Thousand Oaks Baptist Church

Sermons & Studies

HOW TO LEAD A SOUL TO CHRIST

By David A. Tucker, Sr.

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

If youíll allow me, I'd like to introduce you to the wonderful ministry of leading souls to Jesus Christ.  For most of you who have been saved for quite a while, this probably will be mostly review. For others - especially for those of you who are relatively new Christians - this may be the first time you've ever heard about this.

 

First of all, let me say this:  God has called and chosen and ordained every Christian to learn how to lead people to Jesus Christ.  In John 15:16, Jesus told His disciples:

 

"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."

 

In John 15:8, Jesus said again...

 

"Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples."

 

What was Jesus talking about?  What is the fruit that we are to go and bring forth and that shall remain?

 

Fruit is the natural result of the fruit-bearing plant.  And the fruit always contains in it or develops into the seeds of the kind of plant that bore it.  And so, to use the illustration that Jesus used, to bear fruit is ultimately to reproduce more copies of the same kind of plant.

 

The New Testament talks about different kinds of fruit.  It talks about the fruit of the Spirit.  The fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives is composed of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self-control, righteousness, and truth (Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 5:9).  And in His fruit that is borne in our hearts and lives, the Holy Spirit reproduces His own character in us.  The fruit of the Holy Spirit is the character or qualities or attributes of the Holy Spirit.

 

In Luke 1:42, Elizabeth spoke of the fruit of Mary's womb. And she was talking about the unborn child, Jesus.  The fruit of a mother's womb is another person, whether born yet or not.

 

In Acts 2:30, Peter mentioned the fruit of King David's loins.  Again, he was talking about the physical, earthly nature of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The fruit of a man's loins is another person.

 

In Romans 6:22, Paul the Apostle says that the fruit of a life truly dedicated to God is holiness and eternal rewards.

 

But what is the fruit of the born-again Christian?  The logic and examples of Scripture lead us to declare that the fruit of a Christian is more Christians.

 

Isn't that what Jesus was saying in Matthew 28:19-20, in the Great Commission?

 

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

 

Jesus first told us to go, just as in John 15:16.  Then He told us to teach or literally, make disciples, out of every nation, and then to baptize those new disciples and teach them everything that Jesus commanded us.  In other words, disciples are to make disciples and then teach them how to obey Jesus and make more disciples.  The fruit of the Christian is more Christians.

 

And Jesus has chosen and ordained each of us to do this.

 

How are we to do it?  To put it in language we understand today, how can we learn how to lead or win others to Jesus Christ?        How can we be soul-winners?  How can we be good soul winners?  I believe the Bible teaches that we have to be on a right standing with the Lord before we can be effective soul winners.

 

In order to be effective soul-winners, we must be truly born-again and sure that we are saved.  We must each surrender ourselves to do and be whatever God wants us to do and be.  We cannot lead others where we have not gone and are not willing to go.

 

In order to be effective soul-winners, we must be obedient to the Lord and not be harboring known sin in our lives.

 

In order to be effective soul-winners, we must endeavor to become familiar with the Word of God, so that we can easily find the passages that the Holy Spirit can use to convict sinners of their need of Christ and to plant faith in Him in their hearts.

 

In order to be effective soul-winners, we must ask God for an increasing desire to lead others to Christ, and we must begin to pray for others who are lost.

 

In order to be effective soul-winners, we must allow the Holy Spirit to fill us and empower us and lead us.  Leading others to Christ is spiritual work, and we cannot do it in the wisdom or the power of the flesh.

 

And so, in order to be really effective soul-winners, we must be saved, sure of our salvation, obedient to the Lord, familiar with the Word of God, people of prayer, and filled with the Holy Spirit.

 

Now there are as many different ways of approaching people with the Gospel as there are people and situations.  But over the years, and through long experience, many successful soul-winners have discovered that there are certain elements common to almost every situation where a lost soul is genuinely led to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

 

And for the purpose of this study, we will make some assumptions.  First, we will assume that you have already made contact with the person you are about to lead to Christ.  Second, we will also assume that this person is already interested in being saved.  Third, we will assume that you are in a social  situation where the person you're dealing with is not in a place or circumstance where he or she will be embarrassed by others who might otherwise hear or see and make fun of them or interrupt.  In other words, you are ready to share the plan of salvation and the person you want to lead to Christ is ready to hear it.  First, you are going to show this person how to be saved and then, second, you are going to actually lead them to Christ.  This is real soul winning.

 

Folks, this is what it's all about!  This is the primary reason why our local church exists.  Here is how to lead a soul to Jesus Christ:

 

I.       Present the Need of Salvation.

 

First, people need to know that they need to be saved.  And to do this, we must show them passages of Scripture that the Holy Spirit can use to convict them of sin.  We cannot convict; only the Holy Spirit can do that.  But God promises to use the written Word of God in the process of bringing conviction.  We need to show them - read to them - these passages of Scripture so that the Holy Spirit can work in their hearts.

