Study 4 HOW, WHERE AND WHEN TO WIN SOULS
WINNING THE LOST TO THE SAVIOUR
by Francis Dixon
In the first three studies of this series we have emphasised two important truths in relation to soul-winning; first, that Christians cannot enjoy a greater privilege than that of being used by God for the salvation of precious souls; and second, as Christians our responsibility is to be actively concerned in this task of winning the lost all the days of our life. This task is not to be left to the pastor and evangelist only, but should be the full-time job of every believer in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are ‘saved to serve’, and in this study we are to consider HOW, WHEN and WHERE we are to do it.
1. HOW ARE WE TO SEEK TO WIN SOULS?
The best way to find the answer to this question is to study the way in which the Lord Jesus sought and dealt with those He won to Himself during His earthly ministry. This can only result in a quickened concern for souls and a new conception of what the late missions director, Mr. Oswald Sanders, has called, ’The divine art of soul-winning’. How are we to seek to win souls?
- With a confession that humbles us. We cannot do this work in our own strength (2 Corinthians 3:5). The first requirement for success is an honest admission that we cannot do it, and that any success that comes is the result of His working (1 Corinthians 3:6). This truth is so fundamentally important that it cannot be over-emphasised.
- With a confidence that enables us. We are to have no confidence in the flesh, but we must have absolute confidence in the power of the Lord to work through us (Philippians 4:13). When we seek to win a soul we have the co-operation of the Triune God to enable us and to ensure complete victory - look up Zechariah 4:6.
- With a conviction that grips us. We must be convinced that the souls whom we would win are souls for whom the Saviour died (2 Corinthians 5:15); that He is not willing that they should perish (2 Peter 3:9); that He has commissioned us to seek them (Matthew 28:19; Luke 14:23); and that they are desperately needy (Luke 19:10; Ephesians 2:1).
- With a compassion that moves us. We must feel deeply the need of the lost, as Jesus did. How often He was moved with compassion! Look up Matthew 9:36; Luke 19:41, and compare Matthew 14:14; 15:32; Mark 1:41; 6:34; 8:2; Luke 7:13; 10:33. How we lack a real compassion for the souls of men!
- With a care that restrains us. We must do this work earnestly, zealously, passionately - but with very great care and tact. We need the wisdom He is willing to give us if we are humble enough to ask (James 1:5). Notice that while the KJV rendering of Proverbs 11:30 is “He that winneth souls is wise”, the RV rendering is, “He that is wise winneth souls.”
2. WHEN ARE WE TO SEEK TO WIN SOULS?
We are to be on the job continually. We are to do it today (John 9:4), and every day that God spares us to live down here. But notice:
- We are to seek to win souls when the Holy Spirit prompts. If we are living in close touch with Him He will direct us to a needy soul and prompt us to speak the word of salvation to that one. The best New Testament illustration of this is Acts 8:26-29 - and the Holy Spirit is just the same today. He still waits to direct His servants to those He has prepared, and who are ready and waiting to be led to the Saviour.
- We are to seek to win souls when the opportunity is given. Wherever there are people there is our opportunity - look up 2 Timothy 4:2. ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’ - and opportunities are so many and so constant that we are all left without excuse.
- We are to seek to win souls when the need is very urgent. Sometimes we may come face to face with a very needy and urgent case - then we must act quickly and faithfully. Perhaps a loved one or neighbour is dying - without Christ! There is no time to be lost - John 9:4.
3. WHERE ARE WE TO SEEK TO WIN SOULS?
The answer is: wherever there are lost souls to be sought and won for the Saviour. But notice the following:
- We need to begin in our own home and with our own loved ones. Look up Mark 5:19; Luke 8:39; and compare John 1:41; Acts 16:30-34; and notice the last part of Acts 9.30! Have you faithfully evangelised in your own family circle?
- Then, we need to become concerned about our friends. Have you asked the Lord to give you the joy of winning your neighbours to Him? Look up Luke 5:27-29; John 4:39. You are living where you are, not by chance, but because the Lord wants you to be His witness just there.
- We are to seek to win souls just where the Lord has placed us. In our Jerusalem (Acts 1:8) - home, office, factory, hospital etc. - our ’Judea‘, or our ’Samaria ‘…Where are you now? Just there is the place to seek and win the lost. The whole world is our parish; let us be up and doing, for the time is short (1 Corinthians 9:16)!
”Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35).