Let's Go Soul Winning
by Pastor Jack Hyles
(Chapter 3 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Let's Build An Evangelistic Church)
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations [Mark's version says, "...preach the gospel to every creature"], baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." -- Matt. 28:19, 20.
Notice the simplicity of the Great Commission. I'm satisfied that this is not all it teaches, but this is the basic teaching, as I see it, of the Great Commission. There are several verbs in this verse. The first one is, "Go." We are to go. That means to go where they are. It doesn't mean to put up a shingle in your office and say, "If anybody wants to get saved, inquire within." It means you are to look them up, track them down. You are to go where they are.
The second verb is, "Teach" (Mark says, "Preach"). Actually it means to win them. Go out and tell them how to be saved. The first thing you do is to go; then get them saved.
The next verb is, "Baptize."
And then, "...Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."
Notice there are four basic verbs: (1) Go. (2) Preach (or teach, get them saved). (3) Baptize. (4) Teach them again. You teach them something after you get them saved and baptized. What do you teach them? To "... observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." It did not say to teach "whatsoever I have written you." But teach them "whatsoever I have commanded you."
Now what did He command us to do? Go, preach, baptize, then teach them what He commanded us to do. So, we teach them to go and preach and baptize, that they may teach their converts to go, preach and baptize, that they may teach their converts to go and preach and baptize. If I understand the Great Commission properly, the first thing to teach somebody you win to Christ is how to win somebody else to Christ. Don't you think so? It says "to teach them to do what I have told you to do, what I have commanded you to do."
Here is what I think the Great Commission basically teaches. I come to this brother here on the front. First, I go. I go to your house: I go to your store, then I tell you how to get converted. I get you baptized. Then I must teach you how to go and get the next man converted and get him baptized, that he may teach another how to go and get still another converted and baptized, that he may go, etc.
Dr. Rice, you don't quit there. You teach him how to get this man converted and baptize him. It is a long circle when you get somebody converted. We have the idea that the Great Commission is wrapped up in going, preaching, and baptizing, and that that is all it says. No, it says you teach them how to go. You teach them how to get folks saved. You teach them how to get folks baptized. That is also a part of the Great Commission and the first command to us after we win a soul to Jesus Christ.
So, this is the Great Commission, this matter of what I'm doing today. I'm teaching you how to have pretty feet. The Bible says, "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" So, I'm a chiropodist, a foot specialist. I'm going to make you have pretty feet. A secret of success is good feet. An athlete will tell you the first things that will go bad are legs and feet. No matter how hard you can bat, how good you can catch and pitch, when your legs are gone, the athlete is gone.
The most important thing about an army is its feet. When I was in the service they had foot inspection at midnight. We would be sound asleep and then... "Attention!!!" Here comes the Captain. We would stand up and look, and here was that big old boy coming down the hall. They would say, "Get on your foot lockers." We got on our foot lockers. Great big old feet sticking out, and they say, "O.K. Hold up your trousers." We held up our trousers while they examined our feet. Why? Because the most important things about the army was the feet.
Now the first thing to get cold about you is your feet--physically or spiritually. I was in Phoenix in a conference. I got cold at night and I didn't know I was cold. I wasn't awake enough to know where I was cold, but I was awake enough to know I was cold somewhere. Invariably it is your feet that get cold, but you don't realize it. You start pulling the cover up around your shoulders while your feet are sticking out completely. Your feet get colder and you feel colder, but you don't know where you are cold. You pull the covers a little further. Finally, you are freezing to death. It is your feet that are cold but you don't know it.
And that is the first thing that will get cold spiritually. You start tithing and giving more money. But it is not your pocketbook that is cold; it is your feet. You promise God you will start coming to prayer meeting, but your feet get cold first. And a lot of Christians are as cold as a wedge and don't know where it started. It started with their feet.
The same is true about being dirty. How many of you men (now you ladies wouldn't dare do this, but we men do it quite a bit), you don't want to take a bath. You are not quite dirty enough to take a bath, but your feet are dirty, so you take your shoes off, put your big feet up in the lavatory and wash them. Why? Because the feet get dirty first.
The same is true with a Christian. When the feet get dirty--they are the first things that lead you toward backsliding The first thing you leave off when you get away from God is not the Sunday School on Sunday morning; it is not the Sunday evening service. The first thing is visitation, calling, witnessing. If you can keep your feet warm, you will he warm all over. If you can keep your feet clean, you will be clean all over. If you can keep your feet right, you will be right all over. So, today we will discuss how to keep your feet pretty
Soul winning is the basic secret of every other problem in the church. For example, here a church is having cold services. There is no warmth there. The Lord does not meet with them. Now how do you overcome it? Get to winning souls. If somebody walks down the aisle every Sunday and professes their faith in Christ, that will warm the service up a great deal.
Here is a church having trouble with its business. It doesn't have enough folks who know business. It is having trouble handling its legal affairs. It doesn't have enough wisdom. The Bible says, "He that winneth souls is wise." So God gives extra wisdom to those who win souls. I would rather have a soul-winning ignoramus run the business of my church than a group of big shots who won't come to prayer meeting on Wednesday night. In the First Baptist Church in Hammond our deacons and leaders are men not necessarily who are business wise, but men who are spiritual and soul winners because God gives them wisdom that no one else has.
The same is true about your finances. If you have trouble raising your money, just get some sinners converted. When Jesus wanted some money, what did He do? He caught a fish with money in its mouth. The same is true if you will get busy about soul winning. Now if you have a little trouble in the church, go soul winning.
Suppose Dr. Rice and I have a fuss. The best thing for us to do is to go soul winning together. If we can win somebody to Jesus together, we will make it all right. We will love each other again.
When I was in Texas a deacon there had a fuss with me. Of course I thought it was his fault. So, one night he came to visitation. We went visiting together. He said, "Preacher, that Bible study you brought last night was the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard."
I said, "J. B., if you had an ounce of sense, if God gave you a brain the size of a flea's brain, you would know I taught the truth last night."
Now, he said, "Preacher, if I didn't love you, I would quit coming to this church."
I said, "J. B., the truth is, I ought not to even go with you." Boy, we really had it.
About that time we came to the first house. A fellow came to the door in his bathrobe and house slippers. He had gone to bed. We got him converted, and J. B. got happy and we started rejoicing. The fellow woke his wife and she came and got converted. We walked out the door on the way home and J. B. looked at me and said, "Preacher, I've been thinking about that sermon at prayer meeting and that was one of the best sermons I have ever heard."
I said, "J. B., no, you're wrong. I was wrong last night and you were right." So we got in a fuss over who was right last night! I'm just saying, we got back together. Why? Because we were winning souls together.
Jesus said in John 15, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you." Sometimes folks ask me about predestination. Yes, I believe I was chosen before the foundation of the world -- to get somebody saved. That is what it says. It says, "I have chosen you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: and that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you." Then it says, "These things I command you, that ye love one another." What? Going and bringing forth fruit. Why? That will make you love one another. So soul winning is the crux of it all.
I tell my preacher boys in my church, "If you go to a church where they are about to vote you out, kick you out, go out and win enough folks to carry the vote right quick." I was called to a church one time -- in fact, the first full-time church I ever had. I carried the vote about 25 to 17. When I got there the first Sunday, a lot of my folks were gone. Usually the first Sunday at the church you present yourself for membership, but I didn't have enough folks there to vote me in and I was already pastor. So I didn't join. I went out winning souls and won eighteen or twenty the first few weeks, then I joined the church. I had enough then to vote me in. So it will take care of your problems.
This matter of soul winning is consuming to me. To me it is just the biggest thing. It consumes me with the bigness, and that anybody can do it. I wish I could tell you about some experiences of folks who do it.
I know a fellow in Texas who, when he got converted, couldn't even spell Jesus. The first year he won 169 to Jesus. He picked up a hitchhiker and tried to witness to him. The hitchhiker shook his head. He then talked real loud, but the hitchhiker pointed to his ears and shook his head. So this new convert started writing the Gospel out and the hitchhiker pointed down and shook his head. He couldn't read, he couldn't hear, he couldn't talk. So this soul winner, who went to the third grade and couldn't even spell Jesus, stopped the car and got out, took his Bible, pointed to the Bible, pointed to his heart, pointed to Heaven, made a motion to open your heart and let Him come in, got on his knees and began to pray. The deaf and dumb fellow got on his knees and mumbled a bit, got up with a smile of Heaven on his face, pointed to the Bible, pointed to Heaven and pointed to his heart.
I'm just saying, anybody can do it. This is a chance for you. As Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., says, God doesn't have many today. This is a chance for you. God is hard up and He will even use you.
1. Have a Definite Time to Go
This is one of the most important things in soul winning. If you are to be a soul winner, you have to do it on purpose. You must plan to do it. You must try to do it.
Let me encourage you a bit. I'm sure I speak for others: I know I speak for myself. There never is a day when I want to go soul winning. We're all made of the same clay and have the same weaknesses. Soul winning is a spiritual matter and the flesh will fight against it. In the summer it is too hot to go. Besides, folks are taking naps and it will make them mad if we wake them up. In a few months it is going to start snowing and we don't want to go out in the snow because we will catch cold talking through the door, and they would catch cold, too. There is never a good time to go.
