CHRISTIANS CAN LEARN TO WIN SOULS  (Part 1 of 7)

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. — Proverbs 11:30 (KJV)

Christians can and should seek to learn the skill set and discernment for consistently approaching the lost with the gospel of Christ.  There are methods a student of the Word of God could learn, allowing them to be an effective soul winner for Jesus Christ. 

 There are time proven strategies to engage people in conversation that will lead them to seriously consider their standing in Christ. Questions that would open the hearts of men, women, and teenagers to search their life for a time of salvation which can awaken them to the possibility that they may be an unregenerate lost soul.  The confidence to bring light to the hearts and minds of persons by having them examine themselves to see whether they be in the faith.

 May I share with you how this Christian, along with many others have learned to become a better witness for Jesus Christ?  This journey began from an invitation to personally observe, at 27 years of age which was two years after my personal salvation two men working at a booth.  These pastors were working behind a booth at a state fair encouraging individuals and couples to sit down and discuss “why they believe they were going to heaven.” Their many years of experience became obvious by the powerful results they were receiving after witnessing hour after hour.  I was privy to study other Christians who were placed under the wings of other battle-hardened warriors for the proclamation of the gospel.  The knowledge and strategies I learned over the years are being made available to whosoever.

 There is a platform that has allowed men and woman of God, who felt a burden for the lost and have a willing heart, the ability to “personally observe” soul winning attempts approximately every 15 minutes.  An opportunity to sit at a table for hours as a fly on the wall.  I have had the benefit to witness first-hand successful conversions to Jesus Christ. Of course, part of this experience has been to observe the many rejections, excuses, and pride of lost persons rejecting God’s saving grace.

 Much has been gleaned from paying attention to dozens of these experienced missionaries working and now realize their compilation of pooled wisdom must be shared. So, this past year, I made the decision to put this pursuit into writing. I have carried a deep seated burden over the years and had been encouraged to put this knowledge in a book, but I must admit I was waiting on someone else to write this book. The problem is I am less than the least to take on this task. I am the poster child for attention deficit hyperactive disorder, ADHD; but by the grace of God I have searched out competent help to organize this task … so here we go.

 A Seat on the Front Row

Any place people congregate in an environment where it is possible to sit, and talk could be considered a good place to approach people about the gospel. A flea market or a county/state fair setting is a great gathering of people. This is the setting for a typical fair in Anytown, USA. There are ministries who facilitate traveling missionaries who are willing to share their wisdom with those willing to learn.

These Christian workers search out home churches in the towns where they work to park their RVs on church property and some have RV hookups which are very convenient.  They invite church members to work in the booth or simply observe what they do. They teach other willing Christians to be more effective as soul winners by observing firsthand how they engage those who are passing by in conversation. Ultimately have them sit down at a table with an open Bible in order to share God’s plan of salvation. Most are surprised to see how engaging and friendly the atmosphere is for such a serious subject. I had presupposed this would be a preaching outreach that would appear awkward and uncomfortable, but I was pleasantly surprised.

These ministries are across the globe and active in over 300 cities in America alone. For two generations these RV traveling Christian workers have allowed solid Christians to quietly observe all that they have learned. They have always and continue to share their different styles of leading the lost with each other. This may have been what Jesus meant when He said, come after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. Mark 1:17. The verse does say that you have to become fishers of men.  I remembered my dad taught me to fish.  You can learn to be fishers of men.

It should be noted that the interaction of persons in the atheist heavy Northeast is different than the Bible Belt of the Southeast. The liberal West Coast has a different atmosphere and mindset than you may find in the Midwest. But the gospel never changes! It is the power of God unto salvation.

My infatuation began by observing. Initially I just quietly leaned against a stool behind a table, inside a booth, watching all the people walking by. County fairs across the land all follow pretty much the same format: people entering and funneled, all required to follow an indoor path to reach the outdoor carnival rides. Like heads of herding cattle, everyone passes through a winding maze of vendor booths to reach the outside.  Because the human tendency is to follow the crowd, they learned, go to where the fish gather.  We fully understand and are aware that they have come for fun and excitement. But these Christian workers in the booth are at the fair for a different reason.  They see souls that are ignorant and oblivious of where they will spend eternity. These guys carry a burden for souls and are willing to confront strangers with the gospel in very clever ways.

