“Come and See a Man”


Sermon by Dr. J. Frank Norris, Temple Baptist Church,

February 6, 1944

(This is a message on how to do personal soul-winning.)

I want you to open your Bibles and let’s have a little family discussion. Some of you visitors who have come expecting to hear a sermon, I’m going to notify you in advance – you’re going to be disappointed. I’ll try to preach you one tonight.

If you’ll turn to the Gospel of John, I’ll call your attention in two chapters to a lesson I want, for practical purposes, to study this morning.

In the third chapter of John, the first sentence says: “There was a man.” Now look at that, “There was a man.” And in the fourth chapter, you find this expression, “There cometh a woman,” and the next statement where Jesus says, “Give me a drink of water.” And then the next statement where she says, “Come and see,” and the next statement, “And many of the Samaritans believed.” Now put those statements together. Why would I take those two chapters, third and fourth? Because the Apostle John put them together. And there is a great reason why.

In the third chapter, we have a great lawyer. We know a lot about that lawyer. We know We know his name, we know his race, we know his religion, we know his character, and he came at midnight. Because he was afraid of his crowd. He was a member of the Supreme Court of his nation. He was born again, but never said a word to anybody about it until after Jesus was dead. A typical church member.

And in the next chapter, “There cometh a woman,” whose name we do not know. A woman of the underworld. Jesus says, “I must needs go through Samaria.” And at twelve o’clock he was tired and weary, human as well as divine. He sat on the curbstone of that well, a hundred and sixty-seven feet down to water. The water is about twenty feet deep, and the finest, clearest, coolest water you ever tasted, dug by Jacob.

He sees this woman; he says, “Give me a drink of water.” A very simple request. She resented him saying a word to her, because she was a Samaritan, he was a Jew, and they had no dealings. “Oh!” he said, “if thou hadst known who it is that has asked thee, thou wouldst have asked him to give thee a drink of water.” She said, “How can you? You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.” O, their eyes meet; soul meets soul. That’s why he went there, to win this woman. He had to send the preachers away before he could win this woman. Quite often the greatest hindrance to soul-winning are members of your own church. Sometimes – I speak of the churches out in the West or the South. Not this church now. I’m emphasizing the “now.” If you were to start a great revival, why the main amen people would say, “There cometh a woman,” and the “I don’t like the look of it, do you?” No, like a fire cut in on a meeting in a hotel downtown. The building all on fire, a thousand guests in there, so they won’t even argue.Imagine, “I don’t believe

we ought to go up on this side.” “Well, I don’t either.” “Well, let’s sit down and have a conference and see what’s the best way to put out this fire.” While a thousand people are screaming for help!

He said, If you drink of this water, you’ll thirst again; but if you drink of the water I give you, you’ll never thirst.” “Oh,” she said, “I have thirsted for that water. Give me that water.” He stopped. He didn’t commence to preach a sermon to her. He didn’t give her a discourse on theology. He’s just leading her tenderly, gradually, lovingly. He said, “Go and call your husband.” She said, “I – I have no husband.” He said, “You’ve told the truth. You’ve had five – five, and the man you now have.” That means she had six altogether. I used to talk about the woman who had five husbands; she had six. Must have been a rather attractive woman to have had six men – at once.

And He said, “You’ve told the truth.” Did he condemn her? He looked at her; He loved her. “Oh,” she said, “I perceive Thou art a prophet.” And then He began and gave her a discourse on spiritual Christianity. You worship yonder in the mountain; we worship in Jerusalem. But the hour is coming and now is, when ye will worship neither in that mountain nor yonder in Jerusalem: but, God is a spirit, and seeketh such to worship Him.”


And, oh, then her eyes opened wide and her soul, and she said, “I know. I know when the Messiah comes He’ll tell us all things. He’ll make all things right.” The supreme moment had come, and Jesus unveiled Himself, like He did to Mary Magdalene the morning of the Resurrection. Like He revealed Himself to Saul near the Damascus gate, like He revealed Himself to old John on the Isle of Patmos. He said to her: “I am the Messiah.”

And what did she say? She said not a word. She left her waterpot. She left the thing she came after, and went sweeping up the steep mountain-side. And what did she do when she got there? She didn’t commence to give a discussion on predestination, she never discussed the Doctrine of the precious Trinity, she never discussed the inspiration of the Bible, all of which is true.


All that she said was, “Come and see a man – Is not this the Christ? He’s told me everything!” And when they saw the earnestness of that woman, and the tears down her face, the men left their shops, the women left their homes, children filled the streets, schools turned out, everybody went down to this well about a mile away. And there was a two-days’ revival. And it says, “And many of the Samaritans believed.”

And they said, Not because of what you’ve said, but what our own eyes have seen, and our own ears have heard.”


The message that I want to leave with you this morning is just one thing – no three, four, five points to it; just one – If I should ask this great church today, and say to you: “I want you to take your Bible this afternoon and win somebody to Christ,” you wouldn’t do it. Oh, a few of you, maybe one per cent of you, and that would be a large number.