Let me say this, though. I never want to quit once I start. In soul winning you have to have a self-starter. You have to start against the grain. You must start because you are supposed to start. I get tired of folks saying, "Dear Lord, give me a burden to win souls." While you wait on the burden, go out and win a few. The Lord didn't tell you to win souls if you have a burden; He said to win them anyway. If you don't want to, win them; if you feel like it, win them. If we went soul winning every time we felt like it, not a one of us would ever go, because Satan will try to keep us from it. He will keep you at your desk. You may become a great theologian studying things that are good to know, but the Devil will use them to substitute for soul winning.
So have a schedule. The trouble with most preachers -- and I'm guilty of it myself -- is that we don't live a disciplined life. Every preacher should have a schedule and try to live by it. Every preacher, every Christian should have a set time in the week or several times in the week when he does soul winning.
Personally, I try to go every Thursday afternoon, every Friday afternoon, and sometimes on Saturday. If I cannot go or do not go one of those times, I substitute another time. I suggest the layman should go when the church has visitation, if possible, and maybe one other time in the week. If you cannot go on visitation night, go another time, but set aside a time and say, "This is my time to win souls." If you do not, you will probably be a failure.
2. Be Soul-Conscious
What does it mean to be soul-conscious? Talk to anyone any time or, better still, talk to everyone every time. Realize that everybody has a soul. The drugstore clerk, the bather, the shoeshine boy, the beautician, the grocery clerk, the milkman, bread man, service station attendant needs the Lord and we should witness to them.
Nobody is going to do it every time. It never gets easy to ask, "Are you a Christian?" I practice it. In front of the mirror I say, "Are you a Christian? Are y-o-u a Christian? Have you been converted? Are you saved?" I get in the habit of it. I don't care who you are; I don't care where you are, it is never easy.
For example, you go to buy medicine from the druggist. Well, you preachers are pretty nice-looking fellows--you could be mistaken for lawyers. You say, "Hello. How are you today?" The druggist thinks, "Isn't that a fine fellow." You know that if you ask, "Are you a Christian?" his opinion of you will change and he will think you are a nut, and nobody wants to be a nut. So you just don't say anything.
Now you had better get in the habit of asking, "Are you a Christian?" You will win more if you just start witnessing everywhere you go. You will win as many on the side as you do on purpose, and you will have the most wonderful experiences. If you preachers would start winning souls everywhere you go, you wouldn't have to get a book of illustrations to preach from next Sunday. Instead of saying, "In a distant city many years ago a certain man down a certain street..." you could say, "Last Friday morning out on the field I won somebody to Jesus. Let me tell you about it." It will liven up your sermons. That way you won't repeat anybody's illustrations. They will all be yours.
So, be soul-conscious. I mean by being soul-conscious, make it a habit of asking people everywhere you go, "Are you a Christian?" Ask the bread man, the school teacher, the milkman, the fellow who works in the yard, the telephone man, the fellow who reads the meter for the gas and electricity. Just ask everyone you see, "Are you a Christian? Have you been saved?" Be soul-conscious.
Let me give you this illustration. I was out mowing the yard one day while pastoring in Texas. Our church was the largest church in our city. One out of seven people in town belonged to our church. I saw my members quite often. Now, when I mow the yard, I'm not quite a beauty queen! That day I had on a tee shirt with a hole in the shoulder, and one right under the arm; I had on a pair of old tennis shoes with holes in them, and a pair of trousers with patches in the knee, and I think I had on either a golf cap or a fishing hat. I was a tragic-looking thing, a sight to behold!
My wife came out in the yard and said, "Honey, would you go get some sugar from the neighbor down the street?" I said, "All right, I'I1 do it." So I got the cup and marched down there with my tennis shoes on, and a hole in my breeches and tee shirt, and a fishing cap on. We were very close friends to the folks, so we never knocked. They would come in our house and we would go in theirs -- just real close neighbors.
So I walked in and said, "Hey! Anybody home?" And there was -- thirteen people at home -- company all dressed up in suits and fine clothes. There I was. Imagine, Rev. Hyles, a cup in his hand, fishing hat on, split tee shirt, patch in his breeches, and a pair of tennis shoes on his feet! And I said, "Hello." The lady looked at me, she looked at her company, then announced, "This is my pastor." I was horrified! I was humiliated! I wanted to evaporate but couldn't.
Finally I said, "Excuse me; I'm sorry." Then I got to thinking. Shoot! Just take over the conversation. Just act like you have good sense. So in I walked. "How do you do! How are you? Are you a Christian?" I went around the entire room asking the same question. Then they got embarrassed.
(I found out long ago that when a preacher goes to a hospital or gets some place where he feels like a fifth wheel, he should just bluff them and take over the conversation. That will help you, too. It really will. You go to the hospital. Here is the doctor, the nurse, the family. And everybody says, "That's the preacher." You know how you feel, pastors. It's a terrible feeling. So I walk in, "Hello, Doc. How are you?" Make him feel bad. Make him feel like he's a fifth wheel.)
So I walked in and asked each person if he or she were a Christian. The last man, a young man, said, "No, I'm not, but I've been thinking about it." Well, I said, "I can help you think about it right here." We knelt there in that home and opened the Bible. He got converted. He lived in Irving, Texas, forty miles from Garland. I said, "Now, J. D., you need to walk the aisle in the church in Irving tomorrow." He said, "If you don't mind, Preacher, I'll just stay over tonight and come to your church and walk the aisle." He did, and that night he got baptized in my church. Later he joined the First Baptist Church of Irving, Texas.
You don't realize how many places you will bump into people. I saw a lady while on vacation just recently. She said, "Hello, Brother Jack. Remember when you won me to the Lord?" I said, "I certainly do." It happened while I was looking for a Mrs. Marsh. I knocked on Mrs. Marsh's door-I thought. She came to the door. I said, "Mrs. Marsh?" 20
"No, I'm Mrs. Tillet."
I said, "Mrs. Tillet, I thought Mrs. Marsh lived here." "No, she lives five houses down the street."
"Thank you, Mrs. Tillet." I walked off. Then I said, "Wait a minute, Mrs. Tillet. Are you a Christian?" She began to cry. I led her to Christ right there.
I have won shoeshine boys and fellows on airplanes. I was going to Phoenix to a conference last year. I sat down beside a man seventy-two years old, a wealthy rancher. "Where do you live?" I asked.
He said, "On a ranch between Phoenix and Tucson."
I said, "Do you and your wife live alone?"
"My wife died a few months ago."
I asked, "Do you ever think about having anybody else come and live with you?"
"Oh," he said, "If I could find somebody who would come and live with me, a friend to keep me company, I'd give anything in the world." He had chauffeurs, servants. He owned a big ranch with hundreds of acres, but was as lonely as he could be.
I said, "I know Somebody who would come and live with you."
"You do! Does He live in Phoenix?"
I said, "He sure does. He lives everywhere."
He said, "Who is it?"
"Jesus will come." In fifteen minutes that man had Somebody to go home with him to live.
Oh, if we will just take time to witness. The trouble is, we are ashamed of Jesus. We don't mind saying, "Isn't it hot today?" or, "I wonder how the Berlin situation is." We don't mind talking about Khrushchev. We're more eager to talk about him than about Jesus. Isn't that a shame! Here we are redeemed. He died for us on the cross. We have been made heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. He is building a home in Heaven for us. We're God's children and we won't even tell a stranger that we belong to the Lord Jesus. Be soul-conscious.
3. Be Clean and Neat
There are two or three things a soul winner ought to watch. A soul winner ought to always watch his odor. That is tremendously important. Not only watch about your body odor, but you ought to be careful about your breath. One thing that will hurt more than most anything else in soul winning is bad breath. I would suggest that you carry mints with you. We men have a little pocket on the inside of our pocket. Put some mints in there. I always put one in my mouth before I conduct the invitation on Sunday and meet folks at the altar. So keep some mints handy.
There are other ways you can help your breath. Gum is good if you chew it when no one sees you. Someone said the only difference between a gum-chewing flapper and a cud-chewing cow is the intelligent look on the face of the cow! You can also use Sen-Sen. I used to get a bottle of Listerine to keep in my car and between each visit I gargled.
A soul winner should also be neat. Too often the world's conception of a soul winner is some fellow on a street corner, in a suit that doesn't fit; his tie is turned around; he has a funny look in his eye; his collar is turned up; and he is looking at you saying, "You'd better get borned agin or you're going to Hell." Don't you think God could use some folks who know how to dress neatly? Don't you think God could use somebody with a clean white shirt as well as a dirty shirt? Don't you think God could use somebody who knows how to comb his hair as well as somebody with messed up hair! Don't you think God could use somebody who knows how to brush his teeth as well as somebody who doesn't?
Now I thank God for everybody who witnesses. I appreciate the sign on the back of a car. I admire every fellow who stands up and says, "You'd better get borned agin or you're going to Hell." I am grateful for every sign on a rock that says, "Jesus Saves." But I will say this: We need more people with some intelligence and a nice appearance, a nice personality, a good approach, to go into homes and tell people about Jesus Christ.
