| THE SOUL-WINNER'S SECRET ~ S.L Brengle|
THE PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF THE SOUL-WINNER
Every soul-winner is in the secret of the Lord, and has had a definite personal experience of salvation and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which brings him into close fellowship and tender friendship and sympathy with the Saviour. The Psalmist prayed, "Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create within me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and uphold me with Thy free Spirit. Then," said he, "will I teach transgressors Thy ways and sinners shall be converted unto Thee." (Psa_51:10.) He saw that before he could be a soul-winner, before he could teach transgressors the way of the Lord and convert sinners, he must have his own sins blotted out; he must have a clean heart and a right spirit; he must be a partaker of the Holy Ghost and of God's joy. In short, he must have a definite, constant, joyful experience of God's salvation in his own soul in order to save others. It was no "hope-I-am-saved" experience he wanted; n or was it a conclusion carefully reasoned out and arrived at by logical processes; nor an experience based upon a strict performance of a set round of duties and attendance upon sacraments, but a mighty transformation and cleansing of his whole spiritual nature and a glorious new creation wrought within him by the Holy Ghost.
It must be a definite experience that tallies with the Word of God. Only this can give that power and assurance to a man which will enable him to lead and win other men. You must have knowledge before imparting knowledge. You must have fire to kindle fire. You must have life to reproduce life. You must know Jesus and be on friendly terms with Him to be able to introduce others to Him. You must be one with Jesus, and be "bound up in the bundle of life" with Him if you would bring others into that life.
Peter had repented under the preaching of John the Baptist, had forsaken all to follow Jesus, and had waited with prayer and unquenchable desire until he had received the baptism of the Holy Ghost and of fire, and had been anointed with power from on high, before he became the fearless, mighty preacher who won 3,000 converts in a day.
Paul was mightily converted on the road to Damascus, and heard the voice of Jesus tell him what to do, and was baptized with the Holy Ghost under the teaching of Ananias before he became the apostle of quenchless zeal who turned the world upside down
Luther was definitely converted and justified by faith on the stairway of St. Peter's at Rome before he became the invincible reformer who could stand before popes and emperors and set captive nations free.
George Fox, Wesley, Finney, Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, William Taylor, James Caughey, Moody and General Booth, each and all had a definite personal experience that made them apostles of fire, prophets of God and saviours of men. They did not guess that they were saved, nor "hope" so. but they knew "whom they believed." and that they had passed from darkness into light and from the power of Satan unto God.
This experience was not evolution, but a revolution. No evolutionist ever has been or ever will be a great soul-winner. It is not by growth that men become such, but by revelation. It is not until God bursts through the veil and reveals Himself in their hearts through faith in His dear Son. and gives a consciousness of personal acceptance with Him, and sheds abroad His love in the heart, destroying unbelief, burning away sin, consuming selfishness, and filling the soul with the passion that filled the heart of Jesus, that men become soul-winners.
The experience that makes a man a soul-winner is two-fold. First, he must know his sins forgiven; he must have recognized himself a sinner, out of friendly relation with God, and careless of God's claim, heedless of God's feelings, selfishly seeking his own way in spite of divine love and compassion, and heedless of the awful consequences of separating himself from God and this must have led to repentance toward God, by which I mean sorrow for and an utter turning away from sin, followed by a confiding trust in Jesus Christ as his Saviour. He must have so believed as to bring a restful consciousness that for Christ's sake his sins have been forgiven and that he has been adopted into God's family and made one of His dear children. This consciousness results from what Paul calls "the witness of the Spirit," and enables the soul to cry out in deep filial confidence and affection, "Abba Father." Second: He must be sanctified; he must know that his heart is cleansed, that pride and self-will and carnal ambition and strife and sensitiveness and suspicion and unbelief and every unholy temper are destroyed by the baptism of the Holy Ghost -- personal Pentecost -- and the incoming of a great love for, and loyalty to, Jesus Christ, before he can be largely used to win souls.
