The Best Way to Win Souls
2 Corinthians 5:14-21
DATE: 8 May, 2005 AM PLACE: BBC Ballincollig
I. Introduction (2Cor 5:20)
A. Our Lord was an active Man, always busy, always productive, always doing some thing, and it was ALWAYS for souls – we call it Evangelism
B. He was active to show us how to also be Active, and what to be active doing
C. Too many people are busy, and active for sure, but spiritually, they are DEAD, and many Christians think Sunday is enough to worry about doing any spiritual, and need to be reminded that we are to be Just like Jesus in every way – including in our activities, and schedules – schedule in soul-winning
D. This month we are looking at the Evangelistic Activities of a Christian’s life.
1. As Rescuers – Last week
2. As Ambassadors - today
3. As Evangelists
4. As World Changers
5. And finally as Victors
E. Last Week we looked at getting busy doing Our Father’s Business
1. When Jesus is twelve years old, He very firmly revealed, that even at that young age, He was going to be busy doing His heavenly Father’s business
2. What Is God’s Business? The Search and Rescue Business!
a. For God, it started back in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:6-9)
1) Man went astray, and was in danger of being lost forever
2) And God, instead of walking away, came and began a search for anybody who would let Him save them
b. It culminated in the coming of Jesus Christ (Mt 1:21; Lk 19:10)
c. Thank God He is still seeking out those who are lost and in danger
d. AND, that is OUR business, if we are truly born again (Jn 17:18, 20:21; Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15; Lk 24:47-49; Acts 1:8)
3. How Serious is Our Task?
a. EVERYONE, absolutely everyone is lost – no exceptions! It means:
1) Away from God, missing, astray
2) Unable to get home
3) Without God and without hope
4) Completely away from God – not near to God, or “on the right track” or “not too far off course” – or “just a little wayward”
5) Separated from God – a big, insurmountable distance between us and God
b. And that is only the tip of the iceberg - Mankind as a whole is:
1) Under the dominion of the devil (2Cor 4:4)
2) Going completely against God
3) Already condemned by God (Jn 3:16-18)
4) Under the wrath of God (Jn 3:36)
5) Facing an eternity in hell, forever and ever
c. Dear folks, THAT is the danger the souls of people are in!
1) Whether Jew or Gentile, bond or free, male or female, young or old, rich or poor, intelligent or dumb, black or white – everyone is in immediate danger (2Cor 6:2)
2) No one has any guarantee of life 10 minutes from now
3) No one has the promise of a long life, or another chance to be saved
4. How Do We Accomplish That Task? We learned that we need to be:
a. Broken – weeping over the lost condition of the world
b. Burdened carrying the responsibility for getting people out of danger
c. Trained – the reason why many Christians get discouraged in the search and rescue business is because they attempt to do noble and dangerous deeds, only to fail, simply because they have not gone through training – Soul-Winning Class, Discipleship, faithful church attendance getting clear teaching on how to see folks saved!
d. Together – we MUST learn how to work as a TEAM of Christians, sowing, planting, watering, mending, helping, prodding, always bringing people closer and closer to faith in Christ (1Cor 3:6,7)
e. Determined (Jn 9:4) – not wishy-washy, or haphazard, but determined, even if everyone else falls out, to finish the job
f. Going – not waiting always for the right moments, or the right conditions, but going TO people where THEY live, where THEY are struggling (Mt 28:19) – cant’ expect trapped climbers to come down and come to you if they are in danger! Same with souls!
g. Dependent – dependant not upon his own wisdom and intelligence and personality, but solely on the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8)
h. Until the Trumpet blows!
F. This week, we will look at being active as Ambassadors (2Cor 5:20), faithfully representing our Lord in this world
1. An Ambassador is a minister of the highest rank employed by a prince or a country, to live in another country, in order to represent the interests and power of his sovereign. An Ambassador is also called a minister, who serves his or her government both wherever, and however needed.
2. Some neat comparisons between Ambassadors and Christians
a. Both represent the will and life of the leader of their home country – for us it is God in heaven
b. Both live their lives in a foreign land instead of at home
c. Both love dearly their home country over and above the land in which they presently dwell
d. Both yearn that people would know more about and ultimately move to their home country – change citizenships
e. Both rarely are appreciated in the foreign country
3. The life of an Ambassador is an awesome life to live
4. It is the life that you and I as Christians HAVE to live
5. Let’s learn how to live it today!
II. Message – Being Ambassadors for Christ (2Cor 5:14-21)
A. A Christian Ambassador Lives a Constrained Life (2Cor 5:14,15)
1. A Constrained Life is a confined life
a. Not free to live as you please anymore – never really did anyway
b. But free to live at the pleasure of the One who bought you (1Cor 6:19,20)
c. Constrained is a hard word for the modern carnal person
1) Limits our options – can’t just go places and do anything
2) Inhibits our freedoms – not free to sin anymore
3) Directs our paths for us – God has a perfect will for each of us
2. A Constrained Life is a Thought-Out Life
a. The crucifixion was not just an event long ago
b. But a revelation of the condition of the whole world – all are spiritually dead, and headed for eternal death – that what it showed
c. And if Jesus died for the whole world, and you have gotten Eternal Life from Him, there is just no going back – we HAVE to live “unto Him” who died for us and rose again!
3. There is no other life for a Christian to live than that of an Ambassador – a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ in a foreign land (This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through…)
B. A Christian Ambassador Lives a Spiritual Life (2Cor 5:16), instead of a carnal/fleshly life!
1. We used to only see people on the outside - as evolved creatures that were flesh and bones and the product of accidents and cosmic burps
2. Now we see them no longer as flesh, but as souls
3. Jesus came and was in the flesh as a man, but taught us about the value of a soul, and that man is of immense worth because of his soul not because of his accomplishments or wealth!