One should dress just as nice to go soul winning as he would to go to church. Men should at least wear a white shirt and a tie. I suggest you ladies wear high heels and hose. Dress as nicely as possible when you represent Jesus. When you go soul winning, you should give the best appearance. Someone has said, "I want to look so no one will ever accuse me of being a preacher, but they won't be surprised if they find out I am." So dress the part. Be clean and neat.
4. Carry a Testament With You
Personally I think it much better to carry a Testament than a Bible. Now do not be ashamed of the Bible, but if you plan to shoot a fellow, don't carry your gun out in the open up to his house. The best thing to do is to conceal your weapon. If I were going to shoot you, Dr. Rice, I wouldn't say, "Dr. Rice, here I come. Here's my gun. Here you are. Bang! Bang!" Dr. Rice would be out of the way by the time I got there. Now when some folks see you walking up the sidewalk with a big Bible, they will be hiding in the closet by the time you get there. If you have done much soul winning, you know what I'm talking about. Simply get out of the car and walk up to the door with a concealed Bible or Testament. Walk up the sidewalk with a big Bible and people will say, "Here comes the preacher." Mama says, "Tell him I'm not home." So the little fellow comes to the door and says, "Mama told me to tell you she wasn't home!" Now the reason is, they have you spotted.
But I get out of the car with a little Testament tucked away in my pocket, walk up to the door and since they don't know who it is, I have an inroad. When you go to win souls, the best thing is to keep your weapon concealed until you get into the house.
Carrying two Testaments is good also. I don't do this as religiously as I used to, but I did for years. You can buy inexpensive ones for about 25 cents. Let the lost person read from one and you read one. After you win him to Christ, give it to him as a souvenir. You can write on the inside that it was given to So and So on such and such a date (the date of the conversion), with a "God bless you" and a Scripture verse. Give him a Testament and keep one yourself. On occasion you might use his Bible if you see it around.
I don't sit beside the person when I win him. I used to. Now I sit across the room. Two or three reasons why. One, it is always best to sit across the room if you are dealing with the opposite sex. Then it is best to look in the person's eyes when taking to him.
5. Go Two by Two
There are many reasons why we go two by two. It is scriptural. Jesus sent the apostles out two by two. One can encourage the other. There is something about strength in unity. If you don't believe it, eat at a restaurant by yourself tonight and try to witness to the waitress. Then tomorrow night go with Dr. Rice and me and see how much easier it is.
Another reason of primary importance. Jim Lyons and I were visiting in a home the other day (I'm the pastor and he is my assistant). The fellow took a liking to Jim. I don't know why but he wouldn't talk to me. He looked at Jim all the time. I moved around a little closer but still he looked at Jim. I said, "Yes, that's right"; still he wouldn't look at me. I wanted to say, "Hey, I'm the pastor; he's second in command." He still looked at Jim. That fellow wouldn't know me if he saw me on the street.
Now, Jim had to talk to him. What am I supposed to do?
The one who seemingly has the best inroad should carry the conversation and the partner should keep the road clear for the conversation. That is basically why two ought to go together.
I believe in being spiritual. It is wonderful to praise God, but you have to start where they are instead of where you are. I was out visiting one day with a wonderful Christian fellow. We knocked on the door. He said, "How do you do. My name is Jones (I'll call him that). Praise the Lord! This is Brother Hyles. Bless His holy name! We are here to tell you about Jesus. Glory to God! Are you saved? Hallelujah!" The man we went to see slammed the door in our faces. You must make them realize if they get what you have, it won't be so bad. So one makes the inroad while the other keeps the road clear.
What do we mean by keeping the road clear? We mean when the baby starts crying, you should change his diaper: when the beans start boiling, you put some water in them or turn the fire off; when the doorbell rings, you answer it; when the children start screaming for water, you get them a drink.
If you are not doing the talking, you be quiet until your partner is finished. The one doing the talking should do all the talking. Every now and then somebody says, "Well, that means when one runs out of something to say, the other can say something." Don't you go if you are going to run out of something to say. If you can't present the entire Gospel to a lost soul, you are not ready to go yet.
The fellow not doing the talking should keep the way clear. I have played every kind of game there is to play. I have done everything. I have changed many a diaper while out visiting. I have looked in every drawer in the bedroom hunting diapers so I could change a baby. That's right. I go to a house where there is a baby; the baby starts to cry while my partner is talking to the lost one. "Now, Mrs. Jones, never mind; I have four little children at my house. I have had babies at my house for ten years and I've changed hundreds of diapers. Let me take care of that." She says, "Oh! Brother Hyles...." "Now, Mrs. Jones, you sit right there and I'll take care of it." And I do. I have played soccer. I have played dolls. So many kids have been on my back at one time playing "piggy back" and "ride the horsy" that if my partner hadn't gotten the soul saved soon, I would have dropped over!
One day I went soul winning with Bob Keyes, who was then my assistant pastor, but who is now pastor of the church Dr. Rice founded in Dallas. Bob was an excellent soul winner and still is. We were out soul winning. I was doing the talking and the lady had a little baby who was acting ugly. About the time the lady was ready to get down to pray, the little boy said, "I want my bottle." Mama stuck the bottle in his mouth; "I don't want my bottle." She took it out. "I wanna bottle." She stuck it in. "I don't want my bottle." Then I prayed, "Lord, do something about this little rascal or he is going to mess up the whole thing." Do you know, he stopped and looked spellbound, as if he were in a trance. I said to myself, "Well, glory to God!" For about fifteen minutes that little baby didn't move. He didn't move his eyes; he just looked. The lady got converted and became one of the greatest Christians in our church.
When we left I said to Bob Keyes, "Bob, praise the Lord!" He said, "Amen! Why?"
"Did you see what God did to that baby?"
He said, "What?"
I said, "All of a sudden, at the crucial time, that baby froze."
Bob said, "Well, I'm sure the Lord had something to do with it, but I may have helped a little because I had a ball-point pen behind the coffee table going up and down, up and down, up and down. Preacher, I did that fifteen minutes and I'm worn out!"
Now, don't you think Bob had a part in that soul? Sure he did. Some of you spiritual giants need to know how to change diapers and handle ball-point pens! You would get more people converted.
One time I was out with a fellow who got to praying for this lady, "Lord, save her! Lord, save her!" while I was trying to witness to her. He was talking louder than I was. Pretty soon he got on his knees and prayed, "Lord, save her!" Then he got on the floor and started beating the floor and saying, "Lord, save her!" I. had to say, "Now, friend, I'm sorry but she can't hear what I'm trying to say. Would you mind going in the other room?" He did and we got her converted. If we are going to beat on the floor, let's do it at midnight, alone. If we are going to agonize, let's cry all night alone but not make a public demonstration or show. Do things that are necessary to do.
One night Bob Keyes was witnessing to a fellow and the doorbell rang. I said, "Dear friend, you stay right here. I'll answer the door." I went to the door. The fellow at the door said, "How do you do. Are you the man of the house?"
I said, "I'm a man of the house." (I was a man and I was of the house!)
He said, "I have an appointment with you to show you a vacuum cleaner." Obviously he had called and had an appointment.
I said, "I will be delighted to look at it. Come and we'll look at it on the front porch."
I didn't want the fellow to leave and I didn't want him to stay, so I saw all of the vacuum cleaner and its parts. We tested the thing out. Finally Bob Keyes said, "Hey, Jack! Come on. I've got him saved now."
I said, "Mr. vacuum cleaner man, my name is Hyles. I'm pastor of Miller Road Baptist Church and we just got this man converted. By the way, have you ever become a Christian?" We turned on him and tried to get him converted.
Now, if I hadn't kept that vacuum cleaner salesman occupied, this fellow would never have gotten converted. Keep your eyes open if you are the second party. Keep the way clear. Pave the roads in order for the person doing the witnessing to do the job. That's the reason basically for going two by two.
By the way, Dr. Rice told this morning how you can pray without ceasing. I imagine a fellow can pray and change the baby at the same time, don't you7 We can pray and water the beans or play ball with the kids at the same time.
6. Go With Different People
Occasionally somebody will ask me, "Brother Hyles, if you started a new church or if you went to a new church, what is the first thing you would do in training the people to win souls?" The first thing would be to have different folks go with me to win a soul. The best way to train a soul winner is for him to watch someone else win a soul. The wonderful thing about soul winning is when you win a soul to Christ in the home, you are training a soul winner at the same time.
For example, let us suppose one brother gets converted in a church during preaching. That is wonderful. He is saved, but he has never seen a soul won in the home. Let's suppose another brother is won in his home. He has already seen me win him, so he knows exactly how to win someone else.
So, soul winning in the home reproduces itself. You train them and teach them how to become soul winners before they ever get converted. Now they can witness, and they can say, "At least I can do what Brother Hyles did to me." They already know basically what to do. So, go with different people so that others may watch you and learn.
