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Essentials for Effective Witnessing

1. Tears of concern. "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again, with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him" (126:6). Jesus wept over His people. Paul wept over the lost. We ought to also. There is a common thread among consistent soul-winners and that is that they have wept over lost souls. When you get dead serious, look at the lost, realize they don't have a clue about where they are going, know that Satan has blinded their minds, it will break your heart until you too will weep over the lost. Jesus saw the multitude and was "moved with compassion" over them. It almost seems our theme today is, "I shall not be moved." Don't quench the Spirit, but pray, by name, for lost people seriously until your heart too breaks and you weep over souls. You too will come again, with rejoicing, winning the lost to Jesus.

2. A burden for souls.  Paul said, "I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart" for his brethren, Israel (Romans 9:2). Isn't it amazing, some people were more concerned (burdened, if you please) and actually wept over two whales trapped, than many are over people trapped in sin and going to an eternal darkness forever and ever. No one ever criticized them for their concern for the whales and yet if someone gets that burdened over souls they are called fanatics and too emotional. It boils down to what we set our hearts and emotions on. The world is majoring on trivial pursuit. Like Saul chasing David, many are "chasing fleas" (1 Samuel 24:14). "Set your affection on things above." Colossians 3:1) There is a good example of a principal that works in Haggai 1. In verse 12 it says, "They obeyed the voice of the Lord" and in verse 14, God "stirred up the spirit ... and the came and did the work." The old saying, "motions creates emotion" is true in the spiritual realm also. I have found if you obey God and begin sharing the gospel with the lost, God will stir your heart beyond measure.

3. Love for the Lord Jesus. "For the love of Christ constrains us," 2 Cor. 5:11. When I was a pastor I found almost every person who came to know Christ in our church almost immediately had a burden for a friend or someone in their family to get saved too. As a 17-year old boy, who had never held a Bible, the night I got saved I went home and began to witness to my mother. No one had told me I should. The love of the Lord Jesus made me do it. The next morning as my buddy, Horace, and I went to get our newspapers to deliver our routes, I began to witness to him. That is the natural thing, spiritually, to want your friends and love ones to be saved too. The tragedy is when we "leave" our first love--we do not lose it. It is so essential that we "set our affections on things above" and we cultivate that first love.

4. See the multitudes. "But when he saw the multitudes, we was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd" Matt. 9:36. Have you looked, really looked, into the faces of the multitudes today? There is an emptiness. There is a confusion. With all the drinking and drugs, with all the hate and killings you have to be moved with compassion. All of science and psychology do not have the answers. We who know the Lord Jesus do. We who know the gospel is the only power unto salvation and a transformation of life. If that does not move Christians, they must be backslidden to have such a hardened heart. Read Hebrews 3:13. They are insensitive to the real needs of people. It is so easy to become so self-centered that we see no one but ourselves and our wants. He saw the multitudes and we need to see them today and be moved to get the gospel to them.

5. Realize the privilege of being an ambassador for Christ. "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God" 2 Cor. 5:20. Now, an ambassador of this world has a very high position. However, that is like nothing compared to being an ambassador for Christ. WOW! If you need and want self-esteem, dwell on the thought of being an ambassador for Christ. Fully realizing this privilege will give you purpose and meaning to life as nothing else can. Somehow this awesome idea of being "in Christ's stead," as an ambassador has not been emphasized strongly enough. It is transforming to take it seriously. We can have an eternal part in seeing people "reconciled to God," going to heaven instead of hell. Get with it. We must witness to a lost world with the love of God burning in our hearts and the grace of God upon our lips as we share the gospel of the Lord Jesus. What a privilege!

6. Faith. Does God really want to save people? "God is not willing that any should perish." (2 Pet. 3:9)   "Out of your inner most being shall flow rivers of living waters" (Jn 7:37ff). The sad story is, "He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief" (Matt 13:58).

