by Neal Pollard
Do you have a set of goals and objectives you’d like to fulfill? They may involve your financial present or future, your waistline, your level of education, your occupation, or your Christian walk.
I don’t know how you are doing on them, but I’d guess that the goals you’re most passionate about and motivated by are the ones in which you are most likely to succeed.
The more unpleasant the objective, the easier it is to tuck it away, explain it away, or rationalize it away. How can we develop the desire we need to have to save souls?
Let us consider several things Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4 for guidance.
First, realize that we are just like lost sinners, except for Jesus’ blood (1).
Paul reminds these Christians at Corinth of what they had in Christ — hope, boldness, liberty and spiritual sight (see chapter 3). As they had received mercy, they needed to share the good news.
If we think that those outside of Christ are awful, terrible people and we are so righteous, we are in terrible danger and like those condemned by Christ for trusting in themselves that they were righteous while despising others (cf. Luke 18:9).
We are simply blessed that somebody cared enough to teach us the gospel and lead us out of darkness into light (see 1 Peter 2:9-10). God loves our friends and neighbors as much as he loves us. There are spiritually blind people out there (4) who need to hear about God’s
Second, realize the power of the message we are to share (5).
Our primary goal is not to make people healthy, wealthy or wise. It is not to promote ourselves. We don’t have to bribe anyone or make false promises.
When we preach Christ, we’re preaching freedom from the torture and slavery of sin. We’re preaching peace to people wallowing in guilt. We’re preaching joy to those who will ever find it elusive outside of Christ. This message is of God and from God (6).
Third, realize that God intended US to be the ones who share this message (7).
Evangelism is often preached as an obligation, and it is that (cf. Matthew 28:18-20). But how often do we stop to think that we get to partner with God.
As you walk somebody through the Bible’s teaching on salvation, commitment and the blessings of Christianity, you are all too aware of your inadequate and ineloquent efforts. Then, in that moment they accept the truth and obey it, you are happy yet humbled in the knowledge that God did it through you. You didn’t do it. You made the effort and were the teacher.
Paul said, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels” (7). We are jars of clay, and it doesn’t take much to crack and break pottery.
Paul also says this “shows that the treasure comes from God and not us.” We get to partner with God all right, but it’s not an equal partnership. He has all the power, yet his plan to save the world is soul-winning. That is up to us.
Finally, realize that any personal sacrifice is worth it (8).
Paul doesn’t paint some rosy, unrealistic picture. The truth is that obeying God and sharing the gospel with the lost will likely bring some pain and suffering into our lives, as it did Paul’s life.
Paul had the calm and courage that comes in living with the right purpose of life. Whatever we endure in sharing the good news will be worth it, too.
Looking at Paul’s life ought to make us want to win souls. If I understand my true purpose in this world, I’ll want to win souls. If I truly appreciate the debt I owe, I’ll want to win souls. If I love my Lord enough to obey him, I’ll want to win souls!
by Neal Pollard