THE HEARING OF FAITH (Second Edition)
This booklet deals with the subject of personal evangelism. We are writing about the actual practice of putting the message (the Words) of God concerning the Person and Finished Redemptive Work of the Lord Jesus Christ into the hearing of yet unconverted men, women and children who need to know Christ personally. They must hear, understand and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ, otherwise their present condemnation (John 3:18) will most certainly result in the carrying out of God's sentence against that condemnation (John 3:36). "...the...unbelieving...shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8). Let us not put these things off: either our own contemplation of the everlasting destruction of the lost, our acknowledgment of our responsibility as ambassadors for Christ, or the setting aside of real time from our own pleasures and ambitions to personally carry the Gospel to the lost.
This writing more than hints at the truth that the phrase "soul winning" has been, in modern church times, extracted from its biblical context of Proverbs 11:30 and used to mean only personal evangelism of the unsaved and no more. "Soul winning" today too often means even less than biblical personal evangelism. The use of the phrase "soul winning" now often describes ecumenical, neo-evangelical religious profession netting (profession counting) for the purpose of perpetuating a ‘competitive numbers' racket among the churches. This has become the practice even among a great movement of independent, supposedly fundamental Baptists. Competitive "soul winning" is, of course, not biblical fundamentalism, but instead a form of religious modernism. It is a neo-evangelical and ecumenical system of church growth. It adds large percentages of unregenerate persons to local church rolls, although it may appear to clean men up on the exterior and make church workers out of some of them. It places hundreds of lost men in Bible colleges and then into pastoral leadership of churches and even onto foreign mission fields. Succeeding generations of such lost religious ministers, with no genuine hope of salvation and no peace, begin to teach "normalcy" of doubt in the vital matter of salvation. This is because they are frightened by genuine Christians who exhibit more peace, hope and rest than they have themselves. Preachers of doubt are sometimes known to scorn and ridicule others who have a know-so salvation. Yes, hundreds of preachers in pulpits are living in doubt and fear instead of believing God.
Why is this booklet necessary? It is necessary because of the preachers (pastors, young evangelists and missionaries) who have confided in this author over the past seventeen years particularly that they had no confidence or assurance of salvation, and yet they were in the ministry and receiving their support from one church or from many churches.
Why is this booklet necessary? It is necessary because of an American independent Baptist missionary serving in the Philippines who met me on a mass transit train platform one evening in Manila and told me that he had just led his physician to Christ. He said, "He (the physician) will probably never leave the Roman Catholic Church, but at least he prayed to receive Jesus." This means that we have nowadays independent Baptist missionaries who preach a "gospel" that has no power to deliver people from the dark mysteries of Rome: its blasphemous Mass, its reprobate priesthood, its Christ-dishonoring Mariolatry. Roman Catholics pray to "receive Jesus" at every mass, and believe that they are doing so by consuming a wafer. Praying to receive Jesus is itself very Catholic, and does not establish a necessary distinction between the dogma of Rome and biblical regeneration.
Why is this booklet necessary? It is necessary because a staff member at a large independent Baptist church in southern California wrote the following account about (what he thinks is) the salvation assurance of his son:
(The scene is on a favorite family swing in the back yard of the staff member's house.)
Not long into our conversation [daughter] Dana joined us, and we were all sitting there just discussing our favorite things about being Christians. I was surprised at the great things [sons] Lance and Larry thought of.
Then, in a moment of quiet thought, Lance asked, "Dad, what if I don't remember being saved?"
His question was deep, so to clarify I said, "Do you mean you don't remember praying the prayer because you were little?"
"Yes," he said, "What if I don't remember getting saved? Am I still saved?"
The theologian guys in my head panicked. Then they started running around crazily searching for answers. I paused for a moment, hoping they would come up with something quick. Fortunately, with the Holy Spirit's help, they did.
"Well, Lance, there are several ways to know that you're saved. Remembering when you got saved is pretty important, but that's not the only way."
"What are some others?" he asked.
"What about when you do something wrong? Does the Holy Spirit convict you?"
"Oh yes." He said with an absolute tone and a laugh.
I continued, "And the Bible says that His Spirit bears witness with our spirit? Does His Holy Spirit tell your heart that you're saved?" I knew I was sticking my neck out on the line.
Dear Lord, don't leave me alone in this.
"What do you mean?" He said.
Dana was sitting there with this look like, "Where are you going with this ... ?" Larry was just glad that it was Lance's problem and not his. [Daughter] Haylee didn't seem burdened at all for Lance. I think she was looking for the moon.
A little hesitant, I continued, "Have you asked the Holy Spirit in your heart if you are saved? The Bible says that He will bear witness with your spirit and tell you if you are or not."
Lance laughed like, "You've got to he kidding..." and I just looked at him.
"What, you mean like right now... just ask Him... right here?" He was beside himself.
'Sure, why not?" I said flatly "if you need to know, ask Him."
At this point, Larry really laughed. Dana hushed him, and I just looked I (sic) Lance and said, "Well, go ahead... we'll be quiet for you."
again (sic) he glanced at me like I was half crazy, but then he bowed his head, and everything was quiet for about ten seconds. Suddenly, he looked up and said, "Wait, wait... just like right here... just ask Him?" Apparently he really felt weird about it.
"Sure, go ahead... He will either tell you that you are saved, or He will convict you that you should get saved, one of the two. Go ahead... we're being quiet."
Dana's hand was over Larry's mouth, who was letting out little snorts and sniffs like he was about to explode with laughter. He really thought this was funny.
At this point, I just began to pray, "Lord, I'm sticking my neck our here, please speak to his heart like only you can..."
Another ten seconds passed, and Lance looked up with a big smile.
"Well, what did He say?" I asked.
He sort of let out a laugh, "Well, my mind said yes... but then it said no... but then it said yes again."
"Well, who do you think is speaking to your heart and saying 'Yes'?" I asked resolutely.
"Wait... wait... let me try one more time." With that he bowed his head and we entered another time of quiet prayer. I winked at Dana who was still trying to keep Larry from ruining a good thing.
A few seconds later he looked up and loudly stated "Okay... He said 'YES!"'
I smiled "How do you know?"
You see, don't you (?), that the young Lance Schmidt was taught that being saved is synonymous with praying "the prayer." That's why we are writing this second edition. Any person, child or adult, who must ask the question, "Am I still saved?" has obviously been blinded (2 Corinthians 4:4) to the contents of the Gospel of the Grace of God. Lance's question was no different than if "Am I still saved?" is asked by an adult Free Will Baptist church member, or any other religionist, who thinks that the soul's salvation may be forfeited after it is given. It means that Lance did not (or does not) understand the work of Christ for him nor did he (or does he) understand its sufficiency.
We are writing this booklet because men like Lance's father (or "the little theologian guys in his head"-whatever spirits those happen to be) doesn't know how to answer a child's questions and is still "running around crazily searching for answers," though (we assume) he is a Bible college graduate and is in the ministry; on staff at what is becoming one of the most highly respected independent Baptist churches in the United States!
The atmosphere on that back yard swing, as described by Cary Schmidt, in no way seems to us to have been conducive to leading Lance or any other child to Jesus Christ. Why, there was mocking, laughing and general silliness about Lance's problem, and the Gospel (the redemptive work of Jesus Christ) was not presented anywhere in the episode as the remedy for Lance's sin or as the solid foundation on which Lance might have found rest. And the entire episode ends with uncertainty... "He sort of let out a laugh, "Well, my mind said yes... but then it said no... but then it said yes again." "A few seconds later he looked up and loudly stated ‘Okay... He said ‘"YES!"'" "I smiled ‘How do you know?'"
If Mr. Schmidt didn't tell us all, then he has by this account helped spread more confusion about what salvation really is, as well as having demonstrated a faulty manner of dealing with children. Children can handle the straight scoop! Children can handle the details of Christ's finished work and the explanation of the necessity of that redemptive plan much better than many adults.
Cary Schmidt asked his son, Lance, "...who do you think is speaking to your heart and saying 'Yes'?'" Doesn't Cary Schmidt know 2 Corinthians 4:3, 4? Doesn't he know that Satan is very pleased to provide a false assurance? These issues have prompted us to write this edition.
The boy, Lance, told his father that his mind had given him two opposing answers:
He sort of let out a laugh, "Well, my mind said yes... but then it said no... but then it said yes again."
If there was one voice speaking to Lance's mind, then there were at least two! "Yes, ...then, No,...then, Yes again.(!)" How could either Lance or his father come to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit was the person telling Lance, "Yes?!" Perhaps it was the Holy Spirit telling him, "No," and Lance took the answer of the god of this world instead, because that was really the answer Lance thought his father was wanting to hear.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:30)
The individual who does not deal wisely with children as well as with adults can not be said to be practicing biblical soul winning at all.
Why is this booklet necessary? It is necessary because Pastor Paul Chappell of Lancaster, California, preached:
"Sometimes we [thinking it is correct] say to children, 'If you know that you're a sinner, and if you would want Jesus Christ to come into your heart, then just pray and accept Jesus into your heart.'"
Knowing that one is a sinner, and having a desire to have Christ indwelling simply is not enough. To teach or to imply that this is enough, and to prompt a child to "pray the prayer" (to use Carry Schmidt's words-not the Scriptures' words) on that information alone...and then tell a child that that act of obedience to the "soul winner" saved him or her (as if you are obligating God to save someone in utter ignorance of vital truth) is deception-outright deception! Why not just tell the children the truths of Christ; the truths that the Holy Ghost will use to work conviction, repentance, faith and regeneration?
Why is this booklet necessary? It is necessary because of the instructions on salvation taught to children by the fundamentalist character Patch the Pirate in the story Patch the Pirate Goes to Space, quoted as follows:
Peewee says, "Captain Patch, I want to be a Christian."
Captain Patch answers, "So, Peewee, you want to be a Christian. Now that's the most important decision a person can ever make. Would you like to pray right now and receive Jesus Christ as your Savior?"
Peewee consents, "Yes Sir, Patch the Pirate, I sure would."
Captain Patch then instructs, "Then let's get down on our knees right here on the deck and pray together."
Peewee complies, "Okay, Captain."
Captain Patch leads, "Dear Jesus..."
Peewee: "Dear Jesus..."
Captain Patch: "Thank you..."
Peewee: "Thank you..."
Captain Patch: "...for dying on the Cross."
Peewee: "...for dying on the Cross."
Captain Patch: "Please forgive me..."
Peewee: "Please forgive me..."
Captain Patch: "...for all my sins."
Peewee: "...for all my sins."
Captain Patch: "Come in to my heart..."
Peewee: "Come in to my heart...:
Captain Patch: "...and save me."
Peewee: "...and save me. I love you, Jesus. Amen."
(Patch the Pirate Goes to Space, BMI, by Majesty Music Mastersounds. 1982, Majesty Music Inc., P.O. Box 6524, Greenville, SC 29606)
Can children understand the purpose of the Cross, and the purpose of Jesus Christ having died there? Yes. Can children understand substitution? Yes. Can children understand propitiation? Yes. My pastor and I, just the other evening (in January, 2005) were in the dwelling of an unmarried couple who were expecting a child, and present was the woman's eleven year-old son from a previous relationship. We were discussing Romans 3:9-28 for the purpose of evangelizing this family. This was personal evangelism. This was "soul winning." The eleven year-old boy, never having been raised under Bible preaching or teaching, was handed a New Testament opened to Romans chapter 3, and was asked, "Do you know what ‘propitiation' means?" The boy read two verses ahead of verse 25 and two verses beyond it, and defined "propitiation" as well as the next five Baptist seminary graduates you will run across. Frankly, I was not very surprised. The boy himself said, "I need to read this in its context." (We would like to see Bible college students grasping that principle before they graduate!) But is the work of Christ sufficiently explained in the conversation between Peewee and Patch the Pirate that you read above?
No "conservative" Assembly of God preacher would have a problem with what Patch instructed Peewee. I've read the same depth of evangelistic phraseology in the radio sermons of the late Assemblies preacher C. M. Ward. No Church of God preacher would have a problem with it. No neo-evangelical who cooperates with the Billy Graham crusades would think anything wrong. But Assemblies of God preachers do not preach the sufficiency of the redemptive substitutionary work of Calvary, and that is why they teach that men can by their own free will forfeit salvation that they claim God had given them. The same is true of Church of God preachers and Free Will Baptists, and of the national Baptists of the countries of the former Soviet Union (if you are not aware of those doctrinal problems). Yes, they teach that a Christian might lose their salvation. Assemblies and Churches of God (denominations), nor Russian Baptists, nor Mennonites have a biblical view of the sufficiency of Christ's work, or of the salvation of the soul-but their invitations at the altar are the same as those heard in independent Baptist churches today!
And we include an example from yet another episode of Patch the Pirate, a fictional character who has been put forth as an example of biblical fidelity and personal Christian character to at least tens of thousands of children. The following excerpt is from the story, Harold the King!
Jerry says to Harold, "All you have to do is confess all your sins to Jesus."
Later, as instructed by an adult, the child, Harold, prays, "King Jesus, I guess you know I've been a pretty rotten kid. Jerry (his brother, yet unbeknown to him) doesn't have anything that I thought was so important. But he's...he's a lot happier than I am. I'm sorry for lying and being so mean and bossy. I don't want to be part of Satan's kingdom. King Jesus, please forgive me for my sin, and come reign in my heart."
Is Jerry correct? Is confessing all your sins to Jesus "all you have to do?" Does Harold's subsequent prayer indicate that he understood any more of the work of Jesus Christ than C. M. Ward or the Assemblies of God?
Why is this booklet necessary? It is necessary because of the instructions for soul winning published by C. S. Lovett in his book How To Be A Soul Winner (Special Edition of) Soul-Winning Made Easy. The copy I have in my hand is copyrighted 1959 and 1978, and was published for The Gideons International, Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. C. S. Lovett tells fundamentalists:
The controlled conversation technique is something new in evangelism and represents a real break-through in soul-winning. Older methods, dealing with excuses, seek to convince a prospect of his needy condition and humble him. Such efforts usually require considerable Bible handling, take longer and are easily thwarted by questions and intrusions.
The new method ignores excuses and completely side-steps the explosive area of religious debate. Modern soul-winners have discovered that it is unnecessary to change a person's mind before introducing him to Jesus. If he can be made aware of Christ waiting at the door of his heart, his responsibility becomes most clear. This makes soul-winning a positive ministry requiring fewer skills. It is a new frontier which makes Christian obedience a lot of fun! (pg. 17)
"Something new in evangelism?" Friends, things that are new, are rarely true. This is certainly the case with Dr. Lovett's technique. The biblical method of giving lost sinners the Gospel of our salvation has not changed in the past two thousand years, nor should it change, because God's word doesn't change! "Controlled conversation technique?" This is not Holy Ghost control, obviously. "Break-through in soul-winning?" The truth needs break-throughs? No, it does not. Inventions of men need "break-throughs," and Dr. Lovett's "break-through" is merely a human invention. Why don't we just tell people the unvarnished truth?
"Older methods, dealing with excuses, seek to convince a prospect of his needy condition and humble him," is a criticism of C. S. Lovett. Yes, of course, men seeing their needy condition and being humbled is what God requires first! See James 4:10 and 1 Peter 5:6. Any "new" techniques that don't do the same aren't biblical at all. Dr. Lovett doesn't like "considerable Bible handling." Phillip used "considerable Bible handling" when meeting the need of the eunuch from Ethiopia (Acts chapter 8). The Apostle Paul used "considerable Bible handling" in Thessalonica as recorded in Acts chapter 17 and see 1 Thessalonians chapter 1).
Neither Jesus Christ in the Gospels, nor any Apostle in any account in the Book of Acts sought to "side-step the explosive areas of religious debate." C. S. Lovett, along with many modernist independent Baptist preachers, have ceased to believe in the necessity of "repentance toward God" (Acts 20:21; 2 Timothy 2:25). This is illustrated in Dr. Lovett's words, "Modern soul-winners have discovered that it is unnecessary to change a person's mind before introducing him to Jesus." "Unnecessary," is it? Dr. Lovett and others believe that a man can be saved while still embracing religious error, just by "be[ing] made aware of Christ waiting at the door of his heart, ..." Is it any wonder that our independent Baptist churches are chock full of unregenerate members, and that many have unsaved pastors, and are supporting unsaved missionaries?! We have placed excerpts of Dr. C. S. Lovett's book in Section Five: Examples of Contemporary or Modernistic Methods.
The purpose of this booklet is in no way to discourage soul winning, but it is to encourage biblical soul winning. Biblical soul winning does indeed involve "considerable Bible handling." A wise soul winner will handle his Bible considerably in the study of every instance of conversion in the New Testament. The wise soul winner will study from the Scriptures of Truth every issue of man's need and the remedy to the corruption of sin. The wise soul winner will do considerable study of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and how the hell- deserving sinner may become the recipient of that righteousness which is required for entrance into God's heaven. The New Testament emphasizes much exposure to the Word of God by those who will come to trust Christ as Saviour, and that emphasis is an important theme of this booklet.
We are not discouraging one-on-one personal and confrontational evangelism. We are encouraging the doing of it with biblical substance and wisdom. I have, just this morning, reviewed three books which comment on Proverbs 11:30. The preface to one book is dated May 13, 1710. The writing of another was completed prior to World War I, as far as we can discern. The third is by George Lawson (1749-1820). Let me quote Mr. Lawson's treatment of Proverbs 11:30:
...[The righteous man's] fruits are such as tend to produce and nourish a nobler life than any of the trees of the Garden of Eden. Christ is indeed the life of souls, and those who are not united to him continue in death; but he is pleased to honor faithful ministers and edifying professors, by making them instruments of imparting his best blessings unto men. It is for this reason that diligent ministers are said to save themselves and their hearers. How excellent is the righteous man above his neighbors! His gracious words, his holy conversation, his prayers, his admonitions and instructions, are means of rendering service to others, more valuable than silver, or gold, or life itself. Let Christians therefore endeavor to be fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and labor to win souls to their [R]edeemer. ... They are wise who are wise unto salvation; how truly wise, then, are they who are instruments in converting and saving the souls of others from death! ...
Let us learn from this passage, to value the friendship and conversation of the righteous. If we knew of any tree that bore fruit which could prolong the life of man to an hundred years, it would be esteemed more valuable than the treasures of kings, and we would spare no trouble or expense to have it transplanted into our gardens. What value, then, should we put on those whose fruit is the fruit of the tree of life, and whose conversation is instrumental in saving souls from death!
In George Lawson's day, there was a much higher and holier view of soul winning because it was spontaneously biblical, rather than programmatic and competitive, as it often is today. It was understood in that time that the Christians won souls by living a testimony of holiness and Christ-centeredness; speaking of Jesus Christ, His merits, His redemptive work to neighbors, family, colleagues and workmates. Soul winning in that day was not an approach to the front door of a dwelling with the determination that, within ten minutes, the inhabitant of that dwelling would perform a specific act of obedience to the soul winner ( "the prayer") which could later at church be reported as a conversion-a "soul saved." In our day, in independent Baptist churches in America, workers will gather for bus visitation on Saturday morning and then hit the streets knowing that at Noon they must report back with results of souls "saved" and promises from folks to ride the bus to Sunday School on Sunday morning. There will often be in such a number, at least one individual who can get almost anyone to "pray the prayer" in just a few minutes of quick responses to the "Romans Road." The others in that number go out wondering how they too will be able to report back that they "led someone to Christ" that morning.
