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EVANGELISM THAT BUILT A CHURCH OF THOUSANDS

by Dr. Christopher L. Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, January 19, 2020

“As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:3, 4; p. 1159 Scofield).


The early Christians were persecuted – especially by Saul of Tarsus, who was still Saul, not the Apostle Paul. What did they do? They “went every where preaching the word.” They told people about Jesus. They told people that He died for their sins and rose from the dead. They witnessed for Jesus!

That’s what I want you to do – witness for Jesus! Don’t be wrapped up in what someone did to us. Witness for Jesus! Today I’m going to show you a way to witness for Jesus. I’m going to teach you “Evangelism Explosion.” Evangelism Explosion was started by Dr. D. James Kennedy. When he started, his church had 17 people. That church grew to thousands using Evangelism Explosion. Through Evangelism Explosion, the Gospel has been given to millions of people. Their material has been translated into 70 languages and taken to every country of the world. Through Evangelism Explosion, you can learn to give the Gospel yourself. Listen as I show you how to present the Gospel to a lost person.

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I. First, ask him about himself. Let him talk.

Be friendly. Ask the person about himself and let him talk. Don’t ask questions that he can answer with “yes” or “no.” Then the conversation will stop with his answer. Ask questions that need a longer answer. If he is in college, ask him about his life there. Chat with him. Let him talk about what he likes. Do not correct him or teach him. Do not tell him he’s doing something wrong, even if he is. He will not listen to you if you do that. Just be quiet and let him talk. Be friendly. Then you will have earned the right to talk. Be nice to him.

Say friendly and positive things to him. You can say, “That’s really interesting” or “Tell me more about that.” After he has talked, you say, “May I ask you a question?” The presentation of the Gospel begins with two questions.

II. Second, ask him two questions.

First, “Have you come to the place in your spiritual life where you know for certain that if you were to die today, you would go to Heaven, or is that something you’re still working on?” The question is carefully worded. It won’t offend people. Most people will admit that they’re “still working on” their spiritual life. Some will say they haven’t thought much about it.

Do not tell the person he’s wrong, even if he is. Don’t say, “You had better think about what happens when you die!” This is not the time for that. A sermon in church can tell him that, but don’t you do it in your personal witness. Turn what he says back on yourself. You can say, “I was working on that too.” Or you can say, “For a long time I didn’t think about it myself.” You can say, “Then I found something wonderful. May I tell you how I came to know for certain that I have eternal life?”

Then ask another question, “Suppose you were to die today and stand before God, and He said to you, ‘Why should I let you into my Heaven?’ What would you say to God?” Most people will say something like, “I’m a good person,” “I follow the Ten Commandments,” “I try my best,” or “I’m as good as most people.” Some people will say, “I never thought about it much,” “I don’t believe in God,” or “When you’re dead, you’re dead.” Whatever he says, don’t argue with him. Don’t tell him how he’s wrong. Just say, “I used to think that.”

Then say, “When you answered the first question, I thought I had some really good news for you. But now I know I do.” The good news is, “Heaven is free.” Then you present the Gospel. There are five points in the presentation. Each point has two parts.

III. Third, tell him about grace.

1.  Heaven is a free gift. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death; The gift of God is eternal life” (Romans 6:23). (Do not say “Romans 6:23.” Just tell him the words of the Bible.). Heaven is free. It is a free gift.

2.  It is not earned or deserved. I used to think that I had to be good enough to get to Heaven, to work for it and deserve it. But I found that Heaven is a free gift. The Bible says, “By grace are ye saved through faith…not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). If someone gave you a gift for your birthday, and you gave him money for it, then it wouldn’t be a gift, would it? The gift of eternal life is free. You don’t do anything to earn it or deserve it.

IV. Fourth, tell him about man.

1.  Man is a sinner. The Bible teaches that all of us have sinned. It says, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We fell short of God’s standard in thoughts, in words, in things we did. There are things we did that we shouldn’t have done. There are things we didn’t do that we should have done. (Do not say “sins of commission” or “sins of omission.” Most people today don’t know what “commission” and “omission” mean.)

2.  Man cannot save himself. There is no one who is good enough to get into Heaven. We would have to be perfect to do that. Jesus said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Let’s suppose you were practically an angel and you only committed three sins a day – in what you did, what you said, and what you thought. If you lived to be 70 years old, that would be more than 70,000 sins. Nobody wants to come before God with that kind of a record.

V. Fifth, tell him about God.

1.  God is merciful. He does not want to punish us. The Bible says, “God is love” (I John 4:8). But at the same time, God is just.

2.  God is just. The Bible says God “will be no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:7). He has to punish sin. What if someone committed murder and the judge just said, “I think I’ll let you off.” That wouldn’t be right. That wouldn’t be just. God has to deal with sin. At the same time, God doesn’t want to punish us because he loves us. What is the answer?

God, in His wisdom, made a solution. God solved this problem in one person, Jesus.

VI. Sixth, tell him about Jesus.

1.  Who Jesus is. Jesus is God, the second Person of the Trinity. He is also a man. He is the God-man. The Bible says, speaking of Jesus as the Word, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:1, 14).

2.  What Jesus did. He died on the Cross and rose from the dead to pay the penalty for our sins and purchase a place in Heaven for us. Imagine everything I’ve ever done, all of my sins, everything I did, or thought, or felt – is all written in a book. It is. The Bible says that some day the books will be opened and everyone will be judged by the things written in the book. That book of my sin is my problem. It keeps me out of Heaven.

