To watch a talk on this topic head to the bottom of this study.
It’s great when a sports friend wants to become a Christian, especially if this is off the back of reading the Bible with them. However, we want to make sure our sports friends are ready to take this commitment and fully understand what they are committing to. This is not to scare them off but ensure they have understood the real gospel and what it means to repent and believe.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
In John 3, Jesus clearly defines who He is and what He has come to do. As we reflect on this ourselves, it also gives us a helpful framework as we discuss becoming a Christian with a sports friend.
We have a responsibility, as a Christian friend, to ask questions to help our sports friend know if they are in the right place to make a commitment to Christ.
This passage helps us to do this with these 4 questions:
If your friend has answered the above questions and you’re satisfied that they understand the essence of the gospel, pray! Pray with your friend – pray aloud. It’s helpful if you lead as they will be inexperienced in praying.
Pray that God would help them to put their trust in Jesus. A helpful framework for you both to pray through is:
Admit - your need for Jesus to die in your place for the forgiveness of your sins
Believe - in Jesus Christ’s death, as payment for your sin, and resurrection to life as guarantee that the price has been paid, thanking Him for what He has done.
Commit - to turning from the direction your life has been going and reorient your life to follow and obey Jesus Christ.
When a sports friend becomes a Christian, on one hand you want to celebrate wholeheartedly with them and on the other hand you will be desperate to make sure that their commitment is genuine. Never make a judgement on the strength of their commitment – this isn’t for you to judge and it is impossible to read. Some people are more reserved than others. Help them understand that this decision is the start of a life-long journey/relationship - not the completion.
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
Jesus has just described that He is the way to the Father. Now He encourages us that though He is in heaven we are not alone.
It is such an encouragement for a new Christian to know that they are not alone. God has given us the Holy Spirit NOW to help us live for Him!
One of the hardest things is asking a friend who is really interested in becoming a Christian if they want to make a commitment. Hopefully, now we feel more equipped to help them. Pray with each other that you all would have the courage to ask your sports friends to respond to the message of Jesus by making a commitment to living life His way.
All Bible quotations are taken with permission from the NIV:
Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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