How to Help Someone Who Rejects Jesus Christ or the Gospel
When sharing the gospel it is possible to encounter people who have different excuses for why they will not commit to Jesus Christ.
There are many reasons or excuses that people give to reject the gospel of Christ. For example, many people have a fear of the unknown about making a commitment to receive Christ. Others may reject Jesus Christ simply because of misinformation about the true nature and character of God. Others also reject Christ because they do not fully understand the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
So in this article let’s look at some of the excuses that people give to reject Jesus Christ or the Gospel and how such people can be helped or advised with the goal of helping them to make an informed decision to genuinely commit their lives to Jesus Christ.
“Not today. I’ll accept Jesus another time…”
This person knows that God exists and may even understand the need to have a Saviour. He however has many temporary things in life that he wants to accomplish. Unfortunately a relationship with God is not part of his/her personal vision for life. He may also have sinful pleasures that he still enjoys and he is not willing to give up those pleasures. So in his mind he believes that God will just be an obstruction to enjoying those pleasures.
So at such a time in the person’s life, he is more focused on achieving personal goals and fulfilling worldly pleasures. He has the wrong perception that inviting God into his/her life might spoil the achievement of his personal objectives. So to this person, God is Someone who can be invited into his life when it is convenient for him. He may also believe or even argue that he can invite Christ into his life when he reaches old age or just before he dies.
This person falsely believes that he is in full control of his life and in full control of his destiny, including the timing of his own death.
How can you help this person? Advise this person to understand that life is short and so he should not to be lured or deceived by the lusts or temptations of the world (1 John 2:15-17).
Help this person to also understand that the pleasures and pursuits of this world are temporal. Instead we must seek the things above in heaven where God is seated and not the temporary things of life (Matthew 6:19-21).
It’s also important for him to know and understand that tomorrow is not promised to anyone. We can all die, anytime, any moment, any minute. Jesus Christ can also return any day before we have received Him (Matthew 25:1-13). So we should not boast about tomorrow because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
Proverbs 27:1 – Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.
“It is too late, you don’t know what I have done…”
This is the person who believes that his sins are unforgivable. This is the person who believes that God cannot forgive him because his sins are either too many or too wicked to forgive.
This person is full of immense guilt and is burdened by the immense wickedness of his sin. He believes that there is no possibility of salvation for all the bad things that he has done.
This person may not believe or understand the love and grace of God. He/she may not understand that salvation is by grace and not works.
How can you help this person? It’s important to help this person to understand that it is good that he can acknowledge his sins and his own depravity, for indeed all humans are sinners and we have all done wicked things in the sight of God (Romans 3:23).
It’s also important to take it a step further by explaining the love and grace of God and that through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross, God has forgiven us of all our sins. So forgiveness of sins is found in Jesus Christ because He paid the debt for our sins on the cross. There is no sin that the blood of Jesus cannot remove.
Ephesians 1:7 – In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
You can also inform the person that Jesus said that He did not come for the righteous (because there are NO righteous people – we are all sinners) – but Jesus came for the sinners to pay for their sins.
Luke 5:32 (Jesus speaking) – I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance
Other helpful verses for this type of person are the following: Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 John 1:9, Romans 5:8, Isaiah 1:18 and Romans 10:13
“I have tried the church life and it doesn’t work for me…”
Many people confuse church attendance with coming to God. Many believe that church is a building and not the people or [ekklesia] who have made a commitment to genuinely follow Jesus Christ by becoming born again Christians.
Many people also falsely believe that following a certain type of preacher or teacher is equivalent to following God.
Many people also confuse religion, church attendance and performing religious activities as being the same or equivalent as having a genuine relationship with God.
So this is the person who will also say: “I used to be a ‘Christian’ and Christianity didn’t work for me…” or “I used go to this/that church and I saw too many hypocrites in the church…”
A person who says “I have tried the church life and it doesn’t work for me” is a person who has either
1. Had a general false concept of church, religion and Christianity
2. Perhaps this person has been disappointed and discouraged by a scandalous church leader or witnessed the hypocritical culture of the particular church or churches which he’s attended
3. He has been a victim of false teachings and false teachers
How can you help this person? The problem is when there is no genuine relationship with God. It’s important to help the person to understand that the root purpose of Christianity is to follow God and not men. Christianity is about following the doctrines in the Bible and not the doctrines or religious traditions of men (Mark 7:8-13).