4. A Christian sees things the world can’t see
a. That there is more to a person than just what is on the outside
b. More than the skin they have, the house they live in, the car they drive, the clothes they wear, the people they hang around with, the job they work, the crimes they have done, the accomplishments they have made.
c. We Christians see the real person underneath (at least we SHOULD), the SOUL that indwells everyone (1Pet 3:1-4) – called the inner man
5. Stop seeing all the fashions, hairstyles, fancy cars and the jewellery, and the big houses as life, and see them as only a shell around the only thing worth knowing and studying, and loving, and winning – that of a soul!
C. A Christian Ambassador Lives a New Life (2Cor 5:17,18)
1. New Creature – something totally new – not created in Genesis, not an animal, vegetable, or mineral, but an eternally living being that now has life, and that more abundant than this world could ever offer!
2. New Citizenship (Heb 11:13-16) – old things have passed away
a. No longer Jew or Gentile. No longer Irish or American
b. No longer South African, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian
c. All those old things have passed away - You and I are CHRISTIAN
d. Our citizenship is in heaven – another country – we live HERE, but our home is in heaven!
e. Our past is dead, and buried, and as far as God is concerned it is completely FORGOTTEN!
3. New Closeness (2Cor 5:18)
a. We have been fully Reconciled – what a great word
1) The literal sense is to call back into union.
2) To call back into union and friendship the affections which has been alienated
3) to restore to friendship or favour after separation; as, to reconcile men or parties that have been at odds.
4) To adjust; to settle; as, to reconcile differences or quarrels between two people.
b. We sinners, have been marvellously reconciled to God – brought close to Him
1) Reconciled BY God – not by our own efforts, or by the efforts of our church, or by the saints
2) Reconciled all the way TO God – not just to heaven!
3) God so LOVED the world that he gave His only begotten son to bring us back to Himself – don’t settle for anything short of a vibrant living relationship with God the Father
c. All because of Jesus Christ – no room for Mary or the church!
4. New Cause – Ministry of Reconciliation (2Cor 5:18b)
a. THAT is our job as Christians – the cause for which we live and die
b. That EVERYONE would be reconciled to God
1) Remember, the whole world is lost without Christ
2) Nobody will know of this marvellous reconciliation without Ambassadors who “preach” the way of salvation – who show the way home – the way back to God!
c. We have such a cause to accomplish – the reconciliation of sinners to the only God – the bringing together of two opposites!
d. That is what soul-winning is all about!
D. A Christian Ambassador Lives a Word-Based Life (2Cor 5:19)
1. Not miracles-based
2. Not intelligence-based
3. But preaching-based (1Cor 1:22,23) – preaching “Thus saith the Lord!”
4. We do two things that win people to Christ: Preach the word (this Bible), and Live the word
a. Preach the word (Jn 6:66-68; Lk 16:27-29) – in season and out!
b. Live the word – very important part
1) Be Light – not listening to the darkness of rock music
2) Be Salt – not being the same flavour of the world, talking like them, looking like them, sounding just like them
3) Be Alive – not dead, or grumpy, or depressed, or defeated, or rebellious, or bitter, or hard, or dark, or full of the devil!
4) People rarely see any difference in us because there isn’t any! So why should they consider Christ if He can’t change you?
E. A Christian Ambassador Lives a Transparent Life (2Cor 5:20)
1. Our life is one that God just lives through to touch the lives of others
2. Every time you talk to someone about their soul, it is really God trying to speak through you to them – let Him use your lips and your time!
3. They need to see it as God speaking, and you need to realize it as such
4. We Christians are the replacement of our Lord Jesus Christ on this planet
5. We speak in the place of Christ
6. We are ambassadors representing HIM in EVERYTHING we do, and EVERYWHERE we go, to EVERYONE we meet
7. Notice the plea, the request of every Christian to everyone on this planet – “Please, be reconciled to God!” Be saved, be born again!
F. A Christian Ambassador Lives the Best Life (2Cor 5:21)
1. Because Christ took OUR place, and became sin FOR us
2. We have been moved into HIS place, and become RIGHTEOUSNESS (HIS righteousness) in the world
3. Make sure you are living righteously and godly in this present evil world (Tit 2:12)
4. Don’t be like the world, and keep dumbing yourself down so that there is no difference between Christians and the world
5. Live the BEST life – it was given you by our Lord as a gift, and as a means to win the world!
A. Throughout the remainder of the month, we will see that the evangelistic activities of the Christian include:
1. Being Active As Evangelists
2. Being Active As Changers
3. And finally Being Active as Victors
B. But before we can get to those things, we needed to learn about Being Ambassadors for Christ (2Cor 5:14-21)
1. By Living a Constrained Life (2Cor 5:14,15)
2. By Living a Spiritual Life (2Cor 5:16), instead of a carnal/fleshly life!
3. By Living a New Life (2Cor 5:17,18)
4. By Living a Word-Based Life (2Cor 5:19)
5. By Living a Transparent Life (2Cor 5:20)
6. Finally, By Living the Best Life (2Cor 5:21)
C. Starts with being reconciled to God YOURSELF
D. God has done it all – he is just waiting for you to see how desperately bad you need to be born again, and then He will save you – if you will just call on the name of Jesus, who died and rose again FOR YOU!
Craig Ledbetter, Ireland
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