I remember one missions conference in which I participated in Virginia; I think it was 1988. The plan was made for all participating missionaries (there were about ten missionary families) to go out soul winning on that Saturday morning. Of course, we were then, as now, always happy to go out to peoples' homes with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was always, as now, our prayer that the Holy Spirit would work in the hearts and minds of sinners so that they might understand the Gospel and their need of Christ, and that they would repent and trust Christ as Saviour. I was honored to be paired with an older brother who is an Egyptian; who had planted three Baptist churches along the Nile River as a young man before he ever came to the United States. This Egyptian preacher has also planted churches among Arabs in New Jersey. We went and knocked on about fifteen doors that morning, and sat for long periods of time in two homes, presenting the work of Christ for sinners, as thoroughly as possible. We saw nobody saved that morning, but we did see the working of God's Holy Spirit in the hearing of the Gospel by about ten individuals altogether between those two homes. Wise follow-up was needed, but we could not be certain such follow-up would ever take place.
We had been instructed to return to the church facility for a report and lunch with the other missionaries at Noon.
When we arrived back at the church, all of the missionaries had returned except one. Among nine missionaries and their wives, and some of their teenage young people, there were no reports of anyone having been saved that morning, but there were praises to our Lord for the opportunities to present the Gospel in many homes. Written reports with names and addresses were handed to the pastor for follow-up. All were excited that from among these, several or many might soon be saved and unite with the church. Then the tenth missionary arrived. He flew in the door with his arms raised to the ceiling and shouting, "Praise God, we saw forty (40) souls saved this morning!" The rest of us had already stood to give thanks for the Noon meal as well as for the good opportunities to witness that morning. We were astonished and amazed at the report of forty saved, and caught each other's eyes with the expression, "Okay, what's wrong with us?!" "If that one man could get forty professions of faith, why could up to thirty of us-the remainder of us-get zero?!"
The next morning we all waited to see if any of the persons who had purportedly made professions of faith on Saturday would show up for Sunday services. Not even one of those forty who "prayed the prayer," having repeated it after that missionary, could be convinced to be in church. Did any of those forty actually get saved? We would not even pretend to know. But the method used by that missionary is one reason we are writing this edition. We believe that that missionary's method produces great confusion.
We should never allow the unscriptural "soul winner," as illustrated by the missionary who claimed forty decisions on one Saturday morning, to make cynics out of us who desire souls to come to the Saviour. We should rather understand that the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-21) is the grandest work ever laid upon the shoulders of unworthy men, saved by God's wonderful grace. Charles Spurgeon preached on Proverbs 11:30 and said:
[The soul winner] has selected a wise object, for what can be wiser than to glorify God, and what, next to that, can be wiser than in the highest sense to bless our fellow-men; to snatch a soul from the gulf that yawns, to lift it up to the heaven that glorifies; to deliver an immortal from the thralldom of Satan, and to bring him into the liberty of Christ? What more excellent than this? I say, that such an aim would commend itself to all right minds, and that angels themselves may envy us poor sons of men that we are permitted to make this our life-object, to win souls for Jesus Christ. Wisdom herself assents to the excellence of the design.
To accomplish such a work, a man must he wise, for to win a soul requires infinite wisdom. God Himself wins not souls without wisdom, for the eternal plan of salvation was dictated by an infallible judgment, and in every line of it infinite skill is apparent. Christ, God's great Soul-Winner, is "the wisdom of God" as well as "the power of God." ...
Oh! the joy of knowing that a sinner once at enmity has been reconciled to God, by the Holy Spirit, through the words spoken by our feeble lips. Since then, by grace given to me, the thought of which prostrates me in self-abasement, I have seen and heard of, not hundreds only, but even thousands of sinners turned from the error of their ways by the testimony of God in me. Let afflictions come, let trials be multiplied as God willeth, still this joy preponderates above all others, the joy that we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ in every place, and that as often as we preach the Word, hearts are unlocked, bosoms heave with a new life, eyes weep for sin, and their tears are wiped away as they see the great Substitute for sin, and live.
How do we win souls, then? Why, the word "win" has a better meaning far. It is used in warfare. Warriors win cities and provinces. Now, to win a soul, is a much more difficult thing than to win a city. Observe the earnest soul-winner at his work; how cautiously he seeks his great Captain's directions to know when to hang out the white flag to invite the heart to surrender to the sweet love of a dying Saviour; when, at the proper time, to hang out the black flag of threatening, showing that, if grace be not received, judgment will surely follow; and when to unfurl, with dread reluctance, the red flag of the terrors of God against stubborn, impenitent souls. The soul-winner has to sit down before a soul as a great captain before a walled town; to draw his lines of circumvallation, to cast up his entrenchments, and fix his batteries. He must not advance too fast, or he may overdo the fighting; he must not move too slowly, or he may seem not to be in earnest, and may do mischief. Then he must know which gate to attack-how to plant his guns at Ear-gate, and how to discharge them; how, sometimes, to keep the batteries going, day and night, with red-hot shot, if perhaps he may make a breach in the walls; at other times, to lie by and cease firing, and then, on a sudden, to open all the batteries with terrific violence, if peradventure he may take the soul by surprise, or cast in a truth when it was not expected, to burst like a shell in the soul, and do damage to the dominions of sin. The Christian soldier must know how to advance by little and little,-to sap that prejudice, to undermine that old enmity, to blow into the air that lust, and at the last, to storm the citadel. It is his to throw the scaling ladder up, and to have his ears gladdened as he hears a clicking on the wall of the heart, telling that the scaling ladder has grasped and has gained firm hold; and then, with his sabre between his teeth, to climb up, spring on the man, slay his unbelief in the name of God, capture the city, run up the blood-red flag of the cross of Christ, and say, "The heart is won, won for Christ at last." This needs a warrior well-trained, a master in his art. After many days attack, many weeks of waiting, many an hour of storming by prayer and battering by entreaty, to carry the Malakoff of depravity, this is the work, this is the difficulty. It takes no fool to do this. God's grace must make a man wise thus to capture Mansoul, to lead its captivity captive, and open wide the heart's gates that the Prince Immanuel may come in. This is winning a soul.
Now, a true soul-winner has often to come to close quarters with the devil within men. He has to struggle with their prejudice, with their love of sin, with their unbelief, with their pride, and then again, all of a sudden, to grapple with their despair; at one moment he strives with their self-righteousness, at the next moment with their unbelief in God. Ten thousand arts are used to prevent the soul-winner from being conqueror in the encounter; but if God has sent him, he will never renounce his hold of the soul he seeks till he has given a throw to the power of sin, and won another soul for Christ.
He will succeed best, who keeps closest to soul-saving truth. Now, all truth is not soul-saving, though all truth may be edifying. He that keeps to the simple story of the cross, tells men over and over again that whosoever believeth in Christ is not condemned, that to be saved, nothing is wanted but a simple trust in the crucified Redeemer; he whose ministry is much made up of the glorious story of the cross, the sufferings of the dying Lamb, the mercy of God, the willingness of the great Father to receive returning prodigals; he who cries, in fact, from day to day, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world," he is likely to be a soulwinner, especially if he adds to this much prayer for souls, much anxious desire that men may be brought to Jesus) and then in his private life seeks as much as in his public ministry to be telling out to others of the love of the dear Saviour of men.
If you compare the intent of Mr. Spurgeon's message with what is happening in our day that is called "soul winning," you may understand why we are writing this edition. In 1999 a young Filipino Baptist preacher in Batangas City, Philippines came to visit me. He told me that they practice door-to-door soul winning visitation. I expressed my agreement that that should be a regular practice. Then he told me that they have the purpose of getting as many as possible to "pray the prayer of acceptance [of Christ]." Then they try to get those who pray that prayer to attend church. At the end of the church service, those who prayed the prayer at their own residence are brought to the altar, and the pastor leads them through the "prayer of acceptance" again. "Why?" I asked. "Just in case...," was his answer. So I asked, "What happens next?" "Next they complete an assurance class, at the end of which they are led through the prayer again." "Again?...Why?" I asked. Again he answered, "Just in case..." "Oh, and then what," I queried. "Then, the new ones attend a baptism class," he answered. I wondered out loud, "And are they led through the prayer of acceptance again?" "Yes," he replied, "...just in case..." After baptism these folks are placed in a church membership class, and at the end, they are led through a "prayer of acceptance" yet again. Then there is a Baptist doctrines and distinctives class, at the end of which they are led again...through the same prayer! Why? "...just in case..."
What you just read was of the practice in an independent "fundamental" Baptist Church. Oh, and by the way, the pastor of that church is a frequent traveler to the United States, raising large sums of money from independent Baptists in America, and is a key figure in an organization that gathers up Filipino men for fund-raising trips in the U.S.A! Would you want your church supporting that kind of confusion and babble? That's why we are writing this booklet.
Biblical "soul winning" encompasses at least one more area of Christian ministry than is taught in the classes at Hyles Anderson, Tennessee Temple University and other such schools. That area is the restoration of fallen or disheartened brethren in the Lord. In the matter of local church discipline we are instructed, "...if thy brother shall tresspass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother." (Matthew 18:15). We know the word "gain" here also means win from 1 Corinthians 9:19-22. I have never been in an independent Baptist church that includes in its soul winning courses instruction for the restoration of straying brethren. In some areas of the missionary world (illustrated prominently by many well-known Baptist leaders in the Philippines) restoration of despondent, discouraged or fallen church members and ministers is virtually avoided altogether. We have determined that, by the grace of God and help from the Lord, Christian restoration shall be included as meaningful lessons in our ministry under any course we call "soul winning."
This booklet is a volume on the personal evangelism aspect of biblical soul winning. A second volume on the personal restoration aspect will follow as the Lord gives us the grace and the time in our ministry to write it.
Finally, this booklet adheres to the sole and final authority of the King James Bible. We make no apologies for using only the Book that led to the greatest evangelistic soul-winning revivals and greatest missionary work of the entire Church Age; that between 1611 and 1901. The greatest and truest evangelism, revival and missionary endeavor in every brand of the professing Christian church in the last nearly 400 years has been the product of the King's Authorized Version. We shall stick by it-we shall pray that you shall also.
Baptist Missionary Robert E. (Bob) Patenaude
First Edition, Philippines, October, 2000
Second Edition, United States, January, 2006
The Hearing of Faith
A Candid and Critical Discussion of Personal Evangelism Today
"This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?"
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Section One: New Testament Illustrations of
Belief & Conversion
1. Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch - Acts 8:26-39
The Eunuch is presented to us by the Holy Spirit with a very specific description:
1. He had been in Jerusalem for the purpose of worship (8:27). He would have, therefore, been worshipping at Herod's Temple, and so he was likely a proselyte to Judaism. He had placed himself under certain covenant responsibilities and privileges spelled out in the Law of Moses for Gentiles who came to worship Israel's God, Jehovah. This man desired truth and was willing to go through great trouble and over a great distance to find it.
2. He had access and exposure to the Word of God (8:28). He was reading the Prophet Isaiah, even as Philip approached the chariot. He was exposed at length to the word of God. The Eunuch had already been involved in the "considerable Bible handling" which is criticized by C.S. Lovett. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." (1 Peter 1:23).
3. He desired someone to guide his understanding of the word of God (8:30, 31, 34). He was neither proud nor antagonistic, nor was he merely enduring a soul winner's presentation of a "plan of salvation." This man desired truth in the inward parts (Psalm 51:6), and received the love of the truth (cp. 2 Thessalonians 2:10).
4. The Holy Spirit reveals to us that Isaiah chapter 53 was the text for consideration (8:32, 33). No doubt God's Spirit led the eunuch to this passage. Isaiah chapter 53 contains enough material for this man, with the guidance of the Holy Ghost-filled man whom God had sent, to understand his own rebellion against God (v. 6), his need of deliverance from sin (v. 8, 12), the identity of the Saviour (vv. 2, 3), the Substitutionary death of the Lamb of God (vv. 4, 5, 7, 12), the putting away of his sin (v. 10), propitiation or satisfaction (v. 11), justification (v. 11), and the resurrection (vv. 10, 12).
5. Philip used Isaiah chapter 53 as the springboard to preach Jesus Christ (8:35) to a man who was seeking truth from the heart. Philip's preaching was so thorough that the eunuch understood even the testimony of water baptism (8:36)!
6. There was no coercion here; no mental or psychological manipulation to extract a profession of faith (8:36). It was not even Philip who suggested baptism be performed at that point. The Word of God, lovingly and honestly preached, wrought faith in Christ in the heart of the eunuch. It was the eunuch, himself, who asked to be baptized.
7. Philip speaks of one and only one prerequisite to water baptism: belief with all the heart (8:37). Belief in what? Consider the following points:
A.) The Jewish Nation had rejected Jesus Christ and ordered His execution. Israel refused to believe on Him as the Son of God; God manifest in the flesh. The eunuch, however, came to believe the truths which had been denied by the Nation under which he had sought religious refuge and favor. Hence, the eunuch's open verbal profession of belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (8:37; See Matthew 16:13-17).
B.) Remember from the context that the preaching had included not only that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, but had revealed how that the Son of God became the Substitutionary Lamb who satisfied God's righteous demands, and died for sin and sins. By this sacrifice Christ would justify many; all who come to Him in faith. Further, there was a clear understanding that redemption's work was complete; being proven by the Resurrection of Christ-many infallible proofs (Acts 1:3; 17:30, 31).
8. Upon the eunuch's un-coerced profession, Philip baptized him (8:38).
9. Philip was caught away by the Holy Spirit, and the eunuch went on his way rejoicing (8:39). He had peace and assurance, knowing the Savior.
One: Remember that Paul's Epistle to the Romans had not yet been written, and therefore there was no so-called "Romans Road" available. This does not mean that the redemptive truths of Romans were unavailable to Philip and the eunuch, but it does mean that there are no patent uniform formulae, techniques or methods for personal evangelism, as is often implied by the soul winning booklets made popular (especially) since the 1960s.
Two: There is no prayer formula in this account of the conversion of the eunuch. We are not told that Philip required prayer or even suggested that the eunuch pray to receive Christ. As in John 1:12, believing is receiving. If prayer was made at any point in this soul winning activity, it is something that the Holy Spirit chose not to emphasize in giving all future generations this account. Are we suggesting that it is wrong to pray? No. The problem arises when a rite of prayer (e.g. "If you want to be saved, then pray these words after me...") is substituted for faith in the finished work of the Cross by the Saviour. Millions pray according to a formula offered by a soul winner or altar worker, but fail to believe the Gospel; their faith is in the rite of prayer. The so called "sinner's prayer" becomes a Baptist sacrament.
The objection will nevertheless be made that only "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13). Calling upon the name of the Lord, then, must be explained by other passages in the Word of God. If you determine that the injunction to "call" must be interpreted as a prayer repeated after a soul winner, then you should be able to locate such a practice somewhere in the New Testament. But in no conversion experience recorded in the New Testament will we find the "sinner's prayer" as taught in contemporary soul winning courses.
Wonderful commentary is found in Isaiah 64:6-9. This passage should be studied carefully in the light of Romans chapters 9, 10 and 11, being a description of Israel's failure of faith and the reasons for that Nation being set aside.
Isaiah 64:6- This is a well known and used verse, but nobody seems to read or use verses 7 or 8. This is, in its local context, a description of Israel. By application, it describes mankind in general.
Isaiah 64:7- "And there is none (among Israel) that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: ..." So it is the Nation of Israel in her covenant relationship with Jehovah which is invoked to "call upon the name of the Lord."
Isaiah 64:8- "But now, O LORD, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, thou art the potter;..." Now here is the call. Israel had rejected God the Father in the Old Testament, had rejected God the Son during His earthly ministry, and was in danger of rejecting God the Holy Spirit in the Pentecostal period (Acts). Israel must repent of Her rebellion against the Father, rejection (and murder) of the Son and resistance of the Holy Spirit.
Don't just study the verses alone, but study both the immediate and remote contexts of the verses. Regarding Romans 10:13, you must see the opening verses of this three-chapter section devoted to Israel's decline and fall.
For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; ... (See Romans 9:1-5)
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. (See Romans 10:1-3)
I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. (See Romans 11:1-3)
This establishes the context in which we find Romans 10:13; a dispensational passage dealing with a salvation peculiar to Israel from the judgment of God upon Israel as a Nation. Peter had previously preached to the Jews which were at Jerusalem, "Save yourselves from this untoward generation" (Acts 2:40). It was that untoward generation of Israel which had murdered Jesus Christ and was about to incur the wrath and destruction of God. God's wrath and threat of destruction of Israel for their refusal to repent and believe is exactly what is referred to in 1 Thessalonians 2:16 and 5:3, 9. Would they "Save themselves" from that wrath by believing the truth of Christ and "call[ing] upon the name of the Lord...?"
The interpretive Old Testament cross-references to Romans 10:13 are Joel 2:32 and Acts 2:21.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the [believing] remnant [of Israel], whom the LORD shall call. (Joel)
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts)
The believing remnant shall be delivered from what, if they call? The context of Joel chapter 2 is physical judgment and destruction, and the context in Acts chapter 2 must be speaking of the same deliverance, or salvation. If the believing remnant of Israel shall call on the name of the Lord, they shall be delivered (saved) from the physical judgments due Israel for their rebellion against Jehovah. That is the direct teaching of Joel chapter 2 and Acts chapter 2, and that is the strictest doctrinal interpretation of Romans chapter 10 as well. If an Israelite or Jew calls upon the Name of the Lord for deliverance from physical calamities during the horrors of Daniel's 70th Week, the Lord will not hear, unless they have believed on His Son - "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?..." (Romans 10:14)
Now look outside of the dispensational section of Romans at Romans 8:15, 16- "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:..."
Compare Romans 8:23- "...but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."
Compare also 1 Corinthians 1:2- "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:..."
And further compare 2 Timothy 2:22- "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart."
Note that in 1 Corinthians 1:2 and 2 Timothy 2:22, to call is not a one-time event, but a continuous exercise. For any person who knows Christ as Saviour, there is a continuous cry, groan, and call upon the name of the Lord. It is the New Man (Christ) within. It is the resident Holy Spirit. It is that which caused the eunuch to go "on his way rejoicing." It is "Christ in you, the hope of Glory." (Colossians 1:27) And how did this cry, groan, and call first take place in the believer? The answer is in Ephesians 1:13-
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.
Note that it is not after that ye had prayed a sinner's prayer, but rather after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation...after that ye believed.
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? (Romans 10:14)
Notice Psalm 55:16.
As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.
Was David a believer when he wrote Psalm 55? If you say, "Yes," then what was David stating when he declared a future call upon God, and a future salvation? This is not the salvation of the spiritual soul. The context through verse 19 speaks of physical salvation (the salvation of the body) from David's enemies.
Interviewing church members and listening to their testimonies, it is easy to discern that there are plenty of callers and sinner's prayer pray-ers, but there are very few believers!
Modernist soul winning scheme designers have forced many to think that "call" in Romans 10:13 is none other than a sinner's prayer repeated after a soul winner or from the back page of a tract. They force this interpretation even though there is not even one illustration, example, implication of or illusion to this anywhere in the New Testament.
Many pastors are encouraging what we call "competition soul winning" among church members.
