Operation Andrew

Bible Book: John  1 : 40-42
Subject: Soul Winning; Witnessing; Evangelism; Operation Andrew
[Editor's Note: Operation Andrew is known as one of the greatest evangelist tools ever used by God's people for reaching the lost. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association used this in crusades all over the world with remarkable success. This same approach can be used in the local church as part of an overall evangelistic ministry, as well as preparation for a church revival or local evangelistic campaign. Several sermons on Operation Andrew exist in the PastorLife website.]

Tonight we want to be thinking together about this subject: “Operation Andrew.” You know by now that the Billy Graham Crusade is coming in just a matter of weeks. We’re praying that God is going to do something so very exciting and so very wonderful in our city—something that is real and something that is lasting, something that cannot be explained by the fact that Billy Graham came. We want something that cannot be explained by personality, or promotion, or propaganda, or anything else. We want it to be something that is unmistakably the work of God and something that will transform our city. We are in the need—the desperate need—in Memphis, as in every city in America and in the world, of a genuine spiritual awakening. And I believe with all my heart that such an awakening is possible, and I believe it will happen if you and I are willing to do what the Scriptures teach us that we ought to do and what we must do.

I want to look at some scriptures with me tonight before we talk a little bit about Operation Andrew and what it is. First of all, I want you to notice in John chapter 1, verses 40 through 42: “One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus.” (John 1:40–42)

Now from this time on, when we hear about Andrew in the Bible, he’s mentioned like this: “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.” That is, there really wasn’t much about this fellow Andrew except that he was Simon Peter’s brother. He was not a big shot. He didn’t have a flamboyant personality. He was just sort of an also­ran - just a very common, ordinary sort of a fellow. But there’s something very wonderful about the man named Andrew, as you’re going to see and already you have seen: he had a unique ability of bringing people to Jesus—and such a wonderful ability!

He found his brother, and he brought him to Jesus. And while Andrew was not such a big shot, Simon Peter was a big shot, if we can say there are big shots and little shots in the kingdom of heaven. Actually, I think some of these big shots ought to be fired—I mean the ones who think they’re big shots. But we hear so much about the great flaming Apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost, and Peter, who the Lord Jesus said was going to have the keys of the kingdom and all of this. We hear such a little bit about Andrew. He’s only mentioned just several times. But pay so much attention to the character of this man, because I think many of us can be very much like Andrew. There’s not a lot that we can do, but there’s one thing that we can do—and that is to bring people to Jesus Christ. Andrew brought Peter to Jesus.

The world hasn’t heard a lot about Andrew. And you take the man on the street, and he probably doesn’t even know there was a disciple named Andrew, but most everybody knows there was a disciple named Simon Peter. Most of us don’t know of Mr. Kimball, who led the shoe clerk to Jesus. Mr. Kimball laid a trembling hand on the shoulder of a shoe clerk and told him about Jesus. The shoe clerk was Dwight L Moody. Many people haven’t heard of Kimball, but they’ve heard of Moody. And I know that our heavenly Father knows who Mr. Kimball is.

All right, I want to look at another passage of Scripture. Turn to John chapter 6. This is the scripture that surrounds the event of the feeding of the five thousand—John chapter 6, verse 5: “When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew…”—here he is again—“Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves;? and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down;? and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.” (John 6:5–11)

Now, who is the hero of this story? Well, the little boy is, and Jesus is, but I think Andrew is, too—I think Andrew is, too. Now all of the rest of the disciples were there, I’m certain, doing all of those important things. And Andrew, well, he just didn’t feel too comfortable talking to all of the important people who were there that day. But there was a little fellow there—just a lad—and Andrew somehow struck up a conversation with this little boy, and found out about his lunch, and found out some personal things about him.

I don’t know what it all tells you, but it tells me that Andrew was a certain kind of a guy. And while Andrew wasn’t so much, he brought a little boy to Jesus. And with that little boy’s lunch Jesus fed the five thousand.

