Monday, August 9, 2010

13 Continuing the Care of the New Christian

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It is very important that we pray daily for the person whom we have helped to know Christ. The prayers of the Apostle Paul found in Philippians 1:9-11, in Colossians 1:9-11, in Ephesians 1 and in Ephesians 3 show what he prayed for with reference to those for whom he had spiritual responsibility. In one place he said, "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:14-19). Meditate on these requests. They show what is necessary in the lives of all Christians.

In writing to the Thessalonians Paul declares how often he prayed for fellow believers: "Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith" (I Thess. 3:10). We, too, should pray daily, consistently, and fervently for the persons whom we have been privileged to point to the Lord Jesus Christ.


We should get together with new Christians within 24 or 48 hours at the most. As we prayerfully repeat the visit, we will discover that the enemy has already been at work. Doubts will have arisen, questions will have come to their minds, problems will have arisen at home or at work concerning their new-found faith. They will need the warmth of our personal touch, and our continuing interest. We will need to put ourselves out to do everything possible for their spiritual good. When we visit them we should have a time of prayer, and try to help them meet their problems by instructing them further in the Scriptures. The Lord will help us in this if we look to Him. A telephone call in between visits, inquiring concerning their progress, will encourage them.

If we are unable to contact them by a visit or by a phone call, we can write a letter. Too often, however, we put off writing a letter until we can write one that we think is long enough, not realizing that a brief letter of encouragement would be better. To write frequently even though briefly, is what is needed. Many of us do not realize the power of a personally penned letter in which we pour out our heart, as we seek to be of assistance to the person whom we have led to Christ.

I remember an incident which occurred a couple of years ago when we were in London with the Billy Graham team. One of our fine personal work counselors, Mrs. Mendenhall, spoke with a Dutch woman one night. She did not receive the Lord then. Something just was not clear to her. Mrs. Mendenhall did not give up, however. She went home, and before she retired, she poured out her heart in a letter to the Dutch woman, explaining again as carefully as she could the gospel message.

When the Dutch woman received the letter she read it over very carefully, then knelt down and received the Lord Jesus Christ as her own personal Saviour. She did not keep the letter to herself but circulated it among her friends. Within three months ten of them had come to know Christ as personal Saviour through reading the letter. Altogether too often we do not realize the power of a written testimony. We need to make more use of this method of witnessing.


Here are two additional suggestions for helping new Christians. After having studied this matter for some years and having specialized in the care of new Christians, I have come to the conviction that one of the most helpful things we can do for them is to get them to commit Scripture verses to memory. In that way the Holy Spirit has a weapon, the Word, that He can call to their minds at any time or anywhere.

May I suggest we introduce new Christians to the booklet "Beginning with Christ," either our own copy or one we secure for them. When they have committed the four verses to memory which are in it, then have them use the booklet, "Going On With Christ." After they have memorized the eight verses of "Going On With Christ," encourage them to complete the Topical Memory System.

The Topical Memory System has in it one hundred and eight verses topically arranged. To repeat what I have written before in these lessons, nothing has paid greater dividends for me than the time spent in committing Scripture to memory.

That, however, is not the only way to come to know the Bible. We should encourage new Christians to read it consistently and consecutively for themselves. We often suggest the Gospel of John because it goes into the life of the Lord Jesus and shows so clearly how to be saved. I might suggest Mark and the Book of I Thessalonians which was written to very young Christians.

Furthermore, we must see to it that they become active in the fellowship of a good, Bible-believing church. God wants us to hide the Word on the tables of our heart through memorizing it; He wants us to read it; but He also wants us to hear it preached.

He tells us in Jeremiah 3:15: "And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding." It may be that we will have to call for the new Christians on Sunday mornings and take them to Sunday school and church. God does not intend that we try to get along without the fellowship of other Christians and the fellowship of a Bible-believing gospel-preaching church (Heb. 10:24,25).


As I have suggested, we should visit with our young Christians regularly and pray with them, not depending on the Sunday fellowship to be sufficient for them. We ought to contact them during the week, perhaps have lunch with them. They need our help to not only know the Bible through memorizing Scripture, through Bible reading, and through Bible study, but they need to be taught how to have a daily quiet time. We should share with them some of the wonderful things that God has taught us. In all of this, of course, we are preparing them for the day when they, in turn, will share with others - their neighbors and their friends - what Christ has done for them. God wants new Christians to grow, and to become effective personal witnesses. They can reproduce spiritually by sharing their knowledge of Christ and spiritual truth with others. But in order to do this, they must have continuing help from us.

In conclusion, I would like to summarize all thirteen lessons of this course in just four verse of Scripture. The first id Matthew 4:19. Here we read that when the Lord Jesus called several of His disciples He said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Do you want to be a fisher of men? You can if you will but follow. The command is to follow Him, and His promise is that He will make us fishers of men.

The second is Acts 22:14,15. Paul, in giving his testimony before the multitude in Jerusalem, repeated the words of Ananias: "The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard." In other words, we are to take time to look at the Lord Jesus and to listen to what He has to say to us through His Word, the Bible. Then we can go out and witness to others of what we have seen and heard. Have you been taking time to look and to listen?

The third passage reads, "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me" (Acts 1:8). This is the promise of the power of the Holy Spirit for witnessing.

The fourth and final passage is Exodus 4:10-12. When Moses said to the Lord, "O my Lord, I am not eloquent neither heretofore... but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue," the Lord asked him, "Who hath made man's mouth?" Then He commanded "Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say."


1. What are some things you might do personally to encourage and help a new Christian?

2. As you look back over the weeks you have been memorizing Scripture, list some of the outstanding results that have come to your life from these passages.

3. What have been the greatest blessings to your own life as a result of your daily quiet time with the Lord?

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You have now completed Lorne Sanny's The Art of Personal Witnessing

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Monday, August 2, 2010

12 Caring for the New Christian

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We must remember that when a person comes to know the Lord Jesus as Saviour, that one is born into the family of God as a spiritual baby. He is just a beginner in the Christian life. Therefore, our responsibilities to him are not ended; rather, they have only begun. In fact, there is a sense in which our responsibility is even greater now that he is saved. The situation is similar to that when a baby is born. The parents wait for the day of the little one's birth, but following that event father and mother have work to do - years of it. Of course, the joys and blessings which come to them through the care of their child make the work well worth it all.

So it is when God has given us the opportunity to point someone to Christ, and that person has been born again. We have the responsibility as an under-shepherd to care for this new Christian.

Now there are certain basic things that new Christians need help on, and some of that help they need immediately. If, for instance, someone should come to know the Lord on Tuesday night, we should not wait until Sunday to begin our followup work with him. We should begin right away on Tuesday night. Then we should seek to be with him again on Wednesday, and continue encouraging and instructing him throughout the week.


The first essential point to cover would be assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are children of God? How does anyone know that he belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ? We can be certain of this, one of Satan's most used tools is doubt, and he will try to bring it into the life of this new Christian sooner or later.

In past years, as I have taught various groups in personal work or counseling, I have asked how many of them have had at least one doubt arise in their minds as to whether or not they were born again. In every instance the majority of hands went up. Since doubt is a common tool of the enemy, we need to forewarn and to prepare the young Christian to meet it.

There are two main reasons, it seems to me, why persons allow doubts to come into their hearts to rob them of assurance of salvation. We are assuming, of course, that these persons have really been born again. The first of these reasons is that too much trust is put in feelings, and they really have nothing to do with salvation. Feelings are not safe guides for they come and go, being governed largely by our physical condition.