Soul winners are instructed, "Make sure you get them to pray the prayer!" This implies that God is obligated to save whosoever repeats a prayer, even if they don't believe the truth of the Gospel. This implication is very evident in the episode you will read in Section Five by Dr. Jack Hyles, where he tricks the Hill family into praying a sinner's prayer by telling them that they are having a house dedication. In that episode, Dr. Hyles never presented the redemptive work of Christ; no not at all!
If God is obligated to save everyone who prays a sinner's prayer, then virtually all Orthodox Catholic adherents are saved, and we have no choice but to consider them as brethren. We learned from our own missionary experience in Maritime Russia that Eastern (Russian, Greek) Orthodox liturgy contains sinner's prayers identical to those used by independent Baptists in their modern soul winning schemes.
In a 1996 survey we conducted of Roman Catholic missals, Lutheran, Methodist, Evangelical Free, Assembly of God and other literature used for so-called evangelism, we found that the models of the sinner's prayer as currently used by independent Baptists are fairly universal among denominational churches. They are obviously ecumenical in their ultimate purpose. Is it any wonder then that in the Philippines, as elsewhere, multitudes repeat a sinner's prayer after Baptist (or other "evangelical") soul winners, then have no problem returning to the mass at the Basilica ? They are also now more deceived, and have been further insulated against the Truth. No, they are not saved, and the god of this world has been using Baptist soul winners as instruments to thicken the darkness and lock in the blindness (see 2 Corinthians 4:4).
2. The Conversion of the Apostle Paul - Acts 9:1-8; 22:5-19; 26:12-18.
Obviously, we must allow God the use of any special dispensation He chooses in dealing with the sons of men. It would not have been a thing unheard of for a Jewish prophet to be directly approached in a vision, appearance or representation. Nor would a Voice of Personal introduction from Heaven be a spooky thing to any child of Abraham who was well versed in the Old Testament Scriptures. Old Testament kinds of manifestations had not ceased at any point in the Acts period, while Israel's God was still stretching out His hand; first to the Jews of the homeland (Acts chs. 1-7), and then to the dispersed Jews who were among the Gentiles (Acts chs. 8-28).
1. Saul was headed for Damascus, Syria where many Jewish believers had fled due to persecution from the Jewish leaders (9:1, 2; 22:4, 5; 26:9-12).
2. There was no soul-winner present on the road to Damascus except the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself (9:3-6; 22:6-10; 26:13-18). He is qualified for the task, is He not?
3. Saul asks a question to the One appearing, "Who art thou, Lord?" (9:5; 22:8; 26:15). If you or I had seen such a vision, we would have asked the same question. When we are soul winning among Gentiles in this dispensation, we will never see such a vision. Nevertheless, Saul's inquiry will correspond to the Eunuch's question, "...of whom speaketh the prophet...? (Acts 8:34).
4. Saul was a serious and thorough student of the Old Testament Canon, having been instructed at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 5:34; 22:3). He was superior in his use of the law to the High Priest, Ananias (23:3). In other words, Paul had very long and deep exposure to the full content of the written Word of God! "...faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).
5. Now, Saul is hearing directly from the Living Word of God, Himself, as an infallible proof of the Resurrection. "Jesus of Nazareth" positively identified Himself to Saul (9:5; 22:8; 26:15).
6. There is conviction, faith and regeneration (9:5). "...to kick against" points to Saul's rebellion against the Word of God. "...pricks" speak of the conviction wrought by God's Holy Spirit (cp. Psalm 73:21 and Acts 2:37).
7. Jesus gave instruction as to what Saul was to do (9:6; 22:10; 26:16-18). Obviously, none of the instructions given are appropriate to extend to a soul in need of salvation today.
There is no instruction to pray, or to ask, or to receive salvation. Prayer was going on between Saul and the Lord Jesus, and this obviously does not match the modern soul winner's behest to pray and (for example) "Ask Jesus to come into your heart." It would be ridiculous to think that Saul had not believed the truth of the Gospel by the time he asked his second question, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"
In gratefulness (see Hebrews 13:15) for God's mercy and grace, what better question could any new believer ask than, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"
Many teachers of modern soul winning want you to force a profession of faith from people who have had little or no exposure to the Word of God, from whence comes faith. In other words, there is pressure on you to extract a faithless profession!
In both examples given to us thus far by the Holy Ghost in the Book of Acts, the sinners had very rich teaching from the Bible before they came to faith in Christ. Both represent fruit that is ready for harvest from good ground that had been properly prepared. Study Matthew 13:8, 23; Luke 8:8, 15.
Let it not be said that we teach that people who prayed at the time of their professed conversion did not truly become saved. Nor let us be accused of teaching that prayer is a barrier to salvation. Let it rather be clear that what we emphasize is the necessity of faith in the correct Object and message. Faith requires understanding. Faith unto salvation requires an honest reception of truth. Let it also be understood that genuine "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21), which are still necessary, can be exercised with or without a verbalized prayer, in or apart from the presence of any human witness. Repentance and faith unto salvation can occur any time the Holy Spirit directs the heart of the sinner to the truth of the Gospel of the Grace of God according to the Scriptures of truth.
The object of faith in modernist soul winning is too often the rite (itself) of prayer; the performance of the sinner in obedience to the soul winner. If the prayer itself is the object of faith, then that prayer is tantamount to a sacrament. It is a work. No work on the part of the sinner can satisfy the just and holy requirements of God. Millions of confused professing Christians, therefore, are yet without peace. Their testimonies match their works salvation - "I asked Jesus to save me." They tell us what they did, but never tell us what they believed. They tell us what they did, but they don't testify of what the Saviour did. They performed a faithless work, and they continue faithless, uncertain and afraid. All the assurance classes, doctrines classes and new members' classes make little difference; nor do all of the vain trips to the altars confessing "doubt." Our Baptist churches are filled with such faithless people. Even thousands of Baptist pulpits are occupied by such uncertain and fearful ones.
3. Cornelius and His Household - Acts 10:1 through 11:18.
Dispensationally, Cornelius and his household are an illustration of Gentiles coming to the God of Israel as under the authority of that privileged Nation (10:4, 5, 22, 34-37, 45; 11:18; cp. Romans 15:8-12). This will be the order during Daniel's 70th Week when the Kingdom Gospel is preached once again in preparation for the Millennium. In the Kingdom Dispensation, believing Gentiles are brought in along with the believing Nation of Israel. In the current Dispensation of the Grace of God, believing Gentiles are brought into the Kingdom of God's dear Son in spite of unbelieving Israel.
We are looking here, however, at the aspect of personal salvation, and the practical task of evangelism, as we exposit this passage, looking for the illustration of faith and its results.
1. Cornelius was a Gentile (10:1, 22, 28, 35, 45; 11:1, 18).
2. Cornelius was a "devout" man. To whom was he so devoted? Whom did he fear? We know Who had been hearing his prayers and accepting his giving-the God of Israel (10:2, 4, 22, 31). The entire Nation of the Jews respected this Gentile and his family (10:22). Cornelius feared God and worked righteousness (10:35; cp. James 2:14-26). That is Peter's description of one who recognizes the final authority of the Word of God. This Gentile believed God in those things which were revealed to him from the Scriptures of the Hebrews, therefore God would show Christ to Him. Regardless of how much God had accepted his prayers and alms, Cornelius could not go to Heaven without Christ. Cornelius and his household were willing to obey what light God gave them, and so God obligated Himself to give Cornelius' house more light. The point is: Cornelius and his household were devoted students of the Words of God. As in the cases of the eunuch and Saul, there had been long-time exposure to the Word of God prior to their conversion.
3. God listened to Cornelius' believing prayers even before he was saved and God remembered them. God paid attention to Cornelius' alms-giving because he gave in faith; faith in what had been revealed to him up to that point. (10:4)
4. Then Cornelius and his household heard the Word of God by the ministry of Peter concerning the Lord Jesus Christ (10:6, 22, 32-43; 11:1, 14). God brought Cornelius' household to that point because they had greater faith than Israel, believing the light that they had and acting upon that light. Christ had come and finished His work, and Cornelius' household needed to hear about Christ, and hear they did.
5. Cornelius, his kinsmen and near friends "believed on the Lord Jesus Christ" (10:43, 44; 11:17); such belief including repentance unto life (11:18)-meaning they repudiated and abandoned dead works as containing any hope of everlasting life (cp. Hebrews 6:1 and 2 Timothy 2:24-26). They received the Word of God (11:1; cp. John 1:12 and 1 Thessalonians 2:13).
6. The result of believing was Cornelius and his household experiencing the baptism with the Holy Ghost (10:44, 45, 47; 11:15-17). The Jews who accompanied Peter to Cornelius' house had the right to see a sign gift to authenticate that this excursion and ministry to Gentiles was a genuine move of the God of Israel.
Now compare what happened at Cornelius' house with the order found in Ephesians 1:13.
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.
And further, look carefully at the question Paul asks in Galatians 3:2.
...Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
The order is: 1. Heard; 2. Trusted; 3. Sealed. That was the order in Cornelius' house, and that is the order in any household in our day which comes to Christ.
One: There was no invitation.
Two: There was no altar; no kneeling.
Three: There was no "repeat after me..." Were Cornelius and his household praying? Maybe they were; maybe they were not. Peter was still preaching when they believed the Gospel and the Holy Ghost fell on them. Nobody asked them to pray a "sinner's prayer." If they were praying, that prayer is something that the Holy Spirit chose not to emphasize to any future generations when He gave and preserved the written Word of God.
The modern soul winning schemes often emphasize and force actions that the Holy Spirit does not emphasize in the written Word of God. The writers and preachers of the modernistic soul winning methods are trying to substitute human effort for the power of the preaching of the Cross of Christ and for the power of the Holy Spirit. The modernist soul winners want to see results, numbers, head counts, filled-in visitation cards, full buses (or, jeepneys in the Philippines), longer church rolls, bigger offerings and more beautiful facilities. These are things never once contemplated by Peter when he went to Cornelius' house.
4. Antiochan Firstfruits - Acts 11:19-26.
Remember the transition that is taking place in the Book of Acts. We have here believing Jews who are "scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen." They are forced out of the Jews' homeland into Gentile territory (11:19). They are practicing what they know to do; go to the Jews only(!), and preach the Word (11:19). In Antioch resided those we may assume were Greek-speaking Jews; "Grecians."
1. The believing Cypriot and Cyrenian Jews preached the Lord Jesus to the Grecians at Antioch. They told all they had learned from the preaching of Peter and the Twelve in Jerusalem about the Lord Jesus Christ, and the events of His crucifixion and resurrection, that He would return when the Nation of Israel repents, and of remission of sins for those who believe on Him (11:20). The preaching still included the expectation of Daniel's 70th Week and their entrance into the Davidic Kingdom as being potential in their lifetime. The Church Age, as we now know it to have played out over the past 1,950 years, was something these preachers never contemplated.
2. "...the hand of the Lord was with them:..." The "soul winners" were not operating in their own power, but in the Lord's power. They had no man-made schemes or soul-winning methodologies-they had a message (11:21)!
3. "...a great number of them believed, and turned unto the Lord." (11:20; cp. 1 Thessalonians 1:9) This is repentance with respect to salvation. Whatever they had depended on for salvation prior to hearing this message was abandoned and repudiated for Jesus Christ and His work.
4. The grace of God in the new believers in Antioch was an inner work of God which could be seen and could make others glad (11:23; cp. Titus 2:11-14). These were the first believers to be called "Christians." (11:26) There is, of course, no verse that says, "And the disciples were called Baptists first at..."
5. "...much people was added unto the Lord." (11:24) The only way in which being "added to the church" (Acts 2:47) could be equivalent to "added to the Lord" (11:24) would be if that "church" is the Body of Christ. Nobody is added unto to the Lord by means of being added to a local church. Millions have, however, been added unto the Lord where there was no local church to which they might be added. If you interpret the "church" of Acts 2:47 to be the local church at Jerusalem, then the two phrases are simply not equivalent, but that is a subject too broad for the scope of this booklet.
One: There is no soul winning scheme, gimmick or methodology.
Two: There is no prayer formula. We don't know if anyone was praying when they believed, turned, and were added unto the Lord. Once again, if anyone was praying, the Holy Spirit withholds any mention of it or emphasis upon it. There is no "If you would like to be saved, then say these words after me: ...." The words of the sinner cannot save him; only the Words of God can regenerate him.
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. (1 Peter 1:23)
We know that some who read this will take us to be teaching that it is wrong for the sinner to talk to the Lord about their need of salvation. Quite to the contrary, when men express to us, in any way, that they yet need Christ, we give them the Gospel, and then we tell them to do precisely that..."Talk to the Lord about it!" Others will accuse us of teaching that prayer is a hindrance to salvation. No, we do not believe that prayer is a hindrance. What we do believe, and what we are emphasizing in this booklet, is that "the sinner's prayer," as often taught in the quickie soul-winning schemes of the last forty years of the Twentieth Century, without understanding and believing the sufficiency of Christ's work at Calvary, cannot serve as a magic catalyst to produce the regenerated state.
We believe that a sinner must have an adequate exposure to, and understanding of, the substitutionary character of the Cross-work of Christ, and that he must believe it to be the one and only remedy for him, personally, as well as for the world. This means that the sinner must hear enough of the preached Word of God to see himself as being utterly condemned and without any hope outside of the Merits of Christ. The sinner must get HONEST (Luke 8:15) and SERIOUS with the God Who can cast him, body and soul, into the lake of fire. The sinner must experience Holy Ghost conviction under the Word of God and know that he will fry in Hell without Christ, and that he DESERVES IT because he is that offensive in himself to the holiness of his Creator. The Sinner must repent of...ABANDON...REPUDIATE... whatever...WHATEVER...he had been trusting previously, for Christ alone, in the sufficiency of His shed Blood, death in the sinner's place, and Resurrection for the sinner's justification (Romans 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Acts 13:38, 39; 2 Timothy 2:25; etc.)
So, let me address all of you who learned your "soul-winning" techniques from the popular booklets of the fundamentalists, "Let's Go Soul Winning With Dr. Bilderchurcher". You can use all of your fancy psychological mechanizations to get people into the right posture and frame of mind to repeat you in a prayer, but if what we have stated in the previous two paragraphs has not taken place, those who prayed those "sinner's prayers" on the door stoops (You know, all those you never saw come to church anyway, and many who did...) are on their way to Hell, just as quick, and maybe quicker than they were before you deceived them with your religious antics.
Then there will be some who say that the author believes that someone would have to graduate from Bible college to be saved. Well, you are only exposing how little your Bible college taught you or your pastor, and you may be exposing the real possibility that your Bible college never adequately taught the substance of the Gospel. A student at the "World's Most Unusual University" (Bob Jones University) reports that the teachers there will tell you that most of the students are not saved. We have heard much testimony through the past 26 years to the same effect. A child, however, can understand enough about the Person and redemption work of Christ to trust Him with their soul and know Him absolutely, if you will not confuse him with the modern "soul-winning" mechanics. But if you still insist that a sinner would have to go to seminary to learn what we are teaching in this booklet, then you'd better not waste time. Get enrolled! The eternal safety of your soul depends upon it!
In any country which has been dominated by sacramental or ritualistic religion (all Asian countries, for example), people are accustomed to doing religious things, like praying, without believing truth. Remember that the Word of God will get the job done when presented under the power of His Holy Spirit. Many try to substitute a sequential plan or scheme leading to a liturgical type of prayer. Once a sinner has been talked into praying the prayer, he must also be convinced, without the witness of the Holy Spirit, that he just "got saved." Poof! Presto! The "god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4) thereby actually uses the sincere (but mis-trained) soul winner to further "blind the minds of them which believe not."
5. Sergius Paulus - Acts 13:6-12
How does the Holy Spirit present to us the conversion of this locally prominent Gentile?
1. Sergius Paulus, the deputy of the country, is presented to us by the Holy Spirit as "a prudent man." (13:7). This is a man who is +cautious; circumspect; practically wise; careful of the consequences of enterprises, measures or actions; cautious not to act when the end is of doubtful utility, or probably impracticable.
The prudent man looketh well to his going.
A prudent man foreseeth the evil and hideth himself.
Sergius Paulus would have been cautious not to act when told to merely bow his head and repeat a prayer in order to go to Heaven. He would have asked, "Why do something like that?" "Haven't we enough prayers for salvation in the temples and in the synagogues of our city?"
2. This prudent man did the right thing for any man concerned about the eternity of his own soul. He "called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God." (13:7) Again....
"...faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
3. There was an attempt by a sorcerer to turn away Sergius Paulus from the faith (13:8). A sorcerer is a conjurer; an enchanter; a magician (ibid). Let's take this further and define "conjure."
To call on or summon by a sacred name, or in a solemn manner; to implore with solemnity. It seems originally to have signified, to bind by an oath. (ibid)
To bind two or more by an oath; to unite in a common design. (ibid)
And let's define "conjurer."
One who practices conjuration; one who pretends to the secret art of performing things supernatural or extraordinary, by the aid of superior powers; .... (ibid)
Have the modernistic soul winners not considered that to insist on a "sinner's prayer" from an unbeliever as a conjured-up form of magical words (hocus pocus), while calling on a sacred name (e.g. the name of the Lord) in a solemn manner is actually sorcery? See Matthew 7:22. Are not many trained to be sorcerers who in effect are used by the god of this world to turn away souls from the faith?
Some magical hocus pocus words used often in modern soul winning schemes are:
"Ask Jesus to come into your heart." "Ask Jesus to come into your life."
"Give your heart to Jesus." "Ask Jesus to save you."
"Pray the sinner's prayer." "Pray through."
"Repeat this prayer after me." "Make peace with God."
No such injunctions are found or even implied in the New Testament. They are modernistic ploys to initiate people into religious manners. They are trusted by multitudes, but they have nothing to do with the faith.
And that brings us to define the faith (Acts 13:8). Here is a Scripture list for your personal study.
Acts 6:7; 14:22; 16:5; 24:24
Romans 1:5; 14:1
1 Corinthians 16:13
2 Corinthians 13:15
Galatians 1:23; 3:23
Ephesians 3:12; 4:13
Philippians 1:27; 3:9
Colossians 1:23; 2:7,12
1 Timothy 1:12; 3:9, 13; 4:1; 5:8
1 Timothy 6:10, 21
2 Timothy 3:8; 4:7
Titus 1:1,13; 3:15
1 Peter 5:9
The faith is, sinners who deserve to go to Hell forever will, instead, enjoy God forever, in His presence, because God's wrath on sin was exhausted on the sinless One, Jesus Christ. The Son of God having taken the sinner's place in judgment to the satisfaction of God's holiness- the believing sinner will now take the position of the Saviour in Glory. The believing sinner, though yet sinning in his flesh, is justified and made as righteous as God, in the Person of the resurrected Son of God.
This is the faith from which religious sorcerers will always seek to turn away precious souls. This is the faith in which every genuine child of God stands and by which we have peace.
4. Saul (Paul) used his Apostolic authority to handle Elymas the sorcerer (13:9-10). When will modernist Baptist soul winners "cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord[?]"
5. Sergius Paulus "believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord." (13:12) Sergius believed doctrine! To believe doctrine, one must have exposure to the Words of God! God does not save people in ignorance, but in knowledge and faith.
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:...
(2 Peter 1:2, 3)
Sergius Paulus was never led through a sinner's prayer or instructed to perform any kind of rite in order to be saved. Was Sergius verbally praying? We have absolutely no clue! If Sergius was praying, the Holy Spirit evidently did not want us to have that as an example.
