When Jesus Went Soul-Winning
Today we’re going to look at when Jesus went soul-winning, when he preached the gospel to the lost, and we’re going to analyze the techniques that Jesus used, so that we can use those same techniques, when we go soul-winning.
Now most of the mentions, in Scripture, of Jesus preaching the gospel to people, are brief. However there are four times when the Bible does record indepth, back and forth interactions between Jesus, and the people that he was trying to soul-win. And so we’re going to look at those four times, in particular, and see what we can glean from them.
Turn to John chapter 3, and let’s start with when Jesus preached the gospel to Nicodemus. So John chapter 3, starting at verses 1 and 2:
“1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
“2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”
The miracles that Jesus did testified as to who he is. Miracles are actually the work of the Holy Ghost, testifying, or proving, the truth of the Godhead. When Jesus performed miracles, it was the Holy Ghost proving that Jesus is the Son of God. John 2:11 says, about Jesus turning water into wine, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.”
Now, unlike the disciples, Nicodemus didn’t believe on Jesus yet. But at least he acknowledged that the miracles Jesus performed were proof that God was with him. Because many of the other Pharisees actually blasphemed the Holy Ghost and said that Jesus worked miracles by the power of Satan (Mt 12:24). Blaspheming the Holy Ghost is when you consciously deny the miraculous work of the Holy Ghost, and attribute that work to something else. So at least Nicodemus didn’t do that. Nicodemus did the opposite: he acknowledged that no one could do the miracales that Jesus did unless God were with him.
And so if you’re dealing with a modern-day Nicodemus, if you’re preaching the gospel to someone who at least admits that God was with Jesus, you know there’s a chance that the person you’re dealing with can get saved, because at least he’s not denying the work of the Holy Ghost.
But the problem with Nicodemus was that he didn’t go far enough. He didn’t understand the fullness of who Jesus is. Nicodemus thought that Jesus was just a man. If you notice, in John 3:2, he called Jesus a “rabbi,” a “teacher,” and a “man”; he said: “… Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”
Acknowledging that God was with Jesus was a start, but Nicodeus needed to go further; he needed to acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, that Jesus is God himself. And then Nicodemus needed to put his faith on Jesus for salvation.
And in order for all that to happen, Nicodemus had to be born-again. Nicodemus had gone about as far as his intellect could take him, and so now he needed a spiritual rebirth in order to understand who Jesus really is.
And that’s why, as soon as Nicodemus said that Jesus was just a teacher, Jesus responded by telling him, Except a man be born-again, he cannot see the kingdom of God, that’s in John 3:3. Jesus knew that Nicodemus was still seeing things through his intellect alone. And so Jesus didn’t waste any time telling Nicodemus that he had to be born-again.
When we go soul-winning and run into someone who acknowledges that Jesus was a man of God, but doesn’t acknowledge that Jesus is God, we can figure that we’re probably dealing with a modern-day Nicodemus.
A lot of today’s Christian cults, and false religions acknowledge that Jesus was a teacher, or a prophet, or some kind of godly man, but they don’t acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, with a capital “S”. Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and even Muslims, and some modern-day Jews fall into this category of people who acknowledge that Jesus was someone, without acknowledging that Jesus is THE One.
I grew up Jewish, whatever that term actually means today, and when I was about 10, there was a boy in the neighborhood that I used to play with, who was a Christian, and he would tell me about Jesus. I was confused by what he told me, and so I asked my mother, “Who is Jesus?” And she said to me, “We believe that Jesus was a great teacher.” And, sadly, that answer satisfied me for the rest of my childhood, and into my early twenties, until another friend preached the gospel to me, and I was born-again.
The thing is, before you put your faith on Jesus and are born-again, you can’t really see the truth about Jesus. And so when we run into secular Jews, like I was, or Mormons, or Jehovah Witnesses, etc., we need to understand that they need to be born-again. Acknowledging that God was with Jesus is not enough. Acknowledging that Jesus was a great teacher is not enough. They need to acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ. And, in order for that to happen, they need to be born-again.
As Pastor Yaghtin has pointed out, churches today don’t emphasize the need to be born-again, the way that churches used to, say 10, 20 years ago. And we need to get back to emphasizing this important teaching. Because, hey, Jesus himself emphasized it when he preached the gospel to Nicodemus.
And, so, what does it mean to be born-again? Well, let’s look at how Jesus answered that question, when Nicodemus asked it. Look at John chapter 3, starting at verse 4:
“4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
“5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
“6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
Now everyone that you share the gospel with has already been born the first time, they’ve already been born physically. When we’re in our mother’s womb, we’re completely submerged in water, and so when we’re born, physically, we’re literally born of water. And that’s why Jesus used the phrases “born of water” and “born of the flesh” interchangeably.
But in order to see, and enter into the kingdom of God, there needs to be a second birth, a spiritual birth; and that’s what Jesus was talking about when he said, That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
When we go soul-winning, it’s interesting to see people’s reactions when we tell them that they need to be born-again. There’s usually a confused look in their eyes, and you can tell that they don’t understand what you’re talking about- but, at the same time, they’re intrigued by the idea. It’s good to let the unbeliever know that there’s a step he needs to take that he hasn’t taken yet. And that it’s a spiritual step, and not just one of intellectual assent.