7. Claim the Spirit's Fullness Before Going
Now I think basically that when a person goes to win souls, he should spend his time winning souls. I had a secretary once who came to work about nine o'clock every morning, then she wanted to spend the first two hours praying. I think prayer is wonderful, but from nine to eleven in the morning is not the time for a secretary with a job to pray. From six to eight might be all right, or from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m.; or from seven to nine at night. But she wanted to pray from nine to eleven in the morning. She thought I was unspiritual because I wanted her to type letters and get the work done. I said, "I don't mind you praying, but I'm not going to pay you for praying. Don't you pray on company time; you pray on your own time."
Now, soul-winning time should be time set aside for soul winning. We ought to set aside times for seasons of prayer, but not to borrow it from scheduled soul-winning time. When you go, say a simple prayer. I always pray basically this prayer, "Dear Lord, I claim in faith the fullness of the Holy Spirit before I go. I pray that You will help me to be a blessing to somebody and help me to win somebody today." Claim the Spirit's fullness -- a simple prayer of faith asking God to help and give power. I make it brief.
Suppose you are going soul wining at one o'clock on Friday afternoon and you are going to pray for thirty minutes; pray from 12:30 to 1:00, not from 1:00 to 1:30. Do not steal soulwinning time. If you plan to go soul winning at one o'clock and you want to pray for four hours, start praying at nine o'clock in the morning and go soul winning at one. Stay on schedule about your soul winning and claim the Spirit's fullness before you go.
8. Go Believing
This one thing changed my soul winning ministry. For example, people often take this little course, then call me on the phone to say, "Brother Hyles, it worked! It worked!" Sure it worked. Expect it to work. Isn't that what faith is?
Believe that God is going to save somebody. Expect to win them. Go believing. God said He would save sinners if you would go. That is His promise. "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." Don't be surprised when God keeps His promise. Go believing.
9. Be Nice
Be nice, courteous, kind and gentle. One thing so difficult for preachers is to change our behavior from the pulpit to the living room. You can't act the same in the living room as you act in the pulpit. It is quite different, because you were not invited. You are infringing upon their privacy. When in the home be courteous and kind.
Many seem to think that the Lord said, "Go into all the world and teach all ladies to quit smoking cigarettes." Now I don't believe in smoking. We don't allow any deacons to smoke in our church. I don't believe in smoking, and especially in ladies smoking. However, God didn't send us out house to house to talk ladies into quitting smoking. God sent us out to get people converted. I've heard of preachers walking up to a door and addressing the lady thusly: "If you will throw that wicked weed away, I'll talk to you." This certainly is the wrong approach. Get her converted first; then perhaps she will throw her cigarettes away. In other words, don't get off the subject.
One day I was talking to a lady who said, "Brother Hyles, I can't be saved because I smoke. Do you think a person can be saved who smokes?"
I said, "That's a good question. Let's wait awhile and I'II discuss that with you." I said, "Do you realize that you are a sinner?"
"Oh, yes," she said, "but I'm not going to get saved because I'm not going to quit smoking."
I said, "All right, that's a fine question. We will wait awhile and I'll discuss that with you." So I told her how to be saved. I prayed and eventually she prayed and gave her heart to Jesus and was converted.
After she got converted I said, "By the way, you asked something awhile ago about smoking."
She said, "We took care of that when we prayed."
You will do a whole lot more good if you will keep on salvation, stay right on the line, and be nice and kind.
When you go to a home, be as courteous as a vacuum cleaner salesman or an insurance man. Be personable. I always say this: The first thing you have to do is win them to yourself. I don't mean you ought to selfishly try to make friends, then get them converted as a by-product. You have to first make them think you are all right. For example, you have to have a Christianity that they feel will fit them if they put it on. If you walk up saying, "Hello. Glory to God! How are you, Praise the Lord! Glad to see you. Hallelujah!" They say, "Oh, no! If I get what he's got, I'll probably be like he is; no thank you, I don't want it." A pleasant "How do you do. How are you?" is always in order. The first thought they should have is, "He is a nice fellow," or "She is a pleasant lady."
10. Be Complimentary
Every time you go to a home, brag on something. We live in a selfish world. It is good to say, "You sure have a nice suit," or "Isn't that a precious child?" Make it a habit. Develop it inwardly. It should be part of your nature. One of the sins of the ministry is professional gratitude. Did you ever hear it? We often say, "Mrs. Jones, that was a good meal," but we don't mean a word of it. Stop and think. Mrs. Jones started cooking two days ago. She made her husband put his shoes outside the door when he came in and walk in barefoot to keep the floor nice. Those poor little ones couldn't even come in the house. They couldn't even use a towel. They had to use paper towels for two days to keep the towels clean for the preacher. The poor little things ate baloney for three days before you came to save so the lady could buy the nicest center-cut roast. She got the finest of everything, put out her best china, her best silver, her best crystal. She is as nervous as a cat. The preacher is coming! Now listen, stop and think about that; then look at her when you finish the meal and with a heart full of appreciation, say, "Mrs. Jones, I know what you've done for this meal, and I appreciate, personally, the work you've done to make this possible." Take the professionalism out of it and make it a part of yourself to want to be grateful and expressive of gratitude to people in the home.
The best thing to brag on is children. Be able to compliment little children. Man, listen, I can come in your home and say a few things about your young'uns and I'm a great fellow, regardless of what I've done wrong.
We had an insurance man in Texas who used to bother me to no end. He would say, "If you loved your family, you'd have more insurance." I would answer, "If I loved my family, I would sell what I've got now and spend the money to buy food for them." I hated to see him coming.
One day I was out in the yard and I saw him coming. I walked out to the curb and waited for him. When he stopped, I leaned against the door on his side, grinned at him and said, "Hello." He didn't even look at me. He looked at my little five-year-old girl and said, "Hello, sweetheart. You're the prettiest little girl I ever saw."
I said, "Isn't she though."
My little boy came toddling out (he was three at the time) and the salesman said, "Hello there, son. You're a fine looking fellow. Have some chewing gum."
I said, "Won't you get out and come in!"
Sure, he knew how to get in. He bragged on the children. I think a man who has that good judgment about children deserves to come in! So he came in.
You do the same thing. Brag on the children. Compliment the home. If there is a new piece of furniture in the house, a beautiful carpet, a nice sofa or a dresser, brag on it. Be on the lookout for things to compliment.
11. Be Careful About Going in
Now this I think is important. I do not try usually to go into the home unless the people are unsaved. If the people are saved, normally I do not go in. I don't chit-chat much with the saints. When I go out to visit I usually make twenty visits in one afternoon. That is four hours' work. The way I do that is to find out quickly if they are saved, pass the time of day very briefly, invite them to church and say goodbye. Too many of us go out to visit and when we find a good Baptist fellow who tithes, makes a big salary, and one whom we want in our church, we go in and spend the afternoon, drink coffee, eat cake and let the world go to Hell. I do not personally spend a great deal of time visiting with saints. I just keep going and keep going until I find the lost ones and spend my time with them.
Also, if it isn't the opportune time, don't go in. I would especially be careful about going in if the opposite sex is alone. Now a word to you men who find a lady alone. Be very careful about going in. Sometimes if the person is busy, it is good to ask her if you could make an appointment to come back later at her convenience. But be careful about going in.
12. Be a Good Listener
Talk about jobs wanted and positions open. There is lots of room in the world for some good listeners; there are many available positions open for good listeners. Did you ever hear a person say, "He sure is a fine fellow. Just a quiet, fine fellow. He is such a good listener"?
So often this happens - you preachers know this is true. A lady comes into my office. "Brother Hyles, I need some advice. I just don't know what to do. I felt like you could tell me what to do."
"All right; present your problem."
She talks and talks for an hour or so. I say nothing but, "God bless you, Uh-huh. Well, yes."
That is all I say for an hour. She gets up and says after an hour, "Brother Hyles, you always have the best advice. You always know just what to do."
Well, I didn't advise anybody about anything. She just wanted somebody to unload on. That is one of the basic jobs of the pastor. Day after day they come through my office, as they do yours, wanting somebody to hear about their problems and burdens.
Go to a home and say, "Where do you work, Mr. Jones?" "Down there at the steel company."
"What do you do down there?"
"Well, I make steel."
"How long have you been down there!"
"I've been there six months," Mr. Jones says.
"Where are you from?" I ask.
"I'm from Tennessee."
"Tennessee! That's a beautiful state. I've been down in the Cumberland Mountains in Tennessee."
Talk to him about his interests, and let him talk to you. Ask him about his family, where he is from. Ask him where he works. Let him talk to you for a while. Personally, I'm not an advocate of quick witnessing. Some of the best soul winners I know are, but I differ with them here. I think it best to chit-chat for awhile and be folksy. Listen to them. Let them present their problems, then after awhile talk to them.
Not long ago my wife and I were going to Colorado where I was preaching in a conference near Pueblo. We were on a jet going to Denver. The wife was sitting next to the window, I was sitting in the middle, and a businessman was sitting by me. I started a conversation with him. "What kind of business are you in?" He talked to me for thirty minutes. I have never heard so much talking in my life. I didn't have any idea what he was talking about. I just tried to act intelligent. There are a lot of basic answers, you know. He would say, "What do you think about the geophysical problem in the United States?"
