Presentation on theme: "Personal Work: How to Win Souls to Christ John 15:8, “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” Matt.12:30,"— Presentation transcript:
Personal Work: How to Win Souls to Christ John 15:8, “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” Matt.12:30, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” 2Tim.2:2, “And the things you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” These are obviously verses that emphasize the expectation of God that His disciples evangelize- that they reproduce, spiritually. How do they make you feel? I am convinced that many of us would love to bring others to Christ, but just don’t know how or where to begin.
This is not a lesson on mechanics, or how to conduct a personal bible class. I’ve taught that lesson here before. For those who didn’t hear it, the overview looks like this. Acts 8:26-40 is the Case Study: Listen to and follow the Holy Spirit, vv.26,29 Be Enthusiastic, v.30a Ask Questions and Listen Perceptively to the answers given, v.30b Seize Opportunity, v.31 Start where they are, v.35a Preach Jesus, v.35b Know, Understand, and Appreciate the Value of the Soul, v.40
Instead of mechanics, I’d like for us to back up and talk about motivation and targeted efforts. Let’s start with Motivation first. There are 3 basic motivations for just about everything we do, or don’t do, spiritually: 1.Fear- we don’t want to go to hell, so we do what God says fearfully, but not usually too well. Fear usually only motivates us negatively (Thou shall not…). 2.Guilt- we know we should be doing something we aren’t, so we put forth half-hearted effort so we can say we at least tried. Guilt is also a limited motivator. 3.Love- we love, therefore we do all that we can, in the best way we know how, to produce the best results possible. Love is the unlimited motivator, 1Cor.13:13! Now, which of these characterizes your efforts in personal evangelism? (no “guilt” intended, just honest self-evaluation)
So if “love” is the best motivation for personal evangelism, or any other spiritual activity, what is it exactly that we’re supposed to love? That’s a fair question, here’s my answer(s): 1.God- If we love Him, we should want to please Him, and work toward meeting His goals and desires, Eph.5:10; 1Tim2:4; and 2Tim.1:8-11. So we should want to teach others to love and please Him even as we do. 2.Word- We should love God’s Word because it is that which leads us to Him, Matt. 13:45-46; Rom.1:16; 2Pet.1:3; Psalm 19. So we should want to teach others to love and regard God’s Word for the same reasons. 3.Souls- It’s hard to separately love the souls of sinners and yet hate their sin. But when we fully realize, to the extent we can here, the consequences sin has on the soul, it becomes easier. Consider the worth of each and every soul, and the value He placed on them, Matt.16:26; Rom.6:23; 1Cor.6:20; Matt.25:34 > 41. When we really love God, His Word, and the Souls of our fellowman, we’ll be motivated to personal evangelism.
Now, if our love for God, His Word, and the souls of our fellowman have us properly motivated to personal evangelism, what is “targeted effort”? Targeted effort is a touchy thing, because: The Gospel is for all, and we can’t know the hearts of men, therefore we shouldn’t prejudge someone as unworthy of it, or our efforts to save them. Remember Matthew the publican, and Saul the persecutor- both became apostles of the Lord! But at the same time, we have to keep Matt.7:6 in mind. So what are we to do? We sow seed everywhere (or in this case, to everyone), Luke 8:5-15. If they prove themselves wayside, rocky, or thorny ground, we move on to what we hope is fertile ground and keep sowing!
“OK, I get that, but I want to maximize the potential of my personal evangelism efforts, so how can I “target” my sowing to become more effective?” While we don’t want to eliminate anyone from being a potential convert, there are a few things for which to look, and do. 1.Pray for opportunities, the ability to “see” them, and the wisdom to use them. cf. Jas.1:5ff 2.“Watch the water.” When fishing for men, much like for fish, constantly scan the surface of humanity for those little signs of susceptibility: dissatisfaction and/or disgust with humanism and its results, a hunger for meaning in life, major changes in life patterns (death in family, marriage, children, or other milestones), reactions to current events and the like can all be indicators of possible openness to teaching them the gospel.
“OK, I get that, but I want to maximize the potential of my personal evangelism efforts, so how can I “target” my sowing to become more effective?” While we don’t want to eliminate anyone from being a potential convert, there are a few things for which to look, and do. 3.Draw, rather than drive, them to Christ and His gospel, John 6:44-45. Remember Nathan’s technique with David, 2Sam.12. Also, use your example to illumine the way to Christ, not to blind them with your brilliance, Matt.5:16. 4.Convert them to Christ, not to the church, or some doctrine. Christ is the “Savior of the Body”- not the other way around, Eph.5:23! Personal evangelism is about adding souls to the kingdom, not names to a church role.
This lesson is certainly not comprehensive- there are plenty of stones unturned and points unmade. It is hoped that these few considerations will encourage us to participate in the greatest thing one human being can do for another. Personal evangelism is even better than organ donation! An organ recipient still dies in the end- but a soul saved in Christ lives forever!