Proverbs 11:30, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.”
Soulwinning means to win souls to Christ, by preaching the gospel to them. The unsaved are “lost” (Luke 19:10) and “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), they need to be won to Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Paul explains the gospel as “…that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”.
One of the most important duties of a believer is to share this good news with others, and show other people how they can be saved.
What is the gospel?
We are all guilty of sin, and the punishment for this is death. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Our sin must be punished by God, the righteous judge. However, God loves us so much (John 3:16) that he sent his Son Jesus, who came to justify the unjust (1 Peter 3:18). He lived a sinless life on earth (2 Corinthians 5:21), something we could never do, and died in our place and tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2:9) so that we do not have suffer in hell for our sin, but we could be made righteous.
Jesus shed his precious blood to redeem us (1 Peter 1:18-19) from our sin, so that God removes our sin from us and imputes (gives) Christ’s righteousness to us (Romans 4:24). In Psalm 103:12 it says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
God forgives and forgets our sin and no longer sees it (Jeremiah 31:34), once we trust in Christ to pay our punishment for us. Jesus intercedes for us and confesses us before the Father in heaven (Hebrews 7:25, Matthew 10:32), so that God will not punish our sin, but will accept Christ’s sacrifice in our place (Hebrews 10:12).
What should we do with this?
Every believer needs to share the gospel. When we present this good news to people, we are planting the seed for them to believe it.
1 Corinthians 3:5-8 says, “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”
Paul and Apollos were “ministers by whom ye believed”, they preached the gospel to people who believed it. Paul planted the initial seed, Apollos watered it by reminding them of the good news, and God gave the increase by saving their souls and raising up a new believer to everlasting life.
When we tell someone the news of Christ, they must call upon the name of the Lord and believe it by faith, and at this moment God will save their souls from hell and seal them forever. This is soulwinning, literally winning their souls to Christ so they stand redeemed.
Romans 10:14 says, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”
How can the world hear about God without a preacher? If they don’t hear, they can’t believe, and if they don’t believe, they can’t call upon the name of the Lord to be saved. We have a duty to share what we have learnt with people and to be used of God to show that Jesus “hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10).
Jesus commanded us to soulwin:
There are many different reasons why it is so important for us to preach the gospel. First of all, Jesus Christ commanded us to:
Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and then Mark 16:20, “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”
Luke 8:39, “Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.”
Acts 10:42, “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.”
This is just a few of the many times Jesus urged his followers to preach the gospel to the world.
Soulwinning saves souls:
Another reason we need to go out and preach is that people can know how to be saved from hell, as we have been.
The Bible describes hell as a place of “everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46), a “furnace of fire” where there shall be “wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:42) and a “fire that never shall be quenched” (Mark 9:43).
When God saved us, he stood between us and hell and paid the ultimate cost of his own life, so that we would never have to taste death. This is such amazing news for each of us, such undeserved grace and sacrifice, that we have such a responsibility to share this with the world.
Why sit back and allow people to suffer eternal torment when we know the one Way out? How can we sit back and watch the world go to hell like we were, when we can tell them about the Saviour who paid that price for them, if they only believe.
We should have more of an attitude like Paul when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:16, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!”
Preaching the gospel is a necessity. Woe unto us if we preach not the gospel!
We will be rewarded:
Paul also wrote in Romans 1:14-15, “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.” Paul was indebted to preach the gospel, he felt as though he owed it to the Greeks, Barbarians, the wise and the unwise. He was shown the grace of God and had to share it!
Although, as Paul said, preaching the gospel isn’t anything for us to glory of, it does mean that we will be rewarded for our labour by Jesus. We need to be out preaching to people and showing them how to get saved so that Christ will reward us for our labour and also so that we can be rewarded by seeing others in heaven.
Daniel 12:3 reads, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” If we are able to turn people to righteousness and show them the goodness of God, we will shine like the stars for ever.
Who can preach the gospel?
Everyone and anyone!
Jesus commanded everyone to preach the gospel. This includes men and women, for example the woman at the well in John 4:28-29, “The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?”
In Philippians 4:3, Paul wrote, “And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.” He mentions those who laboured in the gospel, including women.
2 Timothy 2:2 says, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
We should be faithful, willing and able to teach others. God does not limit those who are able to preach, but wants everyone to be active servants for his kingdom.
