What Does it Cost to Win a Soul?
2 Corinthians 8:9
August 12, 2018 AM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (Proverbs 11:30)
A. Notice the phrase, “He that winneth souls…”
1. It means, Winning them over to believe in, and trust only the Lord Jesus Christ for life
a. Not trusting in their church, or their pope, or their good works
b. Not trusting and resting in science or technology
2. But getting people to believe that Jesus is alive from the dead, and our sure hope – our anchor, our Saviour from our sin! (John 8:30; 10:42; Acts 4:4)
B. What will it cost each and every one of us to Go BEYOND these four Walls and actually win a soul to faith Christ? (Matthew 5:14-16; Philp 2:14,15)
1. Here is a light – designed to shine and lighten any dark room
2. Well, WE are lights in the world, and were designed to shine too
3. Yet, We have so many barriers that we hide behind that keep us from being the gospel witness Christ saved us to be
C. What does it cost to win a soul?
1. To shine the light of the Gospel?
2. To win just one soul?
3. To disciple and baptize every new believer?
4. To birth another church, and then another, and then another?
5. What will it cost?
6. What will it cost to give the Gospel to one soul?
a. Sometimes just the cost of a single Gospel tract – pennies per tract
b. Sometimes it costs just a half hour giving your testimony over a cup of coffee to an unknown person you met providentially
c. But most of the time, not only will it cost us our comfort, our time, our money (it is not free)… it often costs us everything we have! And I mean everything!
d. 2Co 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
D. Most people have NOT heard the Gospel
1. Only about religious duties, and being good, and about saints, and miracles, and psychology, and love thy neighbour, etc.
2. “We talk of the Second Coming [of Jesus]; half the world has never heard of the first.” – Oswald J. Smith
E. The Gospel is the good news about who Jesus Christ IS and what He has done for the likes of you and me!
1. Most people only want to admit a slight need for Jesus – for a brief hour on a Saturday evening or Sunday morning tops`1
2. The rest of us know just how lost and how messed up we were and GLADLY testify of what we were like BEFORE we heard the Gospel! Very humbling to actually admit to being:
c. Demon possessed
d. Full of wickedness
g. Drug addicts
3. But that is the work of the Gospel – bringing us to repentance and faith in Christ!
F. Did you know that the Gospel costs you nothing to receive (it is FREE at Christ’s expense), but it will often cost you everything to give it to someone else!
A. Let’s look at four examples of what it cost to go somewhere with the Gospel and tell someone, warn them, compel them to believe it before it is too late!
3. Paul and Barnabas
4. And Jesus
B. What did it cost Jonah to just go to the Ninevites with God’s warning?
1. His pride – too humbling to care about a city full of pagan God haters
2. His own will – would NEVER have thought about wanting to go to Nineveh except to make them pay
3. His health – ended up going in the belly of a whale with all they hydrochloric acid
4. He risked his own life going into Nineveh as a Jew
5. Most of the time, what we end up paying for a soul is due to our own stubborn fighting AGAINST the will of God for us to REACH that soul - if we just DID our job and gave the Gospel to everyone we know, it would cost us very little, really.
C. What did it cost Peter to go to Cornelius and his family with the Gospel? (Acts 10)
1. His racism- hated the Romans, saw them as gentile dogs – unworthy of getting into the kingdom of God
2. His reputation – most other believers were upset at him for going into the home of a Gentile
3. His time – a few days
4. His diet – he ate what Cornelius fed him
D. What did it cost Paul and Silas and Barnabas to go throughout the Middle East and southern Europe with the Gospel?
1. Their old hateful religion – had to leave it completely behind. Gal 1:23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.
2. Their homes in Antioch – left them completely behind them and lived in tents
3. Their freedom – they were constantly in jails and prisons for the Gospel
4. Their self-sufficiency – no real man wants to be dependent upon anyone else – yet a minister of the Gospel often has to rely on the kindnesses of God’s people to help them take the Gospel to the furthest reaches for free
5. Their complacency – they could never really rest – had to keep going, further
E. What did it cost JESUS to bring to us the Gospel? (John 10:10-18) Everything! 1Peter 1:18,19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed [paid for] with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
F. So, Why do WE wait only for easy opportunities, and reject our responsibility simply because we find it hard to win souls?