Many preachers will want to make a sorcerer out of you; teaching you a magical formula to use in "soul winning." When the magic words are used and someone has repeated your hocus pocus without the faith (that is, without believing the Gospel), you will have to continue to conjure-up magical expressions to convince them that they are alright: "Don't doubt, just get busy in the church and be loyal in order to produce (a feigned) 'joy in the Lord'." Your magic will be necessary to persuade that soul to continue to serve God "in the oldness of the letter" instead of "in newness of spirit" (Romans 7:6).
Pastors of local churches are forever fellowshipping with each other over the difficulties of getting their people to serve the Lord, show up for church, be faithful, give their money, win souls, and so forth. Do they not consider that the magic of the soul-winning experience has worn off, and that now "church" is just like any other club to the one initiated through a sinner's prayer? Would it not bear more eternal fruit to return to the preaching of the faith, wherein the hearers have truth in which to rest and be saved, and experience "newness of spirit" from a well which never runs dry (John 7:38)?
6. Glorifying the Word in Pisidian Antioch - Acts 13:14-49
Again, we seek to pay close attention to the Words of the Holy Spirit, preserved for us in the King James Bible, and use them as a spotlight on all modernistic mechanizations used today in "soul winning."
1. Paul went to the synagogue of the Jews ("...to the Jew first"-Romans 1:16; "...to you [the dispersed of Israel] is the word of this salvation sent" - Acts 13:26; "...It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you [the dispersed of Israel]" - Acts 13:46) where he was recognized as a Jew himself. He was given the opportunity to exhort his Jewish "brethren." (13:15, 16)
2. Paul used his opportunity to survey what God had done through the history of Israel as a Nation in bringing to them the One spoken of in the Prophets; the "Saviour, Jesus," God's "Son," God's "Holy One." The slain but resurrected Christ, through Whom was preached unto them the forgiveness of sins. "And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which [they] could not be justified by the law of Moses." (13:17-42)
3. The Jews retired from the synagogue as "despisers" and as those that "wonder," and were to "in no wise believe." (13:41, 42)
4. But the Gentiles "besought" that "these words" - the very same message about the very same Glorious Person - "might be preached to them..." (13:42) The apostles didn't have to chase these people down. Don't miss this fact that these Gentiles "besought" ! Ah, willing ears and willing hearts to believe! They sought truth! They did not consider themselves inconvenienced or bothered to hear the Word of God (see Luke 8:15). Be honest. How often do we encounter this climate of desire for the Word of God in today's soul winning activities? Why, it is so utterly rare, if we find it at all! This kind of openness may be found in primitive tribal populations, but it is virtually nonexistent where there has been any modern development; where people have been spoiled by humanistic and materialistic education, entertainment and Christendom.
5. Thank God there were a few Jews and proselytes who did open their hearts and believe (13:43). Notice how the Holy Spirit describes the soul winning "method" of the Apostles among these:
"...speaking to them, persuading them to continue in the grace of God."
That is, the Apostles persuaded them with words (the faith) to abandon and repudiate any hope in obedience to the Law of Moses for justification (cp. v.13), and from then on (e.g. continue from that point forward) to depend only in the grace of God. If you persuade someone using the Word of God, the Holy Spirit doing the work in the heart of the sinner, then they believe. It is so simple as that! Jesus said-
"It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." (John 6:45)
6. The next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together. We are not told whether the Gentiles who "besought" in verse 42, along with the Jews and proselytes who were persuaded in verse 43, advertised the evangelistic campaign throughout the city. It is not difficult to imagine this being the case, however, from noticing verse 49. What is important is that they came together to hear the Word of God (13:44). The Holy Spirit continues to emphasize the importance of exposure to God's Words.
"...faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
"...Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" (Galatians 3:2)
"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." (1 Peter 1:23)
No soul winner in Paul's day would have expected a sinner to be genuinely saved without adequate exposure to the Word of God. Nobody in the Book of Acts ever walked up on a door stoop of either educated Jew or ignorant Pagan Gentile and, using three to five verses of Scripture, coaxed a sinner through a prayer, and then declared that that person got saved - all in ten to fifteen minutes!
The city dwellers of Pisidian Antioch were willing hearers of the Word of God. They didn't come together to hear the singing of a Gospel quartet! They didn't come together to be entertained by electric guitars, drum sets or tambourine dancers with colorful streamers! Paul and company had to waste no time chasing them down! None of these people were annoyed! None mouthed a sinner's prayer just to get the soul winner to leave their porch and leave them alone!
7. Because of Paul's response to the envious, contrary and blasphemous Jews (vv. 45-47), the Gentiles now understood that salvation by the grace of God and forgiveness through Jesus Christ was not restricted to the Jewish people. They understood also that one Jew, Paul (see v. 41, "though a man declare it unto you" -See Hab. 1:5 ), was now the one man God was using "for [preaching] salvation unto the ends of the earth." (13:47)
8. Now note the sequence in verse 48! Heard-were glad-glorified the word of the Lord-believed ! Yes, that simple! When people genuinely believe the Gospel, their testimonies become that of the Scriptures themselves, glorifying God's Word which birthed them into God's family. Listen to the testimonies in local Baptist churches today and tell me, please, if that is really what you hear going on.
Neither in the case of the Jews and proselytes in verse 43, nor in the case of the Gentiles in verse 48 do we see any instruction to repeat a sinner's prayer. Were these people praying when they believed on Christ? Beats me! The Holy Spirit doesn't include a sinner's prayer in any of the soul winning methodology in this entire chapter. Nobody was asked to bow their head. Nobody was asked to come forward. Nobody is holding or squeezing a soul winner's hand.
Don't replace the message of Christ with the methods of the soul winning programs. Speak often of the Person and Finished Work of Christ to any and all willing hearers. This will require your continuous study of the Word of God and learning ways to illustrate redemption truths. Pray for the power of the Holy Spirit and trust Him to use your witness. The more you open your Bible for sinners or quote the Scriptures, the more exposure they will have to God's Words. The sinner needs exposure! He needs what Dr. C. S. Lovett doesn't like: considerable Bible handling. The sinner becomes responsible for what he or she hears from the Bible.
Unfortunately, many unsaved persons take biblical personal evangelists as being disingenuous due to the antics practiced so often by the "club-style soul winners" or "competition soul winners." Just try to compassionately present the Gospel to people in Hammond, Indiana these days and notice how people recoil and fear that they will be coerced into performing a ritual; one which they would rather avoid. People have been annoyed, bothered, coerced and belittled by programmatic profession seekers for so long now that it is now difficult to approach people in a friendly way and have their willing attention to the Words of God and to the Gospel of His Grace.
We will need to begin by befriending people and letting the Holy Spirit convince them that we are genuinely concerned about the well-being of their eternal souls. This will require us to return to our knees and pray that the same Holy Ghost will make us sensitive to others' needs and that the love of God will be shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (see Romans 5:5). For most of us, if we would focus on those with whom we are already acquainted (family members, classmates, colleagues, merchants, service providers), we would find a field in which to keep harvesting for quite some time.
Thoughts on "published"
The product of the conversion of the saints at Pisidian Antioch was a publishing company for the "word of the Lord " (13:49).
The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. (Psalm 68:11)
1. To discover or make known to mankind or to people in general what before was private or unknown ; to divulge, as a private transaction ; to promulgate or proclaim, as a law or edict. We publish a secret, by telling it to people without reserve. Laws are published by printing or by proclamation. Christ and his apostles published the glad tidings of salvation.
Th' unwearied sun, from day to day,
Does his Creator's power display ;
And publishes to every land
The work of an almighty hand. Spectator
2. To send a book into the world ; or to sell or offer for sale a book, map or print.
4. To make known by posting, or by reading in a church ; as, to publish bands of matrimony. We say also, the persons intending marriage are published ; that is, their intention of marriage is published.
There is really no better definition of soul winning than you just read under the word publish. The Pisidians were personal evangelists; soul winners.
Further, these believers were publishers of God's word in the line of the Byzantine Text of manuscripts which are part of the Majority Text; the Received Text (Textus Receptus). This text did not go through Alexandria, Egypt to be corrupted by mystics and magicians such as Origin and Augustine, and later by the Roman Catholic Church. The believers of Pisidian Antioch were simple soul winning Christians who copied the Words of the Lord and were some of the earliest contributors to those manuscripts of the type which moved westward and northward, and found their way to the tables of the King James Bible translators between 1604 and 1611. If you care to know what was being published by the "Pisidian Word Publishing Company" in the First Century, you must have a copy of the King James Bible to find out.
7. Iconium Believers - Acts 14:1
This account offers us a break for some review as to the actual activity of the personal evangelist. This will help us to understand the necessity of constant study of the Bible for the purpose of answering the questions of sinners and for illustrating redemptive truths.
- 1. The Apostles "so spake that...."
"...Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto [the eunuch] Jesus." (Acts 8:35)
"...Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons...., that through [Jesus'] name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake...Peter; who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them,...." (Acts 10:34, 43, 44; 11:13-15)
"...they which were scattered...travelled...preaching the word...and some... spake..., preaching the Lord Jesus. (Acts 11:19-21)
"Sergius Paulus...desired to hear the word of God...., being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord." (Acts 13:7,12)
"word of exhortation...Paul...said,....And we declare unto you glad tidings....Be it known (e.g. published-Acts 13:49) unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man (Jesus Christ) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:....ye (Jews) shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you....the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath...Paul and Barnabus: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. ...came...together to hear the word of God....the word of God should first have been spoken to you (Jews):..." (Acts 13:15, 16, 32, 38, 41-44, 46)
"they...so spake..." (Acts 14:1)
It is the Bible way for all Christians to open our mouths about Jesus Christ-preach Jesus Christ-speak of Jesus Christ-tell words concerning Jesus Christ-expound the doctrine of Jesus Christ-exhort people to believe on Jesus Christ-declare glad tidings of Jesus Christ-make it known that Jesus Christ forgives sins-persuade people to continue in the grace of God.
2. The result of the way they "so spake" was simply that "a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks (cp. Romans 1:16) believed." (14:1). If we could so speak the word of God to sinners with the power of the Holy Spirit, multitudes more could and would believe. It's no more complicated than that.
There is no prayer formula given to us here by the Holy Spirit. No sinner's prayer! Were they praying? I imagine that when they had believed the truth and had the joy of knowing they were saved, they then prayed, thanking the Lord for so great salvation.
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (Hebrews 13:15)
When a soul has believed the Gospel it will:
- 1. rejoice (Acts 8:39)
- 2. attempt to discover what the Lord wilt have [it] to do (Acts 9:6)
- 3. know remission or forgiveness of sins (Acts 10:43)
The activity of soul winning is described in the fourteenth chapter of Acts in the following terms:
"and so spake,...gave testimony unto the word of his grace,...preached the Gospel. ...taught many,..." (vv. 1, 3, 7, 21)
The result was that:
"[the Lord] opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles." (14:27)
The Movement in Macedonia - Acts chapter 16
Special Note on Acts 16:6, 7 - The logical course for the Apostles was eastward back toward what is now Turkey, and what would later become the Muslim world. This is not, however, the direction of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God forbad them (v. 6) and suffered them not (v. 7). The direction of Gospel evangelism, and hence the direction of all positive historical development, since the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, has been in a general primary direction from east to west, and secondarily from north to south. bHistory and development since Calvary have never occurred from west to east. The great developments in agriculture, architecture, industry, law, medicine, science, technology and transportation have sprung from the northern continents and never from the Southern Hemisphere. Man's development always follows the course of the Bible, Gospel evangelism and Christian Revival, and never apart from these phenomena.
A Man of Macedonia
1. "Come over into Macedonia, and help us." (16:9) This was the appeal of the man in the vision. What help would be rendered?
2. The apostles "assuredly gather[ed] that the Lord had called [them] for to preach the gospel unto [the Macedonians]." (16:10)
You may put clothes on peoples' backs, food in their stomachs, roofs over their heads and give medical care for their diseases and wounds. Unregenerate philanthropists and do-gooders are at this all the time. But the greatest help you can ever render to any soul on this planet is to preach the Gospel of Grace to them. Without the Gospel, one may live out his seventy-five or so years in relative comfort and safety. But now ask yourself the question: What will those seventy five years mean later on in an eternal lake of dark, fiery torments?
8. Lydia - Acts 16:12-15
Here we may determine that the saving Gospel message is the same for both men and women. Let's not forget to concentrate on the very words given by the Holy Spirit.
1. There were women having prayer meetings on the Sabbath by a river side (16:13). They knew about the Sabbath. These were either Jews or proselytes to Judaism. They were exposed to the Word of God.
2. Lydia worshipped God (16:14). Which God? The God of the Sabbath! The God of the Old Testament Scriptures! She had adequate exposure to the Scriptures of Truth. The Apostles didn't have to bother her and pull her away from her soap opera or Chinese cooking program with Wok Fat-Chin.
3. Lydia heard the Gospel (16:14).
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)
..., Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law (e.g. keeping the Sabbath), or by the hearing of faith?
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation:... (Ephesians 1:13)
4. The Lord opened Lydia's heart (16:14).
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8)
[The Lord] opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
5. Lydia attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul (16:14)
- 1. To listen; to regard with attention; followed by to.
Attend to the voice of my supplication. Ps. Lxxxvi.
Hence, much used in the imperative, attend!
- 2. To regard with observation, and correspondent practice.
My son, attend to my words.
Hence, to regard with compliance.
He hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Ps. Lxvi.
- 3. To fix the attention upon, as an object of pursuit ; to be busy or engaged in ; as, to attend to the study of the Scriptures.
- 4. To wait on ; to accompany or be present, in pursuance of duty ; with on or upon ; as, to attend upon a committee ; to attend upon business. Hence,
- 5. To wait on in service or worship ; to serve.
That ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. 1 Cor. vii.
The very next act (v. 15) was: "she was baptized." Thus an understanding of the plain English definition of "attend," when seen in the context of the King James Bible, reveals belief (v.14) in the message that Lydia heard.
6. Lydia was baptized in water.
Again, the Holy Spirit offers us an illustration of a soul saved by grace through faith without offering to us any example of a sinner's prayer. Was Lydia praying at the moment of conversion? We have absolutely no clue!
No formal invitation is mentioned. There was no altar or kneeling rail. The things emphasized in modern evangelism are not emphasized in the case of Lydia or in any case in the Acts of the Apostles.
Do not despise the use of the formal invitation at the end of preaching in a church service if the purpose be to "beseech" sinners and to "pray [them] in Christ's stead, be...reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:20) Also, do not despise the kneeling rail, if it be a place where sinners can come for help from the Word of God, being guided (Acts 8:31) by some evangelist. Remember, though, it is not the walking of an isle or kneeling at an altar, but it is Christ Who saves. Do not create a sacrament out of kneeling in a particular type of building at a man-made altar of wood and carpet (or at a coffee table, for example, in a private residence).
9. A Philippian Jailer - Acts 16:16-34
We are clearly in a Gentile setting here. There is no mention of either a synagogue or the Sabbath, or any leaders of the Jews. Instead we are separated from the Jewish element by the walls of a prison administrated by officials of the Roman Empire itself. How does the Holy Spirit describe the conversion of this Gentile? What words are used? Let's find out.
1. Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in the prison because of the result of casting a spirit of divination out of a +soothsaying damsel (16:16-24). Soothsaying had been a source of profit ("gains") for the masters of the damsel. Now the source was gone. The masters arrested the Apostles, drew them to the magistrates, and caused a public uproar. The accusation was...
"...These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans." (16:20, 21)
It is important to note that such is the charge against foreign missionaries, as well as national ministers, who dare question cultural expediencies with the plain teachings of the Word of God. In the Philippines, for example, when a man of God teaches the ordinance of headship (1 Corinthians 11:3), the reply is often, "But we are Filipinos!" When biblical child rearing is taught from the Scriptures of Truth (Proverbs, Ephesians chapter 6; etc.), we often hear, "Oh, but Preacher, you don't understand, we Filipinos don't do it that way." The reason Filipinos (just for example) do things the way they do is because the Words of God never had any effectual working in the cultural development of the nation through history. The Philippines, for the past 500 years, has mixed Roman Catholicism with island Pagan superstition and Chinese mystic and fatalistic Daoism. And now even professing Christians in the Philippines often use their cultural characteristics as an excuse for disobedience to the Word of God!! By the way, the same is true in modern materialist and socialist American culture, Chinese Maoist culture and Russian Stalinist culture !! We once again live in an era when it is very possible for literal preaching of the Bible to bring about public uproars. But our Lord will never accept such cultural excuses for disobedience when we stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ!
Furthermore, as this very book suggests, there is a modern culture and many customs of modern Baptist churchianity. Even so-called fundamentalist Baptists, along with "evangelicals," have so departed from the plain Words of the Scriptures that our insistence here upon a return to Bible literalism and absolutism will bring a similar charge of preaching things which "trouble our [churches]," and are "not lawful...to receive, neither to observe, being [Baptists]." We expect a multitude of the modern nicolaitain masters to rise up together against us in one way or another.
2. With their feet securely bound in stocks, Paul and Silas "sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them." (16:25) From later on in the context we know who else heard them-a jailer.
3. There was a great earthquake shaking the prison's foundations, opening the doors, and loosening all the prisoners' bands. (16:26)
4. The keeper of the prison had been asleep on duty. Awaking out of sleep, and believing all the prisoners had escaped, the jailer thought suicide to be preferable to having to answer to his superiors (16:27, and see Acts 12:19). The Holy Spirit uses these fears.
5. Paul dissuades the jailer from suicide (16:28). The jailer heard a voice from the inner prison. He became aware that in that darkness Someone could see all he did. There was Someone who knew all he was thinking.
6. The jailer called for a light (16:29). This was a literal light: oil lamp or torch. But let us say here that any individual who is awakened by a moving of God to eternal danger is wise to call for a light.
"The entrance of thy words giveth light; ..."
"The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly." (Proverbs 20:27)
"For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness." (Psalm 18:28)
7. The jailer had heard the praises of God from the Apostles' jail cell. Most assuredly he had heard the truth of the Gospel along with the prisoners. He witnessed the results of a great evangelistic revival under which the prisoners had no desire to depart. The jailer was under great trembling conviction so that he could not even stand in the face of God's Apostles (16:29; and see 1 Corinthians 14:25).
8. The jailer knew the need. It was his own soul that needed salvation from the eternal prisons of sin and Hell. Thus his question, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (16:30)
9. It was to such an one in such a condition that these words were addressed: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." (16:31)
10. "And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house." (16:32) The Word of the Lord got the job done! The Apostles did not have to chase these people down. The jailer and his household had been prepared by the Holy Spirit to receive the Word of God. This was "good ground...they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, [kept] it, and [brought] forth fruit with patience." (Luke 8:8, 15)
11. The same night, the jailer took the Apostles and washed the wounds ("stripes") they had received from the beatings; and in the very same waters, the Apostles turned and baptized the jailer and his household (16:33).
12. The Apostles fellowshipped with these new believers and ate with them. The jailer and his household are described in their brand new Christ life as rejoicing and believing in God (16:34).
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Romans 15:13)
There is none of man's "wise" coercion or manipulation to extract a profession of faith. There is no use of religious psychology. There is no "Please bow your head, close your eyes, and place your hand in mine, and while I pray, when you are ready to be saved, just squeeze my hand."