Now I want you to look at another story here in the Bible, if you will. Turn to John chapter 12 for a moment—I’m going to begin reading in verse 20: “And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: the same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.” Here are some Greeks who had an intellectual curiosity;? they wanted to know about Jesus Christ. “Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.” (John 12:20–22) Now, that’s a remarkable thing to me—very remarkable. They never picked out Andrew. Andrew was not the fellow that you’d walk up to and say, “Tell me how to get anywhere to do anything.” He just wasn’t that kind of a fellow. So they come to Philip—evidently, Philip was a little sharper type of a guy - and they come to Philip, and they say, “Now we want an appointment with your master”—“we would see Jesus.” (John 12:21) But it’s remarkable to me that Philip went right away to Andrew. And it was Andrew who was really the co-­bringer, or the one who was at least partially responsible for getting these men to Jesus Christ. There was just something about Andrew that brought people to Jesus.

And these are just the three mentions that we have here in the Gospel of John concerning Andrew—but each time he’s bringing people to Jesus. He wasn’t much, but Simon Peter was much. He wasn’t much, but feeding five thousand was much. He wasn’t much, but tradition tells us that these Greeks who came to see Jesus—among them was Dr. Luke, who wrote the Gospel of Luke. So he wasn’t much, but he was much. He wasn’t a big shot, but he was a big shot. He wasn’t so sharp, but he was sharp. He was a great man because he had a penchant and ability to bring men to Jesus Christ.

Now I don’t want to preach down to you, but I want to be very straightforward with you. And I hope I won’t hurt your feelings, but I want you to listen. If you are a child of God, you ought to be bringing people to Jesus. And if you’re not bringing people to Jesus and you are a child of God, you’re not right with God, and you’re cold, indifferent, and backslidden, and you are a disgrace to the profession of faith that you made when you made Jesus Christ your Lord. I don’t care how faithfully you attend this church; I care not how sacrificially you give of your money? I care not how beautifully you may sing your solo; I care not how eloquently you may teach a class, and I care not how circumspectly you may walk—if you’re not endeavoring to bring people to Jesus Christ, you’re not right with God. Now, just let that sink in: If you’re not endeavoring to bring people to Jesus Christ, you are not right with God. And I want to speak for just a few moments about our solemn responsibility to bring people to Jesus Christ. I want to tell you why we’re so responsible.

I. Our Knowledge Makes Us Responsible

In the first place, our knowledge makes us responsible. When Andrew had a knowledge of Jesus, that made him responsible to share Jesus. Would you look, please, in Ezekiel chapter 33, for a moment: one of the most terrifying passages in all the Bible for those of us who are Christians—the Lord here is speaking about our solemn obligation to warn people of the wrath of God. And I read Ezekiel chapter 33, beginning in verse 8.

God is speaking: “When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die? if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it? if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity? but thou hast delivered thy soul.” (Ezekiel 33:8–9) I believe there are some who are sitting here listening to me tonight who have bloody hands. You have loved ones—God has spoken to you, and God has told you to warn those loved ones—and those loved ones are going to die—and, yea, some of them have already died in their sin. They’re lost— forever lost—and you’ve not warned them. And God says their blood is required at your hand.

The Scripture says, “He that winneth souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30) Do you know the problem with many of us? We’re smart, but we’re not wise. Oh, I know people who know the Bible. We have Bible scholars in this church—you’ve been studying the Bible since you were a beginner here at Bellevue, since you were here in the nursery at Bellevue, and you know the Bible, but you’re not a soul winner. Now, don’t brag about your orthodoxy. I want to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that your knowledge is going to be held against you. “Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”

(Luke 12:48) I know people who can split a theological hair into sixteen equal quarters or divisions, and yet they never win a soul to Jesus Christ. Do you know what Charles Haddon Spurgeon had to say about Bible knowledge—you know, those folks who are always getting smarter and smarter and smarter, and they know more and more and more, but they don’t win souls? Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, “I would rather bring one sinner to Jesus Christ than to unpick all of the mysteries of the divine Word.”

Our knowledge makes us responsible. We hear enough gospel preaching around here and enough gospel teaching to save the world, but yet we just simply take it in and we don’t give it out. One of these days, we’re going to be held accountable. Suppose you have the cure for cancer and didn’t tell it. I tell you, you’d be a criminal.

