Personal Soul Winning

By Evangelist John R. Rice, Th.D.

II. Simple Steps in Winning a Soul Using John, Chapter Three

It is easy to show the plan of salvation. One simple, easy way to win a soul to Christ is by using certain verses in John, chapter 3. The book of John is specially written to show people how to be saved. John 20:30, 31 says: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." So there are more verses on the plan of salvation in the book of John than in any other book in the Bible. But one need not use many Scriptures nor go all through the Bible in winning a soul. In most cases a few verses near each other are sufficient. Do not make a hard job of showing that people are sinners, that they need to be saved, that Christ died for them, that one who trusts Christ will have everlasting life. Sometimes, indeed, the one you seek to win knows the essentials and simply needs to be urged to the decision to trust Christ here and now.

In John, chapter 3, Jesus showed Nicodemus, a religious, moral man, that he was lost and needed to be saved, and showed him how to be saved. I suggest that you now look at John, chapter 3, and learn to use these simple steps in winning a soul.

1. Read verses 1 to 3.

"There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

Now I would call attention to the fact that this man was a good moral man, one of the religious leaders and rulers of the Jews, evidently a member of the Sanhedrin. He is called a Pharisee, and Pharisees were the strictest religious sect among the Jews. And to this man, moral and religious and upright, Jesus plainly said, "Ye must be born again."

2. Now it is well to call attention to the insistent warning Jesus gives, that being born again, born from above, is an absolute necessity.

Verse 3 says, "...Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." This refers not just to Nicodemus; no person can see the kingdom of God without being born again.

In verse 5 Jesus said, "...Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." The water here evidently pictures the Word of God. "Born of the Spirit" means that the change must be worked in the heart by the Holy Spirit after one hears the Word.

In verse 7 Jesus said, "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." Jesus did not say that one merely ought to be born again, or that it would be wise for him to be born again. He said, "Ye must be born again."

3. Then call attention to verse 6: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

You might say to the sinner, "Perhaps you had a wonderfully good mother, as I did, and a good father by human standards. But our parents were human and frail and imperfect, and so we were born the same way. The reason we need to be born again is because we were born with a fallen nature in the first place, and so any fleshly birth then still means we must be born again to ever see God in peace."

It is well here for you to stress that we are all sinners. Get the sinner to admit that he is not perfect, that he has fallen short in God's sight, that often when he means to do well, he does not do right, that when he makes resolutions, he sometimes breaks them. Do not leave the impression, "I am good and you are bad." No, make sure that you take the sympathetic, honest position that we are all sinners alike and need forgiveness alike, and that unless we come to get a new heart, there is no hope of Heaven.

4. Now, if the thing is not clear, it might be well to call attention to verse 8: “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell were it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

How will one feel when he is born again? The Bible does not say. It is God who works the miracle of the new birth, and we do not need to understand it, but should simply turn the matter over to God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

5. And now you are ready for verses 14 and 15.

Jesus reminded Nicodemus that when the Israelites complained at God, fiery serpents came among the people and bit the people and much people died. But God told Moses to put a brazen snake on a pole and whoever looked to that brass snake would be healed. So Jesus told Nicodemus: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life."

That snake on a pole pictured Jesus bearing our sins on the cross. Those people looked at the brass snake and believed that God would heal them by looking, and so they were healed.

6. Now follow with John 3:16, “Far God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Now the soul winner can say, "Here God tells you expressly how to be born again. Do you admit that you are a sinner, that you need a new heart, that you want forgiveness? And you can see that God loves you. He gave His Son to die for you and for me and the whole world. Now 'whosoever,' anyone in the world—you, me, anybody— that believes in Christ or depends upon Christ or relies upon Christ for forgiveness and salvation will not perish, will not go to Hell, will not be lost forever, but he shall have 'everlasting life.'"

You might illustrate faith by showing how a sick person relies upon the doctor and turns the case over to the doctor. Believing good things about the doctor does not do one any good unless he turns his case over to the doctor and risks him.

One who has a lot of money and feels insecure about it takes it to the bank and deposits it. He trusts his money with the bank for safekeeping. He relies upon the bank because the bank has promised to keep it safely for him and is able to do it. Just so one needs to turn himself over to Jesus Christ, relying on Him, depending upon Him for salvation. One who trusts in Christ or relies upon Christ for salvation has everlasting life, according to the plain promise here.

