Good Morning My Beloved,
Thank you for joining us today
It is my hope and prayer, that as we begin today's message
it's usefulness will have a significant impact in your life
one that would also greatly impact the lives of others
First let us pray..
Thank for You for Your saving grace
for the burden laid on the hearts of the ones who introduced us to Christ,
for those who had been planting the seeds of salvation,
Thank You for preparing our hearts to receive Your Word
and for Your willingness to receive us, we are eternally grateful
We ask that you reveal to us those opportunities in the lives of others
Lay a heavy burden on our hearts the people we should talk to.
Convict us to call them, to write them, to see them.
That we might be filled with the joy
the joy of turning a sinner from death to life.
Thank You and give You praise, for giving us the honor and privilege
of sharing what we have found with others, that we may prompt others to be saved
and turn even one soul from death to life
Lord, seal Your Word in our hearts
and as we hear the still small voice of Your Holy Spirit
whispering to us, prompt us to obedience
and call us to be faithful
All for Your glory
In Jesus' name we ask and pray
Today's Message: Soul Winning In Today's World
"Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him."
The last time we were together, I spoke about having a clear vision in a confused world.
For some time, the Holy Spirit has been calling me to address several heavy topics.
And though I might prefer to speak on other things, I am called to listen to Him..
Today, I am being led to talk about soul winning!
So, I'll just set aside, the prepared message I had for this morning, trusting the Holy Spirit, to take over, and as always, use me as His vessel speaking His Words through me.
Every day, I am speaking the Word of God, and I realize, sometimes, I may become...
a little excited, as some have stated, in doing so. In my younger days, some called it 'pushy.'
But when you know how much you love someone, how much God loves them, and you also know the path on which they are headed... I suppose, I do, at times, become excited sharing the message of the Gospel.
In fact, this is the commission of the church.
This is the mandate of all who profess to be Christians.
This ought to be the life blood of every Apostolic believer.
And it is something I am quite passionate about, there is something within me, at the core of my being, it's in my blood I suppose, a part of my soul.
And admittedly, I become particularly passionate, about the Gospels about saving souls from certain death.
"But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.
Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.
My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins."
There are times, when I am a little unsettled as to what specifically the Lord is directing me to teach exactly how He wants me to go about it, however, this is not, one of those times. I feel as though I have a clear, very specific direction.
Let's get to it shall we?
This epistle from James, as I am sure many of you know, is an evangelistic epistle.
The last two verses are a fitting conclusion to this beautiful epistle because they express the objective of James’ entire letter. Which is intended to convert the sinner from the error of his way, to save his soul from death, and to cover his sin in forgiveness.
This epistle is directed at a person within the assembly of the church; who outwardly names the name of Christ, but inwardly is lost; who has a form of godliness, to put it in the apostle Paul’s terms, but no reality, no power. Our brother James wants to be sure that no one is deceived about their salvation.
Beloved, when we begin sharing the message of the Gospel, our personal witness and testimony,
we must also realize what is at stake; the destiny of the souls of men. We are literally representing Jesus Christ!
When we lose that desire, that passion, within ourselves, that drive, we basically lose what it is that we once had a passion for, Jesus Christ. I don't believe that it was by accident that Jesus chose mostly fishermen to be His disciples. When Jesus said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." He was in effect saying, "Your motivation and expertise in fishing are exactly what I am looking for in a new kind of fishing industry, fishing for lost souls. Just follow me and pretty soon you will be winning souls to the Kingdom."
It worth mentioning, that Jesus did not just send them out to be fishers of men the next day...but Jesus said follow me and I will make you fishers of men...Jesus was developing a "want to" attitude, a desire to fish for men, in their hearts! Before Jesus could ever show them how to fish for men, He had to instill a desire in their hearts for souls!
James' epistle is written much like John’s epistle, which was to confront the assembly of professing Christians and call them to examine their profession to see if it’s a real faith or a dead faith, producing nothing.
Jesus Himself first prompted this in Matthew chapter 7, when He said, "Many will say unto Me, in that day, 'Lord, Lord,' and I will then profess unto them, 'Depart from Me, I never knew you." And with that, the Lord Jesus Christ introduced the thought that there will be people who will name His name, preach His message; who will even, in His name, do wonderful things but will not be genuine Christians.
