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Text Sermons : R.A. Torrey : HOW TO DEAL WITH THOSE WHO HAVE DIFFICULTIES

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"A new heart also will I give you, and a new
spirit will I put within you: and I will take away
the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give
you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit
within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes,
and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."

"What does God here promise to give?" "A new
heart." "Are you willing that He should give you
a new heart in place of that hard and wicked heart
that you have?"

Another passage which is helpful in much the same
way is 2_Corinthians 5:17:

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new
creature: old things are passed away; behold, all
things are become new."

"Yes," you can say to the one in trouble, "your
heart is too hard and wicked. What you need is to
be made all over new; there is a way to be made
all over, to get a new heart and to be a new man.
Let me show you what that way is." Then let him
read the passage. When he has read it, ask him,
"What does the one who accepts Christ become?" "A
new creature." "What becomes of the old things?"
"They are passed away." "Do you want to be a new
creature, and have old things pass away?" "Yes."
"What then is all that you have to do?" "Accept
Christ." "Will you do it?"

III. "I MUST BECOME BETTER BEFORE I BECOME A
CHRISTIAN."

This is a very real difficulty with many people.
They sincerely believe that they cannot come to
Christ just as they are in their sins, that they
must do something to make themselves better before
they can come to Him. You can show them that they
are utterly mistaken in this by having them read
Matthew 9:12-13:

"But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them,
They that be whole need not a physician, but they
that are sick. But go ye and learn what that
meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice: for
I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners
to repentance."

When they have read it, if they do not see the
point for themselves, you can ask, "To what does
Jesus compare Himself in this verse?" "To a
physician." "Who is it needs a physician, well
people {61} or sick people?" "Sick people."
"Ought a person who is sick to wait until he gets
well before he gets the doctor?" "No, of course
not." "Ought a person who is spiritually sick to
wait until he is better before he comes to Jesus?"
"No." "Who is it Jesus invites to come to
Himself, good people or bad people?" "Bad
people." "Is then the fact that you are not good
a reason for waiting or a reason for coming to
Jesus at once?"

Luke 15:18-24 also fits the case exactly. Show the
inquirer that we have in this story a picture of
God's relation to the sinner, that God wishes us
to understand that He would have the sinner come
in all his rags, and that He will give him a
hearty welcome, a robe, a ring and a feast if he
comes just as he is.

Luke 18:10-14 also applies. You can say, "Here are
two men who came to God. One came on the ground
that he was a sinner, the other came on the ground
that he was righteous. Which of the two did God
accept?" "The one who came on the ground that he
was a sinner." "Well, God would have you come just
the same way."

IV. "I CANNOT HOLD OUT," OR "I AM AFRAID I SHALL
FAIL IF I TRY").

1. GENERAL TREATMENT. First see if the inquirer is
in dead earnest, and if there is not some other
difficulty lying back of this. Many a man gives
this as a difficulty, when perhaps it is not the
real one.

There is perhaps no better verse in the Bible for
this difficulty than Jude 24:

"Now unto him that is ABLE TO KEEP YOU FROM
FALLING, and to present you faultless before the
presence of his glory with exceeding joy."

Its application is so plain as to need no comment.

Another useful passage is 1_Peter 1:5:

"Who are KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD through faith
unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last
time."

When the inquirer has read it, ask him by whose
power it is that we are kept. Then you can say,
"It is not then a question of our strength at all,
but of God's strength. Do you think that God is
able to keep you?" {62}

Other passages which are helpful along the same
line are:

"For the which cause I also suffer these things:
nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I
have believed, and am persuaded that HE IS ABLE TO
KEEP that which I have committed unto him against
that day." 2_Timothy 1:12.

"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not
dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen
thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold
thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
Isaiah 41:10.

"For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand,
saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee."
Isaiah 41:13.

A passage which will help by showing the absolute
security of Christ's sheep, is John 10:28-29:

"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall
never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out
of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is
greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them
out of my Father's hand."

In many cases a good passage to use is Hebrews
7:25:

"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the
uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he
ever liveth to make intercession for them."

2. SPECIAL CASES.

(1) THOSE AFRAID OF SOME TEMPTATION THAT WILL
PROVE TOO STRONG.

The best passage to use in such a case is
1_Corinthians 10;13:

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is
common to man; but God is faithful, who will not
suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able;
but will with the temptation also make a way to
escape, that ye may be able to bear it."

(2) THOSE WHO DWELL UPON THEIR OWN WEAKNESS.

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for
thee; for MY STRENGTH IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS.
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my
infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon
me." 2_Corinthians 12:9-10.

"He giveth power to the faint; and to them that
have no might he increaseth strength. Even the
youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men
shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the
Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount
up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not
be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
Isaiah 40:29-31.

One evening a lady called me to a man whom she was
trying to lead to Christ and asked me if I could
help him. I said to him, "What is your
difficulty?" He replied, "I have no strength."
"Ah," I said, "I have a message that exactly fits
your case," and read Isaiah {63} 40:29, "He
giveth power to the faint, and to them that have
no might he increaseth strength." "You say you
have no strength, that is, no might; now this
verse tells us that to those who have no might,
that is to people just like you, God increaseth
strength." The Holy Spirit took the word of
comfort home to his heart at once, and he put his
trust in Jesus Christ then and there.

V. "I CANNOT GIVE UP MY EVIL WAYS."

1. YOU MUST OR PERISH. In order to prove this
statement, use:

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of
God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our
Lord." Romans 6:23.

"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for
whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh
reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit
shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
Galatians 6:7-8.

"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 21:8.

Drive this thought home. Show the inquirer no
quarter, but keep ringing the changes on the
thought, "You must give up your evil ways or
perish." Emphasize it by Scripture. When the
inquirer sees and realizes this, then you can pass
on to the next thought.

2. YOU CAN IN THE STRENGTH OF JESUS CHRIST. To
prove this, have the inquirer read Philippians
4:13 and John 8:36:

"I can do all things through Christ which
strengtheneth me."

"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye
shall be free indeed."