I would answer, "It's really a problem, isn't it?"
He would say, "How do you feel we are economically?"
"Oh, I feel like we've seen better days, but we've seen worse days too, you know." Just a few basic questions and answers!
Finally after he unloaded for about thirty minutes, I got to talk to him. My wife punched me and grinned. She knew what I was doing. After we got off the plane she said, "You rascal! I knew the whole time you didn't understand a thing he was saying but you were waiting for the time when he would do the listening for awhile." If he talked to me for thirty minutes, then wouldn't let me talk to him for five minutes, he wouldn't have been very kind, would he? You listen to them for awhile and you will get them to listen to you easier. Be a good listener.
13. Only One Do the Talking
I wish I could stress this more. When two go together and both want to talk, it is often because of trying to argue people into becoming Christians. You can't do that. The best thing to do is to ask the dear Lord to help and lead and open doors, then with a kindly, gracious, Christian spirit, go into the homes and present the plan of God to the people, giving them a chance to accept or reject.
Only one do the talking. The one who has the inroad should do the talking. Suppose, Dr. Rice, that you and I are going soul winning and we meet a fellow who is mowing his yard. I walk up and start talking to him. "Hey, neighbor! You've got your yard looking mighty nice."
He says, "Well, thank you."
I say, "What kind of mower is that?"
"Oh, it's a Jacobson," he replies.
"This is a good lawn mower," I say.
He says to himself, "This is a nice fellow."
Suppose we meet a man who is working on his car. "Hello, how are you?" I ask, putting forth my hand.
"Oh, my hand is greasy," he says.
"I don't care. I have shaken greasy hands before."
He thinks, "That sure is a nice fellow."
Be folksy and get his attention. Then the person who has the inroad can do the talking.
For example, Dr. Rice has written some books. If the fellow says he is an author, then I say, "Dr. Rice here has written scores of books." Immediately he becomes interested in Dr. Rice. Then I had better go water the beans; Dr. Rice is going to talk to him. So, I'm going to keep my mouth shut. The best thing for me to do is to be quiet, prayerful and helpful, then if he fails, I may try. Again I say, only one do the talking.
I went soul winning with a man one time, a wonderful Christian and a great fellow, but he didn't know a thing about soul winning. We went to a lady's house. She came to the door. I said, "How do you do. How are you today? Nice baby. Beautiful day. You have a nice home," etc. We talked awhile, then I asked, "Lady, have you ever become a Christian?"
"Well, I was baptized down in Henderson, Texas."
"Oh," he interrupted, "Henderson, Texas? I had a meeting down there. Do you know Zeb Peabody who runs the feed store there?"
I said, "Now lady, have you ever received the Lord and been converted?"
She said, "Well, one time I thought I did down in Jacksonville."
"Jacksonville?" he interrupted, "I had four meetings in Jacksonville. Well, I'll declare! Jacksonville!"
Well, I had to send him home. He just couldn't be quiet. You just let one person do the talking. The one who gets the inroad should follow right on through and present the plan while the other one keeps the way clear.
14. Stay on the Subject
Now, the place the Devil will ruin more soul winners than most any other place is here. I sometimes think that knowing too much hurts soul winners. If we could just keep it simple and stay on the simple plan of salvation, we would do a lot better. I spent many days in school learning to handle a Mormon; I haven't seen but two since I got out of college. I memorized Scripture after Scripture on how to handle special cases. A Mormon will often handle just like a Jehovah's Witness. A Catholic will often handle just like a Seventh-Day Adventist. To learn how to win an unbeliever is the big thing. And the simple plan of salvation is the answer. Just stay on the subject.
Suppose the old question is asked -- "Where did Cain get his wife?" What should I do? I would say, "That's a good question, and I will tell you what we will do. I'll make a note of it and we will discuss it when we get through. Now, down here in Romans 5:10...."
Just stay right on the subject. You say, "Brother Hyles, what if he asks you a question about Heaven or Hell?" You are going to tell them about Heaven and Hell in a minute anyway. Tell them the same thing: "That's a good question." You plan the speech, and don't let anything he says get you off the main line. Don't spend your time answering his questions or he will be governing the conversation. You govern the conversation. You carry the ball. Stay on the subject.
15. Find Some way to Get Them Lost
Let me explain. Often I've gone out to win souls and asked, "Are you a Christian?" If he said, "Yes, I am," I would let it go at that. But some people will answer yes to "Are you a Christian?" who are not really Christians and you need to get the Gospel to them. To do this, we must get to a verse like Romans 3:10. I've got to figure some way to get to Romans 3:10 and get them to let me tell them how to be saved. Do you see what I mean?
Let me illustrate. A family comes to talk to me and I know they are lost. "Brother Hyles, we have a home problem. Do you know any Bible verses that would help our home?"
"Ah, yes. There is a verse in the Bible that will help anybody's home. Turn to Romans S:10."
Somebody comes in, "Brother Hyles, my business is going bankrupt. What does the Bible say about business?"
"Ah, it says a great deal about business. The best Scriptures about business in the Bible begin at Romans 3:10." Then tell them about Jesus. He will solve any problem.
Now, let me give you an illustration that will prove what I am trying to say. This is the only time that it has ever happened but it is a most vivid illustration to explain this point.
I went to visit a family. Let's call the name Hill. It was up on the second floor of an apartment building. They had three lovely children. I walked in and said, "How do you do, Mr. Hill. Are you a Christian?"
"Oh, yes," he said. "I was saved when I was three years old."
Well, I didn't know what to say. Then I asked Mrs. Hill, "Are you a Christian?"
"Oh yes," she said. I was saved when I was a baby."
Well, now I didn't think they were saved. If they had said they weren't Christians, I could have showed them Romans 3:10 but I couldn't when they said they were Christians. So I asked, "Have you been born again?"
Oh, yes; both of them were born again. He was born again when he was three; she was born again when she was a baby.
"Have you been converted, saved?"
That's right; they had been saved.
"If you died, do you know if you would go to Heaven?"
Yes, yes; they knew if they died they would go to Heaven.
Well, I didn't know what to do. I wanted to get to Romans 3:10. So I said, "Well, let me ask you this: Do you ever wish you knew how to pray? If I could show you some Scriptures on prayer, would you be willing to learn how to pray better?"
I was going to show them a good Scripture about prayer -- Romans 3:10 -- but she said, "Oh, we have family altar and private devotions; we took a correspondence course on prayer recently."
"Well," I said, "did you ever wish you had a Bible study, some Scriptures to show you how to study the Bible?"
If they had said, "No, we don't study the Bible much," I was going to say, "Listen, there are some Scriptures that will unlock the entire Bible and the first one is Romans 3:10."
But she said, "Oh, yes; we are taking a Bible course right now, a correspondence course."
I tried every way I could to get to Romans 3:10, but I couldn't do it. I said, "Well, is your home what it ought to be? Would you love to have some Scriptures on the home -- how to have a better home and a good Christian home?" I was going to show them Romans 3:10 -- how it would lead you to have a better home, etc. I couldn't do it, so I prayed, "Lord, help me." Finally I said, "This is a good home. You have been born again; you are converted; you have been saved; you pray and you are taking Bible study courses. You know, there is one thing that a home like this ought to have."
They asked what.
I said, "A formal dedication service."
Now that sounded good to them, and Mr. Hill said, "Honey, that sounds real good. When could we schedule that?"
I said, "It so happens that I have one of the services with me right now."
He said, "Could we do it here?"
I said, "We can do it right here."
Listen, she went in and changed clothes, combed her hair, put clean little dresses and shirts on the children. They came in like a group going to Sunday School. I said, "Now, then, we're going to read some Scriptures on home dedication. It says in Romans 3:10, "As it is written, There is 'no home righteous, no, not one.' In Romans 5:12 it says that sin came into the first home and it was the first home that brought the first curse upon man. I went through the same old Scriptures, Romans 3:10, 5:12, 6:23, 5:8, and I said, "Those are Scriptures about the dedication of the home.
Now would you like to pray a prayer of home dedication?"
They said that would be real nice. So we all got on our knees. I prayed and then said, "Mr. Hill, you want to pray a prayer of dedication for your home, don't you?"
"Yes, sir," he said.
I said, "Mr. Hill, this is the prayer to pray: 'Dear Lord, be merciful to me a sinner and forgive my sins and save my soul. I do now repent of my sins and trust Jesus to save me.'"
He prayed the prayer. She prayed the same prayer.
We got off our knees and they were both crying. I said, "That's wonderful! Now you said you were saved when you were three, didn't you7"
Mr. Hill looked at me and said, "No, I just got saved a minute ago."
That is a long way around to get the Gospel to them without them wanting it if' you don't think they are saved.
Let me say this also. If you can't get it to them, I have what I call a long plan and a short plan. In the long plan I read the Scriptures; in the short plan I quote them. For example, I say, "Would you like to be a Christian?"
He says, "No, I don't think I would."
I say, "If I were to show you in the Bible, would you be willing to look at it?"
