5 Steps To Witnessing (TRACK)September 4, 2007
Memorize the acronym TRACK to easily witness to someone. When kids come to your door on Halloween you can’t give them candy with an empty bowl. Likewise, you can’t present the gospel unless you dish out the truthful substance of it. WARNING! The real gospel is NOT for the faint of heart! It is offensive yet beautiful. As Derek Webb says, “It must be both… otherwise it may not be the gospel.” Christian, one last thing. Don’t forget to preach this message to yourself, in case you already forgot it.
The Ten Commandments are not for salvation. Rather, they show us how to rightly live. When the commandments are lived according to, one will experience joy. For the unbeliever, this is because they will keep you out of jail. For the believer, they will keep you out of jail and closer to the God you love, Jesus Christ. The commands reflect God’s own rightful character. Sin is acting and thinking contrary to God’s character. Breaking the commands in thought, word, or deed is what the Bible calls sin. This type of behavior is destructive to ourselves and everyone around us.
Sin also ruins our relationship with Christ. When we rebel against Christ, we set ourselves up as His enemies. Therefore, the consequence of our sin is to be eternally separated from Him. This is the worst of all predicaments because 1. It means we are shut off from knowing Him and experiencing His majesty, and 2. It means we deserve the condemnation of Christ’s eternal wrath.
Because everyone in the world has sinned, everyone is faced with this dilemma. Yet most refuse to admit this truth. Everyone one would like to believe they are good. Many falsely think if they mean well, or are good in the bottom of their hearts, God will smile upon them.
God’s moral commandments are the ultimate standard of goodness. If we fail to uphold them, we fail to be good. The law is holy. If we have broken God’s law then we are unholy. It acts like sunlight which exposes scratches on polished wood. Being said, in evangelism the law must be used to help people see their sin. It must be used to compare people’s character to Christ’s. This is an act of love so that the sinner can see their need for Jesus Christ as a Savior. The sinner will not seek Jesus Christ as a Savior until they learn that they are not right with Him. Therefore, the first step in witnessing is to use the Ten Commandments to reveal sin.
o (ESV) Romans 7:7 “Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
o Romans 5:13 “for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.”
o 1 John 3:4 “anyone who sins breaks the law. In fact, sin is lawlessness.”
o Deuteronomy 5, Exodus 20 (The Ten Commandments)
1. You shall have no other gods before me. (can be worshipping anything)
2. You shall not make for yourself an idol. (can be anything)
3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. (equate God’s name to what is disgraceful)
4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother. (implicitly, and explicitly considering you’re not sinning)
6. You shall not murder. (hatred is murder, Mat 5:22)
7. You shall not commit adultery. (premarital sex and fornication is adultery, Mat 5:28 )
8. You shall not steal. (no matter how small)
9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. (do not lie, not even to yourself)
10. You shall not covet. (be content and not jealous of others)
When witnessing say: “Are you good enough to go to Heaven?” “God’s commands say do not lie, steel, covet, lust, etc.” “Have you ever done any of these?” “Are you still a good person if you’ve broken God’s commands?” “God’s standard of goodness is the Ten Commandments.”
Christ does not excuse us from His justice if we keep our sin level to a minimum. He decides whether we deserve His eternal wrath in only one way. That is the measurement of absolute perfection. While the law shows that we are not as holy as we ought to be, God’s requirement of perfection shows that it is impossible for us to ever be right with God. That would require us to be as perfect as Jesus Christ. Christ requires us to be completely void of any sin whatsoever. He will not overlook or forget any degree of sin within us.
Just as bleach forever ruins color, so a single sin shuts us off from God forever. This means even our seemingly good deeds will be useless to us when we face Christ during judgment. We will not be judged according to how sorry we are for our sin, nor how hard we tried to be good people. Rather, the only deciding factor of our eternal destiny is whether we were sinless or not. Christ will just need one sin to accuse us forever. He is completely holy and loves Himself so much that He will forever hate those who are found with sin during judgment.
In the righteous eyes of Christ, we are either completely innocent or completely guilty. There is no in between. Wherever sin lies in us, there remains an eternal consequence for us, God’s wrath. Our lawlessness echoes an infinite imperfection about us against the backdrop of Christ’s awesome perfection. Our lawlessness is such an eternal weight of offense to God. It will damn us forever. When witnessing we must not only reveal sin by use of the moral law. We must also explain how Christ will not overlook any single sin.
o Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death”
o James 2:10 “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”
o Galatians 3:10, Deuteronomy 27:26 “cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the law.”
o Hebrews 9:27 “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment”
o Romans 2:5, 8 “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. …for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.”