3. SHOW THE RISEN CHRIST WITH ALL POWER IN HEAVEN
AND ON EARTH. It is in the power of the risen
Christ, and through union with Him, that we are
enabled to give up our evil ways, so the one who
has this difficulty should have the fact that
Christ is risen made clear to him. The following
passages will serve well for this purpose.

"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel
which I preached unto you, which also ye have
received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye
are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached
unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I
delivered unto you first of all that which I {64}
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." 1_Corinthians
15:1-4.

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All
power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."
Matthew 28:18.

"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the
uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he
ever liveth to make intercession for them."
Hebrews 7:25.

4. SHOW HOW TO GET VICTORY OVER SIN. There is
perhaps nothing in the Bible that makes the way of
victory over sin more plain and simple than Romans
6:12-14:

"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body,
that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of
unrighteousness unto sin: but YIELD YOURSELVES
UNTO GOD, as those that are alive from the dead,
and your members as instruments of righteousness
unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over
you: for ye are not under the law, but under
grace."

You can say to the inquirer, "In this verse we are
told how to get victory over sin: we are told what
not to do, and what to do. What is it we are told
not to do?" "Not to let sin reign in our mortal
body; not to yield our members as instruments of
unrighteousness unto sin." "What are we told to
do?" "To yield ourselves unto God as those that
are alive from the dead; and to yield our members
as instruments of righteousness unto God." "Now do
you believe that through union with the risen
Christ your Savior, you are alive from the dead?
Will you yield or present yourself unto God as one
alive from the dead? Will you now and here present
your members as instruments of righteousness unto
God?" After the inquirer has been led to do this,
show him that whatever we yield to God, God
accepts, and that he can now TRUST God for victory
over sin, and have deliverance from his evil ways.

VI. "I HAVE TRIED BEFORE AND FAILED."

Those who have tried to be Christians and have
failed in the attempt, very naturally hesitate
about trying again, and such a case needs to be
dealt with, with great care, wisdom and
thoroughness.

1. The first thing to do is to say to such a one,
"I CAN SHOW YOU HOW TO TRY AND NOT FAIL." Then
point him to 2_Corinthians 9:8:

"And God is able to make all grace abound toward
you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all
things, may abound to every good work." {65} When
the person has read the verse, to be sure that he
gets its meaning you can say, "This verse tells us
that God is able to make all grace abound toward
us, that we, 'always having all sufficiency in all
things, may abound to every good work.' It is
clear then, that there is a way to try and not
fail."

2. FIND OUT THE CAUSE OF FAILURE. In finding out
the cause of failure, there are seven points to be
looked into:

(1) DID YOU PUT ALL YOUR TRUST FOR PARDON IN THE
FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST?

This is a very frequent cause of failure in the
attempt to be a Christian, the person has never
been led to see clearly the ground of his
salvation, and to trust wholly in the finished
work of Christ for pardon. Isaiah 53:6 is a useful
passage at this point:

"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have
turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath
laid on him the iniquity of us all."

(2) DID YOU SURRENDER ABSOLUTELY TO GOD?

Many are led to make a profession of faith in
Christ without having been led to absolute
surrender and the Christian life thus begun, is
very likely to prove a failure. The passage to use
at this point is Acts 5:32:

"And we are his witnesses of these things; and so
is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to
them that obey him."

(3) DID YOU CONFESS CHRIST OPENLY BEFORE MEN?

This is one of the most frequent causes of
failure. I have talked with very many who have
said that they have tried to be Christians and
failed, and a very large proportion of them I have
found failed at this very point, the lack of a
constant, open confession of Christ. Good passages
to use at this point are Matthew 10;32-33 and
Romans 10;10:

"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men,
him will I confess also before my Father which is
in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men,
him will I also deny before my Father which is in
heaven."

"For with the heart man believeth unto
righteousness; and with the mouth confession is
made unto salvation." {66}

(4) DID YOU STUDY THE WORD OF GOD DAILY?

Here is another frequent cause of failure, neglect
of the Bible. Very few of those who have really
begun the Christian life, and who have made a
practice of daily study of the Word, fail in their
attempt to be Christians. Good passages to use at
this point are 1_Peter 2:2 and Psalms 119:11:

"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the
word, that ye may grow thereby."

"Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might
not sin against thee."

(5) DID YOU LOOK EACH DAY TO GOD ALONE, AND NOT TO
SELF AT ALL, FOR STRENGTH AND VICTORY?

To emphasize this question, use:

"He giveth power to the faint; and to them that
have no might he increaseth strength." Isaiah
40:29.

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for
thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my
infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest
upon me." 2_Corinthians 12:9.

"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the
elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another,
and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth
the proud, and giveth grace to the humble."
1_Peter 5:5.

(6) DID YOU PRAY CONSTANTLY?

Use at this point:

"Pray without ceasing." 1_Thessalonians 5:17.

"He giveth power to the faint; and, to them that
have no might he increaseth strength. Even the
youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men
shall utterly fall: but THEY THAT WAIT UPON THE
LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount
up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not
be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
Isaiah 40:29-31.

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of
grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to
help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16.

(7) DID YOU GO TO WORK FOR CHRIST?

Here use Matthew 25:14-29.

VII. "THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS TOO HARD."

1. If a person states this as his difficulty,
first show him that THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS NOT
HARD. In Matthew 11:30 Christ tells us His yoke is
easy: {67}

"For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Proverbs 3:17 shows us that wisdom's ways are ways
of pleasantness,

"Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her
paths are peace."

1_John 5:3, that God's commandments are not
grievous:

1_Peter 1:8 pictures the Christian life as a life
of joy unspeakable and full of glory:

"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though
now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with
joy unspeakable and full of glory."

In using the latter passage you might say, "We
have a picture of the Christian life in 1_Peter
1:8, let us see if it is a hard life." Have the
inquirer read the verse, and then ask, "What kind
of a life according to this passage, is the
Christian life?" "A life of joy unspeakable and
full of glory." "Do you think that is hard?"

2. Show him that THE WAY OF SIN AS HARD. Show the
inquirer that it is not the Christian life, but
the life without Christ that is the hard life. For
this purpose use the last half of Proverbs 13:15,
and Isaiah 57:21:

"But the way of transgressors is hard."