II. It must be a constant experience.
People who frequently meet defeat and fail of victory in their own souls will not be largely successful in winning men to Jesus. The very consciousness of defeat makes them uncertain in their exhortation, doubtful and wavering in their testimony, and weak in their faith, and this will not be likely to produce conviction and beget faith in their hearers Dr. Asa Mahan lived in the enjoyment of full salvation for over fifty years, and only once felt a slight uprising of temper. Finney, Wesley, Fletcher and Bramwell, like Enoch, walked with God, and so walked "in the power of the Spirit" constantly, and were soul-winners all their lives, even to old age.
III. It must be a joyful experience. "The joy of the Lord is your strength," said Nehemiah. "Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation," prayed David. "I feel it my duty to be as happy as the Lord wants me to be," wrote McCheyne, the gifted and deeply spiritual young Scotch preacher, who was wonderfully successful in winning Souls.
"Oh, my soul is very happy! Bless God! I feel He is with me," cried Caughey, while preaching his sermon on "The Striving of the Spirit" No wonder he won souls.
Whitefield and Bramwell, two of the greatest soul-winners the world ever saw, were at times in almost an ecstasy of joy, especially when preaching, and this was as it should be.
John Bunyan tells us how he wrote the "Pilgrim's Progress" in his filthy Bedford dungeon. He says, "So I was led home to prison, and I sat me down and wrote and wrote because joy did make me write." Hallelujah!
God wants His people to be full of joy. "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full." said Jesus. (Joh_15:11.) And again He said, "Ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." (Joh_16:24.) "And these things write we unto you that your joy might be full," wrote John. (1Jo_1:4) "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy," wrote Paul, and again he writes, "The Kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost." "Joy in the Holy Ghost" is an oceanic current that flows unbroken through the holy, believing soul, though surrounded by seas of trouble and compassed about by infirmities and afflictions and sorrows,
We have thought of Jesus as "the Man of Sorrows" until we overlook His fullness of exultant joy. (Luk_10:21; Joh_15:11)
Joy can be cultivated and should be, as is faith or any other fruit of the Spirit
(1) By appropriating by faith the words that were spoken and written for the express purpose of giving us fullness of joy. "Now the God of hope will fill you with all joy and peace in believing," Wrote Paul to the Romans. It is by believing.
(2) By meditating on these words and holding them in our minds and hearts until we have gotten all the sweetness out of them as we would hold honey in our mouths.
(3) By exercise, even as faith or love or patience is exercised. This we do by rejoicing in the Lord and praising God for His goodness and mercy, and shouting when the joy wells up in our souls under the pressure of the Holy Spirit. Many people quench the Spirit of joy and praise, and so gradually lose it. But let them repent, confess, pray and believe and then begin to praise God again and He will see to it that they have something to praise Him for, and their joy will convict sinners and prove a mighty means of winning them to Jesus.
Who can estimate the power there must have been in the joy that filled the heart of Peter and surged through the souls and beamed on the faces and flashed from the eyes of the one hundred and twenty fire-baptized disciples, while he preached that Pentecostal sermon which won three thousand bigoted enemies to the cross of a crucified Christ?
O Lord, still "make Thy ministers a flame of fire," and flood the world with Thy mighty joy!
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| Re: THE SOUL-WINNER'S SECRET ~ S.L Brengle|
"I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision," said Paul, and in that saying he reveals the secret of his wonderful success as a soul-winner. The soul-winner is a man sent by God, and will have visions and revelations and secret orders that, if affectionately heeded and heartily and courageously obeyed, will surely lead to success. He is preeminently "a worker together with God," and a soldier of Jesus Christ, and as such must obey. It is his business to take orders and carry them out.
"Before I formed thee I knew thee, and before thou camest forth I sanctified thee and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nation," said the Lord to Jeremiah, and when Jeremiah interrupted and said, "Ah, Lord God, behold I cannot speak, for I am a child," the Lord said to him, "Say not I am a child, for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces, for I am with thee to deliver thee," saith the Lord; "thou therefore gird up thy loins and arise and speak unto them all that I shall command thee. Be not dismayed at their faces lest I confound thee before them.
"If they had stood in My counsel and had caused My people to hear My words, then they should have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings," said the Lord of the false prophets. (Jer_23:22.)