II. Our Blessings Make Us Responsible

Now, secondly, not only does our knowledge make us responsible;? our blessings make us responsible. God has been so good to us. Are we going to simply take in and not give out? Are we going to be like a sponge: the only time we give out is if we’re squeezed? Oh, listen. We are to give as it was given unto us. Our Lord said, “Freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8) “This is a day of glad tidings.” (2 Kings 7:9)

Are we just going to simply let it go by? The Bible says in Psalm 107, verse 2, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so.” (Psalm 107:2) Jesus spoke in Matthew 25 about a man who had his talent and he hid it in the ground. And Jesus didn’t say to him, “Oh, you just missed an opportunity.” Jesus said, “Thou wicked and slothful servant.” (Matthew 25:26)

It is wicked and sinful to be so blessed and not to share our blessings. Those two lepers said, “This is a day of glad tidings, and we’d better share it, or something bad is going to happen to us.” (2 Kings 7:9) Our blessings make us responsible. Huber, the naturalist, said, “There’s something remarkable about a wasp, the little insect. If he finds some sweetness, if he finds some nectar, if he finds some syrup or honey on the ground, that wasp will fly back to the wasp nest immediately and communicate that”—however they talk or communicate—“to the other wasps. And before long, you’ll see a string of wasps coming back to this one place of sweetness.”

Now, shouldn’t Christians have at least as much character as a wasp? When we found something sweet and wonderful, and Sharon’s fairest rose, should we not share it? Should we not tell it? It makes me wonder if a person has ever even been saved if he does not want to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

III. The Command of Our Lord Makes Us Responsible

But not only does our knowledge make us responsible;? and not only do our blessings make us responsible;? the very command of our Lord makes us responsible. Jesus said in Matthew chapter 28, verses 19 and 20, “Go ye therefore, and [make disciples of] all [the] nations, baptizing them [into] the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”

Matthew 28:19–20 is not a suggestion, it’s not a request, it is a command.

 Dr. Lee R. Scarborough, who was the founder of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said this: “To refuse to witness the saving gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world day by day is nothing less than high treason against the King of kings.” You see, to refuse to witness is not mere failure;? it is a clenched fist in the face of God, saying, “I will not obey.” Our Lord said, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me.” (Acts 1:8)

Dr. R. A. Torrey—in my estimation, one of the finest Christians and Bible teachers that ever lived—said this—and I quote: “I would like to know what right any man has to call himself a follower of Jesus Christ if he’s not a soul winner.” Did that sink in? Listen to it again: “I would like to know what right any man has to call himself a follower of Jesus Christ if he’s not a soul winner.” What Mr. Torrey meant was this: How can we claim to follow Jesus if His purpose is not our purpose? And the purpose of Jesus Christ is to win people to Himself. Luke 19:10: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

IV. Our Opportunities Make Us Responsible

Now I want to say again that not only does His command make us responsible, but our opportunities make us responsible. Now you may think that you don’t have an opportunity to win somebody to Jesus, but you do. All of us have opportunities. There’s not anyone here, I’m convinced, who could not bring someone to Jesus Christ—there’s not anyone here who could not bring someone to Jesus Christ.

I remember reading years ago in a message that George W. Truett preached called “The Quest for Souls,” and he talked about a minister who stood in his pulpit. And this minister, in preaching, said, “Anybody ought to be able to bring someone to Jesus Christ,” and he just really bore down on that thing. And later, a little seamstress, who was a very poor woman, and who had to work in her home just to make ends meet, came to see this minister. She was somewhat upset. She was exercised over it, and she said, “Pastor, I don’t believe you were fair tonight. I don’t believe that you were considerate when you said that anybody could bring someone to Jesus Christ.” She said, “I can’t do that.” She said, “I don’t have the opportunity. I have no way to get out of the house. I don’t meet any unsaved people. I have to stay here and sew and just eke out a bare living. And, sure, most people can;? but I can’t. I don’t have any opportunity.”

He said, “Madam, let me ask you a question: Does the milkman ever come to your apartment?” “Oh,” she said, “yes, every day.” “Does the grocer ever comer? The butcher?” “Oh, yes.” “The baker?” “Oh, yes.” “Other people come?” “Oh, yes.” He said, “A word to the wise is sufficient”—and that’s all he said. That went to her heart, that little seamstress, like a dagger from the hand of God. And she went back and began to pray.

