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"He that winneth souls is wise"
          The reaching of lost souls for Christ should be a major focus of the believer's life. A veteran proclaimer once said that "every saint this side of heaven should be concerned with every soul this side of hell." Soul-winning evangelism should be a central activity of every genuine saint of God. The writer believes the following elements, when sincerely implemented in the Christian's life, will result in effectual evangelism of the lost.

          1. PURGING of all known sin is the first essential step in winning the lost and being an effective evangelistic ambassador for Christ. In Ps. 51, David knew that his heart needed to be purged first of sin (Ps. 51:7) before he could "teach transgressors" God's ways and see sinners converted unto God (Ps. 51:13).
          In II Tim. 2:21, the apostle Paul declared that saints must "purge" themselves from known sins before they can be "vessel[s] meet for the master's use." God's power cannot be manifest, for any purpose, and his blessings abound when unconfessed sin is present in the believer's life-Ps. 66:18, Prov. 28:13. Confession of sin (I John 1:9) is a normative essential for God's power and we are cleansed by the word that He has spoken unto us (John 15:3).
           2. PRAYING is a second essential for effectual evangelism. While prayer is not everything in the Christian's life, everything should be done by prayer, and that includes potential soul-winning endeavors. It was after "Zion travailed" in Isaiah 66:8 that she brought forth children.
           Travailing for lost souls in prayer is arduous labor, but it is that kind of agonizing prayer that produces spiritual results-Col. 4:12. While our prayers do not save anyone, they can help produce a spiritual soil that is fertile for the gospel message. The Apostle Paul pleaded for the prayers of the Thessalonian saints so that the word of the Lord might have its desired effects in the hearts of men-II Thess. 3:1.
          3. PREACHING is a third indispensable element in evangelism. God's word implanted in the soul produces eternal life-I Peter 1:23. It is through the gospel proclamation that sinners are converted-I Cor. 1:18 and 21. In the book The Heartbeat of the Holy, the author rightly states, "If the preaching of the gospel is not utterly necessary, it is totally unnecessary."
          The lost world does not need seminars that produce refined sinners, it needs sermons that produce redeemed saints. In describing the success of the first century Christians, Luke declares that "they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word-Acts 8:4." The manifestation of God's word via preaching was the method Paul utilized-Titus 1:3, and it still is God's means of reaching the lost today.
          4. PLANTING the seed is a fourth activity in effectual evangelism. The sower who goes forth to sow spiritual seed in Mark 4:4 is the soul-winner and the seed that he sows is the Word of God-Mark 4:14. While the response to that sowing varies in the individual hearts of human beings, it is just sensible spiritual mathematics that the more sowing the saint does, the more reaping, the saint will experience. The planting of the gospel seed via tracts and personal witnessing is not wasted labor. God's word does not return void-Isaiah 55:11.
          5. PENETRATING an area with the gospel is a fifth vital factor in productive evangelism. Using every legitimate means of modern communication tools available is not an evil activity. Paul declared in I Cor. 9:22 that he was "made all things to all men that he might by all means save some." The mail box, e-mail, the coffee cup, the telephone, the internet, tract distribution, TV broadcasts, radio, etc., are all legitimate evangelistic tools that can be effectively utilized in spreading the good news of the gospel.
          Imitating the world by using night club sounds, however, is a definite no-no. It should be remembered that "what you win them by is what you win them to." To win carnal sinners, believers must never use carnal weapons-II Cor.10:4.
          6. PERSISTING in giving forth the Word is a sixth ingredient in productive evangelism. Too many potential soul-winners give up too quickly. Two key words in the great example cited in Acts 5:42 are the words "daily" and "'every."
          One of the major reasons the Jehovah Witnesses cult is so successful in gaining converts is their persistence in return visits. They come back time after time, even when there seems only a slight ray of prosyleting success. While soul-winners must be keenly sensitive to the Holy Spirit's guidance, they need to be like the importunate woman in prayer in Luke 11 and persist until they are successful in reaching that lost soul.
          7. PLEADING with genuine tears and the Word is a seventh means of reaching the lost. Psalms 126:5-6 makes it clear that there is no substitute for a burning, burdened, pleading, tearful heart. Public pleading in person should follow private pleading in prayer.
          Paul's heart flowed with tears as he wept compassionately over the spiritual welfare of lost souls in Ephesus-Acts 20:19. Therefore night and day, he continued to warn everyone with tears about vital spiritual matters, both among sinner and saints-Acts 20:31.
          Reaching lost souls today may involve more difficult labor than in previous generations, but bringing sinners to Christ is a rewarding experience-Prov.11:30, Dan. 12:3. Since the Rapture has not yet occurred, there is still a harvest to be reaped-John 4:35. Until Christ returns, winning souls will continue to be a wise activity-Prov. 11:30.

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The Holman Christian Standard Bible [HCSB]

Editorial: April-May 2005, The Fundamentalist Digest: Permission granted for reprint, so long as proper credit is given.

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