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How to Work for Christ: Book 1: Personal Work, Chapter 5

By Reuben Archer Torrey


      We come now to the question of how to deal with individual cases. We begin with those who realize their need of a Savior, and really desire to be saved. We begin with these because they are the easiest class to deal with.


      The first thing to show one who realizes his need of a Savior is that Jesus has borne his sins in His own body on the cross. A good verse for this purpose is Isaiah 53:6:

      "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."

      Get the inquirer to read the verse himself, then say to him, "The first half of this verse shows you your need of salvation, the second half shows you the provision that God has made for your salvation. Read again the first half of the verse. Is this true of you? Have you gone astray like a sheep? Have you turned to your own way?" "Yes." "Then what are you?" Get the inquirer to say, "I am lost." "We will now look at the provision God has made for your salvation; read the last half of the verse. Who is the one in this verse upon whom our iniquity has been laid?" "Christ." "What then has God done with your sin?" "Laid it on Christ." "Is it then on you any longer?" Go over it again and again until he sees that his sin is not on him, but that it is on Christ, and has been settled forever. I often use a simple illustration in making the meaning of the verse plain. I let my right hand represent the inquirer, my left hand represent Christ, and my Bible represent the inquirer's sin. I first lay the Bible on my right hand and say, "Now where is your sin?" The inquirer replies of course, "On me." I then repeat the last half of the verse, "the Lord hath LAID ON HIM the iniquity of us all," and transfer the Bible from my right hand to my left, and ask, "Where is your sin now?" The inquirer replies, "On Him, of course." I then ask, "Is it on you any longer?" and he says, "No, on Christ." Very many people have been led out into light and joy by this simple illustration.

      I sometimes put it in this way, in using this verse, "There are two things which a man needs to know, and one thing he needs to do in order to be saved. What he needs to know is, first, that he is a lost sinner, and this verse tells him that, and second, that Christ is an all-sufficient Savior, and this verse tells him that. What he needs to do is to accept this all-sufficient Savior whom God has provided. Now will you accept Him right here and now?"

      Another excellent verse to show Jesus as a sin-bearer, is Galatians 3:13:

      "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, BEING MADE A CURSE FOR US: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."

      The inquirer should be given the verse to read for himself. When he has read it, you may question him something like this: "What does this verse tell us that Christ has redeemed us from?" "Whom has He redeemed?" "How has He redeemed us from the curse of the law?" "Do you believe that Christ has redeemed you from the curse of the law by being made a curse in your place?" "Will you read it then in the singular instead of in the plural?" Make it clear what you mean, until the inquirer reads the verse in this way: "Christ has redeemed me from the curse of the law, being made a curse for me; for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."

      Another good verse for this purpose is 2 Corinthians 5:21:

      "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

      Have him read the verse, and then ask questions somewhat as follows: "Who is it that hath been made sin for us?" "For whom has Christ been made sin?" "For what purpose is it that Christ has been made sin for us?" "Can you put this verse in the singular and read it this way: 'For he hath made him to be sin for me, who knew no sin; that I might be made the righteousness of God in him'?"

      Sometimes it will be well to use all three of these passages, but as a rule the first is sufficient; so far as my own experience goes, it is more effective than either of the other passages -- in fact, I deal with very few men with whom I do not use Isaiah 53:6 sooner or later.


      It is not enough to show them Jesus as a sin-bearer, for through believing in Jesus as a sin-bearer one merely gets pardon from sin, but there is something else that the sinner needs, that is deliverance from sin's power. In order to get this, they need to see Jesus as a risen Savior, able to save to the uttermost. By believing in Christ crucified, we get pardon, but by believing in Christ risen, we get deliverance from sin's power. One of the best verses to use for this purpose 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."

      When the inquirer has read the passage, ask him who it is that is able to save, and to what extent He is able to save. Explain to the inquirer what "to the uttermost" means. Many read this passage as though it taught that Jesus was able to save from the uttermost. This is true, but it is not the truth of this text, it is save TO the uttermost. Then ask the inquirer why it is that Jesus is able to save to the uttermost. Dwell upon this thought, that JESUS EVER LIVETH, that He is not only a Savior who once died and made atonement for sin, but that He is a Savior who lives today, and is able to keep from sin's power. Then ask the inquirer if he is willing to trust Jesus as a living Savior, one to whom he can look day by day for victory over sin.