In a shopping mall in Metro Manila, Philippines in October, 2000, the Catholics placed a larger-than-life sized golden doll of (they say) Mary, holding a doll of (they say) the Christ Child. The doll of the Christ Child had an outstretched hand. Hanging on the Jesus doll was a placard with the following words: "Take my hand, close your eyes, and make a wish." Now this is, in effect, what modernist soul winners among Baptists and "evangelicals" often do today. After quoting three to five verses ("Romans Road"), they instruct the yet unbeliever to "Take my hand, close your eyes, and wish to be saved." And then they tell the yet unbeliever that "You just had your wish granted and just got saved." They must be told this by man because the Holy Spirit is mute.
There is no promise made to the jailer or his family that if they would just pray a certain prayer then God would be obligated to save them.
There is, in fact, no revelation of any prayer being made. Were the jailer and his household praying at the time they believed? I'm afraid we will have to wait until we see those brothers and sisters in Heaven before we can obtain an answer. If you insist that they were praying, then you are only guessing, or you are reading a 20th Century soul winning manual into the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit gives here yet one more instance of salvation by faith without emphasizing a "sinner's prayer" with even one word.
Again, we are not implying in the least that if you were praying (either silently or aloud) when you professed Christ, that you were not genuinely saved. Nor shall we infer that prayer is ever out of order. In fact, there is never a time when approaching the Lord in prayer is wrong. We are attempting to make clear the worded emphasis of the Holy Spirit:
- 1. Exposure to the Word of God to reveal to the sinner the holiness of God and His Christ; the utter wickedness, condemnation and helplessness of the sinner; the sinner has no merit that can give him any standing with a Holy God; the destructive consequences of going on in the sinner's own way and without Christ.
- 2. Exposure to the Word of God to reveal to the sinner the only Way of escape from his condemnation and destruction in the finished Cross-work of Jesus Christ; the utter satisfaction that God the Father has in the once-forever sacrifice of His own Son, the shedding of His Blood, and the travail of His soul; that redemption for every sinner is complete because it is not a contract between God and the sinner, but a completed transaction between God the Father and God the Son, and sealed by the Holy Spirit.
- 3. Exposure to the Word of God to reveal to the sinner that any person who will repent of his or her own ways and means of salvation (religious practice, denominational bondage, philanthropic do-good-ism, self-righteousness, or any other thing), and believe (trust, receive, rest, attend to, have faith in, other synonyms) the record that God gave of His Son, will be the beneficiary of eternal salvation by grace.
If a person does not see himself or herself lost and undone and deserving of eternity in Hell as per point No. 1 above, then he or she can never believe point No. 2. And if point No. 1 is believed, but religious practice or any other thing is substituted for the Cross-work of Jesus Christ, then the sinner can never come to point No. 3.
If the "soul winner" attempts to help the sinner to circumvent points No. 1 and No. 2 with a promise that a specially worded, humanly formulated prayer will obligate God to save the sinner, then the "soul winner" runs the risk of becoming a soul-deceiver! The soul-deceiver, wanting to extract a profession of faith without Holy Spirit wrought conviction, repentance and faith, cooperates with the "god of this world" whose task it is to "[blind] the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (2 Corinthians 4:4). Yes, a professing Christian soul winner, so-called, can actually be a tool of Satan to blind the minds of unbelievers by substituting a hocus-pocus "sinner's prayer" for the work of the Holy Spirit in conviction, repentance and faith. Conviction, repentance and faith are the result of adequate exposure to the Words of God to people who will "[receive]...the love of the truth, that they might be saved." (See 2 Thessalonians 2:10.)
10. Thessalonicans with Biblical Reason - Acts 17:1-4
From both Acts chapter 17 and the books of 1st and 2nd Thessalonians we know that there are some Jewish elements here once again, but it doesn't change the issues we are discussing.
1. Paul's manner-his modus operandi-all through the Acts period was to go to the Jewish population first, in every city (17:1, 2). He sought the Jews of the dispersion, scattered at the Babylonian captivity of Israel and during the four hundred years of prophetic silence prior to the First Advent of our Saviour. This "manner" of the Apostle was the reason for the wording of Romans 1:16, "...to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
2. Three Sabbath days Paul reasoned with the synagogue faithful out of the Scriptures (17:2). Now that is "considerable Bible handling," Dr. Lovett! (See the Introduction to this booklet, and the liberal, laughable lunacies of Lovett in Section Five.) You may conclude, if you like, that Paul preached in the synagogue a total of three days. I believe it is more likely that he dealt with these Jews for up to twenty-one days, one week connected to each Sabbath. Whether it was three days or twenty-one days, we are reading about people who had long-time serious exposure to the Scriptures; Scriptures of the Old Testament. Paul used long valuable hours expositing ("opening and alleging" from) the Scriptures. The Apostle did, at no time, rush anyone to a prayer or a profession of faith. It takes time to correctly practice personal evangelism the Bible way! It requires the "considerable Bible handling" from which Dr. C. S. Lovett would relieve us, to the detriment of the unsaved he claims to want to win.
3. Paul opened and alleged truth (17:3). Whatever questions were thrown at him, he just kept opening the Book for the answers: Fdisclosing truth and exposing it to view ; revealing ; making known ; divulging ; unbosoming ; interpreting ; explaining ; expounding ; enlarging the heart ; making his hearers more discerning and more responsive ; sharpening ; enlightening ; giving access.
Further, Paul alleged: Fstated [as] under oath ; plead [as] in court ; brought [truth] forward with positiveness ; declared ; affirmed ; asserted as fact.
4. The subject matter included the sufferings of Christ, the resurrection and the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed One of God, Who would enter into Glory, promised throughout the Old Testament. The alleging, therefore, would have begun with (Moses and the Law) Genesis 3:15, continued through the Levitical sacrifices, (the Psalms) Psalms 16, 22, 45, and others, to (the Prophets) Isaiah 53, Zechariah 12, 14, and scores of other passages. Carefully compare Luke 24:25-32, 44.
5. "And some of them believed,..." (17:4). Folks, they were saved when they believed the Truth of the Scriptures concerning the Person and work of Christ. There you have it! That's precisely how the Holy Spirit describes it to you in the account. You dare not read the modernists' soul winning schemes into it lest you pervert the Words of the living God. The account is interpreted by the Scriptures themselves in 1 Thessalonians 1:5, 9, 10.
For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
For [the believers in every place (v. 8)] themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
Certainly you have seen by now that the Holy Spirit does not emphasize any prayer on the part of the sinner for obtaining salvation by grace through faith. Were those in the synagogue in Thessalonica praying when they believed? If they were, what words did they pray? Why doesn't the Holy Spirit mention it in either Acts chapter 17 or in its interpretive passage, 1 Thessalonians chapter 1 ?
1 Thessalonians 1:5, 9, 10 will reinforce what is necessary for a soul to know eternal life, as well as give us the results.
- 1. The Gospel of Jesus Christ must first of all come in Word-the Scriptures (1:5). This is clear in Acts 17:1-3.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
- 2. The Gospel must come not "in word only, but also in power..." (1:5). The power needed is not the psychological manipulations of a so-called soul winner used to squeeze a profession of faith out of a sinner like you squeeze juice from kalamansi (Filipino, little Asian lemon). The power is the "preaching of the cross." (1 Corinthians 1:18). It still pleases God "by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." (1 Corinthians 1:21)
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:30, 31)
Salvation is the result of God having made Christ something unto a sinner, putting the sinner into Christ and putting Christ in the sinner. Salvation is never the result of extracting something (i.e. a coerced sinner's prayer) out of the sinner.
- 3. Further, the Gospel must come "in the Holy Ghost." (1:5) If the Holy Ghost does not convict the sinner of his condemnation and make the sinner feel that he is lost and deserving of Hell, he will never be saved. Then if the Holy Ghost doesn't convince the sinner that the remedy is the all-sufficient offering of Christ in the sinner's place of judgment, the sinner will never rest in Christ and know forgiveness.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. (Titus 3:5)
- 4. The genuine Gospel comes "in much assurance." (1:5) This is why having an assurance class for those who have prayed a coerced sinner's prayer reveals the falseness in the modernist's soul winning schemes and methods. If the sinner was genuinely saved when he prayed the prayer, an assurance class would be absolutely superfluous, and even ludicrous. When salvation truly comes-much assurance also comes. If the scheme is that the sinner was saved when he prayed the prayer, but may not be sure of it until he attends a class, then false doctrine is being preached. Where in the New Testament can you find any such thing as this modernist method? It is a sham! People who practice such are phonies and Bible-deniers. If any person is saved, he knows it. A man is saved when he knows he is saved, and no man is saved until he knows he is saved. Never in the New Testament do you find God's children groveling around for assurance. Another missionary said to me one time, "Brother Bob, you are wrong! It is possible for some of my church members to be saved without absolutely knowing it!" I answered simply, "How, then, do they know it?" I mean, if a man doesn't know that he is saved, ....then how does he know that he is saved? Wouldn't it be foolish to try to convince a man that he is saved when he doesn't know it himself?
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. (John 3:11)
The modern soul winning crowd coerces people to speak something they don't yet know, and testify about things they have not yet seen by faith.
We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus and shall present us with you. (2 Corinthians 4:13)
The words of the Holy Spirit are very precise. Bible belief is knowing! Not knowing, then, equals unbelief. Believing comes prior to speaking and testifying, unless the speaking is born of deception and confusion...or coercion.
- 5. Repentance from error to truth, darkness to light, false religious practice to the truth of Christ is manifested in any person to whom the Gospel has come, as per 1 Thessalonians 1:5 (1:9).
- 6. Genuine believers are found with an expectation of God's Son coming from Heaven for a future deliverance (1:10).
11. Berean Belief - Acts 17:10-12.
We trust that you have your own King James Bible open before you as you read this booklet, and that you are practicing the same method as the Bereans you are about to encounter (see 17:11).
1. Paul and Silas taught in the synagogue in Berea (17:10).
2. The Bereans "received the word with all readiness of mind,..." (17:11) We are told that the Bereans had a "readiness of mind." They weren't being diverted from relaxing, watching the basketball game after a hard day's work. They had no feeling of annoyance that someone was calling them from the gate and wanted to talk about religion. The Bereans, then, received the Word just as the Thessalonians received it.
"...when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe." (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
3. The Bereans searched the Scriptures (17:11). Again, it was the Word of God that got the job done - "effectually worketh also in you that believe."
4. The Bereans searched the Scriptures daily (17:11). This shows us that it required more than one day for them to evaluate from the Word of God what they had heard from the Apostles. They were not rushed to a conclusion, a prayer, or a profession. If done correctly, it takes time, Mr. Lovett!
5. "Therefore many of them believed;..." That is the conclusion. Believing is the stress laid by the Holy Spirit, the Author of the Bible.
Coercion is missing. Rush is missing. Human wisdom and manipulation are missing. Any reference to a sinner's prayer is missing. Were the Bereans praying when they believed? Only the Lord knows, and He chose not to inform us so that we would not lay the stress according to the modernists and ecumenicalists and their fancy soul winning schemes.
- 1. Folks will not be saved until they have been made to feel that they are in danger-they are condemned. It is the Holy Spirit Who must bring the sinner to this sense of lostness and despair. We must pray, asking that the Holy Ghost would stir and move people with regard to their true condition.
- 2. It takes time to deal with people about the most important matters of their eternal soul. It is a mistake to rush people to the conclusion to which the Holy Spirit must bring them.
- 3. Though it takes time, don't quit. Don't give up! If you can encourage people to search the Scriptures daily, you are doing what God called you to do.
- 4. Don't force. Don't rush. Don't manipulate. Don't use human reasoning or devices. Open and allege the Truths of Christ from the Scriptures.
12. Mars Hill Idolaters Hear About the Unknown God - Acts 17:16-34.
We will see some extreme measures and methods here, but the issues of preaching, hearing and believing are the same. Again, the words emphasized by the Holy Spirit, the Bible's Author, are the Final Authority.
1. Paul was waiting in Athens for the arrival of his companions, Silas and Timothy (17:15).
2. Paul saw an entire city given to idolatry. These were religious people. They had a form of regular practice of worship, albeit false worship. Paul's heart was "stirred." (17:16)
3. Paul entered the synagogue and "disputed" with the Jews and with the devout persons. Then he went to the markets and did the same with any who would meet with him (17:17).
àDispute, v.t. 1. To contend in argument ; to argue against something maintained, upheld, or claimed, by another; to discuss ; reason ; debate ; often to argue irritably ; to altercate ; wrangle.
Therefore disputed he in the synagogue of the Jews. Acts xvii:17
2. To oppose by argument or assertion ; to attempt to overthrow ; to controvert ; to express dissent or opposition to ; to call in question ; to deny the truth or validity of ; as, to dispute assertions or arguments. 3. To argue or contend in favor of ; to maintain. 4. To strive or contend about ; to contest. 5. To struggle against ; to resist.
The equivalent today would be for us, who preach the Gospel of the Grace of God, to go into the meetings (e.g. Bible studies) down at the Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, Catholic, Mormon, Adventist churches, Kingdom Hall, and "dispute" their error using the Scriptures. After we had caused such a fuss, we would wait for the members of those churches in the market and have further disputes with as many as would meet with us.
4. Paul then had to deal with "philosophers..." (17:18).
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
These philosophers came from two camps: (1.) "Epicureans," àgiven to luxury or to sensual gratification ; adapted to luxurious tastes ; teaching that pleasure is the only good and the end of all morality, and (2.) "Stoics," àpantheists (e.g. early Christian Science as per Mary Baker Eddy) teaching that the world reveals itself as the embodiment of a divine mind. All reality, however, is material, and the soul is only a kind of sublimated matter doomed to eventual dissolution. But, say the Stoics, since the world is the work of divine wisdom, and is governed by divine law, it is man's duty to conform freely to whatever destiny may be his. They teach that the wise man should be free from passion, un-subdued by joy or grief, willingly submissive to natural law; indifferent to pleasure or pain.
Epicureans and Stoics, in a way, divide West from East. The Asians, for example are, to varying degrees, stoical fatalists, "Que Sera, Sera," "Whatever will be, will be." All Christ-less religious systems are, nevertheless, infected with both of these philosophies which dishonor the God of the Bible.
5. Some of both Epicureans and Stoics called Paul a "babbler" (from Babel) for preaching the truth. Of course, the God of the Bible, and His Son, seemed "strange gods" to these pantheists and fatalists. But they were willing to hear of this "new doctrine" (17:18-21).
6. Paul preached Christ on Mars Hill; in the very place of worship of Pagan idols (17:22, 23)! The defenses of the enemy were breached. Truth invaded the territory of error. Paul was not worried about being accused of compromise for accepting an invitation to a "liberal church" to preach the Gospel. Paul did not, nor would not, compromise truth to gain an opportunity to preach. He boldly told them that they were "superstitious" and "ignorant," that they didn't know God; that the true God didn't live in their temples, and that He wasn't interested in the worship of their hands (sacrifices, formalism, etc.) (vv.22-25). Paul was direct and risked offending the whole crowd! Under Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code of the Republic of the Philippines, Paul would be facing a fifty-four month jail sentence for "Offending the Religious Feelings" of these Pagans of Mars Hill.
7. Paul preached that all men have the same need, as all are under the same condemnation-"...made of one blood all nations of men." (17:26). God had set men in the various nations and set their bounds, as well as the playing out of man's history, in order to facilitate the effective propagation of the Gospel-"...hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him..." (17:27). So, who says that feelings never play a part in salvation? What would happen if men never feel themselves to be lost and in despair and in need?
8. Paul preached that "[God] be not far from every one of us." (17:27)
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ...And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
(Ephesians 2:13, 17)
...the word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;...(Romans 10:8)
9. Paul preached individual soul liberty and responsibility-"For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are his offspring." (17:28). Adam, in direct creation, was "the son of God." (Luke 3:38) All other men, except Jesus, are progenerations of Adam, and in this sense, and in this sense alone, we are the offspring of God. This being the case, all men are equally responsible to know the true God, or face the consequences. Baptists call this (one aspect of) "individual soul liberty."
10. Paul preached the triune Godhead and against their idolatry-"Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device."
11. Paul preached the historical forbearance (longsuffering) of God (17:30) - "...the times of this ignorance (that is, ignorance of the True and Living God) God winked at;..."
...Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;... (Romans 3:26)
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish,... (1 Peter 3:9)
12. Paul preached repentance (17:30) - "...but now commandeth all men every where to repent:..." Repent of what? Just as must the Jews, these Gentiles must repent from ignorance and idolatry to knowledge of the Truth of Christ and to the True and Living God.
For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (Romans 10:2, 3)
Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21)
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give unto them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;...
(2 Timothy 2:24, 25)
13. Paul preached the reality of a coming judgment, that God has scheduled it, and has set the risen Son of God as the Judge (17:31).
14. Paul preached that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is not only a historical reality, but that by it God has given assurance to all men (17:31). Paul insists, therefore that God was not going to do anything else to get these Gentile Pagans to Heaven. Everything necessary was already completed. Assurance is in understanding and believing the truth of Christ in God's Word. Assurance comes with the Gospel of Grace.
That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledging of the mystery of God, and the Father, and of Christ;... (Colossians 2:2)
For our Gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance;...
(1 Thessalonians 1:5)
15. The response to all that Paul preached in Acts chapter 17 included mocking (17:32), and this was probably by a large percentage, even though the Spirit-filled Apostle was the preacher. Modern preachers rarely, if ever, place themselves in a ministry situation wherein they would suffer public mocking, but Paul was "stirred in his spirit" and knew the urgency that we ought also to know. Real Gospel ministry takes and suffers great risks: loss of pride and prestige, loss of comfort, loss of safety, loss of property, loss of health, and sometimes loss of life.
16. Others did not openly mock the Apostle, yet they were not yet convinced of the truth and they agreed to "hear [Paul] again of this matter." (17:32)
17. "Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed:..." (17:34) That is the simplicity of the matter presented to you, not by the theological terminology of this author and compiler, but by the words of the Holy Spirit Himself. If this is how God speaks, then why do we speak otherwise? Why do we attempt so often to complicate personal evangelism into a man-made scheme? Why do we not know better the work of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Gospel to bring men to repentance toward God and faith in Christ? Why do we so often feel that we must add rites and sinner's prayers?
Once more, there is no mention by the Holy Spirit of anyone praying, or taking the preacher's hand, or repeating some words, or anything of the kind. Must we exhaust the Oxford Unabridged International Dictionary along with Roget's Thesaurus to continue to make clear what could not be made any more so? The modernist mechanics found in most of the "Let's Go Soul Winning With (some celebrity pastor)" series are simply not to be found in any edition of the Word of God.
1. Our hearts need to be stirred as was Paul's in Athens, when we see the idolatry of our cities and nations. The world-the antichrist's regime-will tell us that we must have "tolerance" toward the religious practices of others: that we must understand them, but never imply that our religion is better than theirs. The world and it's doctrines of tolerance (for everything except Bible Truth) have made us afraid to stand for Christ and assert the truth of the Gospel in a Pagan world. I offer you the exhortation of J. Gresham Machen, a fundamentalist Presbyterian preacher (like Billy Sunday, J. Wilbur Chapman and William J. Bryan) of the earlier 20th Century.
