Many of the men and women who come to our meetings, and have a desire to accept God's message, are apparently helplessly bound by the tobacco habit. Oftentimes this is the one barrier that keeps them from being baptized. They may harmonize with every other point of the message, but seem helpless to break the bonds of the tobacco habit.
Although it is proper to recommend the use of silver nitrate solution as a mouth wash, the chewing of gentian root, and a diet that will lessen the craving for the weed, yet I am convinced more and more that in dealing with this problem, we must give it a true spiritual emphasis and put these enslaved souls in touch with Him who can and will set them free.
Christ is an all-sufficient Saviour. He is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by Him. I find that if from the very first meeting Jesus Christ is held up as an all-sufficient Saviour, the power of Christ will be present in the meetings to set men and women free from this enslaving habit. Over and over again we remind the people in the meetings that if they will do the coming to Jesus, He will do the saving to the uttermost for them. If there is a strong spiritual tone in the meetings, some will quit tobacco before you ever preach against it. They will see that tobacco using is not compatible with a full surrender and an entire consecration to Jesus Christ.
When we speak against the use of tobacco, we tell the audience that there is not a person present that cannot have complete, lasting victory over the tobacco habit if he really wants it. We explain that Jesus never fails, and that He is ready to give victory to every soul who will turn to Him with all his heart. We emphasize such texts as John 8:36, Philippians 4:13, and I John 5:4. We say that we have such confidence in the power of Jesus Christ to save, that we are willing to throw out the challenge that any person who really wants victory over tobacco may have it, no matter how many years he has used it. If Jesus Christ cannot save a man from tobacco, He cannot save him from anything else.
We invite the people to claim victory by faith, and tell them that God does the work when they believe and surrender all to Him. In a recent series of meetings we saw a number of men miraculously delivered from the enslaving habit. In some cases men who had smoked two or three packets of cigarettes a day laid this filthy habit down at the feet of Christ, and did not even have a desire to use tobacco again. It is indeed thrilling to see man after man, and woman after woman, delivered from this enslaving habit, and turn from the power of Satan to the power of God.
We find it is very helpful in getting people to lay aside tobacco to quote I John 3:2, 3 to them: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure." When we explain that if they really have this hope in Christ, they will purify themselves as He is pure, they are then ready to lay aside this filthy weed, and accept Christ's power to set them free.