Be a Soul Winner

Let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
— James 5:20

Only the sacrifice of Christ can atone for sin. Jesus is the Savior but we are the ones who carry His message of forgiveness and restoration to those lost in their sins. He has not committed this glorious work to angels. God has graciously given you and me the role of “soul winner.” We might not all be evangelists in the true sense of the word, but we all have been called to evangelism. Every one of us has a responsibility to share the good news of Jesus Christ with other people. In our different walks of life, we are given opportunity by the Lord to share the gospel with those who are lost. We are Christ’s ambassadors and as such we represent Him to a lost world.

Where do we begin? We begin with compassion: the deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it. Realize that without Christ there is no hope for the lost. Without someone winning their soul for Christ they will go to hell! The world is in crying need of Christians who are in tune with the heart of God, yet many of us are complacent about the fate of the lost and the need of pointing them to the Savior. “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back...” (James 5:19). For someone to get saved someone else must make that commitment to go and turn him or her back. We all know people who have wandered from the truth. If we are to take the Great Shepherd’s lead and follow His example then we have to go after them with the love and compassion in our heart that He has shown to us. As recipients of God’s grace we now need to be givers of grace. What a glorious experience to win a lost soul to Christ! What joy there is in knowing that a sinner, once at war with God, is now reconciled to Him and that the Holy Spirit has worked through you to bring it to pass! What a thrill to walk through the gates of Heaven with those at your side whom you have brought to the Savior! “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30)

- From Study #5171

The Testing of our Faith

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
— James 1:2-3

All the time God is building character. Trials are not bad; they are simply the way God tests our faith to purify it. Gold is His goal. He wants our trust to grow deeper, fuller, and more consistent. He is working in us the kind of faith that simply trusts even when there is no evidence in our circumstances to say we should trust. We go through times when we feel nothing and all we have left to trust in is what God has said. One day you wake up and for no apparent reason you feel different. “Does God love me anymore?” “Lord, where have You gone?” “Have You deserted me?” Why don't I feel You around any more?" Our feelings may be gone, but God is not. He has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb 13:5) This is the time of testing – the time for faith and standing on the Word of God. There is a level of faith and trust that can come no other way. Those who rely upon experiences alone, fail when times of testing come. If your faith is based on His Word – on the never failing promises of God – and not on fluctuating feelings dependant upon circumstances, you will stand!

Trials increase our dependence upon God. In that way they help build our faith. They force us to face our weakness and inability and then they drive us to God. Can we rejoice? Can we, “count it all joy?” Can we be thankful for whatever has been the means of our seeking God more fully? Trials are more evidence that God is working in our lives. He is working His glory into you. Trust Him! Stand on His promises even when you do not feel His Presence. Are you convinced there is a God in Heaven who is full of mercy and compassion? He has a purpose. We follow Jesus because it is right. Our trials do not make it any less so. One of the signs of a maturing Christian is the way he approaches trials and tribulations. Be patient! Endure! Exercise faith! “Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:4)

- From Study #5170

Disciplined for our Good

Do not despise the chastening (education, training, disciplinary correction) of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him.
— Hebrews 12:5

Who can understand the distresses and perplexities of life? We experience grief, loss, pain and sorrow and wonder why. Surely life only becomes intelligible when we regard it as an education. The best explanation for all of our woes is that we are being schooled for something higher – something greater than this life alone. We struggle to find any rhyme or reason for much of what we go through when really there is no explanation outside of the concept that this is God’s school for us. Life is as an education.