It is a duty for all of us because Christ saved all of us from hell. He is our example and our pattern (1 Peter 2:21), he preached the news of God everywhere he went and commanded others to as well. Why would only some of us be called to do the same? It is a commandment to every believer.
Who should we preach the gospel to?
2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
1 Timothy 2:3-4, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
God is not willing that any should perish, but wants all men to come to repentance and the knowledge of the truth and be saved.
Therefore, we have a duty to preach the gospel to everyone. This is also what Jesus said in Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
It is not our right to choose who to preach the gospel to, but we should give it to anybody God brings us to. Romans 2:11 says, “For there is no respect of persons with God.” God does not care who you are or what you have done, he wants all to come to repentance and be born again.
One aspect to consider when dealing with people who already follow a religious teaching is what it says in Titus 3:10, “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;”. If someone is a heretic (teaching false doctrines, such as a different gospel), we should admonish (correct) them twice and then reject them and do what the Lord Jesus said in Luke 9:5, “And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.”
How should we preach the gospel?
Jude verses 22-23 read, “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” Some people may need to have a compassionate presentation of the gospel, showing how God loves them and died for them, others may need to be saved with fear and shown the torment that will come if their sin is not dealt with.
Ephesians 4:15 says that we should be, “speaking the truth in love”. The gospel is good news to a sinner, so we should be making this clear when we preach it to them.
When we soulwin, we should ensure that our focus is on how to be saved, and showing this from God’s word. It can be easy to get caught up debating topics such as evolution or other religions, but the Bible teaches that we need to avoid “foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law” (Titus 3:9) as well as many other unnecessary things.
Keep the focus on the Bible:
There are many verses that show that our focus should be on the Bible when presenting the gospel. For example:
Titus 1:9, “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”
We should be able to exhort (advise, encourage) and convince people by “sound doctrine” and the “faithful word”.
Acts 18:28, “For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.”
We should be like Apollos, who was an “eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures” (Acts 18:24), and was able to mightily convince people that Jesus was the Christ “by the scriptures”.
Furthermore, the Bible says in Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
When people hear the word of God, it brings faith. The perfection of what God has written for us, the complete harmony and flawlessness of it is enough to encourage anyone to trust it. Therefore, if we want God to fill someone with faith to trust in Christ and be saved, we need to share the Bible with them.
What if it doesn’t suit me?
There are many different approaches to soulwinning, and we should try and find what fits us best. We should not take the stance of some people who say “soulwinning is just not for me” – God has called us all to do it, and therefore we all need to find a way to suit us.
The Bible describes in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 that when we become believers, we become part of the body of Christ. We are all different members of this body, and we all take different roles.
1 Corinthians 12:17 says, “If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?” We are all different, and are all essential, but we all play different parts.
The Bible also says that we have different spiritual gifts. We are all equipped by the Spirit with different talents that we can use to preach the gospel. For example, some people may be better at speaking one-on-one with someone, whereas someone else may prefer to stand in front of a crowd and preach. Some people may prefer to hand out gospel leaflets, either way, they are all working for the furtherance of the gospel.
As a church of believers, we should be working together to strengthen each other, making use of everyone’s gifts and encouraging everyone to serve. The approach we take can vary, for example we can soulwin as a church, as a group or as individuals.
However, we should not have an attitude that means we only preach the gospel when we are with our church. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:14, “they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel”, we should be ready to share the news of Christ everywhere we go. If we are at work, at school, meeting people, going out, spending time with family, we should be ready always to speak of Christ.
How do we do this? Jesus said in Matthew 12:34, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” If we fill our heart with the word of God, we will not be able to help but speak of it and to share it with those around us.
What are some soulwinning ideas?
How can we be effective soulwinners? In what ways can we preach the gospel to people?
There are many different ways we can share the good news with the unsaved. For example if you are a confident speaker, you may choose to stand in a busy street and read from the Bible about salvation, or explain some Bible verses about how to be saved.
If you prefer a more personal approach, you could stand in a high street and try and start conversations with people one-on-one. Have some leaflets ready to hand out, and try and speak to people and explain what is written. Jesus spoke to individuals about salvation, as well as large multitudes of people.
