Chapter 10

CHAPTER TEN

THE METHODS: DEALING WITH DIFFICULTIES

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this lesson you will be able to:

  • Write the Key Verse from memory.
    • Explain why people make excuses.
    • Deal with common difficulties that arise in personal evangelism.

KEY VERSE:

For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

INTRODUCTION

This lesson provides guidelines for dealing with difficult situations you may encounter in evangelism. It is not possible to cover every difficulty you might have, but we have focused on the most common problems.

Remember that these are only suggestions for dealing with difficulties based on experiences of those who have previously engaged in evangelism. It is important that you rely first upon the power of the Holy Spirit in difficult situations, as each one is unique.

UNDERSTANDING WHY PEOPLE MAKE EXCUSES

It is helpful if you understand why people make excuses or raise objections in evangelism encounters. Sometimes Satan inserts questions or objections into a person’s mind. Always remember that you are in a spiritual warfare for the souls of men and women.

Some people raise objections that are not original with them. They have heard someone else bring them up and they are just stalling or trying to get you off of the subject. Others bring up objections that really are hindering them in making a decision for Christ. These must be dealt with successfully before they can accept the Gospel.

Every excuse or objection can be answered by the Word of God. Never allow objections to inflame your anger or force you into an argument. When this happens you lose control of the evangelistic encounter and the excuse effectively accomplishes its purpose.

The remainder of this lesson is organized by headings describing various responses you might receive while sharing the Gospel. As you study these, remember what God says about excuses:

For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

“I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH”

or

“I AM TOO GREAT A SINNER”

Some people feel they are not good enough to come to the Lord and they want to wait to make themselves better.

Show them that God requires faith, not moral fitness. Jesus came into the world to save sinners, not the righteous (Matthew 9:12-13; Luke 18:19). Outward reform is not sufficient if the heart remains unchanged. Use the following verses: Isaiah 1:18-19; Acts 2:38; 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 John

1:7; John 6:37; Revelation 22:17; Romans 5:8,16,20.

“THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS TOO HARD”

Show him that the “way of the transgressor is hard” (Proverbs 13:15). Jesus teaches that His  yoke is easy and His burden light (Matthew 11:28). The pleasures of sin are only for a short time but real and lasting joy comes through salvation (I Peter 1:5 and Jude 24).

“I CANNOT GIVE UP MY EVIL WAYS”

Agree with him and share a summary of Romans 7 which agrees with his statement. Then determine if his problem is he “can not” or “will not.” Explain that when he becomes a believer, he can do all things through the power of the Holy Spirit (Philippians 4:13). Emphasize that sin is slavery, and the only way he can escape is through the blood of Jesus (John 8:34; Romans 7- 8).

“MY HEART IS TOO HARD”

Ask him if it was possible for it to be changed, would he want that? Then share Ezekiel 36:26- 27 and John 6:37.

“I WILL HAVE LOTS OF COMPANY IN HELL”

This is true, but show him what kind of company it will be using Revelation 22:15. Share with him that companionship of friends or relatives will not lessen the distress described in Revelation 20:10.

“I DO NOT BELIEVE THE BIBLE”

or

“I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE”

Explain that no one understands everything completely, but the response God requires in regard to salvation is very easily understood. Explain that there are some things that cannot be understood until he becomes a believer. (See 1 Corinthians 2:14.)

See if there is any difficulty in understanding John 3:16; Acts 16:31; 2:38; 3:19; Romans 10:9-

10; Acts 22:16; and 6:1-4. Also use the following verses: John 7:17; 1 John 5:9-12; Mark

16:16; 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

“THERE ARE MANY CONTRADICTIONS IN THE BIBLE”

Sometimes people have just heard others use this excuse and are only repeating what they have heard. Ask him to show you one of the contradictions. Usually the person cannot do this. If they show you what they think is a contradiction, explain it. If you do not know the answer, find out!

“I AM DOING THE BEST I CAN”

or

“I AM GOOD ENOUGH ALREADY”

This may be true in terms of moral standards and good deeds, but we are not saved on the basis of these. Use the following verses: Isaiah 64:6; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; 1 John 1:7; Acts

17:30; 22:16; Philippians 3:4-7; Romans 2:1; 14:13

“OTHERS ARE STANDING IN MY WAY”

A person may use the excuse that a relative or friend would object or laugh at them if they become a believer. Read the warnings in Luke 9:26; Romans 14:12; and Acts 5:29.  Let him know persecution is to be expected (2 Timothy 2:12; 3:12; 2 Corinthians 4:16,18). They may also claim they want to wait for someone else, such as their husband or wife. Use Matthew 10:37. They may fear losing their sinful friends if they become a Christian. Share James 4:4, Psalms 1:1-2, and Proverbs 18:24.

