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10 - Jesus In Your Shoes

Glenn Coon
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Glenn Coon

Founder, ABCs of Prayer Crusades

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Dear Lord, make me a nail upon the wall, fastened securely in its place. Then from this thing so common and so small, hang a bright picture of Thy face. And we thank You in Jesus’ name. Amen.


This evening we want to share with you how we can reach out to human souls in a new way of fellowship. In the last study, we learned three particular, specific features in the life of Jesus in winning others. We dealt with the idea of a prayer group. After a person has spent his time with the Lord each day, then he gets once a week into a prayer group. He begins with a prayer partner. She begins with a prayer partner. They exchange prayer lists. They go and visit these individuals for whom they are burdened. They meet them at their conscious need.


Now, at a certain point, these dear ones that they have been visiting feel impressed to accompany their dear friends to church. They walk into the church, into the divine worship service, or perhaps a youth meeting, and as they make their way in, can you picture someone who has not been in God’s house for maybe six years, who has been covered with a guilt from the evil one, can you imagine the misgivings that are in his heart as he comes into church? The devil has been condemning him. Satan has been accusing him. And he just believes that when he comes in the church, all the church people are looking down at him, right?


So he feels very much ill at ease as he comes into the sanctuary of the Lord. And he sits down, and we want to share with you at least seven, and, if the time permits, one or two more points of a new kind of missionary endeavor in which every one here during this hour’s study and everyone who is viewing this may engage, without exception, an easy way to help these souls to be at rest in Jesus.


And our opening text of Scripture is 1 John 4:19, “We love Him, because, (because what? everybody), “He first loved us.” So, soul winning is a love affair; it’s a fellowship in Jesus Christ. And, my friends, if you and I will always think of working for that individual who does not know the Lord, if we will think of this relationship as a love affair, as a high spiritual courtship, and we bend every energy to fit into this divine courtship, our way of sharing Jesus Christ can dramatically change. There are tens of thousands of people that come into Christian churches every year who never return the second or third time because the Christians are a little timid. They don’t stop to realize that a little handshake with a little smile can make a world of difference.


What difference does it make? It makes this difference: That individual coming in has been accused by the devil. The devil has told him that Christians will accuse him, but when the Christian extends a hand, an arm, and shakes a hand with a smile, it stops the devil right in his tracks. “No, they aren’t accusing me.” “No, they like me.” We love Him because He first loved us. That’s soul winning.


It is worth 2500 Bible studies without the love and the fellowship of Jesus Christ. Aren’t you glad that we can all do that? How many who are sitting here would like to do it in every service, would you lift your hands way up? Those willing to, will you lift your hands? Yes, we see some of you people viewing; we see it by faith. That’s right.


Number three: In every Sabbath School Class, some call it a Sunday School Class, in every Sabbath School Class, always introduce the guests. I’m thinking of an experience where a fellow minister was teaching a Sabbath School Class, and on the other side of the sanctuary was a big open space. And while he was teaching this class, in walked Mr. and Mrs. Blank. Mrs. Blank was a member of the church family, but her husband was not. He didn’t profess anything. They came in; she brought her husband. They sat in that little open space. The pastor interrupted his class teaching. He turned in the direction of Mr. and Mrs. Blank; he said, “Mr. and Mrs. Blank, we’re certainly happy to welcome you. I’d like to have you meet the members of our class.” And he introduced Mr. and Mrs. Blank to every member of the Sabbath School Class.


Mr. Blank wanted to stay then for the preaching. After the divine worship service was ended, Mr. and Mrs. Blank, in returning home, were in deep conversation. Mr. Blank said to his wife, “Honey,” he said, “I didn’t know that I rated. You mean that they introduced me?” Mrs. Blank told me personally, friends, that her husband wanted to come every single week from then on. Isn’t that simple? We love Him because He first what? Loved us!


