Sunday, September 30, 2007
How to Win A Soul to Jesus Christ By David J. Stewart
"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise." -Proverb 11:30
The Soulwinner's Heart
First, nothing means anything if you don't have a DESIRE to see people saved. Frankly, most believers today couldn't care less about leading people to the Lord for salvation. This is tragic. Please read this convicting letter which an atheist wrote to evangelist Ray Comfort. Most Christians claim to believe in eternal damnation for the lost, yet there are so few soulwinners today. Why? The Bible tells us why. In Mark 4:14 and Luke 8:11, Jesus likens the Word of God to seeds being planted by a sower. There are FOUR results mentioned:
CHRIST-REJECTERS. Some seeds fall by the way side, and the person doesn't get saved. This is seen in Luke 8:12, "Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved." So many people are going to burn in Hell someday because they "almost" got saved. King Agrippa said in response to Paul's Gospel presentation in Acts 26:28, "...Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Almost is not good enough. Carefully notice the phrase... "then cometh the devil." Mark 4:15 uses the phrase... "Satan cometh immediately." Satan is working relentlessly to keep lost sinners from being saved (2nd Corinthians 4:4). This group is not saved.
WORLDLY BELIEVERS. Some seeds fall upon the rocks and begin to sprout, but are quickly uprooted because they have no roots. This is seen in Mark 4:17, "And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended." These are believers who are saved "as by fire" (1st Corinthians 3:15). These believers are worldly--they listen to Christian rock, see nothing wrong with Harry Potter, are gay-tolerant, see no harm with women wearing pants, etc. They are OFFENDED by the Truth of God's Word when it comes to separation from the world. If there were no dead-beat, neoevangelical, compromising churches to go to--they'd stay home. We read in 2nd Timothy 3:12, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." This group doesn't live godly because they don't want to be persecuted. So they instead bring the world into the church, and attempt to justify it by twisting God's Word. They rarely, if ever, share the Gospel with anyone.
SELFISH BELIEVERS. Some seeds fall upon the ground and begin to sprout, but are choked by weeds and never grow to produce any fruit. This is seen in Mark 4:18-19, "And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful." These are the believers who are selfish and self-centered, who are so busy enjoying life that they never have time for serving God. Oh sure, they'll give a little pocket-change, go to church, fellowship, etc; but they have the wrong priorities in life. These are the believers who are sitting-on-the-premises, rather than standing-on-the-promises. Most believers today are living in pleasure, thinking about everything they have to get done, and what they're going to buy with their future paychecks. Meanwhile, the world is going to Hell, literally. These believers are materialistic, and are mostly interested in protecting their personal interests. They rarely, if ever, share the Gospel with anyone.
SOULWINNERS. Then there's the seeds that fall upon the ground and grow healthy, and produce fruit. This is seen in Mark 4:20, "And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred." Wow! Can you imagine... winning 100 people to the Lord? Most believers have never even tried to share the Gospel, let alone winning someone to the Lord. We are told in Daniel 12:3 that soulwinners will shine for eternity, "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." No wonder Jesus said in Matthew 6:20, "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal." What will this temporal life matter 100 years from now, or 10,000 years from now? All that will matter when we die is that we died in the Lord (i.e., born again), and that we spent our life soulwinning and living for the Lord. I don't know about you, but I want to be in this last group!
Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 9:37, "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few." Things haven't changed much in 2,000 years. Just as in Jesus' day, there are few soulwinners today. Preachers are dime a dozen nowadays, but men of God who genuinely burn with desire to see lost souls saved are becoming rare. I wouldn't give you a dime for any pastor or preacher who doesn't make soulwinning top priority in his ministry.
We need a whole new breed of Christians in America, who are once again willing to be persecuted for their zealous soulwinning efforts, as was the church in Acts. The church in Acts didn't send out invitations to the heathens to come; rather, they went out publicly, door-to-door (Acts 20:20). In Luke 14:16-24, Jesus tells the parable of a wedding feast. The lord invited many friends and noble guests to the wedding; but none of them came. So the lord told his servants... "Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper" (Luke 14:23-24). Thus, God wants us to GO OUT, and to COMPEL lost sinners to come to Christ for salvation. In John 4:7-29 Jesus CONFRONTED the Samaritan woman at the well with the Gospel, and she got saved. In Acts 8:26-37 God told Philip to CONFRONT the Ethiopian eunuch with the Gospel, and the man believed on Jesus Christ and was saved. You see, the Word of God teaches CONFRONTATIONAL soulwinning, not lifestyle evangelism. If Jesus had not confronted the woman at the well in John 4, she never would have been saved. If Philip had not confronted the Ethiopian eunuch, then the man would likely never have been saved. Only God knows how many tens-of-millions of people will burn in Hell someday because of lazy and cowardly believers who looked for excuses not to be soulwinners.