"No," he says.
"Well, let me ask you this question." (Now that is the secret. Every soul winner ought to learn that little sentence, "Let me ask you this question.") I was previously going to take the Bible and show him these Scriptures, but he says he doesn't want to see them. So I say, "If you don't want to know the plan, let me ask you this question: Do you realize that Romans 3:10 says that there is none righteous, no, not one"? I'm doing the same thing that I was going to do. He thinks, "Boy, I sure got him off the subject; he is not going to show me how to get saved." He thinks you are off the subject.
So if you can't use the long method, use the short method. Just back up and take another path and go at him from another direction, but get the plan to him. Then you can go to him with the short method where you quote the same Scriptures but do not read them.
16. Stay in the Same Book of the Bible
This is important. Use the same book all the way through. Some books in the Bible you could use for the plan of salvation are: Romans, John, First John, Isaiah, Psalms, Acts, Ephesians, etc. Definitely it is best to stay in the same book in the Bible and not jump around too much.
Here is the way I do it and I think this is a good suggestion. When I start talking to a person I say, "Now, Mr. Jones, the Bible is composed of 66 books and each book has a different immediate purpose. For example, the book of Genesis explains the creation of man. The book of Revelation explains the end time. There is one book in the Bible that is given especially to tell about the power of the Gospel of Christ and how to go to Heaven. That is the book of Romans. This book clearly explains how to go to Heaven."
What you are doing is this: You are saying to him, "Now I'm taking you to that part of the book that specializes in telling you how to go to Heaven." It makes him feel you are an expert.
One thing I always try to do in a town where I pastor; always try to make folks think of me as a specialist. All pastor should be specialists on soul winning, but I try to make folks think of me as a specialist. Folks call me all the time and say, "Brother Hyles, would you go to the hospital and see my lost loved one or send your assistant pastor to see him?"
"Well, yes," I say. "Do you belong to a church in town?"
They answer, "Yes, I belong to a certain church."
"Oh, is your pastor out of the city?" "No, but he doesn't specialize in getting folks saved," they say.
I don't say a word about it. I just want to create the attitude in town that my church is primarily a place to get folks converted. It is important to build that kind of atmosphere. You would be surprised how many people who maybe wouldn't like you personally and wouldn't want to join your church, but they know you try to get folks converted.
For example, here is a lady who has an unsaved husband. He is a drunkard and won't go to church with her. One night he says to her, "Honey, I think I'll go to church with you tonight."
So she says, "Well, wonderful."
He says, "Let's go to your church."
She says, "Let's don't go to my church tonight; let's go somewhere new. Let's go to First Baptist and hear Brother Hyles. Would you like to do that?"
She knows we will try to get him saved. They might be having a special activity at her church, but she knows at our church we will try to get him converted. I'm saying that if you will build that reputation, you will get a lot of folks converted who may not stay in your church, but you will develop the reputation as the evangelistic headquarters in town.
So, I would suggest you try to lead the folks to know that you know what you are talking about and that you have found the book. Only use the one book.
17. Draw a Map in Your Testament
I contend that you can be a soul winner if you don't know a single verse of Scripture, if you can draw a map in your Bible to tell yourself where to go. All you need do is find Romans 3: 10 and you won't have to know a single verse of Scripture. Right beside Romans 3:10, write the next verse to tell you where to go in your Bible. Actually what you do is draw yourself a little road map in your Bible to explain where to go next.
First, turn to Romans 3:10. That is all you have to remember. Underline the verse. Beside it write 3:23. After you have read Romans 3:10, it tells you where to go next. Now turn to Romans 5:23. Underline that verse and beside that write 5:12. Turn to 5:12 and underline 5:12 and write beside it 6:23. Underline 6:23 and beside it write 5:8. Underline 5:8 and write beside it 10:9-13.
Now that is a map for you. You don't have to know a single verse of Scripture to be a soul winner if you draw a map in your Bible. You follow the map until you learn the Scriptures. Of course, as you go along, you will learn many other Scriptures that will help, but these are basic ones.
18. Ask Them, "If YOU Died Now, Do You Know That You Would Go to Heaven?"
I think that is the best question that I have ever used. Some use, "Do you know Jesus? Are you born again? Are you saved? Are you a child of God?" I try to avoid terminology that will be too religious for them. Many don't know that kind of terminology.
Basically there are only two religions in the world. One is the belief that salvation is all of God, and Jesus did it all on the cross; the other is that we have to do something to get converted. In this second you have combined all of the false religions. That is the old mystery of Babylon, mother of harlots in Revelation 17. Many religions are wrapped up in this one thing -- that you have to do something to go to Heaven. Anybody who says you have to do something to go to Heaven, doesn't know if he is going or not. He usually says he thinks so or has a good chance or may go to purgatory. The only person who will tell you he knows that if he dies he will go to Heaven is the fellow who has trusted Jesus completely to save him. That is why I ask, "Do you know if you died you would go to heaven? Do you know it?" Some ask, "Are you a Christian?" Almost anybody will say yes to this. I think that the best question is, "Do you know that if you died you would go to Heaven?" Now ask,
19. "Would You Like to Know?" Now ask,
20. "If I Showed You How You Could Know, Would You Do What the Bible Says?"
It may be done thusly. "Now, Mr. Doe, let me ask you a question: Do you know that if you died this minute you would go to Heaven?"
"No, I don't believe I do."
"Let me ask you this: Would you like to know? Don't you think it would be fine if you could know that if you died you would go to Heaven?"
"Well, let me ask you this: If I could take this Bible and explain to you how you could know beyond any shadow of a doubt, that you could know right now, and you could see it and you could understand it, would you believe it? Would you do what the Bible says?"
Do you see what I'm trying to say? It is good to get him committed that he will do it; then you have gone a long way toward getting him saved before you ever present the plan. So these three questions: (1) "Do you know that if you died today you would go to Heaven?" (2) "Would you like to know?" and (3) "If I could show you how you could know, would you do it?"
21. Show Him That He Is a Sinner.
For this, use Romans 3:10 and 3:23.
22. Show Him the Price on Sin
Show him this in Romans 5:12 and 6:23.
23. Show Him That Jesus Paid the Price. Use Romans 5:8.
24. Review the Main Points to Be Sure He Understands
I always use the following: "Now, Mr. Doe, there are only four things you must know to be saved. First, you must know that you are a sinner. For example, Romans 3:10 says, 'As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.' Let me illustrate. If there is none righteous, that means I'm not righteous, doesn't it? (Notice, I didn't get him unrighteous first; I got me unrighteous. Never put the sinner below you. You always let him know that but for the grace of God you would be in the fix he is in. You get yourself lost first.) So if there is none righteous, I'm not righteous. If there is none righteous, then Mr. Doe, you are not righteous. Also, it says, 'For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.' Now if all have sinned, that means I've sinned -- right? That means your wife has sinned, and that means you have sinned."
If he still acts like he is not a sinner, you just list a few sins and you will catch him. A lot of times I say this: "Now do you realize that you are a sinner? For example, the Bible mentions some sins such as evil thinking, bad literature, ugly disposition, etc." Somewhere along that line there will be something that he does. Show him that he is a sinner.
Second, show him the price on sin. Romans 5:12: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin...." What kind of death? All death, both spiritual and physical death, the sum total of death. "...and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." And Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death...." So there is a price on sin. What is that price? Death. What kind of death? That includes the second death of Revelation 20:14, and that second death is the Lake of Fire. So ultimately a person who is a sinner must pay for it by going to Hell. That is the basic price on sin.
Third, the next thing we must do is show that Jesus paid the price. So I say this: "Mr. Doe, God looked down from Heaven and saw that you were a sinner. He saw that you were in debt. He saw that you and I deserved to go to Hell. He wanted to save us and made a plan to do it. He came to the world Himself. His name was Jesus. He was God in a human body. For thirty-three years He lived here in this world. He did not commit one single sin. This is important. Mr. Doe, suppose that Jesus Christ had sinned one time only. The price on sin being death or Hell, where would Jesus have had to go when He died? The answer is Hell, but He did not sin. He did not commit one sin, but He went to the cross, and on the cross He suffered spiritual death when He said, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' He suffered the same thing that a lost person will have to suffer in Hell. I'll go farther than that. I believe that He suffered as much in that moment on Calvary as the sum total eternal suffering of all the lost people who will ever go to Hell to stay forever. Actually He was paying our price for our sins. He was becoming our substitute."
Fourth, "If we will receive that price as our hope for Heaven and receive Him as our Saviour from sin, He will make us His children and take us to Heaven when we die."
That's the review. You explain it to them first, then you review. Let me review it with you now. "Let me ask you a question, Mr. Doe. Do you realize that you are a sinner?" "Yes, sir."
"Do you realize that people who die in their sins must go to Hell?" (Now be as severe with that as you can. If a sinner knows he is going to Hell, say, "Do you realize that if you died right now, you would go to Hell?" If he is a little sensitive about it, then you can say, "Do you realize that a man who dies in his sins goes to Hell?" Be as severe as you can but don't make your patient so sick you will kill him before you heal him. You have to stay with him.) "Do you realize that Jesus Christ has suffered your Hell already for you? If we knelt here together and had prayer and you sincerely received Christ as your Saviour, do you believe God would make you His child?"
