Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 23, 1970
NUMBER 50, PAGE 8b-9

"Sowing Seed And Saving Souls"

Donald R. Givens

"In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1939, a million dollar building was finished. It was the new Post Office. Up the steps of this building went the first customer with a letter in his hand. In less than a moment the same man returned with the same letter in his hand. You see, they had built the Post Office and had completely equipped it for service, except that they had neglected to provide a slot for the mail.

This is a true story. But there is another true story that is even more absurdly tragic. It is to build a church and leave no mention of soul winning." (If You Want To Preach, by Don DeWelt, p. 58)

Yes, I am afraid that we, when it comes to establishing and building up congregations . . . sometimes forget to put in the mail slot. That is, we forget the very purpose for which we exist. We do not exist as a comfortable club or social organization. We do not exist as an isolation house for perfect saints — but rather as a hospital for sinners.

The proposition is submitted to you in this article, that our main purpose as children of God is to be busy SOWING THE SEED of the Kingdom; watering that planted seed; and trying to SAVE THE SOULS of dying men and women.

This old world is temporary, but the next world is eternal. Our treasure must be laid up in heaven (Matt. 6: 20) where no moth nor rust shall consume it, and where thieves cannot break through and steal.

The theme of this article is the growth of Christians and of local congregations. "Sowing seed and saving souls" is the real basis of all individual and congregational growth.

This observation needs to be made: Growth is essential and an individual matter. As YOU, the individual grows . . . so the church will grow. All Christians have room for further growth in Christ. There is no person who cannot improve. We all fail the Lord at one time or another.

Many times we bemoan our "lack of growth," but we do nothing practical about it. As Irvin Himmel wrote: "There is a story about a man who stood up at a religious gathering to testify about his conversion. After relating how the Lord had saved him from the approaching fires of hell, he spoke of his own unworthiness. 'There is no man alive more unworthy of God's grace than am I. I am a wretch. Like the apostle Paul said of himself, I am chief of sinners. I merit nothing before God. I am like a filthy rag and a vile raiment.'

The next man up to testify said he just wanted to confirm the preceding testimony. 'Friends, I'd just like to say that what this man has just told you is true. I can vouch that he is indeed a wretch, a scoundrel, and one of the meanest men on earth.'

At that point the first man to testify jumped from his chair and was ready to fight. The meeting was broken up in the midst of the confusion. It was all right for the man to talk about his own unworthiness, but he really didn't want anyone to believe it!" (APOSTOLIC DOCTRINE, Vol. 5, No. 6, pp. 94, 95).

And so it may be with us, brethren. We might talk about our own "lack of growth," and complain about it; but we really don't want anyone to believe it or else we really do nothing practical regarding it. So we must do more than simply talk about our lack of growth; we must also do something concerning it. And in this article we hope to give a few suggestions concerning our spiritual growth in God's sight.

Growth Is Essential To Life

If one desires to remain spiritually alive, he must grow spiritually as time passes. If we are not growing ... then we are dying! The reason that God gave us apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers is so that we might grow (Eph. 4:11-16). And Peter said that one must put away "all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation." (I Peter 2:1, 2) Then Peter finishes his second epistle by exclaiming to all: "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (II Peter 3:18) The writer of Hebrews scolded the "dull of hearing" and told them plainly that they should have grown enough to teach others (Heb. 5:11-14).

The apostle Paul was very happy with the Thessalonians. They had grown to a wonderful degree. He states in II Thess. 1:3, "We are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, even as it is meet, for that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the love of each one of you all toward one another aboundeth."

Now, here is a heart-searching question: If Paul were writing of YOU, could he say: "Your faith groweth exceedingly . . . ?" Could this be truthfully said of the local congregation with which you worship?

Our growth in Jesus is dependent on our life in Jesus. He is the Vine and we are the branches that must remain attached to Him to bear fruit.

— 4349 Vassar, Port Arthur, Texas 77640