III. Message – What Does the Gospel Cost Us?
A. A Cross – Persecution (Matthew 16:24)
1. But a cross is your way of life now - Not something that you wear around your neck, or as a tattoo
a. Mat 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
b. Mar 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
c. Luk 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
2. A cross means Hardship – not prosperity (Matthew 8:18-22)
a. Even though in the midst of great multitudes , Jesus wanted to go further - unto the other side.
b. Many will SAY they want to “follow thee whithersoever thou goest.”
c. But are unaware at how hard it will be to follow Him
d. Nor what it will cost them – like walking away from all the family ties
e. Missionary C. T. Studd, who preached the Gospel in China, India, and Africa said “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for him.”
f. Ernest Shackleton is said to have ran in the London Times newspaper an advertisement to try to recruit men for his Endurance expedition: Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.
g. That is an honest ad!
h. THIS is an honest Book folks!
i. Until you are ready to experience hardship, you are not ready to win souls!
3. A cross means Hatred
a. The more faithful we are toward the Lord Jesus, the more likely the world will hate us and want to silence us permanently... "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." 2Timothy 3:12
b. Expect that the world will generally hate Christians who are unapologetic, unwavering, bold and outspoken for Christ. Expect people to mock, discredit, and seek to silence us (especially on social media). So what! I choose to focus on believing, trusting, obeying, and pleasing God (1Cor 10:31).
c. I have long observed that the majority of public evangelicals are obsessed by a consuming desire to be liked by the culture of the western world. Whatever happened to, "I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world" John 17:14
d. They mocked Jesus, and spat upon Him out of unreasonable hatred
e. Until you are ready to experience intense HATRED, you are not ready to win souls!
4. A cross means Loss – not prosperity and success (Luke 21:16,17)
a. Luke 21:16,17 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.
b. Disowning (Acts 2-5)
1) Loss of friends
2) Loss of family
c. Rejection by the religious – kicked out of the synagogues, out of seminary, out of churches because you just believe the Gospel! See martin Luther, John Huss, etc
d. You have sided with Jesus against the world; against religion; against the devil -= and so you will have to pay for it!
1) Heb 11:24-26 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
2) Luke 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
e. Tanna Collins, Missionary to Tibet. “Lord, here in your precious Word I give myself, my husband, my children, and all that I have or ever shall posses, all to you. I will follow your will, even to China. Lord, open doors, and I will go and tell the Chinese of your great love. In time of need, supply for us; in time of sorrow, give us peace; in times of joy, send someone to share. Help me to never murmur nor complain. I love you Lord Jesus.”
f. Nate Saint, Missionary who died as a Martyr at the hands of a tribe on the Curaray River, in Ecuador – Served with Jim Elliot. “People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives … and when the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.”
g. The great Apostle Paul said in 2Cor 12:15 “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.”
h. Until you are ready to lose some things, you are not ready to win souls!
B. Souls will cost a lot of Conflict / Struggle (1Cor 9:19-27) – you will be out of step with the rest of the world around you. Most everyone else are only spectators
1. First within yourself
a. Fear of being rejected
b. Fear of fumbling through your words
c. Fear of saying something stupid
d. Fear of losing your friends or family
e. You will fight this battle every day of your earthly life
f. It does get easier, but this conflict never goes away
g. So you face it and fight it
1) Like a runner runs a race – against the clock and against the other opponents
2) Like a crippled man fights against gravity to walk
h. WE FACE THE CONFLICTS BECAUSE WE MUST!
2. And then you will spend your time fighting the culture around you
a. You will be at odds with…
1) The pressures of our culture to conform
a) To not talk about hell
b) To not actually BELIEVE the Bible – it is okay to go to church, and to own a Bible, but to actually BELIEVE it and LIVE by it???
c) Does any of this reflect YOUR attitude?
2) With the promise of politics as the answer to world problems – they are NOT
3) With all the myriads of drugs and medical treatments of people’s problems, when the love of God and some straight talk from the Bible could better transform their lives!
b. Soul-winners are not focused on fashions, or on the latest tech or games or entertainment
1) Our businesses are not so much driven to make oodles of profits
2) Our homes and cars are not the shiniest
3) Sports is a past time to us
3. And so much of the time you will be wrestling against spiritual darkness
4. But truly born again people are concerned with the souls of everyone around us, and their relationship with God – do they even KNOW God?
5. It should burn in your heart of hearts to go and tell someone some GOOD news – no matter to cost – no matter the conflict
C. It Will Cost Us a LOT of Compassion and Love (2Cor 5:14,15)
1. 2Co 5:14,15 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
2. You have GOT to love people’s souls and love winning them!
a. C.T. Studd "I cannot tell you what joy it gave me to bring the first soul to the Lord Jesus Christ. I have tasted almost all the pleasures that this world can give. I do not suppose there is one that I have not experienced, but I can tell you that those pleasures were as nothing compared to the joy that the saving of that one soul gave me."
b. David Brainerd, Missionary to the Seneca and Delaware Indians (1744-1747) said this at the end of his life... “All my desire was the conversion of the heathen… now I am dying, [But] I would not have spent my life otherwise for the whole world.”
c. Jim Elliot, Missionary who died as a Martyr among the Auca Indians of Ecuador. “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose”
d. John Keith Falconer, Missionary Among the Arabs. “I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land [like England or America] flooded with light”
3. You have been lied to – that love is EASY
a. And you wonder why your marriage stinks
b. Because love COSTS you!
