Preparing to Teach Salvation

by Richard Mansel, managing editor
studing-bible_1.pngChristians are to take the gospel into the world and share the message of the cross with the lost (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16). We must be wise and careful with the Scriptures as we go.
We are to “speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). The message of God pre-dates mankind, so we must be very careful with its message (Psalm 119:89). The Scriptures are sacred and inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
A herald carries an official proclamation from the king and cannot change the message, or he will suffer dire consequences (Galatians 1:6-9).
When we carry the pure message of God, we must be wise and judicious in our choice of words. We must be prepared to reach people where they are in their state of spiritual knowledge.
Being aware of the false doctrines that exist in the religious world is beneficial when we spread the true gospel. When we determine someone’s doctrinal background, we can be better equipped to teach them God’s holy Word. We can better understand their perspective on the Bible.
It is a duty and responsibility for every Christian to teach others the gospel./1
However, many step out to teach others about salvation and they do not have a broad knowledge of the subject.
For example, they spend most of their time debating baptism for the remission of sins and the one church. However, they may not have adequately prepared the soil. Accordingly, they face nothing but opposition and their window of opportunity may close permanently.
Teaching the gospel begins with an understanding of sin (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 3:23), and extends through the shed blood of Christ (1 John 1:7), grace (Ephesians 2:8-9), faith (Hebrews 11:6), sanctification (Ephesians 1), justification (Romans 5:1), reconciliation (Romans 5:9-10), and the purpose of the new birth (John 3:3-5).
An immersion in Romans will lead to more success in personal evangelism. The fifth chapter of Romans is the heart of the story of salvation.
We cannot teach them everything initially, but we can be wise and expose them to the narrative of salvation.
Someone who gains a fuller perspective on salvation is more likely to remain in Christ. So teach the lost the gospel message in its richness, so they will truly understand what they are accepting.

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1/ Richard Mansel, The Most Important Question” (Winona: Forthright Press, 2009). You can purchase the book from the publisher, http://forthrightpress.com/books/

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Richard lives in Florence, Alabama and is married to Deirdre. They have three daughters. He is an avid reader, devoted writer and lover of history and research. He is the author of "The Most Important Question" and is working on more books.

One thought on “Preparing to Teach Salvation

  1. Bro Richard.
    Good article and much needed. When I went to Russia in 1992, I estimate that about 3/4 of the folks on campaign teams should have stayed home. Simply not prepared in many aspects.
    About 35 years ago, I learned my first lesson in preparing to evangelize. My clerk-typist,m who had just became a Christian, (brought five to Christ in his first five months). Came in one morning to say that he had begun to teach his room mate, but after their session, the fellow thought it was wonderful, however, he was not sure he believed in God. This sat me back in my chair. What? someone who does not believe in God.
    Shortly thereafter was the debate of the century -(Warren-Flew) which I have digested over and over and was therefore prepared to go to Russia. But, at the moment of our discussion in 1976, I began to evaluate where I begin teaching a person and as a result began to make a list of questions to ask before I ever start to study with someone.
    Some 20 years later in the mid 1990s during one summer when I can home to make reports on our Russia work, I saw a fellow sitting in the pew with a Jule Miller video next to him. I asked what he thought of it. He loved it!. “Who was studying with you?” He said “No one.” I could not believe such ineptness. I asked if he would like to study with someone, to which he said yes.
    Since the church was to begin its VBS the next evening, we would get together during those hours. And also since I would leave on the report trip on Tuesday, I asked the preacher to sit in on the first session and then conduct the study.
    The battery of questions takes about an hour. The first one was “What do you think about the existence of a supreme being?” His answer was something like, it is a strong energy, a magnetic field, etal. When we completed our session and as we left, the preacher remarked, that he never dreamed that people held such far out views. Imagine, 20 years as a preacher and never comtemplating what or how the other fellow might believe. Surely even a cursory study of the OT tells us that such exists. I am thankful that in my second year as a Christian, I learned that lesson.
    We would not tolerate an education system teaching our (my) kids and never testing them for what they know, before advancing them to the next course. Why do we expect to do any less in the church?
    We have the greatest responsibility as teachers to know where to begin in our teaching a person. It seems to me the questions approach is apropo. We can not judge a person’s heart, but we can judge his knowledge. Faith comes by hearing the word of God- knowledge! They must believe that He exists first.
    After someone has consente dto becoming a Christian,THEN I tell them about baptism. After that, I have another list of questions asking them to explain Faith, Repentance, Baptism, (sometimes sin and a few other things) so I am convinced they have the proper knowledge to respond properly.
    On my second mission trip (1993) where I would stay for seven years, I went with a campaign team. When I ask them to consider asking these questions, one brother said he had been preaching for 30 years and never heard of such. (I was the young man on the team). At the end of the week, this same brother and another were about to baptize about 15 people. Knowing I had to live with there work after they left, I decided to go to the center where we could baptize. I inquired if they ask the questions I had suggested. The brother said, he had taught the man himself. So I asked if I could query him. He smugly agreed. I went to a last question on my list – “Why are you being baptized?” He said “I don’t know”. Only one out about 15 were baptized that night.
    Some have argued against such, saying we simply preach the word, the rest is up to the recipient. Some have even said there is no authority to ask questions of an interested prospect. I plea with folks to study, yea ponder the implication of Acts 8:30-31 very carefully.
    Further, I believe it is an outright sin to baptize folks and plunk them down in the pew. It has been my practice to study with new Christians individually at least an hour a week for a year. I begin with the concept of worship and then the various parts of our worship – total about 10.
    Imagine someone being baptized, Not see in worship as more than rituals, (as is typical of denominationalists)then struggling for years trying to understand the Lord’s supper!
    To support this, About 15 years ago, on a report trip, I passsed out a short questionarie essentially asking folks to define faith. This was in a reportedly doctrinally sound congregation in the south. How sound is a church when out of 120 folks, most of whom have been christians for 20-50 years hand have a fail rate of 85%? How is it that we can not even tell someone what faith is?
    For several years, I followed the mission reports of a church that was very evangelistic. Through time, I noticed that regardless of the numbers being baptized, the size of the congregation did not change much. So, I phoned the preacher to ask about that. He said that was a problem — three in the front door and two out the back (his words. When asked about the teaching of new converts, he said they have a new converts class. I asked him if every lesson was important. He said absolutely. I asked if he he sets up a special study with those who might miss a class. He said no. So how important is it really, that every person should enjoy every class? It’s my argument for individual tutoring.
    We as teachers have the most sobering resonsibility to the lost. I suggest that begins by asking approriate questions, so we know where to begin to teach. And never assume that the other fellow thinks the same way or understand the terms and concepts as you do.
    Keep the faith
    jim

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