How many times while witnessing have you heard someone say to you, “I’ve always been a Christian”? How did you respond to that statement? Based upon God’s Word, I am sure we would both agree that nobody has always been a Christian. We must be careful, though, to not offend that person, because once we do, we lose the opportunity to continue our witness.
This is a very important intersection in the process of leading someone to Jesus Christ. How we answer this statement will determine whether or not the person will allow us to further our conversation about the gospel. I hope the following ideas will sharpen you and help you bear more fruit in your witnessing.
1. Realize the person truly believes he has been a Christian his whole life.
This belief might stem from growing up in church. Now I know you understand that attending church does not make someone a Christian, but he does not.
2. Receive his answer and begin your conversation at the starting point of the gospel.
Keep in mind that just because he has given you a different answer from what we believe, and more importantly from what the Bible teaches, does not mean he is disinterested in the gospel.
3. Reveal what the Scriptures say about being born again.
I have found it helpful to begin in John three, where Jesus begins to reveal Himself to Nicodemus. Let’s look at a few truths that will help someone understand his misconception about being a Christian.
First, Jesus clearly declares, “A man must be born again.” I believe that Jesus was very straightforward with Nicodemus because he was one of the religious leaders of the day. Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in how strong you make this point. There are situations when you will want to emphasis this truth very boldly, and other times you will want to be more gentle . Remember, your goal is not to offend, but to lead him to Jesus Christ. It is interesting that Nicodemus had no clue what Jesus meant by the statement, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Second, Jesus begins to illustrate this truth by using the analogy of the birth of a baby. Each child has a birth date; one hasn’t always been a child. I am sure every mother remembers the particular day—the moment when her child came into this world. Just as a child has a birth date, a person must have a specific moment spiritually when he realizes his need for forgiveness and asks Jesus Christ to be his Saviour.
Just as there was a definite time when he was born into this world; to become a Christian he must have a specific time and place when he accepts Jesus Christ as his Saviour—when he is spiritually born again.
Third, receive his questions with an open heart. The whole idea of biblical salvation is most likely a new concept for him. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in his life as you share the Scriptures with him.
May the Lord guide you and use you to lead many lost souls to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.