But after Jesus explained to Nicodemus that being born-again meant a spiritual rebirth, unfortunately, Nicodemus still didn’t get it. In verse 9, Nicodemus responded by asking, “How can these things be?” And so, in verse 11, Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Ye receive not our witness,” and in verse 12, he said to Nicodemus, “Ye believe not.” And so here we see the reason why Nicodemus didn’t understand the concept of being born-again; it was because Nicodemus hadn’t truly received the witness of Jesus yet, it was because Nicodemus hadn’t believed on Jesus yet.
A person becomes born-again by believing on Jesus, by putting their faith on him for salvation. If you want to help someone be born-again, you gotta preach the gospel to them. And so the very next thing that Jesus did, with Nicodemus, was preach the gospel to him. Starting at verse 13, Jesus said to him: “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:13-15).
So Jesus told Nicodemus that Jesus himself is the Son of man, with a capital “S”! Jesus is not just a man- he is the Christ!
And then Jesus told Nicodemus that whoever believes in him gets eternal life. And Jesus culminated his gospel presentation with what has become the most famous verse of the Bible, John 3:16 (and don’t you wish you could’ve been there to here Jesus preach John 3:16 in person): “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If we go knocking on someone’s door, and they tell us that they don’t have time to hear the gospel, I try to leave them with one verse before we go, and John 3:16’s that verse. John 3:16 encapsulates the gospel. And it’s also important that the unbeliever know that it’s God’s love for them that motivated him to sacrifice his Son to save them.
Unbelievers sometimes accuse God of being a tyrant who condemns those who don’t believe on his Son. But that’s not the right perspective. God sending Jesus exemplifies God’s love for the unbeliever; because unbelievers are already condemned by their sins; and so God sent Jesus to save them from that condemnation that they already earned. John 3:17 reads: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” The one act that definitively defines “love,” in the history of the world, is God sacrificing his own Son to save sinners. Romans 5:8 says: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” And Romans 5:10 says: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. ” God sent Jesus to die for sinners, God sent Jesus to die for God’s enemies. That’s love! Who else sacrifices everything in order to save his enemies? Only God does something like that. And so, when we share the gospel, we’ve got to emphasize God’s love for the unbeliever. You know, you can almost hear the emotion in Jesus’ voice when he told Nicodemus, “For God so loved the world …”
. . . speaking of Nicodemus, why didn’t he believe, right then and there? Was it because Jesus’ gospel presentation wasn’t clear enough? Was John 3:16 not clear enough?… um, no, that wasn’t the issue… Based on what Jesus said next, the reason Nicodemus didn’t believe was because of Nicodemus’ love for sin. Look at John 3:18-19:
“18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
“19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
In order to put your faith on Jesus to save you from the punishment for your sins, you have to first admit that you are a sinner, and that you deserve punishment for your sins. And Jesus indicated that Nicodemus didn’t believe on him yet because Nicodemus loved darkness, rather than light; Nicodemus loved sinning, rather than admitting that he was a sinner who needed the Savior. As Jesus said in the next verse: “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (Jn 3:20).
And it’s interesting that Nicodemus came to Jesus literally under a cloak of darkness. Remember, John 3:2 said that Nicodemus, “came to Jesus by night.” And the other mentions of Nicodemus also refer to him as he that came to Jesus by night. Probably Nicodemus didn’t want the other Pharisees to find out that he was talking to Jesus, and that may have been part of why Nicodemus came to Jesus by night. But Jesus used the literal darkness, that Nicodemus was hiding in, to illustrate a spiritual truth: that Nicodemus hadn’t believed on him yet because he loved living in the spiritual darkness of his sins.
And so, when we run into modern-day Nicodemuses, those who admit that Jesus was a godly man, but stop there, and refuse to put their faith on Jesus as the Son of God- know that the reason they won’t believe on Jesus isn’t necessarily because you’re gospel presentation wasn’t good enough. The reason they won’t believe on Jesus is because they love darkness more than light. They love their sins more than Jesus. And, you know what, it’s Ok to call them out on that. Because that might be exactly what they need to hear, in order to repent of their unbelief, and put their faith on Jesus.
And so that’s the end of Jesus’ gospel presentation to Nicodemus. But I don’t think Nicodemus’ story ends on this dark note. Now the Bible doesn’t say for sure, but it does seem to indicate that Nicodemus got saved. The other two mentions of Nicodemus are in John chapters 7 and 19. Let’s look at those. Turn to John 7, starting at verse 44:
“44 And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.
“45 Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?
“46 The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.
“47 Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived?
“48 Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?
“49 But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.
“50 Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)
“51 Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?
“52 They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.
“53 And every man went unto his own house.”
I think it’s kind of funny how the Pharisees asked, Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? because, of course, they thought the answer was, No. But then Nicodemus spoke up in Jesus’ defense, saying, Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?
It’s subtle, but I think John, the gospel writer, was indirectly saying that Nicodemus did believe on Jesus, and that’s why Nicodemus’ defense of Jesus followed immediately after the question, Have any of the Pharisees believed on him?
And this same implication of faith can be seen in the other mention of Nicodemus; turn to John chapter 19, starting at verse 38:
“38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
“39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
“40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.”
