Steps To Successful Soulwinning: Acts Series #17
A sales manager was trying to lift up the vision of some of his sales force. He went into the meeting and he took a piece of white poster board that had one black spot in the middle. He looked at everyone and said, “Let’s have a little creativity.”
He asked the first person, What do you see there? He said, “Well, a black dot.” He asked another person, “What do you see?” She said, “A dot.” Everyone answered the same way. And he said, “Isn’t it strange that all of you saw the black dot, but none of you saw the white all around it.”
I think so many of us see the black dot of self-concern when the Savior said, “Lift up your eyes and look upon the fields, they are white already unto harvest.”
God has a plan for you and He wants you to get your eyes off of self and onto others. I pray God uses this message to help you to do this. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I want to remind you of an important truth. I want you to know no matter how faithfully you attend, no matter how generously you give, no matter how circumspectly you walk, no matter how eloquently you may teach, no matter how beautifully you may sing, if you’re not endeavoring to bring men, women, boys and girls to Jesus Christ, you’re not right with God.
Did that hurt your feelings? If you’re not endeavoring to see people saved something is wrong. Why? Because you’re guilty of high treason against your king. Jesus has commanded us to go and make disciples. It’s not a request, not a suggestion. It is a command. God did not save you to be a member of Christians Anonymous. You are to be bringing others, at least endeavoring to bring others to Jesus Christ.
One of the grandest stories of evangelism is found in Acts 8:26-35.
We read, “And an angel of the Lord spoke unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. 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 to worship, was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Isaiah, the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran there to him, and heard him read the prophet, Isaiah, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he besought Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth; in his humiliation his judgment was taken away, and who shall declare his generation? For his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? Of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:26–35).
When God gets ready to save somebody, He always uses human instrumentality. God never reaches out of Heaven and simply convicts, and converts, and saves a person without human instrumentality being involved someway.
Did you know that we have an ability and a joy that angels don’t have? God wants to use us to win lost souls to Christ. Did you know that winning a soul is something that we can do now, that we’ll not be able to do when we get to Heaven? There’s a joy we have on earth that Heaven knows nothing about. This joy is the winning of souls. We must not only be interested in going to heaven but taking somebody with us.
When God wanted to win that Ethiopian eunuch, He used a man named Philip. Philip was in a great revival in the city of Samaria. God called Philip out of the city of Samaria and said, “Philip, I want you to go out into the desert, out into the wilderness; I’ve got an assignment for you.” Do you know what Philip did? He packed up his bags and immediately left.
Do you know what quality that Philip had that we need to have in our lives? It’s the quality of availability. If you want to be a soul winner, we must have availability. Philip was ready to win another soul to Christ! The job is not done until every soul on the face of God’s green earth has heard the message that Jesus saves. If we are available, we can get the job done in the power of the Holy Spirit of God.
I want you to notice how Philip and the Holy Spirit cooperated together to get the gospel to this man. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is primarily a ministry of cooperation. He will not do it without you. You cannot do it without Him. Notice it is His ability and your availability. It is His power; it is your personality. It is His work, but it is your witness. That’s God’s plan—not God doing it all, not you doing it all, but God doing it through you.
What do you think would happen if all of the members of your church were Spirit-filled witnesses? What do you think would happen if all the members of all the churches were Spirit-filled witnesses in your city? Most of us are not doing what our Lord has taught us to do. There are three steps to successful soulwinning.
I. We Are To Be Inclined To The Calls Of The Spirit
First, we are to be inclined to the calls of the Spirit. In Acts 8:26, we read: “And an angel of the Lord spoke unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.” In verse 29, we read: “Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.”
Both verse 26 and verse 29 show us that Philip had ears to hear the Word of the Lord. There was a tremendous revival going on in Samaria, and Philip was the “Billy Graham” of that revival. Yet, God said to Philip, “Now, I want you to leave right in the middle, of this powerful revival. I want you to go out in the desert.” God doesn’t even tell him why. God just simply tells him to go. What does Philip do? He goes down into the desert. It didn’t seem reasonable. It didn’t seem logical. Yet, he went because he was inclined to the calls of the Spirit.
There are several reasons we need to be inclined to the calls of the Spirit. The opportunities of the Spirit are often unknown. God had a great plan. Do you know who this Ethiopian eunuch was? He was an official in the government in Ethiopia. He was the kind of a guy that was so full of influence that, if you could get him saved, he would be a spiritual ramrod to bring the gospel to all North Africa.
God had a certain logistic. Philip didn’t know anything about it, but God knew something about it. The ways of God are often unknown. We don’t know the future. We do not know what a marvelous opportunity God may have on our calendar written down for us tomorrow.
Second, the calls of God are often unexplained. God didn’t tell Philip why. He didn’t say, “Philip, there’s an Ethiopian down there that I want you to witness to. There’s a big shot in the government that I want you to witness to.” He just said, “Arise and go.” Philip got up and went. Would you do that? Do you know so many of us say, “Why, Lord?” When we ask “Why, Lord?” immediately, we have started to disobey in spirit. We do not need to say, “Lord, show me what You want me to do, and I’ll do it.” We just say, “God, I’ll do it now.”
We must make sure we are hearing the voice of God. It’s just as bad to run ahead of God as it is to run behind God. But, when we hear God speak, we need to obey what God tells you to do, whether He explains it or not.
Third, the calls of God are often unusual. God doesn’t work just exactly the way we think God ought to work. God sometimes works in an unusual way.