As the masses are strolling, the surrounding booths are each constantly reaching out to capture the attention of any and all.  Even though they are heavily distracted, they always seem to wander over to these soul winning booths, which is our space. Yes, they too also rent a booth as a vendor; but it is different.  They are not promoting scented candles or metal roofing or Republican political candidates.  These booths appear to be some sort of Christian booth by observation, maybe some kind of counseling booth because there are tables and chairs in the center of these booths.

In clear view a Bible is placed on their back tables, opened. There may be several signs hanging on the back wall that appears to most as a Bible verse.  If not verses of Scripture, then nevertheless a truth. It may state something like, “Christ Paid a Debt He Didn’t Owe Because We Had a Debt We Couldn’t Pay.”  They use this quote and others for their guests who are near the booth to read this poster. There is something about seeing something in writing that appears to carry more weight than someone just quoting words of Scripture or making statements.

There is a popular colorful canvas painting of planet earth displaying men falling off into the fires of hell. This brings a certain soberness into the space. There is a question above this sign, which may be their favorite soul pondering question, “Are You 50%, 75% or 100% Sure You’re Going to Heaven?”  That is a great question to ask a friend or acquaintance.  After hearing that answer, asked and answered dozens of times with all the objections and excuses, I eventually caught myself compelled to ask others that question that directed me to lead others to Christ.

After that question is answered, people are invited to sit so we can show them with 100% certainty that they can go to heaven. This is where the miracle of salvation takes place. We will later share the many different questions asked to have them pause and consider their after-life, their destiny. If they agree to sit down, this allows the workers to show their guest from the Bible what God’s Word says about His plan of salvation.

They are placed with their backs to the busyness of the fair. Facing the workers at the table and just behind their heads is the back wall and the large canvas painting of hell which is certainly, a subliminal message. When seated the guests will gaze and when their eyes drift from the counselors to just behind them, they see the canvas painting of people walking into heaven and others traveling down a different path, falling off into the lake of fire.

Most state and county fairs have banned confronting individuals using the word “hell” in a loud and offensive matter. We agree.  One of the many  questions we ask happens to be, are you 50% or 75% or 100% sure you are going to heaven?  And yes, that is a leading question that opens a spiritual door for a response into their soul of eternal hope. You could hear people ponder and respond with the strangest answers, for example, I have heard people respond, by saying, “they are 85% sure they are going to heaven.”  A response after a short pause may be, “So then there is a 15% chance you may not make it to heaven?” There is a pause again, allowing silence and the Holy Spirit to work.  We may respond with, “What if I could show you how to be 100% sure? Would you like to see what the Bible says about knowing you could be 100% sure you’re saved?”  They are encouraged and escorted into the booth and they seat them at a card table with a Bible. What they are asked will be explained in a future chapter; but hundreds sit down, listen, and ask questions about God’s plan of salvation. This time together may be the most productive activity of their lives.  We certainly know this … but do they?

 No matter how they answer the questions the workers try to respond using the Word of God. WHY? Because the Word is: Quick, (quick, having the ability to awake from the dead.) and powerful (powerful because the Spirit of God is inside these words), and sharper than any two-edged sword, (a two-edged sword cuts in every direction) piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Heb.4:12) God’s word has a supernatural ability to awaken a dead spirit to light and life.  No man’s words could do this but only God’s Words.

Most people have never had someone personally confront them about where they may spend eternity. At best they may have felt convicted in church when a preacher presents the gospel, making the good news of eternal life available to anyone who would like to receive the work of Christ. Or perhaps they observed a funeral and had their future eternal destination seriously considered especially when a preacher preaches the gospel over an open casket of a friend.  Funerals are a great opportunity for a preacher to take opportunity knowing death is on everyone’s mind, but rarely are individuals ever questioned one-on-one, eyeball to eyeball; and being asked questions where a response is required for them to search their hearts for a day of salvation. When asked to express into words exactly what they believe, this is quite unique.  This is the heart of a soul winner.

A soul winner’s job is to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit by asking armor piercing questions that expose the pride and true nature of all men. Most people have never been confronted or required to verbalize or explain why God would just open the doors of heaven and allow them entrance. Many times, you can see the leadership of God’s Spirit examining and searching their hearts for worthiness to heaven. It can be wise to ask their permission to quote a verse of Scripture.  Why?  Because they have given you permission to ask, and because there is power in the Word. You now have an open door to proceed with the gospel.

