Study 1 OUR MARCHING ORDERS
WINNING THE LOST TO THE SAVIOUR
by Francis Dixon
Our marching orders are found in the Saviour’s words in Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:8; John 20:21-23; which means that every Christian is to be constantly on the job of winning the lost to the Saviour - hence the theme of this series of nine studies. We are making this title the theme of the opening study, because it contains three most important words - WINNING, LOST and SAVIOUR. These key-words emphasise the responsibility of every Christian to be a soul-winner, and they indicate ways in which we may engage in this glorious and high calling.
1. First of all, let us think of the word “SAVIOUR”
Surely this is the most precious of the names given to our Lord. It was given by divine announcement (Matthew 1:21), and Mary, the mother of Jesus, spoke of the One who was to come as “my Saviour” (Luke 1:47). Our Lord Jesus made it clear that the primary purpose of His advent, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension was the salvation of men and women. He did not come primarily to be our teacher, reformer, example or king. He came to save the lost (Luke 19:10; 1 Timothy 1:15; Hebrews 7:25). In the Gospels we see Him doing this work, and for two thousand years He has not ceased to do it (Acts 2:47).
- He is the UNIVERSAL Saviour; that is, He is the Saviour of all men (John 1:29; 3:16; 10:9 and 16; Romans 10:12-13). He is the Saviour whom everyone, everywhere, needs - look up Acts 16:30-31.
- He is the ONLY Saviour; that is, there is none other (Isaiah 45:22; John 10:9; 14:6; Acts 4:12).
- He is the PERFECT Saviour; that is, no case is too hard for Him (Hebrews 7:25).
2. Now let us think of the word “LOST”
Why was it necessary for the Saviour to come? Because apart from Him all men are lost. This solemn word ”lost” describes the deep spiritual need of mankind, the need of everyone, everywhere, who has never been saved by Jesus Christ. It is our Lord’s description. In Luke 15 the sheep was lost, the silver was lost and the son was lost - look up and compare Matthew 18:11. To be lost is to be perishing (John 3:16), under condemnation (John 3:18), under the wrath of God (John 3:36), spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1), and bound for a Christ-less eternity (Matthew 13:49-50). How great and how urgent is the need of every lost one!
3. Finally, let us think of the word “WINNING”
The supreme passion in the heart of the Saviour is the winning of the lost. The supreme need of every lost soul is to be won to the Saviour. Now notice this: the winning of the lost to the Saviour is to be the supreme business of every Christian. Notice, the supreme business of every Christian - look up Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 1:17 and Acts 1:8, and notice that all these references apply to each one of us just as much as to those who originally heard these words. Every Christian is to be a soul-winner. This is the Lord’s purpose, plan and programme for world evangelisation.
Here are seven simple secrets for successful soul-winning.
- Recognise that winning the lost to the Saviour is your life work. Think this out carefully and prayerfully. Whoever you are, however young or old, whatever your circumstances, you are to be about your Father’s business (Luke 2:49; John 20:21), constantly following your Saviour so that He may make you a fisher of men.
- Place yourself at the disposal of your Lord for this great work. Get alone with Him - not once, but every day - and hear Him saying to you - Mark 1:17; and in response, say to Him, “Here I am, Lord, at your disposal. Make me a fisher of men!” Philip was at the Lord’s disposal, and when he was in the midst of a revival at Samaria and the Lord called him away to go into the desert to win the Ethiopian eunuch, he was ready to go (Acts 8:5 and 26-40). There is absolutely no doubt that if we are fully at the disposal of the Lord He will use us to the salvation of others.
- Trust the Lord to use you in His own way and time. Look up and get the significance of Genesis 24:27. We may be unconscious of the fact that He is using us, or of the way in which He is using us, as in the case of Stephen (Acts 7:58); or we may know that He is using us, as in the case of Ananias (Acts 9:10-17).
- Ask Him to show you what to do. We must plan to win souls (Acts 9:6). We must set out to win them, as a fisherman sets out to catch fish, as a man sets out to win a girl’s affection, or as an athlete sets out to win a race.
- Make a list of those whom you would win.
- Pray regularly for them.
- Seek contact with them about their need. Write to them, send a helpful book to them, take them to a service, invite them to your home, etc.
- Be interested in their interests.
- Keep on keeping on until they are won.
- Be prepared for the Lord to use you where you are. It may be at home, at school, in business, in hospital, or while you are travelling.
- Be willing to be just a link in the chain of God’s purposes. It is rarely that God uses one instrument in the salvation of a soul. In most cases He uses many instruments. Be willing to do your share by prayer, or conversation or gentle persuasion.
- Always remember that you are only an instrument in His hands and that you cannot win a soul, but that He can do the work of winning others through you. This great work is His work (1 Corinthians 3: 7-9).