Study 5 THE PROMISE OF REWARD FOR THE SOUL-WINNER
GREAT PROMISES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
by Francis Dixon
(Key verses: Psalm 126: 5-6)
It was probably King Hezekiah who wrote this great psalm, and while it is prophetic of Israel it is also Messianic, in that we can hear the Lord Jesus speaking prophetically. You will notice the beautiful poetic rhythm, but you will also be challenged by verses 5 and 6 because they inform us that as Christians we should be dedicated to the holy task and art of soul-winning. The whole Bible is a textbook on this subject, and this is especially true of certain parts of the New Testament; but in these two verses the matter is wonderfully condensed and pinpointed so the following outline is suggested for easy study.
1. THE SOUL-WINNER’S PROGRAMME
What is the programme of the man or woman who wants to be an instrument in God’s hands for bringing other people to know the Lord as their Saviour? What are our marching orders? They are very clearly defined if we put together the following words - “He who goes out… carrying seed to sow…” and sows it (verses 6 and 5). Notice these vital words which occur in this sentence:-
- 1. The word “He”. It reminds us that the soul-winner is human, not angelic. Soul-winners are sinners saved by grace. God could use angels but this is not His method for making known His redeeming message. Saved sinners must find lost sinners. Saved “whoevers” (John 3:16) are to go and look for lost “whoevers”. Angels are not qualified to do this because they have never known a fallen world so cannot testify from personal experience of God’s saving grace.
- 2. The word “goes”. This implies action and reminds us of the solemn fact that too often we have reversed the order here; we have settled down in our churches to wait for the people to come in, but the Lord’s commission is that we should get up and go out - look up Matthew 28:19; and that we should compel men and women to come to the gospel feast where they will find complete satisfaction in God’s gracious provision for their salvation (Luke 14:23). When Christians really begin to go out to where the lost are in order to tell them of the Saviour and bring them to Him, then revival will be on the way!
- 3. The word “out”. This implies leaving something behind; and of course if we are to be soul-winners we must certainly leave sin behind. But the word also suggests sacrifice of time, leisure and personal feelings. Most Christians are by nature nervous or reserved and find it difficult to speak to others about the Lord. So there needs to be a Holy Spirit conviction that we should engage in this work, and we must be dependent upon Him to enable us to do it.
- 4. The words “carrying seed”. In Luke 8:11 we learn that “the seed is the word of God”, and from various other Scriptures we also learn that the seed, which is the Word, is precious (2 Peter 1:4); it is powerful (Romans 1:16); and it is also productive in the hearts of those who receive it (Hebrews 4:2 and 12). This tells us that the successful soul-winner must carry the Word of God in his hand, in his head and in his heart; but he must not only carry the Word, he must sow the Word.
- 5. The word “sow”. We see here the thought of the sower not only going out but going out in order to sow the seed. Seed in the basket will not produce a harvest; it is not the truth we know but the truth we sow which saves a soul, and we shall only reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7).
2. THE SOUL-WINNER’S PASSION
In verse 5 we read about “those who sow in tears“; and in verse 6 “He who goes out weeping”. This introduces us to the whole idea of passion, or compassion, that deep concern which we need to have in our hearts as we seek to win others for the Lord. Perhaps the reason more Christians are not active in this ministry is that they do not sufficiently feel for the unconverted, they do not have tears, their eyes are dry. General Booth of the Salvation Army once said that he would like to send to hell for 24 hours all candidates who had applied to be officers, as part of their training. Only then would they feel the need of the lost and be able to accept the sacrifice involved in setting out to win the lost. And it was J. H. Jowett who wrote in his book that ”the gospel of a broken heart begins with the ministry of bleeding hearts”, and, ”as soon as we cease to bleed we cease to bless.” Jesus knew what it was to be deeply moved with compassion for the souls of men, and even to weep over them (Matthew 9:36; John 11:35); and the Apostle Paul experienced the same emotion (Acts 20:31; Romans 9:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 2:9). If we have lost our tears maybe we should pray earnestly that God would give us back our tears, our concern and longing, our feeling of compassion for the salvation of those who are lost.
3. THE SOUL-WINNER’S PROMISE
In our key verse a very wonderful promise is made to the soul-winner who gets on with the job. Notice the significance of the word “will” in verses 5 and 6 he “will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” If we sow the seed God will see to the harvest, and there is no joy in the whole world like the joy of seeking, finding and bringing just one lost soul to the feet of the Saviour. Will you begin now to pray for, to seek out and to witness to just one soul with a desire to bring that one to the Saviour?