I. General Principles
We are to come close to the people "in a persuasive, kindly manner, full of cheerfulness and love for Christ."—Evangelism, p. 444.We are to lift up Christ. To behold His holiness will make sin more apparent, and to behold His love will give desire to overcome. Our motive should be to be like Christ, who spoke with such "dignity" and whose "look and tone expressed such earnest love, that Nicodemus was not offended as he realized his humiliating condition."—The Desire of Ages, p. 173.
Like Nicodemus, the sinner must sense the love of God, His power to save, and realize his own need. He cannot save himself. But he should know there is power available to help him.
1. Faith steps in to supply that need.a. If the student has had any previous experience with God or the Bible, it is good for him to recall it.
b. If he has had no previous experience, give examples from Scripture of how men laid hold on the Word by faith.
c. The personal experience of the Bible instructor can do much to encourage faith.
d. Lay hold on the promises of Christ. We are to come to Him as we are, with our burden of sin (Matt. 11:28-30).
e. In coming to Him we recognize His love for us, His power to help us, and our inability to help ourselves.
2. Make plain to the reader the meaning of the struggle in his heart.
b. The desire to do what is right, the sense of sin, is not from man but of God (Phil. 2:13).
c. Man must choose between right and wrong.
b. Repentance can come only by the convicting power of the Spirit (Steps to Christ, p. 27).
4. The sinner will confess that particular sin to God, and only then can he receive forgiveness (1 John 1:9).a. In confession there should be no excuses or rationalizing.
b. Confession means speaking to God in prayer. This is an experience between the reader and God. If he cannot pray, the Bible instructor should teach him how, saying the words, and having him repeat them if need be. At any rate, the Bible instructor can pray with him and for him, perhaps expressing more clearly their thankfulness (his and hers) to be able to come to God as they are, and their praise for Jesus who can forgive sin and give power to overcome it. This prayer is a part of coming close to the people. We are together in sin, and together we praise God. As a benediction it can strengthen and cheer the reader, helping him to see God's goodness more clearly, and to sense the blessedness of sins for-Given.
c. True repentance makes for purity of heart, which will bring victory in Christ. For example, David's experience.
d. It is the virtue that goes forth from Christ that brings repentance (Steps to Christ, p. 30).
e. Therefore, the deeper the repentance, the more love from God is manifest in the heart (ibid., pp. 30, 31).
f. Thorough repentance will make sin so hateful that there will be no desire to return to it.
g.True confession is always specific (ibid., p. 43). In facing his sin the sinner sees its sinfulness. This makes him realize that specific power is needed, and it is then easier for him to ask forgiveness.
i. This experience will lead the sinner to appreciate more the cost of Calvary and
the love of Jesus (ibid., p. 46).
5. Victory cannot be attained unless self is surrendered.
a. This is the hardest struggle, but it is only when we yield our will to Christ that He can come into the heart (ibid., p. 52).
b. There must be no known sin between the reader and God, or He cannot accept him.
c. Now is the time to choose. The instructor must make this very plain. Procrastination numbs and hardens and is of the evil one.
6. Faith lays hold of the promises. "I believe it is so, not because I feel it but because God has promised."
a. Faith is a principle—not a feeling.
b. Faith is accepting God at His word.
7. Victory is the natural result of a surrendered life. He becomes a "new creature" (2 Cor. 5:17).
a. No genuine repentance is possible without a reformation (ibid., p. 63).
b. This victory is ours only as we depend on Christ.
c. Constant surrender means constant victory.
8. Constant victory in Christ is not the average experience.
a. Satan concentrates on newborn babes in Christ.
b. Each stumble must be confessed.
c. Falling need not cause discouragement.
d. God has made provision. He knows our frame and He is "able to save us to the uttermost."
II. Specific Suggestions for Overcoming
1.Plant a good habit for every bad habit to be broken.
2.Stress Christ power, not will power.
3.Introduce to him a layman who has overcome the same sin—a cheerful, friendly member who can give help.
4.Telephone the prospective member every day, or get others to visit him.
5.Be enthusiastic over each victory.
6.Stress "one day at a time" procedure.
7.Do not condemn if the student falls. Encourage him to get up.
8.Teach the principle that we must do our part. Urge him to stay away from former companions who smoke or drink or go to cinemas.
9.Get the person interested in good activities —MV activities, Ingathering, et cetera.
10. Help him to recognize Satan's voice and to resist him.
11. Beware of procrastination.
12. Be more concerned about the heart than the details. If the heart is right with God, victory is assured.
13. Do not talk doubt.
14. Keep the blessings of God fresh in mind,
15. Keep texts in mind or on a card; select a promise for each day.
16. Encourage testimony of what the Lord has done in the past.