      Another good verse to use for this purpose is 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."

      When the inquirer has read the verse, ask him what this verse says Jesus is able to do, emphasize "to keep you from falling." Explain why it is that Jesus is able to keep from falling; because He is a risen, living Savior today, and get the inquirer to see plainly that he is to look to the risen Christ to keep him from falling.

      Matthew 28:18 is a good verse to use to bring out the extent of Christ's power:

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

      A young convert needs to realize that he is to stand, not in his own strength, but in the strength of Christ, and it is a great help for him to see that the one in whom he is to trust has all power in heaven and in earth.

      One can also use to advantage 1 Peter 1:5:

      "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

      and 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. The latter passage brings out clearly the thought that the doctrine that Christ died for our sins, as blessed as it is, is not the whole Gospel, but only half of it; that the rest of the Gospel is that He was buried and that He rose again. Always get an inquirer to believe not only in Christ crucified, but in Christ risen as well. A man once came to me in deep distress of soul. He was a perfect stranger to me, but told me that he had come quite a distance to tell me his story. He said, "When I was a boy seven years of age, I started to read the Bible through. I had not gotten through Deuteronomy before I found that if one kept the whole law of God for one hundred years, and then broke it at one point, he was under the curse of a broken law. Was that right?" "Yes," I replied, "that is substantially the teaching of the law." He then continued, that he was in deep distress of soul for about a year, but as a boy of eight, he read John 3:16 and saw how Jesus Christ had died in his place, and borne the curse of the broken law for him, and he added, "My burden rolled away, and I had great joy. Was I converted?" I replied that that sounded very much like an evangelical conversion. "Well," he said, "let me tell you the rest of my story. Years passed by; I came to Chicago to live; I worked in the stockyards and lived in the stockyards region among many godless men; I fell into drink and I cannot break away; every little while this sin gets the mastery of me, and what I have come to ask you is, is there any way in which I can get the victory over sin?" I replied, "There is. I am glad you have come to me; let me show you the way." I opened my Bible to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, and had him read:

      "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 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."

      Then I said to him, "What is the Gospel that Paul preached?" He answered, "That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, and rose again." "That is right," I said. Then I said, "Now you have believed the first part of this Gospel, that Christ died for your sins." "Yes." "Through believing that you have found peace." "Yes." "Well," I continued, "this is only half the Gospel. If you will really believe the other half from your heart, you will get victory over your sin. Do you believe that Jesus rose again?" "Yes, I believe everything in the Bible." "Do you believe that Jesus is today in the place of power at the right hand of God?" "I do." "Do you believe that He has all power in heaven and on earth?" "I do." "Do you believe that this risen Christ with all power in heaven and on earth has power to set you free from the power of your sin?" "Yes," he said slowly, "I do." "Will you ask Him to do it, and trust Him to do it right now?" "I will." We knelt in prayer. I prayed and then he followed. He asked the risen Christ to set him free from the power of sin. I asked him if he really believed He had power to do it. "Yes." "Do you believe He will do it?" "Yes, I do." We rose and parted. Some time after, I received a very joyous letter from him, telling me how glad he was that he had come to see me, and how the message he had heard was just the one that he needed. There are thousands of professing Christians today who know Jesus as crucified Savior, and have found pardon and peace through believing in Him, but they have never been brought to a definite, clear faith in Jesus as a risen Savior who can save from the power of sin.


      It is not enough to know Jesus as a Savior; we must know Him as Lord also. A good verse for this purpose is Acts 2:36:

      "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that GOD HATH MADE THAT SAME JESUS, whom ye have crucified, BOTH LORD AND CHRIST."

      When the inquirer has read the verse, ask him what God hath made Jesus, and hold him to it until he replies, "Both Lord and Christ." Then say to him, "Are you willing to accept Him as your Divine Lord, the one to whom you will surrender your heart, your every thought, and word, and act?"

