There are certain general conditions, the fulfilment of which is absolutely essential to real success in bringing men to Christ. These conditions, fortunately, are few and simple and such as any one can meet.
1. The one who would have real success in bringing others to Christ must himself be A THOROUGHLY CONVERTED PERSON. Jesus said to Peter, "When thou art converted strengthen thy brethren." He was in no position to help his brethren until he himself, after his cowardly denial, had turned again to his Lord with his whole heart. If we would bring others to Christ we must turn away from all sin, and worldliness and selfishness with our whole heart, yielding to Jesus the absolute lordship over our thoughts, purposes and notions. If there is any direction in which we are seeking to have our own way and not letting Him have His own way in our lives, our power will be crippled and men lost that we might have saved. The application of this principle to the numerous questions that come up in the life of every young Christian as to whether he should do this or that, each individual can settle for himself if Christ's honor and not his own pleasure is uppermost in his mind and if he looks honestly to God to guide him.
2. The one who would have real success in bringing others to Christ must have a love FOR souls, i. e. a longing for the salvation of the lost. If we have no love for souls, our efforts will be mechanical and powerless. We may know how to approach men and what to say to them, but there will be no power in what we say and it will not touch the heart. But if like Paul we have "great heaviness and unceasing pain in our hearts" for the unsaved, there will be an earnestness in our tone and manner that will impress the most careless. Furthermore if we have a love for souls we will be on the constant watch for opportunities to speak with the unsaved and will find opportunities on the street, in the store, in the home, on the cars and everywhere that would otherwise have entirely escaped our notice.
But how is one to get a love for souls? This question is easily answered. First of all, a love for souls like very other grace of Christian character, is the work of the Holy Spirit. If then we are conscious that we do not have that love for souls that we should have, the first thing to do is to go to God and humbly confess this lack in our lives and ask Him by His Holy Spirit to supply that which we so sorely, need and expect Him to do it (1 John 5:14, 15; Phil. 4:19). In the second place Jesus Christ had an intense love for souls (Matt. 23:37; Luke 19:10), and intimate and constant companionship with Him will impart to our lives this grace which was so prominent in His. In the third place feelings are the outcome of thoughts. If we desire any given feeling in our lives we should dwell upon the thoughts which are adapted to produce that feeling. If any saved person will dwell long enough upon the peril and wretchedness of any man out of Christ and the worth of his soul in God's sight as seen in the death of God's Son to save him, a feeling of intense desire for that man's salvation is almost certain to follow. In the fourth place, reflection upon our own ruined and unhappy condition without Christ and the great sacrifice that Christ-made to save us, is sure to fill our hearts with a desire to bring others to the Saviour we have found.
3. The one who would have real success in bringing men to Christ, must have a WORKING KNOWLEDGE OF THE BIBLE. The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). It is the instrument God uses to convict of sin, to reveal Christ and to regenerate men. If we would work together with God, the Bible is the instrument upon which we must rely and which we must use in bringing men to Christ. We must know how to use the Bible so as (I) to show men their need of a Saviour, (2) to show them Jesus as the Saviour they need (3) to show them how to make this Saviour their own Saviour (4) to meet the difficulties that stand in the way of their accepting Christ. A large part of the following pages will be devoted to imparting this knowledge.
4. The one who would have real success in bringing men to Christ must pray much. Solid work in soul winning must be accompanied by prayer at every step. (I). We must pray God to lead us to the right persons to approach. God does not intend that we speak to every one we meet. If we try to do it, we will waste much valuable time in speaking to those whom we cannot help, that we might have used in speaking to those to whom we could have done much good. God alone knows the one to whom He intends us to speak, and we must ask Him to point him out to us, and, expect Him to do it. (Acts 8:29). (2). We must pray God to show us just what to say to those to whom He leads us. After all our study of the passages to be used in dealing with the various classes of men, we shall need God's guidance in each specific case. Every experienced worker will testify to the many instances in which God has led them to use some text of Scripture that they would not otherwise have used but which proved to be just the one needed. (3). We must pray God to give power to that which He has given us to say. We need not only a message from God but power from God to send the message home. Most workers have to learn this lesson by humiliating experiences. They sit down beside an unsaved man and reason and plead and bring forth texts from the word of God, but the man does not accept Christ. At last it dawns upon them that they are trying to convert the man in their own strength and then they lift an humble and earnest prayer to God for his strength, and God hears and in a short time this "very difficult case" has settled the matter and is rejoicing in Christ. (4). We must pray God to carry on the work after our work has come to an end. After having done that which seems to have been our whole duty in any given instance, whatever may have been the apparent issue of our work, whether successful or unsuccessful, we should definitely commit the case to God in prayer. If there is anything the average worker in this hurrying age needs to have impressed upon him, it is the necessity of more prayer. By praying more we will not work any less and we will accomplish vastly more.
5. The one who would have real success in bringing men to Christ must be "baptized with the holy ghost." "Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost, is come upon you," said Jesus to his disciples after having given them the great commission to go out and bring men to Himself. The supreme condition of soul winning power is the same today: "after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." A later chapter will be given to a study of what "the Baptism of the Holy Ghost" is and how any Christian can obtain it.