When witnessing say: “If God requires perfection of His commandments, do you think you will go to Heaven or Hell when you die?” “What will you say to God if He requires perfection?” “The Bible says no one is good if we break a single command.” “People appear good to other people, but God judges by perfection.”
What the sinner needs is the sinner’s Savior. That is Jesus Christ. He is the one eternal God who lived as a human. He is our only hope. This is because of His perfect life, His brutal death, and His victorious resurrection on our behalf. We are not to think of these events taking place separately from us. We ought to see that if these events directly involve us, then we can have hope. If we were not intimately involved in these things then we have no hope.
First, Jesus Christ lived for us. Christ lived a perfect life to where He never sinned in thought, word, or deed. He never had a bad attitude for a mille-second. He had a foot massage by a prostitute and never had the inner urge to lust. Christ was fully human and had many human experiences such as starving, suffering, being cold, getting angry, and laughing. But He was also fully God and was not able to sin.
Christ also suffered God’s wrath upon Himself. The wrath that rightfully loomed over us is the wrath that was re-directed over Christ. Isaiah 53:5 states that “by His wound (singular) we are healed.” Christ was not merely beat up by Roman soldiers instead of us. Rather, He took the single blow of God’s infinite wrath upon Himself. This is why Christ sweat drops of blood before His crucifixion. This is why Christ prayed in Mat 26:39 “My Father… may this cup be taken from me.” The cup is biblical symbolism for wrath. Christ was our substitute for God’s wrath in order to crush all of OUR sin in Christ so as to let us go free.
Thirdly, Christ rose from the dead. All the work of pardoning the sinner is already satisfied in Christ’s life, crucifixion, and death. But now we have complete hope that we are forever right with God because Christ rose from the dead. The reason is because Christ was not only condemned as a mere sinner but He was condemned with OUR sin! Therefore, if all of OUR sin has been fully paid for in Christ… Christ may rise! This means Christ is now right with God and so are we. What good news!
o Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
o Romans 8:3 “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us”
o1 Corinthians 15:17 “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (If Christ has risen, then all who believe may rest assure they are no longer accused of sin)
When witnessing say: “We have all broken God’s commands, but Jesus lived a perfect life.” “God is more satisfied with Christ’s life then dissatisfied with ours.” “God punished our sin in Jesus so He it wouldn’t be punished in us.” “Jesus doesn’t love us in spite of our sin. He loves us by doing something about it.”
It’s not enough to simply tell people that Christ is the Savior and stop there. We must also call people to believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. We are to invite them to believe in Him as their Savior and change their mind and ways for Him to know that they are intimately involved in His life, death, and resurrection. One ought to lose sleep if they do not believe and change their mind and ways. For only those who believe and change their mind and ways will evidence that they have been involved in the completed saving works of Christ. No one is saved because of these things, but these are the proofs and evidences that we ARE right with God, and that we are His friends.
When we preach to others, we do not use clever persuasion tactics. We are to proclaim the only message of hope. The gospel message is the power of God unto salvation, not our ability to sell the message. You are not the Holy Spirit. Do what you are called to do and let the Holy Spirit do what only He can do in raising corpses from the dead.
Our duty is to faithfully preach a message which is both offensive and beautiful. The Holy Spirit will use His message, through us, to change people’s hearts. Be true to the biblical points of the gospel. Give everyone the chance to respond to Jesus Christ. Invite them to believe so that they will know they are right with Christ (2 Cor 13:5, Rom 10:9). Do this while we are still living in a time of God’s patience.
o Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes”
o Mark 1:14 “Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
o 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 “God chose you as the first fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
When witnessing say: “You can know you are saved today if you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ.” “No amount of guilt is necessary to be accepted by Him.” “God’s promise is that He will rescue all who believe in His work for them.” “Salvation is a free gift of God which can’t be earned.” “Please believe in Jesus Christ to know you are right with Him and not His enemy.”
Explain the ultimate goal of the cross for those who are saved by it. It isn’t what most people think. It isn’t merely to escape Hell, judgment, or personal guilt. It isn’t going to Heaven when you die. It isn’t living forever. It isn’t receiving God’s blessings. It isn’t having purpose in life. It isn’t to stoke your ego, obtain inner peace, or to make you appear happy on the surface.