SYou will have a battle, too, when you go forth as ministers into the church. The church is now in a period of deadly conflict. The redemptive religion known as Christianity is contending, in our own Presbyterian Church and in all larger churches in the world, against a totally alien type of religion. As always, the enemy conceals his most dangerous assaults under pious phrases and half truths. The shibboleths of the adversary have sometimes a very deceptive sound. "Let us propagate Christianity," the adversary says, "but let us not always be engaged in arguing in defense of it; let us make our preaching positive. And not negative; let us avoid controversy; let us hold to a Person and not to a dogma; let us sink small differences and seek the unity of the church of Christ; let us drop doctrinal accretions and interpret Christ for ourselves; let us look for our knowledge of Christ, not to ancient books (i.e. the Bible), but to the living Christ in our hearts; let us not impose Western creeds on the Eastern mind; let us be tolerant in opposing views." Such are some of the shibboleths of the Christian religion today. They deceive some of God's people some of the time; they are heard sometimes from the lips of good Christian people, who have not the slightest inkling of what they mean. But their true meaning, to thinking men, is becoming increasingly clear. Increasingly it is becoming necessary for a man to decide whether he is going to stand or not to stand for the Lord Jesus Christ as He is presented to us in the word of God.
If you decide to stand for Christ, you will not have an easy life in the ministry. Of course you may try to evade the conflict. All men will speak well of you if, after preaching no matter how unpopular a gospel on Sunday, you will only vote against that gospel in the councils of the church the next day! You will graciously be permitted to believe in supernatural Christianity all you please if you will only act as though you did not believe in it, if you will only make common case with its opponents. Such is the program that will win the favor of the church. A man may believe what he pleases, provided he does not believe anything strongly enough to risk his life on it and fight for it. "Tolerance" is the great word. Men even ask for tolerance when they look to God in prayer. But how can any Christian possibly pray such a prayer as that? What a terrible prayer it is, how full of disloyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ!
2. Take care how "repentance" is defined in the minds of the yet unconverted. Do not contribute to the evangelical confusion with language such as "Repent of your sins (plural), and come to Jesus." It is very easy for the unregenerate mind to interpret this as a necessity to make one's self better or to make one's self cleaner or less sinful before God will save. Many who hear the admonition to "Repent of your sins,..." will attempt to satisfy God's holiness through various levels of self-reformation. Many will try to quit certain habits or vices before they profess Christ, believing that this is what pleases God. A sinner, thinking that he can, by quitting certain particular sins, become more save-able, is making an attempt at a works salvation.
God not only abhors sins of debauchery, but tells us that "all our righteousnesses (doing good and right things) are as filthy rags." (Isaiah 64:6). Attempts at self-reformation for salvation can only aggravate one's lost condition, further insulating the sinner from the truth; deepening the darkness and blindness of the heart. Attempts to satisfy God by self-betterment equal failure or refusal to believe what God said about the condition of man. Man tries to pit himself against the righteousness of Christ. How insulting to God's Holiness it is to present even our very best in competition with the spotless Lamb of God. "verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity." (Psalm 39:5)
A man must abandon and repudiate any hope of salvation outside of the Merits and Work of Christ in order to know forgiveness of sins. This is repentance with regard to salvation. Is it necessary to see one's self lost and condemned, hell-deserving and hell-bound? Yes, this is believing the word of God about ourselves and about our condition in Adam. We must agree that we miserably offend our Holy God. It must be the Holy Spirit who reveals this to the condemned sinner. There are millions, however, who do profess to believe these things about themselves who have never repented. Here are some examples.
If a sinner has been trusting the sacraments of Rome for salvation, he or she must abandon and repudiate the sacraments and all of Rome's system, turning to and relying only on the Merits of Christ and the Cross.
A Seventh-Day Adventist must abandon and repudiate the teachings of Ellen G. White in matters related to salvation, the necessity of keeping the law, Sabbath keeping and dietary laws, and believe that "Christ is the end (fulfillment) of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth." (Romans 10:4)
A Mormon must abandon and repudiate the wicked Christ-smearing doctrines of Joseph Smith and the succeeding prophets, so-called, of the Latter-Day Saints, so-called.
A Pentecostal who believes that the evidence of salvation is speaking with an unknown tongue must abandon and repudiate this wickedness as having any hope whatsoever of salvation.
A philanthropist who believes that God will smile on him at the time of death because of his acts of charity, and thus allow him some place in the Glory Land, must abandon and repudiate this self-righteous error, and rest only in the Person and Finished Work of Jesus Christ.
An independent fundamental Baptist church member who believes that God would not possibly send him to Hell because he is baptized, he tithes, he gives to missions, he is in every service, he is loyal to his pastor, must abandon and repudiate all such hope. He must rest in the truth that salvation is not the faithfulness of the sinner, but the faithfulness of God the Father to His own beloved Son, and the satisfaction the Father has taken in the travail of Christ's soul (Isaiah 53:11) for the justification of every sinner (see Romans 3:19-28).
Many are going to Hell because they will not abandon and repudiate their own false repentance which is nothing more than self-reformation. They don't drink alcohol anymore or smoke Lucky Strikes. They quit going to the dance halls and to the theatres. They cut their hair above the collar and ears (or she lets hers grow to her ankles). They quit wearing short pants (or short skirts). He put on a dress shirt and a necktie. They started attending every service, revival meeting, camp meeting, missions conference, visitation and soul winning program, and Christian school boosters meeting. They have everyone fooled....except God! Their hope is in God's satisfaction with their good fundamentalist church works. They must repent of this Christ-reproaching false hope, and trust Christ alone.
3. Modernist "soul winning" and altar work in churches teaches that salvation comes at one point, but assurance may come at a later point. Well- known Baptist preachers nowadays even preach such un-biblical nonsense as, "To doubt one's salvation is a normal experience in the Christian life." There is not a single verse of Scripture in the entire New Testament to teach such doctrine! Many churches have, however, a many-tiered system of personal evangelism: (1.) "soul winning" activities designed to produce an initiation, of sorts, into the scheme of a church called a "profession of faith," then (2.) "assurance classes" to soothe the mind of the newly initiated who probably has no inner witness of the Holy Spirit, and then on to (3.) a "new member's class" to indoctrinate the mind of the soothed and psyched-out initiate. Then the church may even continue this with a doctrines class for a year or more for further indoctrination. Obviously, an individual can make a profession of faith and go through eighteen months or more of indoctrination, and still not truly be "confident...and willing to be absent from the body" because he or she is not "confident" that at death he or she will "be present with the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:8).
There is no text of Scripture that teaches the modernist notion that people are saved but live for long periods of time in doubt and uncertainty. There is not a single New Testament example of a child of God living in doubt and fear over his or her salvation. Instead, the Bible is a Book of certainty. The Gospel is a Gospel of certainty.
And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.
Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:6-8)
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:... (Philippians 1:6)
For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall prevent thy foot from being taken. (Proverbs 3:26)
If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.
(1 Corinthians 9:2)
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:...
For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. (2 Timothy 1:12)
And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. (1 John 3:19)
If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life: and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:9-13)
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. (Romans 8:15,16)
New Testament language describing believers includes words like "assurance," "always confident," "knowing," "by faith," "doubtless," "persuaded," and like expressions.
You will not read in the New Testament any such illustrations of language heard so commonly in today's Baptist churches: "I was saved when I was fifteen years old, but I am often unsure I am really going to Heaven." Or, "I prayed the sinner's prayer, but I keep having doubts about my salvation." Or, "Can you give me the assurance of salvation?" These kinds of expressions were born of the modernistic schemes and plans of so-called soul winning which are nothing more than profession netting and church initiating. These kinds of expressions are very often the result of the modernist ecumenical "sinner's prayer" movement in which people are led, even coerced into praying a prayer to "receive Christ" without believing the Gospel.
Please read the following message slowly and carefully, and allow the Lord to speak to your heart.
WASSURANCE OF SALVATION
By Wm. Easton, New Zealand, Feb., 1897
"SALVATION" is indeed a great thing. Well may the Apostle say, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" Heb. ii.3. It is a far fuller, grander and more comprehensive thing than most are aware of. It stretches down to the deepest depths of human need, and misery, and sin, and reaches up to the very throne of God. It displays divine love coming to us where we are found by nature, and meeting us in that state. It sets forth divine righteousness, taking the cleansed and pardoned sinner, and setting him in the presence of God, fit for His eye and heart, because seen by Him in the eternal value and efficacy of the sacrifice of Christ, enhanced and weighted, so to speak, by the infinite excellencies and perfection of the Person "who gave Himself" in devotedness and love to die for us. God, in all that He is in His nature and attributes, has been so perfectly met by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, that He has taken the Savior and set Him at His own right hand in glory, the blessed answer to His awful suffering on the Cross. Not only so; He can and does take every one who believes in the Lord Jesus, and gives him a place of acceptance, and favor, and blessing, commensurate with the sacrifice, as "dead with Christ" (Col. iii.1), "life hid with Christ" (Col. iii.3), and presently to "appear with Christ in glory" (Col. iii.4), and till that day the Holy Spirit "sealing" them, and the "earnest of their inheritance" (Eph. i.13,14), till the rising of "the Bright and Morning Star" (Rev. xxii.16). Not to speak of much more than that as to church position and privilege, surely we may well say again, "Salvation is indeed a great thing." Would that hearts understood it better.
Assurance of salvation is the portion of every believer. There is no such thing in the New Testament as a believer not sure of salvation. All can say like Peter to the Lord, "We believe, and are sure" (John vi.69), not, we believe, and are not sure. We believe and doubt, and fear, and are uncertain. Such language is the result of a deficient gospel that is preached to-day, or the lack of the knowledge of self as utterly ruined and lost, so as to wholly abandon self, like a sinking ship, for Christ, and seeing salvation as all in Him, "Christ all and in all." God's gospel is a gospel of certainty. Christ's death is a certainty. Its blessed, perfect, and permanent results are a certainty. His present service for us in the heavens is a certainty. The Holy Ghost's presence, and work, and effects in the believer and in the Church are a certainty, and the coming again of "this same Jesus" as "the Bright and Morning Star," the hope and expectation of "His own who are in the world," is also a blessed and glorious certainty. Where then is room for doubt, fear, or uncertainty?
Of course there are many reasons why some who profess to believe on Christ have not assurance. But as I have said before, I believe the chief reason is, self is not really known. They have not learned that "in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing" (Rom. viii.8). There is self-occupation with it, whether in its good form or bad form, hence a looking within for an inward change and feeling, or waiting for some outward reformation of conduct to give the desired assurance.
This then, I consider to be the starting point, the sense of need, and as it is set forth in Scripture. Now to really understand that need, it is necessary to accept the statements of Scripture as to its reality and extent. Man by nature cannot know it. He has no measure wherewith to gauge it. He is morally blind. He boasts of his light, his knowledge, his advancement in this advanced century, yet he has not light enough to see, nor knowledge enough to know that he is still away from God in moral distance and darkness, and that Satan is using the very abilities that God has lent him, to puff him up with pride, and make him think that man can by searching find out God, whereas Scripture says that he can not (Job xi.7-9). What good will it do a man on his dying bed, to know he has invented the greatest thing of the age? or that he has been the prominent political figure on the stage of time that the world ever witnessed? What does God care about human inventions, or political prominence, or anything connected with this world, of which Satan is the god and prince, when it is a question of man's state of soul and fitness to stand before him? God gave His Son to die for sinners. What place then have these things in view of that great fact? No, no! These things have their place and value, but it is the cross of Christ that shows the end of the moral history of the human race, and the righteous way to the very heart of God. The Lord Jesus said, "I am the way." Any other way than by His Cross and death, and resurrection, no matter what, or by whom, leads to hell, to eternal separation from God.
The story is told of a captain of a ship pacing the deck in anxiety on a very dark, wild night, when a flash of lightning lighted up the sea for an instant, and revealed to him a huge vessel bearing down straight upon them. He had barely time to shout his orders to the man at the wheel, when the huge vessel swept close past them, almost touching them. Now this is what is needed. A "searchlight;" a heavenly flash. The light of eternity to shine in upon men to awake them, and the Holy Ghost's illumination to shine on the pages of Scripture to teach them what they are as in God's sight, and according to His estimate.
Ah, when God flashes in light upon a man's soul, how startling the view! How awful the state! How deep the need! How dark the prospect! How fearful, unalterable and unending the doom! He ceases to speak of himself as one of a company, and deal in vague generalities. He is detected, sees his own state, danger, and doom, and says, "God be merciful to me a sinner." (Luke xviii.13). This, I again repeat, is what men need to see. They are "sinners," "alienated and enemies in their minds by wicked works" (Col. i.21). "Ungodly," and "without strength" (Rom. v.6). So hardened and so insensible either to the thunderings of law, or the message of grace, that if left to themselves they would just float on like logs till the falls were reached, and they rushed over into the abyss. Once the true state is discovered, however, all is changed. The flesh is seen as utterly bad. The man is seen to be "lost," and if ever saved, it must be by another.
"Fear ye not; stand still and see the salvation of the Lord" (Exod. xiv.13) was the simple, yet trying word to Israel at the borders of the Red Sea, with Pharaoh's hosts behind them. It was a difficult thing to "stand still" and calm their fears, in the presence of their foes. Yet it was needful. It was the path of blessing. They had to see Jehovah do the work, and they reap the blessed results. Immediately it was an accomplished fact, we read, "Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song" (Exod. xv.1). And this is the first record in the Bible of singing. It was founded on salvation. "That day God saved Israel" (Exod. xiv.30). "Then they sang." They certainly could not have sung if they had not been assured of salvation from their enemies. But it was a work done for them by Jehovah. A path made through death (the sea), and they brought through the sea, and "brought to Himself" (Exod. xix.4), and they sang, and sang of what Jehovah had done.
Surely the word is as applicable to-day to any anxious soul. "Fear ye not; stand still and see the salvation of the Lord." Take your stand by the Cross of Christ, and behold the stretched-out rod-behold the raging waters-hear the cry of distress. "Deep answereth to deep at the noise of Thy waterspouts. All thy waves and billows have gone over me." "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Psalm xxii.1). He has passed through, blessed be His Name, and made a path through death. For a sinner to meet death would be certain and everlasting destruction. But the Savior has met it, borne it, extracted its sting, rolled back its proud waves, and opened up a path of life for every believer. God has been glorified, sin atoned for, and the path of life opened up for man to be "brought to God" (1 Peter iii.18).
How is it possible for any man to stand still and see what Christ has done for him on the Cross, and not have assurance, and be able to sing the song of redemption? Will the Savior die again? Never! Then was not His death sufficient when He expired on the Cross? Surely it was. God was satisfied. Sin was atoned for; Satan was defeated; Salvation was secured. A seated Savior on the throne of God is the everlasting witness of God's satisfaction, and the believer's "justification" (Rom. iv.25). Could a man want more to give assurance? "God is not a man that He should lie, not the son of man that He should repent; hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?" (Numb. xxiii.19). Mark that word, "Hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?" Listen to His word, "These things have I written unto you that believe on the Name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life" (1 John v.13). "God hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Tim. i.8-9).
Is not this a "blessed assurance?" "A finished work," making you safe. "A faithful word," making you sure. Christ on high because "it is finished." The Spirit here, because Christ is there. The word making it all known, the Spirit making it all good, till traveling days are done, and we hear the shout, and find ourselves "ever with the Lord."
Simplicity, Brethren, Simplicity!
Deliver the Message of Christ, Pray, Trust the Holy Spirit to Do His Work in the Hearts of Sinners.
13. Corinthian Converts - Acts 18:1-8.
1. Paul came to Corinth and found Aquila and his wife. They were tentmakers by trade, and so was Paul. Paul, to cover some of his expenses and to have some giving money, did some work on the side (18:1-3; see 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9 in its context).
2. Paul "reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks." (18:4, 5) Since the word "Gentiles" is used separately and distinctly in verse 6, "Greeks" (v. 5) may refer to Gentile converts to Judaism who were meeting in the synagogue. There is again the New Testament method: using the Word of God to "reason" and to "persuade," and "testify." To the Jews, who professed to be looking for their "Christ" (Messiah), Paul preached "that Jesus was Christ."
3. The response from the Jews was self-opposition (indication of a mind headed for the state of reprobation, see Romans 1:28ff; Ephesians 4:18, 19) and blasphemy (18:6). Someone needed to get to these people quick (see 2 Timothy 2:24-26)! But alas(!), perhaps the apostolic gift of knowledge enabled Paul to understand that there would be no reception of truth; they would retain their darkened hearts and blinded minds willingly. Paul "shook his raiment" (very characteristic of Israel's true prophets). Paul had completed all the will of God for him in the synagogue. He pronounced the bloody doom of the unbelieving Jews and then turned to the Gentiles.
4. Paul entered a Gentile's house that was "joined hard" to the synagogue (18:7), like houses in the Philippines, and in other countries, which are often built one against another right on the property line.
5. The chief ruler of the Jews, Crispus, is said to have believed on the Lord with all his house." (18:8) Crispus and his family had heard and he and his family believed. It is so simple as that! There was prior long-time exposure to the Word of God, topped off with the reasoning, persuasion and testimony of Paul from the Scriptures that Jesus was the very Christ they had been hoping, from believing the Old Testament Scriptures all those years. The Holy Spirit did His work and the simplicity of the occurrence is exactly what He intends us to notice.
6. Further, praise the Lord, "many of the Corinthians hearing believed, ..." (18:8) That is "the hearing of faith." (Galatians 3:2; Romans 10:17) Simple, simple, simple is the Holy Spirit's emphasis. The Holy Spirit is no modernist.
- 7. After hearing and believing, they were baptized in water.
There were no gimmicks. No psychological tricks. No "take my hand." No invitation. No "pray these words after me and you will be saved." We say that these things were not in the picture, but how do we know? If you could find these things ANYPLACE in the Book of Acts or in the Epistles, we would yield. But the fact is, these things are NOWHERE to be found in the New Testament. They had to be learned from the modernists who glory in their returned visitation cards and numbers. If a sinner is talking to the Lord while he believes the Gospel of Grace unto salvation there is, of course, no problem. The Lord likes to hear the prayers of His children; the new born ones, no less. God will not, however, save anyone based on the words of their prayer, who has not heard, understood and believed the conditions of the Gospel. Prayer and faith are not synonymous terms, nor are they synonymous in their actions.
1. Use the very words of God to "reason," "persuade" and "testify" where either religious or irreligious sinners are listening to you. Don't use either your own wisdom or that of the authors of the booklets which have titles beginning with the words "Let's Go Soul Winning With..."
2. Don't pretend to have the apostolic gift of knowledge. Perhaps Paul knew when the hearts of the Jews in the synagogue in Corinth had sealed their doom in unbelief. None of us have such knowledge when dealing with souls today. Let's just continue to present the Gospel as if every soul who hears the Gospel from our mouth can and may be saved as a result..
Your Own Bible in Personal Evangelism
A Minimal Assortment of Scripture References for Memorization by You, the Personal Evangelist
We could have written these verses out for you. This is, however, time for you to begin to practice locating these passages quickly and smoothly in your own King James Bible. It would be of greatest effect for you to begin a memorization program, and commit every one of the following passages to deep practical memory for use at any time. Consistent use in actual personal evangelism will help you to memorize verses almost automatically. At a very minimum, the personal evangelist ("soul winner") should be able to find these passages quickly in his or her own Bible, and in any person's Bible. Another idea is to create a chain reference in your Bible, from one text to the next. Yet another idea is to have one dedicated soul winning Bible, and in that edition make a series of tabs for the edges of the pages on which these passages are located.
