An Ineffective Question: “If You Died Tonight…”


I think most popular forms of presenting the Gospel begin with a question like, "If you were to die tonight, do you know where you would go?"

That is an important question. A crucial question. And I think in times past – an effective question. It's just not one people are asking or interested in answering. 

I'm just not sure it is an effective approach these days. I don't know that people in our culture think about death, much less what happens when you die. They think about it at a funeral, and they hate funerals and can't wait for them to be over and think about something else.

But if the best strategy you have for presenting the Gospel is "If you were to die tonight, would you go to heaven or hell?" – then I doubt you've had much success.

Although people's eternal destiny is crucial, perhaps we need to begin where they are living. Instead of asking, "if you were to die tonight…" Maybe we need to ask what they are living for? If we are trying to answer questions they aren't asking, they won't stick around for the answer.

Maybe we need to help them see how life makes sense only under the banner of biblical theology. Maybe when they see the difference Christ makes in our lives today, they will be more willing to hear how He makes a difference for eternity.

When I was growing up, I felt like all I heard from guest speakers at my church was, "What if you died tonight, where would you go?" That's still a good question, but I'm not sure anyone is asking it who doesn't know Christ. And if no one is asking it, how effective is it? Maybe we should ask, "What if you wake up tomorrow in this rotten world, with people dying around you? How do you live?"

Just a thought.

One comment
  1. I saw a guy I used to hang out with on jay street and he didnt look too good. I picked him up and noticed that he hadnt eaten and was visibly trying to find a way to get another “hit”. I brought him with me to a restaurant and he, myself and my son (15 at the time) sat down to eat…after a little while of the pleasantries, reminiscing and him feeling pretty unconfortable (he knows that I have been saved for some time and that I was no longer drinking and using drugs) I asked him this very question. After sharing the gospel, he bowed his head and recieved Jesus as his personal Savior. I dropped him back off on Jay st per his request. I saw him 2 years later… actually at a funeral, visibly different. He said “i havent gotten high since that day in the restaurant”. I always use this question when door knocking and any time i get the opportunity to share the Gospel. Some receive it well, some dont…. but every interaction has them thinking about their eternal future…The problem is people dont think about their future or when they will die..This world, the flesh and the devil have done a Great job of distracting folks, even christians. I believe it is not only our duty as christians to ask but a perfect question to wake folks up to the fact that one day, they will die… indeed it is a bummer (if you are enfatuated and distracted with the “affairs of this life”) yet another warning the apostle Paul gives to the brethren to avoid. I would say my friend is very grateful that this question was laid before him… causing him to ponder his eternal future and his relationship with the Lord.

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