So note that, in verse 38, it talked about Joseph of Arimathaea being a secret disciple of Jesus, secretly because he feared the Jews, and then who does John write about next? Nicodemus. So it’s implied, in both John chapter 7, and here in chapter 19, that Nicodemus believed on Jesus, but just hadn’t gone completely public about it.
And note, also, that Nicodemus was no longer hiding in the dark of night. In John chapter 7, Nicodemus openly defended Jesus, among the other Pharisees, and even got ridiculed for it. And then, in John 19, Nicodemus openly came to help bury Jesus’ body; and he brought with him a hundred pounds of burial spices, that must’ve been expensive, and he must’ve had servants helping him carry it, so he wasn’t being subtle about his actions.
Nicodemus was no longer hiding the fact that he cared about Jesus. And his public defense of Jesus, and his love offering at Jesus’ burial, were forever recorded in the Gospel of John. I think Nicodemus got saved. You know, it’s hard to imagine that the first time John 3:16 was preached, it didn’t end up saving the person it was preached to.
But we just don’t know for sure. And that’s another thing that we have to deal with in our own soul-winning: we don’t always know if the person we preached to got saved or not. Sometimes it’s obvious: you can tell that they understand the gospel, and they pray with you, and then they get this big smile on their face… But other times it’s not so obvious. Especially if they listen to your whole gospel presentation, but then decline to pray afterwards, and officially ask Jesus for salvation.
I remember one time Pastor Yaghtin stopped a teenage boy walking down the sidewalk and preached the gospel to him. The boy didn’t consider himself to be religious, but he had a Catholic grandmother who was always telling him about that, false, works-based religion. And so Pastor Yaghtin clearly explained to him that salvation is just by faith on Jesus, and not by works. And, you know, the kid got it! There was a glint in his eye, and he acknowledged that yeah it really was easy to get saved. I mean, you could just tell that he got it.
But the boy wouldn’t pray the prayer with us, he wouldn’t officially call out to Jesus for salvation. And so we encouraged him to do so on his own. But, afterwards, we still thought that he probably did get saved, because it just seemed like there was a change in him… but we weren’t 100% sure either way.
And, you know, that’s Ok. Our job is to just preach the gospel, and let God do the rest. But I think, and I pray, that that boy got saved. And I think that Nicodemus got saved too. And, you know, I’m expecting to see both that boy, and Nicodemus in heaven, and, when I see them there, I’m going to rejoice with them!
But if you want an example of someone definitely getting saved when Jesus went soul-winning, turn to John chapter 4, where Jesus preached the gospel to the Samaritan woman.
Let’s start at verse 6: “6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.
“7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
“8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
“9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.”
So Jesus started out by breaking the racial divide between him and the Samaritan woman. He showed kindness to her by asking her for a drink. Jesus wanted to make it clear that he didn’t consider the woman to be untouchable, as other Jews might have. It’s funny, you don’t think of asking someone to serve you as a kindness, but in this case it was. And this simple act of kindness opened the door for him to share the gospel.
And note again that Jesus used his circumstances and his surroundings to help him soul-win. He was weary, there was a well, there was an unbeliever coming to the well to draw water. And Jesus used all these things as tools by which to preach the gospel. And, you know, It may be that God also gives us tools, within our circumstances and surroundings, that we can use to preach the gospel by.
And so Jesus went right into his gospel presentation; look at the next verse, John 4:10: “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”
So Jesus continued his object lesson, using the water, in the well before them, as a metaphor for the eternal life that Jesus was offerring her. And he let her know that all she had to do was ask for it, just like he had asked her for physical water.
But, kinda like Nicodemus, she couldn’t quite see the spiritual implications of this conversaton yet. She was still viewing things from just the physical. Starting at verse 11, she said, “… Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?”
“12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
“13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
“14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Ok, so now Jesus told her that he wasn’t talking about physical water; rather, he was talking about eternal life- he was offering her eternal life. And, although she didn’t fully get it, she began to see that he was offerring her something special and supernatural, and so she asked him to give her this living water; just like Jesus told her to ask. Verse 15: “The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.”
You know, getting eternal life is so simple; all you have to do is ask for it; “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” -Romans 10:13. And when we go soul-winning, we should try to get this simple concept across to the people: that we’re offering them a free gift; and that all they have to do is be willing to receive it- all they have to do is ask for it!
And then, once the Samritan woman kinda understood this, and was willing to receive whatever it was that Jesus was offerring… Well, that’s when things got real! And that’s when Jesus said to her, starting at verse 16: “… Go, call thy husband, and come hither.
“17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:
“18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.”
Whoah, where did that come from? Why did Jesus start talking about her sins?… Jesus had just offerred her eternal life, and although she might not have fully understood what he was offerring her, she asked him to give it to her anyway. And so then Jesus started talking about her sinful lifestyle? Wasn’t Jesus worried about offending her? Why bring up her sins?
Well, again, you can’t put your faith on Jesus to save you from the punishment for your sins, unless you first admit that you are a sinner who deserves said punishment.