And the next morning she made up her mind, though she’d never done it before, she was going to witness to that milkman. She was up early. The milkman was startled to see her. He said, “Madam, what are you doing up so early?” And she started to hem and haw, and her feet got cold, and she just lost the courage. She was going to talk to him about Jesus, but she stammered a few things inconsequential and then backed away. And then suddenly the Holy Spirit gave her that courage, and she said, “Pardon me, but I’m here to talk to you about something very important.” And she just told him the whole story of how God had spoken to her, and she started to speak to him about his soul. And when she did, his face grew white, and he looked at her so startled. He said, “Madam, this is a most remarkable thing.” He said, “I have not been able to sleep for two solid nights because God has been dealing with my soul. I’ve been so hungry to know God, and surely God laid it upon your heart to speak to me.” And that little lady, according to Dr. Truett, went on to win seven people to Jesus Christ—the one who said, “I have no opportunity to bring anyone to Jesus Christ.” You do. Every one of us does. I tell you, our opportunities make us responsible somehow, somewhere.

Now it may not be easy. I remember reading in another place of a lady in Paris who was dressed in her silks and her satin. She was walking down one of the prominent boulevards there in Paris, and she reached in her purse and pulled out a very valuable ring. And when she did, it slipped from her finger and down into the gutter on that Paris street. This lady, who was quite dignified and very elegant, took the crook of her parasol and fished around in the slime for that very valuable ring. And she couldn’t get it that way, so finally she ripped off that dainty white glove, rolled up that lace sleeve, and bent down and put those manicured nails down into that slime, down along the gutter, and she fished along until she found her ring.

You see, it was just a matter of value—that’s all. You see, it all depends on how we value souls, doesn’t it? You know, whether we’re willing to humble ourselves and get down with people. And it may cost—it may cost a little shame;? it may cost a little embarrassment—but I tell you, if we’re willing to humble ourselves, and if we value a soul as Jesus valued a soul, I believe the Lord can use us.

And what I’m saying is you don’t have to be a super salesman. You don’t have to be a junior-­sized Billy Graham. Maybe you’re just an Andrew. Maybe you’re an Andrew who can find a member of your family. Maybe you’re an Andrew who can bring a little boy. Maybe you’re an Andrew who can help somebody else like Philip bring somebody to Jesus Christ.

I want to tell you I get a bigger thrill out of winning one soul to Jesus than I do preaching to thousands on Sunday morning. I mean that with all of my heart. I’ve told some of you before, the first soul that the Lord ever enabled me to bring to Himself that I know of was when I was just a teenage boy and I’d given my heart to the Lord. I went to Ridgecrest, our Baptist assembly here, and I heard a man preach a message on soul willing, that everybody ought to be a soul winner. I don’t remember the message, I just remember the subject: that everybody ought to be a soul winner. And then this man said, “How many of you will promise to win a soul to Jesus”—I thought he was going to say, “this week.” He said—“this year?” I put up my hand. I thought, “My goodness, if anybody can’t bring a soul to Jesus in a year, there’s something wrong.” And I put up my hand, but I didn’t know anything about soul winning—I didn’t know a thing. I had never been trained—hadn’t had the Four Spiritual Laws, the nine keys, the twelve ways, or anything else. I didn’t know anything about that. But I went back to West Palm Beach, Florida, where I was there in high school. And I had gone down to the corner service station to buy some kerosene to wash off some bicycle parts on an old bicycle I was working on, and I didn’t have a shirt on. I didn’t have any shoes on—just a pair of Levi’s. That’s the way we dressed—to show off our muscles. It was just in the summertime— just a barefooted boy, just a kid. And an old man came up to me. This old man had a white beard, and he had an extension cord in his hand. He said, “Son, would you like to buy this extension cord?” I said, “No, I don’t want your extension cord. Why are you trying to sell it?” He said, “Well, I’ve been an old fool.” I said, “How’s that?” He said, “I live on a pension, and this month when I got my pension check,” he said, “I cashed it, and a friend and I started drinking.

