Bible Studies: Evangelism and Repentance 

Repentance is the most challenging step in the salvation process. Peter said, “Repent, and be baptized” when he revealed the final act of salvation for the believers on the day of Pentecost. Repentance is not an option. It is not secondary to baptism. Repentance is a change of life prompted by godly sorrow that results in a reformation of life (2 Corinthians 7:9-10).

Back to the Bible provides several opportunities to address repentance of sins. For example, page 3 of Lesson 3 includes a reference to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Paul lists several sins including idolatry, adultery, and drunkenness. Now is a good time to define and elaborate on these sins as well as any others that may be present in a prospect’s life. For example, if you know that there have been multiple marriages, perhaps go to Matthew 19:3-12 and lovingly and patiently walk the prospect through Christ’s teaching on that subject. The better you know the prospect, the more help you can provide.

Page 9 of Lesson 3 provides the best opportunity to encourage repentance. The prospect is at the foot of the cross—the best place for you to take a stand for the gospel. The question is, “As we have seen, Jesus commands repentance. Are you willing to start making the changes in your life that Jesus commands so you can live for God?” If you know there are certain sins that require a lifestyle change, you can add, “May I ask you to explain your answer?” Some sins require changes in how a prospect lives, and you should be ready to assist if needed.

Evangelism is not for the faint of heart. When the Rich Young Ruler approached the Lord and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life” (Mark 10:17), Jesus replied with a call to repentance: “Why do you call me good?” (Mark 10:18). Jesus knew this young man was covetous, so His questions addressed the man’s problem rather than ignoring it.

Ignoring the need for repentance is not a loving response. In fact, the Bible says, “Jesus beholding him, loved him and said, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me” (Mark 10:21). Love requires us to address sin and teach the whole truth. It is easy to ignore repentance. It is tempting to tweak God’s commandments and make it “easier” on the prospect. When the young man chose to remain in his sins, Jesus did not apologize for speaking the truth or for hurting his feelings. He let him walk away!

Repentance is required (Luke 13:3), and it must be taught (Acts 17:30-31). We may not know every sin that causes a prospect to struggle, but if he or she obviously has a sinful lifestyle, like the rich young ruler, then we must address it. It takes courage and love to teach the lost. We simply ask all evangelists to do what Jesus did.

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