Being God, Jesus knew everything about the Samaritan woman. And he exposed her sins right then and there. Likewise, when we go soul-winning, we always hit them with Romans 3:10 and 3:23: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one … For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” An essential prerequisite to getting saved is understanding that you’re a sinner who needs a Savior.
And God’s word reveals man’s sinfulness. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any towedged sword, peircing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the hearts.” -Hebrews 4:12
We’re sinners, and God knows it, and God’s word reveals our sin. The unbeliever needs to face his own sinfulness before he can get saved. The question is: will he admit that he’s a sinner, who needs Jesus to save him from the punishment for his sins? or will he pretend that he’s good enough on his own to make it to heaven, and pretend that he doesn’t need Jesus to save him?
Well the Samirtan woman did not get offended when Jesus revealed her sinfulness. And so, by implication, she was admitting that yes she was a sinner, when she admitted that what Jesus said about her was true. Verse 19: “The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.” Now she didn’t understand that Jesus was the Son of God, that he was the Savior of the world. But she did realize that he was at least a prophet, who could help her understand the things of God.
And so she asked him one of the big theological questions of her day; she wanted to know who was right, the Samaritans or the Jews, about where to worship God at? In verse 20, she said: “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”
Now when we’re soul-winning someone, our objective is to share the gospel, to give them a clear and complete gospel presentation. And often the person we’re talking with will try to go off on a rabbit trail, asking one of the tough theological questions of our day. You see, it’s easier for them to debate side issues, than it is for them to talk about their own need for salvation. So don’t let them get you off track. Give them a concise and truthful answer, to whatever rabbit trail question they ask, but then direct them right back to the gospel. Because, you see, that’s exactly what Jesus did; look at his response, starting at verse 21:
“21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
“22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
“23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
“24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
Jesus answered her tough theological question: the answer was that the Jews were right, and the Samaritans were wrong. But then Jesus brought her right back to the gospel, he told her about the New Covenant – about worshipping the Father in spirit and in truth – which can only be accomplished through faith on Jesus.
And then we see that the Samaritan woman was actually waiting for the Messiah; and maybe, indirectly, in verse 25, she might have been asking Jesus if he was the Messiah. Verse 25:
“25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
“26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.”
So there we have it. All that careful interaction: being kind to her, sharing the gospel with her, revealing her sinfulness and her need of a Savior. All that culminated in Jesus telling her that he is that Savior.
You know, it’s a good feeling when you’re able to give a complete gospel presentation to someone who’s genuinely listening to you. It’s often a challenge to get there: you’ve gotta broach the subject; you’ve gotta use creativity; you’ve gotta be led by the Spirit; you’ve gotta confront their sinfulness; and you’ve gotta be loving, all at the same time. But, man, it feels good to get it done! it feels good to present the gospel to someone. Our job, our mission in life is to share the gospel with the lost, and really there’s nothing more satisfying than doing it.
And what happened to the Samaritan woman, after Jesus presented the gospel to her? Well, she got saved! She believed him! We will see the Samaritan woman in heaven.
And what was the first thing she did? She went and preached the gospel herself! She went and told everyone in her city about Jesus. Read, starting at verse 28: “The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,
“29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?
“30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.”
You know, one of the cool things of going out soul-winning, and purposely trying to get someone saved, is that, when someone does get saved like that, they know, by your example, that they’re supposed to do the same thing- that they’re supposed to go and preach the gospel too.
And I like the Samaritan woman’s approach. She said to the people in her city, Come see this man, is not this the Christ?… If an unbeliever will just try Jesus out, so to speak: just open up the gospels, and just read them, and just see if Jesus is the Christ. If someone comes to Jesus with half an open heart, they’ll see that Jesus is indeed the Savior of the world. Verse 39 says that her preaching got a lot of people saved. And then, starting at verse 41, we see that many more people got saved after they listened to Jesus themselves; verses 41 and 42 read:
“41 And many more believed because of his own word;
“42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.”
And when we go soul-winning, and someone’s not willing to believe right then and there, we should challenge them to go home and to read the Gospel of John, and to pray and to ask Jesus if he is the Savior. Because, again, if someone will just do that: just seek Jesus with a degree of sincerity, they’ll have a good chance of getting saved.
I know someone, who’s a pastor now, who got saved, about 20 years ago, when he started reading the Bible in order to refute it! He had some friends that were trying to soul-win him, at the time, and so he thought he’d get some quotes from the Bible in order to show them how stupid the Bible is… But, after reading the gospels, he said, You know what, if any man is God, he would say exactly the same things that Jesus said… It’s important for us to quote the Bible directly, when we’re soul-winning, and to encourage unbelievers to read the Bible for themselves; because God’s sheep will recognize their Shepherd’s voice.
Now one of the really cool parts of John chapter 4 is what Jesus taught his disciples about soul-winning, after the Samaritan woman got saved.
When we go soul-winning, we usually go in pairs, or sometimes more. And it’s a great time of fellowship between the soul-winners themselves. It’s also a great opportunity for us to learn and grow; to learn from the Holy Spirit, to learn from the Bible verses that we’re sharing, and to learn from each other… It’s important to remember that soul-winning isn’t just about the people that we’re trying to save, it’s also about your soul-winning partner; about trying to edify and to bless them, while we’re preaching the gospel to others.