"Not what is proper, but what is right must be my fearless and constant inquiry. Jesus, still lead on!" was the motto of Joseph Parker, one of London's mightiest preachers.
The soul-winner must get his message from God and speak what and when He commands. He is a servant of God, a friend of Jesus, a prophet of the Most High, an ambassador of heaven to the sons of men, and he must needs speak heaven's words and represent heaven's court and King and not seek his own will, but seek the will of Him that sent him. "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice." He must not trim his course to suit men, nor stop to ask what this man or that shall do, but he must attend strictly to his Lord and steadfastly follow Jesus. Paul tells us that Jesus was "obedient unto death" (Phi_2:8), and again and again he calls himself "a servant of Jesus Christ."
First: This obedience must be prompt. In spite of the appeals and encouragement's of Joshua and Caleb, the children of Israel refused to go over into Canaan, but afterwards, seeing their sin in refusing to obey promptly, they essayed to go over in spite of the warnings of Moses not now to attempt it, and met with bitter defeat. Promptness would have saved them forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Once the soul-winner knows the Master's will, he must not delay to fulfill it. If he is in doubt he can take time to assure himself as to what that will is. God would not have him run before he is sure he is sent, nor go before he has his message, nor falter and possibly fall because of uncertainty. But once he has received his orders and got his message, let him remember that "the King's business requires haste;" let him "strike while the iron is hot;" act and speak when the Spirit moves, and not, like covetous Balaam, dilly-dally to see if God will not change His mind and His orders.
Dewey's matchless victory at Manila was won, and the geographical boundaries of the nations changed, by the promptness with which he carried out his orders to destroy the Spanish fleet.
I have noticed that if I speak when the Spirit moves me, I can usually introduce the subject of religion and God's claims to any individual or company of men with happy results, but if I delay, the opportunity slips by, not to return again, or if it does return, it does so with increased difficulties.
Second: This obedience must be exact. Saul lost his kingdom and his life because his obedience was only partial. (See 1 Sam. 15.) So also did the prophet who warned the wicked King Jeroboam. (See 1 Kings, 13.)
"Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it," said Mary to the servants at the marriage of Cana, and when they obeyed Him Jesus wrought His first miracle. And so He will work miracles today through His chosen people, if they will do whatever He saith. The soul-winner must beware of quenching the blessed Spirit, and then he will find that it is not himself but the Spirit that speaks in him, so that he can say with Jesus, "The words that I speak, I speak not of Myself, but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works," for does not Jesus say, "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, that will I do"?
Third: This obedience must be courageous. "Be not afraid of their faces," said the Lord to Jeremiah. And again He said to Ezekiel, "And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. And thou shalt speak My words unto them, whether they will hear or whether they will forbear." He was not to say that which would please the people, but that which God gave him to say, and that without fear of consequences.
"And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandments of the Lord, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice." No wonder God cast him off and gave his crown and kingdom to another! God says, "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." Let the soul-winner recognize that he is on picket duty for heaven, and let him throw himself on heaven's protection and rest in the assurance of his Heavenly Father's care, and the utmost sympathy and support of Jesus, and do his duty courageously, saying with Paul, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
Again and again I have comforted myself with the assurance of good King Jehoshaphat, "Deal courageously and the Lord shall be with the good," and encouraged myself with the bold declaration of Peter to the enraged and outwitted Sanhedrin, "We ought to obey God rather than men," and measured myself by the self-forgetful words of Nehemiah, "Should such a man as I flee, and who is there that being as I am would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in." (Neh_6:11.) And of Paul "Neither count I my life dear unto myself. so that I might finish my course with joy and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus to testify the gospel of the grace of God." And of the three Hebrew children: "O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king; but if not, O, king, be it known unto thee that we will not serve thy gods nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."
That is the kind of stuff out of which God makes soul-winners.
Do you ask, how can a man get such a spirit of courageous obedience? I answer by dying -- dying to your selfish interests, dying to the love of praise, the fear of censure, the hope of reward in this world, and by a daredevil faith in the reward that God will give in the world to come; by a steadfast looking unto and following of Jesus, and a constant comparison of time with eternity. I read the other day that it was only dead men who were living preachers.