“THERE ARE HYPOCRITES IN THE CHURCH”

Agree with him. Jesus said this would be so (Matthew 13:25,47). But this does not affect the claims of Christ on his own soul. Show him that no hypocrites will be in Heaven (Revelation 21:8). Perhaps he has been hurt by other believers. Remind him that 1 Corinthians 2:5 says our faith rests in God rather than man. Remind him that he will answer for himself at the time of judgment, not others. Share Romans 2:1-5 and Revelation 20:12.

“I CANNOT DECIDE WHICH DENOMINATION TO JOIN”

or

“I AM OF ANOTHER FAITH”

Point out that the Bible does not command us to join a denomination, but to become part of the one true Church through the born-again experience. Do not invite anyone to join a denomination, but rather to obey Jesus and become part of the Body of Christ (Acts 2:47).

Remind them that salvation is only in Jesus, not in church membership (Acts 4:12).

“IT IS TOO LATE FOR ME”

This excuse may be offered by someone who considers himself to be a great sinner and/or someone who has lived his whole life in sin and is now quite old. Remind him that God does not want anyone to be lost (2 Peter 3:9) and that even the thief on the cross was saved in the final moments of his life (Luke 23:43).

“I WOULD RATHER NOT ACCEPT CHRIST NOW”

Read the following verses to him: Isaiah 55:6; Matthew 24:44; Acts 17:30; 22:16; 2

Corinthians 6:2; Joshua 24:15; 1 Kings 18:21; Hebrews 2:3; James 4:13-14

“MY PROBLEMS ARE TOO DIFFICULT”

God is the answer to difficult problems. Share 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Matthew 19:26; Philippians 4:13.

“I HAVE BEEN SEEKING, BUT CANNOT FIND”

Some people claim they have been seeking an experience with the Lord but have been unable to find it. Share the following verses: Jeremiah 29:13; Luke 19:10; John 1:12

“GOD IS TOO GOOD TO PUNISH ME”

Share Romans 2:4-5; 2 Peter 3:9-11; John 5:40; Ezekiel 33:11.

“I CANNOT FORGIVE SOMEONE”

People often use the excuse that they cannot forgive someone who has done them wrong, so they cannot be saved themselves. It is true that this may be impossible with the unregenerate mind, but as a Christian, God can help them do this. Share Mark 11:25 and James 4:6.

“IT IS NOT POSSIBLE BECAUSE OF MY BUSINESS”

Some people use this excuse because they think becoming a believer means they have to give up their job and go full-time in the ministry. Explain that this is not so. Ask what business he is in. If his profession does not conform to Christian principles, then it will be necessary to give it up. It is better to do that than lose his soul. Share Mark 8:36.

“I TRIED ONCE AND FAILED”

or

“I AM AFRAID I WILL FAIL”

Compliment him for his sincerity in being concerned about failure, but point out that God has promised power to help him overcome sin. Share Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 10:13; I Peter 1:5; 2 Timothy 1:12; and Hebrews 13:5.

Consider the reasons why they may have failed. Did they try instead of trust in God? Did they cover their sins instead of confessing them? Did they go the way of the world instead of the Word of God? Did they read the Bible, pray, and attend church regularly?

Create hope and encourage him to try again. Remind him that the mercies of God are renewed each day and never fail (Lamentations 3:21-24). Share also 2 Corinthians 9:8; 12:9; 1 John 1:9; Jude 24; 2 Timothy 1:12; I Peter 1:5. It is trusting, not trying, that brings salvation. Share John 1:12; and Romans 4:3-5.

“I DO NOT HAVE ASSURANCE”

Sometimes when you have led a person to the Lord he does not have the assurance of salvation. Tell him that to refuse to believe God’s Word is sin (Romans 14:23). Share the following verses about assurance of salvation: John 1:12; 3:16,18,36; 5:24; Acts 10:43; 13:39; Ephesians 1:17-

20; 2:8; Jude 24, 2 Timothy 1:12; I Peter 1:5,18-19; 1 John 1:7; 5:13; Hebrews 9:22-10:22; 2

Corinthians 5:17; Romans 5:1,9; 3:25; 8:16.

TOTAL REJECTION

Read Luke 10:10-12. When you are evangelizing and the Gospel is totally rejected, you are to move on to another person or area that is receptive.