when no one else around but Him and me. The day after hearing His Voice within and giving my life to Jesus without restriction He sent a Christian mailman to my house. I guessed that he was a Christian because he wore a huge cross around his neck. I’d known him as a neighbor from my childhood.
“Hey Ed, you a Christian?”
“Yeah Man, are you?”
“Well, I think so.”
“Where are you ‘in fellowship Brother’?”
“You mean church? Well, I was thinking of checking out the Mormon church.”
“No Man, you don’t wanna do that!”
Ed was speaking Christianese, but we finally figured it out and he got me going to a Jesus loving, people loving, Bible centered fellowship. After sharing what had happened to me a few times someone finally told me, “Cool Man! You got saved!” By then, I’d learned enough Christian lingo to know what she meant.
How do you talk to someone who knows nothing or little about Jesus or Christianity? How do you talk with someone who has a lot of misconceptions about the Lord? How do you explain, “If you’re born only once you die twice – physical and spiritual death, but if you’re born twice you only die once – physical death,” without speaking a language they don’t understand. Old ‘Nick’ didn’t get it, so Jesus explained in language that he could understand.(John 3:1-21).
John, the Gospel writer was following up on something he began to explain earlier in his record of the life of Jesus.
“But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13) In the movie about Lee Strobel’s life, The Case for Christ, Lee’s wife boiled down this passage to a little formula:
BELIEVE + RECEIVE = BECOME.
The Gospel is not easy for people to understand. And even when they do understand, they have a hard time repenting and following this simple formula.
How can you explain to someone that they can be sure that they will only die a physical death in language that they can understand and receive?
- First, LISTEN to them. We are often so eager to share Jesus that we just begin rattling away before we know anything about a person’s journey, thoughts and/or feelings. Or, we’re afraid to share the Gospel at all because we don’t know what to say. When God opens a door to witness for Him begin by asking questions and LISTENING to answers. Then, you have a track to run on.
- TALK in language that the person can understand. Reply clearly. Do your best to steer clear of Christianese, and explain clearly terms that can’t be avoided.
- LET your Partner, the Holy Spirit, lead. You will plant a seed, water a seed already there, or reap the harvest. Remember, God is the Master of the Harvest!
- COMMIT to the person with whom you are sharing. If you plant a seed or water, you may have other opportunities to share. Don’t push for a slam dunk – a new birth. Develop a trusting friendship, and be ready to water some more, or reap the harvest. If the person does receive Jesus they will need nurturing. I have people that I’ve been mentoring for years, one on one and in groups.
- Stay BIBLE CENTERED. Don’t sell a cheap Gospel without repentance (a word you may need to avoid or explain as “to stop doing things that the Bible says are wrong and start doing things that would please God). Jesus preached …Repent and believe the Gospel. (Mark 1:15) Yes, ‘God Has a Wonderful Plan for Everyone’s Life,’ but there is a cross to carry daily. Share in plain language what that means. Don’t be afraid to challenge your new believer. People are looking for something bigger than themselves to believe and commit to.
- MODEL a fully devoted life. This includes humbly and openly confessing and repenting in the sight of your mentee. How else will they know how?
Remember that Jesus showed clearly that a person who is born twice will only die once. He rose from the grave with an indestructible body and showed Himself alive to hundreds of people over a period of nearly a month and a half! We are not sharing some pipe dream! If you’re privileged to lead someone to Christ, your newly born mentee will come by faith, just like you did. But, as you help him or her grow into maturity, his or her faith will grow into an assured knowing! Jesus is returning soon to bring His own home! Let’s take some precious people with us!