These days in sports, they talk about PEDs (Performance Enhancing Drugs). Let me tell you about a PED for Christians (Performance Enhancing Device). It’s our book of the month for March. Tell the Truth, written by Will Metzger, who has been a campus evangelist for almost 50 years, offers not only the “how-to-do-it” of evangelism, but also a greater understanding of the gospel that we are sharing. Understanding and practicing what is taught in this book will make you effective in sharing your faith with others, something all Christians know they should do.
The book is divided into three parts, with three extensive appendixes that should not be overlooked (as I often do with an appendix). In the first part, Metzger carefully explains the weakness of personal evangelism today: a “me-centered” evangelism that focuses on meeting the felt needs of the individual to whom we witness. God loves you and will help you. True enough, but when the needs are not met as expected, a person is likely to turn away from the faith that was supposedly professed. In what he labels “God-centered” evangelism, the focus is on God, who is your King and will save you. God is proclaimed as a God of love, but also of justice, and He requires that a sinner be reconciled to Himself and submissive to Christ as Lord.
The first part concludes with a superb chapter that clearly teaches what every believer needs to know about their salvation, including an excellent tool (a “Come Home” diagram) that can be used to explain the gospel to an unbeliever. It details the five primary points that should be clearly presented. In a nutshell, here they are:
- 1. God: our Owner, Father and Judge.
- 2. God-centered living: two rules of the road (the great commandments)
- 3. Man-centered living: separated and enslaved (we can’t keep those commandments)
- 4. Jesus Christ: the way back to life
- 5. Our necessary response: Coming home to Jesus
The second part of the book is a masterful description of God’s grace. It includes not only a biblical description of sovereign grace, but the fact that people have to respond to it, thus balancing that controversial topic of God’s sovereignty versus man’s responsibility (which he calls “two friends”, not two enemies as some would see them). I liked one way he expresses it: man has the ability to respond because of God’s grace, which he called “respond-ability”. Excellent!
The last chapter of this part of the book was especially challenging to me. Simply titled “Worship”, Metzger deals with the question “Why should we witness?” It’s one thing to say we have a burden for the lost, but what happens when the burden is not present? As he says, he is “compelled to put evangelism in its proper place: it’s number two on God’s agenda. Worship is number one.” If we truly have a passion for God, we will want to share it with others.
The third part of the book is where the author really starts to deal with the “how to” of witnessing. The author provides useful information about the different types of people you will encounter in your personal witnessing experiences, along with suggestions on effective ways of reaching them. He also emphasizes the fact that we have a goal of disciples, not decisions. Disciples will be obedient, involved in God’s church, and find ways of serving.
Earlier I mentioned the appendixes. They are so valuable, providing practical ideas for sharing the gospel using questions, being prepared for questions that unbelievers are asking, using stories from the gospel to illustrate the message, and much more. There is even a study guide included if you wanted to work through the book with a group.
I want to especially call your attention to Appendix 2 where Metzger provides a detailed, amplified explanation of his Come Home diagram. This is a section that needs to be read, studied, learned, and practiced. Make it something you can easily use because it is an important part of your life. It will turn you into a gospel theologian, hopefully giving you a passion to share it with others.