Now, we want to mark keenly that full power depends upon three things. There is a trinity of service, a human-divine trinity. The full results can come only through its working. The ideal winner of men needs to believe thoroughly in this trinity.
First of all is the message. There needs to be a clear understanding of the Gospel. That is the winner's message. That is the direct thing he uses in approaching and laying siege to some man's heart. It is a simple message, but very often it is grasped only partly by those who tell it.
That message needs to be understood clearly and fully by the man who would have the greatest power in winning men. From its first plain teaching about sin, on to the terrible results that sin left to itself works out; through the blessed teaching of love as shown most in the sacrifice for sin which Jesus made on the cross; the need of a clean cutting with sin, and clear-out surrender to Jesus as Saviour and Master; the work of the Holy Spirit in one's heart; and then the climax of service out among men—this simple message needs to be grasped fully and clearly. This is the first great essential hi the trinity of service.
There is a second thing, yet more important, that must go with this first. And that is a man who embodies the message in himself. It isn't enough to know the story of the Gospel, nor to tell it. It must be lived. That is the best telling of it. The man must be a living illustration of the truth he is telling. He may be conscious of not illustrating it as he should. The earnest man is never aware that he is as good an illustration of it as he is. He may think himself a poor illustration. He is quite apt to. But he is yet more apt not to be thinking of that side as he attempts to win men. He will be all taken up with Jesus, and with getting men to know Him.
The man is more than the message, even when he is less than the message. When his life fails to live out the truth he is speaking, still even then he is more. For the life is more than the lips. And, while he is talking, his life is discounting his words and taking away some of the power that belongs with them. I do not mean that those he is talking to are making the comparison, necessarily. They may not know about his life, whether it embodies the message or not.
I mean that the life that is true breathes a force and power into the man himself and so into his words. Or it doesn't. The message takes on the quality of the man. One man's talking catches fire; another's doesn't. The listeners know that it is so, though they don't usually know why. All the while you and I are trying to win others, in Sunday-school class or meeting, in Gospel service or church preaching, in personal conversation or letter-writing, there's a subtle something that goes out of us, as an atmosphere, that affects the power of the message we're giving out.
And that something is actually greater in its power than the truth we are speaking. It may be a touch of flame making the truth burn within him who is listening. It may be a deadly, dampening chill checking the fire that is naturally in the truth. The man is always more than the message.