Evangelism: One Soul at a Time
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.”
“The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.”
“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.”
A Few Facts
- Any two people on earth are only six relationships apart, described as six degrees of interconnection, which means that an old woman in Outer Mongolia is known by a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of you. [This has nothing to do with the Internet, which improves this ratio several times.]
- Arminians fantasize about converting one person a year and teaching them to convert one person a year and so forth would only take 34 years to convert the earth. [Of course, we know God has not chosen the whole earth, and we must wait on Him to grant repentance and acknowledge the truth for even one.]
- We believe God is as providentially active in helping us meet healthy elect children of God as He is in supplying a wounded Jew from time to time, providing spouses for our children, and leading you to a job, house, car, etc. The Holy Spirit may not direct you to the desert to find a eunuch, but He will lead you.
- Though we should make the efforts the Bible does describe, we still understand that God alone can grant the increase, no matter how much we may plant and water as wisely as we can.
The Great Commission
- Given specifically in each case … Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts … to the eleven original apostles of Jesus Christ.
- Included numerous features that only they could fulfill, such as waiting in Jerusalem, special power, geographical progression, variety of great miracles, etc.
- Fulfilled before 70 A.D. by at least twelve different references e.g. Matt 24:14,32-35; Mark 16:20; Acts 17:6; 21:28; 24:5; Rom 1:8; 10:18; 16:19,26; Col 1:6,23; I Tim 3:16.
- No souls are at eternal risk of missing heaven, since God and Jesus will not lose any (John 6:38-39; Rom 8:28-39; II Tim 2:19).
- The Great Commission is not emphasized, repeated, implied, or even mentioned to any church or pastor in Paul’s epistles.
- Many duties are given in Paul’s epistles, but they all pertain to practical godliness and spiritual growth, not evangelism.
- There is no man that lives by the Commission in reality, for they cannot keep its terms, and they do not live like they fully believe the eternal destiny of souls depends on their sacrificial living.
One Soul at a Time – 1
40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
42 And he brought him to Jesus.
43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.
44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
45 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.
7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.
2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
One Soul at a Time – 2
26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.
25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.
26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
One Soul at a Time – Children
- Consider Naomi and her daughter-in-law (Ruth 1:16-18).
- Consider Hannah and a very young Samuel (I Sam 1:28).
- Two mothers, Lois and Eunice, taught Timothy (II Tim 1:5; 3:15).
- David called his children to teach them to fear God (Ps 34:11).
- Solomon and his wife taught their children (Prov 1:8; 6:20).
- Hezekiah told God he would use life to teach children (Is 38:19).
- Paul commanded fathers to teach their children (Eph 6:4).
- The effect can be very far reaching (Psalm 78:1-8; Joel 1:1-3).
- 1=10, 2=62, 3=242, 4=682, 5=1562, 6=3110, 7=5602!
One Soul at a Time – Spouses
I Corinthians 7:
16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
I Peter 3:
1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
- Salvation or winning here must be conversion to the truth.
- Divorce from an unbeliever is to be avoided, if they will stay.
- Either a husband or a wife can convert, or save, a pagan spouse.
- How? By being a godly and virtuous spouse by God’s definition.
- Notice. The conversion takes place without preaching to them.
- They are won by the exceptional love and service of the spouse.
- Conversation here is lifestyle – chaste and fearful of husband.
Evangelism Readiness – 1
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear … ”
I Peter 3:15-16
- Sanctify God in your heart by exalting Him highly and holily.
- To be ready always takes preparation and prayer (Prov 15:28).
- You should answer with certain words of truth (Prov 22:17-21).
- Grace works best in giving an answer to every man (Col 4:6).
- A godly walk in life, with God, will cause others to ask and listen.
- They should ask about the hope you have in a hopeless world.
- Your answer should be a reason, not an opinion or a suggestion.
- You must answer with meekness – gentle and patient humility.
- You must answer with fear – opposite of wild and bold zeal.
- This prepared life and response was different than apostolic gift.
Evangelism Readiness – 2
“… Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”
I Peter 3:16
- You must have a good conscience by living a godly life yourself.
- The world hates Bible Christianity, so expect some accusations.
- Your confidence depends on godly living, not persuasiveness.
- We want to shame any that would accuse us of wrongdoing.
- Let it always be false accusations, because we are living godly.
- A balanced, godly, virtuous, conventional life is very important.
