Vol.XVII No.X Pg.3
December 1980

Profile Of A Soul-Winner

Dan S. Shipley

The Scriptures are able to make the submissive man of God all that he needs to be (2 Tim. 3:16,17). Although many have never been convinced of it, God's man needs to be a soul-winner. Christ-likeness demands it and appreciation for the transcendent worth of the soul ought to prompt it. The plight of the unsaved is only worsened when ignored by unconcerned Christians. Not only does the Bible point up the importance of personal evangelism, it also presents us with a profile of the soul-winner.

For instance, we see in Prov. 11:30, "He that is wise winneth souls". Why? Because he sees being right with God as the most important thing in life. Not only does he esteem the soul's value, he knows the cost of its redemption. He recognizes the vital place of God's will in the purpose of man's life; that "man shall not live by bread alone". He knows that God's ways are best; that the good life is the one lived for the Lord. He sees man's greatest gain as heaven, and helping men attain it as his greatest work. He endeavors to look at things from the Divine viewpoint. Thus, he sees the "fields white unto harvest", the time short, the laborers few, and the work urgent. Truly, he is wise who works for lost souls.

Such wisdom also recognizes the importance of exemplary living in gaining others for Christ. There appears to be an important correlation between the conduct of the Philippian saints and their "holding forth the word of life" (Phil. 2:15,16). They were to be "blameless and harmless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation". The life of a faithful Christian will be as distinctive and different as the gospel by which he lives. If it is not, he has no business in trying to change others into what he himself is unwilling to be. The very best teaching can be rendered ineffective by the poor example of indifferent Christians. The soul-winner will be seen as a luminary by the world, continually reflecting Christ in his life.

Too, the soul-winner must be "bold to speak the word of God without fear" as were the saints in Rome (Phil .1:14) When threatened with persecution this is exactly what the early Christians prayed for: "to speak thy word with all boldness" (Acts 4:29). Gospel truth is complemented in so speaking. On the other hand, truth suffers when presented in speech that is ambiguous, vague, compromising and apologetic. Lost souls need to hear plain truth in plain, pointed and understandable language! But that's not all.

Sinners need to hear this truth from such people as will identify with them — their lifestyles, their problems, and their backgrounds. Like Paul, we must "become all things to all men" that we might save some ( Cor. 9:19f). Too often we see others within the framework of our own experiences, tastes, and customs — and treat them accordingly, thus hindering their reception of the gospel. The soul-winner must be considerate; he must accommodate his efforts to all that makes his prospect what he is — with a view to making him what he needs to be.