How to Win a Soul to Christ
by David J. Stewart
"And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"
There is nothing more dear to the heart of God than soulwinning. What is meant by the term "soulwinning?" The Word of God, the Bible, proclaims that mankind is sinful--sinful by nature, thought, and action. Romans 5:12 declares that by Adam's sin, sin entered into the world and came upon all men, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Therefore, all men are deserving of Hell, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Whether we agree with it or not, the Word of God declares that Hell's punishment will be for all eternity. Jude 1:7 states, "Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed as an example of what happens to those people who die in their sins, without having trusted Christ as their Savior. Soulwinning is sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with lost sinners, in an effort to WIN them to Christ.
The Lord is Our Strength
We read in Acts 4:13, "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." Our message to the unsaved should be the Gospel, not our own cute and well thought out methods. We read in Romans 1:16 that the Gospel is the POWER of God unto salvation to every one that believes upon Christ. Now, it is ok to use various methods of presenting the Gospel; BUT, we must never stray away from the fundamental Biblical truth that it is the Gospel that saves, not our eloquent words. If a lost sinner won't obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then nothing else we say will matter. It is not our human wisdom that convicts men's sinful hearts; but the Word of God.
Also, every soulwinner ought to claim the Lord's promise that He would be with us as we go soulwinning, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Jesus promised to be with us, in power, as we go soulwinning. What a wonderful truth! Perhaps you are afraid and think you cannot be a soulwinner. Just keep in mind that the Gospel is the message, and the Lord is with you to strengthen you. This is all we need to win people to Christ. You don't need to be an eloquent speaker. You don't need to be experienced. You don't need to be a theologian. You just need to tell people how you got saved, and give them an opportunity to do the same, and trust the Holy Spirit to do the rest.
Winning Religious People to Christ
The hardest part about getting people saved is getting them lost. We read in Proverb 26:12 states, "Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him." There is more hope for a fool, than for a self-righteous religious person. It's not hard to get a person to call upon the Lord for salvation, once that person realizes that they're on the way to Hell. But it is extremely difficult to convince people that their false religion is of the Devil. So many people are stubborn, indoctrinated in their false religion. It is very difficult to win Catholics to the Lord, because they are brainwashed with the traditions of men. Jesus clearly warned in Mark 7:7 and 13, "Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition ... Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition." Did you read that? ... "Making the Word of God of NONE EFFECT!" I make it a point to show this Scripture to Catholics. It is important to show lost sinners that religion is very different from trusting upon the Lord for salvation. One can easily have religion without truth, and churchianity without Christianity. So the first step in winning a religious person to the Lord is to explain to them that salvation is NOT found in any religion; but, in a Person--The Lord Jesus Christ!
Also, I've found that many Catholics are willing to pray the sinners pray, and wholeheartedly agree with a basic Gospel presentation; BUT, they are not saved, even after they pray. I once witnessed to a Catholic gentleman, who after claiming to trust Christ as his personal Savior, said he could never forsake the damnable teachings of the Catholic Church. Let me make clear my friend, that no one who trusts in the Catholic Church, the keeping of the sacraments, the confessional booth, the praying of the Rosary, or good works (self-righteousness) will ever go to Heaven. The whole purpose for Christ paying for our sins was because we could not save ourselves. We are utterly helpless to save ourselves, or even to assist in any way. ANY attempt to impress God and earn a right to enter Heaven will send a person straight to Hell when they die. Not one verse in the entire Bible requires a person to do good works to enter Heaven. Romans 4:5 plainly states, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." All we can do as soulwinners, is to show these powerful Scriptures to lost religious people and hope they will obey the Holy Spirit's conviction.
How to Directly Present the Gospel
This is where you simply walk up to a complete stranger and witness to them. There are MANY introduction lines you can make. Of course, it is always a good idea to start with your name, your purpose for being there, and that you are a Christian. I could give you many examples, but it all depends upon where you're at, and the circumstances. If I were waiting for a train, at a train depot. I would introduce myself in the following way ... "Hi, my name is ____. You probably don't recognize me, but I ride this train quite often. I am a Christian, and I like to share my faith in Christ with others. I was hoping, perhaps, that you'd be so kind as to give me a moment or two of your time." Even if they refuse, you've just confronted them about the state of their soul. The Holy Spirit can use that for His glory. Most people won't listen to you, some will even walk away or ignore you. Others may curse you. BUT, some will listen, or will share their faith in the Lord with you as well.
