Below are three areas that Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would bring conviction to the heart of the unbeliever (World). This does not mean that you do not use other things to produce openings that draw the interest of the unbeliever. If you will note closely almost all good salvation tracts have these three components. On the day of Pentecost 3,000 Jewish people became believers in Messiah Jesus because Peter’s message concentrated on these three concepts.
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Acts 2:37 (KJV)
Note that these Jewish listeners did not say “ What must we do to be saved?”. They asked “What must we do?” They were asking what they must do because they had just crucified their Messiah. They were asking a specific question about a specific sin, the sin of crucifying their Messiah. Peter’s answer was that they must now receive Messiah by faith and demonstrate their repentance (change of mind) by formally being baptized in the name of Jesus – thus being willing to identify themselves with Jesus Christ. A Jewish person being baptized in the name of Jesus at that time in history was a clear sign of true conversion. It was a clear evidence of repentance (change of mind). Remember all of these people on the day of Pentecost were Jewish people.
Also, it will be noted that the word which is translated “for”in Acts 2:38 is “eis” in Greek and is translated “at” “they repented at (eis) the preaching of Jonas; Matt 12:41 (KJV)
Notice that the word “at” in Matt. 12:41 could be translated “because”. The people of Nineveh repented because of the preaching of Jonas. They did not repent in order for Jonas to preach. They repented “because” he preached.
Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38
On the day of Pentecost these Jewish people changed their mind and reconsidered who Jesus was and were baptized in his name (authority) because of the remission of sins.
Also, note the word translated “Repent” is the Greek word “metanoeō” which literally means “change of mind” or “reconsider”. Interestingly, the English word “Repent” means exactly the same thing. “Re” means “again” and “pent” means “to think”, so repent is to think again, change your mind, or reconsider. It does not in and of itself mean “turn around” as many preachers teach. To repent a person will not only change his mind but he will begin to change his actual behavior. These Jewish people indeed reconsidered and change their mind as to who Jesus was and what He came to do.
Most other areas of discussion with unbelievers even if from the Holy Scriptures are less likely to bring “the conviction” of the Holy Spirit.
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient (necessary, important) for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter (Holy Spirit) will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
8 And when he is come, he will reprove (convict or convince) the world of (1) sin, and of (2) righteousness, and of (3) judgment:
9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; (It is a sin not to believe on Jesus Christ as your Saviour.) According to John 3:18 a person that does not believe on Jesus Christ is already condemned – simply because he does not believe in Jesus Christ. It is interesting that Martin Luther said that when Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, “they fell from faith”. The original sin was unbelief! And even now all sin is caused by a lack of faith in God. Unbelief is the root and sin is the fruit. “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18 (KJV)
10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
Jesus demonstrated He was truly righteous by His resurrection from the dead. He went back to the Father! Unless He had paid for every sin, He would not been able to be raised from the dead because “the wages of sin is death!” Romans 6:23
11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. John 16:7-11 (KJV)
If you do not believe in Jesus Christ as your Saviour you are on the side of Satan, the prince(Satan) of this World who is under the judgment of God. You will have the same destination and punishment as Satan has – Hell, the Lake of Fire.
Why not use the concepts and areas of the Holy Spirit conviction that Jesus clearly explained. Why should be lack confidence in the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ when he is the one who told us to “ Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15 (KJV) According to Holy Scripture the Holy Spirit is the one who convicts, converts, and brings the new birth (regeneration) to the unsaved. We must always trust in the Holy Spirit of God to guide us in proclaiming the Good News (Gospel). It is our responsibility to proclaim the message of salvation that God has given us in the Holy Scriptures.
The word evangelism means “to proclaim” the Good News of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. We do not save a person. God only regenerates people. However, we save people instrumentally. We are God’s instruments to proclaim the gift of God which is through Jesus Christ. We may or may not have converts. That is not our major responsibility. We will only have converts when God the Holy Spirit takes the message of the Good News and convinces the unsaved of his desperate need of the Saviour.
The Apostle Paul clearly used these basic elements in his presentation to of the Gospel to Felix with the result of obvious conviction.
25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. Acts 24:25 (KJV)
But do not be deceived God uses Christians to bring the message of the Good News of eternal life to the lost. Paul said “… I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 1 Cor 9:22 (KJV) Paul clearly states that his goal was to “save some”. We do save some instrumentally by presenting the clear Good News to them. God has chosen to work through us to win the lost.
What is evangelism? Bill Bright, former president of Campus Crusade for Christ, stated that “Evangelism is simply sharing Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God.” Instead of “leaving the results to God” I prefer “expecting the results from God.” Every time we clearly proclaim the Good News there will be results. However, all the results will not be positive. Scripture clearly shows that many people will not believe the Good News. But we have done the will of God by making known the Good News. That is our responsibility. The parable of the Sower is a good illustration. In this parable the Sower is the Son of Man, Jesus, who sows the good seed of the message of salvation. However, even Jesus was not successful in winning everyone to receive the Good News. Only two out of the four soils produced life. The other two appears to have never truly received life. According to the parable of the sower in Luke this third groupthe seed which fell among the thorns had life, but no fruit to maturity. ”… bring no fruit to perfection. (maturity)”. Luke 8:14 (KJV)
Thus I believe this group are truly regenerate but produce no real fruit for God: they have life, but no fruit. Is this possible? I believe that it is. It is very tragic but is clearly stated in 1 Corinthians 3:15.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 1 Cor 3:15 (KJV)
While I agree with Chrysostom that we should not attempt to make a parable walk on all four and parables are generally used to illustrate one and only one primary point, the parable of the Sower illustrates that we should expect different results and responses to our witness. Do not be discouraged when you do not receive a positive response to your Gospel presentation. Even Jesus the true Sower of the Word did not have everyone respond positively to his message. Why should we expect to do any better?
Also, we must remember when someone rejects the message of salvation we still have done the will of God. We have clearly borne witness to that person. God himself will hold them responsible on the Day of Judgment.
Remember, also, that they are not rejecting us, but they are rejecting God. We should not be offended.
15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. 2 Cor 2:15-16 (KJV)
We are a witness to the unsaved of their coming destruction “death unto death” but we are a witness of “life unto life” to them that are saved. Yes, we are doing the will of God even when no one believes or accepts the Good News. Also, a person never knows what will happen in the future of that person who was given the truth of the Good News. It may please God to save them at another time. They may repent (change their mind, reconsider) and believe the Good News. The more seed sown, the more seed will find good soil. Therefore do not be weary in well doing for we shall reap if we faint not. The more we sow, the more we will reap!
“…He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” 2 Cor 9:6 (KJV)
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Gal 6:9 (KJV)
Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil. 3:14