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Text Sermons : R.A. Torrey : HOW TO DEAL WITH THOSE WHO HAVE LITTLE OR NO CONCERN ABOUT THEIR SOULS

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The largest class of men and women are those who
have little or no concern about their salvation.
There are some who contend that there is no use
dealing with such, but there is. It is our
business when a man has no concern about his
salvation to go to work to produce that concern.
How shall we do it?

I. SHOW HIM THAT HE IS A GREAT SINNER BEFORE GOD.

There is no better verse for this purpose than
Matthew 22:37-38:

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy
God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and
with all thy mind. THIS IS THE FIRST AND GREAT
COMMANDMENT."

Before the one with whom you are dealing reads
these verses, you can say to him, "Do you know
that you are a great sinner before God?" Very
likely he will reply, "I suppose I am a sinner,
but I do not know that I am such a great sinner."
"Do you know that you have committed the greatest
sin that a man can possibly commit?" "No, I
certainly have not." "What do you think is the
greatest sin that a man can commit?" Probably he
will answer, "Murder." "You are greatly mistaken.
Let us see what God says about it." Then have him
read the passage. When he has read it, ask him,
"What is the first and great commandment?" "Thou
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."
"Which commandment is this?" "The first and great
commandment." "If this is the first and great
commandment, what is the first and great sin?"
"Not to keep this commandment." "Have {45} you
kept it? Have you put God first in everything,
first in your affections, first in your thoughts,
first in your pleasures, first in your business,
first in everything?" "No, I have not." "What
commandment, then, have you broken?" "The first
and great commandment."

Some time ago a young man came into our inquiry
meeting. I asked him if he was a Christian, and he
replied that he was not. I asked him if he would
like to be, and he said he would. I said, "Why,
then, do you not become a Christian tonight?" He
replied, "I have no special interest in the
matter." I said, "Do you mean that you have no
conviction of sin?" "Yes," he said, "I have no
conviction of sin, and am not much concerned about
the whole matter." I said, "I hold in my hand a
book which God has given us for the purpose of
producing conviction of sin; would you like to
have me use it upon you?" Half laughing, he
replied, "Yes." When he had taken a seat, I had
him read Matthew 22:37-38. When he had read the
passage I said to him, "What is the first and
great commandment?" He read it from the Bible. I
said, "If this is the first and great commandment,
what is the first and great sin?" He replied, 'Not
to keep this commandment." I asked, "Have you kept
it?" "I have not." "What have you done then?"
Said he, "I have broken the first and greatest of
God's commandments," and broken down with a sense
of sin, then and there he went down before God and
asked Him for mercy, and accepted Christ as his
Savior.

Another excellent passage to use to produce
conviction of sin is Romans 14:12:

"So then every one of us shall give account of
himself to God."

The great object in using this passage is to bring
the careless man face to face with God, and make
him realize that he must give account to God. When
he has read it, ask him, "Who has to give
account?" "Every one of us." "Whom does that
take in?" "Me." "Who then is to give account?"
"I am." "To whom are you to give account?" "To
God." "Of what are you to give account?" "Of
myself." "Read it that way." "I shall give
account of myself to God." "Now just let that
thought sink into your heart. Say it over to
yourself again and again, 'I am to give account of
myself to God. I am to give account of myself to
God.' Are you ready to do it?"

Amos 4:12 can be used in much the same way: {46}

"Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and
because I will do this unto thee, PREPARE TO MEET
THY GOD, O Israel."

Another very effective passage with many a
careless man is Romans 2:16:

"In the day when GOD SHALL JUDGE THE SECRETS of
men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel."

When the one with whom you are dealing has read
the verse, say, "What is God going to do in some
coming day?" "Judge the secrets of men." "Judge
what?" "The secrets of men." "Who is it that is
going to judge the secrets of men?" "It is God."
"Are you ready to have the secret hidden things of
your life judged by a holy God?"

II. SHOW HIM THE AWFUL CONSEQUENCES OF SIN.

A very effective passage for this purpose is
Romans 6:23:

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of
God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our
Lord."

