Have you ever thought, "There must be a key to reaching the lost"? There is - but it's rusty through lack of use. The Bible does actually call it "the key," and its purpose is to bring us to Christ - to unlock the Door of the Savior (John 10:9). Yet much of the Church still doesn't even know that it exists. Not only is it Biblical, but it can be shown through history that the Church used it to unlock the doors of genuine revival.
The problem is that it was lost around the turn of the 20th century. Keys have a way of getting lost. But Jesus used it. So did Paul (Rom 3:19, 20), Timothy (1 Tim 1:8-11), and James (Jas 2:10). Stephen used it when he preached (Acts 7:53). Peter found that it had been used to open the door to release 3,000 imprisoned souls on the Day of Pentecost. Jesus said that the lawyers had "taken away" the key, and even refused to use it to let people enter into the kingdom of God. The Pharisees didn't take it away. Instead, they bent it out of shape so that it wouldn't do its work (Mk 7:8). Jesus returned it to its true shape, just as the Scriptures prophesied (Isa 42:21).
Satan has tried to prejudice the modern Church against the key. He has maligned it, misused it, twisted it and, of course, hidden it - he hates it because of what it does. Perhaps you are wondering what this key is. I will tell you. All I ask is that you set aside your traditions and prejudices and look at what God's Word says on the subject.
In Acts 28:23 the Bible tells us that Paul sought to persuade his hearers "concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets." So, we have two effective means of persuading the unsaved "concerning Jesus." Let's first look at how the prophets can help persuade sinners concerning Jesus. Fulfilled prophecy proves the inspiration of Scripture. The predictions of the prophets present a powerful case for the inspiration of the Bible. Any skeptic who reads the prophetic words of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel, etc., or the words of Jesus in Matthew 24 cannot but be challenged that this is no ordinary book. The other means by which Paul persuaded sinners concerning Jesus was "out of the law of Moses." The Bible tells us that the Law of Moses is good if it is used lawfully (1 Tim 1:8). It was given by God as a "schoolmaster" to bring us to Christ (Gal 3:24). Paul wrote that he "had not known sin, but by the law" (Rom 7:7).
The Law of God (the Ten Commandments) is evidently the "key of knowledge" Jesus spoke of in Luke 11:52. He was speaking to "lawyers" - those who should have been teaching God's Law so that sinners would receive the "knowledge of sin" and thus recognize their need of the Savior. Prophecy speaks to the intellect of the sinner, while the Law speaks to his conscience. One produces faith in the Word of God; the other brings knowledge of sin in the heart of the sinner.
The Law is the God-given "key" to unlock the Door of salvation. Charles Spurgeon said, "I do not believe that any man can preach the gospel who does not preach the Law. The Law is the needle, and you cannot draw the silken thread of the gospel through a man's heart unless you first send the needle of the Law to make way for it."
Sadly, many hear the word "Law" and think of "legalism." While there are those who use the Law unlawfully (legalism), it shouldn't negate the fact that we can use the Law lawfully - to reach the lost. That's why God gave it - "for sinners" (1 Tim 1:8-10). If you study how Jesus evangelized in Mark 10:17-21 you will notice how different His approach was from that of modern evangelism. A young man ran to Him (he was earnest), knelt down (in apparent humility), called Jesus "good," then asked how he could obtain eternal life. However, Jesus didn't preach the Cross, speak of God's love, repentance, or lead this potential convert in a sinner's prayer. Instead He corrected his understanding of the word "good." Then He took him through the Ten Commandments (the Law) to show this man what sin was. If we want to be effective in reaching the lost, we must imitate the way of the Master.
How then do we practically do that? This is how: I'm sitting in a plane next to a Moslem. I smile and say, "Hi. How are you doing? Did you get one of these? It's a gospel tract." When the man replies, "I'm a Moslem," I need not panic and think that I am going to have to convince him of the deity of Christ. I simply ask, "Would you consider yourself to be a good person?" When he says, "Yes I would," I take him through the Ten Commandments to show him God's standard of righteousness, beginning with "Have you ever told a lie?" When he says that he has, I ask him if he has ever stolen anything. Then I say how Jesus said, "Whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery already with her in his heart."
When he admits that he has also stolen and lusted, I gently say, "By your own admission, you are a lying, thieving, adulterer at heartand we've only looked at three of the Ten Commandments." I shut him up under the Law, and talk about the reality of Hell and Judgment Day. Then I bring the mercy of the Cross, repentance and faith, having the confidence that it is the gospel that is "the power of God unto salvation" not my argument.