The Sinfulness of Mankind; Nature; Need
Genesis 7:21 Psalm 51:5 Isaiah 53:6
Isaiah 1:5, 6 Isaiah 64:6 Jeremiah 17:9
Ezekiel 18:4 Matthew 15:18, 19 Mark 7:21-23
John 3:3 Romans 3:9-19 Ephesians 2:1-3
Hebrews 9:27 James 1:14, 15 James 2:10
1 John 1:8 Isaiah 59:2
The Sinlessness of Jesus Christ
Psalm 40:7-10 Psalm 130:3 Isaiah 53:9
Matthew 27:4 Mark 1:24 Luke 23:41
2 Corinthians 5:21 Hebrews 4:15 Hebrews 7:26
Hebrews 9:14 1 Peter 1:19 1 Peter 2:22
1 John 3:5 1 Timothy 3:16
The Cross & The Blood
Isaiah 53 (all) 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 Colossians 1:20-23
Hebrews 9:11, 12 Hebrews 9:14, 15 Hebrews 9:28
Hebrews 10:5-10 Hebrews 10:12-14 1 Peter 3:18
1 Peter 2:24 Revelation 1:5
The Father's Satisfaction with The Cross-Work of the Son
Isaiah 53:11 Romans 3:25 1 John 2:2
1 John 4:10 Ephesians 5:2
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Acts 2:27-37 Romans 4:25 Romans 5:10
Romans 6:4, 5, 9 1 Corinthians 6:14 1 Corinthians 15:20-22
Ephesians 1:20 Philippians 2:9, 10 1 Peter 1:3
The Need for Righteousness
Matthew 5:20 Philippians 3:9, 10 Hebrews 12:14
Romans 4:6, 8, 11, 22-24 2 Corinthians 5:21 Philippians 3:9, 10
2 Thessalonians 2:14
Romans 5:10 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 Ephesians 2:16
Four Reconciliations in the New Testament
Description View Point Value
1. Personal Guarantees our Peace with God God is not our Enemy
2. The World We Witness Calvary/The Cross God is not imputing our
(2 Corinthians 5:19) trespasses to us.
Justification (Romans 4:8)
3. All Things All in Heaven & in Earth (One Body) We belong to a Sovereign
(Colossians 1:20) and are not bound to this earth.
4. Jew & Gentile Both in One Body Only one Gospel for Both-
(Ephesians 2:14-20) No difference
Section Three: Method-Object Illustration
Using Living Illustration
Although you can use less, it is very effective to have the following materials:
- 1. Black cloth, large, at least shawl or jacket size.
- 2. White cloth, large, at least shawl or jacket size.
- 3. Red cloth, at least hand towel size.
The black cloth will represent sin. The white cloth will represent the righteousness of Jesus Christ and how it is imputed to the sinner. The red cloth will represent the Blood of Jesus Christ.
Ask for volunteers or pre-arrange to have three men available. One man will represent God the Father. One will represent Jesus Christ. One will represent sinners. You may mention in the illustration that there exists also the Divine Person of the Holy Spirit (Who is God also), but for the illustration it is not necessary to represent the Holy Spirit with a man.
Have the men representing God the Father and God the Son stand opposite and a good distance apart from the man representing the sinner.
Using the Scripture references above in Section Two, along with others that you, yourself, find in the Bible, first describe the sinful and lost condition of the sinner as you stand next to, or point to, the man who represents the sinner in your illustration. Make sure the listeners and viewers understand that the problem is SIN, plain and simple. The sinner is now wearing the black cloth on his shoulders. If your audience does not understand how deserving sinners are of Hell and God's judgment, they will get very little of the remainder of the message. Use all Scripture to make clear that God is just to throw sinners into the Lake of Fire forever !!
Then, using the Scriptures, describe the sinlessness of the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Emphasize that Jesus Christ is God manifest in the Flesh (1 Timothy 3:16) and is so sinless as God. The man representing Jesus is now wearing the white cloth on his shoulders. The audience should be impressed with how much pleasure God takes in His own Son (John 3:35; 8:29; Matthew 3:17; 17:5).
Now, using the Scriptures, describe Christ coming to Earth and becoming the Substitute for man in the judgment of the Cross. Emphasize that God made Jesus to be sin in our place (Romans 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21). At this point, remove the white cloth and lay it aside momentarily. Have the man who represents God the Father to remove the black cloth from the sinner and place it on the shoulders of "Christ." Make clear that on the cross, THE PROBLEM, SIN, was transferred to Jesus Christ; Christ now has the problem! Tell how that God poured out His wrath for sin on Jesus Christ. The words of Isaiah 53 are important here. Describe that the debt of sin is paid once and for all. Also explain here the SATISFACTION that God has with the death, Blood and soul's travail of Christ.
You should lay great stress at this point that Christ's Soul travailed in Hell (see Acts 2:27) until God said it was enough, and that, as a result, "unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." (Hebrews 9:28). Christ deposited our sins in the deepest Hell. Hence, here you would remove the black cloth and put it away, not to be seen again in this illustration. The use of Romans 4:7, 8 and Hebrews 9:26, ("...hath [Christ] appeared to PUT AWAY SIN by the sacrifice of himself.") is important here. Further, if you have time, you may for emphasis relate the story of Nathan confronting David with his sin (2 Samuel chapter 12). Upon David's confession "Nathan said unto David, The LORD hath PUT AWAY THY SIN; thou shalt not die." (12:13) How was it that God could put away David's sin and remove the death penalty? The answer is in Romans 3:26, "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; ..."
Next, tell about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and strongly emphasize that our justification depends on His resurrection (Romans 4:25).
Then, tell of the first ascension of our Saviour, early on the first day of the week, sometime between His appearance to Mary and His appearance to His Apostles (John 20:11-18). During that first ascension, Christ took His Blood into the Holiest of All in Heaven and placed it on the Mercy Seat, the eternal token of sins paid for and dealt with; the debt being paid in full! Use particularly the Scriptures in Hebrews chapters 9 and 10 along with Ephesians 5:2. Use the red cloth, and have the man representing Christ to place it on a table or chair before God the Father. The table or chair will represent the Mercy Seat in Heaven.
Now, sin being put away and the Blood being on the Mercy Seat in Heaven, you may strongly urge your audience to consider that there is now NOTHING PREVENTING the vilest of sinners from accepting the invitation of The Father, the Son, the Spirit, and the Bride to COME to God by Christ, BY FAITH. Keep emphasizing this until the man representing the sinner moves to where Christ is, alongside God the Father in the illustration. Urge insistently that the sinner is now as welcome in Heaven as Jesus Himself ! This is by the Merits of Christ Himself, not by any worthiness of the sinner (Ephesians 1:6).
Finally, you may retrieve the white cloth. Describe IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS. Use especially Romans 4:3-6. For the Old Testament source, go to Genesis 15:1-6. Have the man representing God the Father to place the white cloth on the shoulders of the sinner. [If two pieces of white cloth are available, or three, then both Christ and the sinner, or all three men could be wearing white!] Strongly allege that dependence and reliance on (belief in) what your audience has just learned of the Finished Work of Christ brings the imputation of Christ's Righteousness. They must believe that it is one hundred percent sufficient and is absolutely the only remedy.
Remind your audience that any attempt to mix the Gospel, just learned, with their religious practice (sacraments, rites & rituals, or anything else devised by man) reveals that they do NOT believe God-NOR do they rely on the sufficiency of Christ's Finished Work.
Using Figurine Illustrations
For carrying out the same illustration in limited space, or where there are no men to have a living illustration, or when you are in a restaurant, hospital room or home, you may use figurines.
In the past I have used doll pins purchased from an arts and crafts store. I have also used the pillars used to hold up the layers of wedding cakes. I have used small wooden ice cream spoons. I have used candle sticks. I have used salt and pepper shakers. Just about any small objects can be used. All you need besides are small scraps of black, white and red cloth or construction paper. Cloth usually works the best, and can be kept for use much longer.
Simply set up the figurines on a flat surface (table, desk, chair, floor, etc.) just as you would set the men in the living illustration. Use the cloth just the same. Make the same descriptions using the same passages of Scripture.
Section Four: Reminders
The following outline may help you if you are a beginner in the practice of personal evangelism: The key words for you to remember are prepare, practice, pray, plant, prioritize and persevere. The gist of each point is suggested in the words we have underscored. For anyone teaching a course on the subject of personal evangelism or "soul winning," we recommend the following for, say, a six session course, using one point per session.
- 1. Prepare well by much reading and memorizing of the Words of God, the Bible. You also prepare by living a separated life and having a clean and honest testimony (1 Corinthians 15:34).
- 2. Practice giving the Gospel by telling the message in groups of believers. Practice the illustration in Section Three:... Remember, however, that the illustration method as described is not an inspired method. Know also that this author isn't the originator of these kinds of illustrations. Some personal evangelists are just as, or more, effective just telling the message of the Cross. You may learn more effective methods. If they work without compromise of truth or violating scriptural principles, then use them by all means (2 Corinthians 4:1,2).
- 3. Before any personal evangelism outing, Pray earnestly for God to make you clear in your presentation of Jesus Christ and His Finished Work. Pray for the working and moving of the Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of those you are attempting to evangelize. Ask the Lord to break your own heart for the lost. Ask the Lord to check your motives and give you right motives: first to honor Christ; secondly to rescue sinners from eternal destruction.
- 4. Plant the Gospel further by the use of well-written, clear and comprehensive Gospel tracts and other literature. Even if you believe you have presented the Gospel clearly enough, still leave effective literature with those you are attempting to win. Always carry and distribute tracts, even when time or circumstances will not permit you to carry on long discussions with the unconverted. In fact, tracts are best especially for such times and circumstances.
- 5. Prioritize your time so that you can often and consistently participate in personal evangelism.
- 6. Persevere in your personal evangelism efforts. Don't get discouraged! Don't quit! (1 Corinthians 15:58; Psalm 126:5,6)
Section Five: Examples
of Contemporary or Modernistic Methods
What you read in this section is identified with the writers named in the title we have given to each example. We are not endorsing these methods, but rather are presenting them to you for comparison with the Scriptures of Truth. We believe that this booklet will have answered already the questions that will arise in your mind as to whether the approaches described by Dr. C. S. Lovett, Dr. Jack Hyles, Dr. John Rice, and Joann Ann are consistent with the Word of God, the Bible.
We believe that the substance of the Gospel of the Grace of God is either omitted altogether or skirted around and marginalized in the methods presented below. We believe that they are fraught with confusion. C. S. Lovett uses mental conditioning to produce a performance, without faith in the correct Object. I'm not just looking for an opportunity to be sarcastic, but Dr. Lovett's approach is rather similar to conditioning animals to perform circus acts. Dr. Hyles used trickery to get people to repeat him in a prayer that had nothing to do with the purpose he stated to the Hill family (house dedication), and there was absolutely no Gospel substance in the entire episode. Dr. Hyles taught deception. Dr. Rice couldn't make up his mind on whether it was or was not necessary to pray a prayer, and implies degrees of assurance based on the performance of the prospect, instead of on the performance of Jesus Christ!
Beyond that, I am experimenting with my readers' sense of Scriptural fidelity. Please take your King James Bible and study for yourself as to whether the methods and approaches of these people have any Scriptural foundation. This author is ready and willing to hear from you, whether you think they have or whether you think they have not any biblical bases.
Example No. 1 - C.S. Lovett, A Modernist "Soul Winner"
The following is from How To Be A Soul Winner (Special Edition of) Soul-Winning Made Easy. The copy I have in my hand is copyrighted 1959 and 1978, and was published for The Gideons International, Nashville, Tennessee.
(From pg. 38)
PRESENTING CHRIST ALIVE!
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
Your prospect has just said, "I don't know what a Christian is-you tell me."
That's the moment you've been waiting for. Hold up your right hand so that FOUR FINGERS are showing as you say to him...
"If it's all right with you, I'd like to read you four verses of Scripture and explain them to you--then you'll know what a Christian is. That would be okay, wouldn't it?" (Nod your head affirmatively.)
Note: Man is a suggestible being, so suggestible in fact, that he will respond to leading questions at the slightest prompting. A simple nod of your head has the power to activate your request. He'll find himself answering you automatically.
(End pg. 38)
(No text on pg. 39)
(From pg. 40)
The request sounds simple and harmless enough. Surely four verses wouldn't take too long. Your affirmative nod will prompt most people to say, "Go ahead," or "Sure."
Your hand reaches to your shirt pocket. The movement is so natural your prospect doesn't notice it. You don't take your eyes from his face as you bring forth your Testament. As you are doing this, you say to him... "God says that we are ALL sinners, as we see here in His word..."
Hint: If you are using a tabbed New Testament, the tab will help you turn to Romans 3:23 without taking your eyes off your prospect. You don't have to look down. There's no fumbling. You know right where the verse is.
Hint: Do not stand in front of your prospect, but to his side. That way the discussion is not between you and him; instead he is confronted with the Word of God. This creates the impression that the confrontation is between him and God and takes you out of the scene. As he fixes his eyes on the verse your words will carry more intimacy as they are spoken closer to his ear. Let your finger point to the verse so as to direct his eyes to the right place.
Read the verse aloud to him...
"FOR ALL HAVE SINNED AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD"
(End pg. 40)
(No text on pg 41)
(From pg. 42)
"God says that we are all in the same boat, that we are all sinners. We know this is true, don't we? For instance, have you ever told a lie...in all of your life?
"Sure, who hasn't?"
"We all have, haven't we? Well then, how many lies does it take to make a liar?"
Hint: At this point hold up one finger just below the line of vision, yet conspicuously enough to be seen. It is so strongly suggestive that the prospect will answer, "Just one, I guess."
Then continue, "That's right, rob one bank and you're a bank robber; steal one car and you're a car thief; tell one lie and you're a liar."
(End pg. 42)
(From pg. 43)
"And besides this, if the Lord Jesus were standing here alongside you right now (point to the location) would you say that you are as holy and true and HONEST as He?"
Note: The average person recoils at being compared personally with Christ. The technique is being used with the Holy Spirit to achieve the conviction of sin. The prospect has just admitted that he is a liar. In no way could he see himself as honest and true as the Lord. You don't need a lot of words to bring the conviction as the prospect pictures himself standing next to the sinless Savior. The personal comparison does it.
(End pg. 43)
(From pp. 50, 51)
Note: This time bring out the card and hold it in your hand as though offering it to him, yet just out of reach.
Then say to him, "Just for the purpose of demonstration (Ed), let's say that I offer you this card as a free gift. You believe me, don't you? (Nod your head affirmatively.)
"Ye-h," he will reply cautiously.
Hint: If he seems fearful you can allay his concern with, "This is just a demonstration. I want to illustrate the difference between believing and receiving." He will relax and go along with you.
Then you can ask, "You believe me, but do you have it?"
"No, not yet."
"Here I offer it to you as a free gift, you believe me--and yet you do not have it, do you?"
"All right, now reach out your hand and take it from me. (The prospect does this.) Now you have it, don't you? You have received it--it's in your hand, you've got it and you know that you have it, don't you?"
Note: He may NOD his head in answer rather than speak. The dramatic participation has brought home a terrific truth. The sense of sight and touch have both been involved in this lesson. The difference between believing SOMETHING and receiving SOMEONE has just hit him with awful impact. This is the truth that separates Christianity from the religions of the world. He won't be stunned, but he will be deeply impressed. Don't be in a hurry. Let the impact register. Then as you speak next, reach forward with your hand and RETRIEVE THE CARD from his fingers. You do that simultaneously with the words... "LIKE THIS."
"As long as it was in my hand, LIKE THIS (now it is back in your hand and you hold it up where he can see it), you could believe and believe and believe and believe and still you wouldn't have it, would you?"
(End pg. 51)
(No text on pg. 52)
(From pp. 53-56)
Note: The reason this verse is used is because of the one word, "receive." This key word shows that God's gift must be received. There are a variety of meanings for the word believe today, none of which comes close to the New Testament idea of acting on God's offer through Christ. In speaking of one's salvation, it is better to use "receive," for the meaning is unquestionable. Now you are ready to tell him how to receive Christ.
"Well, just as you took the card from my hand, so you must also take Christ (pause)...AND HERE'S HOW YOU DO IT."
Note: Even as you speak, be opening to Rev. 3:20.
"Remember we have said that God offers us the free gift of eternal life. That the gift is in the Person of Jesus Christ--and in order to have the gift, we must RECEIVE Him. Now listen carefully, for this is THE LORD JESUS SPEAKING TO YOU!"
Note: Here are the words that must be spoken in the boldness and authority of the Great Commission. They communicate to the prospect that Jesus is speaking to his heart, and not you. They also prepare him for the words to follow. Be firm now, for you are approaching the point in soul winning where many drop out of the race. As you tell your man that it is the Lord Jesus speaking, look him in the eye and unwaveringly read with the authority that is given you by God.
OBSERVE: Though God gives us authority to speak boldly in His name, we must not forget that Jesus is the real soul winner. Our techniques, skill and psychology are worthless except as tools of the Holy Spirit. Our authority is unlimited as long as it is Christ working through us. Did He not counsel us," ...Without me you can do nothing" (John 15:5)?
As your finger points to the verse, say out loud,
"BEHOLD I STAND ATTHE DOOR AND KNOCK: IF ANY MAN HEAR MY VOICE, AND OPEN THE DOOR, I--WILL--COME--IN..."
Note: If you are using a Testament, be sure to leave off the remaining part of the verse. If you don't, you might find yourself sidetracked, having to explain the oriental meaning of "sup with him." It is a glorious subject, having to do with lifetime fellowship, but this is not the place to discuss it. You are about to present Christ ALIVE...and you want his mind ready for the decision just ahead Read the verse slowly emphasizing the BOLD portions...
"The Lord says, 'BEHOLD, I STAND AT THE DOOR'--That door, Ed, is the door of your heart."
Hint: As you tell him the "door" is the door of his heart, reach with your finger and tap him firmly just above the heart. This "live action" contact shocks him out of any dreamy state of half-listening to your words. It suddenly hits the pros- (end pg. 55, begin pg. 56) pect, "Wow! Jesus is here standing at the door of my heart!" The Holy Spirit anoints that finger tap to make it the most dramatic event in the prospect's life. After all, it's no small thing to realize the One Who made you is standing at the door of your heart!
Hint: If the prospect is a woman, a male worker should delicately TOUCH HER FOREARM with one finger. Ordinarily a man should not touch a woman, but the Holy Spirit will bless this action. Physical contact is needed here, for it shifts the conversation from theory to reality. However, I will leave it for you to decide the appropriateness of the gesture. Situations can vary. The prospect is now ready for your next words.
"Notice the Lord says, 'IF ANY MAN HEAR MY VOICE AND OPEN THE DOOR' (pause). That means anyone, man, woman, or child. If anyone will open that door, He says, 'I WILL COME IN.'" Let your words soak in.
And then continue, "You have a free will, Ed. God gave you that free will. And He won't violate that free will in any way. He won't force you to open your heart to Him. Even though He's the Lord of Glory, the maker of heaven and earth...and even made you and me...He won't kick that door down and force His way into your heart. With all of His power, He stands humbly at the door of your heart, as if He had no power at all. He wants you to invite Him in. He wants you to open the door to Him."
Now lower your voice, speaking intimately and softly as you give an illustration.
