Summary: 1. Go where the prospects are. 2.Have a burden for the lost. 3. Spread the gospel of Jesus Christ
HOW TO SUCCEED AT SOULWINNING
1. Illus. of Eva Hart and Titanic (Illus. for Preaching and Teaching, p. 58)
• April 15, 1912
• 20 lifeboats and rafts
• Lifeboat 14 went back seeking others, the only lifeboat to do so.
2. As I understand it, the church is to be a spiritual lifeboat. Our job is to seek those who are dying in sin, and to rescue as many of them as possible. Before you say, “not interested in being part of a search and rescue mission for Christ,” let me tell you that these people are not strangers. They are your children, your grandchildren, your husbands, your brothers and sisters. They are the people you work with, they are your neighbors, they are your lifelong friends. These are the people that I want to reach with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I want you to help me.
3. Psalm 126 was written by a Jew returning from exile. If you have read the book of Daniel, you know that the Jews were driven from their homeland, and spent 70 years as captives in the far away land of Babylon. At the end of that time, King Cyrus told them they were free to return to Israel, and so they did.
4. There was a problem. In the years that the Jews had been gone, the knowledge of Jehovah had died out in the land. One of the problems they faced was, “how can we refill this land with the knowledge of Jehovah?” The verses we have just read are God’s instruction on how to do just that.
5. We have not been commissioned to fill Palestine with the knowledge of Jehovah, but we have been commissioned to fill this city with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The same principles that allowed the Jews to refill Palestine will allow us to win our city.
6. What are these principles of successful soulwinning?
I. SUCCESSFUL SOULWINNING MEANS GOING WHERE THE PROSPECTS ARE
1. Notice that vs 6 says, “he who continually goes forth…” These Jews were not to sit back and wait for Palestine to come to them. They were to go out to where the people were with the message of Jehovah.
2. How does this principle apply to us? We can’t sit here and say, “Well, they know where the church is. If they want to be saved, they need to come on in here and find out how.” Successful evangelism means going out where the prospects are.
3. Illus. of Jim and the prisoner
• Good old boy from Kentucky. Could shoot whiskers off a gnat with the old squirrel rifle.
• Went forward instead of retreating.
• Sitting around fire, “poor old Jim.”
• “How did you catch that prisoner?” A little miffed he said, “What do you mean how did I catch him? The woods are just full of them!”
• Folks, if you want to capture somebody for Jesus, you’re going to have to go out in the woods where they are!
4. When you look at the commands of Jesus about evangelism, you begin to notice a common thread.
Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…”
Matthew 22:9, “Go into the highways, and as many as you find invite to the wedding…”
Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature…”
5. One of the things I like about FAITH evangelism is that it fulfills the command to go. We go in a systematic way. We go in teams, so that there is always an experienced leader who knows what to say and do. The important thing is that we GO to where the people are!
6. Successful soulwinning means going where they are instead of waiting for them to come to us.
II. SUCCESSFUL SOULWINNING MEANS HAVING A BURDEN FOR THE LOST
1. In vs 6, “he that continually goes forth weeping…” The Hebrew word for weeping is “baw-kaw.” It is the same word translated in other OT passages “lamentation.” The root idea is that of mourning or weeping because of some deep inner burden.
2. As these Jews went out, it was not to be with the attitude of, “oh well, God says to do this so I guess I better do it.” They were to go out burdened and broken over these people who did not know Jehovah.
3. How does this principle apply to us? Successful soulwinners are not those who go out with the attitude of, “well, I’ve got this list of things good Christians are supposed to do. I don’t really want to do this, but until I do I can’t check it off my list.” Successful soulwinners are those who go out with hearts broken over the condition of the lost!