In Christianity we place our trust and faith in God and not in men. Christianity is about seeking approval from God and not from men (Galatians 1:10). So you need to help this person to understand the difference between religion and Christianity.
Christianity is a relationship with God – not a religion. Church attendance or performing church activities does not prove that one is a Christian, just as living in a garage does not turn a person into a car.
Explain that true Christianity begins when we accept the gospel and through faith we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour (John 1:12).
Help the person understand that whilst hypocrisy might exist in many churches, his/her personal focus must be on seeking a genuine relationship with God and seeking fellowship with genuine Christian believers. Also explain that Christians are not perfect and that as they genuinely grow, many will continue to sin and make mistakes during their spiritual growth.
Explain that in the Bible, Jesus also spoke about hypocrisy and that he spoke of the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24-30), as well as the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46) and so hypocrisy will exist until Jesus returns. So explain that not everyone who says “Lord! Lord!” or who claims to follow God is a true Christian (Matthew 7:21-23).
Explain that the true Church is comprised of true born again believers with Jesus Christ as the Head (Colossians 1:18). However, it is good to attend a local church and to be part of a local body for the purpose of fellowship and spiritual edification.
So if the person has given up on church, you may need to encourage him/her with some advice on how to find a Bible based church and to pray and find genuine Christian friends so that he/she may experience true genuine fellowship and spiritual edification.
“I don’t need a Saviour…”
This person believes that he/she is a good person. This person believes that he is not as bad or as wicked as other people. He believes that life is good and feels no spiritual threat or tragedy will come because he feels self-sufficient and believes in himself and has confidence in his own morality and abilitities.
This person may also believe that his own good works are enough to get him/her to paradise or heaven.
He does not understand the tragedy or consequence of sin which began when Adam sinned against God (Romans 5:12).
This person may also believe that he is “enough” or complete without a Saviour because he has placed his trust and confidence in someone or something that is of the world.
How can you help this person? Explain the consequences of sin no matter how small or big the sins are.
Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
God is faithful to His word; the consequence of sin is death. Therefore salvation is needed for everyone because of the destructive consequences of sin and nobody can escape if we neglect such a great salvation (Hebrews 2:2-3).
Hebrews 9:27– And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment
Help this person to discover that salvation and true fulfillment in life is found in Jesus Christ alone and not in the things of this world or in one’s own goodness or abilities (John 15:5).
“God is love, so a loving God would not send people to hell…”
This person is a universalist and believes that all religious paths lead to Heaven. This person will not accept that a loving God will punish people for eternity in hell.
How do you help this person? Help this person to understand that God is not only about love – but He is a God who also enacts justice. Explain that God has many different attributes or characteristics besides love.
So speak to this person about the reality of hell and the reality that God’s wrath is building up against those who reject Him right to the end.
Romans 1:18 – For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth
Revelation 21:8 – But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.
Luke 13:3 (Jesus speaking) – No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Also explain to this person that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven (John 14:6).
“I’m afraid I will lose too much…”
This person values his place and position in the world. He values what the world has given him. Perhaps its prestige, perhaps its material wealth, perhaps its love and honor from the world. These are the things he fears losing. He has a deep friendship with the world.
And so trusting in Jesus Christ or making a public proclamation of one’s faith or trust in Christ might jeopardize that person’s friendship with the world and all that the world has given him.
The young rich ruler in the Bible had this problem when Jesus asked him to give up everything and follow Him (Matthew 19:16-26).
How do you help this person? Jesus said the following in Mark 8:36-38: For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? 37 For what can a man give in return for his life? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
In Philippians 3:8 Paul said: What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ
So help this person to understand that Jesus Christ is more valuable than the temporal things of this world. Help him/her to learn that one does not need to be ashamed of Christ and that if we deny Christ, then Jesus will also deny us on judgment day.
Explain that it is better to be a citizen of heaven than a citizen of the world.
These are some of the many excuses that are given by people. It’s also important to pray for those whom you might share the gospel but yet have rejected the gospel. Even though they may not have accepted the gospel, God may still be working in their life to a point where he/she eventually commits to Christ. God-willingly, every discussion involving the word of God may be a seed planted in the heart to gradually urge the person to genuinely accept Jesus Christ at a certain point in that person’s life.
Like I said, people may pose many concerns and issues that are genuine – but these concerns come from a place of misinformation or false teaching. However, when we lovingly share God’s word and respond to such excuses through God’s word, the hope is that the walls of rejection, fear and guilt may be broken so that one may accept Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.