It's certainly possible to do all the right things, but for all the wrong reasons. We see a great deal of the today, especially in the secular world. It seems many today has some sort of 'hidden personal agenda.'
James is writing, almost echoing the thoughts of our Lord and Savior to call for a genuine, real, living, saving faith. He faced the same frightening realities, we face today, that there are those who outwardly seem to respond, but no transformation of heart ever takes place.
James is essentially pointing out, that the tares are mingled within the wheat. The false Christians are sown in the same church as the true believers.
The way in which we respond to the Word of God is a test of what we believe, a true test of our faith. Are we proud or humble? What type of speech comes from our mouths? Are we more concerned with self, or obeying Christ? Do we claim the credit for our accomplishments, or give the glory to God, where it belongs?
Beloved, if we want to win souls for Christ, the want to has to be there before we get to the how to! Jesus has called each and every one of us to be fishers of men...but we will never be able to make that happen unless that desire is renewed in our hearts! We must be transformed from the inside out! It has to become a passion...in order to become a significant factor in our lives!
One thing I can tell you, is that winning souls for Christ is contagious!
Just hang out with some people who truly love sharing the offer of salvation, and believe me, it will rub off on you. Witnessing, 'soul winning', telling people about Jesus is contagious...it is addicting!
James, at the heart of his epistle, extended an offer of salvation, in chapter 4,
"Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you."
James is crying out with an evangelistic invitation,
"Submit therefore to God". And if you’ve taken the test and failed, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you."
He is calling for real salvation, to humble yourselves and bow your knee to Christ, genuine salvation! His epistle is clear-cut; it’s evangelistic. It calls for salvation and self-examination.
James closes his letter, in chapter 5, with another evangelistic call to salvation, much like in chapter 4:6-10, but this time, it is not for the unsaved, it's for the church! Calling on the church to pursue the unsaved.
Did any of you happen to catch that?
"My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins."
James uses the term "Brethren", it is repeated many, many times, over and over throughout his epistle. He uses it for his bothers in the flesh, the Jews. He uses it for those who are his brothers in Christ. James use of the word "Brethren," is used in a general sense. “You who are my brethren in terms of our common heritage nationally; you who are my brethren in that you also name the name of Christ.”
But within the context of his letter, the use of this word, certainly doesn’t imply that there aren’t necessarily some within that term brethren who are not genuine. It most certainly doesn’t eliminate the reality that some of the brothers are only brothers outwardly and not at heart.
While many assume, he is speaking exclusively to Christians, I believe what James is focusing on here, are those who are of genuine faith, to pursue the unsaved, to go out and turn back the hearts of the false to true faith. And to also draw them closer, into an intimate circle. If you notice, with each use of the word, there is an indication of a break in thought.
In chapter 5, verses 13-19 James also uses the phrase, "If any among you.." several times.
He is speaking to those who suffer, and tells them to pray. Then again, "If any among you.." he is speaking to those who are weary, weak in persecution and distress, the believer who needs spiritual strength and calls upon the elders to care for them, infuse through the prayers of righteous men.
And then, in verse 19, he calls to those who are, "less than genuine," in their faith, to come to Christ, in true faith.
Each ending is of a sort of a final instruction, "We care for ourselves," "We care for the weak, " We care for those who are lost." He is calling upon his readers, to pursue those who have "failed the test."
Sometime ago, I read the story of the missionaries Bennie and Theresa DeMerchant. It's called,
"Full Throttle". In his book, he book tells story after story of how they were able to win souls to the Kingdom in the dense forests of the Amazon Basin.
When the DeMerchants arrived in the Amazon Basin in 1965, there was not even one person who knew anything about this Gospel message. As of several years ago, there are over 650 churches...not people but churches, and there are over 40,000 saints as a result of their original ministry!
At last count, they had also started 35 Bible schools in the area!
If you ever get a chance to read this book, I believe it will change your life...I have to tell you this is one of the most moving books I believe, that I have ever read.
Bennie went through two airplanes and dozens of engines flying up and down the mightiest river in the world, spreading this Gospel to thousands of people who were unreachable by any means other than Bennie's Cessna Float Plane.