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

VIII. "THERE IS TOO MUCH TO GIVE UP."

This is often the difficulty even when not stated.

1. First show the inquirer that NO MATTER HOW MUCH
THERE MAY BE TO GIVE UP, IT IS BETTER TO GIVE UP
ANYTHING THAN TO LOSE ONE'S SOUL. For this purpose
use Mark 8:36:

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain
the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

2. Show the inquirer that THE ONLY THINGS WE HAVE
TO GIVE UP ARE THE THINGS WHICH WILL HARM US. This
is made clear by Psalm 84:11: {68} "For the Lord
God is a sun and shield, the Lord will give grace
and glory; NO GOOD THING WILL HE WITHHOLD from
them that walk uprightly."

When the inquirer has read the verse, ask him,
'What does this verse tell us that God will not
withhold from us?" "Any good thing." "The things
then that God asks you to give up, are what kind
of things?" "Evil things." "Then all God asks
you to give up are the things which are harmful to
you. Do you wish to keep them?"

I have found Romans 8:32 very effective, for it
emphasizes the thought that if God loved us enough
to give His Son to die for us on the Cross, He
will freely give us all things:

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him
up for us all, how shall he not with him also
freely give us all things?"

I once had a long conversation with a young woman
who was having a great struggle about accepting
Christ. She was very fond of the world and certain
forms of amusement, which she felt she would have
to give up if she became a Christian. Finally I
said to her, "Do you think God loves you?" "Yes,
I know He does." "How much does God love you?"
"Enough to give His Son to die for me," she
replied. "Do you think if God loved you enough to
give His Son to die for you, Me will ask you to
give up anything that is for your good to keep?"
"No, certainly He will not." "Do you wish to keep
anything not for your good to keep?" "No." "Then
do you not think you had better accept Jesus
Christ right here and now?" "Yes," and she did.

Another verse which is useful as showing the
inquirer that the things which he has to give up
are the things which are passing away, is 1_John
2:15-17:

"Love not the world, neither the things that are
in the world. If any man love the world, the love
of the Father is not in him. For all that is in
the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of
the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the
Father, but is of the world. And THE WORLD PASSETH
AWAY, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the
will of God abideth for ever."

3. Show the inquirer that WHAT WE GIVE UP IS
NOTHING TO WHAT WE GET. For this purpose use
Philippians 3:7-8:

"But what things were gain to me, those I counted
loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all
things but loss for the excellency of the
knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have
suffered the loss of all things, and do count them
but dung, that I may win Christ." {69} You can
call the inquirer's attention to the fact that it
was Paul who spoke these words, that perhaps no
one ever gave up more for Christ than he did, and
yet he here tells us that what he gave up was to
what he got only as the refuse of the street.

IX. "I CANNOT BE A CHRISTIAN IN MY BUSINESS," (or
"It will hurt my business," or "I will lose my
position.")

This is a very real difficulty with many, and must
be met honestly and squarely.

1. It is well to bear in mind that even when a man
really thinks this is true, it is not always so.
Many people have an idea that it is impossible to
be a Christian in any line of business except
Christian work. They must be shown that this is a
mistake. When a man makes this excuse, it is often
well to ask him what his business is, and why he
cannot be a Christian in it. Sometimes you will
find that it is a business in which there are many
Christians, and you can tell him that there are
many Christians in the same business.

2. But oftentimes it is true that the man with
whom you are dealing is in a business in which it
is impossible to be a Christian. For example, the
man may be a bartender or a theatrical manager or
something of that sort. In that case say to the
man, "You had better lose your business (or
position ) than to lose your soul." To drive this
statement home, use Mark 8:36:

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain
the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

Do not pass on to the next point until the man
sees this and realizes it. Make the man feel that
he had better lose every dollar that he has in the
world than to lose his soul. When the man sees
{70} this, and is ready to give up his business
at any cost, you can use Matthew 6:33:

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his
righteousness; and all these things shall be added
unto you."

This verse will show him that if he puts God and
His kingdom first, all needful things will be
supplied to him. It is better to starve than to
reject Christ, but no man who accepts Christ will
be left to starve.

Another very useful passage is Mark 10:29-30:

"And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto
you, There is no man that hath left house, or
brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or
wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the
gospel's but he shall receive an hundred fold now
in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters,
and mothers, and children, and lands, with
persecutions; and in the world to come eternal
life."

X. "I WILL LOSE MY FRIENDS."

Many a person who contemplates beginning the
Christian life has none but ungodly companions,
and he sees very clearly that if he becomes a
Christian he will lose these friends, the only
ones that he has; so this difficulty is a very
real one.

1. First show the inquirer that he is better off
without these friends, for they are enemies of
God. Use for this purpose James 4:4:

"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that
the friendship of the world is enmity with God?
whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world
is the enemy of God."

Before giving it to the inquirer to read, say,
"Yes, it may be that you will lose your friends,
but if your friends are godless, you are better
off without them. See what God's Word says about
it." Then show him the passage. If this verse does
not prove sufficiently effective, follow it up
with Proverbs 13:20:

"He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but
a companion of fools shall be destroyed."

Follow this up with Psalm 1:1-2:

"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the
counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of
sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
{71} But his delight is in the law of the Lord;
and in his law doth he meditate day and night."

Call the inquirer's attention to the fact that God
has promised an especial blessing to those who
turn their backs upon godless friendships in order
to obey Him.

2. Having made this first point clear, you can
say, "You may lose your godless friends, but you
will get better friends," and turn him to 1_John
1:3:

"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."

When they have read it you can say, "If you do
lose your godless friends by coming to Christ,
what two new friends do you get?" "The Father and
His Son Jesus Christ." "Which would you rather
have for friends, your godless worldly companions,
or God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ?" All
this may be followed up again by Mark 10:29-30.

XI. "I AM AFRAID OF RIDICULE."

1. Show the awful peril in being governed by the
fear of man. Use Proverbs 29:25:

"The fear of man bringeth a snare; but whoso
putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe."

