THE MOST painful wound in the world is the stab of the conscience.
Before men can be converted to Christ, they need conviction of sin in
their hearts. At Pentecost those listening to Peter's sermon "were
pricked in their heart" (Acts 2:37). When Peter preached before the
council "they were cut to the heart" (Acts 5:33). At Pentecost three
thousand did turn to the Lord, but after Stephen's sermon, recorded in
Acts 7, "they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with
their teeth" (v. 54). Preaching makes men glad or mad. When men are
convicted they may turn to Christ or turn on the Christian.
"When he [the Holy Spirit] is come, he will reprove [convict] the
world of sin" (v. 8). Only one Person can convict of sin--the Holy
Spirit. No amount of blasting or berating a sinner will convict. There
must be a dependence on the Holy Spirit to do what He came to do, and
God is faithful. You can be sure of that. He convicts "of sin, because
they believe not on me" (v. 9). Christ is the issue. To win people to
Christ, present Him clearly.
For men to be "cut to the heart" or "pricked," "the sword of the
Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6: 17), must be wielded in
witnessing. Never underestimate the power of the Word. Once Dwight L.
Moody talked with a man about Christ. To each argument presented Mr.
Moody simply quoted him John 3: 16. In disgust the man went away
thinking bow ignorant Mr. Moody was. That night the man could not
sleep but kept hearing this same verse run through his mind until he
was convicted and received the Lord Jesus as his Saviour.
"We know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully" (I Tim. 1:8).
The law was given "that every mouth may be stopped and ali the world
may become guilty before God . . . for by the law is the knowledge of
sin" (Rom. 3:19, 20). "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring
us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Rom. 3:24).
Using the Word of God as it should be used will convict the sinner and
bring him to Christ. Some see so little conviction because they use
arguments rather than the armament of the Word. Memorize the Word,
then wield it with holy boldness.