Robert Schuller said on the radio, "You don't have to drop Gospel tracks out of a blimp, or wear big offensive 'Jesus Saves' buttons to get people saved. The life you live is enough to make the lost want want you have." Mr. Schuller is foolish to say such nonsense. If what Mr. Schuller says is true, then why didn't the woman at the well come to Jesus instead? Why didn't the Ethiopian man come to Jesus' disciples? If Mr. Schuller is correct, then why did Jesus commission his disciples to make disciples of others, and teach them to become soulwinners also, and so forth. Matthew 28:19,20 reads... "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in 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: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Jesus clearly states... "Go"! Jesus didn't say "wait" or "sit" or "put on a good show"; No, Jesus said, GO! The neo (i.e., new) evangelical Christian is fruitless, and doesn't go soulwinning.
Some believers have fallen prey to the false doctrine of Calvinism, which teaches Irresistible Grace, i.e., God forces certain people to get saved. Nothing could be further from the truth. Those who believe in Irresistible Grace don't see the need to go soulwinning. They have the false mentality that God chooses who will or won't be saved, and that there's nothing we can do about it, so why bother. Such foolish conjecturing goes 100% contrary to the Word of God. Romans 10:13 clearly states that WHOSOEVER may be saved. Jesus said in John 8:45, "And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not." If Calvinism were true, then why would Jesus waste His time preaching the truth to a group of people that didn't want it? The truth is that Calvinism is false doctrine. Anybody can be saved if they want to be (John 5:40).
The Gospel is the Power unto Salvation
First, it is THE GOSPEL that brings salvation, not our eloquent words, Bible knowledge, or fancy speeches. 1st Corinthians 1:17 states, "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect." There are fake churches all across America that have turned the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ into an intellectual nightmare. As a result, many people have knowledge of religion; but no personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Romans 1:16 declares, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth..." It is of the utmost importance that every soulwinner realize that the power to win souls is rooted in THE GOSPEL, and not us. We can save nobody, not even ourselves. Salvation is of God, not men. So when you present the Gospel to lost sinners, make sure to tell them that Salvation is of God, and that you cannot save them, nor they them self, nor any Catholic priest. If an unsaved person refuses to receive Christ as Savior after hearing the Gospel, then no amount of effort on our part is going to win them. If they ever get saved, it will be because they obeyed the Gospel alone... "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." The power to get people saved is in the GOSPEL alone!
Having laid the introduction, I would now like to teach you how to win a soul to Christ.
How to Present the Gospel
Some people are not very good with their words, or are afraid. The best way to overcome these obstacles is to just get out there and go soulwinning. It's really that simple. Why practice when you can learn from hands-on-experience? You're just sharing with someone else how you got saved. We ought to let the Samaritan woman in John 4 be our mentor. She hadn't even been saved for an hour and she had already led a multitude of people to Jesus, "And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did" (John 4:39). All she did was tell others what Jesus did for her, and ask them to come find out for themselves... "Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him." So all you need to do is tell others how precious Jesus is to you, and what He has done for you, and then ask them if you could please share the good news of Christ crucified with them. Most people won't listen, so expect this upfront; but some WILL listen, and will get saved. I know from personal experience. There are many people out there, on the verge of suicide, or tired of life, or just lonely for someone to care about them, and they are RIPE as Jesus said for the harvest... "Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest" (Luke 10:2). Then there are those people who are doing fine in life, but in their heart they desire the truth, like Cornelius in Acts 10--they're waiting for someone to open their eyes with the Truth of God's Word... "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1st Timothy 2:4). When we go soulwinning, we are bringing the Truth to them!
