One of my favorite people in the world is Charles Roesel, former pastor of FBC Leesburg, Florida. He is a living legend in the state of Florida and at 85 years of age is fit and healthy and can still preach the stars down.
One day we were having a meal in a restaurant, and as we were leaving he asked the waitress a question. He said, “Do you know for sure that you are saved?” She said, “No sir, I can’t say that I do.” He said, “Did you know that there are five things that will happen to you the moment you get saved?” She said, “No sir, I didn’t.”
He then took about two minutes and shared those five things, and I think it was one of the best presentations of the gospel I have ever heard:
Five things that will happen when you get saved
- All of your sins will be forgiven. All of them — gone forever. (No guilt)
- All of your sins will be forgotten. (No fear)
- Jesus Christ will come into your life to enable you to live and to love like you’ve never lived and loved before. (No weakness)
- You will become a member of the greatest family on earth — the family of God. (No loneliness)
- When you die, you will get to go to heaven. (No hell)
I made a mental note of that presentation, and when I got to my room that night, I wrote it down just as he shared it. I used that presentation several times over the next year with great results. One day I was talking with him on the phone, and he began telling me about a gospel presentation he had developed and was in the process of having it printed in a gospel tract. He said it is based on five statements of what happens the moment you get saved. I said, “Let me tell you what those five points are.” He seemed surprised that I would know, and I reminded him that I had heard him share it in that restaurant the night I first met him.
Short, to the point, truthful and uses the word ‘saved’
I like his presentation because it is short, to the point, truthful and uses the word “saved.” I know in our sophisticated tech-driven world, the word “saved” has lost favor with many, but I think it is still a good word.
The Bible uses the word saved a lot, and I don’t think we need to get away from it. In Luke 19:10, Jesus says, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Acts 4:12 says, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Romans 10:9 says, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in you heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
The greatest message of the church is still, “Jesus saves!” And this is the message the world needs to hear. Believe me when I say this: There are more people out there who want to hear the gospel than there are Christians who are willing to share it.
I was staying on the top floor of a motel when an F1 tornado struck the motel and the gas station next to it. The motel received minor damage while the gas station had the roof ripped off of it. We lost electricity, and once I realized that the storm had passed, like many others, I made my way carefully down the dark stairwell to the first floor lobby. We were all standing around sharing stories and grateful to be alive when the Holy Spirit nudged me, and God began speaking to my heart.
‘Are you going to let this opportunity pass?’
He said, “Are you going to let this opportunity pass without talking to them about salvation? No one is going anywhere. They’re all congregated in groups. They have just had a harrowing experience. Tell them about Me.”
I knew in a moment that I had a great opportunity to share the Gospel. So I walked up to a group of five men and said, “Hey guys, let me ask you a question.”
They all stopped talking and looked at me. “We’ve just had a close call. Thank God we’re all right. But if that tornado had destroyed this motel, and we would have all died, how many of you are 100% certain you would have gone to heaven?” Three of them didn’t respond at all. I learned later that they were Hispanics who didn’t speak English. But two others did respond. They were both Romanian.
They grew up in the Orthodox Church in Romania and were now living in Atlanta, Georgia. They were in the area working. We engaged in a wonderful and lively conversation about Jesus and salvation. I was able to share the gospel with them and show that Jesus was the only way to Heaven. They listened intently as I shared with them why religion is not the answer, but Jesus Christ is. When we finished, they both hugged me and thanked me for sharing with them.
I walked over to the other side of the entrance to the motel where another small group of men were talking and listening to some music. I began a similar conversation with them, and when it was over, the most vocal of the group, a tall bearded black men, walked over to me with arms wide open and said, “Man, I want to give you a hug. You have made me think about a lot of things. Thank you. Thank you.” When he stepped back, another man stepped in and hugged me, thanking me as well.
No one was saved that night, as far as I can tell, but I went back to my room with joy in my heart because I got to share the gospel with nine people on a night that none of us will ever forget. Seeds were planted, the gospel was given and now it is up to the Holy Spirit as to what fruit will come from it.
Leaving the results up to God
Now, maybe you’re thinking, “Brother Terry, you’re an evangelism strategist with the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. Weren’t you disappointed that no one got saved? Did you fail?” Not at all.
I still love the old Home Mission Board’s definition of successful evangelism: “Successful evangelism is sharing the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results up to God.”
The very first time I ever tried to witness to someone, I was disappointed they didn’t get saved. I took it to the Lord, and do you know what He told me? “That’s not your business. That’s my business. You are to be a witness. You take care of the witness, and I will take care of the saving.”
So, in reality, I was a successful witness, not because someone got saved, but because I was obedient and shared the gospel boldly and compassionately, in the power of the Holy Spirit. The rest is up to God. I went back to my room with “joy unspeakable and full of glory” abounding in my heart.
EDITOR’S NOTE – Used with permission from Terry Long’s book, “When The Fire Falls; Ten Characteristics of Genuine Revival.”