You Can Be A Soul-winner
Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority (all power of absolute rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Certain requirements must be fulfilled for real success in leading lost souls to Christ. Fortunately, these are few and simple, and anyone can meet them.
First, be a born-again believer. If you desire to bring others to Christ, you must turn away from all sin, worldliness, and selfishness, allowing Jesus to be Lord over your entire life.
Second, truly love others and long for their salvation. If you have no love for other souls, your efforts will be mechanical and powerless; however, if you, like Paul, have great heaviness and continual pain in your heart for the unsaved (Romans 9:2), the earnestness in your tone and manner will impress even the most uninterested person. Furthermore, you will be watching for opportunities to tell people about Jesus.
Third, have a working knowledge of the Bible. The Word of God is the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17), which God uses to convict people of sin, to reveal Christ, and to regenerate the lost. You must use the Bible to bring people to Christ.
Fourth, pray frequently. Pray about whom you should speak to, what you should say, and that you will speak powerfully.
Fifth, be baptized in the Holy Spirit. After Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission, He told them: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.(Acts 1:8)
The primary work of the church and every Christian has always and will always be that of bringing people to Christ. It is not just getting them to come to some church event or activity. It is more than meeting some need for the greatest need that everyone has is the need of salvation. The church exists on earth for that sole purpose and no other entity can fulfill its role. By the same token, if the Christian is not as an individual engaged in the work of bringing people to Christ, then there will be no one saved. This is the principle that the church must comprehend and it must take action upon. We cannot afford to treat the Great Commission as the Great Suggestion. Jesus was clear that “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” We may therefore conclude that the issue is not with the harvest but with the lack of workers involved in the task of bringing the gospel to those around us. I have no doubt that everyone of us have family members and friends who do not know Christ as their Savior. My question is if we won’t tell them, who will? And if they don’t hear the gospel and receive Christ, what do we suppose will be their lot in eternity?
I realize that I’m stating a point that has been made with far greater eloquence and appeal than I am capable of doing. Nonetheless we must discover an urgency of the times and the lostness of the world and remember that Jesus has told us to be light and salt.
The sadness is that the average church is inward focused rather than outward focused. When you consider what the average church offers, the obvious conclusion is that most of its activities are designed to appease the preferences with the existing members.
We, as Western Christians will spend great amount of resource for ourselves but the work and ministry of bringing people to Christ is only given a token. We build elaborate buildings and provide elaborate programs to satisfy our drive to be noticed and to fulfill the expectations of those who are already part of the church, while at the same time, we will do everything we can to avoid the work of bringing people to Christ.
I realize this sounds critical and perhaps it is. I make no apology for my boldness in proclaiming that it is past time to return to the work of God as that of the Acts church. As you read that account, you find that everything the church engaged itself in was centered around bringing people to Christ. They were so busy with that work that they didn’t get involved in the politics of the day. You will never hear a sermon by Peter or Paul or any of the other preachers addressing the politics of Rome. You will also find that they spent very little time addressing the social ills or the social needs of the day. They were almost single-minded in their focus on preaching Christ to the lost. They appeared to have no time to engage in any other activities. As you read Acts there are two things that were priorities of the church: praying and learning the Word. These priorities led automatically to witnessing. These things were the norm of the church. To be sure they suffered persecution but they never attempted to direct their attention to their persecutors. Instead they just kept preaching Christ at every opportunity. Acts tells us that when the Jerusalem church was being persecuted and it’s members scattered throughout the world, everywhere they went they started a church. How? Because they were focused on bringing people to Christ.
I pray that God will ignite a passion and weigh us down with a burden for unbelievers. I pray we will lift up our eyes to the community around us and see the need for the gospel to be preached. I pray that the Holy Spirit will so stir our souls for lost people that we won’t let a week or a day go by without telling somebody about Jesus. I pray we will be filled with the Holy Spirit and receive from Him such boldness that we will lose our fear and timidity of telling the gospel.
Oh, if we would only do this, how our hearts would be filled with joy as we see those we love become Christ-followers.
As a church our conversation and focus would cease to be about survival and making everybody happy. Our conversations would be about how to make disciples of new believers, how to increase our efforts to bring people to Christ, where to find our next mission field. And our churches would go from surviving to thriving. Our longing to see full auditoriums would become a reality. Our volunteer base would expand. Our services would become exciting and meaningful as we see those we have led to Christ go on in baptism and become laborers in the kingdom of God.
Now maybe this is just the dream of an old preacher who longs to see the altars of the church become fruitful again with souls finding the gift of eternal life. Maybe it’s just a desire to do something more than just preach another sermon without a visible response to the gospel. Maybe it’s because he’s tired of endless conversations about the declining state of the church and the disinterest of the community to the gospel when we have the capability to change the outcome but chose not to do so. But if it’s my dream, it was also the dream of Paul and the other believers. And it is certainly the dream of God who was willing to give up His Son to bring it about and it was the dream of that Son who was hung on a cross to make it possible.
Dr. John Thompson