The most important thing is to BE YOURSELF. People don't like phonies. Personally, I think wearing white shirts, ties, and looking like a salesman is a very bad idea. I think it would be much more appropriate to dress and act like Andy Griffin. Who doesn't like Andy Griffin?
Here are the basic 4 points that a person needs to realize to be saved:
I Am a Sinner. This is the first thing that a person must realize to be saved. Why would a person need a Savior if they don't need to be saved from anything? Many people today refuse to confess the sins in their life to God. 1st John 1:8-10 read, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." So if a person doesn't see them self as being sinful, then they can't be saved, because they are still in darkness as 1st John 1:10 states. Romans 3:10,23 clearly indicts mankind as being sinful. Isaiah 64:6 condemns even our self-righteousness as filth in God's sight.
I Deserve to Go to Hell. Romans 6:23 plainly states that the wages of sin is DEATH. In Genesis 2:17 God warned Adam and Eve that they would die THE DAY they ate of the forbidden fruit. They disobeyed God, but didn't DIE physically until hundreds of years later. Why? It's because they DIED SPIRITUALLY that awful day, and all mankind has been born spiritually dead since (Romans 5:12). Please understand that spiritual death and the second death are not the same. Every person who is not born again is ALREADY spiritually dead. The second death is Gehenna, i.e., the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15). All those who die in their sins, without being born again, will be arraigned, prosecuted, and sentenced at The Great White Throne of Judgment and then cast into the Lake of Fire forever.
Jesus is the Savior (the Christ), who Paid the Full-Price for My Sins. Jesus paid a debt He did not owe, because we owed a debt we could not pay. Jesus, who knew no sin, became as sin, that we who knew no righteousness could be made the righteousness of God (2nd Corinthians 5:17). Jesus literally took our sins upon Himself, and imputed His righteousness to our record. What a Savior! Jesus didn't just die to pay for our sins, He shed His blood for our sins, and applied that blood to the mercy seat in Heaven (John 20:17; Hebrews 9:12, 24). We are saved by Jesus' precious blood (Colossians 1:14; 1st John 1:7; Revelation 7:14). Only the blood of Jesus can TAKE AWAY our sins forever. "Atonement" is an Old Testament word, which means "to cover," because the blood of goats and bulls could only COVER sin temporarily (Hebrews 10:4); but thank be to God, Jesus' blood once and for all TOOK AWAY our sins! Hebrews 9:12 states, "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."
I Am Saved by Receiving Jesus Christ as My Savior, believing Upon Him to Forgive My Sins. John 1:12,13 states... "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Salvation is of God, a supernatural act of God in response to my faith in Jesus Christ alone. 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 defines the Gospel as: Christ's DEATH, BURIAL, and RESURRECTION. This is what Jesus did to pay for our sins, and definitely includes Jesus' virgin birth, sinless life, and blood sacrifice (Hebrews 9:22).
It boils down to this: We are SINNERS, and Jesus is the SAVIOR. That's it! Please read, The Sin Question/Son Question.
There are no GOOD WORKS that a person has to do to be saved. A man asked me, "Isn't calling upon the Lord a work?" It's not a self-righteous work. Jesus said in John 6:29, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." Isaiah 64:6 condemns all self-righteous attempts to please God. In fact, many Christians misunderstand Ezekiel 18:24, not realizing that it is only condemning self-righteousness. Romans 10:3,4 couldn't be any plainer concerning self-righteousness... "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." It's VERY important when we go soulwinning that we stress these truths to people, i.e., that self-righteousness angers God. So many people preach a shallow Gospel nowadays, without ever stressing the DANGERS of adding works to faith. The only thing that a lost sinner needs to do to go to Heaven is to BELIEVE upon Christ.
Does a Person Have to Pray to be Saved?
What to Do When Someone Refuses to Get Saved
Love them as a person whom Christ was willing to die for (Romans 5:8). This might mean just thanking them and going your way, or expressing some tough love, warning them that they're headed for destruction. It depends on the moment. It's important for you to realize as a soulwinner that most of a soulwinner's ministry is that of PLANTING SEEDS. We read in 1st Corinthians 3:7, "So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase." I cannot save anyone, and neither can you. That's not our job! Our job is to preach the Gospel, whether they get saved or not is out of our control. Jesus stated in John 15:5, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." This doesn't mean that everyone we witness to will get saved. It does mean that there are MANY people in this world who are waiting to hear the Gospel, and God will lead us to some of them, or them to us, if we are yielded and abiding in Christ. Tragically, the average believer couldn't care less about winning souls to Jesus. When we walk with God, we will begin to share God's burden of winning lost souls, and we will preach the Gospel, and people will get saved.