So, number one, we do what? Shake the hand. Number two, as we shake the hand, we look in the direction of the individual and smile. Now we don’t overdo it. We don’t say [emphatically], “I’m glad to see you!” No, we don’t do that. Neither do we frown. We shake the hand a good, warm welcome. And in the meeting, we greet and welcome a stranger in every Sabbath School Class; that’s three.


Number four: We avoid what we call a special disease. Did you know there are church diseases – epidemics. The disease we call “program-itis,” “program-itis.” Now, “program-itis” has kind of a little bite to it, doesn’t it, the -itis part? “Program-itis” means that we have programs, and the -itis means that we get bogged down in the program, and we’re so encased and absorbed with a program that at the close and the beginning of the program we forget that there might be a guest there, and we huddle in our own little group, forgetting that a stranger might be there.


Let me give you an example. Many years ago, my wife and I were attending a youth meeting on a Friday night. I can’t tell you how many thousands of miles from here, but all of the negatives happen far away from here. As we walked in that Friday evening, we were strangers; nobody knew us, so we thought that we would conduct a little research, if you please.


We would see whether this church had program-itis or not. So, we walked in, sat down, the people got up…It was a youth meeting. Do you know what age group is in youth meeting? Thirty years old and over. Why 30 years old and over? Because those under 30 years are not interested in program-itis. They’re interested in fellowship. And we’re driving our young people out of our churches because they don’t know that we love them. We’re so absorbed in program, program, program, program, and the people would get up, one would give up and give her part of the program [speaking gibberish], another person would get up [speaking gibberish], so it went through the program. When the meeting was ended, my wife and I as strangers, now remember, had we come in as a minister and his wife, we would have gone around shaking hands with people. If you want to have friends, don’t wait for them to shake hands. But we came in to represent the stranger whom they did not know.


So, we sat there. After the meeting was over, they huddled together in little groups. Not one soul there looked to see a stranger. We sat around there, stood around there for maybe, oh, perhaps 10 or 12 minutes. They were all very busily engaged with each other and chatting. They chatted just like magpies. (I don’t know what kind of a pie that is in a religious service.) And finally I said to my wife, “Now, that we have conducted our research, let’s go.” As we stepped out to the doors, the double door, and we opened the door, and my wife stepped out in front of me, and as I started out, I took one last look, and as I did, two ladies that were leading in the program took an extra look, and one of the ladies turned to her friend, much as to say, “Ah, I know who he is!”


And I said to my wife, “Let’s keep going,” because we represent the stranger. We represent the stranger that came into that religious service. He came out of a week of weary labor, of heartache, perhaps financial loss, maybe the death of a loved one. It could be any one of a number of things that just made the heart ache, and he saw the lights on in a church. And he thought, “Perhaps somebody can bring me comfort.” And he came in and sat down all through the service, and he left without one word of comfort, without one word of fellowship. May God deliver us, what do you say?


The next morning, as my wife and I walked into a church service, there at the entrance they had what they called a welcoming committee. Have you ever seen a welcoming committee? I love them. And I want to tell you, there are some of the most beautiful welcoming committees, and right here where we’ve been holding with this church family, some of the most precious welcomers I’ve ever met.


My friends, the Lord Jesus wants you and me to realize that we love Him because what? He first loved us. Soul winning, my friends, is a spiritual love affair. And when men and women sense the love, the unselfish love, human pressure is not necessary. We don’t have to resort to human pressure. It doesn’t say we love Him because He urged us and urged us and urged us. We love Him because He loved us. So, let us ask God to keep us from program-itis.


Number five: The telephone. The telephone. How can you be a soul winner on the telephone? Did you ever notice…I think I mentioned it once before here, and I’ll mention it again, as my wife and I have travelled along the highways, I’ve said to her, “Do you see how those telephone wires sag?” I said, “That is a picture to me of all the gossip that those telephone wires have to stand, and they get so tired they just get limp.”


Christians all over the country, saying to another Christian, “Did you just hear what I heard?”


“No, I haven’t heard much of it.”