And Jesus used the saving of the Samaritan woman to teach his disciples a very important lesson about their mission in life, and about the satisfaction they get from doing it. Let’s start at verse 28 again:
“28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,
“29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?
“30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.
“31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.
“32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
“33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?
“34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”
First off, notice that the Samaritan woman was no longer thirsty; she forgot all about her purpose for going out to the well: to get water. Instead, she left her water pot there, and she went back into her city and preached the gospel. Jesus’ object lesson, to her, about satisfying her thirst forever, not only came true in the spiritual sense, but it came true physically, to a degree, as well; she forgot all about her physical thirst too.
And the same thing happened to Jesus. Before the Samaritan woman came, Jesus was wearied, and his disciples went into town to get him some food. But after she got saved, Jesus wasn’t hungry anymore… There’s such satisfaction in doing the work of God! It feels so right to preach the gospel and to get someone saved. It feels right even to preach it and not get people saved. But to be used by God to save someone is the best, most satisfying feeling there is.
Jesus said to his disciples, I have meat to eat that ye know not of, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me… We have a mission from God to preach the gospel to every creature. And that mission is our meat, it’s our food, it’s our purpose, it’s what we were saved to do, along with helping other believers grow. How sad it is when Christians don’t understand the importance of soul-winning in their lives. Because life has a lot less meaning, it’s a lot emptier for the Christian who doesn’t soul-win.
Now relational soul-winning, just preaching to your friends and co-workers, is very important. But there’s only so many opportunities you have with that. Going door-to-door soul-winning, or talking to people on the sidewalk, just reaching out to strangers and sharing the gospel with them, makes the Christian’s life so much more purposeful and so much more satisfying.
When I first got saved, I went to Protestant churches that didn’t purposely go out soul-winning. But when I joined the Baptist crowd, and was introduced to door-to-door soul-winning, it really gave a new-found mission to my life. Door-to-door soul-winning is so simple and yet so satisfying and important and it helps us get every other aspect of our lives more focused on God. If our mission in life is just to survive, or just to enjoy it, it’s a lot easier to get caught up in the things of this world, and to foolishly try and find our satisfaction in the things of this world. But when our mission is to soul-win, the things of this world start to fade, and we focus on the things of God instead.
And not only is it a more satisfying life to be a soul-winner, you also earn eternal rewards in heaven. Look what Jesus said, to his disciples, in verses 35 and 36:
“35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
“36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.”
Jesus wanted his disciples to view the people of the Samaritan woman’s city – who, at that time, were walking towards Jesus – Jesus wanted his disciples to view those people as the harvest. and Jesus wanted his disciples to view themselves as the harvesters. And Jesus said, He that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal… We receive wages for soul-winning: again, Jesus said, He that reapeth receiveth wages. Soul-Winning is our job, and we get paid for it, we get paid with eternal rewards in heaven. And we also get to enjoy the presence of those people, that we soul-win, in heaven, with us, forever.
But earning rewards in heaven, for soul-winning, and for doing good works, is another biblical truth that really isn’t being taught much at all today.
If someone offerred you a huge amount of money, say a million dollars, in exchange for a year of hard labor planting crops or something, you’d probably take up their offer without much hesitation… But how much more valuable are eternal rewards in heaven?! We can go out, any day, and start knocking on doors, and earn rewards that we’ll enjoy in heaven forever! That’s huge!… And, conversely, we can choose to not go soul-winning, and suffer the loss of rewards that we could’ve enjoyed forever… And that’s huge too.
Now soul-winning for rewards is not an evil motivation. Jesus told us to go soul-winning, in part, for the rewards that we get for doing it. Jesus said, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages… Ok, if Jesus told us that we get wages for soul-winning, then Jesus wants us to be motivated by those wages. We work secular jobs for wages, so why not work for the wages that Jesus wants to give us, too?
Turn to Matthew 6:19. Matthew 6, starting at verse 19. Here Jesus tells us to work for eternal rewards; he tells us to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven:
“19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
“20 But lay up for yoursleves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where theives do not break through nor steal:
“21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
If we’re consciously working for heavenly rewards, it will make our heart focus on heaven more, and on the things of God. Soul-Winning for rewards not only gets us said rewards, but it also causes us to live more godly lives right now. Because where our treasure is, there will our heart be also.
Proverbs 11:30 says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” And it’s companion verse, Daniel 12:3, says, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” Let me read those verses again, and I’ll read them together: The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
It’s wise to be a soul-winner. And the more souls you win, the more rewards you’ll get in heaven, the brighter you’ll shine in heaven, so to speak.
Now turn to John chapter 6, and let’s look at a time when Jesus performed a miracle in front of over 5000 people, preached the gospel to them, but then utterly failed to win any souls… Of course, it’s wrong of me to say that Jesus failed at anything. Jesus is God. And everything Jesus did, he did perfectly. But I just want you to understand that people aren’t always going to get saved when you go out soul-winning. They didn’t always get saved when Jesus went soul-winning. So don’t get discouraged. Our job is to just preach the gospel, either way. And even if no one gets saved, God’s word never returns void, it always accomplishes something. And you’ll see that at the end of this chapter.
