Personal Soul Winning
By Evangelist John R. Rice, Th.D.
V. Certain Devices Are Helpful in Soul Winning
In the case of the woman at Samaria in John, chapter 4, the Lord Jesus suggested, "Go, call thy husband." Thus He was led of the Spirit of God to bring out the fact that she had been married five times and was living in sin with a man to whom she was not married.
In the case of the paralytic man borne of four given in Mark 2 and in the other Gospels, Jesus first said, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee," and then as an evidence and assurance of forgiveness of sins He healed the man's body.
He evidently used the shame or public disgrace to win the woman taken in adultery to whom He said, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more" (John 8:11). The spiritually-minded soul winner will find different devices to help illustrate the Gospel and to cause people to see that they are sinners and need salvation, and to give assurance of salvation when they trust the Saviour.
1. It is often wise to get the sinner to pray.
We know, of course, that when the heart turns to Christ and trusts Him, one is saved, whether he consciously prays or not. But both public confession and prayer are used as the outward form or demonstration of faith. So "with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation," we read in Romans 10:10. The confession does not save, but it is a demonstration of saving faith. Likewise we are told in the same passage, verse 13, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." But the following verse plainly says, "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?..." So when one calls on the Lord for mercy and forgiveness, he will be saved, because in his heart he has already believed that there is such a Saviour, that Jesus does save people who call upon Him. An honest heart calling upon Christ for mercy and forgiveness and salvation is a believing heart.
Thus it is a little simpler and easier for many people to take a definite step of faith when they call upon the Lord for forgiveness. The dying thief prayed and was saved (Luke 23:39-43). The publican in the temple prayed and was saved (Luke 18:13,14). Three times in the Bible, in Joel 2:32, in Acts 2:21, and in Romans 10:13, we are told that "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Thus the one who calls in connection with his faith is likely to have more assurance. He has something clear-cut that he can remember. He can honestly say to himself, "The best I knew, I called on Jesus to save me and trusted Him to do it."
Even when one is in a crowd, or when the sinner is timid and may not like to pray aloud, you can say, "God knows what is in your heart now, does He not ? If you in your heart ask Him to forgive you and want Him to save you now, He will know it, will He not?" Of course, every sensible sinner will know that that is true. "Then," you may say, "I will whisper a prayer softly as we stand here together and I will ask Jesus to come into your heart, forgive your sin, and save you this moment. Now as I pray, will you down in your heart say, 'Yes, Lord Jesus, I admit I am a sinner, I want You to forgive me. Please save me now.'" It is wise to try to see that there is a definite transaction in a choice of the will, a holy decision to trust Christ and claim Him, when the sinner turns to Christ.
2. For a similar reason it is important that there should be some way for the sinner to make his decision known.
Years ago in a great tabernacle service in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I preached on "The Banquet Invitation," the great supper to which many were bidden and many made excuses. I said, "Who here tonight will say, 'Brother Rice, I want to be at that great supper. Please tell the Lord Jesus that I accept His invitation and thank Him. If He will have me, I will be His and will be at that great supper'?" I asked the question more or less as a rhetorical question to bring decision in the mind. But a young man who had just gotten home from the Navy and was heartsick over sin jumped to his feet and said, "I will, Brother Rice! I will!"
I most often use the simple device of saying to the sinner, "If you are ready to take Christ as your own Saviour, relying on Him to forgive you and give you everlasting life, then let me suggest the way you can show it. As a sign between you and your friend here and God and me, would you be willing to shake hands with me, meaning, 'Lord Jesus, here and now I take You to be my own personal Saviour'? If you will, grip my hand." And as I indicated before, it is wise to get the convert to tell someone else.
3. Sometimes it is wise to use an object lesson to make clear that our sins are all laid on Jesus.
Sometimes you may select a weight, a stone, a book, and say, "Let this represent your sins. Now you hold this weight in your hands. Now all your sins are on you. Now suppose we put this weight over in the hands of this other man. Let him represent Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that Christ has borne our sins. Jesus suffered in our place. Ho was the substitute for us. Now your sins are all laid on Jesus. Then they are not charged to you but charged to Jesus. Jesus died for them, and you are not to be judged for these sins anymore!"
Or you can illustrate the matter this way. A man has been sick, out of work, and cannot pay his grocery bills, and they have mounted up until he is in disgrace. But a friend who loves him goes to the store and pays the bill. All the grocery bills are marked paid and turned over to him. Thus the poor man does not owe that debt anymore.
4. It is important to give assurance of salvation.
When I was saved, no one showed me the Scriptures so I would know that I had everlasting life. I asked my father if I could join the church and he implied that I was not old enough, that I had not been saved, and he took the matter no further. Years later I asked another preacher to pray for me and he said, "All right, I will, John, and you pray for yourself." But the matter could have been settled in five minutes with the Word of God. After three miserable years I was reading through the Gospel of John and came to John 3:36: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life .... " I said to myself, "Well, that is the only thing I know for sure that I did when I went forward to take Jesus." I saw that when I trusted Jesus, I got the whole thing settled. And I am not conscious that I have ever had a moment's doubt since that time that my sins are forgiven, that I am saved.
“I am an old-fashioned preacher of the old-time religion, that has
warmed this cold world's heart for two thousand years.” —Billy SUNDAY
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