Answering the question, “what is the goal of the gospel?” is likened to answering the question, “what is the meaning of life?” The answer is not 42. From the redeemed sinner’s perspective, the answer is to see, experience, and know the Lord Jesus Christ…forever! That IS eternal life. Contrary to common belief, eternal life is not unending existence. Even selfish sinners want to remain in existence because they think much of themselves and don’t want to die. But true eternal life is not a thing but a person.
Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” In John 17:3 He said “This is eternal life: that they would know you (the Father), and Jesus Christ (Himself) whom you have sent.” 1 John 5:11-12 says “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” and 1 John 5:20 says “He (Jesus Christ) is the true God and eternal life.”
We love looking at the Grand Canyon, the stars, sunsets, etc. Yet none are in comparison to gazing upon the infinite, ever-revealing beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ. All else is a for-taste of His majesty. All which we enjoy in created things such as landscapes, lightning, and amazing animals spark our interests by testifying of God’s creativity and wonder. All which we appreciate in secular art and music grips our souls only because beings created in the image and likeness of God could produce such amazing things. How much more will our souls be enthralled when Christ let’s us through His gates allowing us to gaze upon His ever-revealing splendor for eternity? It’s unimaginable.
So we have seen that we are saved from God, namely His wrath and justice. We have also seen that we are saved by God, that is by Jesus Christ. But now we see the purpose of it all. We are saved to God. Only the Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal fulfillment to our hearts eternal longing. Those who admit their sin, turn from their evil ways, and believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Boss will be saved. They will be able to do what they were created for, namely, to see, experience, and know Christ forever!
o Ephesians 1:17 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”
o Philippians 3:7-8 “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ”
o John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
When witnessing say: “Our hearts desire is that we would be able to know Christ.” “Our true satisfaction lies in knowing Him.” “All other pleasures are unsatisfying compared to knowing Christ for who He really is.” “Only Jesus Christ enables us to come to the fullness of God.” “Our greatest sorrow is that we would be prevented from this.”
T – (Ten Commandments) Memorize the Ten Commandments today. Use them to reveal sin. In other words, get the sinner lost. Do this firmly but in love.
R – (Requirements) Push the sinner off the cliff of self-righteousness. Secure getting them lost with James 2:10 and Galatians 3:10. God requires sinless perfection from us and nothing less.
A – (Answer) Explain how Christ is the only answer for their sin and wrath problem. Make clear how Christ’s life, death, and resurrection ensure this possibility.
C – (Calling) Call the sinner to believe in the good news and to change their mind and ways towards Christ. Invite them to receive Christ as the one who lived, died, and rose on their behalf.
K – (Know) Share with the unbeliever that because Jesus Christ takes our deserved execution, we get to know Him. Expound on how Christ is our true pleasure and enjoyment. Only Jesus Christ enables us to be with God forever. Our saddest condition is that this would be prevented.
Note: I did not create this “tract” to be a cookie-cutter method of witnessing. I created it to simply offer the substance of the gospel which many modern Christians are sadly unfamiliar with. All I can say is 1. be well informed about the gospel 2. have discernment and patience when witnessing and 3. present a gospel that is both offensive yet beautiful. In other words, the gospel you share must intersect both fear and hope, justice and love, wrath and grace, dread and liberation. The gospel you present must always have both sides of the cross. Otherwise, I would dare to say you are not presenting the biblical gospel which saves.
Get to know the people you witness to. Talk about other things besides the gospel. But when you do share the gospel, have it meet their spiritual needs above their earthly needs. Present it to meet their biblical needs such as sin, wrath, judgment, hope, forgiveness from Christ, acceptance of Christ, and fulfillment in knowing Christ, above their less important earthly needs of inner-peace, emotional stability, and health & wealth. Pray for these secondary things too, however.
Finally, I leave you with these witnessing tips. As Kim Riddlebarger says “Be sensitive to someone’s past—if they’ve had a bad experience in church, struggle with a particular sin etc., be understanding and compassionate. Don’t be a self-righteous “know it all,” who is here to correct them!”
“When people are apathetic about sin—use the law. When people have doubts or are skeptical—use basic apologetic arguments. When people express guilt for sin—present the gospel.”
Here is an example of what to say when evangelizing your co-worker, friend, relative, etc. Click here
*(please feel free to print this out and distribute it)