Those who pass by can be startled at this boldness, so verses from Scripture, which is really the voice of God, always seem to wake their inner spirits, without being as offensive as something a man might say. If someone appears to be offended, they can be reminded and again ask for permission to quote the Bible.  One of their popular quotes from Scripture: I like to say, the Bible says … “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”  1 Cor. 13:5.  We may remind them that a reprobate is a person rejected by God and beyond hope of salvation. Explaining to them that we are not asking this question, “God” is asking them.

 My First Day on the Job

I will never forget my first day to observe this ministry from inside the booth. It never crossed my mind the impact of what I witnessed on my first day would have on the rest of my life. Two pastors were reaching out in conversation with those who walked by the booth. I thought it would be interesting, but I had no real intention of coming back for day two. The impact on my first (and I thought my last) day touched my heart so deeply that it impacted my future purpose in life.  Remember I was a 27-year-old young man who had started his own business.  I was an entrepreneur who was succeeding.  That burning desire to super succeed in life began to melt in comparison to the importance of confronting the lost.

This is what I observed from inside their booth my first day.  Standing in the back of the booth I vividly remembered randomly singling out a certain young man from across the atrium approximately 20 years old who appeared to be walking with a friend.  Standing in the booth, I continued my stare until he “coincidently” wondered over to our booth. I was not prepared to say anything; but my friend, Pastor Art Watkins, reached out and handed each a Bible tract and asked, “Where do you guys go to church?” (That answer offers great insight on what they probably believe about salvation or what they have probably been taught about eternal life.) I still remember their response and the name of their church, a large Methodist Church in my hometown of Mobile, Alabama. Then Brother Art ask them, “Why do you believe you’re going to heaven?” I remembered a pleasant conversation that eventually led to an invitation for the two of them to sit down for a few minutes to see what the Bible says about, “how to know you can have eternal life.”

I observed them being escorted into the interior of our booth, passing through our perimeter table; and they were intentionally placed to face the back wall of the booth and not the crowd. This preacher always invited me to join them at the table -- Wow, a birds-eye view. They were facing us with their backs shielding them from view of a busy disruptive isle of dozens of people walking by, minimizing the distractions in this bustling place.

After arranging the seats around the table and brief pleasantries, the worker opens his Bible and turns to 1 John 5:11, and as promised he showed them verses rarely preached but very enlightening. He read out loud slowly and very clearly:  And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
[12] He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
[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 believe on the name of the Son of God. 1 John 5:11-13.

They wanted to see the verses for themselves. These two young men “did not know that they could know” (present tense), they could possess everlasting life NOW. Most churches and denominations do NOT teach the eternal security of the believer. After approximately 10 minutes and other verses that made it truly clear to these two young men that all men are sinners, all are guilty, and we all “including them” deserve hell. Why, because if we only just committed one sin, and went to heaven, we would pollute heaven. It was clear to me that the young men were discovering for the first time the eternal consequence of their sin. Remember, I am quietly sitting at this table observing this intercourse of what I can only describe as “spiritual heart surgery.”

They realized that they were sinners, lost and in need of a Savior. They were eventually asked if they would like to pray to receive Jesus Christ, “here and now.”  We will spend time later sharing Scripture to leave their conscience to realize their dark destiny.  It was obvious to me they were aware of their guilt as sinners, that a just God demands justice because the wages of sin is death, and that’s eternal death. When they understood …  their demeanor changed, along with their body language. The seriousness of this sit down had reached the depth of their heart. The fear of God touched their hearts.

Brother Art explained there is only one way God Almighty allows sins to be forgiven.  There must be a sacrifice. In the Old Testament under the law of Moses, certain sins required a variety of specific animals free from flaws for the purpose of a blood sacrifice. The Bible says repeatedly, Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14 and Heb. 9:22.) A lamb was always required. Jesus Christ was flawless, without sin in all areas. For those who put their faith in his blood sacrifice as payment for their sins could be forgiven. Jesus Christ became the Lamb of God for mankind.

Now realizing that God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. Rom. 8:3. There is a substitution offered to condemn our sin in Jesus’ flesh. But for those that refuse, reject, or add to the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, they will spend an eternity in hell. This sacrifice alone is the only hope for the forgiveness of sins.