Now here’s what the average man or woman is facing. “I don’t know how – if you put it up to me that I’ve got to go into somebody’s home and win them to Christ with my Bible I’ve never done that and I just can’t.” Well, now, I’m going to help you. I’m going to let this one per cent just sit silent, now stop up your ears, I don’t want you to hear what I’m saying. I want that ninety-nine per cent, and I’m going to tell you how you can do it. Don’t you go out and say, “I want to win you to Christ.” Don’t say a word about that. “I want to talk to you about going to hell or Heaven.” Don’t do that. Just one thing, “Come and see.” “I want you to come to my church, I want you to come and hear my preacher.” I did this when I was much younger, and when I’d finished the seminary (cemetery) – one and the same – I had thirteen members to start with – thirteen, like the original colonies. And so I got my thirteen together, and I said, “Now, you know somebody, and you know somebody, and you know somebody, several somebodies, and I want you to invite them to come and hear the greatest preacher on earth.” They looked at me, and I said, “Tell them that.” And I said, “I can prove it to them when they come. Why? Because I will preach the greatest gospel in the world!” And that makes a great preacher, I don’t care who he is! I went there to start from the ground up, went a little below the ground. A very fashionable, rich church in Kentucky called me, and I went down and looked it over, went down there on Saturday. Had a spire that went up til the top of it would tickle the feet of the angels, and had about an acre of big oak trees out in front; didn’t owe anything in the world; everybody was at peace with the world, the flesh and the devil. It was a very rich church – the most prominent people in the city were in that church. They told me so, and they were very proud to bestow the honor on the young preacher of being their pastor. I looked them over. I never shall forget the great, big chandelier, about eight or ten feet wide. I sat there and looked at that thing. They had these high-backed chairs – Cathedral – that center chair way up yonder to the choir roost, which was up above. I sat down in it and they had deep carpets. And they had these long hoe handles for collection – things about eight or ten feet long – and a plush receptacle at the end of it. And they just go like a piston rod on an engine, up and down the aisles, poking those things down at everybody and I know when they came out at first, they set them down in front of me, and they wanted me to pray for them and I did, and I don’t think the Lord heard it, but anyway, they went on, and then they brought it back. They offered me a fine salary, showed me a magnificent home. I had a wife and one baby at that time, and they told me what they’d do for them. But I said, “I’m going to start from the ground up.”

And so when I got there, I had a flat-top they called it a hay-barn. It was a tabernacle. And it was so hot in the summertime the bald-headed men had to keep on their hats. Well, I got that thirteen together, and we just met. I said, “Now, you know how many. All right, now, I don’t want you to do but one thing – I want you to go out and invite them to come and hear me preach.” And they did. And that thirteen grew to a thousand members in about a year and a half.

There was one man that puzzled me very much, a very distinguished lawyer, a judge of the higher court, a very austere looking gentleman, and I wondered, “What on earth has he come into this church for” He’d come from the great First Church – one of their deacons – and he puzzled me. “Why did he come?” He’d just sit there, so cold looking, so I went down to his office one day. I said, “Judge, you know everybody in the city and county.” (He’d been elected three or four times without opposition.)


I said, “Now in your talking with folks, you can invite a lot of them out to hear me preach.”

“Uh, well – yes,”

“And,” I said, “you know everybody in the county.”


“A lot of the farmers?”


“I’ve been telling about you and,” he said, “they promised me to come in.”

So next Sunday a farmer came in and spent the day with the judge, and brought all of his family. I never shall forget him. He had long whiskers; he looked like a twin brother to Abraham or Samuel, and about four inches higher than anyone else. He had a pair of whiskers – you know, two pairs – two hemispheres, where you could just pull one and then pull the other. And he sits there just pulling them all the time, like a boy milking a cow, just coming right down on him. He had never been to church much; he was not a Christian. And when the judge told me about this man, I said, “O, Lord, help me; I want to preach a sermon to him on salvation.” And I did, and after while he learned over towards this judge.

He said, “Ken, that’s all hitting me.” He said, “You know, I guess it’s about time – I’ve got a large family, a lot of grandchildren.” He said, “I haven’t lived a Christian life, and I figure it’s time.” He said, “What would you think about me going up today? What would you think about me? Ken, will you go with me if I go?”

He said, “Yes, come on.” And then the judge and old farmer with both pairs of whiskers came walking right down the aisle. And I never shall forget the night I baptized him. I got him all under except his whiskers, and I knew that wouldn’t do, because he must be completely immersed, and so I held him under – he was bigger than I was – I just reached over and I just kept at it until I pushed his whiskers all under. I said, “He’s going to be completely immersed, whiskers and all.”

And so he came one day, and he says; “Ken, Id like to have that preacher out and you and him come out and I’ll get everybody in the neighborhood, and so they had a yard full, just like Cornelius did when Peter went down there and preached. And while we were preaching in that yard, the Holy Ghost fell, and on some twenty-odd people. Oh, that judge – he got so he said, “If you got any hard nuts that nobody can do anything with, turn them over to me,” and he became one of the greatest personal workers that ever was. Now, why am I telling you that? For this reason, that if I had said to him, “Judge, I want you to take your Bible and go out and win somebody.” “Oh, no.” He was a strong believer in the separation of Church and State. He was a firm believer in letting everybody do as they please one of those old-fashioned Southern Jeffersonian Democrats.