It's Wise to Know Your Bible
I would recommend that you do a Bible study on fundamental Biblical doctrines, i.e., the deity of Jesus, Jesus' virgin birth, the blood atonement, Jesus' sinless life, Jesus' bodily resurrection, Jesus' death, Jesus' burial, Jesus bodily ascension, imputation, propitiation, predestination, baptism, etc. You can study false doctrines later on if you so desire; but first you would be wise to learn the fundamental basics of God's Word. We read in 2nd Timothy 2:15, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." This verse applies to all Christians, not just to Christian leaders; but especially to Christian leaders. Surely, you don't need to learn all about Bible doctrines or different religions to win people to the Lord--you just need to give them the simple Gospel (i.e., the good news) of what Jesus did for them. However, you WILL be asked questions while witnessing to people. The Bible says in Colossians 4:6, "Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." So I would recommend learning the basics so you'll be able to answer basic questions.
If someone stumps you, and they will at times, you might tell them that you want to give them the correct answer, and will come back at a later time (if it's ok with them), after you've checked into the matter. In addition, they may appreciate your willingness to do that for them. It's ok to say, "I don't know" and revert back to the simple Gospel. And by the way, people love to take the conversation all different directions, which is ok, but you need to keep reverting back to the main issue, which is the salvation of their soul.
Various Helps and Common Sense
It's a bad idea to talk to underage kids, and I wouldn't do it without first getting permission from the parents. If you know the family, then perhaps; but if you're new to an area, better safe than sorry. Some parent will go ballistic, and I don't blame them, when they see some adult stranger talking to their kids.
Also, never place Gospel tracts in someone's mailbox, it is considered federal property.
Here's some excellent words of wisdom on distributing Gospel tracts by Pastor Jeff Owens (this is a Windows Media audio sermon). Here are more sermons by Dr. Owens.
Also, be respectful of people's time, property, and opinions. This is America you know, and it's ok to agree to disagree. So if you meet a Satanist who thinks you're trying to shove the Gospel down his throat, don't push the issue. Remember, there's a fine line between faith and foolishness. As the saying goes... People don't care what you know until they know that you care. That is so true! So our primary focus when soulwinning should be to let people know that we care about them, and the best way to do that is to show them the utmost in respect and consideration. We should do this anyway as Christians, but especially when trying to win people to the Lord. There's nothing worse than a rude, inconsiderate, and mean religious person who makes people angry. So when someone slams their door in your face after cursing you, apparently for no reason, it may be because someone else hurt their feelings.
The Apostle Paul said in Titus 3:10-11... "A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself." If you've witnessed to someone twice, and they are belligerent, and refuse to get saved--then God will have to deal with them. Although it is true that the Apostle Paul spent time debating with people, he also said in Titus 3:9... "But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain." You're going to meet time-wasters who have no desire for truth, but just want to argue. The Bible directs us to "avoid" such foolish questions and nonsense.
Some people will challenge God in their unbelief. A common statement that I here is, "I'll believe the Bible when God hands It to me personally." Show them Romans 1:20, "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." This verse speaks volumes. Also, shown them Luke 16:30-31, "And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." If a person is defiant against God after hearing the Gospel, and being shown these verses, then they simply DON'T want to get saved. We shouldn't waste our time, because there are many people who DO want to hear the Gospel.
Soulwinners are Beautiful People!
We read in Romans 10:15, "...as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" Perhaps you'd like to read an article I wrote some time ago called Churches With Ugly Feet. God calls the soulwinner's feet, BEAUTIFUL. I don't know about you, but that makes me want to go soulwinning even more! We read in Daniel 12:3 that soulwinners will shine for eternity, "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." No wonder Jesus said in Matthew 6:20, "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal." What will this temporal life matter 100 years from now, or 10,000 years from now? All that will matter when we die is that we died in the Lord (i.e., born again), and that we spent our life soulwinning and living for the Lord. I don't know about you, but I want to be an aggressive soulwinner!