Gary L. Grizzell
Solomon said, “he that winneth souls is wise” (Pro. 11:30). Jesus taught the importance and influence of not only the individual disciple, but of the whole church (Mat. 5:13-16). Just as Jerusalem at night was a bright city set on a hill, so the church of Christ is to be a spiritual force in a world of darkness.
A soul winning church is a soul-conscious church. God is concerned about the physical needs of man, but He places the spiritual needs above the physical needs. Jesus said, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mat. 16:26). The faithful Christian is always alert to a receptive lost soul who is hungering for the truth of the Bible.
A soul winning church has the wonderful characteristic of love. Paul summed up the problem of the church at Corinth by writing that without love “I am nothing” (cf., 1 Cor. 13:1-3). Love is the motive for living for Christ and doing all Christian works (Gal. 5:6). The congregation with this type of working love cannot but tell the lost of the joys of heaven and the horrors of an eternal hell.
A soul winning church has the necessary ingredient of zeal! The first century church was on fire, and they marched across the Roman Empire holding high the name of Christ because of bold zeal. The church in the imperial city of Rome had so much zeal that their faith was known throughout the Roman Empire (Rom. 1:8). Zeal says, “Even though it is midnight and I must go to work in the morning, I will go down to the meeting house to see a baptism and encourage a babe in Christ.”
A soul winning church has a knowledge of God’s Word. Zeal without knowledge is a dangerous thing (imagine a child with a power saw)! Romans 10:1-2 reveals that Paul desired for his fellow Jews to be saved, but their problem was zeal without knowledge. I cannot pray knowledge in; I must study it in (2 Tim. 2:15).
Last, the characteristic of faith is necessary for success in seeking and saving the lost. Second Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” It is not a leap in the dark, but a leap into the light, (i.e., the light of God’s Word—Heb. 11:1). Contrary to popular opinion, faith does not outrun the evidence (Rom. 10:17; 1 The. 5:21). Walking by faith says in regard to leading a soul to Christ: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phi. 4:13).
While other characteristics such as hope, joy, and fellowship with God’s family may also be noted, is it not interesting that all of these soul winning characteristics were first possessed by our Lord Jesus Christ while He was here on this earth almost 2,000 years ago? Since Jesus is the example for every disciple of Christ (1 Pet. 2:21), may all who name His name seek to put on these marvelous traits. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).