Also, it is recommended that you always go soulwinning with someone else if you're going to be in a secluded area. Safety first. Yes, Jesus said He would go with us; but He also gave us a mind to think. There is a fine line between faith and foolishness. Never knowingly place yourself in harms way. This is good sense.
We meet many people every day, as we go about our daily schedule. These are wonderful opportunities to share our faith in Christ with others.
Street preaching is a great way to directly present the Gospel to large crowds.
How to Indirectly Present the Gospel
It can seem very awkward, walking up to a complete stranger, and outright asking them if they're a Christian; but, this is definitely something that every soulwinner should learn to do. However, for those new believers who may be afraid to witness in such an aggressive manner, there are many helpful alternatives. One method I prefer is to talk with people about world events, or recent news events. As you progress through the conversation, at some point interject a statement about God. For example: If I'm talking with someone about a war in the news, I'll say something like ... "It's a shame that there's so much killing in the world, the world sure needs God." This is my foot in the door, a launching pad to present the Gospel. Oftentimes, people will agree with such a statement, and then you can guide the conversation along from there, with a Gospel presentation as the goal.
I've also experienced many people who will clam up, say they're running late, or just plainly tell me they don't believe the Bible. Romans 10:17 teaches that "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." If a person is willing to listen, we should be willing to teach them. However, there are some people who love to debate. They have no intentions of getting saved, and only want to argue for the sport of it. Please keep in mind that most people in this world have never heard the Gospel. Why spend all of our soulwinning time debating with one stubborn person?, when so many people are still waiting to hear the Gospel. We must use our time wisely. It's not too difficult to differentiate between someone who has sincere questions about the Bible, and someone who has a preconceived rebuttal answer for everything. I simply don't waste my time with people who think they know it all. The Apostle Paul said in Titus 3:10 and 11, "A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself." This is not to say that we should ever give up on people, it simply means that a person who refuses to get saved after hearing the Gospel is rebellious against God. Some conversations can shed more heat than light, and are best kept short. If you discern that a person is not interested in getting saved, then politely end the conversation. I am more direct nowadays, as an older believer. I tell such people outright that they have a right to believe whatever they want; but I respectfully totally disagree, and there is no need for any further discussion, since we are both adamant in our beliefs.
Also, I often lay Gospel tracts down as I walk through stores. It's a wonderful way to get the Gospel out. I was at a store in a mall this week, buying some candy with my kids. The woman was unfriendly, and didn't even say thank you. As I was about to leave, I laid a Gospel tract on her counter. The tract was titled, "Eternal Life is a Free Gift." I also left a tract at another store we went to. I've gotten my kids into the habit of leaving Gospel tracts laying around in the places we go. It's a lot of fun, and so sneaky...lol. Sometimes when I'm coming out of a store, I'll lift the windshield wiper of the car next to me in the parking lot, and place a tract under it. You might want to be careful with this method though, because some people go nuts when it comes to their cars. Tracts can be left in public restrooms, phone booths, on bus seats--just about anywhere! It's a great way to witness to people you'll likely never meet. That Gospel tract may be the seed that one day springs forth into a new birth in Christ.
Keep It Simple
Salvation is as simple as this: We are Hell-deserving sinners, and Jesus is the Savior. The big issue which needs to be dealt with in one's salvation is SIN. Many people trust upon some religious experience, or a prayer, or mass, or baptism, or church membership to save them. However, none of these things can take our sins away. Only through Christ, by the precious blood that He shed, can our sins be taken away.
Soulwinning Efforts are Never in Vain!
The Bible teaches that those who plant seeds will receive an equal reward, to those who actually have the privilege of leading that soul to Christ down the road. 1st Corinthians 3:8 states, "Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour." Our labor is NEVER in vain in the Lord. Everything that we do for Jesus' sake and the Gospel's will be rewarded. In fact, Jesus said that anything we do even in a disciple's name will be rewarded, "And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward." So anything we do to help the man of God, a church, or another Christian, will be rewarded. If God is going to hold us accountable for every idle word spoken, then you can count on it that He will reward us for even the most seemingly insignificant acts of faith.
Sevenfold Sin of Not Winning Souls (by Dr. John R. Rice)