Summary: This message deals with the use of the word "persuade" in the Scriptures. No one can be "persuaded" to be saved ... but the saved can be "persuaded" in the things of God.
WORDS OF DISTINCTION – “Persuade”
INTRODUCTION : We CONTINUE in our series on “Words Of Distinction”. We have looked at the words: “daily”, “adoption”, “rather”, “sleep”, “pleasure” and “mind”. TONIGHT we are going to look at the word “persuade”.
The English word “persuade” is mentioned 35 times in the Bible (in 1 form or another). It means: ‘to win over, to bring about a change of mind by the influence of reason’.
As I looked up these verses, I noticed that they fell into 2 major categories:
o Persuading Others
o Persuaded Myself
Let’s take a look at some of the instances where the word “persuade” is used in the Bible.
I. PERSUADING OTHERS
This heading can be sub-divided into two other headings:
o Persuading The Lost
o Persuading The Saved
A. Persuading The Lost
Let me say, first of all, that NOBODY can be PERSUADED to be saved. If they could, I would have spent most of my time on the DEBATING TEAM in college, and studied more PSYCHOLOGY. You can’t PERSUADE anyone to be a Christian. It’s not a matter of CONVINCING them that they are wrong, and you are right. It’s not a matter of OUT-ARGUING them concerning Christianity verses whatever they believe.
John 1:12-13 – all turn
You aren’t “born again” by:
o “blood” – i.e., because you were born into a Christian home, by Christian parents. Even though Uncle Buford was a Baptist preacher, that doesn’t make you a Christian. Any more than kittens being born in an oven makes them biscuits! Salvation isn’t handed down from generation to generation … it’s a PERSONAL relationship with Jesus. Sin, and depravity, and “lost-ness” runs in the blood … not salvation.
o “the will of the flesh” – i.e., because you DECIDED to become a Christian, as opposed to go to Hell. You didn’t just DECIDE one day to become a Christian … by “the will of the flesh” … because you thought that it was a good idea. OR … even because you WANTED to.
o “the will of man” – i.e., nobody talked you into being saved. Nobody “persuaded” you that this was the right thing to do. Nobody imposed their will on you, and MADE you become a Christian. You weren’t saved by YOUR “will” … OR … anybody ELSE’S “will”.
HOW THEN, WERE YOU SAVED? “”but of God”. It is the grace of God that made you willing to be saved.
WHAT METHOD DOES GOD USE? Romans 10:14, 17 – “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? … So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
REMEMBER the story of “The Rich Man And Lazarus” in Luke 16? The rich man died and went to hell. While there, he prayed and asked Abraham to send Lazarus to his family and tell them, so they wouldn’t end up in Hell also. Luke 16:28 – “For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”
LISTEN to what Abraham told him, Luke 16:31 – “And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be PERSUADED, though one rose from the dead.” You can’t PERSUADE anyone to be a Christian.
SO, WHAT ARE WE TO DO? We are to give them the Word of God. THEN … the Holy Spirit has the tool to turn them to Him. It is not WE who “persuades” them … but the Holy Spirit, Who CONVICTS them of their sin, and CONVINCES them to turn to Christ for the forgiveness of their sin.
What did the Apostle Paul do? Acts 18:4 – “And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and PERSUADED the Jews and the Greeks.” HOW DID HE DO THIS? By preaching the Word of God.
NOTE the word “persuade” in Galatians 1:10 – “For do I now PERSUADE men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Paul wasn’t trying to “win the favor of” (‘persuade’) men … but God. Paul wasn’t preaching what people WANTED to hear … BUT … what God WANTED to tell them. (It often got him into trouble with people!).
Paul was a gifted preacher … but he wasn’t a great speaker. 1 Cor. 2:1-5 – all turn.
“enticing” is the same word as “persuade” in the Greek. It wasn’t Paul’s skill in debate … OR his convincing arguments … OR his art of “persuasion” … that caused multitudes to turn to Christ. It was the grace and power of the Holy Spirit who planted his words (the “Word of God”) into the hearts of the lost.