He explained Another option, God will accept man’s personal sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins, but that sacrifice will take an eternity in hell. Remember the sign in the back of our booth, “Christ Paid a Debt He Didn’t Owe Because We Had a Debt We Couldn’t Pay.”  They need Christ’s sacrifice because God’s wrath for sin was poured out on Him at the cross and not on us. For those who refuse Christ’s sacrifice will have God’s wrath poured out on them in hell for eternity.  A man cannot do this in himself

It is important to always offer them the option to pass or reject this truth before praying. It is tempting to say, “If you would like to go to heaven just pray with me.” Wrong! I have witnessed this tragedy practiced among meaningful Christians. Words are important. The Bible says, For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Matt.12:37. When the gospel is offered it can be received or rejected. The tendency is to word the offer in a way that most everyone will respond positively to pray, but they MAY have never trusted or received the truth of the gospel. If they were coached, it leaves them to believe that by saying yes to prayer, and by praying they are saying yes to heaven. You may say what is missing?

Do they know that they and their sin deserves hell?

Do they understand God’s wrath for sin will be poured out on either His Son Jesus or themselves?

Do they know that a blood sacrifice completely appeases the Father’s anger for sin to those who by faith receive this truth?

Is the fear of God present?

Are they broken with repentance?

All the above is the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the lost. Soul winners are only the messengers. Think back to the fear you had when you realized you are lost. I personally was on hell’s cleft by my fingernails, and I cried out for salvation on the spot. I believed there was no option.  It was very clear to me personally that I did not have the Savior, when I trusted Christ.

I have seen and been guilty of coercing others to pray and implied that if they prayed my prayer, they could be saved. God forbid, if we lead someone to prayer, and they believe that they just got saved and they are not, this can an eternally serious error that will be held to our account.  (More on this later) This is a common practice of many well-meaning but ignorant soul winners who are simply excited to have someone thinking along the lines of their eternity. We all regularly need to back up in caution that we do not fall into this trap. Our zeal to focus on getting positive results is not the goal. The goal is to follow the Holy Spirit’s leadership to a conviction of their need of the Savior.

This could lead to a counterfeit conversion which is very common today.  (More on this in a later chapter) We are dedicating a chapter to prevent false salvations. Our engaging questions and discernment should help expose those who may have been falsely led in times past. This is where personal prayer for God’s leadership is constantly needed.

Repentance is required in the process of salvation. Allow me to clarify: Repentance is not a change in direction, as commonly taught, but an emotion of sorrow for our sins. Please look to a Hebrew, Greek or English dictionary.  They all agree repentance is a heart-felt sorrow.  It is an emotion not a work as commonly and mistakenly taught.  You see if a man is under conviction by the Holy Spirit for his sin, he will have an incredible weight, the burden of sin that he is hell bound.  And God’s Spirit will point them to the cross. The fear of God must be present and it will be obvious by their expression and body demeanor.

The young man who had caught my attention from afar who I had watched wander over to our booth just realized the consequence of his sin and came to the awakening that he was lost. It was obvious to anyone they were awakened. When asked would they like to pray to receive Christ tonight? Sadly the other declined to pray but said he would listen. After prayer I saw firsthand the joy,  the genuine relief in the one man’s face. That single event tattooed a permanent impression on my heart. “Could I ever do that?”  Could I learn to lead a man to Christ?

I questioned myself for the first time and wondered if I could learn to interview the lost? Can I learn this dialogue to convict others? As a new Christian of two years, I was just learning of the power of God; I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Phil. 4:13. The “all things” in the New Testament as used in Rom. 8:28 and in other places are “all spiritual things.” It is God’s will that all men be saved; and when it becomes “our will” to win souls, there is power. I just knew God could equip whoever and strengtheneth anyone, but would I pursue this and I take this challenge to lead the lost to Christ?

These traveling RV missionaries typically ask those that pray and appear to have received Christ by calling upon the Lord for salvation to fill out some paperwork. They collect their information and offer them a packet including a recap of many of the verses they shared and some suggestions of what should be their next steps as new saints in Christ? These things are offered for them to take home and read later. (We will share these details later.) 