I have talked with many a young Christian, and a favorite question of mine is, "How do you know that the Lord Jesus lives in your heart?" Very often the answer is given in this form: "Well, I certainly feel better." My reply might be something like this: "I am delighted that you feel better, but your feelings may leave. There is something far better than trusting in feelings for that assurance of your salvation."

A second reason for lack of assurance, it seems to me, is that Christians fail to realize we can know we are saved. Those who have followed this course of study faithfully and have fulfilled each assignment will have committed to memory I John 5:11,12. These verses relate to assurance of salvation. "And this is the record, God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life." Do you have the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart? Did you receive Him into your heart by faith? If so, you have the Son; and if you have the Son, you have eternal life.

The verse which follows says, "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that you have eternal life." You need not guess; you need not hope; you may know. You may be absolutely certain!

As a further illustration, let us consider Revelation 3:20, the verse which we closed our last lesson. Here we see the Lord Jesus standing at the door of the heart and knocking. Then a plea is made and an assurance given: "If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." I often ask, when dealing with someone about Christ, if he realizes that the Lord Jesus is standing at the door of his heart. When the answer is, "Yes," I say, "Well, how do you know?"

"Well, He says so, 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock.' "

"If He is knocking at your heart's door, what does He want?"

"He wants to come in."

I then point out that Christ will not force His way in. He is waiting to be invited. That is just what this verse says, "If any man hear my voice, and open the door," that is, if we ask Him to come into our hearts and lives He will accept our invitation. The words are, "I will come in to him."

Then I say something like this, "If you have never received the Lord Jesus into your heart, but right now you ask Him to enter, do you think He will do so?"

The person may answer, "I don't think so," or "I don't know." In that case I would go over the verse again and say, "Well, let's look at it once more. 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and I will sup with him [that is, I will live with him], and he with me.' If you ask the Lord Jesus to come into your heart and life right now, do you think He will come in?"

"Well, yes, I think He will."

"How do you know He will?"

"Because He said He would."

That is the answer! You stake your life - in fact your soul - for eternity on the promise of the Lord Jesus. How do I know He came into my heart years ago? Because He promised He would. There are other evidences, but the basic reason for my assurance of salvation lies in the fact that I received Christ by faith, and I am resting upon the promises of His Word.

So, in our care for new Christians, we should see to it that they are grounded immediately on the Word of God, on the assurance of salvation.


What is our next responsibility to a new Christian? We must begin follow-up immediately. By follow-up we mean giving personal spiritual care to the new Christian. Just as a baby needs immediate care, so does each new member born into God's family. We are born into it as babies, not as spiritual adults as we have already seen. There is no spiritual pill that we can give a new Christian to make him grow into spiritual maturity overnight. Instead, God intends that we all should grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (II Pet. 3:18).

Now, a baby needs to be fed, protected, and trained. In order that this may be accomplished a baby needs a parent. A new Christian, a spiritual baby, needs a parent as well.

The Apostle Paul considered himself a spiritual parent to those whom he had led to Christ. He wrote, "For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel" (I Cor. 4:15).

It is true that we commit a spiritual baby to God, but He also commits it to us. For example, my wife and I have six children, and we have committed them one by one to the Lord. But the Lord also has committed them to us. If our children are not properly fed and protected and trained, we cannot blame God for it, nor can we blame our children. That responsibility we must take ourselves. So it is with new Christians. They must be fed, and taught how to feed themselves from the Bible. They must be protected from the false doctrines and other attacks from the enemy that will come. Young believers need to be trained so that they in turn might reach others for Christ and be spiritual parents to them. All of this involves time and care and prayer and work.

It is evident from this that what happens to young Christians depends on how well they are cared for by us who have had the privilege of leading them to Christ. Another reason young believers need immediate care is that Satan attacks them with doubts, temptations and discouragements.


It was because of our awareness of Satan's methods that we prepared the booklet "Beginning with Christ," formerly called "B Rations." In this we take up the three major attacks of Satan on the young Christian, and show how these attacks can be met. And it is for this same reason that we have asked you to read it carefully and to commit the Bible verses in it to memory. You will be helped in your own spiritual life, and you will have something that will help the person whom you have led to the Lord.


1. Review twelve weeks of notes.

2. Make sure you know your verses word for word and have enrolled in the Topical Memory System.

3. List some evidences that we might expect in the life of a person who has made a sincere decision for Christ.

4. Are we right in assuming that when a convert does not go on he was insincere? State reasons.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

11 The Story to Tell

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To stress first to a person that he should not wait until tomorrow to receive Christ is not necessarily giving him the gospel. What we are doing in that case is emphasizing the urgency of his decision with reference to the message of life. It is very important in personal witnessing that we clearly present the facts of the gospel itself, because, as we learned before, it is concerning these facts that Satan has blinded the minds of men and women. The Bible says, "In whom the gos of this world hath blinded 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."


This truth is verified in Acts 26:18 where we are told that a person outside of Christ is blinded, is in darkness, and is under the power of Satan. We learn from Ephesians 2:1 that a person outside of Christ is dead in trespasses and sins - spiritually dead.

What is the remedy for this condition? How can a person be brought from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God, from spiritual death unto life, from spiritual blindness to spiritual sight?


We have a remedy, and one only - the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The key passage on this is Romans 1:16. Here the Apostle Paul declares, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."


It is clear then that in our individual witnessing or in any kind of evangelism, we must preach the gospel. Not our opinions about the Bible, not even our own experience, though it can be used as illustrative material, is the power of God. Only the gospel of Christ is that. And only as we give out the message in simplicity and in the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit, will souls be saved.


The scriptural definition of the gospel is given in I Corinthians 15:3,4, "For I declared unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures." These constitute the essential facts of the gospel. Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. He was buried, and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

The approach to the Scriptures will vary in different instances, but for the sake of illustration and clarification, let us analyze the gospel message under the following four points.

1. The Fact of Sin

The fact of sin is brought out by such a Scripture passage as Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Having read or quoted this verse to the person to whom we are witnessing, we might then ask, "Does this mean that everyone has sinned but you and me?" The answer is obvious. The statement includes all - all have sinned and some short of the glory of God. True, there are some people who in the eyes of men are more moral than others, but the fact remains that all have come short. We will not argue the point as to whether or not some have come closer. The point is that all have come short.

Suppose, for instance, that we stood on the edge of a chasm, some 500 feet deep. The distance is such as to require a 35 foot jump to clear it. Now, the world's record for the broad jump is something like 28 feet or thereabouts, but that does not deter some persons from trying to cross. A man comes to the edge of the chasm, peers over, sees the 500 foot drop to the rocks below, looks across to the other side which is 35 feet away and decides to try to jump across. He staggers back a few steps and springs out about five feet, and down he falls. We would say he came short. A little while later an upstanding, moral young man, a keen athlete, looks over the chasm and sees the 500 foot drop, looks at the 35 feet across, and decides that he will try to jump it to reach the other side. So, after getting back and getting a good run for it, we will say that he breaks the world's record by leaping 31 feet, he too comes short. Admittedly he came closer, but still he came short.

Since all of us have sinned and come short of the glory f God, then all of us are sinners.

2. The Penalty of Sin is Death

"For the wages of sin is death" Paul declares in Romans 6:23. God hates sin because it is sin that has robbed us of so much. Every heartache, every sorrow, every difficulty that besets us in this world today, are all ultimately traceable to sin. God wants us to be filled with joy and peace and happiness; therefore, He hates sin and has decreed the penalty of sin to be death. He does not say that the penalty of sin is to live a good life, for certainly we should try and do that. He does not say that the penalty of sin is to go to church regularly, for that too we should do. No, the penalty of sin is death. Either you must pay the penalty for your sin, and I must pay the penalty of my sin, or someone else must pay it for us; but the penalty must be paid!

