Evangelizing Your Community - Lesson 4
Stages of Conversion
Background Information for the Teacher
- The student can list the seven stages of conversion.
- The student can carefully use the stages of conversion in leading a person to Christ.
- Students will need Bibles.
- Download the handout for the worksheet on the stages of conversion and have these ready to distribute to the class.
One who does personal work should know the seven stages of conversion and be able to lead people through them.
Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class
Introduction: (5 minutes)
- Check the roll and introduce any new people.
- Sing an evangelistic song like "To the Work" or "Lead Me to Some Soul Today."
- Pray for the success of this class and for each person to reach out to others.
- Remind the class of the importance of this class in helping us to be more useful in the kingdom of Christ.
Learning Experiences (35 minutes)
(Hand out the sheets with the seven stages of conversion.) As we study the cases of conversion in the book of Acts and statements in other books of the Bible about coming to Christ, it is evident that there are several stages through which a person moves. Understanding these will help us as we work to bring people to salvation.
- The beginning point in conversion is for a person to realize he/she is lost. Q: What does it mean to be "lost?" A: To be separated from God as shown on the steps in God's Eternal Plan. Q: In what cases of conversion in Acts do people express this recognition? A: Pentecost-What shall we do? Philippian jailor-What must I do to be saved? Q: What do such expressions suggest? A: A recognition that "I am lost."
- The second stage through which a person moves is this: I need a savior. He/She says not only "I am lost," but "I need someone to help me get out of this lost condition."
- The third stage is coming to an awareness that Jesus is the only one who can fill the need for a savior. Read Acts 8:12. Q: What was the message Philip preached and which the people believed? A: The good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. Read Acts 4:12. Q: What are the implications of Peter's statement? A: We need a savior and Jesus is the only one who can provide what we need. Read Acts 8:35. Q: What is the good news Philip told the Ethiopian? A: That the long_prophesied Messiah was the savior. That is the good news.
- The fourth stage of conversion is for a person to "accept Jesus," to "choose Jesus" as the one who can lead him/her from lost to saved, from separated from God to reconciled to God. Q: When a person has done this, what do we usually say he/she has done? A: Believed. Q: What cases of conversion in Acts would illustrate this point? A: Philippian jailor-Acts 16:31; the Samaritans and Simon-Acts 8:12_13; Paul-Acts 22:10.
- The fifth stage through which a person passes in conversion is "repentance." Q: In what case in Acts are people specifically commanded to repent? A: Pentecost-Acts 2:38. Q: What does it mean to repent? A: To change direction. A change of mind that brings a change in life. Q: In the case of the conversion of Saul (Paul), what did he do to show that he was in this stage of repentance? A: Fasting and praying for three days-Acts 9:9_11. And Paul did not go ahead with his plan to persecute Christians. Q: What are things today that one might have to change to become a Christian? A: Business practices, the way he treats his spouse and children, the way he/she spends time, types of recreation, lying, changes in sexual behavior, no longer using drugs, etc. Q: As we help someone through this process, should we help them realize what they will need to change? A: Yes.
- The sixth stage of conversion is "submitting to baptism for forgiveness of sins." Since there is some disagreement in the religious world as to whether this step is necessary before one is reconciled to God, we should study this statement carefully. Q: What are some verses cited to suggest that one is saved prior to being baptized? A: (Have someone read each as it is mentioned, but do not comment on it yet.) John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Romans 5:1_2; Ephesians 2:8_9. Q: What are some verses which suggest that in addition to believing, one should be baptized before his/her sins are forgiven? A: (Have someone read each as it is mentioned but do not comment on it yet.) Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:27; 1 Peter 3:21; Romans 6:4; Acts 22:16.) Q: Are these verses in conflict with the earlier ones? A: No. Read James 2:20_24. Q: What does this passage teach that would help us see that all these verses are in harmony? A: That before God rewards faith, He asks for a demonstration of it. So faith is certainly required. But God asks that one submit to baptism as a demonstration of faith and that at this point of demonstration of faith He forgives the sins. Q: Seen in this light is being baptized an attempt to earn salvation by works? A: No. Being baptized is not an attempt to earn anything but is merely our obedience to God's command that we demonstrate our faith in this way before He rewards it.
- The seventh step in the conversion process is one's determination to live the life Christ calls us to live. Q: What are some of the things you would likely share with a person about living this life before they made the final decision to be baptized? A: Connecting with Christians, coming to church, studying the Bible, serving others, praying, etc. Q: What would you tell them about how well they are expected to live the Christian life? A: They are expected to try but are not expected to be perfect. Read 1 John 1:6_8. Q: What does this passage tell us about living the Christian life? A: We will not be perfect. We will sin. When we sin we are to confess it and seek not to do it again. There is a difference between walking in the light and occasionally falling down and in leaving the light to walk in the darkness. Q: What are some of the potential difficulties in leading a person through this series of steps? A: Getting them to recognize they are lost without offending them. Helping them to recognize the eternal consequences of this process. Leading them through all of the stages rather than just through some of them.
Application: (5 minutes)
- We need to be able to recognize where a person is along this process as we begin to engage them so we will know best how to help them proceed. Q: Describe some possible situations that would represent people at different points along this road. A: A person who has never had any connection with Jesus. A person who has been part of a church that has led him/her through part of the process but not all of it. A person who has gone through all of these stages but has fallen away from the final stage.
Assignment: (1 minute)
- Begin to look among your friends and acquaintances for someone with whom you might be able to study. Begin to think how you might approach them.
- In the next lesson we will study the attitudes we must have in order to do well in reaching out to others.
WORKSHEET TO USE WITH LESSON 4:
STAGES OF CONVERSION
Fill in the blanks as the lesson moves forward. Under each statement write a comment or a scripture that would help explain this stage.
1.I am _______.
2.I need a ______.
3.I need ____ as my _____.
4.I need to _____ Jesus as my ____.
5.I need to _______ of my ___.
6.I need to be ______ for the ______ of my sins.
7.I need to ___ the ______ life.
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