I'm sitting in a plane next to a Roman Catholic (we know that there are millions of both Catholics and Protestants who have never been born again, and therefore they need to hear the gospel). I smile and say, "Hi. How are you doing? Where are you from? Did you get one of these? It's a gospel tract." He answers, "I'm a Roman Catholic." I needn't panic thinking that I am going to have to argue about papal infallibility, the confessional, praying to the saints, purgatory, transubstantiation, Mariology, etc. I simply ask him, "Do you consider yourself to be a good person?" When he answers "Yes I do," I take him through the Ten Commandments to show him God's standard of goodness, beginning with "Have you ever told a lie?" Etc.
I'm sitting in a plane next to a homosexual. I smile and say, "Hi. How are you doing? Where are you from? Did you get one of these? It's a gospel tract." He answers, "I'm gay." At this point I don't panic, thinking that I am going to have to speak against sexual orientation. I simply ask, "Would you consider yourself to be a good person?" When he answers "Yes I am," I take him through the Ten Commandments to show him God's standard of goodness, beginning with "Have you ever told a lie?" Etc. I do this because the Bible says that the Law was made for homosexuals (1 Tim 1:8-10). After he has been humbled by the Law, I can then show him 1 Corinthians 6:9
I'm sitting in a plane next to an intellectual. I smile and say, "Hi. How are you doing? Where are you from? Did you get one of these? It's a gospel tract." He answers, "I'm an evolutionist, and I lean strongly towards the controversial spontaneous regeneration and the quantum embryonic theory of cosmological physics." I'm not intimidated by his brainery . I simply ask, "Would you consider yourself to be a good person?" When he says, "Yes I do," I take him through the Ten Commandments to show him God's standard of goodness, beginning with "Have you ever told a lie?" Etc.
You may have noticed that the same principles are used with each person. This is because God has given us a level playing field. The way Jesus witnessed (correcting a sinner's understanding on the word "good," then going through the Law) circumnavigates the human intellect and speaks directly to the conscience . This is because the carnal human mind is at war with God (at enmity) - it is "not subject to the Law of God" (Rom 8:7). So for us to be effective, we have to find ground upon which there is agreement with the Law so that we can reason with the sinner about sin, righteousness and judgment to come. The place of common ground is the conscience: "Which show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness" (Rom 2:15).
The sinful human mind is bent on argument with the Law, but the conscience will agree with it. It bears witness. This is such an important point. The sinner's understanding (the mind) is "darkened," but the conscience is a "light" that God has given to every man. The word "con-science" means "with knowledge." Some people seem to have no conscience but it is just seared (see 1 Tim 4:2) - hardened so that it has lost its ability to function. The correct use of the Law will resurrect it. When you speak directly to the conscience of a hardened sinner by saying "You know that it's wrong to steal, to lie, to commit adultery, etc.," the conscience affirms the truth of the Commandment. He will even unconsciously nod in affirmation.
We tend to complicate the issue of witnessing by bringing up subjects that are irrelevant to the subject of salvation, and therefore confine ourselves to the intellect (the place of argument), rather than the conscience (the place of the knowledge of right and wrong).
What place, then, do apologetics have? They should have the same purpose as bait does on a hook. They are merely bait for the intellect. They attract the fish. Never let the fish spend too long nibbling on the bait. Learn to quickly pull the hook of the Law into the jaw of the human heart. Discover how to quickly move from the intellect to the conscience, as Jesus did.
This is why The Evidence Bible was compiled. It teaches how to do this and has been commended by Josh McDowell, Dr. D. James Kennedy, Franklin Graham, and many others. It contains more than two decades' worth of research and is packed with incredible information, such as how to show the absurdity of evolution, how to share your faith with your family or at your workplace, how to witness to an atheist, and how to prove the authenticity of the Bible through prophecy.
Many Christians don't realize that the Bible is full of eye-opening scientific and medical facts, nor are they aware of the many fascinating and faith-building quotes from Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Stephen Hawking, and other well-known scientists. The Evidence Bible also contains one hundred of the most commonly asked questions of the Christian faith, as well as the combined evangelistic wisdom of Charles Spurgeon, D. L. Moody, John Wesley, Charles Finney, George Whitefield, and many others.
Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains and Left Behind movies) and I have combined our ministries because we desperately want to get this teaching to the Church. These principles work because we have seen them Biblically, historically, and experientially - both in our own lives and in the lives of those God has touched through our ministry. We are continually receiving letters from Christians who had never shared their faith who, after hearing this teaching, cannot but share their faith. It is because of this that we believe that God has entrusted us with truths that will usher in genuine revival.
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See www.livingwaters.com for further information on the ministry of Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron.