This practical article from the pen of our esteemed brother A.W.Joyce is as fresh today as when it first appeared.
Young brother, God has saved you that He may use you. Why are there so many silent brethren, especially in our large assemblies? Their voices are never heard in the prayer meeting in intercession, nor in the open air meeting in testimony. You may say, God hasn’t given us all the gift to preach, and that is true. You may feel that your gifts are small, but do not forget you have a great God Who is willing to use clean, empty vessels. How often we have noticed silent brethren, when transferred from a large to a small needy assembly, find themselves pressed into taking more active part and become useful servants of the Lord. The converse is also true. Brethren who were a real help while in a small assembly, upon moving to a larger assembly, felt their help was not required and lapsed into silence. Surely there is a great need for exercise among those who seldom take any public part to ask, “LORD, what wilt Thou have me to do?”
Have you any desire to preach Christ and win souls? If so, that is a noble ambition. I do not mean here to leave other work and go out as a preacher. I mean to serve the Lord where you are. But you may ask, where shall I begin?
1. Begin upon your knees. Deal with God in prayer. Ask the Lord to give you a vision of the need of perishing sinners and to put within you a love for the souls of the lost. This will create in you the desire to win souls.
2. Begin with your Bible, and search the Scriptures daily. Whenever you come upon a good Gospel verse, memorize it carefully so you can quote it accurately Memorize also the chapter and verse where it is found. Your mind and memory thus will become a storehouse which the Holy Spirit can use, and He will bring it to your remembrance when you need it. An old preacher, perhaps it was Roland Hill, was asked by a young man, “Where do you get material for your sermons?” He replied, “If you fill a cask with water to the brim, you may bore with an auger where you will and water will flow.” Fill your heart with God’s Word and you will never be dry
3. Begin at home to win souls for the Master. The first soul Andrew brought to Christ was his own brother (John 1:41). The writer, after well over thirty years, still remembers the peculiar joy when he pointed his own brother to Christ. Remember the man of Gadara whom the Lord delivered by His power from the slavery of Satan. In Mark 5:18 we find that he desired to be with the Lord and to accompany Him, but he received the word, “Go home to thy friends and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee.” Tell them by your lips, and show them by your life-no more, no less. Confess Christ before unconverted relatives, school mates, work mates and neighbors.
4. Begin giving away good Gospel tracts. There is no easier way to introduce the subject of the Gospel than first to courteously give a Gospel tract. If no opportunity presents itself to speak, the silent messenger will do its work after you have passed on your way. The apostle Paul not only preached publicly but also “from house to house” (Acts 20:20). In dealing individually with people about their souls, you will get valuable first hand experience which will stand you in good stead when you attempt to preach more publicly.
5. Begin public speaking by telling your conversion.
(a) By so doing, your message will be distinctive; your conversion is your own.
(b) It will carry the conviction of personal experience. “We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen” (John 3:11).
(c) You will thus follow apostolic example. Paul’s conversion is recorded in Acts 9 and repeated by him in testimony in Acts 22 and again in chapter 26.
Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then in that day my Lord to meet,
And stand before His judgment seat;
Only one life, t’will soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.