There was an obvious relief on the one man’s face, I even believe his physical walk was different when I observed him leaving the booth. When he thanked the pastor and left, my eyes continued to follow him out of the booth; and I eventually lost him in the crowd. I was truly in awe at the event I had just witnessed.  The eternality of this occurrence left an indelible urge on my spirit. After 34 years I am still in awe that men can be co-laborers with Christ.

The thought occurred to me of the possible future of this young man. If he were saved, his life’s direction would change; and I had witnessed this. Could he become a pastor of a gospel centered church? Would he become a missionary? Would he be the answer to a parent’s prayer that their daughter would marry a Christian man and raise godly children. Only the Lord knows. But there was one thing I was confident of -- if he was truly saved, his life on this side and the other side of glory had dramatically changed. I had witnessed a miracle and wondered if I could be used to change lives like I just witnessed for eternity.

I had just observed a man 25 minutes ago unknowingly headed to hell and was now possibly headed to glory for all eternity. Seeing that event will soften the heart of any child of God. I also observed the conversation of the other young man who declined to pray to receive Christ. Brother Art let the man who only observed his friend pray and receive Christ know that he just rejected the Savior. It is important for the lost to know that they rejected the Savior -- and that can be a good thing. You see a man can only get saved if he knows he is lost. The lost man that walked away realized he was lost but is in a better position for an Apollos (1 Cor. 3:6) to come along in the future and to water this seed I saw just planted so that God would give the increase. That is our prayer, that the Spirit of God would weigh heavy on those that reject Christ’s offer.

People need to realize their sin is an incurable disease that will bring death.  It is the job of a soul winner to make men aware that they are sick with a terminal disease. It is called sin. I will never forget that God sent a bold witness to me, and I hope to always be a bold witness to others. Notice it was the boldness of Peter and John that caught the attention of the religious elders in Jerusalem in Acts 4:13. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. Boldness for the gospel’s sake is a virtue to be pursued.  Not frowned upon as rude but relished as a badge of honor to be encouraged in God’s people.

Remember the mindset of most of the lost is that they think God is going to just open the gates at the last moment. This attitude has and will continue to send multitudes of deceived souls to an eternal hell. Our job is to leave no shadow of doubt that ye must be born again.  People will agree that they are going to heaven but we must remind them, “wanting to go to heaven and going to heaven are not the same.”  A man must realize he is lost before he can be saved.

Three Important Truths

There are some eternal fundamental truths that are the basics of all witnessing.

The First Fundamental Truth: to proclaim that the Bible is the Word of God and must be respected and believed. It is the only source of truth to trust and practice. The lost seem to always have their own opinion of what they think the Bible says or should say. You will find most people have a God-given fear of the Scriptures, so we should always use the Word of God to quote. Even if they question your quotes from Scripture, never forget the spiritual power of the actual Words of God. Do not get hung up here or feel the need to convince someone the Bible is true. The important point to make clear -- we are not giving you our opinion or the guideline of any religion, but again the very Words of God.  And they see for themselves from the Bible.  You have to appreciate the poetic but direct authority of the King James version.

They may say they do not believe the Bible is 100% credible, but “faith” and confidence in God’s Word is contagious. Remember faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Rom. 10:17. So remember to use scripture whenever possible. Also remember, The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. Romans 1:17.  When a lost person experiences the faith you have in Scripture, it can be infectious on their faith in the Scriptures.  When a Christian proclaims his faith, then our faith can become their faith. The Spirit of God can do a work in the heart of anyone.  This spiritual circumcision is made without hands and is in operation of God.  Move on to the second fundamental because truth is, truth will always prevail, so keep going. It should be clear that the leaders have complete faith in God’s Word.

The Second Fundamental Truth: all are sinners, born in sin and we can never stop sinning, because it is our nature. For those with children could be asked, “Who taught your children to be bad? Have you not spent your entire parenthood teaching them to be good?” WHY is this?  Because they were born sinners. Teenagers with brothers and sisters can be asked the same question. We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners. It is our nature, just as a dog’s nature is to bark … our nature is to sin, it is inevitable and unstoppable.

A question could be asked, “How many sins of yours will God allow you to take to heaven?”

Another good question to get people thinking: if you have dog mess on your shoe, is your mama gonna let you in the house? The answer is always, “no.”  What if you just got a little dog mess on your shoe? The answer is still “no.”

