Soul Winning 101

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John 4:1  When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) 3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. 4 ¶ And he must needs go through Samaria. 5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12  Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

 

Our Rationale for Soul Winning:

Our great object of glorifying God is to be mainly achieved by the winning of souls. –Spurgeon

The Prince of Preachers put it so well, we should witness and win souls to Christ because that is our chief means of glorifying God.  Yes we gather in worship, we give financially, and we may even serve faithfully in the Lord’s house, but the primary way we glorify God is by winning others to faith in Him.

The Gospel is not something we come to church to hear, it’s something we go from church to tell.  – Vance Havner

The Gospel by its very nature is not something to be held in secret and whispered about, but rather it is a message!   It is good news!  It is meant to be shared and spoken to others!   As believers we come to church, or should, with the intention of being encouraged and strengthened to go out and faithfully speak the message to those we come in contact with each day.

When the message is hid:

The church dies, the Spirit is quenched, personal growth is stifled, God is grieved,  the Devil is pleased

When the message is proclaimed:

The church thrives, the Spirit move, personal growth is occurring, God is pleased, the Devil is enraged

Believers, we must win souls!   It is the plan Jesus put into place before his ascension.  You and I telling others the good news and leading them to a place of decision.  There is no plan B!  No plan C.  Jesus established the perfect plan, his choice plan and it is dependent upon you and I being faithful witnesses.

 

 I. Christ Revealed 

25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

Any discussion of soul winning, should not fail to mention the major concept that we see in verses 25-26.  This account with the woman at the well points out to us the two main parts to the process of soul winning.  Those two big parts are this:  obedience & the Holy Spirit!

Now we often zero in on the human part of soul winning, leaving the work of the Holy Spirit to take a back seat in our study.  But church, I submit to you the Holy Spirit, and his work is truthfully where we should begin this study of soul winning.  The work of the Holy Spirit is integral in the act of witnessing!  His work cannot be imitated by preachers, it cannot be duplicated by tv evangelists, and it cannot be replaced by man’s best efforts.

Let’s notice this morning the work of the Holy Spirit in the process of witnessing:

Revealing Christ: first of all it is the work of the Holy Spirit to reveal Christ to the heart and mind of a lost person. You and I can give testimony, we can quote Scripture, we can even appeal to a person’s emotions, but we cannot perform this particular work of the Spirit.  What do we mean by revealing Christ?   We mean that sincere work in a lost person’s heart that brings them to the moment of genuinely recognizing their sinful condition and love that is offered by the Son of God to all who will but accept his gift.  This revealing of Christ can’t be graphed on a page, it can’t be illustrated with charts, and it can’t be seen by our human eyes, but it is the most integral part of the soul winning process.

The Call: it is the work of the Holy Spirit to extend that personal call in a lost person’s heart.

Romans 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

1Co 1:1 ¶ Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Means of Regeneration: the Holy Spirit is likewise the means through which regeneration takes place in a person’s heart.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

The Means of Conviction: the Holy Spirit is also the means by which conviction occurs in person’s heart. Notice it with me in John 16:

John 16:7  Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

The Greek word translated ‘reprove’ is that concept of conviction.  Ryrie does a good job defining the concept of conviction:   It is convincing or refuting an opponent so that he has the matter set before him in a clear light whether he accepts or rejects the evidence. 

Conviction is that inner work that occurs in a person’s heart, bringing to light their true condition before God, making it undeniable before them, whether or not they choose to accept the truth.

We should not fail to point out that conviction occurs both in saved and lost individuals.  Through conviction the Holy Spirit makes clear a lost person’s need for the Savior, and in a believer he makes plain the condition of the relationship between the believer and God.

Lastly, conviction is accomplished in several different ways:

* the Spirit speaking directly to a man’s conscience.

* the Spirit speaking through the written Word (Bible).

* the Spirit speaking through the spoken Word (preaching, testimony).

But whether or not  people are involved in affecting this ministry of conviction, if conviction comes to an individual the Spirit must do it. We readily acknowledge that regeneration is the work of the Spirit, but we sometimes let ourselves think that our clever or convincing presentations can convict.  Not so. God must do even that.  -Ryrie

 

II. Preparation

6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.   

We should notice from the text that Christ was tired, he was physically worn out after their journey.  (Which is no surprise considering that Scripture indicates Christ almost always walked his journey, rarely using any other form of transportation)   However, despite the tiredness of his flesh he was prepared and ready to witness to the Samaritan woman.  Much like Christ we need to be ready to win souls at any time, but there are going to be those things that hinder us if we are prepared:

* physical tiredness

* physical pain

* mental exhaustion

* doubts and uncertainty

 

What steps can we take to be prepared?

Prepare our mind!

Although I have shared Christ personally with many thousands of people through the years, I am a rather reserved person and I do not always find it easy to witness.  But I have made this my practice, and I urge you to do the same:  Assume that whenever you are alone with another person for more than a few moments, you are there by divine appointment to explain to that person the love and forgiveness he can know through faith in Jesus Christ. – Bill Bright

I love this quote by Bright because it sums up so well this necessary preparation we must take as believers.  To witness effectively, we must have our mind prepared.  There is both wrong and right thinking, and far too often we let the wrong thinking invade our minds.  We must see witnessing as Christ saw it-  witnessing was a literally a divine appointment with God!   Now, in the case of Christ, that is absolutely the case, but often we treat our conversations flippantly.  To prepare our minds we must see our witnessing opportunities as an appointment arranged by God, every single opportunity.  Believers, it is a divine appointment because we have no guarantee of tomorrow.  That person you share Christ with may not even finish the day on this earth, and in his great wisdom God has arranged for you to cross paths and have a conversation.  Don’t ever take lightly the conversations, the appointments that God arranges!

Secondly, we should prepare our minds by remembering that in no way is this process about us.  It is all about Him, and about a lost soul that he cares about deeply.

I’m just a nobody telling everybody about somebody who can save anybody. – anonymous

 

Prepare our lives!

This is likewise a vital piece in the preparation process.  The question we should ask ourselves is this-   Is there anything in my life that would hinder this person from accepting Christ as their Savior? 

Is there a spirit about me that does harm to the message I am speaking?  Is there an attitude, a sin, a defiant spirit that distracts from the Gospel message…

 

Prepare with prayer!

God places unplanned opportunities in our path, and there are also those times of witnessing that we sense are coming.  The question is how much time do we truly invest in prayer concerning these lost souls?

When is the last time that you let God so deeply burden your heart about a lost person, that you wept over them and you prayed daily for them?  Prayer is the strength of the Christian and it is essential in the process of witnessing.

 

Prepare with fasting!  

Lastly, this is probably the last preparation we ever involve ourselves in, but it is the preparation we see modeled by Christ in his ministry.  Christ prepared himself for significant moments and significant work, but submitting himself to fasting.  When has lost souls so burdened you that you prepared yourself by abstaining from food?

This is just my opinion, but I wholly believe it, the Christian who is willing to fast over a lost soul is the Christian serious about seeing God do a life-changing work in the heart of a person.

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