We are considering how to share the gospel with friends or acquaintances. Most people have difficulty bringing up the gospel subject with their friend or relative, so asking a question can be an excellent way to start a conversation. We can learn from Phillip’s conversation with the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8:
30Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. 31“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 33In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” 34The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus (Acts 8:30-35).
Did you notice how God prepared the situation ahead of time? Phillip arrived when the Ethiopian was reading Isaiah's prophetic word about the suffering servant of God in Isaiah 53:7. It is such a joy when you see God working ahead of time so that when you arrive on the scene, a person is ready for the message. Notice, too, that Philip asked a question to stimulate interest based on something the Ethiopian was doing at the time. When Philip had the man's attention, he helped him understand the Scriptures about Jesus' substitutionary, sacrificial work on the cross. What kinds of questions can we use in transitioning the conversation to bring up the subject of what Christ did at the cross? I've written a few questions below that you may like to use. With some of them, you will need to know the person somewhat to earn the right to ask such intimate questions.
1) If someone were to ask you, "what is a true Christian," what would you answer?
2) Have you ever thought about becoming a real Christian?
3) Are you interested in spiritual things?
4) Have you ever personally discovered Jesus Christ, or are you still in the process?
5) Have you ever seriously considered the claims of Christ?
6) Do you think it is possible to know for sure before you die that you are going to heaven?
7) What would you consider man's most significant spiritual need today?
8) Has anyone ever told you about the gift of God?
7) How did you personally give your life to Christ? (To ask a person who says he is a Christian, but you sense he does not have the experience of Christ in his life).
8) If you were to die today, where would you spend eternity?
9) Someday, when you stand before God, if He should ask you why He should let you into heaven, what would you say to Him? (Diagnostic question to give you an idea of what the person is trusting in).
10) If you could ask God one question, what would you ask Him?
Some time ago, I had a meeting in Panera with a couple engaged to be married and wanting a Christ-focused wedding with me officiating. The lady knew the Lord, but her husband was a religious man, and I didn't know what he was trusting in. Religious people are difficult to lead to Christ because they often trust in their religious tradition and good works to gain entrance into heaven. I started the conversation by just getting to know them. I felt led to converse with both of them the same. It is wise never to presume a person is born again (John 3:3) but to present the gospel and let the Word of God do its work of touching the inner soul. Let people tell you what they are trusting in as the conversation develops.
After 5 minutes of chatting about how they had met and some of their history, I began by sharing what my life was like before I met Christ. This approach usually has the effect of making me very vulnerable before them and getting the conversation below the surface level. I wanted them to know that even though I am a pastor, I am just like them and needed salvation from my previously sinful lifestyle. I then asked permission to share what I saw as a Christian wedding. I told them that for me to officiate at their wedding, it was more than just saying words; I felt a responsibility to help them understand the difference between a Christian marriage and one without having the Lord as the third strong cord of a healthy marriage (Ecclesiastes 4:11-12).
I earned the right to share heart to heart with them both because I had already been vulnerable. I started sharing by asking if anyone had told them about the gift of God (one of the questions above). From that point, my presentation was the basic gospel message that we will go over in tomorrow’s meditation, interspersed with different illustrations and clarifying specific terms such as repentance and sin—we live in a time where those concepts need to be clearly explained, especially among young people. The man gave his life to Christ when I gave him an invitation. Keith Thomas