3. Christ Paid the Penalty

The good news of the Bible is that Christ paid the penalty for the sins of us all. One of the many passages on this subject is Romans 5:8, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Christ paid the penalty of death. He was our substitute. He took our place.

Point out to the person, to whom you are witnessing, that only Christ could pay the penalty. It could be stated in this fashion: "I could not pay for your sins nor could you pay for mine, because I have my sins to think of, and you have yours. If someone is to pay the penalty for us, it will have to be someone who had no sin of his own. The only sinless person who ever walked this earth was the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter says of Him: 'Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.' So, only the Lord Jesus could pay for our sins since He had none of His own.

"Have you ever wondered how it is that one person could pay the penalty for the sins of all the people who ever lived, are now living, or will live? That person would have to be worth more than the total of all humanity. Do you know anyone like that? Well, God is worth more than all the people who ever lived, are now living, or will live.

"Who is Jesus Christ? God manifested in human flesh. That is why Peter could say, as recorded in Acts 4:12: 'Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.' In another place we read of Him: 'Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree' (I Peter 2:24). Jesus paid the penalty for us."

4. We Must Accept

We must receive this fact. It benefits us only as we appropriate it. Many persons with whom we speak concerning this matter will agree that they are sinners and that the penalty of sin is death. Furthermore, they will say at least, that they realize the Lord Jesus paid the penalty for them. They have never benefited from that fact, however; it has not yet given them peace and assurance. The reason is that more than acknowledging the fact is necessary. They must appropriate it.

Perhaps this illustration will clarify this important point. Suppose that we have been invited to a good dinner. Perhaps fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, and some savory green vegetable are on the plates before us. We look at the delicious meal and each one of us says, "My, I'm hungry. I don't believe I've ever been so hungry before." Yet we sit there and talk about the vitamins and calories in the various foods, while the food gets cold and we starve. Then someone comes along and says, "Why don't you eat? You do not benefit from food by just looking at it and discussing it!" Of course, we do not. We must eat. So it is with the Lord Jesus. We must take Him for ourselves. We must appropriate Him.

"Well," someone asks, "how do I do that?" The answer is found in John 1:12: "But as many as have received him, to them gave he power (or the right) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." We are to receive Him as our own personal Saviour, putting our trust in Him.

Remember also that receiving Him involves repentance. One cannot be saved without repenting. To repent means to change one's mind about God and about sin, and to turn from sin in faith to God.

In John 1:13 we read: "Which were born, not of blood [that is, not by inheritance], nor by the will of the flesh [not by self effort], nor of the will of man [not by trusting some person], but of God." So, we turn from these things and by faith receive the Lord Jesus Christ in our hearts.

I think one verse that clarifies this better for me than any other is Revelation 3:20: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." He promises that if I receive Him into my heart He will come in and live with me.

These, then, are the four facts of the gospel: (1) the fact of sin; (2) the penalty of sin which is death; (3) Christ paid the penalty; and (4) we must receive Him into our hearts.


1. Memorize some of the references given in this chapter.

2. What are some of the things that characterize the condition of a person outside of Christ?

3. Write out in your own words how you would lead a person to Christ.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

10 Telling the Story

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There are three things to be covered in this lesson. The first one deals with the gospel story. The second is concerned with some do's and don'ts in telling the story. The third emphasizes our need of our presenting the true gospel story to those we are seeking to win for Christ.


How can we get an opening to tell the story? This is not an easy question to answer for there is no formula or infallible rule that we can give. There are, however, some specific suggestions that will help us to get an opening so that we can share the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with another individual. One suggestion is that we use an appropriate, attractive looking, gospel tract. There are many good gospel tracts available, but rather than just shoving one into a person's hand, we can approach him something like this. We might say, "Here's something that I would like you to read. It is well worth a thinking person's time. Read it over and then later on I will ask you what you think about it." At least, we should use some such approach to show to the person with whom we are dealing that behind our handing him a tract, is our own personal interest in his eternal welfare.

Another way to find an opening is simply to ask permission to speak about the Lord Jesus Christ. We could say, "May I tell you something that has meant more to me than anything else in my life?" This will open up a way in a manner that will show courtesy and thoughtfulness to the person to whom we would speak.

I remember an experience I had when I lived in Seattle, Washington. In order to reach my office I had to use an elevator. One day I said to the operator, "Polly, you know I have told you about my wife and family and how much they mean to me. But I feel a little sad about something, and it's this. I have found something that means more to me than married life, more to me than being a father, and I haven't told you about it."

She asked, "What is it?"

I answered, "Well, I'm afraid if I start to tell you now you will get another call. But sometime when you have 15 minutes I would like to share with you that which means more to me than anything else in life to me." You can well imagine that she had 15 minutes on her next lunch hour which gave me a wonderful opportunity to present the gospel of the Lord Jesus.

We can see from this that if we have our own personal testimony clearly in mind, that we can share it with another person. This is an effective way to make an opening for telling others what the Lord Jesus means to us.

In one of the previous lessons we saw from Acts 22:14,15 that witnessing is simply taking a good look at the Lord Jesus Christ and then telling others what we have seen. We are to take time to look and listen that we might share with others what we have seen and heard of the Lord Jesus. But whatever we do, as we look to the Lord to give us an opening to share the gospel, we must always be courteous.

Thoughtfulness and courtesy are always in order. A key passage on this subject is II Timothy 2:24,25, "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 them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." To be courteous and gentle does not mean to be devious. Rather, we should come straight to the point. My own experience in personal witnessing in these recent years has convinced me that people appreciate it if we will tell them straight from the shoulder what Jesus Christ means to us. They do not care so much from the back door, devious method of approach.

Then, when we get to the point, stick to the point. Do not let somebody get us off by saying, "Well, what about the contradictions in the Bible? Where did Cain get his wife?" If we cannot show them where Cain got his wife, we could say, "I don't know the answer to that, but I am sure there must be one. Here, however, is something I do know. I know that the Lord Jesus Christ can change a life. He has changed mine. I know what it means to walk with Him daily." We must bring them back to the person of Christ. A study of the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John discloses that in our Lord's dealing with the woman at the well, He had to bring her back to the main point several times, for she tried in various ways to side track Him. So, stick to the point.


Here are some things to do and some things not to do as we present the gospel story. We should not presuppose a negative reply. I fear that many of us approach a person about the Lord Jesus Christ and the gospel, assuming that he is going to disagree with us. Somehow or other that attitude on our own part calls forth a negative response on his part. We should, instead, assume a positive response knowing that deep down in that person's heart the Holy Spirit will produce the conviction that what we say is the truth. The one we are dealing with may not outwardly admit it, but the conviction will be there nevertheless.

Consider now some things we should do. We must bring people face to face with the person of Jesus Christ. Remember it is Christ who saves, not a theory, not even a system of doctrine. So we must be certain to bring them face to face with Jesus Christ Himself.

As soon as we are into the interview, we need to use our Bibles. Show them from the Bible what God has to say. Turn from one Scripture to another as the need indicates. This provides with the Holy Spirit a weapon to use to pierce their hearts. As we noted once before, the Bible is the seed which we are to plant in the soil of their hearts. The Holy Spirit will then work a miracle and give the increase. Moreover, as we use the Word of God in this way we will see to a greater degree the importance of memorizing Scripture.

