One sad and awful day soon God will send many of our family members and friends to the lake of fire (Revelations 20:10-15). They will spend eternity in that dreadful place with satan, demons, and the remaining lost souls. Id. Moreover, God will hold us accountable unless we warn them. The Prophet Ezekiel said:
If I say to a wicked person, ‘You will certainly die’; and you fail to warn him, to speak and warn the wicked person to leave his wicked way and save his life; then that wicked person will die guilty; and I will hold you responsible for his death. (Ezekiel 3:18 CJB)
Paul the Apostle said in 2 Corinthians 5:10-11,
We will appear before Christ and take what’s coming to us as a result of our actions, either good or bad. That keeps us vigilant, you can be sure. It’s no light thing to know that we’ll all one day stand in that place of Judgment. That’s why we work urgently with everyone we meet to get them ready to face God. (2 Corinthians 5:10-11 TMB)
These scriptures are no joke! We have no time for playing around. We’re at the very tail end of this age. We must get deadly serious about keeping our spouses, children, parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and friends out of the lake of fire.
What can we do? Become soul winners. How? The first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Thessalonica church is instructive on soul winning. Let me share insight about effective soul winning from these verses. Let’s get started.
Intercede for the lost (1 Thessalonians 1:2)
In verse two, Paul says he and his team constantly prayed for the Thessalonians. They interceded for them. God used their intercession to prepare the Thessalonians for the Gospel. Soul winning always begins with intercessors. Intercession, which is praying for others, authorizes God to operate in the earth. This assertion may sound sacrilegious, but the Bible supports it.
Intercessors are also needed because the devil has blinded the minds of the lost and they cannot see their need for Christ. Intercession removes the blinders.
Thank God for their salvation (1 Thessalonians 1:2)
In verse two, Paul also said he and his team thanked God for the Thessalonians. I believe he was thanking God for their salvation. Thank God for saving your family and friends, before witnessing to them, like Paul. That thankfulness is a release of faith that makes things happen.
Follow the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:4)
Your family and friends cannot receive the Gospel until the Holy Spirit prepares their hearts. He will lead you to family members and friends that God has elected for His kingdom. Paul confirmed this insight in verse four when he said God had elected the Thessalonians.
The Holy Spirit has another critical role in soul winning. He confirms the Gospel with signs and wonders. Paul’s preaching would have fallen on hard hearts without signs and wonders. Signs and wonders attest to the credibility of the Gospel. The baptism with the Holy Spirit empowers the Holy Spirit to release signs and wonders through your witnessing. (NOTE: I will release my new book, “Supernatural Soul Winning” in early 2017.)
Know the Gospel (1 Thessalonians 1:5)
Paul said in verse five “For our gospel came not unto you in word only.” Notice he said “our Gospel.” Paul claimed ownership of the Gospel, which is another way of saying he knew the Gospel well. Yes, he knew it well because he wrote it. You may be timid about sharing the Gospel with your family and friends because you don’t know it well. You can correct that problem by learning the Gospel. Learning the Gospel is easy. You don’t need a deep understanding of the Bible. You don’t need seminary training or Bible school. You need to learn only six Bible topics:
- The Creation Story
- The fall of man and its consequences
- Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection, and their consequences
- Grace and Faith
- The New Birth
- God’s judgment
Again, learning these six topics is easy. You probably already know more than you realize. If not, find and complete a short soul winning course. Then you will overcome the fear of soul winning. (NOTE: I will release a soul-winning course in early 2017 on YouTube and my website at www.augustuscorbett.org.)
Share the gospel with conviction (1 Thessalonians 1:5)
In verse five, Paul said he and his team shared the Gospel with conviction. You too must present the Gospel with conviction. Your family and friends will not take the Gospel seriously if you are unsure. They must sense your conviction and boldness. Don’t be timid. Show them you believe the Gospel with conviction. Your deep conviction will persuade them to accept Christ.
Boldness and conviction are even more important when sharing the gospel with family and friends. They will dismiss the Gospel if you are timid because of their familiarity with you. Boldly share the gospel with them and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work.
One last point about sharing the Gospel with family and friends. They can be harsh and the first to reject your witness. They love you, and you love them; hence, don’t take their rejection seriously or personally. Continue to intercede and witness to them because you know the stakes are eternally critical.
Live a godly life (1 Thessalonians 1:5)
Paul concluded verse five by reminding the Thessalonians he and his team had lived amongst them in godliness. Specifically, Paul said, “you know how our very lives were further proof to you of the truth of our message.” Paul knew hypocrisy would cause the Thessalonians to reject him, his team and the Gospel. Let me say it again: hypocrisy hurts soul winning. You cannot influence your family and friends with the Gospel unless they see your godliness. No one is perfect, and everyone has areas that need improvement. I’m not advocating sinless perfection. Instead, do your best to live a blameless life (1 Timothy 3:2). You cannot win your family and friends to Christ if one day you are partying with them and the next day you are quoting the Bible.
Train the newly converted to win others (1 Thessalonians 1:7-8)
Last, Paul applauded the Thessalonians for being an example to others. Their noteworthy example caused more people to accept Christ. This cycle of training the newly converted to win souls will advance the Kingdom of God exponentially. Use this strategy to win even more of your family and friends. Train them to convert other family and friends.
I hope this information helped you get excited and serious about winning your family and friends to Jesus. Take this as a warning and encouragement. Make soul winning your priority for the remainder of your life. You have no excuse going forward. I laid out a simple roadmap to help you win family and friends to Christ. Please don’t get offended by my frankness. I’m not trying to offend you. I just have a serious message from God concerning the most critical subject in life: eternity. Time is running out!
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