Alright, so you’re in John chapter 6, now in verses 5-12 Jesus performed the miracle of feeding thousands of people with just a small amount of food. In verse 9 it says that they only had “five barley loaves, and two small fishes.” And verse 10 says that there were about 5000 men there. And then verse 11 says that the 5000 were miraculously able to eat, quote, “as much as they would,” from just that small amount of food.
And so clearly Jesus performed a miracle, proving that he is the Christ. And the 5000 pretty much knew that the miracle proved who Jesus was, or they at least knew that the miracle proved that Jesus was that “prophet” whom Moses said would come, one day, and rule. And you can see that the 5000 knew this, if you look at verses 14 and 15:
“14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
“15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.”
Alright, so they knew that Jesus was the Christ, or, at least, that prophet. Now flash foward to the next day; verse 22 says, “The day following …”, so we know it was the very next day. And the 5000 were looking for Jesus again, and they found him, starting at verse 25, which reads:
“25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?
“26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.”
So, right away, Jesus called them out in regards to their motivation for seeking him. They weren’t looking for Jesus for the right reasons. The miracle Jesus performed proved that he was the Christ, so they should’ve been looking for Jesus in order to believe on him, and to worship him. But, instead, they were looking for Jesus because they wanted more free food.
And so, next, Jesus preached the gospel to them; they needed to get saved. Starting at verse 27, Jesus said, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.”
So in a similar fashion to how Jesus soul-won the Samaritan woman, Jesus used the object at hand, or the subject at hand, as a metaphor for the gospel. The 5000 were seeking physical food, and so Jesus told them to, instead, seek for spiritual food – that they should seek for everlasting life – which Jesus was more than willing to give them!
But the 5000 didn’t get it. At all. They thought Jesus was asking them to do some kind of work for the food. Look at verse 28: “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?”
But, no, Jesus wasn’t telling them to do works. Jesus was telling him to just believe on him. And so he said it again, in verse 29: “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” The only quote, unquote – work – they had to do was believe on Jesus!
But the 5000 still didn’t get it. All they cared about was trying to get free food from Jesus. And so they tried another tactic to get the food. Look at verse 30:
“30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?
“31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
So they were like, You want us to believe on you? give us 40 years of free food, like Moses did, and then we’ll believe on you… Seriously guys? You had the Son of God right there before you, and all you cared about was getting free food from him?
And it’s so bitterly ironic that they asked Jesus for a sign that they might believe on him. Because the day before Jesus gave them a sign; he miraculously fed 5000 of them; and they knew that miraculous sign proved that he was the Christ! But they still didn’t believe on him. They didn’t put their faith on him for salvation. And so that goes to show that they wouldn’t have believed on him, even if he gave them another sign.
And so Jesus preached the gospel to them yet again. Still speaking metaphorically, of the bread that they were trying to get from him, Jesus said, in verse 32: “… Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
“33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
“34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.”
So, just as Jesus got the Samaritan woman to ask him for that living water, Jesus also got the 5000 to ask him for that heavenly bread that he was offering them.
And after they asked for that bread, Jesus let them know that he was actually talking about himself – that he is that heavenly bread – and that they needed to put their faith on him! Starting at verse 47, Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
“48 I am that bread of life.
“49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
“50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
“51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
You know, Jesus’ gospel presentation to the 5000 was very similar to his gospel presentation to the Samaritan woman. But, unlike the Samaritan woman, apparently, none of the 5000 got saved. At least, John’s gospel doesn’t record any of them got saved. This shows that you can preach the same gospel to different people and get different results. The 5000 didn’t recognize the Shepherd’s voice because they weren’t his sheep. Instead of believing on Jesus, it says, starting at verse 41, that they murmurred at him, in disbelief:
Verse 41: “The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.
“42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?”
So apparently they forgot, what they knew just the day before: that Jesus’ miracle proved that he was more than an ordinary man. The 5000 either forgot this, or they didn’t care, because they were mad at Jesus for not giving them free food.
And not only did the 5000 murmur at Jesus for saying that he is the bread of life, but many of Jesus’ disciples also started murmuring at him in disbelief. Starting at verse 60, it says:
“60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
“61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
“62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
“63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
“64 But there are some of you that believe not …”
And then, verse 66: “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”
So not only did Jesus apparently fail to save any of the 5000, but even many of his own disciples were offended by his gospel presentation, and stopped following him.
…Now although it may look like Jesus failed when he went soul-winning that day, remember, the purpose of soul-winning isn’t just to win souls; another purpose of going soul-winning is to test and to strengthen the believers that are with you, your soul-winning partners.
Look at verse 67: “Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
“68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
“69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”
So the 5000 didn’t get it, many of Jesus’ own disciples didn’t even get it, but the 12, or 11 of the 12, got it! They understood Jesus’ message. They were strengthened in the faith by this soul-winning “fail,” so to speak. And Peter took this opportunity to give one of the most powerful confessions of faith recorded in the Bible.
So remember to always be mindful of your soul-winning partners, and work to bless them, and to help them grow, at the same time that you’re trying to win souls.
When you take that step of obedience and actually go out and preach the gospel, you never quite know what’s gonna happen. The Lord is unpredictable. He might have you plant seeds, he might have you water seeds, he might have you harvest souls, or he might have you just edify the brethren that are with you. Just be ready for every good work, and enjoy the adventure. One thing about soul-winning: it’s an exciting business: it’s never boring.