You might explain that this snare which catches
him who is afraid of ridicule and rejects Christ,
often results in the eternal ruin of the soul.

Next use Mark 8:28:

"Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of
my words in this adulterous and sinful generation,
of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when
he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy
angels."

2. Show that it is a glorious privilege to be
ridiculed for Christ. Use for this purpose Matthew
5:11-12:

"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and
persecute you, and say all manner of evil against
you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be
exceeding glad; for great is your reward in
heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which
were before you." {72}

XII. "I WILL BE PERSECUTED IF I BECOME A
CHRISTIAN."

Never tell any one that he will not be persecuted.
On the contrary say, "Yes, I presume you will be
persecuted, for God tells us in His Word, that all
who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer
persecution." To prove it show him 2_Timothy 3:12:

"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus
shall suffer persecution."

But then tell him that it is a great privilege to
be persecuted for Christ's sake, and brings an
abundant reward. Have him read Matthew 5:10-12,
and drive home the thought that we ought to
rejoice at the privilege of being persecuted
rather than to shrink from being a Christian on
that account.

Then show him the result of suffering with Christ.
Turn to 2_Timothy 2:12:

"If we suffer, we shall also reign with him; if we
deny him, he also will deny us."

Use Romans 8:18 to show him how shall are the
sufferings of this present time in comparison with
the glory that we shall obtain through them:

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present
time are not worthy to be compared with the glory
which shall be revealed in us." (Compare
2_Corinthians 4:17.)

Acts 5:40-41 is useful as showing how the early
church regarded persecution, rejoicing in it
rather than shrinking from it:

"And to him they agreed: and when they had called
the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that
they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and
let them go. And they departed from the presence
of the council, rejoicing that they were counted
worthy to suffer shame for his name."

Another passage which is also useful in such a
case is 1_Peter 2:20-21:

"For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for
your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if,
when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it
patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even
hereunto were ye called; because Christ also
suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye
should follow his steps."

XIII. "I HAVE NO FEELING."

This is a very common difficulty. There are many
who wish to come to Christ, but do not think they
can come because they have {73} not the proper
feeling. The first thing to do in such a case, is
to find out what feeling the inquirer thinks it is
necessary to have in order to become a Christian.

1. "THE JOY AND PEACE THAT CHRISTIANS TELL ABOUT."
The feeling that many inquirers are waiting for is
the joy and peace that Christians speak of. Of
course the thing to do in such a case, is to show
the inquirer that this joy and peace is the result
of coming to Christ, and that we cannot expect the
result before we come. The first passage to use to
show this is Galatians 5:22:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith."

This shows that joy and peace are the fruit of the
Spirit, and we cannot expect to have the fruit of
the Spirit until we have received the Spirit, and
we cannot receive the Spirit until we have
accepted Christ. This is brought out very clearly
in Ephesians 1:13:

"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the
word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in
whom also, AFTER THAT YE BELIEVED, ye were sealed
with that Holy Spirit of promise."

Emphasize the point that it is AFTER we believe
that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of
promise.

Use also Acts 5:32:

"And we are his witnesses of these things; and so
is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given TO
THEM THAT OBEY HIM."

This will show that the Holy Spirit is given to
those who obey Christ, and we cannot expect to
receive the Holy Spirit until we have obeyed God
by putting our trust in Jesus Christ and
confessing Him openly before the world. A verse
which will be useful in this connection as showing
that it is after we confess Christ that He
confesses us before the Father, is Matthew 10:32:

"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men,
him will I confess also before my Father which is
in heaven."

And so we have no right to expect the sealing of
the Holy Spirit until we have confessed Christ
before men.

It is after we have believed that we rejoice with
joy unspeakable and full of glory, 1_Peter 1:8:
{74}

"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though
now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with
joy unspeakable and full of glory."

Our duty is believing with the heart and
confessing with the mouth, leaving the matter of
feeling to God; Romans 10:10:

"For with the heart man believeth unto
righteousness; and with the mouth confession is
made unto salvation."

2. "SORROW FOR SIN." The feeling that many are
waiting for, is a feeling of sorrow for sin. If
you find this to be the case with any individual
with whom you are dealing, proceed as follows:

(1) Use the passages already given to produce
conviction of sin. (See Chapter Six, Section I.)

(2) Show that it is not sorrow for sin, but
turning away from sin and accepting Christ that
God demands. For this purpose use the following
passages:

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the
unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return
unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him;
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
Isaiah 55:7.

"But as many as received him, to them gave he
power to become the sons of God, even to them that
believe on his name." John 1:12.

"And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." Acts
16:31.

"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be
baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus
Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall
receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 2:38.

XIV. "I HAVE BEEN SEEKING CHRIST BUT CANNOT FIND
HIM."

1. It is well oftentimes to say to one who raises
this difficulty, "I can tell you just when you
will find Christ." This will probably awaken
surprise, but insist, "Yes, I can tell you just
when you will find Christ. If you will turn to
Jeremiah 29:13, you will find the exact time when
you will find Christ." Then let him read:

"And ye shall seek me, and find me, WHEN YE SHALL
SEARCH FOR ME WITH ALL YOUR HEART."

"Now this verse tells the time when you will find
Christ, when is it?" "When ye shall search for me
with all your heart." "The fact is, up to this
time, you have not been seeking for Him with all
your heart. Are you ready to let go of everything
else and seek Him today with all your heart?"
This passage has been used in a {75} great many
cases to lead out one who has been seeking Christ
for years, into a real acceptance of Him.

2. It is well sometimes to say to one who raises
this difficulty, "Then you are seeking Christ?
Well, did you know that Christ also is seeking
you?" Then turn to Luke 19:10 (or Luke 15:3-10)
and read. "Now you say you are seeking Christ, and
Christ says He is seeking you, how long ought it
to take for you to find one another? Will you just
come to Christ and trust Him here and now?"

3. Sometimes the best thing to do is to say,
"Well, if you are earnestly seeking Christ, let me
show you how to find Him." Then deal with the
inquirer in the way described in Chapter Five.

