Yet another Soul-Winning principle that has great implications for our witness is the message that we are declaring. Why is the message so important? Because Paul tells us “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” If this message is the ‘power of God unto salvation’ we must know what the message is. In our day confusion seems to be the norm when it comes to the message of salvation. Popular thought concerning salvation today says there are many ways to Heaven. However, this leads to confusion in the heart of the individual and also in fact is contrary to the Word of God. Perhaps even worse is the inability of the child of God to communicate the Good News of salvation to someone who is lost. It is therefore critical that every child of God not only understand the Gospel Message, but be able to take a Bible and show someone else ‘the way’ (As it was called in the old days: John 14:6, Acts 9:2, Acts 19:9, Acts 19:23) of salvation.
We first must declare what this message is; the Bible tells us first of all that this message is Good News.
From the very beginning in the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam and Eve good news following the terrible results sin. In Genesis 3:15 we find:
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
Though on the surface this does not seem like good news, it in fact is. “Her seed,” spoken of here, is a reference to the enmity between man and the evil one. But certainly is a reference to the future when our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ would crush the head of the serpent, triumphing over our Adversary; that ‘old serpent’ (Revelation 12:9, 20:2) the Devil.
Moving forward in the Bible to Genesis 13 we find further these words spoken to Abraham:
“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
‘All families of the earth’ are certainly blessed in Abraham by the coming of Jesus Christ. Our Savior Jesus Christ was in fact of the lineage of Abraham (Matthew 1:1); Him being all God and yet all Man.
And finally, as we come to Luke 2:10,11 where the Bible declares this from a heavenly messenger:
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy [or we could say, Good News], which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
The message we bring to this world is certainly good news. And this good news is Jesus Christ. To speak of any message that is devoid of Jesus Christ is no good message at all because the Bible shows that Jesus Christ is the good news. In fact, any so-called ‘gospel’ that does no center around the person and work of Jesus Christ deviates from what God’s Word teaches.
What about Jesus Christ makes this good news? We are told that our Savior came from Heaven to earth; was God in the flesh (incarnate); lived among us; died on a cross paying the sin debt for you and I; rose from the grave after three days and ascended back to Heaven victorious. Take note of the following verse:
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
Paul declares that this good news message is wrapped up in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But why did He die, why was He buried and why did He rise from the grave?
This is where the good news is applicable to those who are lost. Isaiah 53:5 gives us a good indication of why He died. “But he (speaking of Jesus) was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” All of these phrases vividly speak of the suffering atonement that Jesus Christ made for us. The why is explained in the fact that we have transgressed, we have committed iniquity. This good news at first starts out with bad news. The bad news is that we have a problem that could not be dealt with otherwise. Peter in his first epistle explains it this way, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (I Peter 2:24) This problem originates for man all the way back in the third chapter of Genesis where we saw the first indication of Good News! He died, was buried but then we understand he rose from the grave. Romans 4:25 tells us why His resurrection is significant to the message. It states that Jesus Christ, “…was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” By His resurrection we see His work completed and accepted of the Father. We also understand that we who by faith accept God’s gift of salvation are justified or declared righteous by His resurrection. And lastly by his resurrection we have a lively hope according to I Peter 1:3!
So, we understand the message is the Good News, secondly, we understand the Good News is Jesus Christ, but lastly what are we to communicate to others on how to respond to this message.
The Response to the Message
We can sum it up as it is put in Acts 20:21, “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” This message of Good News should draw men to repentance and a decision of faith or trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Ultimately, this is the prime mover of the heart, that God loves us so much, He sent His Son to be the payment (propitiation) for our sin who accomplished just that by His death, burial and resurrection. How can one accept this gift of salvation? By calling upon the name of the Lord (Romans 10:13). The heart expression of faith towards Jesus Christ. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." (Romans 10: 9-11)
Let us be good students of the Good News to communicate to others what we have already found!
- Pastor James, Community Outreach Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church
.It is no secret that we have been called to witness to others. Further it is no secret that it is a command from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Many times, we focus on this fact in our efforts to rally more folks to come out to Soul-Winning and be a witness in their day to day lives. Obedience certainly is a key aspect in Soul-Winning, but oftentimes we do not stress enough the results of obedience.
In John 12:23-26 Jesus gives us a clear indication of this principle in light of his impending crucifixion.