“Well, I haven’t heard much, but I’m not going to be satisfied until I dig up all the care and crow. And as soon as I dig it up, I’ll let you know.”


“Oh, good. I’ll be happy to…” “Oh, wonderful…” And they just drool.


And the poor telephone wires are just sagging with the weight of gossip, evil-speaking, negatives that go over them. The next time you’re outside, just look at the wires, just pity those poor wires. Do you know, if those wires were to tell their story, brother, wouldn’t they have a set of missionary stories to tell. Whew. Mrs. Gabbles and Mrs. Talks, Mr. Jabber and Mr. Sanctimony, talking over these wires, and the wires are saying to each other, “I don’t know if I can stand it anymore. I’ve just got to…I’m sagging beneath it.” There’s a right way to use the telephone.


Number seven: Apologize. James 5:16, “Confess your faults.” We have found that the great majority of people who have ceased to come to church have ceased to come because somebody has offended them. It may not be the fault of the individual who has offended them, but they’re not coming. And when they don’t come, instead of going and telling them, “You know the truth,” or, “You know this,” go and say, “Will you forgive us?” You’d be surprised what will happen.


I have gone to person after person in our travels, a pastor who has said, “This person hasn’t been in church for several years. Somebody offended him.”


I say, “Well, let’s go over.”


So, we went to the house, knocked at the door, and the man opened the door. And I walked in, and I said, “Look, brother, will you forgive us for having hurt you?” And you ought to have seen the expression on the man’s face. My friends, it doesn’t cost anything but a little crucifixion of self, right?


And, my friends, if by my being willing to humble myself, some other heart will feel at ease in the sanctuary of God with His children, let’s do it. What do you say? And not add and say, “But, you know, you’re mostly at fault.” Oh, no, no, no, no! “Will you forgive us?”


Number eight, and this is the last, number eight: The place to begin is at home. Practice this love at home. We were holding a series of meetings (I can’t tell you how many thousands of miles from here) on how to win people by loving them, just loving them. The moment the meeting closed, I walked into the pastor’s study, and two ladies, they were twins, they came to the study, and I could see their countenances were greatly clouded.


They said, “From what you said tonight,” the idea, they said, “we don’t know what to do. We are married to two of the meanest men that ever lived.” And the one said, she said, “I came a distance of 70 miles to this meeting.” She said, “My husband is a regular devil.” She said, “It’s terrible how he’s treating me.” And her sister nodded and said, she said, “That’s right.” She said, “He’s the meanest thing you ever saw, and my husband is just as bad. What in the world would you do when they’re like that?”


I said, “Love them. Be a sweetheart.”


They said, “What’s that?” “What’s that?”


“That’s what you were before you married them.” I said, “That means that you won’t, for one thing, you won’t quarrel.”


And the one said, “Oh, you mean we can’t talk?” Doesn’t that say something? “You mean we can’t talk.”


I said, “Yes, you can talk, but when you start talking irritatedly, stop talking. Don’t talk like the devil. Talk like Jesus. And when you stop talking, don’t look like the devil. Look like Jesus.” I said, “Don’t be like that old couple.” They were quarreling, and finally the wife decided she wouldn’t talk anymore, and she just set her jaw. She was going to be real nice, you see?


And her husband turned to her, and he said, “Anything but a dumb devil.”


So, I said, “You may talk, but when you find yourself irritated, stop talking. But then, don’t look like the evil one.”


She said, “If my husband ever knew that I was here, he would never let me come back again.”


I said, “Try the new method. Just be a simple sweetheart.” I said, “It works fantastically.”


We love Him because He first what? Loved us. It’s not a heap of instruction. It’s not belittling. It’s not scolding. It’s loving. It’s representing the kind love of Jesus. And we chatted a while. I said, “Just try it.”


She said, “He’ll never let me come back if he hears I was hear. He’ll never let…”


I said, “Just try it. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if you’d be back in a couple days. This works fast.”