We must not try to force a decision from a person. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. The new birth is a miracle and we cannot produce it.

Another thing to avoid is argument. As soon as we start an argument the other person stops listening to us and just waits for us to finish so that he can make a statement.

Furthermore, keep the message simple. Our Saviour used no hard to understand language when He said concerning His mission to this world, "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).


Finally, and above all, be sure that we share with them the gospel. There are many messages which I have heard - supposedly gospel messages - that have not proclaimed the gospel in my judgment. The gospel concerns a certain body of facts. It is the gospel that is the power of God unto salvation. It is to the gospel and the facts of the gospel that Satan has blinded people's minds.

Just what is the Gospel? I know of no better definition than that which is given in I Corinthians 15:3,4: "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures." This is God's definition of the gospel. So, whatever else we say in personal witnessing, let us be sure that we present the gospel.


1. Review your verses.

2. Begin to read the Topical Memory System. See the Chapter "Beginning With Christ" for information on this.

3. What are some reasons why argumentation does not work in individual witnessing?

4. How far do you think you should go in trying to answer the "pet doctrines" of cults, etc?

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Monday, July 12, 2010

09 The Approach

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We need to know how to approach persons with the gospel. Some may wonder why we have not covered this ground in an earlier lesson. The reason is that we must be prepared. The first eight lessons, when followed, provide that preliminary training.

Adequate preparation in an absolute necessity here. Many have tried to witness for Christ without it and have become discouraged. They did not know how to answer people. Unfamiliar with the Scriptures, and lacking the undergirding which a consistent time of fellowship with the Lord produces, they did not prepare the way ahead by prayer. Others have tried with no fruit to show for their efforts. Fruit in the Christian life is the result of first taking root. The Scripture says, "And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward" (Isa. 37:31). If we are to bear fruit in our lives by way of witnessing to others of Christ and winning them to Him, we must first take root.

How do we take root? One way is by getting into the Word of God and acquiring a working knowledge of it. That is one reason why we have emphasized in the various lessons the importance of committing Scripture verses to memory. Those of you who have faithfully fulfilled all the lesson assignments up to this point will have memorized the four verses in the chapter "Beginning With Christ," and most of the verses in the next chapter "Going on With Christ." You will also have set aside a definite time each day for devotional meditation in the Bible and for prayer. In this way fellowship with Christ will be cultivated.

Another fact that we have tried to emphasize is that we must realize our own helplessness and inadequacy. We need to learn to depend entirely on the Holy Spirit. We should not feel adequate in ourselves for as soon as we do, we will stop resting and trusting in the Lord. We will never feel like we know enough. Many servants of God with much experience back of them tell us that they do not know enough. It is because they have relied upon the Holy Spirit that they have been greatly used.


Even if you are new at this, if you know Christ and have been diligent in studying these lessons you know enough to begin. You have laid the groundwork by way of preparation in your own life. You have prayed definitely and specifically for an individual to whom you might witness, and you have sought to make opportunities whereby you might approach that person. So we suggest that you get going.

We can talk about personal witnessing, we can hear lectures on it, read books on it, listen to challenges on it, and make all needed preparation, but the fact remains that in order to approach someone we must get going.

Go where people are. In the great commission our Lord Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). We are not to sit and wait for people to come to us. We are to go to them. Exodus 4:12 is a good verse for a personal witness to take. The Lord said to Moses, "Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say." We must get going to reach people where they are.

For instance, in the first chapter of John we read how Andrew came to know the Lord (vv. 35-40). Immediately following that event it is said of Andrew, "He first findeth his own brother Simon" (vs. 41). He found him. That means he went and looked for him, and brought him to Jesus. The next person reached was Philip. "The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip" (vs. 43). That could only be done by Jesus going where he was. Following that "Philip findeth Nathanael" (vs. 45). He sought him out and brought him to Jesus.

The first essential in an approach to an individual in witnessing is that we get going. That may mean that we will have to forego some Christian fellowship. It is more enjoyable to spend an hour with a Christian friend with whom we have common interests than it is to go and spend some time with someone who does not know the Lord. Remember, however, the Lord Jesus said, "They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:31,32). So we must be on the lookout for opportunities to witness.

A few years ago when I was with the Graham team in the Seattle Crusade, a business man came forward in one of the services and received Christ as his Saviour. The following Sunday night he went to a church in the city and after the service he walked up to one of the leading elders in the church and said to him, "Did you hear that I received Christ as my Saviour one night last week out at the ball park in one of the meetings?"

The elder answered, "Yes, I hear that you did, and I was certainly delighted to hear it."

The man said to the elder, "Tell me, how long have you and I been associated together in business?"

The elder thought for a moment. "Twenty-three years I believe."

The other went on to say, "Have you known Christ as Saviour all of twenty-three years?"

"Yes," was the reply, "I have."

"You know," said the new Christian, "I have admired you very much, but I don't remember you ever talking to me about the Lord Jesus Christ." The elder hung his head as the man continued, "I admired you so much that I felt that if a man could be as fine a man as you and not be a Christian, than I didn't need to be a Christian either."

You see, this dear man had manifested a good life to his business associate, but he had not gone to tell him of the Lord Jesus Christ who made it possible for him to live that kind of life.

If we are going to be successful witnesses for Christ we must get going. We must get out where the people are who need our help. In other words, if we are going to go fishing, we must go where the fish are.


What are we to do when we meet the person that we are going to help? The first thing we must not do is to think about ourselves. That is the wrong way top begin. The focus of our attention should be on the person whom we are seeking to win. In this matter of personal witnessing there are two people for us to know. We are to know the Lord Jesus Christ, and the person to whom we would make Christ known. So we need to study the person we are trying to help in order to find an opening of some kind to courteously, politely, yet definitely speak to him about his relationship to the Lord Jesus.

Remember this, we do not have to know all the answers. We may fear a little lest those with whom we deal ask us some question that we cannot answer. If they do, we should admit frankly that we do not know the answer to that question. We can add, however, "This I do know. I know what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for me. I know what He means to me." In that way we can keep on the subject of what we do know.


We must study the persons we are seeking to help in order to win their confidence. A good way to do this, in fact, I believe it is a "must" in successful personal witnessing, is to try to discover what legitimate interests has so that we might show an interest in what he is interested in.

I read the other day that at one time D. L. Moody played tennis all afternoon with a young man. He had expected to be "button-holed" by Mr. Moody, but the evangelist threw him off balance and won his confidence by playing tennis with him. Later on Mr. Moody was able to speak to him about the Lord Jesus Christ. We will discover that everybody has some legitimate interest in which we too can show a genuine interest. This is very important if we are to be successful fishers of men.

Another kind of bait that can be used in this matter of witnessing is honest and sincere commendation. We must be sure to avoid flattery, however, because anyone can tell the difference between it and true appreciation. We can find something to commend in almost anyone.

I remember one day I walked into a hotel and noticed that the bellboy had a very distinguished looking mustache. It was a very thin mustache and I was amazed that he could trim it without shaving it off. A day or two later I stepped up to him and said, "Will you pardon me, but you have a mustache that is about as distinguished looking as any I have ever seen." His face lighted up like a Christmas tree, and from there on it was a very simple matter to strike up a conversation with him about his relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Some kind of bait then, is needed. It may be the other person's interests, some honest and sincere commendation, or as is mentioned in the previous lesson, some thoughtful service and courtesy.