We have been deceived in our society to believe that the chief aim of life is to be happy. The problem is, when pain and sorrow come our way this warped view of our existence causes us to question whether God really is loving or if He exists at all. But where does God say that His chief desire for us is to be happy? Or where has He promised that life will be without heartache? Yet people quit school, jobs, and even marriages all because, “Well, I am just not happy.” The truth is however, God’s chief purpose for us is not happiness but holiness. It is to this end that He is educating us – working in our lives to make us more like His Son, Jesus Christ. This education not only includes instruction, but correction and discipline are also part of the training. How do we respond when it comes? Do we rebel against it? Do we simply submit to it? Or do we actually embrace God’s chastening, knowing that “afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” To restrain and govern a child shows you care. In the same way, our heavenly Father will not allow us to “get away” with stuff that will lead to our ruin. So when you find yourself disciplined by God, rejoice! It is evidence that He loves you. “For whom the Lord loves He chastens.” We discipline our children that it may stand them in good stead through the rest of their lives here on earth, but God is disciplining us for a life of holiness that will last for all eternity!

- From Study #5169

Full Assurance of Faith

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith...
— Hebrews 10:22

Scripture tells us that Almighty God dwells in “unapproachable light” and our sin has separated us from Him. We have no right to approach Him. But Scripture also teaches that we can be “brought near by the blood of Christ.” God has provided a way for all those who put their trust in Jesus to have free and full access to His holy Prsence. The great plan of God is for us to have fellowship with Him. He wants us confident in the knowledge that we can come to Him at any time. After all, the main purpose of salvation is to bring us to the Father.

When we come to God, we reverence Him, we stand in awe of Him, and yet, as His children, He has invited us to come boldly. When I’m in my office my grandkids come right in. They don't have to make an appointment. They don’t even knock on the door. Kids don't do that. They walk right in. At home, if any of my kids come around, they don’t have to ask for food they go right ahead and open the refrigerator door. They have every right. They are home. That's how God wants us. Jesus said we must come to the kingdom as a little child. We are to come with the confidence a little child has with his Mom or Dad. We are to come freely and often with our needs, our hurts and our troubles that He might heal our wounds. He is not some distant “god” before whom we must grovel and do penance for a hearing. We do not need an appointment. By the work of Christ and the continued work of the Holy Spirit we have continuous access to the Father. The question is what are you doing with this privileged access? Are you drawing near to the Father in praise and worship? Are you drawing near to God in prayer? We under-value its power. If we really valued prayer, we would do more of it. Perhaps, like the disciples, we need to cry to Jesus, “teach us to pray!” Let’s not neglect this wonderful privilege. Accept by faith the finished work of Christ on the cross as your only access to God and then “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith!”

- From Study #5167

There is Power in the Blood

How much more shall the blood of Christ...cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
— Hebrews 9:14

By God's grace we have a conscience by which we can know and feel when something is right or wrong. But how many times have we done what our conscience said not to do? It is not a complete guide for conduct because the power of the will can overcome it and actually tell the conscience how to behave! A perfect conscience is one that has been cleansed by Jesus through a person’s free and powerful will choosing to follow Christ.

Perhaps the most effective way Satan hinders a Christian is by guilt. While reminding you of your failings he will tell you that you are not good enough to serve God, or to witness for Him. It’s here that we can fall into the trap of “dead works.” Feeling bad over a guilty conscience can lead us to begin to do “good deeds” just to feel better about ourselves. We have done something wrong so we think we need to do something right for God to smile on us again. These are the “dead works” Jesus died to cleanse. He doesn’t want you going around doing things to try to clear your conscience. He wants to cleanse it. Don’t let the enemy hinder you. Come to Jesus by faith, resting in His power to rid you of guilt and then get on with it and serve God. Some are not usefully serving the Lord because they are so hung up in this area. They are constantly looking inward, feeling bad about their failures. God wants you to settle it by knowing and understanding what the Scripture says that Christ has achieved for you! Let Him cleanse you from all guilt and shame so that you can serve the living God with a free heart, with the anointing of God on your life, walking in the light in openness with God. Jesus can set you free to be a victorious Christian – fruitful, powerful, and full of faith! You can know the assurance of a Christ-cleansed conscience. There is power in the blood – power to make you all that God intended you to be!

- From Study #5166