Soul-Winning Principle: Time
Throughout the course of this year, we will endeavor to look at some Soul-Winning principles. A principle can be defined as the “Ground; foundation; that which supports an assertion, an action, or a series of actions or of reasoning. On what principle can this be affirmed or denied? He justifies his proceedings on the principle of expedience or necessity. He reasons on sound principles.” (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary) As the last part of this definition states our goal will be to reason based on God’s Word. The application then would be that these principles ought to produce a change in our actions. Therefore, from God’s Word we can glean principles and from those principles we can apply actions which should affect our daily living.
With that introduction in mind, we will look at the first principle in this series of posts which is 'The Principle of Time'. Time of course is a commodity that God’s has given to man. No one has an indefinite amount of time living on this earth. The Bible is clear that our temporal bodies are destined for corruption because of sin.
In Genesis 3:19 God makes this declaration in judgement toward man because of sin:
"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
We know from Psalm 90 that in general, our time is limited to threescore and ten years (70) or potentially fourscore years (80)(Psalm 90:10). Of course, there are folks that live well beyond eighty years old and there are folks that have much less than time than seventy years. But Psalm 90 emphatically tells us that our time is limited. Because of that fact, we are exhorted to redeem the time that God has given to us. That word redeem simply means “To purchase back; to ransom; to liberate or rescue from captivity or bondage…” (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary) In that same passage in Ephesians (Ephesians 5:16), the Bible alludes to the passing of time telling us “the days are evil.” Meaning that, the natural course of this world around us will present “allurements and temptations that would lead you away from the proper improvement of time, and that would draw you into sin.” (Albert Barnes) So, what does this have to do with Soul-Winning?
1. Soul-Winning takes time.
Personal evangelism requires an effort from the individual. That effort requires time. In John 4, toward the middle of that chapter, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had just finished dealing with the Samaritan women and now was dealing with the crowds of people that were affected by the women’s testimony of Jesus.
Notice the words of our Savior concerning time:
"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."
The contrast that is made here is between the prevailing rationale of the day concerning the harvest. In the example given by the Savior, worldly wisdom would tell them that the harvest is down the road, so now is not the time to worry about reaping. In other words, we could put it this way, “Soul-Winning can wait for another day, maybe then the harvest will come.” “Soul-Winning can wait because I have more important things to do with my time.” But the Lord says, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” [Emphasis Mine] In other words, the time is now!
He goes on to state, “And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.”
Notice the action verbs used:
Reapeth – to reap takes time.
Gathereth – to gather takes time.
Soweth – to sow takes time.
Laboured – Labor, signifies time spent.
Each one of these actions signifies time spent. Realize further Jesus tells us that the harvest requires labour, and labour my friend requires time. A good example would be this:
Suppose I am a farmer desiring to have a bumper crop of corn this year. And yet every day I look out the window imaging what that crop might look like. Now I never go outside into the field to prepare the soil. I never take time to sow any seed. I just know that if I prepare the soil and plant the seed it will at the minimum produce some. Suppose you come in and see me sitting down watching television and ask me, “Aren’t you going to go out and plant the field so you receive a harvest.” And I reply, “I do not have the time to go out today, perhaps we will have a harvest anyways.”
What a foolish use of time that would be. To know and understand and yet not apply the principle of time to our Soul-Winning efforts. You see Ephesians 5:17 tells us in lieu of redeeming the time, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” In other words, the command to spread the Gospel [God’s Will] should permeate the use of our time, otherwise we are being unwise with what God has given to us.
2. The more time we spend Soul-Winning, the more results.
Now we cannot state that we will always see the results of our time spent immediately Soul-Winning, but we can say dogmatically that the more time we spend casting seed and reaping the more of a harvest there will be. Galatians 6 tells us that we can expect to reap what we sow. Not only that, but how much we sow will determine what we reap as well. The good news/bad news is, depending on what you are sowing, that you will always reap more than you sow. (Hosea 8:7) Meaning for example: one tomato seed produces more than one tomato. But there is something else to note as well. It takes time to sow. Therefore, the more we sow the Word of God, the more we can expect to see a bigger harvest.
Galatians 6:7,8 "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
In II Corinthians Paul speaks on this same law of sowing and reaping, though contextually he is talking about giving, he states, “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” Even though the context of this chapter is giving the law of sowing and reaping has much broader application.
We can then expect if we spend little time telling people about Salvation through our wonderful Savior Jesus Christ, we can count on seeing few people get saved.
3. Our time is limited.
Having already established this point indirectly at the beginning, all of us have limited time to sow and reap. There are approximately 525,600 minutes in a 365 - day calendar year. Using myself as an example I have spent 21,020,000,000 (21 billion minutes of my life already; 40 years). That is a lot of time I cannot get back. And further, that is half of the allotted time I have generally speaking according to Psalm 90.
On average if I were to spend 1 hour of Soul-Winning a week, I would spend 3120 minutes this year Soul-Winning out of that 525,600 minutes. That is approximately less than 1% (.005936) of the time the Lord would allow me to have this year. What a shame it is to understand that knowing God’s Will, we would allot less than 1% of that time to share the Gospel with others. (By the way, it is difficult to even get folks to commit that 1/2%. Oh my, I pray the Lord will help us to understand this important truth this year!)
- Pastor James, Sharon Baptist Church, Community Outreach Pastor
Sharon Baptist church is an independent, fundamental Baptist church located in Hampton, VA.
Showing People the Way to God
- Personal Evangelism
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