 

What passages should we use and what truths should we emphasize?  Here are the basic truths and some representative passages to go along with each truth:

 

A.      All Have Sinned.

 

The first truth is that all have sinned.

 

Rom. 3:10-12 - "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."

 

Jer. 17:9 - "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

 

Rom. 3:23 - "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God..."

 

For a child, sometimes this truth is best explained by saying that everyone has broken God's rules.  Never take it for granted that the person you're dealing with understands spiritual terminology or even understands English well enough to make sense out of a plain sentence from the Bible.  Explain things carefully and patiently.  For example, to ďcome short of the glory of GodĒ is literally to miss the mark or come short of measuring up to Godís standard of righteousness.   Ask questions to be sure they really understand. If you discover that you don't know what some of these things mean, then let's get together and find out what they mean.

 

And so the first truth is that all have sinned.

 

B.      The Penalty for Sin Is Death.

 

The second truth is that the penalty for sin is death.

 

Rom. 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

 

Eze 18:4, 20a - "[4] Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.  [20a] The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."

 

Rev. 21:8 - "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."

 

It's a good idea to explain that spiritual death means eternal, everlasting separation from God and from Heaven. Explain that the soul and spirit do not cease to exist at the point of physical death, and that we will spend eternity either in Heaven or in the Lake of Fire.

 

And so, the second truth is that the penalty for sin is death.

 

C.      The Penalty for Sin is Certain.

 

The third truth is that the penalty for sin is absolutely certain.

 

Heb. 9:27 - "... it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment..."

 

Prov. 29:1 - "He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."

 

The penalty for sin is absolutely certain.  Sin must be punished.  That's the third vital truth in showing the sinner's desperate need for salvation.

 

II.      God's Provision for Salvation.

 

Once we have presented the need of salvation, then we must also present God's provision for salvation.  To do this, we must again show them - read to them - the Scriptures describing these truths so that the Holy Spirit can use the Word of God to implant faith in their hearts.  We cannot create faith, but the Holy Spirit can.  And He has promised to use the Word of God in the process of creating faith in Christ in the heart of the unsaved sinner.  We need to show them these passages of Scripture so that the Holy Spirit can continue to do his work.

 

Again, what passages should we use and what truths should we emphasize?  Here are the basic truths and some representative passages to go along with each truth:

 

A.      God Gives Us Forgiveness and Cleansing from Sin Through Christ's Death on the Cross.

 

The first truth is that God gives us complete forgiveness and cleansing from sin through Christ's death on the Cross.

 

Rom. 5:8 - "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

 

1 Pet. 2:24 - "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."

 

Gal. 3:13 - "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree..."

 

Col. 1:14 - "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins..."

 

1 John 1:7 - "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

 

And so the first truth relating to God's provision of salvation is that God gives us complete forgiveness and cleansing from sin through Christ's death on the Cross.

 

B.      God Gives Us Eternal Life Through Christ's Resurrection.

 

The second truth is that God gives us eternal life through Christ's resurrection.

 

1 Cor. 15:20-23 - "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming."

 

1 Pet. 1:3, 21 - "[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively [living] hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead... [21] Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God."

 

Rom. 4:25 - "Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification."

 

Christ's resurrection is God's seal of approval on the death of Christ for us.  It proves that Jesus Christ is Who and What He said He was, and that God the Father approved of what Jesus did for us.

 

Here are some more clear passages concerning eternal or everlasting life:

 

John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

 

Rom. 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

 

John 20:31 - "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."

 

John 5:24 - "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."

 

1 John 5:11-13 - "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."

 

And so, the second truth relating to God's provision of salvation is that God gives us eternal life through Christ's resurrection, when we truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

III.    How to Receive God's Gift of Salvation.

 

Once we have presented the need of salvation, and we have presented God's provision for salvation, then we come to the next step.  If the person with whom we are dealing really seems to understand what we have presented, and expresses a belief that he has a need and that Christ can save him, and is concerned about it, then there is only one thing left to do to actually be saved.

 

The person must then repent of his sin and unbelief, and must in simple faith receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

 

Certain passages from the Bible make it very clear as to how this is to be done.

 

John 1:12 - "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name..."

 

Rom. 10:9-10 - "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

 

Acts 16:31 - "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."

 

John 5:24 - "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."

 

What we want to do at this point is to be sure the person receives Christ, and not just the facts.  Remember, a person is not saved through works (Eph. 2:8-9), through much praying (Matt. 6:7), or through believing only the facts about Jesus and salvation (James 2:19).  Thousands of people have prayed, but have never accepted Christ by faith.  Thousands of people have accepted the Gospel as a fact, but they've never done anything about it.  They've never committed their souls to Christ for salvation, and they're not saved.

