How to bring men to Christ - R. A. Torrey - ebook
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There are certain general conditions, the fulfilment of which is absolutely essential to real success in bringing men to Christ. These conditions, fortunately, are few and simple and such as any one can meet. 1. The one who would have real success in bringing others to Christ must himself be A THOROUGHLY CONVERTED PERSON. 2. The one who would have real success in bringing others to Christ must have a LOVE FOR SOULS, i. e. a longing for the salvation of the lost . 3. The one who would have real success in bringing men to Christ must have a WORKING KNOWLEDGE OF THE BIBLE. 4. The one who would have real success in bringing men to Christ must PRAY MUCH. 5. The one who would have real success in bringing men to Christ must be “BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY GHOST.”

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R. A. Torrey

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Table of contents

PREFACE

CHAPTER I. THE GENERAL CONDITIONS OF SUCCESS IN BRINGING MEN TO CHRIST

CHAPTER II. HOW TO BEGIN

CHAPTER III. DEALING WITH THE INDIFFERENT OR CARELESS

CHAPTER IV. DEALING WITH THOSE WHO ARE ANXIOUS TO BE SAVED BUT DO NOT KNOW HOW

CHAPTER V. DEALING WITH THOSE WHO ARE ANXIOUS TO BE SAVED AND KNOW HOW, BUT WHO HAVE DIFFICULTIES

CHAPTER VI. DEALING WITH THOSE WHO ENTERTAIN FALSE HOPES

CHAPTER VII. Dealing with those who Lack Assurance and with Back–sliders

CHAPTER VIII. DEALING WITH PROFESSED SKEPTICS AND INFIDELS

CHAPTER IX. DEALING WITH THE COMPLAINING

CHAPTER X. DEALING WITH THOSE WHO WISH TO PUT OFF A DECISION UNTIL SOME OTHER TIME

CHAPTER XI. DEALING WITH THE WILLFUL AND THE DELUDED

CHAPTER XII. SOME HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS

CHAPTER XIII. THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

PREFACE

This book is written because it seems to be needed. The author has been repeatedly requested by Ministers, Y. M. C. A. Secretaries, Christian Workers, and his own students to put into a permanent and convenient shape the substance of what he has said at Conventions, Summer Schools and in the class–room on personal work. The time has come to yield to these requests. Never before in the history of the Church were there so many who desire to win others to Christ. The good work done by the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor is in no other direction so evident as in the many thousands of young people in this land who to–day are on fire with a desire to win souls. But while they desire to do this work, many do not know how. This little book aims to tell them. There are several well–known and valuable manuals of texts to be used with inquirers, but this book is intended not only to point out passages to be used but to show how to use them, illustrating this use by cases from actual experience. It is hoped that from a careful study of these pages any earnest Christian can learn how to do efficient work in bringing others to the Saviour.

CHAPTER I. THE GENERAL CONDITIONS OF SUCCESS IN BRINGING MEN TO CHRIST

There are certain general conditions, the fulfilment of which is absolutely essential to real success in bringing men to Christ. These conditions, fortunately, are few and simple and such as any one can meet.1. The one who would have real success in bringing others to Christ must himself be A THOROUGHLY CONVERTED PERSON. Jesus said to Peter, “When thou art converted strengthen thy brethren.” He was in no position to help his brethren until he himself, after his cowardly denial, had turned again to his Lord with his whole heart. If we would bring others to Christ we must turn away from all sin, and worldliness and selfishness with our whole heart, yielding to Jesus the absolute lordship over our thoughts, purposes and actions. If there is any direction in which we are seeking to have our own way and not letting Him have His own way in our lives, our power will be crippled and men lost that we might have saved. The application of this principle to the numerous questions that come up in the life of every young Christian as to whether he should do this or that, each individual can settle for himself if Christ’s honor and not his own pleasure is upper–most in his mind and if he looks honestly to God to guide him.2. The one who would have real success in bringing others to Christ must have a LOVE FOR SOULS, i. e. a longing for the salvation of the lost. If we have no love for souls, our efforts will be mechanical and powerless. We may know how to approach men and what to say to them, but there will be no power in what we say and it will not touch the heart. But if like Paul we have “great heaviness and unceasing pain in our hearts” for the unsaved, there will be an earnestness in our tone and manner that will impress the most careless. Furthermore if we have a love for souls we will be on the constant watch for opportunities to speak with the unsaved and will find opportunities on the street, in the store, in the home, on the cars and everywhere that would otherwise have entirely escaped our notice.But how is one to get a love for souls? This question is easily answered. First of all, a love for souls like every other grace of Christian character, is the work of the Holy Spirit. If then we are conscious that we do not have that love for souls that we should have, the first thing to do is to go to God and humbly confess this lack in our lives and ask Him by His Holy Spirit to supply that which we so sorely need, and expect Him to do it (1 Jno. v. 14, 15; Phil. iv. 19). In the second place Jesus Christ had an intense love for souls (Matt. xxiii. 37; Luke xix. 10), and intimate and constant companionship with Him will impart to our lives this grace which was so prominent in His. In the third place feelings are the outcome of thoughts. If we desire any given feeling in our lives we should dwell upon the thoughts which are adapted to produce that feeling. If any saved person will dwell long enough upon the peril and wretchedness of any man out of Christ and the worth of his soul in God’s sight as seen in the death of God’s Son to save him, a feeling of intense desire for that man’s salvation is almost certain to follow. In the fourth place, reflection upon our own ruined and unhappy condition without Christ and the great sacrifice that Christ made to save us, is sure to fill our hearts with a desire to bring others to the Saviour we have found.3. The one who would have real success in bringing men to Christ must have a WORKING KNOWLEDGE OF THE BIBLE. The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Eph. vi. 17). It is the instrument God uses to convict of sin, to reveal Christ and to regenerate men. If we would work together with God, the Bible is the instrument upon which we must rely and which we must use in bringing men to Christ. We must know how to use the Bible so as (1) to show men their need of a Saviour, (2) to show them Jesus as the Saviour they need, (3) to show them how to make this Saviour their own Saviour, (4) to meet the difficulties that stand in the way of their accepting Christ. A large part of the following pages will be devoted to imparting this knowledge.4. The one who would have real success in bringing men to Christ must PRAY MUCH. Solid work in soul winning must be accompanied by prayer at every step. (1). We must pray God to lead us to the right persons to approach. God does not intend that we speak to every one we meet. If we try to do it, we will waste much valuable time in speaking to those whom we cannot help, that we might have used in speaking to those to whom we could have done much good. God alone knows the one to whom He intends us to speak, and we must ask Him to point him out to us, and, expect Him to do it. (Acts viii. 29). (2). We must pray God to show us just what to say to those to whom He leads us. After all our study of the passages to be used in dealing with the various classes of men, we shall need God’s guidance in each specific case. Every experienced worker will testify to the many instances in which God has led them to use some text of Scripture that they would not otherwise have used but which proved to be just the one needed. (3). We must pray God to give power to that which He has given us to say. We need not only a message from God but power from God to send the message home. Most workers have to learn this lesson by humiliating experiences. They sit down beside an unsaved man and reason and plead and bring forth texts from the word of God, but the man does not accept Christ. At last it dawns upon them that they are trying to convert the man in their own strength and then they lift an humble and earnest prayer to God for his strength, and God hears and in a short time this “very difficult case” has settled the matter and is rejoicing in Christ. (4). We must pray God to carry on the work after our work has come to an end. After having done that which seems to have been our whole duty in any given instance, whatever may have been the apparent issue of our work, whether successful or unsuccessful, we should definitely commit the case to God in prayer. If there is anything the average worker in this hurrying age needs to have impressed upon him, it is the necessity of more prayer. By praying more we will not work any less and we will accomplish vastly more.5. The one who would have real success in bringing men to Christ must be “BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY GHOST.” “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost, is come upon you,” said Jesus to his disciples after having given them the great commission to go out and bring men to Himself. The supreme condition of soul winning power is the same to–day: “after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” A later chapter will be given to a study of what “the Baptism of the Holy Ghost” is and how any Christian can obtain it.