4. Love has ALWAYS cost a lot – especially when it comes to soul-winning
a. Going to people who don’t want you
b. Telling them what they don’t want to hear
c. Patiently winning them – it can take YEARS
5. Loving people’s souls will be the hardest thing you will ever attempt
a. Looking beyond their skin colour, their cultural differences, their history and their religions
b. And loving their lost souls
c. “Lost people matter to God, so they must matter to us” – Keith Wright
d. When you choose to love the lost, it will cost you everything!
6. Hudson Taylor, Missionary to China said “If I had 1,000 lives, I’d give them all for China”
7. If you do not love the lost, you will never win souls!
D. Long Term Commitment – life long way of living (Lk 9:62) And Jesus said unto him, No man having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
1. Soul-winning is not something you and I do for a little while simply because we have been made to feel guilty
2. It is a commitment to constantly going yourself
3. And to helping others go where you cannot – through giving and praying for Missionaries as they go and preach and start churches everywhere!
a. Do NOT imagine for a second that you have a pass from your duty as a Christian of explaining the Gospel to people around you, and warning the lost, and winning them to faith in Christ
b. YOU have to speak up too (Acts 5:17-20)
4. I don’t know if you know it or not, but, we Bible believers give extra, so that we can financially help God-called missionary families to go to and stay in some amazing far away places like
e. Egypt and the Middle East
5. As well as some not so far away places like
6. And not just a little either
7. It is called Faith Promise Giving
a. As a church, we use some of the monies that come in the green offering box to help financially support our 9 missionaries for €75 a month which equals €7,700
b. But only €2,221 is actually given above the tithe to help them be in their countries preaching
c. Every Christian in this room not only needs to tithe, but every one of us needs to give beyond their tithe so that the Gospel can always be free to the hearer – no matter where they are!
d. We give away our money gladly so that people in all those places can have a preacher like you have here – so that they can have a church like you have here – so that lost people can have a chance to hear what you hear every week
e. Rom 10:13-15 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 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? 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!
A. So, What Does the Gospel Cost Us?
1. A Cross – Persecution
2. Souls will cost a lot of Conflict
3. It Will Cost Us a LOT of Compassion and Love
4. Long Term Commitment – life long way of living
B. Why am I pointing out all this?
1. Shouldn’t I be telling you just how much God will BLESS you financially if you GIVE?
2. Shouldn’t I be encouraging you to surrender your will over into God’s loving hands, and let Him give you a GREAT life?
3. No. Those would be lies
4. The Christian life, when lived for Christ, and lived for others, will cost us
5. Especially when we care about men’s souls!
C. How can summarize all this? Let me break it down:
1. Biblically faithful Christians should not expect to be liked and respected by a world that hates and despises our Lord.
2. Biblically faithful Christians should not even WANT to be liked and respected by such a world that deeply hates Jesus.
3. We should freely testify of the Gospel of Christ at all times and in all circumstances, expecting to be hated for it by the majority of people we give it to.
4. And as someone once said, “When the world tells us we’re doing it all wrong, we should just figure it must be another day ending in ‘y.’”
D. Scary thought - What IF Christians STOPPED shining?
1. Then this world, our nation, our city, and our homes will quickly become enveloped by the darkness of such sin that we could not imagine.
2. This world and its cultures are NOT good - they are DARKNESS. They put on a good face, and make for a good show
a. Remember, it is ATHEISTS and HUMANISTS who are driving for same sex marriage, and transgender rights, and abortion on demand.
b. Remember, it is SOCIALISTS who force people to conform to the ideals of the party politics
3. And we will regret for all eternity a life NOT lived as a light in this dark world. Because even just ONE light in a very dark room, can be enough for the hope of hundreds around them!
4. Do you really want to continue to trust Hollywood, and the Music industry, and big corporations and big pharma, and big governments to help people’s deepest needs?
E. A better thought – What if Christians STARTED soul-winning?
1. Grabbed a fist full of tracts every week from church
2. Carried them with them everywhere they went
3. Gave them away on every whim and for every reason
4. And talked to people as the Lord opens opportunities, telling them the marvellous story of Christ in your life, saving you and changing you
5. And then found yourself going further and further until one day you are in some far away culture, winning souls there as well
6. I think THAT would be the day we are finally fulfilling our design