By Raymond E. Harris
1. A clear knowledge of Jesus as Savior. The unconverted church member can expect little success at winning others to Christ. You cannot interest others in serving a Savior you have never really served yourself. You can-not lead someone to where you have never been.
A clear knowledge of Jesus as Savior includes three things:
1. A knowledge of pardon through the blood of Jesus (2 Cor. 13:5; 2 Tim. 4:6-8).
2. Victory over sin through the risen Christ (Rom. 6:3-11, 23).
3. Absolute surrender to Christ as Lord (Rom. 6:17-22).
2. A firm conviction that every person who has not accepted and obeyed Jesus is lost. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost! His awareness of mankind’s lost condition drove him relentlessly onward. In like manner Paul admonished night and day with tears all who would hear him (Acts 20:26-32).
We too should be tireless in our efforts to snatch our contemporariesfrom the flames of hell. We will be-come active soul winners only if we are motivated by compassion for lost and dying individuals (Acts 17:16).
3. A practical knowledge of the Bible. The New Testament was given by God (1) to produce faith in Jesus Christ, (2) to convict man of his sin, and (3) to convey the terms of salvation.
For us to be fruitful personal workers we must know our Bibles and know how to use them to produce faith, conviction and conversion. Too often the zealous do not have the knowledge and the well informed say they do not have the time. Both should be ashamed! To hunger and thirst is to know; and to grow up spiritually is to have the time (Col. 4:6; 1 Pet. 3:15).
4. Love. Nothing wins like love. When we love lost souls enough to tell them of a loving Savior who died for them, souls will be saved! The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). The story of the gospel is that Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected to redeem mankind. Yes, the story of the gospel is the story of a loving Savior who loved us to the point of dying for each and every one. A heart filled with love will continue to tell of Jesus’ love (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
5. Self-Denial. Jesus said, “Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). Again he said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:34). If we are to be effectively useful in personal work or any other work for the Master, we must put away personal interest, our own comfort, ego, pride and personal feelings. Selfishness is by far the greatest enemy of personal work “Personal work” is submission to Christ for the welfare of others. Personal work will be thwarted and neutralized to the ex-tent that church members allow personal feelings and desires to supersede spiritual responsibility. Remember John warned, “Love not the world or the things of the world” (1 John 2:15).
6.Prayer. Here are some things for which we should pray: (1) The personal worker must pray for wisdom (James 1:5). We will need wisdom in every effort to lead others to Christ. No matter how well we know the Word, no matter how experienced we may become, we need the wisdom from above if we are to succeed. (2) We should pray for those we teach, that their hearts would be receptive to the word. (3) The prayer must be real, earnest and persistent.
7. Perseverance. A text that must sink deep into the personal worker’s heart is this: “Let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9). Soul winning requires great patience and perseverance. Yet, no work is more worthy of our endurance and steadfastness. Many think they are personal workers if they extend an invitation here, offer a word of encouragement there, and express sympathy somewhere else. Flitting about here and there with little spiritual pleasantries is not personal work and such will not really convert anyone. Personal work that truly converts will be a consistent work in a situation where the gospel is taught, discussed and learned. If after extensive work we feel that we have failed, we should show our perseverance by seeking another person to teach. And, if we fail again, we must have the strength and stead-fastness to seek out another and still another.
“In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening with-hold not thy hand, for thou knowest not which shall prosper, whether this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good” (Eccl. 11:6). The successful personal worker is “at it, always at it.” He is on the watch for souls and always sowing the seed. God is calling all Christians to rouse up and go to work! Who will hear the call? A glorious reward awaits all who do.
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: No. 21, p. 1
November 2, 1995