The ABCs Of Winning Souls
We have a divine mandate to bring souls to Christ.
By Ken Raggio
Nobody ever found God without someone to help them. "How can they believe upon Him of whom they have not heard?" Romans 10:14.
That is why Jesus told us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. We have a divine mandate to win souls. The only thing we can take to heaven from this world is the souls we have brought into the kingdom of God.
It is every Christian's calling to go "into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in." But now, more than ever, it seems, it is difficult to find a willing audience who will hear the gospel. For that task, we need wisdom from God. "He that winneth souls is wise," Proverbs 11:30. It takes wisdom to earn and keep someone's attention.
It is one thing to desire to minister to those who do not know the gospel, but quite another thing to become truly successful at soul-winning. Not many people are soul-winners. That is why I submit this to you today, to help motivate and teach you to lead people to eternal salvation.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help save someone's soul. Of course, you must first have your own relationship with God, built upon the knowledge of God's Word, and have a mature understanding of the ways of His Spirit and His will. But in addition to that, it is important to prepare yourself to have the heart and mind of a soul-winner.
Here are some suggestions to help you prepare to be a better soul-winner, from A to Z. Take a look.
Act like you really care. It is frightening to think how few people really care whether a soul perishes forever in Hell. Nobody deserves Hell, not even your worst enemy. Hell is an awful place. Go ahead and care about people's eternal destiny. Ask God to give you a soul-winner's heart. Jesus cared enough to go out of His way through Samaria to show the way of salvation to someone who was not even a Jew.
B e kind. Most folks who go to work or to school get their share of put-downs and cursings. Be different. Show some respect. Jesus startled a lot of people by treating tax-collectors and sinners like they were real people. Be kind, tender-hearted, forgiving. Their positive response may shock you.
C herish an opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with someone you hardly know. It might turn into a life-changing experience for both of you. Any time two or three people begin to talk about Jesus, He comes into their midst, and when Jesus is there, anything can happen. Make it happen.
D are to get involved in someone's search for God. If you hear them express a desire that only God can meet, speak up. You really do have what they need. Jesus saw Zacchaeus in a sycamore tree and recognized that he was a true seeker. He took time to go home with him and befriend him. It worked. Zacchaeus became a real believer.
E njoy conversations that are spiritually oriented. Even if the other person is not well-versed in the Bible, your positive input could cause their appetite to increase. Jesus talked with two men by the wayside, and they declared afterward, "Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures?" Your conversation may cause someone's heart to burn within them.
F ollow up on meaningful encounters. After someone has opened their heart to you, they may be hoping you'll come back around. "And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him," Luke 8:40.
G ive a legitimate opportunity a chance. Don't hesitate for fear you won't say the right thing. A Christian's understanding of the issues of life far exceeds that of non-believers. They said of Jesus, "Never man spake like this man," John 7:46. You will be amazed at the great power and authority you have when God's word is in your mouth.
H ave something ready to talk about if a door swings open. Be prepared to meet someone who needs direction. Ask God to show you what you need to know, and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear," 1 Peter 3:15.
I nvestigate a situation that seems opportune. Sometimes, people live in hopeless abandon because they do not think anyone will ever come to their aid. "And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: ...to lay him before him." Jesus said unto him, "Arise, and take up thy couch, ...and they were all amazed," Luke 5:18,24,26. Do what those men did. Take your lost friend to Jesus.
J ustify out-of-the-ordinary requirements, when it comes to winning a soul. Everybody has their routines, but if a man or woman can be eternally saved by my efforts, I should make an exception to my routine! The angel sent Philip from Jerusalem to Gaza, just to teach one Ethiopian; and he sent Peter from Joppa to Jerusalem to teach an Italian named Cornelius.
K eep the line of communication open. Every relationship faces various conflicts, so when a point of disagreement presents itself, agree to disagree for the moment. Don't cut off the opportunity to resume talks. Remember, God is the God of second chances. He is longsuffering, and not willing that any should perish.
L isten. It is surprising how many people just need someone to listen to them verbalize their need. Be the attentive ear they need. "Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great," Deuteronomy 1:17.
M eet them half-way. If someone is making a move in the right direction, make it easy for them. While the prodigal son "was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him," Luke 15:20.
N ever say never. Just because someone is a hard-head, does not mean that they will never come around. Even the most obnoxious people can have a change of heart. Don't give up too soon. Manasseh was one of the most wicked kings of Israel, but his circumstances finally humbled him, and he made one of the most awesome turn-arounds ever recorded.
O pen the door for them. When you see signs of curiosity, introduce a new area of discussion. After all, you are the one who has been a Christian before them. Take the lead. Throw down a challenge. "Wilt thou be made whole?" John 5:6.
P atronize their objections. Assume that their argument or skepticism is well-founded. Avoid an unnecessary conflict. "Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man," Colossians 4:6.
Q uit running from the opportunity. The rewards of soul-winning are the most gratifying in the world. Ananias was afraid to witness to Saul, knowing that he had already killed many Christians. "But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel," Acts 9:15. What if Ananias had lost heart? The Apostle Paul might never have been saved.
R esist the temptation to impose personal beliefs. A person needs eternal truth, not personal prejudices or unbiblical "convictions." Just give them the Word. In its purest form, it is more powerful than anything else you can say. "We speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth," 1 Corinthians 2:13.
S tand up for what is right. What the whole world needs today is a Christian with a backbone. Many of the most popular trends being touted in Christianity today are absolutely lethal. Object to sin and wrong. Make a bold case. "Stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle," 2 Thessalonians 2:15.
T ry again. If at first you don't succeed, the second or third try might be all it takes. We often mistake a person's non-response to be a rejection, but they may be only thinking it out. Go for it. Peter at first refused to preach to the Gentiles, but God dealt with him a second time, and Peter obeyed. As a result, the gospel entered an entirely new era. The Gentile Church was born. What if God had not dealt with YOU the second time?
U nderstand your friend without insisting that he understand you. The more you understand about the other person's position, the more empowered you are to help. The blind man did not even know who healed him. He did not know if Jesus was a sinner or not. He only knew that Jesus healed him. If you can help to save them, they don't even have to know your name.
V erify the facts. If they do not respond as you had hoped, do some investigating. Ask questions. Was there a misunderstanding? "[Jesus] said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?" Mark 8:21. He also said that our job is to teach them "to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you," Matthew 28:20.
W ait and see. A garden doesn't spring up overnight. After you have sown the seed, give it time. Impatience is a destructive force. Let God do what you cannot do. "Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days," Ecclesiastes 11:1.
X pect a miracle. After all, no man can come to God unless the Spirit draws him. Our job is to do what we can. God's job is to do what we can't! Pray for your friend and ask God to do a miracle. Then trust Him to finish the work. Paul said, "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase," 1 Corinthians 3:6.
Y ield yourself to God. It may be that God wants to speak something supernaturally through you. Paul said, "My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power," 1 Corinthians 2:4. Be sensitive to the Holy Ghost. Remember, God can do more in a minute than we can in a lifetime.
Z ealously persevere. Let your emotions and enthusiasm energize you. The efforts you make will seem small when you stand on the streets of Heaven and realize someone is there because of your efforts. "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him," Psalms 126:6.
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