Now the last soul-winning excursion that we’re going to look at is when Jesus preached to the young, rich man. Turn to Matthew, chapter 19, starting at verse 16:
“16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
“17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”
Look at the word “good” in those verses. The young man called Jesus, “Good Master.” So the young man thought Jesus was just a good master or good teacher, he thought he was just a man. He didn’t realize that Jesus was more than just a man, that Jesus is actually God.
And the young man asked, What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? So the young man mistakenly thought that there were good men in this world and that they could do good things that would earn them a place in heaven.
And so there were two main lessons that the young man needed to learn, in order to get saved: he needed to learn that Jesus is not just a man, and he needed to learn that, aside from Jesus, no man’s good, that we’re all sinful, and that none of us sinful men can get saved by our works.
And so these are the things that Jesus tried to teach him, starting with what Jesus said to him, in verse 17: “And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”
So, in essence, Jesus was saying, Ok, if you think that I’m just a man, then don’t call me “good,” becaue no mere man is good – including yourself, young man!… Jesus was basically saying what Romans 3:23 says, that “… all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Only God is sinless. Only God is good enough to make it to heaven on his own merit. And, of course, Jesus is that sinless God! Jesus is the Christ! And the young man needed to put his faith on Jesus to save him, instead of thinking that he could save himself by his works.
Now Jesus told the young man to try and keep the commandments, if he thought that he could; Jesus wasn’t actually saying that the young man could save himself by following the commandments; Jesus was tying to show the young man that he couldn’t follow God’s commandments perfectly. That he came short of the sinless perfection needed to earn one’s way to heaven.
The actual purpose of the law is to show us that we are sinful, and that we need the Savior. Romans 3:20 says, “… by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
But the young man didn’t get what Jesus was trying to teach him about the purpose of the law. The young man still wanted to know which commandments he had to follow in order to work his way to heaven. Look at verse 18:
“He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
“19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
“20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?”
Ok, so the young man thought that he had followed God’s laws perfectly, his whole life. Which is absurd, and impossible. Again, the young man had missed the whole point of God’s law: instead of realizing that he was a sinner who deserved hell, the young man thought that he was a good person who deserved heaven.
And, when we go soul-winning, we run into a lot of people that are just like this young rich man. Not that they think they’ve followed God’s law perfectly, but they think that they’re good people, and they think that they can earn a place in heaven by doing good works.
A lot of the time when we ask someone if they think they’re going to heaven? they’ll respond by saying, Yeah, I think so, I’m a good person… And if they say that to us, we know right away that we’re dealing with a modern-day young rich man; someone who thinks that they’re good, by nature, and someone who thinks they can get saved by doing good works. And so we right away try to do what Jesus did, and teach them that nobody is righteous, that nobody is good, and that nobody can earn their way to heaven by their works.
Alright, now switch over to Mark, chapter 10. The account of the young rich man is there too, and I want to show you Jesus’ reaction to the young man claiming that he had followed God’s law perfectly. So Mark 10, starting at verse 20:
“20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
“21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him …”
Then Jesus beholding him loved him. Jesus didn’t despise the young man for thinking that he had followed God’s law perfectly. Rather, Jesus loved him. And then Jesus showed him, beyond a doubt, that he wasn’t perfect, that he was indeed sinful.
Look at Mark 10:21, again: “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
“22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.”
The point I wanted to show you here is that Jesus felt love for this lost soul; the gospel of Mark uniquely records that Jesus loved him, and Jesus expressed that love by showing the young man that he was sinner. Jesus exposed the young man’s sin of trusting in his riches… If you want to show your love for the lost, you’ve got to show them that they’re sinners in need of the Savior. That’s how Jesus loved the lost.
Now the world defines “love” differently than the Bible. The world says that, if you love someone, you should tell them that they’re good peoeple, and that they deserves heaven, just the way they are. But that’s not real love. That’s not biblical love. Unbelievers are on their way to hell because of their sins. Real love is warning them about that fact. If you really want to love on the lost, go out soul-winning, and make sure they don’t think that they can make it to heaven without Jesus.
Whenever I read about how Jesus loved that young man, it always moves me, and, at the same time, it breaks my heart. Because the young man didn’t get it. He didn’t get saved. He didn’t understand what Jesus was trying to teach him: that he was a sinner in need of the Savior. Instead, the young man just walked away.
After Jesus told him to sell his possessions, verse 22 says the young man, “… was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.”
Now you don’t have to give up all of your possessions in order to get saved. That’s not what Jesus was teaching here. Again, Jesus was trying to show the young man that he wasn’t sinless, like he thought he was, because the young man loved money, and that’s a big sin. Look at verses 23 and 24:
“23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
“24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!”
So Jesus made it clear that it’s really hard for rich people to get saved. And that fact astonished his disciples! And so Jesus told them why it’s hard for rich people to get saved: it’s because they’re more likely to trust in their riches. Jesus said, How hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
Now I want you to stop for a moment and notice what’s going on here: Jesus is, again, using an unsuccessful soul-winning attempt to teach things to his disciples.