XV. "CHRISTIANS ARE SO INCONSISTENT."

This is one of the most common difficulties that
we meet. Probably the best passage to use is
Romans 14:12:

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

When a person raises this difficulty, you can say,
"So you are troubled about the sins of Christians;
let me show you from God's own Word what He says
about that." Then have him read the passage. When
he has read the passage, ask, "Who does God say
you will have to give an account of?" "Myself."
"Not of inconsistent Christians then?" "No." "Are
you ready to give an account of yourself to God?"
The mere reading of this verse without comment,
has led many who have been dwelling upon the
inconsistency of others, to see themselves lost
and undone before God, and to turn and accept
Christ right there.

Another useful passage is Romans 2:1-5. Hand it to
the inquirer and ask him to read it carefully.
When he has read it, ask him if this passage does
not describe him, if he is not judging others for
doing the very things he does himself. Then ask
him what God says about those who judge others for
what they are doing themselves. Ask him further
what God says in the third verse that such a
person will not escape. Ask him what the fourth
verse tells him that he is really doing; and then
ask him what the fifth verse tells him he is
treasuring up for himself.

In many cases Matthew 7:1-5 will be found useful.
{76}

XVI. "THERE IS SOME ONE I CANNOT FORGIVE."

This is often the difficulty even when it is not
stated. I have frequently found that when people
told me they could not accept Christ and did not
know why, the real difficulty was here, there was
some one who had wronged them, or who they thought
had wronged them, and they would not forgive him.

1. The first thing to do with such a one is to
say, "YOU MUST FORGIVE OR PERISH." To prove this,
use Matthew 6:15: {@Ed.cmt}

"But if ye forgive not men their trespasses,
neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

Follow this up with Matthew 18:21-35:

2. Say to the person, "THE WRONG THEY HAVE DONE
YOU IS NOTHING TO THE WRONG YOU HAVE DONE JESUS
CHRIST." Here use Ephesians 4:32:

"And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted,
forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's
sake hath forgiven you."

You might also use Matthew 18:23-35.

3. Next show the inquirer that he can forgive the
other in Christ's strength. Use for this purpose
Philippians 4:13 and Galatians 5:22-23:

"I can do all things through Christ which
strengtheneth me."

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
meekness, temperance: against such there is no
law."

XVII. "A PROFESSED CHRISTIAN HAS DONE ME A GREAT
WRONG."

1. First you can reply by saying, "THAT IS NO
REASON WHY YOU SHOULD WRONG CHRIST! HAS HE WRONGED
YOU?" Use Jeremiah 2:5:

"Thus saith the Lord, What iniquity have your
fathers found IN ME, that they are gone far from
me, and have walked after vanity, and are become
vain?"

Ask the inquirer if he has found any evil in
Christ, that that is what God is asking Him. One
night I turned to an aged man and asked him if he
was a Christian. He replied no, that he was a
backslider. I asked him why he had backslidden,
and he said Christian people had treated him
badly. I opened my Bible and read Jeremiah 2:5 to
him, and asked him, "Did you find any iniquity in
God; did God not treat you well?" With a good deal
of feeling, the man admitted that God had not
treated him badly. I held him right to this point
of God's treatment of him and not man's, and his
treatment of God. It is well to follow this
passage up with Isaiah 53:5 as bringing out very
vividly just what Christ's treatment of us has
been.

2. In the next place you can say to the one who
raises this difficulty, "THE FACT THAT A PROFESSED
CHRISTIAN HAS DONE YOU A GREAT INJURY IS NO REASON
WHY YOU SHOULD DO YOURSELF A GREATER INJURY BY
REFUSING CHRIST AND LOSING ETERNAL LIFE AND BEING
LOST FOREVER." Then you can say, "Let me show you
what injury you are doing yourself by rejecting
Christ." Use for this purpose John 3:36, and
2_Thessalonians 1:7-9:

"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."

"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.

XVIII. "I HAVE DONE A GREAT WRONG AND WILL HAVE TO
MAKE IT RIGHT AND CANNOT."

1. TELL THE INQUIRER TO TAKE CHRIST FIRST, AND
LEAVE THE MATTER OF SETTLING THE WRONG WITH HIM,
that he cannot settle the matter as it ought to be
settled until he has first taken Christ. Make it
very plain that the only thing God requires of a
sinner is to accept Christ, and all other
questions must be left until that point has been
settled. Use John 3:36 for this purpose, and Acts
10:43.

2. Show him further that IF THERE IS ANY WRONG TO
BE MADE RIGHT, CHRIST WILL GIVE HIM STRENGTH TO
MAKE IT RIGHT, and use for this purpose
Philippians 4:13.

XIX. "I HAVE SINNED AWAY THE DAY OF GRACE."

This is a very serious difficulty. It often arises
from a poor state of health and a morbid condition
of mind, but I have never found a case that would
not yield to prayerful and judicious treatment.
The best passage to use, and one that generally
proves sufficient, Is John 6:37, the last clause:
{78}

"Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast
out."

It is oftentimes necessary to read it over and
over and over again, sometimes for days and days.
Hold the inquirer to the one thought that God says
He is ready to receive any one who will come,
urging him to come now.

Another useful passage is Romans 10:13:

"For WHOSOEVER shall call upon the name of the
Lord shall be saved."

Dwell upon the "whosoever."

The case of Manasseh as recorded in 2_Chronicles
33:1-13 is useful as showing the extent to which
one can go and yet how God will receive them to
Himself, if they only humble themselves before
him.

Luke 23:39-43 is oftentimes useful as showing how
one was saved even the hour of death.

XX. "IT IS TOO LATE."

This difficulty is very much like the preceding
one, and the same passage, John 6:37, is also
useful in this case. Oftentimes, however,
Deuteronomy 4:30-31 will prove more helpful:

"When thou art in tribulation, and all these
things are come upon thee, EVEN IN THE LATTER
DAYS, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt
be obedient unto his voice; (for the Lord thy God
is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee,
neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of
thy fathers which he sware unto them."

In using the passage, emphasize the thought, "even
in the latter days."

Still another passage is 2_Peter 3:9:

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise as
some men count slackness; but is long suffering to
us-ward, NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH, but
that all should come to repentance."

