Jesus came to bring people to Himself, and our lives find meaning as we work with Him to achieve His desired end. To be an outstanding soul-winner, we must, first as we saw in the last post, be able to see, truly see the condition of people. An outstanding soul-winner is also one who knows what the gospel is about, one who truly understands the gospel. Let’s break this down.
Soul-winners know the Gospel
If you were to sit down with six Christians and ask them how they came to Jesus, it is very likely that each one had a different conversion experience. Some came because they were asking deep questions, others because Jesus healed them, some came under conviction as they read the Scriptures, yet others because they had a dream and had a divine encounter. Each one comes under different circumstances to the same Jesus.
So sometimes we can portray the gospel only in terms of our personal experience and that limits us in soul-winning because we do not present the fullness of the gospel. There is an objective truth of Christ’s coming that is independent of and beyond my personal circumstances at conversion. That objective truth is applicable to all men and it is what we must preach. It is good news for all.
The good news is that Jesus came in human form because of our human condition of separation from God, He came to bridge the gap, pay the price for sin and reconcile us to God. And He succeeded. He succeeded in providing forgiveness for sin, He succeeded in making it possible for human beings to have a relationship with God. For that to happen though, a person must believe in Him and follow Him and Him only. And that is what makes soul-winning necessary.
After all, as the Bible says, for people to believe, they must hear, for them to hear, they must be told, for them to be told, you must go. Jesus sent us, He said ‘Go’ and preach the gospel, the good news that salvation has been made available by Jesus, and Jesus alone.
Outstanding soul-winners know Jesus is the only option
One day after church I was discussing with a person who had attended our services for the first time. This was a very pleasant person who claimed they knew the Lord, and when the discussion came to the subject of varying religious beliefs, they commented on the fact that we all serve the same God and whether it was Jesus or any other prophet, it really did not matter so long as we believe in God. This is a widespread opinion among people who hold to some form of spirituality or other but it is not the gospel. And increasingly, evangelicals have become ignorant of the true substance of the gospel.
Redemption, justification, forgiveness, substitution, these are spiritual realities and without them, men are destined for an eternity in hell. Is it pleasant? No. Is it God’s will, No? THAT IS WHY JESUS CAME. Jesus came to die so that humanity may live. And we must preach it. As I wrote in the article ‘The gospel as story’, ‘The value and need for redemption only become obvious as we understand the fundamental flaw of mankind, and the dastardly situation he found himself in after the fall.’ (Read more)
If we do not know the gospel, we cannot preach it. If we think it is only about going to church and singing contemporary songs and leaving the miniskirts at home for weekday wear, not only are we not saved, we cannot be an instrument in the salvation of our generation. Others seem to think the gospel is about making money, being blessed and going to a hip church where the pastor wears skinny jeans and the ushers tight skirts. After all we are not religious. Or perhaps it is about having CDs and an amazing worship team. We are missing it and sending our generation to an eternity without God because we want to be cool.
Soul-winners are convinced that hell is real
Many years ago, I told God I had to have a greater degree of conviction. I believed the gospel to be true, but it seemed to me that if I was expected to boldly confront people and tell them to change their minds and their lifestyle, and follow Jesus, i had to be deeply, utterly and absolutely persuaded that there was no other way possible. Otherwise i would be a fraud. Was He upset? No, He answered my prayer. I am persuaded that there is no other way for humanity to be reconciled to God except through Jesus.
Unless we have that absolute conviction, we will prevaricate; we will rather not think about it, hope that maybe God has plan B because we do not want to mess up our reputation by haranguing people about Jesus. We will opt out of being soul-winners.
The gospel has not changed, Christ came to seek and save the lost. Humans are no less lost today than when Jesus came. The penalty for sin is still the same, spiritual death and eternal separation from God. Gospel music has not changed that, Christian television, multi-site churches, none of those have rendered hell obsolete. Nor have they rendered the soul-winner obsolete. So why are we NOT preaching the gospel? Have we forgotten how?
Are we permitted to doubt?
Sometimes, people, in particular in Europe, feel the need to sing an ode to doubt. There is apparently some philosophical virtue in being unsure of eternal realities. I beg to differ. We are not playing mind games here, the souls of men are at stake. No one needs permission to doubt and speculate, nor shall they be shunned for doing so. However, God has given us the capacity to believe and we believe on a daily basis, people will fight for the rights of animals, for environmental concerns, for their own children. Why? Because they fully believe in the rightness of their cause. Why then should Christians, on a matter as fundamental as the reality of God and the manner in which men can come to Him, allow ourselves to be prevailed upon to question our faith?
Choose to believe and draw the logical consequences from Jesus’s words ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me’. And go out and preach the gospel to all those who are not in Him, because they ALL need it.
In the same series
(subscribe below to receive the entire series as the articles are published)