      Another good verse for this purpose is Romans 10:9:

      "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth THE LORD Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

      When the inquirer has read the verse, ask him what we are to confess Jesus as. He should reply, "Lord." If he does not so reply, ask him other questions until he does answer in this way. Then ask him, "Do you really believe that Jesus is Lord, that He is Lord of all, that He is rightfully the absolute Lord and Master of your life and person?" Perhaps it will be well to use Acts 10:36 as throwing additional light upon this point:

      "The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (HE IS LORD OF ALL)."


      It is not enough to see that Jesus is a sin-bearer, and that Jesus is a risen Savior, and that Jesus is Lord; one must also see how to make this Jesus their own sin-bearer, their own risen Savior, and their own Lord. There is perhaps no better verse to use for this purpose than John 1:12:

      "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."

      When one has read the verse, you can ask to whom it is Jesus gave power to become the sons of God. "As many as received Him." "Received Him as what?" then make it clear from what you have already said under the preceding points, that it is to receive Him as sin-bearer, to receive Him as a risen Savior, to receive Him as our Lord and Master. "Will you just take Him as your sin-bearer now, as your risen Savior, as your Lord and Master? Will you take Him to be whatever He offers Himself to you to be?" "I will." "Then what does this verse show you that you have a right to call yourself?" "A son of God." "Are you a son of God?" Oftentimes the inquirer will hesitate, but go over it again and again until it is as clear as day to him.

      Another excellent passage to use for this purpose is John 3:16:

      "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM should not perish, but have everlasting life."

      Ask the inquirer who it is that receives eternal life. "Whosoever believes in Him." "Do you believe in Him as your sin-bearer?" "Do you believe in Him as your risen Savior?" "Do you believe in Him as your Lord?" "Well, then, what have you?"

      Another good passage to use is Acts 10:43:

      "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM shall receive remission of sins."

      Still another is Acts 13:39:

      "And by him ALL THAT BELIEVE are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."


      No conversion is clear and satisfactory until one has been led to confess Christ with the mouth before men. Perhaps the best passage to show the need of such open confession with the mouth is Romans 10:9-10:

      "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

      When the inquirer has read it, ask him what is the first thing this verse tells us that we must do if we are to be saved. "Confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus." "Well, will you confess Jesus as your Lord with the mouth now?" Wherever possible, it is good to get the persons dealt with to make a public confession of Jesus just as soon as possible. If you are dealing with them in an after-meeting, have them make this confession right then and there; if somewhere else, bring them to a prayer-meeting, or some other service where they can make the confession, as soon as possible.


      It is not enough that one should be saved, one ought to have the assurance that he is saved. He ought to be brought to a place where he can say confidently and joyously, "I KNOW I am saved, I KNOW I have everlasting life." After an inquirer has been led to the acceptance and confession of Christ, an excellent passage to use for this purpose is John 3:36:

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

      When the inquirer has read the passage you can say, "Now this passage tells us that there is some one who has everlasting life; who is it?" "He that believeth on the Son." "What does God say in this passage that every one who believes on the Son has?" "Everlasting life." "Is it absolutely sure that every one who believes on the Son has everlasting life?" "It is; God says so." "Well, do you believe on the Son?" "Yes." "What have you then?" "Everlasting life." "Are you absolutely sure that you have everlasting life?" "Yes." "Why are you sure?" "Because God says so here." In many cases, probably in the majority of cases, it will be necessary to go over this again, and again, before the inquirer says that he is absolutely sure that he has everlasting life because he believes on the Son, but do not let him go until he is thus absolutely sure.


      It is not enough that a person be led to accept Christ, that is only the beginning of the Christian life, and if one is not shown how to lead the Christian life which he has thus begun, his life is likely to be largely one of failure. The reason so many Christian lives are comparative failures is because of a lack of definite and full instruction to the young convert as to how to lead the life which he has begun. The following instructions should be given to every one who has been dealt with as described above; and not only to them, but to every other class of inquirers that may be led to the acceptance of Christ by the methods described in the following pages or in any other way. You will speak to the inquirer somewhat as follows: "You have just begun the Christian life; now you wish to make a success of it. There are six very simple things to do, and it is absolutely sure that any one who does these six things will make a success of the Christian life."

