Soul winning involves a holy, God-given quest – a search for a precious soul.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing all right? Well, I still have a little gravel in my voice, but by the time you hear this, I will have been fully recovered and you don’t have to worry. [chuckle] There’s one good thing about a delay between the actual making of these broadcast tapes and their airing. If I happen to be a little off color, physically, you don’t have to worry because by the time you hear it, I’ll either be better or dead. [laughter] Isn’t that awful? To be back with you. Really, I look forward to these times when I can share from God’s Word. The essence, I think, of Christian fellowship is not just what we do when we get together as Christians; the essence of Christian fellowship is sharing our blessed Lord and His eternal Word, isn’t it? He is worth getting excited about. And that brings me, then, to what we wanna talk about today in John’s Gospel, chapter 1, beginning with verse 40. I want to ask and maybe answer at least in part the question: What happens? How soul winning really works. How does soul winning really work?
“One of the two,” this is verse 40, “One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and said unto him, ‘We have found the Messiah!’ Which is, being interpreted, ‘the Christ.’ And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, He said, ‘Thou art Simon, the son of Jonah. Thou shalt be called Cephas, which means a stone. The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, ‘Follow me.’ Now, Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. And Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, ‘We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ And Nathanael said unto him, ‘Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?’ Philip sad unto him, ‘Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of Him, ‘Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.'”
“Nathanael said unto Him, ‘Whence knowest thou me?’ Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Before Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.’ Nathanael answered and saith unto Him, ‘Rabbi, thou art the Son of God. Thou art the King of Israel.’ Jesus answered, ‘Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree. Because I said that, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these. Verily I say unto you, hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.'”
I read that whole passage because it sort of hangs together and I wanted you to get the package of it in your mind. “One of the two, who heard John speak when he said, ‘Behold the lamb of God.’ One of the two who said, ‘Rabbi, where do you live?’ And He said, ‘Come and see,’ and they came and stayed with Him that day because it was about four in the afternoon.” It said, “One of those was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother, Simon, and said, ‘We have found the Messiah,’ which is being interpreted ‘the Christ.'” I want you to notice the fact that that there’s a certain verb repeated here, verse 41, “He findeth his own brother, Simon.” He had to go look for him. Verse 43, “Jesus went forth and findeth Philip.” He was looking for him. Verse 45, “Philip findeth Nathanael.” He went looking for him. Does it say anything to you? Soul winning involves a quest. Soul winning is not a proselytizing activity. Soul winning is not going after getting new church members. Soul winning involves a holy, God-given quest, a search for a precious soul. You get that point of view, and it’ll change your relationship with people entirely.
“Andrew first findeth his own brother Simon.” Had to go looking for him, but he found him. Now, this expression occurs in other parts of the Gospel. I’m thinking momentarily now of John 9. Let me look and see if I’m correct about this. “The rulers of the temple and the synagogue threw out this man who had been healed,” the man who had been born blind. “They threw him out because he looked them in the eye and said, ‘Well, how can He be so bad if He restored my sight? You can’t do that.'” Now, verse 35 of John 9. “Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and when He had found him, He said unto him, ‘Dost thou believe on the Son of God?’ He said, ‘Who is He, Lord, that I might believe?’ Jesus said, ‘You’ve seen Him and talked with Him.’ He said, “Lord, I believe,’ and he worshipped Him.” He found Him, he went looking for Him.
John 4. “The Father seeketh a certain kind of people to worship Him. They that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” Jesus said, “And the father seeketh such to worship Him.” Our Lord Jesus said of Himself, “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” ‘Seek’ means go look for it. Does that say anything to you? It ought to. It ought to say to me and to you, that we’d better be on the look-out for people with whom we can share our blessed Lord. We ought to be looking for people, not just waiting for something to happen. Some of you who listen to me are expert salesmen. I know that because you’ve written to me. Now, a salesman doesn’t sit in the office and wait for the business to come in over the transom, does he? No. He or she, ’cause there are some lady salesman too, a sales person does not sit around waiting for business to happen, rather that individual will go out and look for it. Well, soul winning certainly is something far, far more than selling. But, beloved, it seems to me that these verbs that I pointed out to you, verbs that indicate that somebody was looking for somebody else, it seems to me that ought to talk to our hearts.
Do we care enough about other people who are lost to go looking for them, looking for a chance to win them to the Lord? Back in 1949, there were some criticism, I remember, of our brother Billy Graham, because he deliberately looked up some people who were then in show business. He had dinner with them, talked with them. And some of the modern-day Pharisees were chipping their dancers about that and saying, “He shouldn’t that. He’s compromising. Look who he’s eating with.” Strangely similar to the remarks they made about our Lord Himself, when they said, “This man eateth with sinners.” Well, our brother did that, I remember, because I’m old enough to have been around at that time. I remember that he deliberately looked up some of these folk who were out in the world and in show business, and was friendly to them, and ate dinner with them on some occasions. But you know what happened? They turned around and came to the crusade and some of them were brought to Christ. That’s a fact. I can give you a name and address on that one. Oh, I wonder if you’re looking for anybody to win to Christ. Something to think about, isn’t it? Yep, it is.
Now, soul winning oftentimes begins with the people you know best rather than with individuals who may be half a world away. It’s very easy to pray for ‘the heathen.’ That’s an umbrella term that includes millions of people whom you do not know and never will know, who may be lost. Easy to pray for the lost, the lost. That includes the millions who don’t know the Lord. But it’s far different to pray, “Lord help me win my brother, my sister, my parents, my child, my husband, my wife.” Different, isn’t it? He said, “He first findeth his own brother, Simon.” Now, probably the hardest assignment you’ll ever face is to get through with the Gospel message to somebody who knows you so well. They know what irritates you, they know when you’re apt to wake up grouchy. They know when you’re apt to forget to put the cap on the toothpaste tube. They know all of your little idiosyncrasies. My father used to call them ‘idiosyn-crazies.’ [chuckle] Your family members know you pretty well, don’t they? Yes, they do. So when you try to preach to them, they turn you off and say, “Oh, don’t preach to me.” Well, what do you do about it?
You do what Andrew did. He said, “I’ve found somebody.” Instead of preaching, he shared. You pray about that and God is going to help you share your Savior with the people who know you best. You do it by the life you live, you do it by the excitement you have about the Lord, you do it about lovingly inviting them to try for themselves who and what He is. We have found the Messiah. Enthusiastic, excited, sharing of a person. He first findeth his own brother. Have you ever invited any of your loved ones, those who are unsaved? Have you ever invited any of them to find out how wonderful your Lord is? Soul winning. Soul winning involves a quest. That’s the first thing we said. Soul winning involves sharing a person. We have found Him. A person, not a doctrine, a person, not converts sharing a person. The Lord Jesus Christ.
Dear Father, today, may we share Jesus with people. I ask you in his name. Amen. ‘Til I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing.
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