Winning Souls

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise”(Prv. 11:30)
The verse before us can be taken as a whole or in two parts.  Today, we shall endeavor to expound upon the latter half. 
He that winneth souls is wise.”  On the outset, some might say that this is an Arminian statement.  That could not possibly be the case, however, for it is found within the scope of God’s eternal Word.  The Scriptures teach us clearly that “salvation is of the Lord”(Jon. 2:9).  Eternal life isn’t given by a preacher, missionary, or church member to a person dead in trespasses and sins any more than physical life is given to a person physically dead.  However, God here teaches us that we should desire to be used of God to draw His elect to Christ.  The gospel of Christ is the means of salvation and we are the instruments used of the Lord to spread that means.  Somewhere along the line, our churches have missed the mark on the ever-important subject. 

            Oftentimes, our people are taught that all there is to being a Christian is going to church, praying, and studying the Bible.  I’m not trying to belittle any of those positive duties.  These are things that should be done by Christian people and, sadly, these are avoided by the masses.  Nevertheless, these are not all a Christian is required to do.  We are required to “preach the gospel to every creature”(Mrk. 16:15).  Is this to say that we, within ourselves, have the power to convert any?  God forbid.  Still, the Apostle Paul(the apostle noted for being the apostle of the doctrines of “grace”) says, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men”(II Cor. 5:11).  Is Paul trying to say that he actually changed the minds and hearts of these people?  No!  But, he is trying to say that he tried to convince people to become Christians in hopes that God would bless his efforts.

            Christ seemed to allude to a similar teaching when He told Simon and Andrew, “I will make you to become fishers of men.(Mrk. 1:17).  Now, most of you have fished.  How many fish can you catch at home?  Any?  In order to have good results, you must go to a lake, pond, stream, etc.  In other words, you must go fishing.  Jesus here tells these(as we can rightly assume we are to follow this example) that they were to become fishers of men.  They were to try and catch men and draw them into the group of disciples.  They were to try and make Christians out of them.  They were to cast the bait in front of them in hopes that God would open their hearts to receive it(Act. 16:14).  This brings up a good question.  What is the bait?  We must go fishing, yes, but, what bait are we to use?  The doctrines of grace, maybe?  Sadly enough, that’s what many think, but, that is not right.  Paul said, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified”(I Cor. 2:2).  This was Paul’s bait when he tried to “persuade” men--Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  Without belief in this, other doctrines have no meaning.  I grew up in Sovereign Grace circles and I can tell you quickly that one can know the doctrines of grace and still be lost.  I was.  I could have taken the Bible and proven them to you, but, I didn’t see Christ as my Savior and I was lost. 

            Again, Paul tells us “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek”(Rom. 1:16).  The apostle again reminds us that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is God’s way of saving His lost sheep.  God draws them by His Spirit, through His Word.  It is God that saves, but, He doesn’t save into darkness.  He brings people “out of darkness into his marvellous light”(I Pet. 2:9).  That light is the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work--His satisfaction.  Sadly, many of our own have rejected this blessed truth, but, that doesn’t change the Word of God, nor does it change His way of working. 

            So, we see that we are to be soul winners, or fishers of men.  We can establish that we are to use the gospel of Christ to win those souls.  The question should be asked, why then are our churches not growing?   “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully”(II Cor. 9:6).  Generally, our churches aren’t preaching the gospel to the lost.   Does this mean that God isn’t saving His own?  Absolutely not!!  But, God is big enough to use another if His own fail.  He has used a bush, a donkey, a wall, and various other inanimate objects.  He can you an Arminian preacher if He desires to. 

            Other churches are growing.  We can fault them in many, if not most, things.  However, we can’t fault them on their zeal.  If our people had zeal, we might win a convert here and there.  The Bible just told us if we sow “sparingly” we will reap “sparingly.”  However, it also told us if we sow “bountifully” we will reap “bountifully.”  This is consolation.  This is positive motivation.  Our churches aren’t sowing much seed and they aren’t reaping anything.  We can rightly expect to grow if we will sow some seed.  Can’t we believe this verse?  Don’t we trust the Word of God?

            Some would say, “I need more motivation than one verse.”  Fine.  Isa 55:11  says, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”  We might not be the most articulate speaker, but, we can be comforted in knowing that God’s Word accomplishes His purpose.  We might be looked at as “unlearned and ignorant men”(Act. 4:13).  That’s OK.  The gospel of Christ will still accomplish God’s good purpose.  God’s Word will not return unto Him void.  There is no doubt in this passage.  It doesn’t say, “might not.”  It says “will not.”  The Scriptures speak here in the absolute.  How many things are we promised in life that we will prosper in?  Here in America, we are (supposedly) guaranteed the right to pursue happiness.  We are not(unbeknownst to many) promised happiness.  But, here, in this one thing, God confirms that His Word will not return unto Him void.  This is positive motivation to take the gospel of Christ to the world.

            Another positive motivation is the doctrine of election.  As a general rule, our people look at election negatively.  This is not the way it’s meant to be taken.  It is a positive truth.  C. H. Spurgeon, when asked “if some are elect, why preach” said, “...if indeed, I believed there was not a number who must be saved, I could not go into a pulpit again.  Only once make me think that no one is certain to be saved and I do not care to preach.  But, now I know that a countless number must be saved;  I am confident that Christ ‘shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days.’  I know that, if there is much to dispirit me in my ministry, and I see but little of its effects, yet He shall keep all whom the Father has given to Him;  and this makes me preach.”  What Brother Spurgeon is saying here is that Arminianism believes in the possibility that none will ever be saved.  What a defeated purpose!  For an Arminian missionary to leave on a missionary journey must be a burden.  However, Sovereign Grace teaches us that a certain number not only can and will be saved, but, must be saved.  This, again, is positive motivation.

            God’s sheep need brought into the fold and we are told to do the bringing.  We are told to preach the gospel to the lost and pray that God will bless our efforts.  The wording in our text verse, “He that winneth souls is wise” almost alludes to a game.  I’m not saying that the salvation of sinners is a game, but, this is the simple wording that the Lord uses in this passage.  Generally when we think of winning something, we think of a game.  If this is a game, and somebody is keeping score(as the Lord is), what is your score?  You shall stand for your work done for the Lord at the judgment seat of Christ.  Are you striving to win souls?  Do you care for your lost friends and family?

            Christ told the one whom He had cleansed in Mark 5:19“Go home to thy friends and tell them what great things the Lord had done for thee.”  Is this our attitude?  Are we doing this?  We should desire for others to have what we have.  Thank the Lord somebody cared about us. 
Baptist people, there is a wide-open field in the world.  There are more people on the Earth than there have ever been.  This presupposes that there are more lost people than there have ever been.  The world is ripe.  Preach the gospel.  Pray for results.  We are promised results if we would only sow.

            Are you a soul winner?  Do you desire to be?  What is your score?


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