When he has read the passage, ask him, "What is
the wages of sin?" "Death." Explain to him the
meaning of death, literal death, spiritual death,
eternal death. Now say, "This is the wages of sin;
have you earned these wages?" "Are you willing to
take them?" "No." "Well, there is one
alternative; read the remainder of the verse."
"The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus
Christ our Lord." "Now you have your choice
between the two, the wages that you have earned by
sin, and the gift of God; which will you choose?"

Another very useful passage along this line is
Isaiah 57:21:

"There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."

Another verse declaring the fearful consequences
of sin, is John 8:34:

"Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto
you, Whosoever commiteth sin is the servant of
sin."

Have the one with whom you are dealing read the
passage, then ask him what every one who commits
sin is. "The servant of sin." "What kind of a
service is that?" Bring it out that it is very
degrading. Ask the inquirer if he appreciates that
this is true of him, that {47} he is the servant
of sin, and then ask him if he does not want to be
set free from this awful bondage.

There is another passage that one can use in much
the same way, Romans 6:16:

"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves
servants to obey, his servants ye are whom ye
obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience
unto righteousness?"

III. SHOW HIM THE AWFULNESS OF UNBELIEF IN JESUS
CHRIST.

Very few out of Christ realize that unbelief in
Jesus Christ is anything very bad. Of course they
know it is not just right, but that it is
something awful and appalling they do not dream
for a moment. They should be shown that there is
nothing more appalling than unbelief in Jesus
Christ. A good passage for this purpose is John
3:18-19:

"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he
that believeth not is condemned already, because
he that not believed in the name of the only
begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation,
that light is come into the world, and men loved
darkness rather than light, because their deeds
were evil."

When the passage has been read, say, "Now this
verse tells us of some one who is condemned
already; who is it?" "He that believeth not."
"Believeth not on whom?" "On Jesus." "How many
that believe not on Jesus are condemned already?"
"Every one." "Why is every one that believeth not
on Jesus condemned already?" "Because he has not
believed on the name of the only begotten Son of
God." "Why is this such an awful thing in the
sight of God?" "Because light is come into the
world, and men loved darkness rather than light
because their deeds are evil." "In whom did the
light come into the world?" "In Jesus." "Jesus,
then, is the incarnation of light, God's fullest
revelation to man: to reject Jesus, then, is the
deliberate rejection of what?" "Light." "The
choice of what?" "Darkness." "In rejecting Jesus,
what are you rejecting?" "Light." "And what are
you choosing?" "Darkness rather than light." Ask
all the questions that are necessary to impress
this truth upon the mind of the unbeliever, that
he is deliberately rejecting the light of God, and
choosing darkness rather than light.

Another very useful passage for the same purpose
is Acts 2:36-37: {48}

"Therefore let all the house of Israel know
assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus,
whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now
when they heard this, they were pricked in their
heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the
apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?"

When the passage is read, say, "Now here were
certain men under deep conviction of sin, crying
out, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' What
was the sin that they committed that produced such
deep conviction?" "They had crucified Jesus."
"What had God done with Jesus?" "He had made Him
both Lord and Christ." "These men had rejected One
whom God hath made both Lord and Christ. Is that a
serious sin?" "Yes." "And are you not guilty of
that very sin today? You are rejecting Jesus, and
this Jesus whom you are rejecting is the very one
whom God hath made both Lord and Christ. Is it not
an awful sin to deliberately reject one whom God
hath thus exalted?"

Another good passage to use is John 16:8-9:

"And when he is come, he will reprove the world of
sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of
sin, because they believe not on me."

When the passage has been read, ask the one with
whom you are dealing, "Of what sin is it that the
Holy Ghost, who knows the mind of God, especially
convicts men?" "Of the sin of unbelief." "What,
then, is the crowning sin in God's sight?"
"Unbelief in Jesus CHrist." "Why is unbelief in
Jesus Christ the crowning sin in God's sight?"
Then bring out that it is because it reveals most
clearly the heart's deliberate choice of sin
rather than righteousness, of darkness rather than
light, of hatred to God rather than love to God.

In some cases it is well to use Hebrews 10;28-29:

"He that despised Moses' law died without mercy
under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer
punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought
worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of
God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant,
wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and
hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?"