      1. "You will find the first of these in Matthew 10:32. Please read it very carefully:

      "Whosoever therefore shall CONFESS ME BEFORE MEN, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven."

      This verse tells us that Christ confesses before the Father those who confess Him before men. You will make a success of the Christian life only if Christ confesses you before the Father, so if you wish to succeed in this life that you have begun, YOU MUST MAKE A CONSTANT PRACTICE OF CONFESSING CHRIST BEFORE MEN. Improve every opportunity that you get of showing your colors, and stating that you are upon Christ's side, and of telling what the Lord hath done for your soul."

      2. "STUDY THE WORD OF GOD REGULARLY, AND HIDE IT IN YOUR HEART." To make this point clear, use the following passages:

      "THY WORD HAVE I HID IN MINE HEART, that I might not sin against thee." Psalm 119:11.

      "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." 1 Peter 2:2.

      One of the most frequent causes of failure in the Christian life is neglect of the Word of God. One can no more thrive spiritually without regular spiritual food than he can thrive physically without regular and proper physical nourishment.

      3. "PRAYER WITHOUT CEASING." To make this point clear, use

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

      "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 faith." Isaiah 40;31.

      Have the young convert read these verses again and again and mark them in his Bible.

      4. "SURRENDER YOUR WILL ABSOLUTELY TO GOD, AND OBEY HIM IN ALL THINGS." To make this plain use 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." Show that obedience is a matter of the will more than of the outward life, and that God gives His Holy Spirit to them that obey Him, or surrender their will absolutely to Him. Insist upon the need of this absolute surrender of the will to God.

      5. "BE A CONSTANT AND GENEROUS GIVER." To make the necessity of this plain to the convert, use 2 Corinthians 9:6-8:

      "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 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."

      It is well sometimes to use Malachi 3:10 as a side light:

      "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

      Go over and over it again and again until it is fixed in the young convert's mind that if he is to enjoy the fullness of God's blessing, if God is to make all grace abound toward him, he must give to the Lord's work as the Lord prospers him, that he must be a constant and generous giver. Many young Christians make little headway in the Christian life because they are not plainly instructed on the necessity of regular, systematic and generous giving to the Lord.

      6. "GO TO WORK FOR CHRIST AND KEEP WORKING FOR CHRIST." To show the necessity of this, use Matthew 25:14-30, explaining the teaching of the parable, that it is the one who uses what he has who gets more, but the one who neglects to use what he has, loses even that.

      Go over these six points again and again; write them down with the texts, and give them to the young convert to take with him. The directions given above may seem to be very full, and it may occur to the reader that it will take a long time to follow them out. This is true, and oftentimes it will not be necessary to use all the texts, but at the same time it is best to be sure that you do thorough work. There is a great deal of the superficial and shoddy work done in soul-winning today, and this kind of work does not stand. It is better to spend an hour, or two hours, on one person, and get him really rooted and grounded in the truth, than it is to get a dozen or more to say that they accept Christ, when the do not really understand what they are doing. One of the most common and greatest of faults in Christian work today is superficial dealing with souls.

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See Also:
   How to Work for Christ: Book 1: Personal Work, Chapter 1
   How to Work for Christ: Book 1: Personal Work, Chapter 2
   How to Work for Christ: Book 1: Personal Work, Chapter 3
   How to Work for Christ: Book 1: Personal Work, Chapter 4
   How to Work for Christ: Book 1: Personal Work, Chapter 5
   How to Work for Christ: Book 1: Personal Work, Chapter 6
   How to Work for Christ: Book 1: Personal Work, Chapter 7
   How to Work for Christ: Book 1: Personal Work, Chapter 8
   How to Work for Christ: Book 1: Personal Work, Chapter 9
   How to Work for Christ: Book 1: Personal Work, Chapter 10
   How to Work for Christ: Book 1: Personal Work, Chapter 11
   How to Work for Christ: Book 1: Personal Work, Chapter 12
   How to Work for Christ: Book 1: Personal Work, Chapter 13
   How to Work for Christ: Book 1: Personal Work, Chapter 14
   How to Work for Christ: Book 1: Personal Work, Chapter 15


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