He’s teaching them why the young man didn’t get saved: it’s because he was trusting in his riches. And the danger of riches and the love of money is another often neglected teaching in Christendom today. Matthew 6:24 says: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” And 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil …”
And, you know, it’s amazing to see this biblical teaching play out in real life. Because, when we go soul-winning, we’ve noticed that the more affluent the neighborhood, the harder it is to get people saved.
And the love of money is not only a danger to unbelievers, but it’s a danger for us believers as well. 1 Timothy 6:10 says, in whole: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” So loving or covetting after money can cause believers to err from the faith and to be pierced through with many sorrows. I guess that’s why the Proverbs say: “… give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain” (Proverbs 30:8-9).
…But Jesus had one more important lesson to teach his disciples about soul-winning the rich; as hard as it is for a rich person to get saved, Jesus wanted his disciples to understand that nothing’s impossible with God.
Continuing at Mark 10:25, Jesus said : “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
“26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
“27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”
Ok, so we shouldn’t necesarily avoid soul-winning in rich neighborhoods, neither should we give up on our rich friends. But we just have to keep in mind that it’s harder ground, and that the issue, for the rich, is their love of money. But then we just have to go preach to them nonetheless, and we need to have faith that God can do anything, and that God can save anyone. Because he can, and he does. As Christians, as soul-winners, we have to walk by faith, because we serve a God who makes the impossible, possible.
Now it’s kinda cool to realize that when Jesus went soul-winning, he used the same verses, or the same biblical truths, that we use to preach the gospel with, when we go soul-winning.
We start out with teaching the unbeliever that all have sinned, Romans 3:23. And that the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23, including the second death, Revelation 21:8.
And then we teach them that Jesus died for their sins, was buried, and rose agains the third day, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.
And that all a person has to do to get saved is believe on Jesus, all they have to do is to put their faith on Jesus to save them, John 3:16, Acts 16:30-31.
And then we encourage them to pray and to ask Jesus for salvation; because whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved, Romans 10:13.
And, looking back at today’s passages, you can see that Jesus preached these same steps that we preach, or, rather, we preach the same steps that he preached.
Jesus preached that all have sinned. He taught the Samaritan woman that she was a sinner in need of the Savior, when Jesus brought up her sinful lifestyle. And Jesus tried to teach the young rich man that he wasn’t perfect like he thought he was, but that he was a sinner in need of the Savior, just like everybody else.
And Jesus preached that he would die for our sins. Jesus told Nicodemus that God gave his only begotten Son to save people from perishing. And Jesus told the 5000 that he was the bread from heaven, and that the bread was his flesh that he would give for the life of the world.
And Jesus preached that all we have to do to get saved is put our faith on him. He preached this to the Samaritan woman when he said that if she drank the living water that he would give her, it would become, in her, a well of water springing up unto eternal life. And he also told Nicodemus that whosoever believeth on him would get everlasting life.
Jesus also touched on how we should call on the name of the Lord for salvation, when he told the Samaritan woman to ask him for that living water.
So Jesus used all the main points in the Romans’ Road gospel presentation that we use. But notice another thing: Jesus mixed it up a bit. We usually preach the same points in the same order: 1) all have sinned, 2) Jesus died for our sins, and 3) just believe on Jesus and call on him. But Jesus mixed up, he preached the all have sinned part at the end of his gospel presentation to Nicodemus, telling him that it was his love for sin that kept him from believing… And Jesus brought up the Samaritan woman’s sins in the middle of his gospel presentation to her. Whereas, the first thing he told the young rich man was that he was a sinner.
And so we need to be a little less rigid, and a little more spontaneous, and individually focused, when we preach the gospel. Jesus catered his gospel presentation, at least the order of it, to each inidividual that he preached to.
For instance, we talk about believing on Jesus as the last part of our gospel presentation, but that was the first thing Jesus told Nicodemus, because Nicodemus was part way there already, and he just needed to believe. But, with the young rich man, Jesus never even got to the believing part, instead, Jesus preached to him, over and over again, that he was a sinner. Because that’s what the young rich man needed to learn. And so we also need to asses each individual unbeliever, and figure out what part of the gospel they need to hear most, and then put our emphasis on that.
We should do that when we’re able to, at least; we should mix it up, when the Holy Spirit leads us to. And I think that’s one of the main lessons we can get from when Jesus went soul-winning: that he did it in spirit and in truth. Just like we’re supposed to worship in spirit and in truth, we should also go soul-winning that way too. In this New Covenant era, we have the Holy Spirit leading us; and we’re supposed to be real, when we serve the Lord, and not legalistic.
Soul-Winning, preaching the gospel, was one of the main things that Jesus did when he walked the earth. Of course, Jesus came to earth to be the gospel: to give his life a ransom for many.
And then, as God sent Jesus into the world to preach the gospel, so Jesus sent us into the world to preach the gospel. As you know, right before Jesus ascended into heaven he said: “… Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Jesus said, “Go”! That word, “Go,” means to take action. To not just wait around for opportunities, but to “Go” out there and to create opportunities to preach the gospel. That’s our mission from God. If you’re ever wondering what your purpose in life is, Christian, it’s this: it’s to “Go” out there and preach the gospel to the lost.