Donna Morley received the following email from a young woman--a high
school senior. Her questions and Donna's answers might help others, so
here it is.
Hello Mrs. Morley!
I writing because I'm taking an evangelism course through my school. My
assignment is that I have to ask another Christian two questions. Do you
1. What do you think is the purpose of the ten commandments?
There are many Christians who believe the purpose of the Ten Commandments
are to show us how sinful we are. Truly, selfishness is the curse of our sin nature,
and indeed there is something to be said for this. One thing I don't agree with, are
Christians who use the commandments to tell people that they are "adulterers,"
"thieves" and "liars." This is unloving, and I have yet to hear of one person coming
to Christ with this type of approach. If they do, praise the Lord, God certainly uses
all things. Yet, I don't highly advise this type of witnessing. I've only heard of people getting
angry, and Christians being considered unloving because of such outreach. One
woman shared with me that she regrets using this type of evangelism (based on videos
she saw at church). Sadly, it backfired on her and she's now lost a friendship as a
result. Some will excuse this sort of evangelism by saying that this was Christ's
primary approach to witnessing. I respectfully disagree.
As I see it, the commandments of God, whether expressed in the Law or the
prophets, are not scattered, unconnected rules; they run up into one great
principle; they are all developed from the law of love. As the Scripture says, love is
the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10).
Love is our refining, elevating power. It's the source of the best life. And, the
highest form of love must have the highest object, and that is God Himself. "You
shall have no other gods before Me" (Ex 20:3; Deut. 5:7); "You shall not take the
name of the Lord your God in vain..." (Deut. Ex. 20:7; Deut. 5:11). You shall
"observe the Sabbath"--in other words, worship Him (Ex. 20:8-11; Deut. 5:12).
As we see, these commands are focused on God---showing Him love.
When the scribes asked Jesus, "What commandment is the foremost of all?" (Mark
12:28) He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and
with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30;
Deut. 6:5). Again, Christ points to love--loving God.
Along with loving God, we are commanded to love all others. Jesus confirmed this
when He told the scribes, "The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as
yourself '" (Mark 12:31). How? By going back to those Ten Commandments that
speak of not only honoring our parents (Ex. 20:12; Deut 5:16) but all men; to
respect their rights (don't take their life; don't steal from them); their feelings
(don't commit adultery, and actually, we can expand upon this and be loyal in all
our relationships); to give them reverence (don't speak falsely about them).
Paul the apostle ties the ten commandments into love when he says:
"Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another ; for he who loves his
neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, 'You shall not commit adultery, you shall not
murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,' and if there is any other
commandment, it is summed up in this saying, 'You shall love your neighbor
as yourself.' Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the
fulfilment of the law" (Romans 13:8-10).
Love keeps in mind that all of mankind were made in the image of God. They are
all precious in the sight of Christ, ransomed with His life, redeemed with his
precious blood. That love, that respect, should be in the way we regard ourselves--true, real, sincere. As we care for ourselves, for our own comfort and happiness,
so we should do with others. If we are Christ's true disciples, we must care for the
comfort and happiness of others. If we can't love others, which includes by way of
the ten commandments, then we can't love God (1 John 4:7-8, 20). Jesus made
this point, in the reverse, "if you love Me, you will keep My commandments." The
Jews believed the ten commandments--those acts of love--were important, that
they wore the written commandments in their phylacteries; yet the Lord bids us to
carry those commandments of love in our heart.
We must not be content with our spiritual state unless we are sincerely and
earnestly striving to obey God's commandments, which again, brings us back to
loving God, and loving others.
2. What would you say to a non-believer when they asked you why they
should become a Christian?
When a non-believer, asks, "why should I become a Christian?" we first must keep
in mind that the question posed may be asked in a derogatory way. The non-believer could easily be challenging the Christian, wanting to know, "what's in it for
If we first tell the non-believer that "putting their faith in Christ, will prevent them
from hell" they would, perhaps, mock--as they pretend to be scared of the "fire
and brimstones." This non-believer may not be open to the gospel at all. Despite
that, "mockers" have come to Christ and we need to show them Christ's love.
I would begin sharing with the non-believer (who most likely doesn't see his/her
sin) by saying that God doesn't need any of us; we need Him . God has done fine
since the beginning of eternity without us; yet we can't live for the rest of eternity
I would emphasize the fact that being a Christian is not embracing a religion; it's
embracing a relationship with Jesus Christ. I take the word Christian and cut it up.
"Christ" is one part, then the "ian" is the other part. The word Christian then,
means to me that, "I Am Nothing without Christ."
I would then ask them such questions as,
---"If you were to die tonight, do you know if you would go to Heaven?"
---"What would you say to Jesus if He were to ask you, 'Why should I allow you
into my Kingdom?'"
Many people would answer, "I believe if I died tonight, I would go into heaven. And,
I would tell Jesus, I should go into His Kingdom because I've been a good person."
We can then point them to verses such as "For by grace you are saved through
faith, not that of yourselves, it's a gift of God, not as a result of works, lest no one
should boast" (Ephesians 2;8-9).
We can discuss how absurd it would be for everyone in Heaven to be boasting
about "how they got there." It eliminates what Christ did on our behalf. He died on
the cross, taking our punishment. To say good works get us into Heaven, means
that Christ died needlessly on the cross. Again, this is simply absurd. Just moments
before Jesus died, He proclaimed, "It is finished!" (John 19:30). In other words,
there's no longer any sacrifice left to be made on our behalf. Not even a lifetime of
"good works" can accomplish what Christ did on the cross, on our behalf.
In regard to good works, I would also point out that their good works aren't even
"true good works." When they ask "why?" I would tell them because they are only
doing the good works to earn a place in Heaven. Therefore, the "good" works are
done with wrong motives.
We can draw out the point that all of mankind are sinners: "for all have sinned and
fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
Point out that sin isn't just the bad stuff like murder, but it's also anger, lying,
cheating, fornication. It's even the "small stuff " that we know is wrong, but we do
anyway. Sin is sin--sure there's worse sins than others, but still, we are sinners, no
matter how we look at it.
I would talk about God's forgiveness. "Through Him forgiveness is proclaimed"
I would most certainly discuss God's love for them (Jeremiah 31:3) but too, His
sacrifice (John 3:16). There are many people who are genuinely moved when they
come to realize what Christ did for them.
I would end by exalting Christ, and their need for Him. I would tell them that Christ
Himself said He's the only way to Heaven. Along with reading John 14:6, I would
definitely read to them 1 John 5:11-13, and of course, re-emphasize, John
3:16..."whoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have eternal life!
I would also make sure of sharing my own personal testimony, and how the Lord
changed me. People are fascinated with stories, and with changed lives. Even if
we've come to Christ at an early age--we still have a story. We can talk about how
we've grown in the Lord--what He's taught us; how He's changed us in the
process of becoming all we can be for Him. "For from Him and through Him and to
Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever!" (Romans 11:36).
Certainly, there is so much more I could say here. The real important thing is that
you show much love for the person--even if they mock. There's an ole' saying,
"People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."
I hope this helps. If you would like for me to elaborate on any point(s), feel free to
get back with me.
Enjoy your evangelism class! "The Lord gives the command; the women who
proclaim the good tidings are a great host" (Psalm 68:11).