FOUR ESSENTIALS FOR SOUL SAVING
After Jesus was raised from the dead, He made the following proclamation almost 2000 years ago:
Mark 16:15 †And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
This was not something limited to the apostles and it was not limited to the first century Christians. This command was to all Christians then and now. Preaching the gospel is how God calls people and how they learn how to be saved. We should be ready as Christian soldiers to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.
To save souls, we must be RIGHT, look to God for MIGHT, preach it with faith and SIGHT, and attack the devil with a great FIGHT!
These four words RIGHT, MIGHT, SIGHT, and FIGHT represent what we must do in order to save souls. These are going to be our four points today.
1. A soul winner must be right in doctrine. Unfortunately we have many in the religious world who spend much of their time promoting false doctrine. Because of their false teaching they have corrupted the lives of many and make them harder to reach. Jesus had this problem with the Pharisees and Scribes.
Matthew 23:15 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
There are many in the religious world that are like these scribes and Pharisees because they make up their own rules, they ignore the Word of God when they want to, and they work hard at converting people to their way of thinking.
We need to understand that God will not be pleased with those who have the wrong doctrine. Jesus said:
Matthew 15:13 Ö "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.† 14 "Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch."
God will not force anyone to follow His ways, but unless we have the right doctrine, which is the Word of God, we cannot and will not be saved. Throughout the Scriptures we see warning after warning about taking heed to the Word of God and not to the philosophies of man. For example, notice what Paul wrote to Timothy in:
1 Timothy 6:3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness,† 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,† 5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.
There are more and more people that call themselves Christians even within the church who no longer think that doctrine is all that important. Like the scribes and Pharisees some write their own rules and regulations to follow after, which we know today as creed books. Those who discount the doctrine of Christ and make it out to be a suggested way of life instead of the way of life, they cut themselves off from God and those they get to follow in their footsteps because John said:
2 John 1:9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.
What do you think? Does John say that the doctrine of Christ is just a mere guide that suggests how we must live our life? Of course he does not. One would have to do some serious twisting of Scripture to miss what he has clearly stated. If we do not abide in the doctrine of Christ then we do not have the Father or the Son. When we do not abide in the doctrine of Christ we transgress.
Paul also lays down a strong warning about messing with doctrine of Christ in:
Galatians 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.† 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.†
Not only did he make this warning once, he made it twice. Donít you think you should pay attention?
So, in order to save souls, we must have the right doctrine, and as Jude says we are:
Jude 1:3Ö† to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
We must also have the right life and set the right example. How can we possibly lead someone to Christ without living for Christ ourselves? Paul told Timothy:
1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.† 13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.†
First Paul gives 6 ways in which Timothy is to live his life. The way he is to do these things is paying close attention to what the doctrine of Christ teaches. He is also to teach others with the same doctrine so that they can be good examples as well. When we follow after these 6 qualities as described in Scripture, we will become a light for Jesus to those that are around us.
Like Jesus said:
Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
If Christ has not transformed our lives and if we are not living for Him then how can we expect to ever influence others to love Him?
Along with having the right doctrine and life, we must also have the right attitude. One of the fastest ways you can put out your light is by having the wrong attitude. We must not look at saving souls as a burden but as a joy. Paul said:
1 Timothy 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,† 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
God wants everyone to have the opportunity to accept His saving grace. Since our Father desires this and we are the vessels that He uses to get that word out, we should be honored and find great joy and telling people about God. When we have the right attitude about reaching the lost it will drive us and keep us focused. We should do what Paul and Apollos did:
1 Corinthians 3:6 †I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
Therefore if we want to be successful as wining souls for God, we must have the right doctrine, the right life, and the right attitude.
2. The second thing we learn that a soul winner must have might. Those who try to succeed at soul wining by their own might will fail because we must have Godís power coupled with our strength. We must rely on God because as we read just a minute ago, it is God that gives the increase.
Though Paul was very zealous and converted many people to Christ, he understood that without Godís help he could do nothing. For example, notice what he wrote in:
Ephesians 3:14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,† 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,† 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,† 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,† 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height --† 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
We must have God be part of everything we do. We must use the power of prayer to help increase our might as we try and win souls. Paul knew who his strength came from because he said:
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
He also said:
Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Might is also gained from the Word of God. While some do not think it is powerful enough and seek other things such as miracles and speaking in tongues, Paul lets us know that even during the time of miracles Godís Word is where the power is:
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.† 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."
The Word of God is called the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17) and the Hebrew writer says:
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The main purpose of the miracles in the first century was not to save people, but to prove that the things they were saying was the all powerful Word of God:
Mark 16:20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen
Since Godís Word was fully revealed in the first century and we have everything we need in Godís Word to give us the might that we need. Paul makes this thought clear in:
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,† 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
If we want to have the might we need to be soul winner for Jesus then we must trust in prayer and in the Word of God to give us access to the power that God provides.
3. The third thing a soul winner must have is sight. We must look beyond today and even look toward eternity in heaven. The way we do this is through faith because we must believe the promises that God has made to us and know that they are true. Without faith we cannot be pleasing to God (Heb. 11:6).
Our goal as Christians is to point out in Scripture the wonderful promises made by God and show how He always keeps His promises. Without our faith in tact in the future of eternity, there is no way we can win souls for God because if we cannot trust in the promises of God, how are going to ever convince someone else to? We need to be like those early heroes of faith that we read about in Hebrews 11:13 because they:
Hebrews 11:13 †Öall died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Even though they did not have what we have access to today through Christ, they still had sight of eternity and knew that they were just straying pilgrims on this earth. Without that kind of sight how can we possibly give others hope of salvation?
Our sight must also
include our faith in the working of God Word on manís heart. Even though the
majority of mankind will be lost according to Jesus in Mat. 7:14, there are
always going to be a few that are going to receive the Word God and obey it. We
must fully believe what Isaiah records in
Isaiah 55:11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Let us never lose sight of the promises that we have been given by God, and let us never lose sight of the power of Godís Word and it ability to change the heart of the sinner.
4. The fourth thing a soul winner must have is fight. Souls have to be won from the devil and from sin, which is always a battle. We must rise up like good Christian soldiers and fight the good fight of faith, and never stop preaching the truth. As Paul told Timothy:
1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,
If we are going to have any kind of success at reaching the lost, we must be willing to fight for it. No one is going to be converted by accident or without effort. Though our battle is not physical, we must understand that it is going to be difficult, but like any noble battle, it is always worth the fight.
We have to fight against the lure of the world, and we also have to fight against false doctrine. Our enemies are numerous, but we have God on our side and we have the hope of heaven. Paul was certainly a fighter of the faith. He said:
1 Corinthians 9:26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.† 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
Paul not only fought for the truth and made sure others were hearing the truth; he also fought for himself to make sure he was practicing what he preached. We must do the same. If we try to compromise Godís Word to appease to society then we lose the battle. We must never stop fighting for the truth, otherwise the truth will be lost. So, let us take heed to what Paul tells us in:
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.† 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.† 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.† 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.† 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,† 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;† 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.† 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;† 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints Ė
In conclusion, I hope that I have shown you that these four things are very important for us to be soul winners for Christ. We must be RIGHT, we must have MIGHT, we must have SIGHT, and we must have FIGHT. Let us keep these 4 things in mind as we reach out to the lost for our Gospel Meeting and for the rest of our lives.
Adapted from Benny Bristow.