For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)
I was seventeen and working with Steve in my father’s sawmill at Stevenson, AL. It was “Alabama Hot” and we were stacking Hickory handle squares in neat stacks outside to be air-dried. Steve’s blue work shirt was wet with sweat and his overall bib was wet and I wasn’t far behind him. He was a hard worker.
We paused under a shade to cool. I began to inquire about his soul and his need to be saved. He virtually jumped at the chance to be saved. He had served 20 years in prison for his part in killing an old farmer at the end of his corn field. He and a friend carefully planned to rob the man. It was during the Great Depression and they thought the man carried a roll of money in the pocket on the bib of his overalls. They waited until he finished plowing a row and when he began to turn the mule for the next row, Steve and his friend killed the old man.
Instead of a roll o money, they got $3.00 from him. That was it! Killed him for $3.00. His buddy turned "State's Evidence" and accused Steve of doing it by himself. So, Steve had 20 years to think about his sin. He was very much a sinner and was ripe to be saved.
While we were cooling down, I quickly ran through a few verses in my New Testament and asked him if he wanted to pray to be saved. He did. We prayed and then I led Steve in a prayer and he prayed after me. He trembled and shook and wept and just broke down and sobbed as he felt the burden lift from soul for having killed that man. And then we had to get back to work.
I have found through many years of witnessing to people that my problem has not been in getting people saved. The problem has come in getting people lost. I didn’t have to spend much time getting Steve to believe he was lost and needed to be saved. We do not want anything to be wrong with us. We do not want to be "sinners." Therefore, we labor and struggle not to be a sinner. And if we must admit that we are a sinner, it is somebody else's fault. I thank God when I find someone who readily admits that he or she is a sinner.
There's no need to try to get anyone saved who is not a sinner. Therefore, I like to ask an individual "Do you need to be saved?" "Do you want to be saved?" “Do you know how to be saved?" Do you want me to pray with you?” I may ask the person, “What is God going to do with you when you stand before Him and give an account of yourself?"
A lot of people know they are sinners but they still don't want to be saved because they love their sin. They do not want God to be in charge of them. They want to be God, themselves. "I will tell God what He can have." "I will be in the place of God." God will not save a man until he understands he's a sinner in trouble with a Holy God. I sometimes tell a person: "The Bible says it is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment." (Hebrews 9:27). Do you suppose there's anything to that?" "What are you going to tell Him when you stand before Him?" We must engage the minds of people about being a sinner if we want to reach their souls.
This is by no means a “how to do it” page. We can’t save anyone. Salvation is of the Lord and He has to do the convicting and the saving of souls. But, we can be faithful witnesses wherever we go and do our best to engage the minds of people in where they are going to spend eternity. And then, if the person will listen, we can give them John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) and For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)
If you know or if you will memorize these two verses (above) you will have a solid rock for witnessing to people you meet in many, many situations. They’re short and to the point and if there’s an opportunity to follow it up with prayer, that can be done too.
The MacArthur study BiBle makes this comment: calls on the name. This familiar OT expression (e.g., Psa_79:5-6; Psa_105:1; Psa_116:4-5) does not refer to some desperate cry to just any deity but to the one true God as He has revealed Himself—a revelation which now includes recognition of Jesus as Lord (Rom_10:9) and of the One who raised up Jesus from the dead (Rom_10:9).
In Romans 10:13, Paul quoted Joel (Joel_2:32) to further emphasize that salvation is available for people of all nations and races.
Most Christians have a sincere desire to witness at every opportunity but do not know how to go about it or may not realize how simple it is. Don’t make witnessing a complicated thing. It is not a discourse on theology and covering a lot of fine points. You have to keep it simple or the one you’re talking to may very well respond with a “Huh?”
John 3:16 and Romans 10:13 is all you need to engage the mind of about anyone you meet. Practice it and when you find someone to talk to, take it as far as the conversation makes it possible. We are seed sowers. And I know from gardening experience since I was five years old that you are not going to get any turnips to come up unless you sow some turnip seeds.
Do this: decide you are going to be a witness for the Lord. Practice the two verses and the few suggestions given here and ask God to lead you to someone to talk to. Remember that the first Christians DID NOT have a Bible or a pocket testament. They only had what they had memorized….and that was enough. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word. (Acts 8:4)
These were just common, ordinary, plain, poor people who knew next to nothing about preaching. They used what they knew and shared it with as many as they could. Somehow, their simple message began to take hold.
Truth is, the woods are full of lost people. Everywhere we turn there are lost people. Don’t worry about doing it exactly right. Just do it! Everybody we meet is not going to be a murderer in a corn field. Everybody is not going to be gripped by their sin and waiting for someone to come along to help them get saved. That’s ok. Do some seed sowing. And if someone trembles or agrees to let you pray with them, do it. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
OCTOBER 27, 2017 – FRIDAY
A.M. Jeremiah 20-22 2 Tim. 1
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verse to Memorize:
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. (Hebrews 4:2)
Song for Today:
Tell Me the Story of Jesus (5:49) (Ritchie-Parker – Gaither)
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