Jesus solved the problem. The Bible says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him [Jesus] the iniquity [the sin] of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). God placed all our sins on Jesus. He died in our place. He paid for our sins. When He died, Jesus was buried in a tomb, but on the third day He rose from the dead to give us eternal life. Jesus freely offers us the gift of Heaven. We receive it by faith – by trust – in Jesus.

VII. Seventh, tell him about faith (trust).

1.  What it is not. Faith is not mental agreement (the words “intellectual assent” are too complicated). Many people believe in Jesus like they believe in George Washington. They believe that Jesus lived in history, but they are not trusting Him to do anything for them now. This is only a mental agreement. The demons believe Jesus lived – and the demons believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but they are not saved.

Faith is not a temporary trust to help you with a problem in this life. Many people have trusted Jesus to help them with their health, or their money, or some other problem. But those things will pass away when you die.

2.  What it is. Faith means trusting Jesus Christ alone to forgive your sins and give you eternal life. The Bible says, “Believe on [trust] the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

People trust in themselves, or they trust in Jesus. I was trusting in the same thing you were – in myself, in my efforts to live a good life. Then I realized that I needed to stop trusting in myself, and trust in Jesus.

Let me show you. (Point to an empty chair, or a bench. This is the most important illustration in the Gospel presentation.) You believe it’s a chair. Do you believe it would hold me up if I sat on it? (Yes.) But it’s not holding me up now, because I am not sitting on it. How can I trust the chair? By sitting on it. For a long time I believed Jesus existed, but I was trusting in myself to be good enough. You said, “I try to do the best I can (or whatever the person said).” Who were you trusting? (Myself.)

To receive eternal life, you transfer your trust from yourself to Jesus. (Sit in the chair.) Now I am sitting in the chair. Now I am trusting the chair to hold me up.

You’ve just heard the greatest story ever told, about the greatest offer ever made, by the greatest Person who ever lived.

Would you like to receive the gift of eternal life? (If the person says “No,” or “I want to think about it,” be friendly with him and invite him to church. Get his name and phone number if you don’t already have it.). If the person says “Yes,” pray for him.

VIII. Eighth, lead him to trust Jesus.

1.  Pray for him. “God, I pray that Thou would give [say his name] the gift of eternal life. I pray that Thou would draw Him to Jesus. Give him the faith to trust Jesus. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). There are two of us here, so Jesus is with us to hear us. Now pray to Jesus with me.

2.  Lead him to pray to Jesus one sentence at a time. Have him repeat each sentence after you say it. Just pray to Jesus what I say, “Jesus, I want to trust you right now. I am a sinner. I have been trusting myself and my own goodness. Now I want to trust you, Lord Jesus. I trust you now. I believe you died to pay for my sins. I turn away from my own goodness and from my sins. I trust you. I accept the free gift of eternal life. Amen. “

3.  Pray for him again. Now, I will pray for you. “Jesus, you have heard the prayer my friend has prayed. I pray that he will hear in his soul, Thy voice saying, ‘Thy sins be forgiven thee.’ ‘He that trusts in me shall never perish, but has everlasting life.’ In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

Jesus said, “He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47). If you trusted Jesus, He has forgiven your sins and you have eternal life right now.

(Give him a Gospel of John.) I want you to read the Gospel of John, one chapter each day. There are 21 chapters. You read 1 chapter a day, and in only three weeks you will have read the Gospel of John.

If he does not come to church, invite him right now. Tell him how good it is in church and how you’re looking forward to seeing him there. If you don’t have his address and phone number, get it from him and write it down. Then have him repeat it a little later to make sure you wrote it correctly. Arrange a ride for him to come to church.


This method has been used all over the world to lead people to trust Jesus. May God bless you as you share the Gospel. At the very end of this manuscript I will give you the outline of this message. It is easy to study and remember the points from the outline.

Some of you have not trusted Jesus. You have heard the good news of how Jesus died on the Cross to pay for your sins. If you trust Him, you are saved and you have eternal life. If you would like to speak with us about trusting Jesus, please come to the front of the room at the end of the sermon. Amen.


THE OUTLINE OF

EVANGELISM THAT BUILT A CHURCH OF THOUSANDS

by Dr. Christopher L. Cagan

I.     First, ask him about himself. Let him talk.

II.    Second, ask him two questions.
1.  Are you sure you’re going to Heaven, or are you still
     working on it?
2.  If you died and came before God, and He asked
     you, “Why should I let you into my Heaven?”,
     what would you say to God?

III.   Third, tell him about grace.
1.  Heaven is a free gift, Romans 6:23.
2.  It is not earned or deserved, Ephesians 2:8-9.

IV.   Fourth, tell him about man.
1.  Man is a sinner, Romans 3:23.
2.  Man cannot save himself, Matthew 5:48.

V.    Fifth, tell him about God.
1.  God is merciful, I John 4:8.
2.  God is just, Exodus 34:7.

VI.   Sixth, tell him about Jesus.
1.  Who Jesus is, John 1:1, 14.
2.  What Jesus did, Isaiah 53:6.

VII.  Seventh, tell him about faith (trust).
1.  What it is not.
2.  What it is.

VIII. Eighth, lead him to trust Jesus.
1.  Pray for him, Matthew 18:20.
2.  Lead him to pray to Jesus one sentence at a time.
3.  Pray for him again, John 6:47