But when I asked him to go out and say, “I want you to come and hear my preacher,” he filled the house.

And so I want you this morning to think that over: “Some and see !” That’s all ! Come and see a man!

There was an elevator operator down at the hotel I invited, and she said, “I’m coming !” The officer who directed the traffic, I talked to this morning, and he said, “I’m coming!” The conductor on the streetcar, when I got off he said, “I’Il be there tonight.”

“Oh,” I said, I want you to come and hear me preach.” I don’t make any apology for asking people to come to hear me preach, because I know I’m the greatest preacher in the world! Why? Because I preach the greatest gospel in the world.

Dallas Billington’s got some friends here, and he knows that and they know it. Just like every woman knows she’s got the greatest husband in the world. She may have to lie a little bit about it, but you keep on thinking it, and after while you’ll swear it’s so. And every man will swear he’s got the greatest wife in the world. Now, you may have to swear a lot of things, but go on and do it.

Oh, let me tell you something. When a man goes home, all grouchy, grumbling and face all turned wrong side out, poor little wife jumping sideways – go and get on your telephone, “Say, Bill, I want you to meet me over at Temple Baptist Church.” The old girl will begin to smile; she’ll know there’s no danger then, everything’s safe.

And instead of your hanging on the telephone and gossiping about everything in the neighborhood when your poor, tired husband comes home, you be inviting someone to church. The old boy’ll come up and put his arms around you. He knows it’s safe. You can solve any problem on earth.

Now, that’s God’s plan. That’s God’s plan! We hear the good news today about how to get people to church. How many did like that woman? “Come and see a man.”

I close by this word that Man, the fairest among ten thousand, the One altogether lovely, the same yesterday, today and forever. That Man that prophets foresaw for a period of four thousand years.

That Man, though all died in the first Adam, all shall be made alive in that Man. That Man that angels sang, “Glory to God, and peace on earth” when He was born. That Man who was born of the virgin, Mary, for His mother and God for His Father. That Man who, when they saw, they saw God. That Man, who is prophet, priest and king. That Man, who is mediator between God and man. That Man that John said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. That Man who touched blind eyes, and they saw, and deaf ears, and they heard. That Man who said to a paralytic of thirty-eight years, “Take up thy bed and walk.” That Man who, when He saw that woman taken in sin, said, “Go home, and you’ll sin no more.” That Man who could cast the devils out of a father and husband and send him home, clothed in his right mind. That Man who stood before the throne of Caesar for you and me. That Man that was despised and rejected of men. That Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. That Man who bore our transgressions and who carried our sorrows and was bruised for our iniquities. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise that Man. That Man who was crowned with a Crown of Cruel Thorns and that Man that when He died, suspended between Heaven and earth, and yonder sun whose hand it had made refused to look upon that awful scene, and the stars hid their shining in darkness. That Man when He died, graves were opened and rocks were rent. That Man was buried in the tomb of a rich man, and for full three days lay sealed in that darkness. When Hell had triumphed, and the powers of darkness won – but that Man was God! And on the first day of the week He arose from the grave. That Man burst the bars of death, destroying powers and principalities, and leading captivity captive, and giving gifts to men. That Man who stood on Mt. Olivet, surrounded by His Disciples above five hundred – suddenly up, and up, and up, and up He goes, until the clouds receive Him out of their sight! They stand looking, and angels come and say, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing ?” This Man, this Christ, this Lord, as ye have seen him go into Heaven, He will come again in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven. That Man sitteth at the right hand of God, who ever lives to make intercession for all that come to Him, by faith. That Man must and will come again, some day, as Lord, as God! And say to all nations, “Put up your sword, and come and sit down at my peace table.” That Man will make wars to cease to the ends of the earth. That Man shall reign, that Man shall be seated upon His great white throne, from whose presence Heaven and earth shall melt away, that Man before whom all nations shall stand, to

Whom every tongue must confess, and before Whom every knee must bow.

“Come ye, blessed of my Father.” Oh, which will it be today? God help us, He’s coming. We shall see Him.

I’d love to see that man.I wish He would come today. I’d love to look on His face, for we shall see Him as He is. Sometimes these old tired bodies are weighted down; sometimes these old, weary brains are wracked, and sometimes our spirits are tossed; sometimes we spend sleepless nights, and we wonder. But one of these nights, we’ll hear the shout, The Lord has come!” Then we’ll meet where congregations never break up, and where we’ll never say Goodbye. And there will be no night there. There’ll be no sin there. There’ll be no war there. I want to see that Man. Come and see that Man! Will you see Him this morning? Will you trust Him? Will you obey Him? Do you want to give yourself to Him? Go down in the Baptismal waters like He did in the Jordan River? Walk in His steps? And when I’m through and come to the end of the way, that Man will be standing at the edge of the river of death. “I’ll go with you.” (Let us stand.) Who will repent, trust Him and confess Him?

(A large number came.)