A young preacher asked the famous preacher Charles Spurgeon, "Why is it that every time you preach people get saved but when I preach no one gets saved." Mr. Spurgeon said, "You don't expect people to be saved every time you preach do you?" The young people replied, "Well, no I don't." The wise preacher said, "That's just why you don't see anyone receive the Lord Jesus." Do you expect God to work or can't He do mighty works because of your unbelief? We should be shocked to death if we share the gospel and no one gets saved! That is the faith that it takes to be an effective soul-winner. Our faith is in the "gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation" and the God who said, "I will draw all men unto me."

7. Holy Boldness. "And now Lord, behold their threatening and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness, (not brashness) they may speak thy word ... and when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together...and with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection and great grace was upon them all." (Acts 4:29-33). And a great multitude were saved! Over the years in my own life and those of others, I have seen there is a correlation between holy boldness and the power of God working. "God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power..." (2 Tim 1:7) That fear and unbelief is from the devil himself and we must "resist the devil" and respond to the Holy Spirit. Take the initiative and get the gospel to "every" person you have a moment of personal contact and you will find people like Lydia, "whose heart the Lord opened" and like the Ethiopian to whom Philip went and found him reading the Bible and ready to be saved. "If you want to pick fruit you must plant seed." If you don't plant seed you are missing the thrill of a life. You are also disobeying God who said, "Preach the gospel to every creature." Then if you plant sparingly you are going to reap sparingly. Every soul winner I have known, and I have known hundreds, just sow a lot more seed than those who never or seldom win someone to Christ. It is as simple as that. There is no gift of witnessing or soul-winning. Multitudes have been fogged out or lied to, saying we cannot all be soul-winners. the unadulterated truth is, "the harvest is plenteous, the laborers are few." Make up your mind you are going to be a sower and you will become a reaper. You too will say like the Lord Jesus "I have meat to eat that you know not of." It will be the be better than any lobster or filet mignon you ever tasted.

8. Confess and forsake sin.  David, who had committed a terrible sin, was convicted, "my sin is ever before me", confessed his sin and said, "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation...then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee" (Ps. 51:12,13). That is the order. That is the essential to be used of God. A student came to me and admitted he had a bad attitude and relations with his dad, who was not a Christian. He confessed his sin to God right there. I told him to call his dad and confess it to his dad and tell him what he just did. He did it and his dad and he wept together on the phone. The student then had the joy of leading his dad to Christ on the phone and came back to me shouting for joy. Oh, what joy we often forfeit.

"God is not going to take the pure water of life to thirsty souls in a dirty pitcher." "If I regard iniquity in my heart, God will not hear me" (Ps. 66:18) nor will He use me! There are millions of Christians who are impotent and barren because of unconfessed sin. Multitudes are living without "the joy of their salvation." When you see 50 % of church members not in church every Sunday, something has to be wrong. Studies have shown that less than ten percent of Christians ever win a soul to Christ. "The real tragedy is not what people suffer but what they miss." Every born gain child of God could and should win souls to Christ.

9. Be filled with the Holy Spirit.  "Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you and ye shall be witnesses unto me" (Acts 1:8). Every place in the book of Acts that they were filled with the Holy Spirit it was in connection with soul winning. The Holy Spirit has to convict, convince and convert any one who ever gets saved. People often tell how hard it is to get people saved today. I reply, "It has always been hard to get folks saved, It takes the power of the Holy Spirit." American Express" card company says, "Don't leave home without it." Much more important is "don't go witnessing without the Holy Spirit in control." How am I filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit? Put these verses together and it will be plane and simple. "Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk (controlled or under the influence of) with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:17,18). You see it is "the will of God" to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Oh, I get goose bumps to telling about this! The Bible says, "And this is the confidence that we have in him that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us; and if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him" (1 Jn 5:14,15). Do you get that? If you want to be filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit and you ask Him to take control or fill you, "we know that we have the petitions" that we ask. Do not go by feeling but by faith that the Holy Spirit is then and there in the drivers seat and in control. Here is the order, confess the sin and then the control of the Holy Spirit by asking. This is how you "walk in the Spirit." Confess sin and claim the Spirits control by asking daily!


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