One of the purposes of God in leaving the Christian in the world is undoubtedly that he might win others to Christ. The moment he came as a needy, lost soul to trust in the Savior, he was as ready for heaven as God himself could make him. He found cleansing from sin in the precious blood of Christ. He was forgiven and justified through his Substitute bearing his sins on the cross and imputing to him a divine righteousness, which no being in heaven or earth or hell can challenge. He was born into the family of God upon the relationship of a son to his Father – a relationship that can never be changed. Then, why has he been left upon an earth that is so filled with sin and evil as to daily sadden his heart? He is left here that by life and lip he might witness for Christ, that others may be won to Him.
The privilege of witnessing for Christ and seeking the salvation of others is not limited to a select few. It is common to all who are themselves born of God. Let us consider firstly the soul winner’s requisites, secondly, his sphere, thirdly, his hindrances and lastly, his recompense.
In any work, a proper equipment is important, if satisfactory results are to be obtained. Shall we not consider as of first rank the need for godly living? In this work, the condition of the soul is vital. One’s own soul must be dwelling in the sphere of deepest communion with God and aglow with the love to Christ, if he would attract others to Him. The speech of one who is not living near to God and filled with this glow of divine love will be to others as sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. Let us see to it that sin is confessed and forsaken, and that we ourselves are enjoying the salvation of which we speak.
Some have become successful soul-winners immediately upon conversion, when they as yet know little more than the Samaritan woman, who, in the joy of her first acquaintance with Christ, said, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” It is well, indeed, to begin at once upon receiving Christ. Many have won others to the Savior at the first who accomplished little afterwards in their Christian testimony. However, it is well to remember that the Holy Spirit must work to bring souls to Christ, and He delights in using the Word of God. For this reason, a knowledge of the Scriptures is of great value in helping other to Christ.
Instead of seeking in our own words to persuade others to make profession of faith, how much wiser it is to set before them what God says in His Word, leaving to the Spirit of God, the enlightenment of the soul, by that Word. Especially is this important in the case of minors, who are frequently urged into making a profession which proves false and then becomes the chief hindrance to their true conversion.
The soul-winner has a wide sphere. Of course, his testimony will naturally radiate from where he is located. He will begin with relatives: his brothers, sisters, parents, then with fellow-borders and fellow-workmen. Rahab, when assured of safety in the overthrow of Jericho, was concerned for the welfare of her immediate family We do not infer we should await the conversion of all our relatives before seeking that of others, but that we will normally seek to help our own first. We read of Andrew bringing Peter, his brother, to Christ (John 1:40).
The sphere of the soul-winner is, in fact, the whole world. God’s Word recognizes no divisions into parishes, thus limiting the worker’s sphere. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15) is still our Lord’s command.
The suggestion that the winning of others to the cause of Christ is solely the duty of the preacher is nowhere substantiated in Scripture. A special gift to preach the gospel and win souls is granted certain ones by the risen Head of the Church, and this has been in evidence since Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost resulted in the conversion of three thousand, but there is great need for the warm hearted testimony of those who, in their ordinary callings, will seek to win others. How many, if asked who was preaching when they were saved, would say, as did one, “It was not through anyone’s preaching, but through my aunt’s living!” How many of us are guilty of failure to witness daily for Christ! Let us avoid giving the impression that we know something more than others, but rather that we know a Person to whom we desire to introduce them. The testimony of the captive Hebrew maiden, in the home of Naaman the Syrian, serves as a good example (2 Kings 5).
The hindrances of the soul-winner may be personal, human or satanic. If there is evident failure in the life of the witness to walk in a path of purity and uprightness, he may himself be the chief hindrance to his success as a soul-winner. Let us be careful to walk uprightly.
Men are not naturally inclined to favor the one who reminds them of God and eternity. They resent the witness of the true Christian, because it condemns them. This is one of the many definite proofs that man is a fallen creature. He is on the way to hell, and he cares not to be reminded of it. Nevertheless, he needs our witness, and we must not give up because of this obstacle, but seek grace to testify with prudence.
The witness of a happy Christian is an object of the bitter hatred of Satan, and he will seek every medium he can find to oppose it. For this reason, the soul-winner must be given to prayer. Satan may employ discouragement because of meager results, or he may suggest pride over seeming success. He frequently stirs up religious fanaticism, lest some of his dupes be awakened. We are no match for him, so let us cast ourselves upon God, if we would be effectual soul-winners.
The soul-winner’s reward is both present and eternal. He experiences much joy now in seeing others saved. What can compare to that joy? Nothing else on earth. But, he will have an eternal reward. When you and I stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ, shall we, as others, have the joy of seeing those there whom we have won for Christ? “He that winneth souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30).