Have you ever asked the Lord to give you some idea for a service that you could perform for a friend, not with the idea that he will be indebted to you, but simply to show your interest and love for him? If you are earnest and sincere, the Lord will show you something that you can do to win that person's confidence, and thus win a hearing for the message that you wish to bring.

A wonderful way to win another's confidence is just by the power of a simple testimony as to what the Lord Jesus means to us. In Psalm 107:2 it says, "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy." As has already been said, we do not need to know all the answers. We can be like the man in John 9 who had been healed of his blindness by the Lord Jesus, and was asked by the Pharisees whether or not Jesus was a sinner. The man answered, "Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not. One thing I know, whereas I was blind, now I see" (John 9:25). We can say to someone who asks us a question which stumps us: "Well, I don't know the answer to that question, but I know one thing, and that is Jesus Christ has changed my life." The power of that simple testimony will win confidence and a hearing for the wonderful, blessed message that we wish to bring.


1. Memorize II Corinthians 9:7 and Psalm 107:2

2. Write out in brief your own testimony so that you could give it in five minutes.

3. What two persons must we know in order to witness effectively?

4. What thoughtful services or courtesies might you render to some non-Christian friend of yours?

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Monday, July 5, 2010

08 Lay the Groundwork for Witnessing

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The first thing necessary in laying the groundwork for witnessing is that we pray. There is no substitute for this. It is impossible to be a successful soul-winner apart from constant and fervent prayer. We need to ask the Lord for wisdom so that we will know for which person or persons for which we should pray. God prepares certain hearts to hear the gospel, and He does that as we pray.


The story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch is a good example of this. Philip was in the middle of a very successful evangelistic campaign when he was told by God to go to another place. "And the Spirit of God came to Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza... And he arose and went." When he arrived there, he saw a man who, as he journeyed to his distant home in his chariot, was reading Isaiah the prophet. "Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot." Philip did so and was used of God to lead the eunuch to Christ. In this we see how the Holy Spirit led Philip to a particular individual. God will also lead us with regard to those for whom we should pray.

Usually, the ones whom God has placed within the sphere of our own personal influence are the persons for our personal prayer list - friends, relatives, neighbors, and business associates. Let us start praying for them, daily regularly, and fervently.

Some may wonder, "What should I ask of God concerning them?" One thing we could ask is that the hostility or the indifference they may have for the gospel of the Lord Jesus, might be broken down. Having prayed in this manner, we will later find, as we approach them, that the way has been prepared. Just as an electric eye opens a door ahead of us, so prayer opens the door for our witnessing.

In the second place, we can pray that the soil of their hearts will be prepared for the seed of the Word. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts of sin and points to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God will do His work in answer to prayer of we pray specifically and definitely. On this particular point, it is well to consider thoughtfully John 16:8-11 where we are told of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."

We must pray too that the person may be liberated from the power of Satan, that blindness may be removed from their spiritual eyes. The Bible says, "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not" (II Cor. 4:4). We must, therefore, pray for specific individuals and pray with these definite things in mind. As someone has said, "Be definite with God, and He will be definite with you."

Furthermore, we need to pray for courage to speak for Christ. This fact, we have considered in a previous chapter, but it bears repeating. The apostles found it necessary to make such a request to God. "And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word" (Acts 4:29). These men wanted unembarrassed freedom of speech in order to proclaim the Word of God.

In that same chapter, we read the answers to this prayer. "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness" (vs. 31).

Again we read, "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all" (vs. 33). We will find that by our praying regularly, daily, and specifically, God will give us boldness to speak for Jesus Christ. Prayer, then, is the first thing needed in laying the groundwork for witnessing. Begin now!

In this connection it is a good thing to make a prayer list consisting of the names of our unsaved friends for whom we are going to pray regularly. Then, as the weeks and the months and years go by, we will see how God answers our prayers.


Not only must we start praying, but we must use such opportunities for witnessing as come our way. Some person may object by saying, "Well, I don't have many opportunities."

Actually, we need only one. Why should we have two or three opportunities if we have not yet taken advantage of the one the Lord has given us?

We must ever be on the alert for such chances to witness. Most of us see what we are interested in. If we are desirous of taking opportunities to witness for Christ, we will see them. If we are not desirous of doing so, we are not likely to see them.

People all around us today are unhappy. They may have lovely homes, have new cars in the driveway, be well dressed, and yet this could well be the true situation: "Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness" (Prov. 14:13). They may be putting smiles on their faces and hiding tears in their hearts. I am convinced that if we could look deep into the souls of people who live in our block or the people who walk by any given intersection in any town or country, we would see in most cases heartache, difficulty, frustration, or fear. Those closest to us often times have the greatest needs. So we must be alert for opportunities that the Spirit of God will bring to us.

People are hungry today for something that will satisfy them spiritually. Men of God who have been in the Lord's work for many years tell me that it is easier to talk to men and women about Christ, today, than at any other time in their experience.

We must learn to be friendly to all. As Proverbs says, "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly." We must follow the example of the Lord Jesus of whom it was said, "Then drew near unto him all the publicans sinners for to hear him" (Luke 15:1). The common people heard him gladly. The publicans and sinners came to hear him gladly. He was a friend to all of them. We too should be friendly to all.

We can be friendly without jeopardizing our testimony. We must avoid the "holier than thou" attitude. The Lord Jesus ate with sinners though He was criticized for it. In defense of His actions He said: "They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Mark 2:17). A friendly attitude will open many a door to our witness for Christ.

Added to all this, of course, is living the Christian life. That life lived in the power of the Holy Spirit, is a joyful, attractive life. Remember in this connection that Christians are to be the salt of the earth.

The little girl in a Sunday School was asked: "What is salt?"

She said: "Salt is to make people thirsty."

Now, perhaps you and I cannot make people drink, so to speak, but we can make them thirsty for spiritual things by the kind of a life that is filled with joy and victory in the Lord Jesus Christ. When they turn to Him they will be satisfied (John 4:10).

In order to make opportunities, we must demonstrate sincere interest in people and show love for them. It says of the Lord Jesus in Acts 10:38 that He "went about doing good." Someone has commented on that passage: "The Lord Jesus went about doing good, but it seems as if we just go about."

We must ask God to show us ways and means to do good to people. To show our love we may need to visit them. There may be occasions when taking over a batch of cookies or a cake to a neighbor will open a heart to listen to our witness. To be helpful at a time of difficulty or sorrow may create the desired opportunity. Some little, thoughtful courtesy with no stings attached, may be what God will use in our contacts with a person. In fishing we must go where the fish are, and count no opportunity too small.

By way of laying the groundwork for witnessing, first, start praying. Secondly, be alert for every opportunity. Be genuinely friendly and live the kind of life that makes the Christian life attractive. Demonstrate a sincere interest in others by doing the little, thoughtful courtesies that show your love for them.


1. Memorize Psalm 122:1 and Titus 3:8.

2. Start a prayer list of unsaved friends for whom you are going to pray regularly.

3. List what you consider to be the three most effective means to get an opportunity to witness.

4. List some specific ways that you can go about getting an opportunity for personal witnessing with someone whom you know.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

07 The Power for Witnessing - the Holy Spirit

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(Acts 1:8)

This seventh lesson covers a most important aspect of witnessing. It concerns the Power for witnessing - the Holy Spirit Himself. The Biblical basis for this is Acts 1:8: "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

Here we have both the promise of power and the assurance that on receiving that power we shall be witnesses unto the Lord Jesus Christ.