Would not just one sin pollute God’s domain, His kingdom, His glory? You must be sinless, perfect to get into heaven. Jesus was the only sinless human ever to live. So -- you need Jesus.

A man must fully understand he is a complete and thoroughly unclean person.  Guilty before a Holy and Righteous God.  Godly discernment and godly wisdom is needed before one can move on.  We have been asked many times for an understanding of, “ what is sin.”  Usually by an unchurched person or someone who is unfamiliar with the Bible.  The author, Ray Comfort in his video series, “The Way of the Master,” series would be very helpful.  He does not lead the lost to prayer or even attempt to lead someone to Christ, he just convicts the sinner that he is a complete sinner.

This cannot be overstressed, the person who you are witnessing to must clearly receive and except they are sinners standing before A Holy God.  The more the sinner realizes their sin, the greater the understanding of their guilt that condemns them completely before the Righteous Judge.  The realization of this truth must burden them that they are drowning before God’s eyes and the fear of hell becomes real.  Look carefully in their face, and their physical demeanor will weaken, and the Fear of God through the Spirit of God must be present before the lost can cry out for a Savior.  The good news of Jesus Christ will be the greatest news they have ever heard in their life.  You will never need to ask or beg a man inside a burning building if he needs a way out.  When a man realizes he is lost and the Spirit of God convicts him, you will not need to ask or beg him to pray to receive Christ.  He is ready!

Who is the Savior? Most will say “God.” They are reminded – Jesus is God. The absolute best of man’s works will NOT earn him any chance of entering heaven. God is not looking for good men, there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Rom. 3:10.  God’s standard for a good man is his sinless Son Jesus. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2:10. Jesus lived the “only” sinless life.  And the loss has broken most of all of God’s law.

The Third Fundamental Truth: Man needs a Savior -- he is drowning and without hope. God the Father will never associate or have contact with sin or a sinner outside of His Son. Only those in Christ can be brought to the presence of the Father. So, the question is, “How do you get in Christ?”  You have got to know how to get in Christ, so you can get in heaven. When you ask others, “Do you know how to get in Christ?” You will hear all kinds of crazy answers. “Get baptized - join a church – pray - work harder and sin less.” Some have said, “Join a convent.” Some proper and wise responses to the above questions that I have accumulated over the decades can be found in a future chapter.

The world’s religions for the most part teach that men are basically good but can do bad works. The Bible teaches that there are none good. The best of man’s nature is wicked and is without hope and without God. Men who do not clearly accept their need of the Savior … cannot be saved. This is man’s only hope.  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12. We need the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 Do not Trust Men

We have found a highly effective statement that can be used in discussing these great truths and doctrines. Sometimes you may see shock in our guest’s face, maybe Bible overload or a truth they have never considered. They may be wondering, could that be true?  Many may think we are pushing a particular religion or we may come across arrogant and dogmatic with our answers.  An appropriate icebreaking statement or response may be: “Don’t trust me or any man’s opinion in reference to spiritual matters, only the Word of God and that is why we are showing you His very words.” Do not trust men’s opinions on spiritual issues. You can only trust God’s Word on any of God’s principles.  Not religion.  You will find this well received in witnessing. Why, because that is what most may be wondering. People have been taught you are supposed to trust a doctor’s advice on health matters or an accountant’s recommendations with your taxes or a lawyer on a legal issue. It is also taught; you can trust a preacher or a priest on what the Bible says. Make bold this statement, “Trust no man in spiritual matters, only what the words of Scripture proclaim.” 

I remind them to NOT trust me nor any man, nor any other preacher, pastor, or priest. Especially do not trust your own opinion which is the common thinking. The Bible proclaims in dozens of places to NOT trust your own vision of your own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. Jer. 23:16. Verse 7, proclaims to not trust the imagination of our own heart; it will lead to death.  Lean not unto thine own understanding. Prov. 3:5. God cares nothing about our opinions.  Only God’s opinion is the one that will count at His judgment. We submit to Him.

God wrote a book.  Few read His book or follow His teachings. It will be a terrible thing to stand before God at judgment and to admit you have never diligently studied His book. Most people on any given day spend more time browsing the options to which TV shows to watch than reading God’s Word to learn His warnings, and recommendations and direction.