And I spent all of my money on whiskey. And,” he said, “now I’m having to sell my tools and some of my things to make it through until I get another check.” He said, “I’ve just been an old fool.” Those are the words he used. I said, “Mister, I don’t have any money.” I had about sixteen cents in my jeans. I said, “I don’t have any money—just a few cents to buy this kerosene with.” I said, “If I had some money, I would give it to you, but I don’t.” And I started to walk away from him. And the Lord said to me, “Adrian, speak to that man about his soul.” I said, “Lord, I can’t do that. He’s a man, and I’m a boy.” And I started to walk away again, and the Lord said, “Adrian, remember Ridgecrest? You promised you would.” I said, “Lord, I don’t even have a shirt on. I don’t have any shoes on.” And so I started to walk away again, and He said, “Adrian, you promised.” Now it wasn’t an audible voice, it was much louder than that. He said, “Adrian, you promised.”

Well, I got frightened. I thought I’d die if I did? I knew I’d die if I didn’t. I was just afraid—afraid to speak to him, because I didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t trained. I didn’t even know how to begin the conversation. Besides that, before I’d gotten saved, I was in many a street fight right on that corner: Broadway and 40th Street in West Palm Beach. I was sort of a drugstore cowboy, and we just hung out right there. And that’s where I was a bad boy: right there on that street corner. And I said, “Man, what if someone comes by and sees me talking about God out here in public like this?” And all those thoughts went through my mind.

But I just turned back to him and I said, “Sir, just a moment. I don’t have any money, but I think I have something better than money. I want to ask you a question: Are you a Christian?” And when I said that, his chin started to quiver. You know how a man’s chin will quiver when he starts to cry. And the tears just welled up in both eyes and started to run down the steep crevices in his chin and in his cheeks and dripped off that white beard. He said, “No, son, I’m not a Christian.” I said, “Mister, do you want to be a Christian?” He said, “More than anything in this world, if I just knew how to be.” “Oh,” I said, “I wish I had a Bible.” He said, “I have one.” And he reached down in the lining of that old coat—not even in the pocket in the lining—and brought out a little Gideon New Testament, and he handed it to me. Where he picked it up I don’t know, but he had it and carried it. The only verse I found was John 3:16, to my knowledge. And I read John 3:16 to him, and I told him when God loved, He loved the world, and when God gave, He gave His Son, and that when I believed in God’s Son, God’s Son saved me. And I told him that Jesus had died for him on the cross, and that if he simply believed, like John 3:16 said, God would save him. And then he said, “Well, what should I do?” I said, “Well, I prayed and asked Him to save me. Why don’t you pray and ask Him to save you?” He said, “All right,” and he bowed his head and started to pray. And he started to cry, and I started to cry. Now, that surprised me. And the two of us—an old man and a teenage boy—were standing there blubbering. He’s crying, and I’m crying. And he prayed and asked Jesus to save him.

Then I looked up, and I said, “Well, did He do it?” He said, “I believe He did.” I said, “Well, wonderful.” And I didn’t know anything about follow up. I just started backing away. I said, “Well, that’s wonderful. Goodbye, sir. Thank you for letting me talk to you.” And I walked away a few steps. And he called me back, and he said, “Young man, come back over here.” I went back, and he said, “Young man, I’m an old man, and I’ve been in almost every one of the forty-­eight states,”—there were forty-­eight then—“and you’re the first person to ever speak with me about my soul. Thank you, young man. Thank you.” I walked home about this high off the sidewalk, leaping and dancing, to think that God would let me witness His saving grace to someone else.


Let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen, you can let Congress make the laws, let Wall Street handle the finances, let the movie stars have their fame: “He that winneth souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30) And one of these days you’re going to find out that the most important thing that you could do would be to bring your life into link with Jesus. And the goal of Jesus Christ is to bring men unto Himself. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation”—“a faithful saying”—“that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” (1 Timothy 1:15) “The Son of man [has] come to seek and to save that which [is] lost.” (Luke 19:10) Human knowledge makes you responsible. Your blessings make you responsible. The command of Jesus Christ makes you responsible, and the opportunities that our God is giving you make you responsible.

This sermon from the Adrian Rogers Legacy Library © 2016 Rogers Family Trust. Used by permission. www.pastortraining.com www.adrianrogerslibrary.com