We need only think of Peter to realize the need for the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Remember how Peter denied the Lord three times, how he was changeable and at times fearful, then something happened. He was filled with the Holy Spirit according to the record in Acts. He fearlessly preached the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and declared emphatically that there is "none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). In response to his message recorded in Acts 2 three thousand people were added to the church.

In Acts chapter four, we read of the rise of persecution against the apostles in those early days. They came together for a prayer meeting and Acts 4:29 tells how they prayed: "And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word." The thirty-first verse gives the result: "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with Boldness."


We must remember that personal witnessing - witnessing to another individual for Christ, or for that matter, any kind of evangelism, is a spiritual ministry. It is a spiritual warfare, a spiritual battle.

In Ephesians 6:12, God reminds us through the pen of the apostle Paul: "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." According to this same Book of Ephesians, every person who does not know Christ as Saviour is dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). A person outside of Christ is spiritually dead. He is not like a broken watch which simply needs to be repaired. He is spiritually dead and must be born again. This can be accomplished only by the power of the Spirit of God. It is clear, then, that personal witnessing is a spiritual ministry, and includes spiritual warfare.

Furthermore we learn from II Corinthians that ever person outside of Christ is blinded by Satan. The record is, "The god of this world hath blinded 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" (II Cor. 4:4). A person may be ever so brilliant in business and in the intellectual field, and yet be absolutely blind concerning the gospel of the Lord Jesus.


Man, by wisdom, cannot find God. Man reaches that goal only by special revelation of the Holy Spirit; therefore, you and I are utterly dependent upon the Spirit of God to work a miracle if our personal witnessing is to be successful and fruitful.

None of us are qualified in ourselves for such work. No person who has been successful in winning others to Christ can help but feel his insufficiency, inability, and inadequacy. This is, of course, as it ought to be, for we must learn to rely upon the Holy Spirit. Remember this, however, that God needs a spokesman. He could spread the gospel by angels if He so chose, but He has not. He has chosen you and me. We who know Christ as Saviour are His spokesman, His ambassadors, His representatives, His witnesses to individuals whom He brings within our daily sphere of influence. We need, therefore, to be filled with the Spirit. In fact the Bible commands that very thing: "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18).

The Lord Jesus pointed out that we are co-laborers with the Holy Spirit in witnessing. This is what our Lord said, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning" (John 15:26,27). The Spirit of truth testifies of the Lord Jesus, and we also bear witness. It is easy to see from this that if we are to be successful, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit.


What is involved in being filled with the Spirit? There are a number of conditions involved, and one of them is the confession of all our sins. The Psalmist said: "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (Ps. 66:18). We can fast, we can stay up all night in prayer, but if we regard any iniquity in our heart, if there is sin there unconfessed, God will not hear us.

One of the memory verses we should know from the chapter "Beginning with Christ" is I John 1:9. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." What does it mean to confess our sins? It means to acknowledge them and to call them what God calls them. This is more than a Christian getting on his knees when he goes to bed and saying, "Lord, forgive me for all my sins of today, both of commission and omission." When we confess in the true sense of that word, He promises to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Then we will have what Paul calls "a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men."

Let us ask ourselves this very moment. Do we have a conscience void of offense toward God and man? Is there some known sin in our lives unconfessed and unforsaken? If so, let us stop right now and confess and acknowledge it to Him. That is one of the great secrets of being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Next is the complete surrender of the will to follow Christ. You recall that in our first lesson we referred to Matthew 4:19 where the Lord Jesus said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." The command is for us to follow Him, then He will make us fishers of men. It is our responsibility to do the following, and His to teach us to be fishers of men. To follow Him involves a surrender of our own wills; for if any man will come after Him, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Him. To deny self means to say No to ourselves, and Yes to Him.

Would a young woman who was about to be married please her prospective husband if she did not want to leave home or wished to retain her own name or wanted to bring her family along to live with her? Of course she would not! A young man wants a complete surrender to him. Or, suppose a young man is called into the Army, but wants to retain his employment, would that be satisfactory to his government? No, he must give himself completely to his country. This same principle is operative in the service of Jesus Christ, only more so. There must be a complete surrender of the will to follow Him regardless of what it costs. That is the second condition involved in the basis for power in witnessing - being filled with the Holy Spirit.

The third condition is that we by faith depend upon the person of the Holy Spirit, which means that we step out on the promises, trusting Him implicitly. We take the step out of obedience, believing that the Spirit of God will do for us what He has promised, that is, to guide us to the person who needs our help. This He assuredly will do.

During the Billy Graham Crusade in London a few years ago, there was an average of 350 persons who responded to the invitation each night. Among the approximately 2,000 personal workers helping us was Mr. Mendenhall, a former alcoholic. Of the 12 alcoholics who came forward during those meetings, without any prearrangement on our part, the Spirit of God so led that 11 of them were dealt with by Mr. Mendenhall.

The Holy Spirit will also guide us in choosing the right Scripture in each situation. It is both amazing and thrilling to have Him bring to our remembrance the portion suitable to meet a particular need. It is only through Him that the gospel message will go forth through us in real power. This fact is brought before us in I Thessalonians 1:5 where Paul says, "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance." We rely on the Spirit of God to do this.

Finally we trust the Holy Spirit to glorify Christ as we seek to point a needy soul to the Lord Jesus. In witnessing, you and I can only go so far, then we must step back, as it were, and let the person to whom we are talking go alone with the Holy Spirit so that He can do His work in that one's heart.

Let us examine ourselves. Do we have any known sin unconfessed? Are our wills surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ? Are we willing to step out in faith depending upon the Holy Spirit to guide us, and give us the power to witness concerning the saving grace of Christ?


1. Memorize John 13:34,35.

2. Review daily all the verses you have learned thus far and quote them to someone word for word.

3. List three main reasons why the personal worker must be led by the Holy Spirit.

4. What must be true in a person's life if he is to be Spirit directed?

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Monday, June 21, 2010

06 How to Have a Quiet Time

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(Dan. 6:10,11)

The Christian life centers in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. We come to know Him as Saviour by a personal act of faith, whereby we receive Him into our hearts and lives. Then the Christian life is lived by faith in fellowship with Him. Through this He is made real to us personally, and because of this personal knowledge we want to tell others about Him. Unembarrassed freedom of speech will be ours, that boldness to talk to others courteously and kindly about Christ. Furthermore, our fellowship with Christ will enable us to have the Christ-like life to support our spoken witness.


How do we go about having a time of fellowship each day with the Lord? For help on this look at Daniel 6:10,11 which we will use as a key passage on the subject of quiet time. The background to this story is that certain government rulers who were envious of Daniel, persuaded King Darius to sign a decree to the effect that if anyone prayed to anyone other than the king during the next 30 days, that person would be thrown into the den of lions.

"Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God." There are several things that we can learn from this incident in Daniel's life. One is that he had a definite time set aside for prayer. In his case, it was three times a day. That may not be possible for us, but one thing is certain, we ought to have a definite time set aside each day in which we meet with the Lord Jesus Christ.

The best time of day for any one of us depends upon our own program and schedule. But for most of us, early in the day before breakfast is to be preferred. Then we can quiet our own hearts before the Lord and get direction from His Word for that day. He is able to nourish us and to strengthen us and to direct us so that we will honor and glorify Him in every activity throughout the day.

In order to get that time we, no doubt, will need to get up a little earlier. This is not hard to figure. What is needed is to decide how long we want to spend in the quiet time and get up just that much earlier each morning. If we are not in the habit of having a devotional period, may I suggest 15 minutes a day each morning before breakfast. Some who have been doing this for years, perhaps spend a half hour or an hour; but for one just beginning, the shorter time is better. When that is packed full and is rich with blessing, then you should increase the time to 20 minutes. Use the shorter period at first and let the time increase as the Lord directs.