7. Now I would go over that again with the sinner. “Do you understand that you are a sinner?”

Doubtless he will say yes.

"Do you believe that Christ died for your sins and mine on the cross, and wants to save you?"

Doubtless he will say yes, that he understands that.

Next, "Do you see, then, that if you rely upon Jesus Christ and turn your case over to Him, depending on Him to forgive you and give you everlasting life as He promised, that is all you are to do to obtain salvation?"

Then you might say, "Then let us bow our heads and I will whisper a prayer and ask the Lord Jesus to forgive you and save you now." And then you may pray, and ask him if he will.

After you pray a very simple, short prayer, then you might suggest words of suitable prayer for him. You might say, "Can you honestly repeat the words of this prayer as I give them to you? 'Lord, I confess that I am a poor sinner who needs saving.'" Let him repeat that.

"I believe, Lord Jesus, that You died on the cross to pay for our sins and that You are willing to save me." And have him repeat that.

"Lord Jesus, I ask You now to forgive my sins and save me." And have him repeat that.

"Lord, the best I know I trust You now to forgive my sins; I give You my heart forever." Then ask him if he can repeat that.

I do not believe one must pray aloud in order to be saved. Sometimes a timid person will pray silently. One is saved when he turns to the Lord and trusts the Lord. But sometimes the matter is much clearer in the mind of a sinner and the transaction is remembered as a definite transaction if he can express his faith in the words of a prayer. Besides, if he asks the Lord to forgive, then he always has extra promises like Romans 10:13, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved," as an evidence that he has really been saved.

8. Once the person has asked Christ to forgive him and save him, I suggest that there be some open demonstration of his decision.

I would say, "Now you have asked Jesus Christ to forgive your sins and save you. If you are ready to turn your case over to Him, ready to rely on Him to forgive your sins and save you as He promised to do, will you now take my hand and let this handshake be a sign between you and me and God that you now trust Christ as your own personal Saviour and give Him your heart forever? Will you do that?"

If the sinner has been honest thus far, in most cases he will be ready to make that open profession of his faith in Christ.

If a loved one is present who is already a Christian or if another worker is present, it is good for him to shake hands also with them. Sometimes if it is a child who has been saved and the mother or father is present, I might say, "isn't that wonderful! Now you have trusted Christ as your Saviour. If you are glad and you want your mother to be glad with you, come and put your arms around Mother's neck as a sign that you have taken Christ as your Saviour."

Sometimes it is well to say, "The pastor is nearby; suppose we go and tell him that you have trusted Christ as your Saviour." Or it may be the mother or father or a wife or husband. At any rate, it is good for the one who has trusted Christ to commit himself as openly as possible. There is a special blessing for those who confess Christ openly, and assurance and joy often wait upon that public confession of Christ.

9. Now before you leave the person, there is one more thing that is important. The new convert ought to be assured by the Word of God that he now has everlasting life.

So, often I turn to verse 18 in the same chapter of John and have the one who has now trusted Christ look on and read with me: "He that believeth on him is not condemned..."

Now you can say to the one who has trusted Christ, "Here we see that one who has trusted in Christ and relied on Him is not condemned, is not lost, is not going to Hell. Have you trusted Christ?"

Usually he will say yes.

"Then, since you have believed on Him and relied upon Him, are you condemned ?"

And he can say, on the authority of the Scriptures, "No, I am not condemned anymore!"

Then show him John 3:36, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." And again you may ask him, "Have you now trusted Christ or believed on Christ as your Saviour the best you know how, relying on Him to forgive you?"

And he, of course, can answer yes.

"Then what does the Bible say that you now have?"

Have him look on the verse with you. Have him see for himself and then he can say, "The Bible says I have everlasting life!"

And then you can say, "Now the way to know that you are saved is not because you feel a certain way, but because the Bible says that when you trust Christ you have everlasting life."

You may put step nine before having the new convert go to tell others that he has trusted Christ, if that seems wise.

This plan is simple; all the Scriptures are found in one chapter in the Bible, and God has helped me to win hundreds of souls from this chapter.

And sometimes people are so ready that just on John 3:16 alone the matter of salvation can be made so clear that they can trust Christ at once.


“I am an old-fashioned preacher of the old-time religion, that has
warmed this cold world's heart for two thousand years.”

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