He survived numerous plane crashes, escaped from wild Indians, survived sickness, struggled with the death of his only son at sixteen years old. Yet through it all, he kept winning souls to the Kingdom of God!
In the course of reading this book I laughed, I cried, and I also got down on my knees and repented asking for forgiveness, for all of those times that I could have been a witness, but I wasn't. For those times when I could have done even more, but I chose not to. When I got up I literally thanked the Lord, out loud, that I was still young enough to go out and do better than I ever have in the past!
And that desire is getting ever stronger every day!
It was at that moment, I knew I wanted to win souls for Christ! When I finished his book, I thought to myself, this man, is going to fill up the Kingdom of God, and I, likely couldn't fill a shack with the souls I have won for the Kingdom! I was upset with myself, what a lousy work I had done for God.
My heart was burdened and I vowed then and there, to win as many souls as I possibly can for God's Kingdom. As I have stated over the years, there truly is a heavy burden placed upon my heart, for the souls of the lost.
The fact is, people stray from the truth. That's why Jesus said in John 8:31, "So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;" Straying from the truth, is not a characteristic of a true follower of Jesus Christ, a true Christian. A true Christian is never going to reject the truth of the gospel. While they may fall into temptation, even into iniquity, maybe even in disobedience to the Gospel, but they will never stray from the saving truth of the Gospel Jesus Christ, or of their salvation, and will certainly never speak against the Word of God. They will never claim, that Jesus is not God, they will never blaspheme the Holy Spirit! There are just some things a true Christian, will never do!
Like me, I'm sure you hear many stories, exciting missionary stories, from far away and foreign lands and probably wonder as I often do, why it is just not happening here in America?
I have only been able to come up with one answer for that...We don't have the want to here in the United States of America... Why do the people here, have no regard for the message of the Gospel, yet the poor, impoverished countries are begging for it? They are even willing to lose their lives, before they will lose what they have found. Yet, here, we fail to appreciate, the freedom to attend church, we'd rather hang out at happy hour, spending the hard earned money we just worked for, all the while complaining we cannot pay our bills? Does that even make any sense to you?
We'll drive expensive cars, and buy clothes, to impress people we could care less about. People that we don't even know!
In this great nation, of ours;
There are too many distractions.
We are just too busy, consumed with our own wants, our own lives.
We are constantly pursuing wealth.
We are caught up in materialism.
We are self-centered, self serving. Narcissistic, if you will.
It's all about Me, Me, Me!
If Jesus promised to make His followers fishers of men, it raises the question whether those who choose not to win souls are closely following their Master.
Yes, I just said that! And, I meant every word.
If you are more concerned with your own needs, wants and desires
than you are the lost souls of this world, the needs of the poor, there could be a serious problem with your faith... If you are just too tired to do the work of Christ, but suddenly 'perk right up' to join your friends at the club, you may want to re-evaluate your faith!
So, I'll ask the question again; If Jesus promised to make His followers fishers of men, and He did, it and you are choosing not to win souls, just how closely are you walking with Christ?
There are many people who claim the name of Christ; they claim to believe, they claim to have faith, yet they wander away and choose to live a lifestyle in defiance to what the Lord has said. What we have is a nation of people who refuse to walk in obedience to God, and they go off and live a lifestyle that is repugnant and contradictory to the Word of God.
Beloved, are we not called to "share the good news," with sinners?
Have we not a responsibility to share the message of the Gospel?
I find it interesting, the term “sinner” is used, listen to this, only of the unregenerate.
It is used in Scripture only of a hardened unbeliever, one who openly, defiantly disregards the law of God and ignores His standards of morality.
"How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers."
Beloved, we have the greatest truth that this world could ever have!
We have everything that we need to get this Gospel out to our community. Yet this church and this pastor cannot make anybody win souls.
You can come to church every Sunday, but unless you do something with what you heave heard, what you have learned by applying to your own life, by sharing it with others, nothing happens!
Simply coming to church, never caught any fish...it isn't until we start hanging out with a fisherman that we start to catch some fish...
And that is why Jesus said to His disciples, and He is saying to all of here today,
"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men!"
So what then is our goal?
To share the Gospel, to convert people, turning them from sin, in order that they may be saved, and in being saved, their sins will be, as ours were, forgiven...
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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