What is the secret for getting up in the morning? There is no mystery here. It is simply getting to bed at night. Most of us will agree that at night we putter around the house, doing this little thing and that, but not accomplishing much. The subtle battle is in getting to bed at a reasonable hour. Here we must win if we are to get adequate rest and get up in the morning and mee the Lord and be strong for the day.

One thing is very important - whatever we do we must be consistent in our quiet time. It is a great deal better to get 15 minutes every day than an hour on an occasional day. The Lord is not going to be angry with us, so to speak, if we miss that time in the morning, nor does it necessarily mean that the day will go bad. To me it is something like the climate and the weather. The weather will vary from day to day, but the climate is the over-all average. Our devotional life or our quiet time may vary a bit from day to day with the circumstances of our life, but the over-all average should be a consistent time set aside daily for fellowship with the Lord Jesus.


The second thing we notice about Daniel is, that he had a definite place for prayer. He went into his house. This is of primary importance, if for no other reason than that it saves time to get there. The place chosen should be one where we can be alone, if possible. The Lord Jesus, in order to be alone, went to great lengths at times. For example, in Matthew 14:23 we read, "And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone."

We need to get alone and away from distractions. I do not know where that would be for each of us. It may be that there is someplace around our homes, in the living room, or even in the basement, which we can use.

In our home, I cleared a corner in the storage section of our garage, put a piece of rug on the cement floor, added a chair, and thus made a place for which I could go in the morning for prayer. If the weather is pleasant, perhaps a nearby park or a field, or even the family car would answer the purpose. The essential thing is to find a place where we can be alone for this quiet time.


After we have a definite time and a definite place, we ought to have a simple method. First of all, begin with the Word of God. It is His Word which nourishes the soul as the Lord Jesus declared when He quoted from Deuteronomy: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word taht proceedeth out of the mouth of God." So we need to use our Bibles.

Perhaps it would be well to read through the gospel of John, a chapter each morning. As we read we should ask God to speak to our hearts so that we will see the person of Christ. We should also pray for truth that we can apply to our own lives. It is far better to follow a definite plan of this kind than to use the hunt and peck system with a portion of one part of the Bible one day, and another part for the next day. Whatever study plan we follow, it should be something which is consistent and systematic.

It would be well, too, for us to have a notebook with us, so that we might jot down some of the things which God brings to our hearts from the Word each day. He will always apply some truth to our lives and give help in the light of the needs we face. For myself, if I were spending 15 minutes in a quiet time, I believe that I would take 7 or 8 minutes for meditation in the Bible. For a 30 minute quiet time, possibly 15 or 18 minutes should be spent in meditation on some portion of Scripture. Following this we should go to prayer.

What should we do when we pray? Here are five things which should help us. First of all, we need to confess any sin that the Lord brings to our heart, and then claim the promise of I John 1:9 where he says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Second, following confession, is praise to Him for who He is. Third, we need to thank Him for what He has done in dying on the cross, and also for the daily blessings which He gives. Fourth, we ought to intercede for the people whom He brings to our minds. One very practical way to do this is to turn to some of the prayers of the Apostle Paul, such as are in Philippians 1, and Ephesians 1 and 3, and make those our prayers for our friends. Fifth, we should make petitions for ourselves.

Do you have a time set aside each day? If not, why not start right away. Follow the simple plan suggested. Nothing will take the place of daily devotions.


1. Memorize Matthew 6:33 and Philippians 4:13.

2. Set aside 15 minutes a day for quiet time.

3. For your own benefit write down where and when you plan to have your daily quiet time.

4. What do you intend to do during the quiet time? (Be specific in your answer.)

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Monday, June 14, 2010

05 The Real Basis for Witnessing

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We have seen that memorizing certain key passages of Scripture is one of two things needed to make Christians the most effective witnesses for Christ in the least amount of time. In the account of Paul's conversion in Acts chapter 22, we find the second thing needed.


The Scripture states that following his meeting with the Lord on the road to Damascus, Paul, then Saul, went into that city and stayed in a house in the street called Straight.

God sent Ananias to heal Saul of his blindness and to tell him what his lifework would be. After saying, "Brother Saul, receive thy sight," Ananias declared, "The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard" (Acts 22:14,15).

Why did God choose Paul? Some no doubt will say, "To witness concerning Christ." These verses show that witnessing was not primary but secondary.

Read them again. Ananias said to Paul, "The God of our fathers hath chosen thee" - for what? First, "that thou shouldest know his will"; second, "and see that Just One" - the Lord Jesus Christ; third, "And shouldest hear the voice of his mouth." Then following these three is this fourth and last thing: "Thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard." From this we see that witnessing has to do with the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must first of all know Christ as Saviour, else how can we make Him real to another person? As the Lord Jesus said in John 3:11, "We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen." The Apostle John wrote: "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" (I John 5:13). We must first have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through faith; then we live out the Christian life in fellowship with Christ.

Consider once more that passage in Acts 22. Where do we find God's will? In and through the Bible. How is it possible for us to see the Just One, the Lord Jesus Christ? Again it is in and through His Word, as the Holy Spirit reveals Him to us. Where do we hear His voice? He speaks through Scriptures. Only after we have taken time to see Him and to hear what He has to say, can we witness to others of what we have seen and heard.

Someone has said that witnessing for Christ is simply taking a good look at the Lord, and then going out and telling people of what we have seen.


John wrote in his First Epistle: "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his son Jesus Christ" (I John 1:3). Thus we are to share with others what we have seen and heard. A personal witness always points to Christ. He tells others and shares with them what he has seen of Christ and has heard from Christ.


Such a witness has something to say that is real and alive and penetrates the heart. Witnessing is more than sharing theological or doctrinal views with someone else. It is witnessing concerning a Person. Our Lord said in Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive power; after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me." We are to be witnesses unto the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is true witnessing, but none of us can witness in that way unless we take time daily to gaze on the Lord Jesus, and to hear the voice of His mouth. We cannot get a clear picture of Him by taking fleeting glimpses. We must take time to look steadfastly at Him and to listen to His voice.

The Psalmist said, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple" (Ps. 27:4). To behold the beauty of the Lord is to see how wonderful He is. To inquire in His temple, is to listen to what He has to say. Do we take time each day to look and to listen?

Again the Psalmist said, "When thou saidst, "Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek." Is that our response? If it is, then we will find that we have a true basis for witnessing concerning the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. But not only that, we will find that the time set aside for listening and looking - often called the quiet time - will not only give us something to share as to what we have seen and heard, but will also give us the boldness to say it.

A good example of such boldness is described in Acts 4:13: "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." The members of the Sanhedrin were amazed when they saw Peter and John. The Jewish leaders were astonished and several things amazed them, one was the boldness of the Apostles. Boldness is not rudeness. Boldness in this connection simply means unembarrassed freedom of speech. Why does it seem so difficult to talk about Jesus Christ? We can talk about world conditions, sports, and other affairs of life without difficulty. Yet, when the name of Jesus Christ is mentioned at work, or at the neighbors, a flush of embarrassment comes over our face, and our tongue seems to get thick. The reason lies in our not knowing the Lord very well. We have not taken time to be with Him. According to this passage in Acts 4, Peter and John had been with Jesus. That is what gave them that unembarrassed freedom of speech. Is it not true that we like to talk about someone whom we really know and love?