Fourth: The obedience must be glad. The command is, "Serve the Lord with gladness." "I delight to do thy will, O God," wrote the Psalmist. There was no grudging about his obedience; it was his joy. It is a love service God wants, and that is always a joy service. "My meat and My drink is to do the will of Him that sent Me," said Jesus, and Paul declares, "If I do this thing willingly, I have a reward." It is a glad love service God calls us to, and once we are wholly His and the Comforter abides in us, we shall not find it irksome to obey, and by obedience we shall both save ourselves and others to whom the Lord may send us.
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Prayer is the way of approach to God, and the soul-winner keeps it open by constant use. It is the channel by which all spiritual blessings and power are received, and therefore the life of the soul-winner must be one of ceaseless prayer. "Pray without ceasing," wrote Paul. It is the breath of the soul, and other things being equal, it is the secret of power.
It is written of Jesus, "And it came to pass in those days that He went out into. a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God." And this was followed by mighty works.
What an amazing statement is this: "Whatsoever things ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them;" and this: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you;" and this: "If ye abide in Me and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you!" And yet, amazing as they are, there they stand in "the Scripture of truth," a challenge to every child of God who is jealous for God's glory, who longs for the triumph of righteousness and who seeks the salvation of souls.
The soul-winner must pray in secret; he must get alone with God and pour his heart into his Heavenly Father's ear with intercessions and pleadings and arguments, if he would have good success. There is no substitute for much wide-awake, expectant, secret waiting upon God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the gift of wisdom, strength, courage, hope, faith, discernment of times and spirits, and a glowing, burning, comprehensive message from Him to the people. If men fail at this point, they will in due time fail at every point Jesus said: "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." Here, then, is the secret of success closet communion and counseling and conversations with God, who is our Father, and who can and will no more turn away from us when we come in the spirit of an obedient and affectionate child, than can the sunlight when we throw open the windows and doors and stand in its beams. I say it reverently. He cannot turn away from us, but will surely reward us, and that openly, because He said He would, and He cannot lie.
Prayer must be definite. Once, when Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimeus sat by the wayside begging, and when he heard Jesus was passing by, he began to cry out and say: "Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me," but that prayer was not definite -- it was altogether too general. Jesus knew what Bartimeus wanted, but He desired Bartimeus to state exactly what he desired, and said to him:
"What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?" Then the blind man prayed a definite prayer.
"Lord, that I might receive my sight," and the definite prayer then received a definite answer, for Jesus said unto him:
"Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole," and immediately he received his sight.
We should be as definite when we go to God, in asking him for what we want, as we are when we go to the store. The salesman is prepared to sell us anything and everything in the store, but he in reality sells us nothing until we tell him what we want, and so it is with our Heavenly Father.
Our prayers must be bold Paul said: "We have a great High Priest who has passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, who is touched with the feelings of our infirmities, and was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin," and adds: "Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace in time of need." Of course this boldness must be coupled with humility, but the greater the humility, the greater the boldness, if mixed with faith. I have often been amused and amazed at the boldness with which children come to their parents for the things they need and the things they want, and how gladly does the true parent respond to the child's request, especially if it expresses a genuine need! And Jesus said: "If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give good things to them that ask Him?"
The devil stands mocking and teasing the praying souls to drive him from his knees and from his Father's face, but let him rather come boldly in the name of Jesus and wait patiently for the things he desires, and he shall have an abundant reward. It is not our Heavenly Father's will to disappoint His trusting children, but rather to give them their utmost desire, yea, "exceeding abundantly above all they ask or think," for His heart is all love toward them; therefore let them not be timid and wavering, but steadfast and bold as His dear children.
Prayer must be importunate, persevering. Jesus teaches this very clearly in His parable of the importunate friend "Which of you," said Jesus, "shall have a friend and shall go unto him at midnight and shall say unto him; 'Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine in his journey has come to me and I have nothing to set before him and he from within shall say, 'Trouble me not, the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed I cannot rise and give thee.' I say unto you, though he will not rise and give him because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity, he will rise and give him as many as he needeth;" and then Jesus adds: "Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened unto him;" by which Jesus means to teach that we are to hold on in prayer till we get an answer. If the answer is delayed, our own hearts will be searched, the purity of our motives will be proved, and our faith will be purified, tried, developed and strengthened for future and greater triumph.