When the passage has been read, ask the inquirer,
"How serious an offense was it in God's sight to
despise Moses' law?" "The one who did it died
without mercy." "Is there any offense more serious
in God's sight than despising the law of Moses?"
"Yes, treading under foot the Son of God." "Does
not every one who rejects Jesus {49} Christ
practically tread under foot the Son of God, and
count the blood of the covenant wherewith He was
sanctified an unholy thing?" "Yes, I suppose he
does." "Are you not committing this very sin?"

IV. SHOW HIM THE AWFUL CONSEQUENCES OF UNBELIEF.

For this purpose begin by using Hebrews 11:6, the
first of the verse:

"But without faith it is impossible to please
him."

"Now this verse tells you that there is one thing
that God absolutely requires if we are to please
Him: what is it?" "Faith." "And no matter what
else we do, if we have not faith, what is
impossible for us?" "To please Him."

Follow this up by John 8:24:

"I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in
your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye
shall die in your sins."

"What does this verse tell us will happen to you
if you do not believe in Jesus?" "I shall die in
my sins." Then have the inquirer read verse 21,

"Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and
ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins:
whither I go, ye cannot come."

That will show the result of once dying in his
sins.

Further follow this up by 2_Thessalonians 1:7-9:

"And to you who are troubled rest with us, when
the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with
his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking
vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey
not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall
be punished with everlasting destruction from the
presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his
power."

Say to the inquirer, "This verse tells us of a
coming day in which Jesus is to take vengeance
upon a certain class of people, and they are to be
punished with everlasting destruction from the
presence of the Lord and the glory of His power.
Who is it that are to be thus punished?" "They
that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of
our Lord Jesus Christ." "Are you obeying the
Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ." "No." "If,
then, Christ should come now {50} what would be
your destiny?" "I should be punished with
everlasting destruction from the presence of the
Lord, and the glory of His power."

Then turn to Revelation 21:8. This verse needs no
comment, it tells its own story:

"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the
abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and
sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall
have their part in the lake which burneth with
fire and brimstone: which is the second death."

Revelation 20:15 may also be used:

"And whosoever was not found written in the book
of life was cast into the lake of fire."

V. SHOW HIM THAT ALL ONE HAS TO DO TO BE LOST IS
SIMPLY TO NEGLECT THE SALVATION THAT IS OFFERED IN
CHRIST.

A verse which will serve for this purpose is
Hebrews 2:3:

"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great
salvation; which at the first began to be spoken
by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them
that heard him?"

When the verse has been read, ask, "What does this
verse tell us is all that is necessary to be done
in order to be lost?" "Simply neglect the great
salvation." "That is the very thing that you are
doing today; you are already lost. God has
provided salvation for you at great cost: all you
need to do to be saved, is to accept the
salvation, but you cannot be saved any other way;
and all you need to do to be lost, is simply to
neglect it. You do not need to plunge into
desperate vices, you do not need to be an open and
avowed infidel, you do not need to refuse even to
accept salvation. If you simply neglect it, you
will be lost forever. Will you not let the
question of the text sink deep into your heart:
'How shall we escape if we neglect so great
salvation?'"

Another passage to use for this purpose is Acts
3:22-23:

"For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet
shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your
brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all
things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it
shall come to pass that every soul, which will not
hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among
the people." {51} "This passage tells us about a
Prophet that Moses said the Lord would raise up.
Who was that Prophet?" "Jesus." "What does God
tell us to do with that Prophet?" "Hear him 'in
all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.'"
"What shall happen unto him who does not hearken
unto the words of that Prophet?" "He shall be
destroyed from among the people." "Are you
hearkening unto the words of that Prophet?"

Still another passage to use is Acts 12:38-41:

"Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren,
that through this man is preached unto you the
forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe
are justified from all things, from which ye could
not be justified by the law of Moses.

"Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which
is spoken of in the prophets; Behold, ye
despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a
work in your days, a work which ye shall in no
wise believe, though a man declare it unto you."

"These verses tell us about Jesus. They tell us of
something that is preached to us through Him. What
is it?" "Forgiveness of sins." "They tell us what
it is that a man has to do to obtain this
forgiveness of sins; what is it?" "Believe on
Him." "What blessing comes to all that believe?"
"They are justified from all things." "On the
other hand, what comes to us if we neglect to
believe?" "We shall perish."

Still another passage to use for this purpose is
John 3:36:

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting
life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not
see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."

