Vol.X No.X Pg.2
December 1973

Won, One By One

Robert F. Turner

If too few have been won to Christ through our efforts, it may be partly because we have not been aiming in the right direction; viz., at the individual. In this age of mass evangelistic efforts aimed at effecting mass conversions, some may have lost sight of their obligation to the unit of lost humanity. We could be getting a little like the salesman whose boss asked why he failed to make his full quota of calls on a certain day. "I would’ve made it boss," he replied, "but one of them stopped me to find out what I was selling!" When rushing to expose the whole world to a little of the gospel means neglecting the adequate teaching of "every creature"; when they are not sure of just what it is we’re "selling", then a reorder of priorities is needful. While it is true that the Bible likens the word of God unto seed, it does not follow that scattering, is the best means of planting the gospel into the hearts of men. It is one thing to make the gospel available; it is yet another to get out and teach it. Consequently, there is more to evangelizing the world (or even a small community) than just having classes and preaching that are "open to the public". The public, even the "lost and dying world" as we express it, is not lost generally; but only as this man or that man, the individual is lost.

None realized this better than He who commissioned the preaching of the gospel to "every creature" in "all the world" (MAR.16:15). True, He spoke to the multitudes, but not to the exclusion of the individual. His meeting with Nicodemus (JOH.3) and the Samaritan woman (JOH.4) serve to illustrate the worth of such teaching. He was constantly aware of what we may tend to forget: that one soul is of more value than the whole world (MAT.16:26). Philip preached Jesus to one traveler. Paul and Silas spake the word of the Lord to one jailer. Thus, these and other souls were won for the Lord, one by one.

Accordingly, our effectiveness in reaching others with the gospel can be increased by emphasizing the "ONE" concept. Remembering that within every man is that part made in the image of God; that part whose value is not determined by the comeliness of its fleshly tabernacle nor by external circumstances. That part of any man makes him worthy of my attention, my respect, and my best efforts. Knowing that he personally is accountable to God; that he must answer "according to what he hath done" because the Judge will render to "every man according to his deeds" and knowing that he will be judged by the gospel (ROM.2:16; JOH.12:48), it behooves us to make that gospel known unto him. At best, he could learn it, believe it and obey it unto salvation. At worst, he could make an informed decision even in rejecting it and we would have still done the Lord’s will.

When thinking of winning men for Christ then, let’s think in ones, not in groups. Lecturing groups is easy, converting the group is hard. Groups don’t have consciences, problems or questions. Individuals like Nicademus and the Samaritan woman do. Each must relate self to gospel truth. Each must appropriate that truth to self one by one.