(End pg. 56)
(From pg. 57, 58)
"If I were a good friend of yours, Ed, and came over to your house and WANTED TO COME IN and knocked at the door, (tap on your Bible or any object close by) what would you say?"
"I'd say, 'Come in.' "
The response will be almost automatic. See the power of this technique? He is using his lips to express an invitation. This conditions him to voice the same words he will say to Jesus. You now have him ready for the big moment. The most crucial part is next. Don't waver. Don't let Satan lure you into backing away from the crisis, for nothing is accomplished unless you utter the next words...
"All right, the Lord Jesus is waiting to come into your heart right now. WILL YOU OPEN THE DOOR? WILL YOU LET HIM COME IN?" (Those might be the hardest words for you to say, but don't come this far and then fail. Say them...the Holy Spirit will back you to the limit)
Note: One of 3 things will now happen. The prospect will say, "Yes, sure," or, "No, I can't," or he will say nothing. If he responds, "Yes," then the task is simple. The prayer of introduction is all that is needed. If he says, "No," he has already made a decision, but it needs to be clear to him. If he says nothing then press for a decision.
WHEN HE SAYS, "YES."
"All right then, will you bow your head with me and I'll introduce you to the Lord." (You bow first and he will follow your example.)
"Dear Lord, thank You for being so gentle and waiting so patiently for us to open our hearts. You make it so easy. I know that you are anxious to meet Ed...and become his Savior. He is waiting to talk with You, Lord, and ask You into his heart. Here he is now."
Still bowed, whisper softly to your friend, "Could you tell the Lord in your own words that you want Him (end pg. 58, begin pg. 59) as your Savior and ask Him to come into your heart? Could you do that? He is waiting..." (Pause a few seconds to give him a chance to speak.)
Note: Sometimes it is easy for the person to speak to the Lord. At other times a prospect may find it hard to begin. "I...I...don't know...," will indicate he needs a little help.
Say to him, "I'll help you. Just follow me, if you will, out loud." Then in short broken phrases lead him something like this:
"Dear Lord Jesus--I know that I am a sinner--I want you as my personal Savior--I here and now open my heart to You--I invite You to come in--Amen!"
WHEN HE SAYS, "NO."
"You feel you can't do it right now, hummh? Well, I'm glad you're honest about it. It would be awful for you to pray with me and asked Christ to come into your heart and not mean it. It's better this way, but we do want to make sure of where we stand." (Pause.)
"Now let's be clear about this...I didn't ask to come into your heart, did I?"
"Then you're not rejecting ME, are you?"
"You're rejecting the One Who died for you, right?"
"Well, I'm not sure I want to put it like that."
(End pg. 59)
(From pgs. 60-62)
"Even if it's only for the next five minutes, you are not about to ask Jesus into your heart, isn't that right?"
"Yes, that's true."
Note: Don't let this development discourage you. You have NOT FAILED. Your prospect HAS MADE a decision The decision to reject Jesus and go to hell is every bit as big as the one to accept Him and go to heaven. What you have done has cleared the air. No longer can your man feel comfortable in "no-man's-land." He now knows where he stands. He is a rejector (sic) and knows it. All that is required of us as soul-winners is to be faithful in presenting the Lord. What people DO WITH HIM is their own business. We are 100% successful whether they make their decision FOR or AGAINST the Lord. A "NO" decision is just as valid in the sight of God as a "YES" decision. So don't feel you have failed, when you get a "NO." You have been very successful.
Hint: Even though your prospect has said, "NO," it may only be for a time. Depending on your skill and personality strength, you may be able to USE his "NO" decision in the power of the Holy Spirit. I can't take time to discuss it here, but you'll find the technique for using the prospect's rejection as a soul-winner device in my book WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR FRIENDS REJECT CHRIST. Equip yourself with that KNOWHOW and you'll be a "two-gun" soul-winner, able to handle people no matter which way they decide for Jesus. While your man has said, "NO," for the moment, the Lord still loves him and the Holy Spirit will continue to work with him. Knowing that, you could end the interview like this:
"Actually (Ed), you really don't need me or anyone else around when it comes time for you to receive Christ. This is something that is between you and Him. Why, even tonight as you lie on your pillow, you might want to talk to Him about this. All you would have to do is to ask Him to come into your heart and that you will trust Him as your Savior. It's that simple. He will do it too, AND IN THAT SAME INSTANT YOU WILL BE SAVED."
WHEN HE SAYS NOTHING
The person is silent because a terrible struggle is going on inside him. You give him just a few seconds to respond if he will and then you must act. Waiting too long is risky. Satan is very busy. This is the critical point. A question raised at this moment could divert your prospect from the decision. Be bold and keep your heart on Christ. Pray within yourself and you will sense the Holy Spirit's timing in pressing for the decision.
With the wisdom of a serpent and the harmlessness of a dove you can assist the person in his decision. You cannot make the decision for him, but you can bring him to a decision one way or the other. Every pressure Satan can bring is being exerted to keep him from opening the door. His heart is a battleground. The door is rusted shut and Satan does not want it opened. The Holy Spirit is seeking to open the door. Our skills and techniques become tools in His hands.
It is good though to remind ourselves that no matter how much effort we expend or what techniques we use, it will be the Holy Spirit Who is dealing with the man's heart. Our efforts only serve to reduce the fleshly resistance, while the Spirit imparts the grace to open the door. We have no part in that. We are simply introducers. Inasmuch as working with the Holy Spirit to open that door requires special skill, I am devoting a chapter to pressing for the decision.
(End pg. 62)
(From pg. 63)
HOW TO PRESS FOR THE DECISION
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice,
and open the door, I will come in..."
You have just said to your prospect..."Jesus is waiting to come into your heart. Will you open the door? Will you let Him come in?" He makes no reply. Great forces are at work inside him. His soul is a battlefield. The Holy Spirit and Satan want his decision. You wish you could jump into his heart and help him, but you can't. So you do the one thing you can do...press him to make a decision...one way or the other.
CAUTION: You can't leave him in "no-man's-land." The longer you wait, Satan's advantage increases. So silently start your countdown...5-4-3-2-1. That's it. You wait no longer. Lay your hand on his shoulder (or arm if a man is dealing with a woman)...and with a semi-commanding voice say...
(End pg. 63)
(From pg. 64)
"Bow your head with me."
Note: Do not look at him when you say this. He won't act if you do. Instead, bow your head first. The sight of your bowed head, the authority in your voice, the touch of your hand on his shoulder, and the witness of the Spirit combine to exert terrific pressure. Out of the corner of your eye you will see him look at you in wonder. Then, as his resistance crumbles, his head will come down in jerks. When your hand feels the relaxation of his shoulder, you'll know his heart has yielded.
Note: If your man is going to say, "NO," he has to do it now. You've brought him to the place of decision under terrific psychological pressure. If he can't bring himself to receive Christ, he'll say to you..."I can't do it." Then deal with him as you would the person who says, "NO."
He bows his head. You lead him:
"Follow me, if you will, and we'll pray together. 'Dear Lord Jesus--I confess that I am a sinner-and I here and now open the door of my heart--I invite you to come in-I now put my trust in you-as my personal Savior. Amen."
Hint: Occasionally you will take a person all the way through the plan and when it is time for him to invite Jesus into his heart, he will reply, "I've already done that." Perhaps he has. If so, then God has used you to strengthen one who was so weak he could neither identify nor speak of his own salvation. There are many like that, even though they have been saved, perhaps for years.
(End pg. 64)
Example No. 2 - Jack Hyles, Mis-Identifying the Gospel
The following excerpt is from Dr. Jack Hyles' book Let's Go Soul Winning. It is section No. 15 Find Some Way to Get Them Lost. We have not discovered anywhere in the illustration that Dr. Hyles gives where he gets the people to understand or confess their lost condition. Please read it for yourself.
15. FIND SOMEWAY TO GET THEM LOST
Let me explain. Often I've gone out to win souls and asked, "Are you a Christian?" If he said, "Yes, I am," I would let it go at that. But some people will answer yes to "Are you a Christian?" who are not really Christians and you need to get the Gospel to them. To do this, we must get to a verse like Romans 3:10. I've got to figure some way to get to Romans 3:10 and get them to let me tell them how to be saved. Do you see what I mean?
Let me illustrate. A family comes to talk to me and I know they are lost. "Brother Hyles, we have a home problem. Do you know any Bible verses that would help our home?"
"Ah, yes. There is a verse in the Bible that will help anybody's home. Turn to Romans 3:10."
Somebody comes in, "Brother Hyles, my business is going bankrupt. What does the Bible say about business?"
"Ah, it says a great deal about business. The best Scriptures about business in the Bible begin at Romans 3:10." Then tell them about Jesus. He will solve any problem.
Now, let me give you an illustration that will prove what I am trying to say. This is the only time that it has ever happened but it is a most vivid illustration to explain this point.
I went to visit a family. Let's call the name Hill. It was up on the second floor of an apartment building. They had three lovely children. I walked in and said, "How do you do, Mr. Hill. Are you a Christian?"
"Oh, yes," he said. "I was saved when I was three years old."
Well, I didn't know what to say. Then I asked Mrs. Hill, "Are you a Christian?"
"Oh, yes," she said. "I was saved when I was a baby."
Well, now I didn't think they were saved. If they had said they weren't Christians, I could have showed them Romans 3:10 but I couldn't when they said they were Christians. So I asked, "Have you been born again?"
Oh, yes; both of them were born again. He was born again when he was three; she was born again when she was a baby.
"Have you been converted, saved?"
That's right; they had been saved.
"If you died, do you know if you would go to Heaven?"
Yes, yes; they knew if they died they would go to Heaven.
Well, I didn't know what to do. I wanted to get to Romans 3:10. So I said, "Well, let me ask you this: Do you ever wish you knew how to pray? If I could show you some Scriptures on prayer, would you be willing to learn how to pray better?"
I was going to show them a good Scripture about prayer-- Romans 3:10-- but she said, "Oh, we have family altar and private devotions; we took a correspondence course on prayer recently."
"Well," I said, "did you ever wish you had a Bible study, some Scriptures to show you how to study the Bible?"
If they had said, "No, we don't study the Bible much," I was going to say, "Listen, there are some Scriptures that will unlock the entire Bible and the first one is Romans 3:10."
But she said, "Oh, yes; we are taking a Bible course right now, a correspondence course."
I tried every way I could to get to Romans 3:10, but I couldn't do it. I said, "Well, is your home what it ought to be? Would you love to have some Scriptures on the home-- how to have a better home and a good Christian home?" I was going to show them Romans 3:10-- how it would lead you to have a better home, etc. I couldn't do it, so I prayed, "Lord, help me." Finally I said, "This is a good home. You have been born again; you are converted; you have been saved; you pray and you are taking Bible study courses. You know, there is one thing that a home like this ought to have."
They asked what.
I said, "A formal dedication service."
Now that sounded good to them, and Mr. Hill said, "Honey, that sounds real good. When could we schedule that?"
I said, "It so happens that I have one of the services with me right now."
He said, "Could we do it here?"
I said, "We can do it right here."
Listen, she went in and changed clothes, combed her hair, put clean little dresses and shirts on the children. They came in like a group going to Sunday School. I said, "Now, then, we're going to read some Scriptures on home dedication. It says in Romans 3:10, 'As it is written, there is not one righteous, no, not one.' In Romans 5:12 it says that sin came into the first home and it was the first home that brought the first curse upon man." I went through the same old Scriptures, Romans 3:10, 5:12, 6:23, 5:8, and I said, "Those are Scriptures about the dedication of the home. Now would you like to pray a prayer of home dedication?"
They said that would be real nice. So we all got on our knees. I prayed and then said, "Mr. Hill, you want to pray a prayer of dedication for you home, don't you?"
"Yes, sir," he said.
I said, "Mr. Hill, this is the prayer to say: 'Dear Lord, be merciful to me a sinner and forgive my sins and save my soul. I do now repent of my sins and trust Jesus to save me.'"
He prayed the prayer. She prayed the same prayer.
We got off our knees and they were both crying. I said, "That's wonderful! Now you said you were saved when you were three, didn't you?"
Mr. Hill looked at me and said, "No, I just got saved a minute ago."
That is a long way around to get the Gospel to them without them wanting it if you don't think they are saved.
Let me say this also. If you can't get it to them, I have what I call a long plan and a short plan. In the long plan I read the Scriptures; in the short plan I quote them. For example, I say, "Would you like to be a Christian?"
He says, "No, I don't think I would."
I say, "If I were to show you in the Bible, would you be willing to look at it?"
"No," he says.
"Well, let me ask you this question." (Now that is the secret. Every soul winner ought to learn that little sentence, "Let me ask you THIS question.") I was previously going to take the Bible and show him these Scriptures, but he says he doesn't want to see them. So I say, "If you don't want to know the plan, let me ask you THIS question: Do you realize that Romans 3:10 says that there is none righteous, no, not one?" I'm doing the same thing that I was going to do. He thinks, "Boy, I sure got him off the subject; he is not going to show me how to get saved." He thinks you are off the subject.
So if you can't use the long method, use the short method. Just back up and take another path and go at him from another direction, but get the plan to him. Then you can go to him with the short method where you quote the same Scriptures but do not read them.
Example No. 3 - John R. Rice, Confusion Regarding When Salvation Occurs
Dr. John R. Rice wrote a booklet called Personal Soul Winning. In that booklet we find the following:
I do not believe one must pray aloud in order to be saved. Sometimes a timid person will pray silently. One is saved when he turns to the Lord and trusts the Lord. But sometimes the matter is much clearer in the mind of a sinner and the transaction is remembered as a definite transaction if he can express his faith in the words of a prayer. Besides, if he asks the Lord to forgive, then he always has extra promises like Romans 10:13, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved," as an evidence that he has really been saved.
Dr. Rice says later in the booklet:
Once the person has asked Christ to forgive him and save him, I suggest that there be some open demonstration of his decision.
I would say, "Now you have asked Jesus Christ to forgive your sins and save you. If you are ready to turn your case over to Him, ready to rely on Him to forgive your sins and save you as He promised to do, will you now take my hand and let this handshake be a sign between you and me and God that you now trust Christ as your own personal Saviour and give Him your heart forever? Will you do that?"
If the sinner has been honest thus far, in most cases he will be ready to make that open profession of his faith in Christ.
Dr. Rice teaches the following about "assurance" of salvation.
Now before you leave the person, there is one more thing that is important. The new convert ought to be assured by the Word of God that he now has everlasting life.
Here Dr. Rice goes on to say how he uses John 3:18, 36 to give assurance. In another section he goes into this assurance issue again by saying:
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.
What Does Dr. Rice Teach About Prayer for Salvation?
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.
Example No. 4 - Joan Ann and Revival Ministries International, How Quick Can You Get People to Perform For You?
Soul Winning Script for Such a Time as This!
Sunday, July 13, 2003
Beloved, as promised, here is the "SOUL WINNING SCRIPT" FOR YOU TO USE AND SEE HOW ANOINTED IT IS - FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS. I know that some religious folks would say, "You cannot read this to anyone - you have to be led of the Spirit and do what you are led to say, etc."
LET ME SAY TO YOU UNBELIEVERS THAT FEEL THEY CANNOT NOT READ THE SCRIPT AND LET THE PERSON TO WHOM THEY READ IT READ IT WITH THEM, THAT EACH TIME I HAVE READ IT TO SOMEONE AND POINTED TO THE WORDS FOR THEM TO READ, THEY HAVE RECEIVED JESUS AS SAVIOR. WHY? THE WORD OF GOD IS THE POWER OF GOD. LIVES CHANGE WHEN THEY "HEAR" AND "READ" GOD'S WORD.
Love and Blessings,
Has anyone ever told you that God loves you and that He has a wonderful plan for your life? I have a real quick, but important question to ask you. If you were to die this very second, do you know for sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you would go to Heaven? [If "Yes" - Great, why would you say "Yes"? (If they respond with anything but "I have Jesus in my heart" or something similar to that, PROCEED WITH SCRIPT) or "I hope so" PROCEED WITH SCRIPT.]
Let me quickly share with you what the Holy Bible reads. It reads, "for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" and "for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord". The Bible also reads, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved". And you're a "whosoever" right? Of course you are; all of us are.
I'm going to say a quick prayer for you. Lord, bless (FILL IN NAME) and his/her family with long and healthy lives. Jesus, make Yourself real to him/her and do a quick work in his/her heart. If (FILL IN NAME) has not received Jesus Christ as his/her Lord and Savior, I pray he/she will do so now.
(FILL IN NAME), if you would like to receive the gift that God has for you today, say this after me with your heart and lips out loud. Dear Lord Jesus, come into my heart. Forgive me of my sin. Wash me and cleanse me. Set me free. Jesus, thank You that You died for me. I believe that You are risen from the dead and that You're coming back again for me. Fill me with the Holy Spirit. Give me a passion for the lost, a hunger for the things of God and a holy boldness to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm saved; I'm born again, I'm forgiven and I'm on my way to Heaven because I have Jesus in my heart.
As a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I tell you today that all of your sins are forgiven. Always remember to run to God and not from God because He loves you and has a great plan for your life.
[Invite them to your church and get follow up info: name, address, & phone number.]
Revival Ministries International P.O. Box 292888 * Tampa, FL 33687 (813) 971-9999 * www.revival.com
 "Mega-church" is the current popular description of large churches.
 Cary Schmidt, Discover Your Destiny, (Lancaster, CA: Lancaster Baptist Church, 4010 E. Lancaster, CA 93535, USA), Chapter, Speak Up, God, I Can't Hear You.
 Dec. 30, 2001 sermon entitled The Spirit of the Overcomer based on 2 Tim. 1:5-9.
 Harold the King!, BMI, by Majesty Music Mastersounds, 1982, Majesty Music, Inc., 1993, P.O. box 6524, Greenville, SC 29606.
 George Lawson, Proverbs, Timeless Truths for Practical Living, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1980) pp. 221, 222. This is a reprint of the 1829 ed. Expositions of the Book of Proverbs published by W. Oliphant, Edinburgh.
 Baptism with the Holy Ghost. This is a baptism without water. Baptism with the Holy Ghost involves God's dealings with Israel. It is an outpouring from above; baptism by pouring ("fell on them") rather than by dunking (10:44, 45; 11:15-17); showing us why the King James Bible is correct by transliterating the Greek for "baptism" rather than translating. The particular baptism being discussed and the mode thereof must always be determined by the context where you find the word. Baptism with the Holy Ghost, which is a subject of Old Testament prophecy, includes the gift of tongues as a sign to unbelieving Jews (1 Corinthians 1:22; 14:21, 22; Isaiah chapter 28; etc.).
+ Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828
+ Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828
b For further historical documentation and illustration in this area refer to Teaching and Learning America's Christian History, Rosalie J. Slater, Foundation for American Christian Education, Virginia Beach, Virginia USA, 1965.
/ Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828
+ Soothsaying, n. The foretelling of future events by persons without divine aid or authority, and thus distinguished from prophesy. Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828
F Webster's New International Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam Company, Springfield, Mass., 1913. The 1913 Webster's New International Dictionary is an expanded edition of the 1828 Noah Webster American Dictionary of the English Language.)
à Webster's New International Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam Company, Springfield, Mass., 1913.
S As reprinted in Pastures of Tender Grass, James A. Stewart, Revival Literature, Philadelphia, PA, 1962, Copyright by Gospel Projects, Inc., Philadelphia, PA, 1962
W As published in Things To Come, A Journal of Biblical Literature, London, England, 1894