When the passage has been read, ask, "What does
every one who believes on the Son get?"
"Everlasting life." "But on the other hand, if
one simply neglects to believe what will be the
result?" "He shall not see life, but the wrath of
God abideth upon him."

VI. SHOW HIM THE WONDERFUL LOVE OF GOD TO HIM.

Oftentimes when every other method of dealing with
the careless fails, a realization of the love of
God breaks the heart, and leads to an acceptance
of Christ. There is no better passage to show the
love of God than John 3:16:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life."
{52}

Generally it will need no comment. I was once
dealing with one of the most careless and vile
women I ever met. She moved in good society, but
in her secret life was as vile as a woman of the
street. She told me the story of her life in a
most shameless and unblushing way, half-laughing
as she did it. I made no further reply than to ask
her to read John 3:16 to which I had opened my
Bible. Before she had read the passage through,
she burst into tears, her heart broken by the love
of God to her.

Another excellent passage to use in the same way
is Isaiah 53:5:

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was
bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of
our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we
are healed."

God used this passage one night to bring to tears
and penitence one of the most stubborn and wayward
young women with whom I ever dealt. I made almost
no comment, simply read the passage to her. The
Spirit of God seemed to hold up before her, her
Savior, wounded for her transgressions, and
bruised for her iniquities. Her stubborn will gave
way, and before many days she was rejoicing in
Christ.

Two other passages which can be used in the same
way are Galatians 3:13 and 1_Peter 2:24:

"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the
law, being made a curse for us: for it is written,
Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:"

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on
the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live
unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were
healed."

After showing the love of God through the use of
such passages as these mentioned, it is oftentimes
well to clinch this truth by using Romans 2:4-5:

"Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and
forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that
the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
But after thy hardness and impenitent heart
treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day
of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment
of God."

Before having the passage read, say, "We have been
looking at the love of God to you; now let us see
what God tells us is the purpose of that love, and
what will be the result of our despising it." Then
have the passage, Romans 2:4-5 read by the one
with whom {53} you are dealing. When he has read
it, ask him what is the purpose of God's goodness.
"To lead to repentance." "If it does not lead us
to repentance, what does it show us about our
hearts?" "That they are very hard and
impenitent." "And if we refuse to let the
goodness of God lead us to repentance, what will
be the result?" "We treasure up wrath unto
ourselves against the day of wrath and the
revelation of the righteous judgment of God."

Of course it will not always be possible to get a
person who has little or no concern about his
salvation to talk with you long enough to go over
all these passages, but not infrequently he will
become so interested after the use of the first or
second passage that he will be glad to go through.
Oftentimes it is not at all necessary to use all
these passages. Not infrequently I find that the
first passage, Matthew 22:37-38, does the desired
work, but it is well to be thorough, and to use
all the passages necessary.

Sometimes one will not talk with you for any
length of time at all. In such a case, the best
thing to do is to select a very pointed and
searching passage and give it to him, repeating it
again and again, and then as he goes, say to him
something like this, "I am going to ask God to
burn that passage into your heart"; and then do
not forget to do what you said you were going to
do. Good passages for this purpose are Romans
6:23, Mark 16:16, John 3:36, Isaiah 57:21.

When the inquirer has been led by the use of any
or all of these passages to realize his need of a
Savior, and really desires to be saved, of course
he comes under the class treated in the preceding
chapter, and should be dealt with accordingly. It
is not intended that the worker shall follow the
precise method laid down here, which is given
rather by way of suggestion, but the general plan
here outlined has been honored of God to the
salvation of very many. But let us be sure,
whether we use this method or some other, to do
thoroughgoing and lasting work.

Of course it is not supposed that the inquirer
will always answer you exactly as stated above. If
he does not, make use of the answers that he does
give, or if necessary ask the same question
another way until he does answer you correctly.
The answers given to the questions are found in
the text, but people have a great habit of not
seeing what is plainly stated in a Scripture text.
Oftentimes {54} when they do not answer right,
it is well to ask them to look at the verse again,
and repeat the question, and keep asking questions
until they do give the right answer. Perhaps the
inquirer will try to switch you off on to some
sidetrack. Do not permit him to do this, but hold
right to the matter in hand.





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