Jesus prayed three times that the cup of death in the garden of Gethsemane might pass from Him. It was not death on the Cross, but death in the garden He feared and the apostle tells us, in Heb_5:7, that He was heard. Daniel abstained from all pleasant food for three weeks at one time, and prayed until God appeared unto him and said: "O man, greatly beloved, fear not; peace be unto thee; be strong; yea, be strong;" and added, "I will show thee that which is noted in the Scriptures of truth," and then told him all that he desired to know. And Elijah, after his victory over the priests of Baal, sent his servant seven times to look for the cloud that should bring rain, while he bowed his face between his knees, and poured out his heart to God in prayer until the cloud appeared that should bring the floods of rain. Muller sometimes prayed every day, and often several times a day, and that for months and years for some things he wanted, before the answer came, but come it did in due time. Though the answer be delayed, it is not God's purpose to deny us without letting us know the reason why.
Prayer must be for the glory of God and according to His will. If we ask things simply to gratify our own desires, God cannot grant them. James said of certain ones, Ye ask ..... but ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts," but John said, "This is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us.; and if we know that He heareth us..... we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him" Jesus said, "If ye abide in Me and My words abide in you. ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you."
We are to ask according, to the things revealed as His will in His Word, and according to the principles laid down therein; therefore we should study His Word constantly and hide it in our own hearts, and see to it that we hide ourselves in His heart and thus be filled with the truth; we shall then not ask amiss, and being filled with the Spirit, we shall not be denied.
Prayer must be mixed with faith -- must be believing prayer. "Whatsoever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive and ye shall have." Oh, what a victory I got one morning over the devil, when he tried to shake my faith and confidence! I laid hold of that promise and wrestled through to the solid rock of believing prayer, and had one of the most glorious soul-saving days in my life! The man whose faith is constantly wavering shall receive nothing from the Lord. (James 1: 6-7.)
Finally, prayer must be in the name of Jesus. "Whatsoever ye will ask in My name that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son," said Jesus.
"The Blood, the Blood is all my plea," and with that plea the vilest sinner may come, while the child of God may approach with unabashed boldness into the presence of his Heavenly Father and claim all the resources of Heaven in his warfare against sin, in his effort to save sinners and build up the kingdom of God.
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It is said that Sheridan went to battle with all the fury of a madman, and recklessly exposed himself to the shot and shell of the enemy. He told General Horace Porter that he never went into a battle from which he cared to come back alive unless he came as a victor. This desperation made him an irresistible inspiration to his own troops, and enabled him to hurl them like thunderbolts against his foes. If he became so desperate in killing men, how much more desperate, if possible, should we become in our effort and desire to save them!
It was written of Jesus, "The zeal of Thine house hath eaten me up," and so it can be of every great soul-winner.
Not until a man can say with Paul, "Neither count I my life dear unto myself;" and "I am ready to die for the name of the Lord Jesus," can he hope to be largely used in winning souls. He that is anxious about his dinner and eager to get to bed at a reasonable hour and concerned about his salary, and over solicitous about his health, and querulous about his reputation, and the respectability and financial condition of his appointment, and afraid of weariness and painfulness and headache and heartache, and a sore throat, may make a very respectable field officer or parson, but not a great soul-winner.
There are various kinds of zeal which should be avoided as deadly evils.
First: Partial zeal like that of Jehu. (2 Kings 10:15-31.) God set him to destroy the wicked house of Ahab and the worship of Baal, and he did so with fury, "but Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the God of Israel with all his heart, for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam which made Israel to sin," and in due time God had to cut off his house as well.
This kind of zeal is frequently seen in those who violently attack one sort of sin, while probably they themselves are secretly indulging in some other sin. Such people are usually not only intolerant of the sin, but also of the sinner, while true zeal makes one infinitely tender and patient towards the sinner, while absolutely uncompromising with his sin.
