I. Turn the conversation toward spiritual things
How do we bring it up? Do we just bluntly ask out of nowhere, “Are you saved?” The starting point can be difficult, but once we turn the conversation to spiritual things it gets easier to talk to people about the gospel. I find the best way is to ask the person what they believe about salvation. Most people like to share their views on important matters. Ask them something like, “What do you believe a person needs to do to be saved and have a home in heaven?” How they respond will immediately give you a basic framework concerning the beliefs of the person you are dealing with (Matt. 12:34b). If they believe works are required for salvation, say something like, “We all have views about God and salvation, but the authority on what is true is the Bible.” As you begin to deal with a person, endeavor to keep the conversation focused on the gospel of Christ. Only deal with questions that directly relate to the gospel. Don’t allow questions like, “Where did Cain get his wife?” get you off track. Respond to such questions by saying, “That’s an interesting question, but let’s talk about that later.”
II. Establish a foundation
Ask the person if they truly believe in God and if they believe the Bible is His word. If they don’t believe this foundational truth, there is no need to go any further. Plant the seed by giving such people some reasons to believe in God and the Bible. For those who already believe this foundational truth, go on to the first step in sharing the gospel.
III. Show from the scripture that they are a condemned sinner
The first step in leading a soul to Christ is showing them from the scripture that they are lost (Heb. 4:12). Romans is the doctrinal book on salvation for this age of grace. In the first main part of it, Paul proves that all are guilty sinners in need of salvation (Rom. 3:10, 23; 6:23a). Explain that God is righteous, and we all come short of His standard of righteousness, and therefore we deserve death and hell (use specific example of lying, Rev. 21:8). If a person will not accept the bad news, they will not believe the good news (Acts 24:24-25). A person will not get saved if they don’t truly realize they are lost.
IV. Explain that they cannot be saved by works
As long as a person is trusting in any works that they can do, they will not trust the finished work of Christ (Rom. 10:1-4). Salvation is not Christ PLUS anything…. it is Christ ALONE (Rom. 11:6; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).
V. Present the gospel of Christ clearly
Once a person knows that they are a condemned sinner, and there is nothing they can do to save themselves, they are ready to hear the good news of the salvation Christ accomplished for them through His death, burial, and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:3-4; 2 Cor. 5:21). The key words are “Christ died FOR our sins.” He died for ALL of our sins and paid our sin debt in FULL. Emphasize that the purpose of salvation is being reconciled to God, not just going to heaven when we die. Everybody wants to go to heaven, but not everybody wants to be right with God.
VI. Invite them to TRUST Christ as their Personal Savior
How do people get saved (Eph. 1:12-14)? They key word is “TRUSTED.” There is no example of leading someone in a sinner’s prayer in the Bible (Acts 16:30 would have been the perfect scenario). The problem with that is people are religious by nature and can easily be misled to say a prayer without trusting Christ. We can trust the Holy Spirit to do His work when we plant the gospel seed.