There are also other effective ways to share, for example putting leaflets through letterboxes, knocking on people’s doors to ask if they would like to know what the Bible teaches, singing gospel hymns, or displaying leaflets on noticeboards.
If we are always equipped, we can leave information anywhere, such as in pockets of clothes in shops, on leaflet stands, on shop shelves, inside books in libraries, on benches, in bus stops, on public transport and so on.
Of course we should be careful not to litter leaflets or to irritate people, but anywhere we can leave a leaflet for someone to find and read is another person who can know what the Bible says about sin and salvation.
The way we choose to do it is personal to us, but we can all find something to suit us and allow us to preach the gospel to people. Some people work better from a leaflet, some prefer to just use a Bible, some prefer to use prompts etc.
The more we prayerfully push ourselves to be involved in evangelism, the more we will grow in boldness. It gets easier the more we try, especially if we can encourage others to be more involved as well.
The most important thing is not how we do it, but to make sure that we are doing it.
2 Timothy 4:2 reads, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.”
We should be ready in season and out of season, no matter what we are doing, we should be prepared to preach the gospel to someone. If we live like this, God will always provide opportunities.
For example, speak abundantly to people about the goodness of God. Sing hymns, speak loudly about what Christ has done in your life. Everything we do can be a witness for God and plant an idea in someone’s head. Each time we push ourselves, our confidence will only grow.
How can we prepare to soulwin?
In Matthew 10, Mark 6 and Luke 9, Jesus gives his twelve disciples a set of instructions on how to go out and preach the gospel.
For example, he said:
- to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16)
- to go “by two and two” (Mark 6:7)
- to “take nothing for their journey” (Mark 6:8)
- “whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them” (Mark 6:11)
We should also prepare by putting on the whole armour of God. In Ephesians 6:14-17, it says, “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”.
We should have our feet “shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace”. Our battles on this earth are spiritual, not physical. When we go out and try to show people how to get saved, Satan will do everything he can to hinder us and stop us, so we need to put on our spiritual armour to protect ourselves and be prepared.
The power of prayer:
The most important way to prepare to preach the gospel is to pray.
Philippians 4:6 reads, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
A Christian’s power comes from prayer. Before we go out to share the gospel, we need to ask God to fill us with boldness and the Holy Spirit. We cannot expect to convince men with our own words, but we need the Lord to speak through us.
We are told in Luke 12:12, “For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.”
Furthermore, James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
God has the ability to speak the perfect words through us to convict someone, but we need to rely on him, not our own wisdom. Each morning, pray for opportunities to share the news of Christ with someone, pray throughout the day that God will help you to see these opportunities and make the most of them. Pray that God will give you a burden for people’s souls, and the earnest desire and courage to show them the way out of hell.
We should also pray for the individuals that we speak to. If you have a conversation with someone about the Lord, write down their name and make sure to pray for them specifically and ask God to soften their heart and help them to understand what was said, or that someone else will come across their path and water the seed you have sown.
Another way to prepare is to memorise scriptures. If we learn key Bible verses that show how to be saved, we can always be ready to tell them to someone.
For example, to show someone that everyone is a sinner, we can learn Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. We can then explain the verse and show what it means, and go on to show how Christ came to pay for our sins. If we ensure that our foundation is built on scripture, we can bring the faith necessary for salvation.
We can also learn some answers to common questions that may arise. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”. We should always be prepared to defend the Bible and contend for the faith.
Do not be ashamed:
To prepare to preach the gospel, we must ensure that we are not ashamed of it. Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
The gospel is the “power of God unto salvation”! If we are ashamed of it and keep it to ourselves, people cannot be saved by it. We need to boldly preach that Jesus saves, and that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, and not hide it.
1 Thessalonians 2:4, “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” We have been put in trust with the gospel, we have a responsibility to share it.
Finally, don’t spend more time preparing than doing, get out there. Stand up, and let God speak through you, stand up and let the light of the glorious gospel of Christ shine. Be bold for the Lord and he will bless you greatly.
Jesus gave everything he had for sinners, we should gladly sacrifice our time, our money, our pride or shame, to share this with them.
Luke 10:2, “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.”
The harvest is great, people want to be saved. God needs labourers who are willing to be active in working for his kingdom. Every Christian is called to be a part of this.