BY-WAYS - 7/6/44 - Mr. Werner's Story

"Shall we really preach the gospel to every creature? Is the tenor of the question asked by one of Mrs. Simon Hine's earnest Bible students. According to the living and demonstrable creed of the first Presbyterian Church of Glendale, California, an unequivocal "Yes." Let me start at the beginning of my own acquaintance with the "Soul Winners' Exchange." Perhaps you remember my narrative of the train ride from Chicago to Los Angeles. My seatmate, an Italian designer, an unhappy neurotic, seemed on the verge of a breakdown. When I told him about my Doctor Knox, he decided he needed to see Dr. Gilkerson, too. The very next morning after our arrival in L.A. he called up and made an appointment with Knox. Dr. Knox studied his case very carefully, and said, "What you need is spiritual help," and sent for O.B. Werner. I wondered who Mr. Werner could be, since the minister's name is Dr. Clarence Kerr (and one of the best there is). I soon found out. O.B. Werner is a lay evangelist, who lets God work through him to bring hundreds of souls along the highway of life to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. He talked simply and directly about salvation to my unhappy, restless train friend. Poor Dan, with the pathetic eagerness of a child, said, "That's what I want. I want to be a Christian." Cousin Knox wanted to help him by Christian fellowship. Knowing that in true Christianity there are no social barriers, Knox invited him to go along with us on a combined professional and sight-seeing trip. When Dan called up that morning to see if we were all set, Knox thought he would not be able to make it that day. We are afraid that poor Dan took it the wrong way - that he was not wanted. We never heard from him again. (We did not know how to reach him). But I am satisfied that Mr. Werner reached his heart, and showed him the way of salvation.

Mr. Werner is an ordinary business man. No, that isn't true. He is an extraordinary business man, who is more successful than ever in this insurance business since he gives half of his business day (and no one knows how many evenings) to the Lord's work. Dark-haired, dark-eyed, always immaculately groomed, he looks the prosperous business man that he is. But every now and then comes a happy gleam in those brown eyes that is out of this world - for he has just shown another mortal the way to happy eternal life, as pointed out in the Gospel of St. John. He carries with him the Gospel of John, bound in red paper cover, in which the vital truths are underscored. He sets out along the highway, presumably headed for Burbank or San Fernando. Some stranded soul is waiting for a ride. "Man's extremity is God's opportunity" - thus Mr. Werner seizes that opportunity. I asked for a chance to learn just how he goes about such a delicate matter as discussing a man's religious beliefs. He invited me to go with him on one of his journeys "about his Father's business." The experience is one that I will never forget. Our first "pick-up" was a soldier who was slated to go overseas in two days. I can't remember now what unit he was with, but his work is considered most dangerous. You could see that his heart was heavy - not knowing when - if ever - he would return. His response to Mr. Werner's talk with him would touch a heart of stone. I'll let Mr. Werner tell the story, as he typed it for the benefit of his fellow-workers on the Soul Winners' Exchange: "I'm going over in two days." "It was a sunny California day, Mrs. Taylor and I were driving down the highway. A soldier wanted a ride. As he got into the car he said, 'I'm going to the air terminal. From there I'm leaving in two days for the battle zone.' 'If you go over and don't come back, have you given any thought about where you would like to spend eternity?' I inquired. 'My choice is the good place, if I can get there,' was his reply. 'You, of course, believe the Bible don't you?' I asked him. He eagerly replied, 'Most certainly, sir.' 'Then have you been born again?' To this he answered, 'I don't know what you mean, sir.' 'Well, the Bible says 'Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of heaven'. You said you believed the Bible. Therefore I would like the courtesy of showing you where that is in the Bible. That is agreeable to you isn't it?' 'Sure thing,' he returned. We stopped the car. I took from my pocket the Gospel of John and turned to the Third Chapter. Together we read John 3:1-7. I said, Here it says 'Marvel not that I said unto you, ye MUST be born again'. If one must be born again, the question is then, how are you born again?' He agreed by saying, 'That's right, sir.' Turning to the first Chapter of John we read John 1:1, 3, 11, 14 with comments as set out in the booklet, 'How to Win Souls to Christ.' Then I directed him to John 1:29 which we read together. Then I said, 'You remember how the Jews used to sacrifice a lamb for a sin offering in Old Testament times?' 'Yes,' he returned, 'But I don't know why.'

"The Bible says 'It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this, the judgment' (Heb. 9:27). Some day God will pronouce judgment upon sin. He wanted the Jew to escape the judgment of sin. Yet He was a just God and required a death penalty for sin, yet He would accept a substitute. 'When the Jew confessed his sins to God and by faith brought a lamb and agreed with God that the lamb should take his place for the penalty of his sins, God let the Jew go free from the judgment of his sins. In bringing the lamb for a sacrifice, the Jew of course, looked forward to THE LAMB OF GOD, even the Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for all sinners. In Romans 3:23 the Bible says All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. You realize that includes you, don't you?' 'Yes,' said the soldier, 'I know I'm a sinner.' 'Then will you do as the Jew did, bow your head and confess to God that you are a sinner, and tell him that you will agree with Him that Christ shall take your place for the punishment of your sins, so that God can justify you by faith?' As this soldier bowed his head, he said, 'Dear God, I want to tell you I'm a sinner, and thank you for showing me how to be saved by believing that Christ died for my sins.' Shortly after that he signed the Gospel of John (Horton Edition). As he got out of the car, he said, 'I want to thank you for telling me this. It has taken a burden off my heart. Please remember me in prayer.'"

Florence B. Taylor

Next - 7/13/44 - Rev. Bates' Sermon. Mrs. Simon Hine.

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