Religion has always been man’s attempt to reach out to God. Most world religions were seeded in man’s own imagination. Remember there is only one opinion that matters, and God’s divine way is only found in the words of Scripture. Most everyone today is repeating the same errors of thousands of years ago during the Old Testament, as example in the book of Judges. There was no leadership in Israel: “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25. That led to disaster after disaster. Adam and Eve were the first of all mankind to start this trend of thinking. Not following the letter of the law of God’s Word will always lead to death.

These couples at the booth’s invite persons to sit at their table for a few minutes. If they have received the first three fundamental truths:

  • The Bible is the standard for truth
  • They are convinced that they are sinners
  • God will only fellowship with those in his Son

You may often hear the workers ask permission, “Do you have a few more minutes so that we can show you how to get in Christ?” If they for whatever reason declined the option to know how to get in Christ, you may see them slide their chair away from the table revealing an obvious sign, so they understand that they may leave.  These Christian workers may say, “Let it be known, God sent you a preacher to show you how NOT to end up in hell. If you end up there for all eternity, this rejection, this moment will haunt you for all eternity.” Again, let the Holy Spirit work.  I have seen people return to the gathering the next day because the conviction of their rejection weighed on their heart heavily.

When they are speaking with a group and one or more in the group becomes uncomfortable and wishes to leave, they let them depart and walk before the others follow. They politely ask them to come back, in say 15 minutes because we should be through talking. That is a powerful statement. The conviction should come from God’s Spirit and not our salesmanship or any guilt we create. Trust and know that God is in charge; we are His co-pilot, His co-laborer.

The ones that stay may have the fear of God placed in their heart. If they end up receiving Christ’s sacrifice, they may lead their friends who walked away from hearing about salvation to maybe revisit Jesus Christ in a future time.  If just one in the group gets saved there is hope for the rest at a later time, because their friend, if truly saved will noticeably change.

I have seen that happen in my own life. The morning after the Lord saved me, I tried to explain to my sister Kim what had happened. She was not interested. When I tried to share with Kim what had happened to me the previous night, she had little interest in my experience. But the change in me and my enthusiasm eventually drew Kim to Christ’s within the week. The next few days her heart softened, and I was able to take her to the man who led me to Christ. We will dedicate a chapter to the presentation of the gospel that many of the missionaries use.

I continued to wonder if I could learn this skill of winning souls.  Maybe you are wondering the same?  Could God Almighty use me and guide me to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit and confidently use the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, to bring about a godly repentance in others?  By the end of the first week as an observer I spiritually pondered my heart by remembering what I had just read in the book of Isaiah who had spoken thousands of years earlier. I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who will go up for us? Then said, Here am I; send me.” Is. 6:8. I believe I felt a similar calling as did Isaiah. We hope you feel the draw of the Spirit?

At this time in my life I was a young entrepreneur very committed to starting a health and wellness company that was growing because of God’s blessing. It occurred to me that my primary focus in life, up to this point, had been to build a financially successful business. But my desire to grow my business started to shift toward the possibility that I could learn to approach average people and in just minutes have them question whether they were going to heaven or maybe hell. I wondered, could I gain the knowledge and conviction to lead people to Christ for eternal salvation?

I started to concede the possibility that I could learn the effective x-ray questions I heard used that seem to pierce the inner hearts and minds of souls about their eternal destination. I wanted to understand the mindset of the soul winning individuals and mimic their inner thoughts.

False common myths:

Most people just believe they are going to heaven …

Most people believe they are a good person …

Most believe God is just going to open his arms at the gates of heaven …

This pervasive attitude that we observe continues to shock a genuine soul winner as to how little thought most people have given to heaven or hell, eternity. Again we ask, “Why will God allow you into heaven?”  Could I learn to have the lost question their salvation? I knew I could count on the leadership of the Holy Spirit. A realization was needed so we could learn to understand how to oppose the position of what most believe.

Lost Believers

I was a lost man who believed in Jesus.  In America most people understand Jesus is the Savior, but believing in that, does not save you.  You must receive this truth!  (We will speak more on this later) These missionaries have learned that it is wise to assume most people are “lost believers.” They realize that most people believe in Jesus - but are lost. You see most people believe before they are saved that Jesus is the Savior -- He was the virgin born Son of God - I even believe He died for my sins, but I had not trusted His blood sacrifice as ALL that was needed. I was, as most others, adding some religious work to the finished work of Jesus Christ. In other words, Christ did His part, and I must do my part. That belief will send a man to hell. Christ did it all.