If we are going to have boldness to talk about Christ, we need to get to know Him better. That means we must spend time with Him, to gaze upon Him, and to hear the voice of His mouth. Not only will we have something to share, but it will be real and alive. Moreover, when we take time to meet with the Lord there will be a Christ-likeness about us as we do personal work. There was something about Peter and John which indicated that they had been with Jesus. Is that true of us? It will be, if we take time every day to be with the Lord Jesus - a quiet time set aside to meditate on His Word, and to talk with Him through prayer. This will bring a change in us. We will become more like the Lord Jesus. "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Cor. 3:18).


How do we get to know a friend better? By spending time with him. We get acquainted with another person by exchanging ideas and sharing experiences. In other words we fellowship together.

So it is with Christ. He talks to us through His Word. In it He tells us who He is and what He does. That is why you should spend a little time every day, reading, studying, and memorizing Scripture. You enter into fellowship with Him through obeying Him and spending time with Him in prayer.

Set aside 10, 15, 20 minutes, or perhaps a longer time to fellowship with Him every day. That is absolutely imperative and basic if you are to be an effective personal witness for Christ.


1. Read "Going On With Christ."

2. Memorize Psalm 119:9,11.

3. Write a brief paragraph on how you know that you have eternal life.

4. What are some of the main reasons why you should have a daily time set aside for personal fellowship with Christ?

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Monday, June 7, 2010

04 You Can Memorize If You Know How!

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Witnessing is the responsibility of every Christian. It is not restricted to certain select people such as full-time Christian workers or missionaries, but every child of God is called to be a "fisher of men." We do not witness more often, chiefly because we are not prepared. Moreover, we must pay a price for this.

Some years ago, there was a sailor on the USS West Virginia who had joined the navy with the idea of saving up enough money in order to enter seminary after his period of service was finished. In the navy he lost track of his objective, and drifted away from the Lord. A Christian woman who knew him, prayed for him daily. She knew another young man, Dawson Trotman by name, whom God was using in a great way. She asked Mr. Trotman if he would speak with this young sailor about spiritual matters.

Mr. Trotman agreed to meet Les Spencer at the navy landing. From there they drove in Mr. Trotman's car to the top of one of the hills near Long Beach, California, to talk. No sooner had they begun their discussion, than a policeman walked up to the window of the car and wanted to know what they were doing. Mr. Trotman held up a Bible. The policeman first looked at the Bible and then at the sailor and began to ask questions.

For an hour, Mr. Trotman asnswered the policeman's questions by turning first to one Scripture portion and then to another. At the end of that time, the policeman knelt down and received Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour.

As the young sailor and Mr. Trotman drove down the hill, the sailor said to Mr. Trotman, "I would give my right arm to be able to do what you did tonight - just to lead a person to Christ."

Mr. Trotman told him, "You can do what I did tonight, Les. It won't you your right arm, but it will cost you something by way of preparation, studying, the memorizing of Scripture, and a strong prayer-life."

Mr. Trotman invited Les Spencer over to his home a couple of nights a week, and it was not long before Les, in turn, was used in another life. That was the beginning of the Navigators work. It cost something, and it will cost us something too. But if we have a genuine desire to be used as fishers of men, and are willing to pay the price, God will use us. We will need a working knowledge of the Bible, and one of the best ways to acquire that for effective personal witnessing is through memorizing Scripture verses.

As we pointed out in Chapter III this will give you something to say, and you will have the confidence that you are speaking not your own words but the words of God. Furthermore, it is through this means that the Spirit of God will enable you to have victory over sin and Satan. At the same time you will be ready always to give an answer to every man who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.

Too often we think of a verse of Scripture that we should have used the day before. Scripture memorizing will take the Word of God and put it right on your lips, like an arrow ready to fly into the heart of the individual with whom we are dealing.


There are several other reasons why it would be very valuable for us, regardless of the effort it costs, to commit Bible passages to memory. One of them is this: It is a fast way to come to know our way about the Bible. Well chosen Scripture verses committed to memory become like signposts that will direct your way in the Word.

For instance, we know that the story of Nicodemus is in John 3, because we have memorized John 3:16. Or we know that the story of the good Samaritan is in Luke 10, because we have committed to memory Luke 10:33,34.


What a rich source of blessing there is in meditating on the Scriptures! A great aid to this is the memorizing of verses. We read in the Psalms: "But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper" (Ps. 1:2,3). This is the way to prosper, and the goal is made easier for us when we have the Word where we can recall it to mind at any time - walking down the street, before going to sleep at night, and when we wake up in the morning.


There is still another passage that lends strong encouragement to our memorizing of Scripture. What is the greatest commandment in the Bible? That question was asked of the Lord Jesus, and His answer was, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." He quoted directly from Deuteronomy 6:5 and the verse which follows says, "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart." What better way to get them into our hearts than to commit them to memory?

This same idea is suggested in verse seven. "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and thou shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." In other words, our lives shoudl be saturated with the Word of God.


Many persons, when encouraged to memorize Scripture, say, "I have a poor memory." The fact is that most of us have poor memories. Yet, I have seen thousands of people successfully memorize Scripture though most of them had poor memories. On the other hand, our memories may be better than we think. For instance I have heard it said that two women who have not seen each other for some time can meet on a street corner, talk for fifteen or twenty minutes, then go home and recount the entire conversation to their respective husbands, almost verbatim. That takes a good memory.

Psychologically, we can memorize. All things being equal, the older we become the better our memory and not the worse. Our minds are essentially associating machines, and memory is quickened by tying a new thought to an old. For that reason, the more knowledge and background and experience we have, the more we have with which to tie in a new verse of Scripture. The problem is not so much our memories as it is our poor concentration while working on the verses. Many old people have committed these verses to memory that are in the memory packets, Among them is a lady of 72, another aged 78, a man 84, and a man 90.

We must apply the rules of memory, and one of these is review. Some of you say, "I can get a verse memorized today, but tomorrow I will forget it."

In that case you did not really memorize it. You only repeated it. A verse is not really memorized until it sticks in one's mind and that takes time and review - daily review. We should review a verse once today, once tomorrow, once the next day, and so on for a number of weeks until it becomes a part and parcel of our being.

Some may object by saying, "I don't have time to memorize."

The memorizing of Scripture does not take time. We can do it while washing dishes. Why not place a verse of Scripture on the window-sill in back of the sink? Or the men can place it on the mirror, while they shave. If the Lord wants us to commit Scripture to memory, is it not reasonable to think that He will also give us the needed ability to do it? Of course He will!


Here are two factors to remember in memorizing Scripture. First, have a definite plan. Learn so many verses per week. We have started with one each lesson as part of the homework. Now we should be able to memorize two verses - the next two in "Beginning with Christ": I John 1:9, and John 16:24. These verses are shorter than some of the others. In the second place be consistent. Work on your verses every day, and if possible, early in the day.

Tools are an aid in the memorizing of Scripture. That is why the chapters, "Beginning With Christ" and "Going On With Christ" have been added. These are reprinted from two booklets bearing the same titles, and which are published by the Navigators, Colorado Springs, Colorado. "Beginning With Christ" contains four and "Going On With Christ" contains eight scriptures to be memorized. Both booklets also include information on "The Topical Memory System" book. Should you do so you will find this to be one of the best investments you have ever made.


1. Memorize I John 1:9 and John 16:24

2. What to you are the three most important reasons for committing Scripture passages to memory?

3. Write our briefly your plan for systematically committing Scripture verses to memory.

4. List three of your greatest problems with memorizing Scripture and indicate how you feel that you can overcome them.

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