Well, she said, “Oh, I can’t believe it, but…” So, we had prayer, and they left.


About three nights later, they were back. Both of those ladies were back. Little did I dream that they were both musicians. Talk about harmony! And before I spoke, there was a special musical number, and one of these ladies sang, and her sister accompanied her on the piano. And the song that she sang was entitled, “The Holy City.” I wonder if anyone here this evening has ever heard anyone sing that song, “The Holy City,” may I see your hands? Oh, yes! Well, she was singing “The Holy City”; it’s a beautiful number. And her sister was accompanying her on the piano.


And as she started singing, I saw her face just filled with joy. Her sister at the piano, I saw a joy and a happiness there registered that was amazing. And the sister that was singing, she got ahead of her sister, and the sister hurried up and caught up, and she got ahead of her sister who was singing. And then the sister who was singing thought, “I better hurry up and catch up,” and she caught up and got ahead of her sister who was playing. I’ve never seen anything or heard anything like it on the part of people going to  the Holy City before in my life. It was the greatest journey I have ever heard sung. I could hardly wait until I got through preaching. I said, “Something marvelous has happened. Really, something has happened.” And I made my sermon very much shorter, at least 30 seconds shorter.


Then I barged into the pastor’s study. Those ladies, they were there, bolted in, and their faces all filled with smiles. And the one who lived 70 miles away, she said, “I’ve got to tell you what happened!” She said, “You know, it’s so simple. It’s so wonderful. I couldn’t believe it when you told me the other night the idea.” She said, “It’s just fantastic, just to be sweet.” She said, “I just did it. I didn’t quarrel. When my husband was mean to me, I just smiled and was sweet.” And she said, “You know what happened? Somehow he had learned that I was at the meeting here, and he seemed to associate my being nice to him with being at the meeting.”


She said, “Today about noon he came to me. He pulled out his billfold, handed me a five-dollar bill,” and that woman talked so fast I could hardly keep up with what she was saying. I read her lips to the best of my ability. I listened to all the keenness. Brother, she talked like a magpie.


And I said, “I think I’ve got it,” and this is the way it came out. She said, “He reached into his pocket, pulled out his billfold. He pulled out a five-dollar bill. He handed it to me,” and she was talking excitedly, and she said, “And he said, ‘Take that five-dollar bill, drive the car up to the gas station, get the gas tank filled up with gas and go back to the same place and get some more of the same thing you got the other night.’”


We love Him because He first loved us. There is more religion in a simple, sweet Christian than the world can possibly describe. We love Him because He what? First loved us. Wouldn’t you like, friends, in this audience this evening, those who are viewing this program, wouldn’t you like to say, “Lord, I want to go out and be a soul lover”? Wouldn’t you like to say that? “Lord, help me to be so kind and so gracious,

And so winsome.” This is what the world is longing. The world is dying for a little bit of love.


Everywhere we hear them crying for a little bit of love, for the love that rights a wrong, fills the heart with joy and song. They’ve waited, oh, so long for that little bit of love. Shall we pray?


While our heads are bowed in prayer, friends, and our eyes are closed, there may be someone here tonight, bless your heart, who came in without the assurance of forgiveness, but Jesus Christ has forgiving love. He stands at the door of your heart, and He’s saying, “Look, I’m not going to force My way in, but if you open the door and invite Me in, I’ll come in and bring a love feast with Me. I’ll forgive you. I’ll cleanse you. I’ll give you power.” If you came in without the recognition that Jesus is in the heart, and you let Him in tonight, would you lift your hand? Thank you. Oh, yes. Yes. There are many.


Dear Lord, in Jesus’ precious name, we open anew, in a special way, the heart’s door. For the individual who has never recognized that the door has really opened to Jesus but is doing it tonight, thank You, Lord; You’re coming in. You are forgiving and cleansing as You’ve promised. You’re granting eternal life as You’ve promised. Thank You for hearing us. In Jesus’ name.


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