That is the review. I have explained to him how to get saved, then I have reviewed and asked these questions.
25. Ask if You May Pray
There are several ways to do this, but you must try to get them to pray. If he is really ready, say, "Could I pray for you, and while I pray, would you pray and ask God to save you today?" Maybe he is not quite that ready. Maybe you don't know. You could say, "Could I pray that you will get saved?" Maybe you don't think he will let you pray for him to get saved. Then you say, "Could I have a word of prayer with you before I go?" Anyway, to get your head bowed is good. If you are talking to him, he might interrupt, but if you are talking to the Lord, he won't. You can preach him a little sermon in the prayer. If you can't win a fellow to Christ, and if he won't let you present the plan to him, the best way to tell him how to be saved is to tell the Lord and let the sinner hear you.
I go into a home and say, "Sir, would you like to know how to be saved?"
"No. Don't have time for it. The wife's sick and I'm busy."
"Could I have a prayer for your wife before we go, that she will get well?"
With his wife lying there sick, a man would be a fool not to let the preacher pray for her. He says, "Well, O.K."
I pray, "Dear Lord, bless this wife and make her well, and help this man to know that Romans 3:10 says, 'As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.' And if people die in their sins, according to Romans 6:23 'the wages of sin is death.' O dear Lord, show him that Romans 5:8 is true when it says that 'God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners....' "
Pray him the plan. He won't interrupt you. You can get by with a lot of things talking to the Lord that you wouldn't talking to him.
After you review, get to pray some way or another. If he will consider getting saved, good. If you can't get by with that, just get him to let you pray.
26. Ask Him to Pray
I stop abruptly in my prayer. I pray a simple prayer. Never pray a big prayer. You must pray a prayer so simple that he won't mind his prayer following yours. If you pray, "Jesus, Thou God of Jacob; oh, Thou God of Rehoboam and Jeroboam and Jehoshaphat; oh, Thou great God of the universe, the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God, would you save this man?" After that, he won't pray. But you can pray this, "Dear Lord, here is a fellow who needs to get converted. I pray You will help him get saved. May he receive Christ. You love him, dear Lord...." "Now fellow, will you pray?" You pray like that, and he can pray his little prayer in a minute.
I always stop in the middle of my prayer. I say, "Dear Lord, lead this man to be saved. You led me here and I pray that he will be saved today. May his wife have a Christian husband and the little children a Christian daddy. Make this be the day of his salvation. Now while our heads are bowed in prayer, Mr. Doe, would you be willing today to ask God to forgive you and tell Him you want to get saved?"
See, you stop in the middle of your prayer and lead him to pray. Let me say this: Fifty per cent of the time when you get this far the lost person is going to pray. Now, I would suggest you tell him what to pray but not the words. Like this: "Would you ask God to forgive you and tell Him you want to receive Jesus today?" Fifty per cent of the time he will make up a prayer. I've heard some of the sweetest prayers. A lot of times he won't pray. He does not know how to pray. He says, "I have never prayed before." In that case I say, "Mr. Doe, would you just say these words and mean them in your heart, 'Lord, be merciful to me a sinner...forgive my sins and save my soul ... I now receive Jesus as my Saviour'?"
Let me say this: By the time you get there, the forces of Hell will be fighting you. By the time you get this far talking to a sinner, you will feel like everything you own depends on what you do right now. Realize the seriousness of it all.
27. Ask Him to Take Your Hand
He has just prayed and asked the Lord to save him. "Now Mr. Doe, while our heads are bowed, if Jesus Christ came in the room, He would extend His hand, no doubt, and ask you to take His hand if you would receive Him. Mr. Doe, if you will make this day the day of your salvation and this moment receive Christ as your Saviour, just like my hand were His hand, would you put your hand in mine?" Now, he takes your hand.
28. You Pray Again
"Our Father, help this man to see in his heart that salvation is by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and what He did on Calvary. Give him peace in his heart and the assurance of salvation. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Before you pray that last prayer, you may do several things. For example, if the wife is in the room, have her come over and take his hand, too. Then ask little Johnny to come and place his hand on Mommy's and Daddy's. Then you can have your closing prayer.
29. Ask Him, "Where, According to the Bible, Would You Go if You Died Now?"
This is important. Many people, after they win a soul to Christ, ask: "How do you feel?" It doesn't matter how he feels. How he feels has nothing in the world to do with it. The average soul winner says, "Feel any better?" That doesn't make any difference. You will stand there and argue with a fellow and he will say, "I believe you have to feel it to get saved."
You say, "No, you don't. You don't have to feel it - it is by faith." Then the first thing you ask him after you pray is, "How do you feel?" Salvation doesn't depend on how you feel; it depends on if you are believing the Book. The minute you do what God says in His Book, you believe God will do what He says He will do in His Book, you are converted. It is by faith in what God says.
The question is, "According to the Bible, where would you go if you died now?"
The answer, "I'd go to Heaven."
The sweetest thing happened in our altar recently. A little lady came down to the front. She said she wanted to be saved. I prayed with her myself. Normally I don't do it, but I prayed with her myself. I asked, "Now where would you go if you died?"
She said, "Well, the Bible says I would go to Heaven." "Where do you think you would go?" "I think I would go to Hell," she said.
I said, "But the Bible says you would go to Heaven." "That's right; it does say that," she said.
"Let me ask you a question," I said. "Did you ever tell a lie?"
"Oh, yes, L have told a lie."
"Does God ever lie?"
"All right, you say you are going to Hell, but God says you are going to Heaven. Whose word do you think I ought to take?"
She said, "I guess you'd better take God's.
"Now where do you think you would go!"
"I think I'd go to Heaven."
It is because God said it. Ask them, "According to the Bible, where would you go if you died now?"
30. Lead Him to a Public Profession
31. Go By and Get Him on Sunday Morning
32. Sit With Him in the Service
But you say, "I sing in the choir." Well, you had better quit the choir that Sunday or let him sing with you. Sit with him in the service.
33. Go Down the Aisle With Him
34. Within a Week Have Him Over for a Meal or Coffee and Cake or Something
He just got converted. "According to the Bible, where would you go if you died!"
Use that as an excuse to call somebody. Call a loved one: call a friend. Tell your wife about it.
Randall F. was a pretty mean rascal, a drunkard, mean to his wife and everything. Kenneth, his brother, was a good Christian. We went to see Randall about one o'clock in the morning. Kenneth got so burdened about him. Randall got saved. He really got saved. And he has been a good Christian. He got his wife out of bed and rejoiced in the Lord and they praised the Lord together. We just lived it up.
Some of us preachers -- a fellow comes down the aisle on Sunday and what do we do? We say, "Do you want to be saved?" "Yeah." The people never know what happened. It seems to me that if a person gets born again in your church, you ought to let folks know about it. Live it up. I had them come down Sunday and kiss each other. A man gets converted and his wife is already saved. "Come on down here with him. Bless the Lord. Give a word of testimony."
"Oh, thank God! My husband got saved today!" Kiss him. The Bible says to greet one another with a holy kiss, so she kisses him. All the young'uns come down and stand with Daddy. Daddy kisses his little young'uns. Bless God, they have got a Christian daddy now. Some preachers make it sound like it was the Statue of Liberty being dedicated. Live it up. Somebody got out of Hell! They're going to Heaven! Somebody got regenerated. Angels are singing. Folks are redeemed and going to Heaven, and not going to burn forever.
You in your ministerial cloak and croak, you get up there and the poor people don't even get one tear or one laugh before they go home. Isn't that a shame! I can't understand this dignified pomp and put-on when people are getting converted. We have more to shout about than anyone.
Here is a fellow -- he is going to Heaven. Jesus has taken him...salvation by grace...can't fall...can't lose it... preserved, and we say, "Amen."
And here is a fellow -- he is hanging on ... holding out ... hoping he won't slip and fall and slide, and he shouts all the way to Heaven. Isn't that something! It doesn't add up, does it?
Every once in a while folks will say that I preach like a Pentecostal. I wished they would say I preach like a Baptist. When I was a kid they did that. Nowadays they say "like a Pentecostal," because we have changed a great deal.
"All right, you have been saved now; you know you are converted; that if you died tonight you would go to Heaven. The next thing God wants you to do is to let people know that you have been saved. Read Romans 10:11, 'For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.' You believe on Him, don't you? You are not ashamed of Him, are you? The next thing God wants you to do is to make public your decision."
I always say something like this: "Mr. Doe, we could get a loudspeaker, drive down Main Street on Saturday afternoon and announce it to everybody, or we could have it printed up on circulars. But the usual way, Mr. Doe, is to come to church and when the preacher finishes preaching, come down the aisle to the front, have a seat on the front and let the preacher tell the people that you have been saved. Now, would you do that at some Bible-believing church this Sunday morning? If you would promise God, not me, but God, would you take my hand? Wonderful. Now, Mr. Doe, it just so happens that the wife and I come very close to here Sunday and we would love to have you as our guest Sunday morning. I'll be happy to come down the aisle with you to make it easy for you, and you can go with us and we can introduce you to some people, show you around. How about, say 9:15 Sunday morning? Wonderful."