- Unnecessary extremes you show in word or deed hurt the truth.
- Christian liberty is not allowed if hindering the truth (I Cor 10).
Evangelism Readiness – 3
17 Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.
18 For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.
19 That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.
20 Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge,
21 That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?
- Evangelism starts by learning: bowing ears, hearing words, and applying the heart to knowledge.
- As you learn and retain, the knowledge goes to your mouth.
- As you learn and retain, it builds faith and trust in the LORD.
- It is true that Proverbs and the whole Bible are both excellent.
- Scripture is to give certain and sure words of truth for others.
Evangelism Readiness – 4
12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
- Time does something not expected. It brings guilt for ignorance.
- Learning lasts only a while, then you should be teaching others.
- There is skill in using scripture beyond basics. Do you have it?
- Babies remain at the milk level of nursing. Use your teeth!
- Grow up! Get into the word and learn how to use it proficiently.
- Grow up! Exercise your senses to know the truth and answers.
I Corinthians 9
“19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.”
- Men say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans.” This is charity, discretion, friendliness, graciousness, kindness, and prudence.
- Paul wrote, “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” We are not apostles, but we can adjust.
- Godly men give up freedom to save other men (Matt 17:24-27).
- You must recognize weaknesses in any liberty and adjust.
- You must recognize ignorance and lack of teaching and adjust.
- You can recognize temperamental traits and adjust accordingly.
More About How and What
18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.
19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.
20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.
46 I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.
- Wise as serpents, and harmless as doves (Matt 10:16).
- Let the light of your good works shine to God (Matt 5:16).
- Honest living with good works bear witness (I Pet 2:12).
- It is said, “Your life is the only Bible some will read,” so recall the sermons, “Things Becoming Sound Doctrine.”
- Brotherly love is the greatest … witness (John 13:34-35).
- A good worship service with the word of God emphasized will be enough for many (I Cor 14:24-25). Amen?!
- As much as is in us, we want to be at peace (Ro 12:18).
- Gracious speech, with only a pinch of salt, is the right way to generally answer any man (Col 4:6).
What about Strangers?
- Greet them kindly, without nosy questions, foolish observations, or pressing them about the sermon.
- The more that participate, the better. See Adam E.
- If we sense reserve, we adjust … boldness, adjust.
- Second, we entertain them as told (Hebrews 13:2).
- Do not feel pressure to convert them on anything.
- If they found us by the website, and they still visit … they are well screened. Let them watch and listen.
- Let them see our truth, worship, and zeal to God.
- Let them see love, marriages, families, lives, etc.
- We will offer seekers room and board in Greenville.
- Answer questions kindly, gently, and briefly.
- We carefully avoid fools and wicked men (Prov 14:7; 26:4-5).
- Fools will despise the wisdom of your words (Pr 23:9; 29:9).
- Fools will despise you for trying to teach them (Prov 9:7-8).
- Jesus summarized our limitations very succinctly (Matthew 7:6).
- Even ministers avoid foolish questions (II Tim 2:24; Titus 3:9).
- We pray for deliverance from unreasonable men (II Thess 3:2).
- Get away from scorners: they will pick (Pr 22:10; Is 29:20-21).
- The parable of the sower describes four responses.
- We will never modify the message to improve it.
- We should not be discouraged by poor results.
- Worldly salesmen know their odds are very low.
- You must wait upon God and not blame yourself.
What Should I Do?
- Pray for church, website, pastor, contacts, members, doors, etc.
- Build a passion for souls by asking for it and reading about it.
- Learn the word of God to be able to give an answer as we read.
- Live a life as perfect as you can for God’s glory and a witness.
- Build a marriage and family that will also cause others to ask.
- Ask the pastor for any materials you could use with others.
- Be on time and make our assemblies fully as they ought to be.
- Enthusiasm, friendliness, and hospitality are great basics.
- We wait on the Lord to open doors or bring contacts to work.
- Be thankful for God’s providence in using others to save you.
For Further Study:
- Sermon Outline: For Love of a Soul [See its further study links.]
- Sermon Outline: Becoming Sound Doctrine.
- Evangelism for a New Testament Church … printed sermon outline from Feb, 1987. Not in e-format
- “The Great Commission” … sermon outline of Sep, 86 and seminar material from 92. Not in e-format
- Sermon Outline: Why Preach the Gospel.