It shows that God is not willing that any should
perish, and that the reason why He delays His
judgment is that men may be brought to repentance.

Luke 23:39-43 is useful as showing that one was
saved even as late as his dying hour, and
Revelation 22:17 tells us that WHOSOEVER WILL may
take of the water of life freely. {79}

XXI. "I HAVE COMMITTED THE UNPARDONABLE SIN."

1. The first thing to do in this case is to SHOW
JUST WHAT THE UNPARDONABLE SIN IS. For this
purpose use Matthew 12:31-32, noting the context.
This passage taken in its context makes it plain
that the unpardonable sin is blasphemy against the
Holy Ghost, and that blasphemy against the Holy
Ghost consists in deliberately attributing to the
devil, the work which is known to have been
wrought by the Holy Spirit. Having shown just what
the unpardonable sin is, ask the inquirer, "Have
you done this? Have you deliberately attributed
the work which you knew to be done by the Holy
Spirit to the devil?" In almost every case, if not
in every case, it will be found that the inquirer
has not done this.

2. Having shown what the unpardonable sin is, and
that the inquirer has not committed it, USE JOHN
6:37 as in the preceding case. Even if the
inquirer thinks that he has committed the
blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, use John 6:37.

Ask the inquirer what Jesus Christ says about
those who come to Him, and then ask him if he will
come to Christ right now. If he says, "I have
committed the unpardonable sin," reply that it
does not say, "Him that has not committed the
unpardonable sin that comes to me I will in no
wise cast out," but, "Him that cometh to me, I
will in no wise cast out," and put the question
again, "Will you come?" to every new excuse that
arises, simply repeat the promise, "Him that
cometh to me I will in no wise cast out," and
repeat the question, "Will you come?"

If he raises some new difficulty as probably he
will, simply say, "Jesus says, 'Him that cometh to
me, I will in no wise cast out,' will you come?"
Repeat and repeat and repeat, over and over again,
until this promise is fairly burned into the heart
praying all the time for the Holy Spirit to carry
it home.

A man was once sent to me who was in the depths of
despair. He had attempted suicide some five times.
He felt that he had sinned away the day of grace,
and committed the unpardonable sin, and that the
devil had entered into him as he did into Judas
Iscariot. Day after day I dealt with him, always
using John 6:37. To every excuse and difficulty he
would bring up I would simply say, "Jesus says,
'Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast
out." I met him at last one day for a final
conflict. I said to him, "Do you believe what
Jesus says?" He replied, "Yes, I believe
everything in the {80} Bible." "Well," I said,
"did not Jesus say, 'Him that cometh to me I will
in no wise cast out'?" "Yes," he replied. I said,
"Will you come?" He replied, "I have committed the
unpardonable sin." I said, "Jesus did not say, 'If
any man has not committed the unpardonable sin,
and comes to me I will in no wise cast him out';
He said, 'Him that cometh to me I will in no wise
cast out'; will you come?"

He said, "I am possessed of the devil." I replied,
"Jesus did not say, 'If a man is not possessed of
the devil and comes to me I will in no wise cast
him out'; He said, 'Him that cometh to me, I will
in no wise cast out.'; will you come?"

He said, "The devil has actually entered into me."
I replied, "Jesus did not say, 'If the devil has
not entered into a man and he comes to me I will
in no wise cast him out'; He said, 'Him that
cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out'; will
you come?"

He said, "My heart is too hard to come." I
replied, "Jesus did not say, 'If a man's heart is
not too hard and he comes to me, I will in no wise
cast him out'; He said, 'Him that cometh to me, I
will in no wise cast out'; Will you come?"

He said, "I don't feel like coming." I replied,
"Jesus did not say, "If any man feels like coming,
and comes to me, I will in no wise cast him out';
He said, 'Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise
cast out'; will you come?"

He said, "I don't know that I can come in the
right way." I replied, "Jesus did not say, 'If any
man cometh unto me in the right way, I will in no
wise cast him out'; He said, 'Him that cometh to
me, I will in no wise cast out'; will you come?"

He said, "I do not know that I want to come." I
replied, "Jesus did not say, 'He that wants to
come, and comes to me I will in no wise cast out';
He said, "Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise
cast out'; will you come?"

He said, "I don't know that I know how to come." I
replied, "Jesus did not say, 'He that knows how to
come, and comes to me I will in no wise cast out';
He said, 'Him that cometh to me I will in no wise
cast out'; will you come? Will you get down here
now and come just the best you know how?"
Hesitatingly the man knelt down. I asked him to
follow me in prayer. I prayed about as follows:
"Lord Jesus, thou hast said 'Him that cometh to
me, I will in no wise cast out'; now the best I
know how, I just come." The man repeated the words
after me. I said, "What has Jesus done? Never mind
what you feel, but what does Jesus say He has
done? 'Him that cometh to me I will in no wise
cast out.' What has Jesus done, what does He say
He has done?" He replied, "He has received me." I
said, "Are you willing to stand there on the naked
Word of God?" He replied, "I am." "Now," I said,
"you are going to your room. I have no doubt that
the devil will give you an awful fight, but will
you stand right there on the word of Jesus, 'Him
that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out'?"
He replied, "I will." He went to his room. The
devil did come and assail him, and try to get him
to look at his own heart, his own feelings, and
his doubts, but he kept looking to the promise of
Jesus, "Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise
cast out"; he believed that naked promise, he came
out of his struggle a victor. This was eight or
nine years ago. Today he is one of the most useful
men in America.

XXII. HEBREWS 6:4-6.

"For it is impossible for those who were once
enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift,
and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and
have tasted the good word of God, and the powers
of the world to come, IF THEY SHALL FALL AWAY TO
RENEW THEM AGAIN UNTO REPENTANCE; seeing they
crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and
put him to an open shame."

Very many men and women are in deep distress of
soul over this passage. They fear that it
describes them, and that there is no hope of their
salvation. The way to deal with such a person is
to explain to him the exact meaning of the
passage.