I get them and take them with me to church. Before the Sunday School starts, I take them into the auditorium (especially if I think they don't know) and I stand back and say, "Now, Mr. Doe, this is the auditorium and there is the pulpit where I preach. I'm going to ask you to sit in the service about right over here. When I finish preaching, we're going to stand and sing a song. When we stand and sing that song, you will leave your seat, come down this aisle to the front and over to the center and I will take your hand. I will ask you to have a seat on the front. I will explain to the people what happened in your home this past week."
I tell him everything he is going to do. I do that in every invitation at my church.
On vacation recently I was in a church where I heard a marvelous message. When the pastor finished preaching, he said, "All right, we are going to stand and anybody who wants to be saved, come." We all stood but we didn't know where to come -- whether to come to town, to the front, or to a party. If a fellow hadn't known what to do, he wouldn't have known where to come.
I say, "Now, if you want to be saved this morning, leave your seat, come to the nearest aisle, down the aisle to the front, give me your hand if you will give Christ your heart." Break it down in little pieces for them. So, before the service I tell them exactly how to make their public profession of faith.
Notice that up to this point I haven't mentioned joining the church. I often say nothing about joining the church until they are down the aisle. They will appreciate that, too. You will get the reputation of not being primarily interested in getting church members, but in getting people saved. Too many spend time telling you that the nursery is air-conditioned; they have a new educational building; and the young people have a good program, etc. I often do not talk to them about joining the church until after they make their profession. As soon as they make it public, my assistant pastor goes by and talks to everybody in the line. (By the way, we have them stand up in front and we shake their hands after we dismiss the service.) My assistant pastor talks to each one about getting baptized. My secretary has a letter in her hands and comes behind him. The letter explains what to bring at night and invites them to come to the baptism class at 6:30 on Sunday.
Now very briefly I am going to win Mr. Doe to Christ. He is at home and I am going to knock on the door. He is reading the newspaper and has his house shoes on. I knock on the door. "How do you do, sir. Mr. Doe, my name is Jack Hyles. How are you today? I'm glad to see you. Say, that's a cute child you have there. She's a doll. Would you like to have some candy, honey? Give me some sugar ... Well, Mr. Doe, I hope you aren't too busy. I'd like to talk to you just a minute. I can come back later if it isn't convenient."
"No, I'm not busy; come in." "Thank you."
"Have a seat," Mr. Doe says. "Thank you."
We chit-chat a while and I ask him where he works and talk about his home town. (Let me say this: this is where a general education comes in. Every soul winner ought to know as much about every subject as he can and about every state and every job, etc. General knowledge will come in handy as you can talk intelligently about most any subject.) We talk about the weather, his job, etc.
I listen to him for a while, then I say, "Let me ask you this, Mr. Doe: Do you know that if you died today, you would go to Heaven?"
"Let me tell you, it is a wonderful thing to know. Did you ever think you would like to know that if you died you would go to Heaven?"
"Let me ask you this question: Do you feel that if I could show you in the Bible exactly how you could know that if you died you would go to Heaven, and if you could see it and understand it, would you be willing to do it?"
"I'm glad you said that. I'm going to show you what the Bible says about becoming a Christian. Now, Mr. Doe, there are only four things basically that you have to know to be saved. The first thing is, you must know that you are a sinner. I want you to look there at chapter 3 and verse 10 if you would please, where it says...."
(By the way, I hardly ever quote a lot of Scriptures myself. Act like you're reading it yourself. Don't ask him to read the Scripture if you think he might have trouble or that it might embarrass him. You are not there to show off; you are there to help him. A lot of times they might think, "Man, doesn't he know the Bible!" But that isn't what you are there for.)
"So, notice in verse 10, 'As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.' If there are none righteous, Mr. Doe, that means I'm not righteous, doesn't it? That means that you're not righteous, doesn't it?"
"Notice in verse 23, 'For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.' If all have sinned, that means I have sinned and that you have sinned. Is that right?"
"Now, that is the first thing you must know - that you are a sinner.
"The second thing that you must know to be saved is that there is on price on sin. Look here if you will please, to Romans 5:12 where it says, 'Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.' Here is the story. God made a man, and his name was Adam. He made a woman, and her name was Eve. He put them in the Garden of Eden. He said that they could eat of every tree in the garden except one, and that was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He said that if they ate of that tree, they were going to die. They ate of that tree. Now every man is born in sin, is a sinner, and the Bible says that the price on sin is death. Look at verse 23 of chapter 6, and it explains the same thing, 'For the wages of sin is death....' Here's what it means. When man sinned, he died spiritually. Now, if he is dead spiritually and he dies physically while he is dead spiritually, he will have to suffer the second death, and that is called the lake of fire."
(Now usually on this matter of Hell, I say, "Of course you believe in Hell. Some folks don't believe in Hell." If you say, "Of course you believe in Hell" he will hate to say he doesn't.)
"So that means a person who is a sinner must pay for it by suffering Hell. Do you understand that? That's the price on sin.
"The third thing that you have to know is that Jesus paid that price. Look at chapter 5, verse 8, if you will please, 'But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.' Now, what is the price on sin? Death. What did Jesus do for us? He died for us. That means He was paying our price for us. He was suffering our Hell. He came to earth from Heaven and became a man, never sinned one time. He did not owe the debt. He paid a debt that He didn't owe. You owe a debt that you have not paid. He has a plus one; you have a minus one. He says that He would like to take His plus one and put it against your minus one, and balance the equation.
"Now the question is, How can you get His plus over here on your side? That's the fourth thing. The first thing you must know is that you are a sinner. The second thing, that sinners go to Hell when they die. The third thing, that Jesus has paid the price for sinners. The fourth thing, if you would be willing by faith to receive this plan as your hope for Heaven and Christ as your Saviour, He will take your sins and place them on His account and take His payment and place it against your sins and you would not owe for your sins anymore. Jesus paid the price for you."
"Let me illustrate. (This is one of the sweetest things usually that we do when we win souls. This is one of the most effective plans I have ever used.) Let's just say now that this is your record in Heaven, and your record is written in Heaven. Every sin you have ever committed is written in Heaven. Let's just list a few of your sins. Did you ever take anything that wasn't yours? Did you ever say a bad word? All right, let's list - bad word. Did you ever have an evil thought? All right, let's write it down -- evil thought. We'll list some more."
"Now, what is the price on these things? The price tag is H-e-l-l, Hell. You're a sinner; here are your sins. That is Romans 3:10 and 3:29. Here is the price- Romans 5:12 and 6:23. Jesus went to the bank of Heaven and paid your debt for you. He sent me today to tell you about it. He has paid this price for you.
"Now, YOU have one of two choices. You can say, 'Preacher, I know He did but I don't want to do anything about it,' and you will still be in debt. Or you could say, 'Jesus, I know You died for me, You paid my Hell and I'm willing to receive You as my Saviour and trust You as my hope for Heaven.' That minute He will write P-a-i-d on your record and your record will be taken and thrown behind the back of God and will be as clean as that paper. Isn't that wonderful? That is the way your record will look."
"Now, let me ask you this: You realize you are a sinner; you realize that if you died today you would go to Hell; you realize that Jesus suffered Hell for you. Do you believe that if we knelt here right now and asked God's forgiveness and you put your faith in Christ, God would save you?"
"Our Father, here is a man who needs to be saved. Jesus died for him. Lord, You have led me here today, and I thank You for it. Now may this be the greatest day in his life as he receives Jesus as Saviour....
"Mr. Doe, while our heads are bowed, I'm going to ask you to do the finest thing you have ever done, and that is to just ask God to have mercy on you and save you. Would you do it in your own words? Just like you would talk to me, go ahead and talk to Him."
"Lord, I've sinned and I want You to forgive me. I want You to save me from my sins and I'll take You as my Saviour."
"Mr. Doe, while our heads are bowed, if you meant what you just said and you are willing today to give your life to Christ and trust Him as your hope for Heaven and you will make this the day of your acceptance of God's plan of salvation, would you take my hand as a token of it?" (That is one of the sweetest things. Their eyes are closed and lot of times they miss and they feel for your hand.)
Then you say, "Dear Lord, thank You that this man has trusted Jesus. And if the Bible is true and he has been sincere, he is Your child. Help him to see it now. In Jesus' name. Amen."
"God bless you, brother. Let me ask you this question now: According to this Book, where would you go if you died right now?"
"Do you believe this Book? When you get to the judgment seat, are you willing to trust your eternity on what this Book says?"
"That means you are God's child. Now, suppose somebody asks you tomorrow, Mr. Doe, 'Are you a Christian?' -- what are you going to tell them?"
"I'll tell them yes."
"If somebody says, 'When did you become a Christian?' -what are you going to tell them?"
May God use this simple plan to help make you a soul winner.
More Life Changing Sermons and books by Dr. Jack Hyles:
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