 

A woman may believe that a man loves her, and she may know all about him, but until they say their vows and until she says, "I do!" and personally gives herself unreservedly in marriage to that man, she isn't married.  No one else can do it for her.  She has to commit herself to that man.

 

And so the unsaved sinner himself needs to accept Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord by faith, and do it personally.  He needs to pray to the Lord for himself.  We can't do it for him.

 

Quite often a sinner who is coming to the Lord simply doesn't know how to pray and doesn't know what to say.  This is where we can help.  Often I'll suggest to the sinner that he repeat a prayer sentence by sentence after me.  But I never force this prayer on anyone.  Remember, thousands of people have prayed this prayer, just because they felt forced to so as to make the soulwinner happy or to get him off their back, so to say.

 

And so, the best you know how, if you opt to use this method, try to be sure that the person is really serious about accepting Christ.

 

And if the person really is sure and really wants to be saved, then here's a suggested prayer that contains all of the basic essentials:

 

"I acknowledge that I am a sinner and I cannot save myself.  I am turning from my sins and turning by faith to Jesus Christ.  I now ask You, Lord Jesus, to forgive me and cleanse me from all my sin.  I now accept You as my Savior from sin and the Lord of my life.  Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul.  Amen."

 

What we're trying to do here is to encourage and help the unsaved sinner to actually take the step of faith and receive Jesus Christ by personal, saving faith.

 

IV.     Assurance of Salvation.

 

The next step is to try to be sure the person understands what he has done and to give him reasons to be sure of his new-found salvation in Christ.

 

After the person has prayed, I always ask him what he has just done.  If he really accepted the Lord, then about three out of four times his answer will be something like:  "I just accepted Jesus as my Savior" or "I just got saved!"

 

If he doesn't understand the question, then I ask if he just accepted Christ as his Savior and Lord.  If he says, "yes," then I go on to the next step.  If he's not sure or says, "no," then I try to find out why and deal with the problem.  Then I bring him back to the point of decision again.

 

Once the person has really made a decision, and has come to his or her own conclusion that he or she really has just accepted Christ, ask him how he or she knows that God has indeed saved him (or her).  The answers will vary, but they should all have one central element:  He (or she) knows that God has saved him (or her) because he (or she) asked God to save him (or her) on the basis of God's promise to save him (or her).  In other words, God promised to save me if I would believe; I have believed; God kept His promise and saved me; therefore, I am now saved.  If necessary, step him (or her) through this sequence and see if it makes sense to him (or her) and if he (or she) has done this.  If it does, and he (or she) has, then you're very probably talking to a new brother (or sister) in Christ.

 

New Christians need assurance of salvation, just like your wife or husband or parent or child needs assurance of your love.

 

This is why we need to give the new convert a basic understanding of what he has just done and what God has done for him.  Either right then, or at an appointment in the very near future, be sure to write down some verses of assurance for him to read and to hang onto.  All of those verses we used to show God's provision of salvation will help.  Three others (out of the many that are possible) are 1 John 5:13, Phil. 1:6, and 2 Tim. 1:12.

 

1 John 5:13 - "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may [continue to] believe on the name of the Son of God."

 

Phil. 1:6 - "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ..."

 

2 Tim. 1:12 - "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."

 

Be sure to write down the references to these verses of assurance and give them to your new convert.  If the new Christian does not own a Bible, be sure to arrange to provide him with a good King James Version study Bible at the earliest possible opportunity.

 

V.      Instructions to New Christians.

 

Once we have led a person to Christ, then we also need to get them started in the right direction in the Lord.  In other words, we need to give them some basic instructions for the Christian life.

 

Over the years, I've discovered that there are five things we should instruct new Christians to do - not in order to be saved or to stay saved - but so that they can begin to grow in grace and in the knowledge of His our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18).

 

A.      Read Your Bible Every Day, and Obey its Commands to Christians.

 

The first thing a new Christian should do is to read a portion of his Bible every day.  A chapter a day helps keep sin away.  As I mentioned earlier, if the new Christian does not have a Bible, get them one quickly.

 

1 Pet. 2:2 - "As newborn babes, desire the sincere [genuine] milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby..."

 

A good place to begin Bible reading is in the New Testament, especially in the Gospel of John, in Paulís letter to the Romans, and in the book of Acts.

 

In the New Testament, the new Christian will find principles to accept and apply, examples to observe and follow, and commands to learn and obey.

 

The principles found in the New Testament apply directly to spiritual, moral, and social situations.

 

The good examples of various characters mentioned in the New Testament are well worth emulating.

 

The commands of the New Testament are directed to Christians.  Jesus said that if we love Him, we will keep His commands.  He gave these commands personally while He was here on earth (as recorded in the four Gospels) and also through His Apostles in the rest of the New Testament.  Instructing new Christians to keep these New Testament commands fulfills the Great Commission in teaching new converts to do what Jesus has commanded us. 