You know, wherever Paul went, you couldn’t write down and say, “At such and such a time, they’ll be singing the doxology.” You know, we talk about other people having a ritual. We’ve got one of our own—little traditions we go through, and you can almost set your clock by them. Now, there’s nothing really wrong with that to a point, until we get frozen into those things where we think that’s the way it has to happen. The Holy Spirit is sovereign; the Holy Spirit can do what He wills.
Philip was inclined to the calls of the Spirit, so that the Holy Spirit enabled him to do the unknown, the unexplained, and the unusual. Would you make up your mind, by the grace of God today, that your heart would be so warm and so sensitive, that you would be able to hear the voice of the Spirit? The Holy Spirit doesn’t shout. He’s a still small voice. The main reason we don’t hear is voice is that God is not speaking; we’re just not listening. We are so interested in the mundane, the secular, our plans, our ways, our schedules that we fail to listen to Him.
II. We Need To Be Insistent For The Cause Of The Spirit
Secondly, not only do we need to be inclined to the call of the Spirit, but insistent for the cause of the Spirit.
In Acts 8:35, we read: “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” Did you know the Holy Spirit is very single-minded? Did you know the Holy Spirit has but one cause? Do you want to know what the cause of the Holy Spirit is?
In John chapter 15:26-27, we read: “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.” In John 16:14, Jesus says, “He shall glorify me.” What is the cause of the Spirit? “He shall testify of me,” Jesus said.
The mark of a person filled with the Spirit is not that he or she always talking about the fact that he or she is filled with the Spirit. The mark of the person filled with the Spirit is that he’s always talking about Jesus Christ. The mark of a church filled with the Holy Spirit is it sings about Jesus; it preaches about Jesus; it testifies about Jesus; it loves Jesus.
Are you willing to bring your business, your mind, your talents and your images into a focus on one thing: that is Jesus Christ be glorified in my life.
Are you willing to commit, ‘This one thing I do; live or die, sink or swim, Jesus will be glorified?’” Have you wondered why it is that some people win more souls than others? Do you think it’s because they are lucky and have more opportunity? Do you think Philip was lucky? He arrived when an Ethiopian was ready to be saved. No, he wasn’t lucky. God knew He had a man He could depend upon.
The Ethiopian eunuch had been to Jerusalem to worship. He had been to the most religious city on the face of the Earth and had come away empty, because the wells of religions had run dry. The Lord said, “He’s just ripe to be saved.” The Holy Spirit had been working on him. When the Holy Spirit sees the Ethiopian eunuch is just ripe, He looks around for a man whose heart is ready, a man who’s inclined to the calls of the Spirit, and who’s insistent for the cause of the Spirit, and He gets that man and that lost man together. As a result, the miracle of salvation takes place. That’s not luck! The Holy Spirit engineers the entire encounter. Do you wonder why some folks are used and you’re not used? I encourage you to pray, “Oh God, use me.” If you get yourself usable, and God will wear you out.
It’s amazing to me what gets folks all excited. The story is told of a Russian who came to the United States during the football season. He was taken to a great bowl game. Afterward, he was asked, “what did you think about the game?” Do you know what this godless atheist said? He said, “I’ve never seen so much first-rate enthusiasm for such a second-rate cause.”
What’s the most important thing? I say, what’s it all about? Why did Jesus Christ hang naked on a cross in agony and blood? The Son of man has come to seek and to save that which is lost. Seeing souls saved is what’s it’s all about. The Bible says, “He that winneth souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30). You’ve got members in your family that are lost. One day, the clods of dirt will fall on his or her casket, and every clod of dirt will say, “Lost, lost, lost.” You’ll say, “My God, why didn’t I witness?” I want to tell you, that it’s time we got excited about what excites God, and that’s bringing people to Jesus Christ.
III. We Need To Be Instant To The Commands Of The Spirit
Third, we are to be instant to the commands of the Spirit. In Acts 8:29-30, we read, “Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran there to him…”. He Ran. He didn’t walk. He didn’t crawl. He ran. Why?
The chariot was moving on. There was a split- second there, when God wanted instant obedience. Had Philip waited, the chariot would have been gone. He was instant to the commands of the Spirit. When the Spirit said “Go,” he went.
A little boy got a toy car for Christmas, and was playing with it on the rug, and finally it stopped working. And, his daddy said, “Son, what’s wrong with it?” He said, “Daddy, I think the go is broken.” I think that’s what’s wrong with three-fourths the Church today. The go is broken.
I have a feeling that had Philip been the kind of a Christian that some of us are, he would have argued with the Lord. He would have said, “Well, I can’t go. Look, he’s a rich man; I’m a poor man. I’m just a preacher. There he is in his big gold Cadillac chariot. I can’t go up there.” Yet, riches didn’t keep him from going. Or, Philip might have said, “He’s of a different race than I am,” and he was; but race didn’t keep him from going. Or, he might have said, “Look, he’s reading; I don’t want to disturb him.” He was reading. Have you ever seen how the Holy Spirit engineered it? The minute he got to that verse that talked about Jesus, God said, “Now, get him; get him right now. That’s the time; run to him right now.”
God was managing over the whole thing. Suppose Philip had waited, had hesitated? Not only was the time late; the time was ripe for the Ethiopian to be saved. Would you like to be so right with God, that you could win souls like this? God desires to be moving in your heart and moving in their life at the same time. I wonder how many ready souls did not hear the Gospel because we were not listening to the voice of God.