Second: Party zeal like that of the Pharisees and Sadducees. In these days it takes the form of excessive sectarian and denominational zeal, and makes bigots of men. Zeal for the particular church or organization to which one belongs is right within certain limits. We are converted through the instrumentality of a certain religious organization, and we become children of its household, or we are led into it by the Holy Spirit through a blessed, divine affinity with its members, methods, spirit and doctrine, and we should in that case be loyal and true to its leaders who are over us in the Lord and who watch for our souls, and follow them as they follow Christ. We should also be loyal to the principles of the organization so far as they harmonize with the word of God, and we should seek in all true ways, by prayer and supplication and ceaselessly zealous work to build up this organization in holiness and righteousness, and this we can do with all our might, if we do it in the Holy Spirit, and can be assured that God is well pleased with us. But we must at the same time beware of a party spirit that would despise other work and workers or tear them down that we may rise on their ruins. Such zeal is from beneath and not from above. It is contrary to that love which "seeketh not her own," and looketh not upon her own things, but "also upon the things of others," and will come back, boomerang-like, upon our own pates, and bring ruin upon ourselves.
"For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of man's mind,
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind."
And true zeal makes men like that.
Third: The zeal of ignorance. Paul said of his kinsmen, the Jews, "My heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved, for I bear them record that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge, for they, being ignorant of God's righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God (Rom_10:1-3.)
True zeal is from above. Its source is in the mountains of the Lord's holiness, and its springing fountains in the deep cool valleys of humility. It is born of the Holy Sprit and springs from a knowledge of "the truth as it is in Jesus." This knowledge is twofold:
First: It is the knowledge of the dread condition of the sinner without Christ -- his slavery to Satan; the inherited depravity of his nature; his bondage to sin, his love of it; his enmity toward God, of which he is probably not aware; his guilt; his helplessness and his ignorance of the way back to his Heavenly Father's house and happiness, and his awful danger, if he neglects the offer of salvation and life in Jesus Christ.
Second: It is the knowledge of the unspeakable gift of God, of the possibilities of grace for the vilest sinner, of the Father's pitying, yearning love, of sins forgiven, guilt removed, adoption into the Father's family, illumination, consolation, guidance, keeping, depravity destroyed, cleansing through the Blood, sanctification by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, of salvation, from the uttermost to the uttermost; of unbroken fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ through the eternal Spirit, of a life of blessed service and fruit-bearing and of a faith and hope that bear the spirit up over sorrows and trials and losses and pain and sickness, enabling it at last to cry out in supreme victory and holy triumph: "O Death, where is thy sting, O grave, where is thy victory? Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
True zeal makes one faithful to Jesus and the souls for whom He died. It led Paul during his three years' appointment at Ephesus "to warn everyone night and day with tears to serve the Lord with all humility," to keep back no truth that was profitable for the people, but to show them and teach them "publicly and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." (Acts 20.) He was not content simply to get sinners to accept Jesus as their Savior, but taught them that "Christ in you is the hope of glory, whom we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus, whereunto I labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily." (Col_1:29.) Paul was jealous for the perfection in love and loyalty of all his converts, and his zeal led him to seek with all his might to lead them all into this blessed experience. And as was Paul, so also was Baxter, who labored indefatigably in spite of lifelong sickness, and at times almost in intolerable pain, for the perfection of his people. And so also was Wesley and Fox and General and Mrs. Booth, and so will be every soul-winner who is full of the zeal of God.
True zeal is sacrificial. Jesus, consumed with zeal for the glory of God in the saving and sanctifying of men, "was led as a lamb to the slaughter." Isaiah, who foresaw the humiliation and sacrificial life and death of Jesus, said by inspiration, "I gave my back to the smiters and my cheek to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting." And again Isaiah said, "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; He was despised and we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. 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. The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Isa_53:1-12.) He poured out His soul unto death for us, He gave His life a ransom for Men. Bless His name! And the gift of His Spirit kindles and sustains this same sacrificial zeal in the hearts of all true soul-winners.
"Enlarge, inflame and fill my heart
With boundless charity divine,
So shall all my strength exert.
And love them with a zeal like Thine;
And lead them to Thy open side.
The sheep for whom their Shepherd died."
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