John 12: 23-26
“And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”
Several items could be noted by this passage:
1. Abundance (fruit-bearing) comes from a sacrificed life.
Of course, we understand the immediate implication of this passage is our Savior’s death, burial, and resurrection. This is clear when He states in the first verse “The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.” But the truth is enlarged by Jesus Himself as the passage continues. In verse 26 we should mark the phrase, “If any man serve me, let him follow me;” Just as Jesus gave his life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45), we too, if we are to be fruitful, must live a life sacrificed unto God. Herein we are given the great picture of fruit bearing. A seed that is unplanted, not buried in the ground, will produce no fruit whatsoever. But rather a seed must be planted in the ground; it must die and become food for the fruit vine that comes up out of it. This is certainly what Paul portrays to us in Galatians 2:20 when he states, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
a. The abundant Christian life is not a selfish life.
b. The abundant Christian life is a selfless life.
John Phillips in looking at this passage puts it this way, “It is possible to have a saved soul and a lost life.” (John Phillips) What a tremendous statement. Oliver B. Greene in looking at this passage states this as well, “He who loves his life, he who thinks more of life in this world than he thinks of the life to come, shall LOSE that which is the best part of his life-the inner man , the soul that will never die.” (Oliver B Greene)
So we can understand, fruit-bearing abundance comes from a sacrificed life, but secondly:
2. Loss according to the World is gain for the Christian.
Notice in verse 25 that the Lord gives us a paradox.
v25 “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”
Seemingly on the surface this statement makes absolutely no sense because Man reasons in the opposite direction. This is portrayed for us in the philosophy of the Epicureans in Acts chapter 17 (Acts 17:18) whose worldly mantra was simply materialism.
Epicurus, the founder of Epicureanism stated this:
“Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist.”
“It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain by himself.”
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the other hand teaches us something that is vastly different.
a. Man’s grasp on self ----will end up in loss.
This 'self' life is the life that is concerned for the things that this world has to offer. This 'self' life is grasping for that which is only temporal to obtain joy. This kind of life will end up in loss. But on the positive side:
b. Man’s grasp on obedience (to Jesus Christ) -----will end up in reward.
II Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
So far we understand that abundance comes from a sacrificed life, and loss according to this world is gain for the Christian, but lastly:
3. Obedience Results in Joy.
Consider the following verses:
I Chronicles 29:9 “Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.”
A few verses later David states, “I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.” I Chronicles 29:17
The people had great joy because they obeyed in giving generously to the building of the temple which Solomon would accomplish.
In the days of Hezekiah, a move was made by that godly king to be in obedience to God by keeping the feast of Unleavened Bread (II Chronicles 30:21)
And in II Chronicles 30: 26,27 the Bible says, “So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem. Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.”
In Ezra 3:12 because of the rebuilding of the Temple God's Word states, “many shouted aloud for joy:”
God laid on the heart of Nehemiah to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem. In Nehemiah chapter 12 we have this verse spoken of concerning the obedience of those that returned with him:
“Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.” Nehemiah 12:43
The psalmist tells us, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11
Psalm 126: 5,6 “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Proverbs 15:21 (Speaking of the shallowness of worldly joy)
“Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.”
Proverbs 21:15 “It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.”
The truth is we could continue our trek through God's Word and see example after example where obedience and joy in the life of a Christian are connected. Getting back to our passage in John the Lord continues and tells us first:
a. One who serves, must follow.
v26 “If any man serve me, let him follow me”
We cannot stress enough the connection between lip service and feet service. One who is a disciple of Jesus Christ is one who is following Jesus Christ not only in speech but in action as well.
So one who 'serves,' must follow but that simply means:
b. One who follows, obeys.
v26 “If any man serve me, let him follow me”
Following is obedience. So putting this all together up to this point shows us that one who 'serves" must follow and if they are following really that means they are obedient.
Well what is one of the results of obedience?
c. The servant of Christ is in the presence of Christ.
v26 “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be:”
One might say, am I not always in the presence of God whether being obedient or not? And physically speaking yes. God is omnipresent and therefore physically speaking we are never closer or farther away from God at any point. We also have the promise in God's Word which tells us He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). But in terms of fellowship we are hindered in our disobedience.
I John 1:6,7 “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”
Yes of course it is true that we will ultimately be in heaven with Jesus Christ one day for those who are saved, but why not enjoy His the presence of Christ right now?
That of course leads us to the last statement which is:
d. The servant of Christ will have Joy.
v26 “if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”
The most miserable Christian in the world is one who is disobedient to God. Dr. Clarence Sexton makes this cautioning statement concerning our service to the Lord, “Making service the goal leads to the belief that we can never do enough.”
But let me add to that with this statement: when we are obedient to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we have great joy!
Why is it that most Christians seem to look at the Christian life as an enormous burden?
Why is it that Soul-Winning is considered something we have to do rather than something we get to do? Perhaps it is because some have never experienced the joy of being obedient to the Lord.
Not one time have I come back from Soul-Winning and said, “Boy I wish I had never done that!”
- Pastor James, Community Outreach Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church
Sharon Baptist church is an independent, fundamental Baptist church located in Hampton, VA.
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