Summary: Soulwinning is why God left us here...it is our primary job!
Portrait of a Soulwinner
Paul now begins his epilogue...wrapping things up and closing the deal by telling us why he wrote these things.
16:24-26 The motive is so that souls will be saved.
Paul was a great Christian, Apostle, and writer...but above all he was a great soulwinner. He traveled to many places, not as a sightseer, but as a soulwinner. It got him beaten in Philippi, stoned in Lystra, arrested in Jerusalem, and imprisoned in Caesarea.
There's a lot of things you can do in the name of God, and not be persecuted. You can pray, and give, and serve in many capacities, but if you try to convert someone, the fat hits the fire! You can suggest all kinds of self help techniques or suggest improvements people can make in their life, no problem, but the second you suggest they are lost without Christ and going to hell, everything changes!
And yet soulwinning is why God left us here...it is our primary job!
Are you a businessman? Think of yourself as a soulwinner who happens to make a living in business. It's God's way of supporting you in your real business of soulwinning!
[factory worker / homemaker / welder / retired?]
Luke 2, Jesus said, Don't you know I must be about my Father's business?
Which is more important? Being President, or being a soulwinner? Curing Cancer, or being a soulwinner? I'm thankful for social organizations, but we aren't one of them. If all the church does is make the world a better place to go to hell from, then we aren't THE church!
ill.--a coach liked to talk to his football team in a classroom about hypothetical situations in order to get them thinking. He said, We're on the 2 yard line, 5 seconds remain, we're down by 5...what are you gonna do? One guy said, I'd scoot down to that end of the bench to get a better view and see what happens!
I'm tired of sitting on the bench of soulwinning. I want in that game!
It's not a gift, it's a command. If you are not regularly telling others about Jesus, you are living in sin!
Portrait of a soulwinner: [in broad strokes]
1. Meekness, manifested in humility.
vv. 17-18 Paul took no credit. The glory goes to God.
v. 18a, paraphrased: "I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished thru me."
ill.--trumpets have sat still in the auditorium since Sunday. On Sunday they sounded great. But then they were set down. Imagine them saying, WE sounded great! Could they really make those sounds? No, they were just instruments. They haven't done anything all week because their master set them down.
ill.--my wife needs me to open a jar of pickles. I put on a rubber glove to do it. Can the glove claim credit? Or did I do it thru the glove?
Our job is simply to stay clean. God won't blow thru a dirty mouthpiece, or put on a dirty glove! Power flows thru purity. [boiler]
If anyone ever had the right to boast, it would be Paul. He wrote most of the NT. Half of Acts is about him. But he would only glory in his infirmities and weaknesses.
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ...
And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
ill.--2 ducks lived in a pond with a frog. Drought came and the pond dried up. They needed to find a new home. The frog said, it will be easy for you two, you can fly. What am I gonna do? The ducks had an idea. They would get a stick and fly thru the air, each holding one end of the stick, with the frog holding on by mouth in the middle. It worked, and as they flew along above a farmer's field, the farmer said, that's an ingenious idea, I wonder who thought of that, and the frog said "I diiiiiiiiiiiid!" [falling]
Pride goes before a fall. God will share anything with us, except His glory!
Humility is like a watermelon seed. As soon as you think you've got it...it slips away from you!
ill.--I won a ribbon for humility in s.s. as a kid, but they took it away from me the next week because I wore it!
"I used to think that God's gifts were on shelves one above the other and that the taller we grew in Christian character the more easily we could reach them. I now find that God's gifts are on shelves one beneath the other and that it is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower." F. B. Meyer (1847-1929)