I had to be stripped of the belief that I could do or had done something to earn Christ.  Never forget the false assumption that most people believe they will be able to justify themselves in front of a Holy God. Man must realize they CANNOT obtain everlasting life. It is a gift completely bought and paid for by Jesus Christ. We must RECEIVE this gift by faith! We need a Savior! This truth gives all the glory to Jesus Christ.

These missionaries make clear what the Bible teaches, the vast gap between God and man, our total inability to earn any part of our salvation. When their canvas poster is displayed at the booth it helps visualize this gap between God and man. Only the cross can bridge this gap. The majority have never given much reflection to their afterlife. They realize this is the job, to shine a light of truth in this dark world.

After spending the week observing and watching successful and unsuccessful attempts to convince Americans they may NOT be headed to heaven, I became convinced there was nothing I could do on planet earth to bring more honor and glory to my Savior than attempting to win souls for His sake, to proclaim the gospel.  Leading a soul to Christ was greater than winning an Olympic gold medal.

I suppose most Christians contemplate the possibility of becoming a foreign missionary. My friend Art Watkins’ brother Joe was a missionary in the Philippines for over 40 years. When he would visit the states, he did a good job of laying guilt on me to consider helping him in his ministry overseas. You see I was not married. Was I to go into a foreign land?  I had no debt, no family, nothing was holding me back.  But what occurred to me is that what these American missionaries were doing was also a ministry and what I had been observing could also be considered as mission work. I no longer contemplated the draw to the Philippines or any outside mission field but knew that God wanted me active in presenting the gospel to men.  Why not in my own country?

I had never considered myself a preacher in the early years of winning souls. The Lord saved me at 26 years of age. It was a life altering event. The things I loved and thought highly of became base and unnecessary, unimportant. In times past, in my lost ignorance I would never miss my religious stuff like the requirement of having to go to church on Sundays because it was a dogma by my religion as one of the means to receive grace so I could obtain eternal life. My faith was NOW in Jesus Christ alone, not in the teaching of a religion. I was now trusting His blood sacrifice on the cross as payment for my sins. I had gone from darkness to light, no longer trusting my religious works for salvation or my self-righteousness; but the light of the gospel gave me complete peace. The details of my personal testimony of salvation from this religion is in the addendum entitled, From Darkness to Light.

Everyone’s personal journey to Christ all take a similar path. Most of us had a parallel mindset and similar experience. It is always wise to think back to our awakening to the need of the Savior. References to our personal testimony should always be blended in our presentation of the gospel. Remember a witness in a court of law is required to tell what he sees or hears. We are called to be a witness for Jesus Christ of what we heard and saw.

In times past, my trust for eternal life was based on me following the laws of my religion. My confidence was in my perceived lack of bad works. In my deceived heart I have been more than confident that I had and could continue to perform more good works than bad works. The lost almost always thinks similar. The lost must realize that if they add any work to their belief, they will NOT get into heaven. When they see the Scriptures and hear the truth with the leadership of the Holy Spirit, their heart will melt.

Never forget we are all living in the same deceitful culture, with Satan’s lies, the world’s teachings and the deception of our own positive belief in self. My past faith had led me to believe I was a good guy. In my ignorance and evil heart, I lived a life believing God would overlook my few faults, sins, pride, and self-righteousness.  I thought the Righteous Judge would just open the doors of heaven to me, a damnable eternal error that I have been trusting my entire life. Again, you must always realize that most everyone is clinging to a similar and common false teaching on faith.

Most Christians believe that just going to church regularly and studying their Bible on occasion is all God requires to please Him. But God Almighty requires his people to minister and witness (more on this later). For the first time in my life I felt like I could possibly have purpose and a direction to pursue this excellence, a genuine ministry. I made a commitment that year to at least always dedicate the end of October and the beginning of November, those 10 days to acquire a good booth location at the fair, to confront and invite people to spend a little of their time at our table. Using a Bible, we would show them how they can have eternal life and be 100% sure they can go to heaven. We have also invited others to observe this work. Many have been compelled with the same desire to win souls. It is contagious and extremely rewarding.

Heb. 10:29