CHAPTER II. HOW TO BEGIN

When God has led us to think that He wishes us to make an effort to lead some given individual to Christ, the first question that confronts us is, “How shall I begin?” If the person has gone into an inquiry room, or remained to an after–meeting, or even if they are merely present at prayer–meeting, Sunday–school or other ordinary service of the church, it is comparatively easy. You can then ask him if he is a Christian, or if he would not like to be a Christian, or why he is not a Christian or some other direct and simple question that will lead inevitably to a conversation along this line. But if the person is one in whom you have become interested outside the religious meeting and who is perhaps an entire stranger, it does not at first sight appear so simple, and yet it is not so very difficult. The person can be engaged in conversation on some general topic or on something suggested by passing events, and soon brought around to the great subject. Christ’s conversation with the woman of Samaria in the 4th chapter of John is a very instructive illustration of this. Oftentimes even in dealing with entire strangers it is well to broach the subject at once and ask them if they are Christians or if they are saved or some similar question. If this is done courteously and earnestly it will frequently set even careless people to thinking and result in their conversion. It is astonishing how often one who undertakes this work in humble dependence upon God and under His direction, finds the way prepared and how seldom he receives any rebuff. One day the writer met a man on one of the most crowded streets of Chicago. As I passed him the impulse came to speak to him about the Saviour. Stopping a moment and asking God to show me if the impulse was from Him, I turned around and followed the man. I overtook him in the middle of the street, laid my hand upon his shoulder and said: “My friend, are you a Christian?” He started and said: “That’s a strange question to ask a man.” I said, “I know it, and I do not ask that question of every stranger, but God put it into my heart to ask it of you.” He then told me that his cousin was a minister and had been urging this very matter upon him, that he himself was a graduate of Amherst college, but had been ruined by drink. After further conversation we separated but later the man accepted Christ as his Saviour.

It is often best to win a person’s confidence and affection before broaching the subject. It is well to select some one and then lay your plans to win him to Christ. Cultivate his acquaintance, show him many attentions and perform many acts of kindness great and small and at last when the fitting moment arrives take up the great question. An old and thorough going infidel in Chicago was in this way won to Christ by a young woman, who found him sick and alone. She called day after day and showed him many kindnesses and as the consumption fastened itself more firmly upon him she spoke to him of the Saviour and had the joy of seeing him accept Christ.

A wisely chosen tract placed in the hand of the one with whom you wish to speak will often lead easily and naturally to the subject. One day I was riding on a train and praying that God would use me to lead some one to His Son. A young lady, daughter of a minister, with whom I had had some conversation on this subject came in with a friend and took the seat immediately in front of me. I took out a little bundle of tracts and selected one that seemed adapted for the purpose and handed it to her and asked her to read it. As she read, I prayed. When she had finished, I leaned over and asked her what she thought about it. She was deeply moved and I asked her if she would not accept Christ right there. Her difficulties were soon met and answered and she accepted Christ. As she left the train she thanked me very heartily for what I had done for her.

You will often meet some one whose face tells the story of unhappiness or discontent: in such a case it is easy to ask the person if he is happy and when he answers “no” you can say, “I can tell you of one who will make you happy if you will only take Him.” Skill in beginning a conversation will come with practice. One may be rather awkward about it at first but as we go on we will acquire facility.