 

The new Christian needs to read the Bible and obey it.

 

B.      Talk to God as Often as Possible.

 

The second thing a new Christian should do is talk to God as often as possible about everything in life.  Make it a habit to tell God about all of your problems, all of your joys, all of your feelings and thoughts.  Ask God for help, for knowledge, for wisdom, for safety, for strength, for victory over sin, for daily needs, for your friends and for your enemies.  Give thanks in prayer for all things.  Depend on God to answer your prayers in the things He's promised to help with.

 

Talking to God is prayer; prayer is talking to God.

 

1 Thes. 5:17 - "Pray without ceasing."

 

1 Tim. 2:1 - "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men..."

 

Col. 4:2 - "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving..."

 

The new Christian needs to begin to pray.

 

C.      Be Baptized and Join a Bible-believing, local Baptist Church as Soon as Possible.

 

The third thing a new Christian should do is to be Scripturally baptized as soon as possible under the ministry of a Bible-believing, New Testament, local Baptist church.  In so doing, you become a member of that local church.  And it is God's will for Christians to learn and to grow and to serve and to give and to fellowship within the ministries of the local churches.

 

This is the example of the first converts in Acts 2, the example of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8, and the example of the Philippian jailer and his family in Acts 16.

 

Scriptural baptism is by immersion and pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It also symbolizes the truth that the new believer has counted himself crucified with Christ, buried with Christ, and risen with Christ to newness of life.  It also serves as a testimony to family and friends that the person being baptized has accepted Jesus Christ and intends to live for the Lord.  Itís also the first step of obedience to Jesus Christ, who commanded new believers to be baptized.

 

The New Testament example is that new believers were baptized and then became members of the local church where they lived.  This is an excellent example to follow.

 

And so a new Christian needs to be baptized and join Thousand Oaks Baptist Church (or, if they're not near us, another good, Bible-believing, fundamental, Baptist Church, where the Bible is preached and taught, and where the church and its leaders and members seek to obey the Bible).

 

D.      Tell Others that You have Been Saved.

 

The fourth thing a new Christian should do is to immediately start telling others that he has accepted Christ as his Savior and Lord.  This is usually called "witnessing."

 

When Saul the church-wrecker got saved in Acts 9, the first thing he did was to tell everybody that Jesus really is the Christ.  It is never a good practice to keep good news a secret!

 

Encourage the new Christian to tell his family, his friends, his neighbors, and his co-workers that he has just received Jesus Christ and is now a truly born-again Christian, because God has saved him by grace through faith alone.

 

E.      When You Fail the Lord, Immediately Confess Your Sin to Him.

 

The fifth thing a new Christian should learn to do is to immediately confess his sin to the Lord, when he fails the Lord.

 

New babies first have to learn to roll over, then sit up, then crawl, then walk, then run and jump.  Somewhere along the line they also learn to talk.  Hopefully babies will grow into children that will learn to read and write and think.  Children will hopefully become teenagers.  Teenagers will hopefully become mature, responsible, productive adults.  This process usually involves lots of failures before any sustained successes. And growth in the Christian life is no different.

 

1 John 1:8-10 - "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

 

When a Christian sins, he does not lose his salvation, but he does hinder his fellowship with the Lord.

 

Confession of sin involves agreeing with the Lord that we have sinned, either by doing what we should not have done, or by not doing what we should have done.  It also involves the sincere intention to forsake that sin.  It also involves receiving Godís forgiveness by faith.

 

Confession of sin keeps the path of prayer open.  It maintains our sweet fellowship with the Lord.  It keeps our conscience clear and gives us peace in our heart before the Lord.

 

Some of the sins of Christians will also affect or involve other people.  When this happens, the Christian needs to first confess his sin to God and forsake it, and then go to any other people that he has offended or affected by his sin and ask for their forgiveness.  This is important in keeping a good and honest testimony before men and to restore fellowship with others against whom we may have sinned.

 

Teach the new Christian to keep the way clear between himself and God by immediately confessing his sins to the Lord, and trusting the Lord for forgiveness and cleansing.  Also teach the new Christian to keep the way clear between himself and others by admitting our sins against them and asking for their forgiveness.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

This study was a highly compressed version of a course on leading souls to Christ that I normally teach in five to seven one-hour sessions.  And so, many of the finer points have been omitted, so as to squeeze it into this website.

 

But if you will take this basic outline, and if you'll memorize the Scriptures and the truths they contain, and if you will pray and trust the Lord, then God will give you the courage and the opportunities to lead people to Christ, and this outline will enable you to do the job that God has called and ordained you to do.

 

Jesus said...

 

"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."

 

May you bring forth much fruit, and may your fruit remain.

 

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