In the “My3” Discipleship plan, you are asked to write out your three-part testimony and share it with the three people you circled on your prayer list. The goal of sharing your story is to testify to the grace and mercy of Jesus and to tell people how they can become a Christian. Ideally, the conversation will come to a point where they must decide whether or not to follow Christ. There are three possible answers they can give at this point: No, Maybe, or Yes. Their answer to this question is very important and today we shall learn about how we should respond to their answer.
What if They Say No?
What if you share with them and they make it clear that they do not want to follow Jesus? They are not rejecting you, they are rejecting Jesus, and they are rejecting Him today only.
They Are Not Rejecting You. They are not rejecting you because you are simply the messenger. You cannot make them believe; therefore you are not accountable for their decisions. You are accountable for sharing about Jesus and God will reward your faithfulness. Remember, you cannot make them become a Christian. If they reject your story or listen and are unmoved, keep praying for them and praise God for giving this opportunity to share.
They Are Rejecting Jesus. In 1 Samuel 8, Israel demanded a king to take the place of Samuel who had gotten too old to judge the people. Samuel knew that it was not the right time for a king and when he prayed to the Lord, the Lord replied: “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them” (1 Samuel 8:7). Similarly, when someone rejects the gospel presented to them, they are not rejecting you, but God and it is to Him that they must give an account.
They Reject Jesus Today. This is a very important point that encourages us to not give up and lose heart. How many of us responded in repentance the first time we heard the gospel? Very few repent upon the first, second, third, even fourth hearing of the gospel. Just because someone rejects the gospel today does not mean that they will automatically reject it tomorrow. Keep praying for them and asking God to do to them what He did to Lydia in Acts 16:14, “The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.”
What if They Say Maybe?
What if you share with them and they are not comfortable making any decision at that moment? Some people need time to process a major decision such as this. If they are undecided, pray for them, trust God, and plan another meeting.
Pray for Them. This is very similar to what is written above in the section “They Reject Jesus Today”. Pray for them to be saved, pray that God would reveal Himself to them and pray that they would decide to follow Jesus and accept Him as Savior and Lord.
Trust in God. Pray for them and trust that God is working. Trust that God is stirring you to pray for them and burdening you to talk to them because He is working in them to draw them to Christ. Do not grow discouraged if much time passes and they are still not a Christian. Remember these words from 1 Corinthians 3:6 where Paul talks about discipleship: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” So diligently plant and water and trust God to bring about the growth.
Plan Another Meeting. Tell them that you would love to meet again soon to discuss this further. Stress to them that you are doing this because you love them and this is such an important decision. If they have any questions, tell them to write them down and you will do your best to answer them or get answers from someone you trust.
What if They Say Yes?
What if you share with them and they repent of their sins and believe that Jesus is the Christ? Luke 15 tells us that when a sinner repents there is “great joy in heaven” (Luke 15:7). Let them know that their sin is forgiven, their life is transformed and their discipleship has begun.
Their Sin is Forgiven. Share with them that Jesus is our Savior who saves us from our sin. Make sure they understand that there is no more condemnation (Rom 8:1) because Jesus has forgiven our sins (Rom 4:7). We call this justification because God makes it just as if we had never sinned.
Their Life is Transformed. Jesus accepts us where we are but does not leave us where He found us. Jesus changes us so that we will become more like Him. We call this sanctification because we are now in the process of becoming sanctified (becoming more like Jesus).
Their Discipleship Begins. Tragically, many churches are only concerned about “getting people saved” (justification) and they neglect the process of becoming more like Jesus (sanctification). First Baptist Scott City will be a church that focuses on both justification and sanctification because both are essential parts of discipleship. Your friend is a new Christian and is therefore a Spiritual Infant. Spiritual Infants, like physical infants, need help from others to grow. Spiritual Infants need others to love them and help them grow in spiritual maturity. In the next few weeks, we will learn more about what all Christians need in order to grow:
- Love and Assurance (From God and Others)
- To Learn to Communicate (Prayer)
- To Learn to Eat (Bible Reading/Study)
- To Have Good Relationships (Connection to a local church)
- To Become Responsible (Tithing, Service, and Ministry)
Regardless of whether they say No, Maybe, or Yes; our responsibility is to “go and make disciples” (Matt 28). We have no excuses for not sharing and we do not need any excuses because our love for God and for others outweighs our fear and apathy. First Baptist, let us be about God’s mission and be instruments in His hands as He “seeks and saves the lost” (Luke 19:10)!