Firing The Gospel Gun

True Faith and How to Promote It
By Charles Spurgeon

“Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”  Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.”  He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.  John 9:35-58 

First, if you have any choice as to those to whom you go, seek out the oppressed. You are to go, so far as you can, “into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;” but if you may specially look for some more than others, seek out the sick, the sad, the weary, the poor, the broken-down ones, and especially such as have been put out of the synagogue. When our missionaries have gone among the Brahmins in India, they have had a few converts; but the most blessing has been given among the poor people who have no high caste of which they are proud. When the gospel was taken to them, they gladly received it. The gospel worker will be wise if, instead of shunning those whom even nominally religious people put away, he looks after them first. They are likely soil for the good seed of the kingdom to grow in, and bring forth fruit. Our Lord Jesus Christ, at Sychar, did not go to some goodly matron, who was an ornament to her sex; but you know where he found the woman who became his disciple and missionary, and you know what kind of woman she was; and, to this day, he delights to go about, as Whitefield used to say, “sweeping up the devil’s castaways.” Those whom nobody else wants, and nobody else will have, our blessed Lord and Master delights to receive. Do you, therefore, look after those out-of-the-way sinners. I like that expression, those out-of-the-way Sinners; because our Lord Jesus Christ is the High Priest “who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way.” Out-of-the-way sinners are the sort he came to save; therefore, look out for them, you who would follow the example of the great Soul-Winner.

Then, next, when you come to close quarters with them, ask them questions, as Christ did. He said to this man, “Dost thou believe on the Son of God:” Put the enquiry pointedly and personally. Here am I, up in the pulpit, firing the gospel gun, and the shot flies where God directs it; but you, downstairs, who love the Lord, can, as it were, hold a pistol close to the sinner’s head. Take them separately, one by one; and make them “stand and deliver.” Put the question as our Lord did, “Dost thou believe?” See, friend,” you can say, “the minister has been preaching about faith. ‘Dost thou believe?'” This is what nine people out of ten want, somebody to come and make a personal application of the truth to them. They are like soldiers out upon the battlefield; they lie there, wounded, bleeding, dying. Close by, there is all that is needed to bind up their wounds, and plenty of it; then, why do they lie there in agony? They need personal attention, and it is your business, as an army surgeon, to go and put on the lint, and bind up the wounds. Oh, that we had multitudes who would do this, and that all God’s people were constantly looking out for opportunities of making a personal application of the truth to those who hear it! “Dost thou believe?” said the Lord Jesus to this man, and by that question he held him fast. That is the way to win souls, begin with a personal question.

Then, be ready to answer enquiries. This is what our Lord himself did when he revealed himself to this man. Tell them all you know; and if you cannot tell them all they want to know, try to bring them to somebody more advanced in spiritual things than you yourself are, so that, with prayer, and patience, and wise instruction, he may lead them to Christ.

Next, pray to the Lord Jesus Christ to reveal himself to them, for that is the way faith comes. We cannot speak of Christ as he should be spoken of; but, when he reveals himself, then the sinners see him. All the portraits of a beauty never touch the heart like one glance from her eyes; and all the portraits of Christ, that ever were painted by his most admiring disciples, never make such an impression on the heart of man as when once he says, as he said to this man, “Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.” None but Christ himself can preach Christ to the full. He must reveal himself, or the Spirit must reveal him, or else men do not see him.

Finally, glorify Christ by you’re your personal testimony. Recollect that wondrous intercessory prayer of our Lord, in which he said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” It was so kind, yet just like him, not to say, “through my word,” though it is his word that we are to proclaim; but we get it into our hearts, and so appropriate it that, when we utter it, we speak out of our own heart, and soul, and then it becomes our word, too, and so sinners believe on Christ through our word. Go on speaking your word, that is, Christ’s word spoken by you, for this is how to win souls for him.

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