1. Show him first of all, that it is addressed to
Hebrew Christians who were in danger of
APOSTATIZING, RENOUNCING CHRIST and going back to
Judaism. Then ask him if this describes his case.
Of course he will say that it does not.
Furthermore show him that it does not describe a
person who has merely fallen in sin, but one who
has FALLEN AWAY, that is apostatized, and
deliberately renounced Christ. Ask him if this
describes his case. In most cases, of course, it
will be found that it does not.

2. In the next place show him that the difficulty
is not that God is not willing to receive such a
one back, but that it is impossible "to renew them
again unto repentance." That is, that their hearts
are utterly hardened, and they have no desire to
come to Christ. Then show him that this does not
describe his case, the {82} very fact of his
being in anxiety and burden of heart proving that
it does not.

3. Sometimes all of this fails, if so, simply go
over the fourth verse, and ask him if that has
really been his experience, if he has actually
been made a partaker of the Holy Ghost.

4. Show him by the case of Peter that one who has
been a follower of Christ may fall into deep sin,
and yet be restored and become more useful than
ever. Use for this purpose, Luke 22:31,34; Mark
14:66-72, John 21:15-19.

5. Finally use John 6:37, as described above.

XXIII. HEBREWS 10:26-27.

"For IF WE SIN WILLFULLY AFTER THAT WE HAVE
RECEIVED THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH, THERE
REMAINETH NO MORE SACRIFICE FOR SINS, but a
certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery
indignation, which shall devour the adversaries."

Many are troubled by this passage just as others
are troubled by Hebrews 6:4-6. I have met many in
deepest anguish because they thought that this
described their experience. The way to deal with
such a one is to show him exactly the meaning of
the verse. Explain to him that the word
"willfully" means deliberately, and of stubborn
choice. It is the same word that is translated
"willingly" in 1_Peter 5:2. It does not describe a
man who in weakness falls into sin, but a man who,
with his whole heart, rejects obedience to God and
the service of Christ, and throws himself with all
his soul into sin. Ask him if this describes his
case. Finally use John 6:37.

XXIV. "GOD SEEMS TO ME UNJUST AND CRUEL."

1. The shortest way of dealing with many who say
this, is to take them at once to Romans 9:20:

"Nay but, O man, WHO ART THOU THAT REPLIEST
AGAINST GOD? Shall the thing formed say to him
that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?"

Apply the verse directly to the inquirer's case.
Ask him if he realizes who God is, and who he
himself is, and say, "You are replying against
God. You are accusing God of sin. Now this is
God's message to you, 'Nay but, O man, who art
thou that repliest against God?'" This verse has
been used of the Holy Spirit to break down {83}
in repentance and tears many a man who has
complained against God.

This may be followed up by Romans 11:33:

"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and
knowledge of God! HOW UNSEARCHABLE are his
judgments, and his ways past finding out!"

Show the inquirer that the reason God seems to him
to be unjust and cruel is because such is the
depth of the riches both of the wisdom and
knowledge of God, and so unsearchable are His
judgments, that he cannot find them out.

This can be followed up still further by Isaiah
55:8-9:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither
are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the
heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways
higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your
thoughts."

Another excellent passage to use is Job 40:2:

"Shall he that CONTENDETH WITH THE ALMIGHTY
instruct him? HE THAT REPROVETH GOD, let him
answer it."

When the complainer has read the verse, ask him if
he wishes to contend with the Almighty. Show him
further that he is reproving God, and God says he
must answer for it; ask him if he is ready to
answer for it.

2. IF THE INQUIRER IS COMPLAINING OF GOD'S CRUELTY
BECAUSE OF SOME SORROW OR ANGUISH IN HIS OWN LIFE,
it is well to use Hebrews 12:5-7, 10-12:

"And ye have forgotten the exhortation which
speaketh unto you as unto children, My son,
despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor
faint when thou art rebuked of him; for whom the
Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son
whom he receiveth.

"If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as
with sons; for what son is he whom the father
chasteneth not?"

"For they verily for a few days chastened us after
their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we
might be partakers of his holiness.

"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be
joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it
yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto
them which are exercised thereby.

"Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and
the feeble knees."

One should deal very tenderly with a case like
this, yet at the same time faithfully. Show the
inquirer that the sorrows and disappointments
{84} and afflictions that he has suffered are
God's loving dealings with him, to bring him into
a life of holiness and higher joy, that God does
not willingly afflict.

One can follow the above passage with Isaiah 63:9:

"In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the
angel of his presence saved them; in his love and
in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them,
and carried them all the days of old."

In order to lead the sorrow-stricken soul to see
that the sufferings of this present time are not
worthy to be compared with the glory which shall
be revealed in us, use Romans 8:18:

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present
time are not worthy to be compared with the glory
which shall be revealed in us."

Another useful passage is 2_Corinthians 4:17-18:

"For our light affliction, which is BUT FOR A
MOMENT, worketh for us a far more exceeding and
eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the
things which are seen, but at the things which are
not seen: for the things which are seen are
temporal; but the things which are not seen are
eternal."

3. Sometimes it is well to say in such a case,
"You would not think that God was unjust and cruel
if you only realized the depth of your own sin
against Him," and use Matthew 22:37-38 to show him
the greatness of his sin, in the way described in
Chapter Six. No man {85} after he has been led
by the Word of God and His Spirit to see himself
as God sees him, will any longer have any
difficulty with God's way of salvation, but will
be only too glad to find that a sin-bearer has
been provided for him.

XXVI. "THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS IN THE BIBLE THAT
I CANNOT UNDERSTAND."

1. The first step in such a case is to show the
objector why he cannot understand. A good passage
to use for this purpose is 1_Corinthians 2:14:

"But the natural man receiveth not the things of
the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto
him: neither can he know them, because they are
spiritually discerned."

It can be used in this way: when the man has said,
"There are so many things in the Bible that I
cannot understand," reply, "Yes, that is just what
the Bible says." Then show the man the passage,
and say to him, "This verse tells you just why you
cannot understand what is in the Bible, because
'the natural man receiveth not the things of the
Spirit of God: for they are foolishness UNTO HIM,'
and I suppose that many of them appear like
foolishness to you." "Yes." "This verse tells you
why it is, 'because they are spiritually
discerned.' The truth is, you are spiritually
blind. If you will turn from sin and accept
Christ, you will get spiritual sight, and then
many things which you cannot understand now will
become as plain as day."

