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Soul Winning for Jesus

When Paul returned to Ephesus after he had left Aquilla and Priscila there a few months earlier, he found certain disciples that he felt compelled to question. Paul met them and asked, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They responded, “Nay, we did so much as hear whether the Holy Spirit was given.” Paul then asked, “Into whom then were you baptized?” They responded, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul then said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe on him that should come after him, that is, on Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:1-4). As the forerunner of Jesus, John came to prepare the way for Him, and he made clear to his disciples that they were to accept and follow Jesus when He did come.

After John had baptized Jesus, he continued to preach and make disciples, giving them the same instructions he had been giving all along. Thus, one day he stood with two of his disciples and, seeing Jesus approaching them, said, “Behold the Lamb of God” (Jn. 1:25). When his two disciples heard him, they followed Jesus, one of whom was Andrew and the other, although not named, is presumed to be John, the writer of the gospel and brother of James. When they approached Jesus and He perceived who they were, He asked them, “What seek ye?” They replied, “Rabbi, where abidest thou?” Jesus said, “Come, and ye shall see.” They did and spent the remainder of that day with Him. The balance of John 1 deals with the reaction of these two to the teaching of Jesus and their subsequent soul-winning.

The time Andrew spent with Jesus satisfied him that Jesus was the Messiah. Andrew had heard John’s testimony that Jesus was the Messiah and an afternoon with Jesus convinced Andrew that John’s testimony was true. Just like the people of Samaria who were introduced to Jesus by the testimony of a woman Jesus had engaged in conversation at Jacob’s well who said, “Come, see a man who told me all things that ever I did. Can this be the Messiah” (John 4:28-29), the people had come and heard Jesus. Jesus was invited by them to stay and teach them, and He did for a couple of days. After hearing Jesus, the people said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of thy speaking: for we have heard for ourselves and know that this indeed is the Savior of the world” (Jn. 4:41-42). They were personally convinced Jesus was the Messiah they had heard was coming. The same was true with Andrew. He had heard who Jesus was, but his time spent with Jesus led him to have his own personal conviction about Him.

It is true that unbelieving mates can be led to Christ by the godly behavior of their companions: Christians are to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Mt. 5:13-14). But no one can be saved solely on the faith of someone else. Someone’s salvation comes when that person is convinced that the claims he has heard are true. The noble confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God must be made and believed by anyone coming to Christ who wishes to be saved. 

When I start to teach another, I must have a genuine conviction that which I am teaching is the absolute truth. When Andrew was convinced that Jesus was the Christ, it was then that he looked for his brother Peter to share with him the good news about Jesus. My love for my brother should lead me to want to see him saved and to have a glorious hope of heaven. But if I am not really convinced that there is real consequence to sin; that there is true pardon in the blood of Christ; that there is a judgment coming and an eternal habitation with an eternal God for the faithful believer, I will not have much motivation to reach out to others. That is why it is so necessary that I truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God for me to be an effective winner of souls.

As it was with Andrew, soul-winning should start with family but not stop there. Jesus found Philip and said, “Follow me.” But Philip had a friend named Nathaniel whom he also cared about and so he told him, “We have found him, of whom Moses and the prophets, wrote, Jesus of Nazareth” (Jn. 1:45). Sometimes  that friend may be reluctant because of his preconceived notions or negative comments he has heard. Nathaniel had little respect for inhabitants of Nazareth and in his reluctance asked Philip, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip responded, “Come and see.” Because Jesus is truly the Messiah, examining His claims should lead that seeker to Christ. Of course, we haven’t today the opportunity for a personal encounter with Jesus as Nathaniel had, but the claims of Jesus are sufficiently documented that we can, by examining what He taught and what He did, determine whether His claims are true or not.

How badly are soul seekers needed today! So set about to be a soul seeker for Jesus. Study His claims. Ponder His miracles and when you do, your abiding conviction that Jesus is the Son of God will be a prodding factor to cause you to seek the lost. The world lies in the hand of the wicked one. We know not how long until the Lord will bring an end to it. But while it remains and we live, let us earnestly seek to do what Jesus urged: “We must work the works of him that sent me while it is day. The night cometh when no man can work” (Jn. 9:4).

Jim McDonald

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