Isaiah 55:8-9 can also be used:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither
are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the
heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways
higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your
thoughts."

You can say to the one with whom you are dealing,
"This tells why you cannot understand God's truth.
Why is it?" "Because His thoughts are higher than
my thoughts."

Daniel 12:10 is also useful:

"Many shall be purified, and made white, and
tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and NONE
OF THE WICKED SHALL UNDERSTAND; but the wise shall
understand." {86} Before the man reads it, you
can say to him, "I can show you a passage in the
Bible that tells you just exactly why you cannot
understand, and also how you can understand." When
he has read it, ask him who it is that does not
understand. "The wicked." "And who shall
understand?" "The wise."

A passage which can also be used to good effect is
2_Peter 3:16-18:

"As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of
these things; in which are some things hard to be
understood, which they that are unlearned and
unstable wrest, as they do also the other
scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye
therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things
before, beware lest ye also, being led away with
the terror of the wicked, fall from your own
steadfastness."

1_Corinthians 13:11-12 and Romans 11:33 can also
be used.

2. The second step is to show how to understand.
John 7:17 makes this as plain as day:

"IF ANY MAN WILL DO HIS WILL, he shall know of the
doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak
of myself."

Follow this up with Psalm 119:18 and James 1:5:

"Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous
things out of thy law."

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God,
that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth
not; and it shall be given him."

XXVII. "I CANNOT BELIEVE."

We will take up skeptics more at length in Chapter
Eleven. At this point we take up the matter merely
as an honest difficulty that some find in the way
of accepting Christ.

1. When one states this as a difficulty, it is
often well to ask him what he cannot believe. A
man once said to Mr. Moody, "I cannot believe."
Mr. Moody said, "Whom can't you believe?" He
replied, "I cannot believe." "Whom can't you
believe, can't you believe God?" "Yes," the man
replied, "I can believe God, but I cannot believe
myself." Mr. Moody said, "I don't want you to
believe yourself, I want you to believe God."
Oftentimes the difficulty is with some doctrine
that has nothing directly to do with salvation;
for example, a man will say, "I cannot believe the
account of creation given in the first chapter of
Genesis, and I cannot {87} believe the story
about Jonah and the whale." Now of course a man
ought to believe the Bible account of creation
given in the first chapter of Genesis, and he
ought to believe the story about Jonah, but these
are not questions to discuss with an unsaved man.
When a man states some such difficulty as this,
the best thing to do is to say, "Can you believe
in Jesus Christ?" "Yes, I can believe in Jesus
Christ." "But will you believe in him, will you
accept Him as your Savior, your sin-bearer, and
your Lord and Master?" Show the man that it does
not say, believe this doctrine or that doctrine
and thou shalt be saved, or this incident or that
incident in the Bible, but "Believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." For this
purpose use Acts 16:31 and John 3:16:

"And they said, BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST,
and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."

"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."

After the man has really believed on Christ and
been saved, and grown somewhat in Christian
knowledge, he will be in a position to take up
secondary questions. Many a well-meaning worker
makes a great mistake in discussing secondary
questions with an unsaved man, when he is in no
position to understand them at all, but should be
held to the vital point of the acceptance of Jesus
Christ as a Savior and Lord and Master.

2. In many cases, perhaps in most cases, when one
says, "I cannot believe," the real difficulty that
lies back of their inability to believe, is
unwillingness to forsake sin, and it is well to
say to such a person, "Is your unbelief the real
difficulty, is there not some sin in your life
that you are unwilling to give up?" I was once
called to deal with a man, and was told that he
was a skeptic, and needed help along that line. I
said to him, "Are you a skeptic?" He replied,
"Yes." I asked him what made him a skeptic, and he
said because he could not see where Cain got his
wife. I said to him, "Is that your real
difficulty?" "Yes." I replied, "Then if I remove
that difficulty, and show you where Cain got his
wife, will you become a Christian?" He said, "Oh,
no, I cannot promise that." "But," I said, "you
said that was your difficulty, the thing that kept
you from accepting Christ; now if I remove that
difficulty, {88} and you are honest, of course
you will accept Christ." The man laughed and saw
that he was cornered. "Now," I said, "let me ask
you a question; is not the real difficulty some
sin in your life?" The man broke down and
confessed that it was, and he told me what the sin
was, and professed to give it up and accept Christ
then and there. When you are convinced that the
real difficulty in the case is sin, a good passage
to use is John 5:44:

"How can ye believe, which receive honor one of
another, and seek not the honor that cometh from
God only."

Say to the man before he reads it, "Yes, I suppose
you cannot believe, bet Jesus Christ tells us just
why it is that men cannot believe," and then have
him read the passage. Then you can say to him,
"The reason why you cannot believe according to
this verse, is because you are seeking the honor
that comes from man and not the honor that comes
from God alone. Is this not so?" Be courteous, but
do not let the inquirer dodge that point.

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the
unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return
unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him;
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."

This will show the man that he not only needs to
forsake his way, but his thoughts as well, and
that if he will, and return to the Lord, He will
have mercy upon him and abundantly pardon.

3. Finally in dealing with this difficulty, it is
well to show a man how to believe. You can say to
him after you have dealt with him along the lines
already mentioned, "I can show you how to
believe." Then give him John 7:17:

"If any man WILL DO HIS WILL, he shall know of the
doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak
of myself."

Ask him if he will be willing to do the will of
God, if he will surrender his will to God. Then
show him James 1:5-7:

"If any of you lack wisdom, LET HIM ASK OF GOD,
that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth
not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in
faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is
like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and
tossed. For let not that man think that he shall
receive any thing of the Lord." {89}

Follow this up with John 20:31:

"But THESE ARE WRITTEN, that ye might believe that
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that
believing ye might have life through his name."

Then give him the Gospel of John to study
prayerfully. We will go into this more at length
in Chapter Eleven.





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