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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

The Secrets of Soul Winning (Part 1)

By James O. Davis
Feb. 9, 2014

Have you ever asked yourself what it means to truly follow Jesus Christ? After all, as God in the flesh, Jesus is the greatest force to live among humanity. Jesus’ first disciples saw His impact on people, and they experienced His influence on their own lives. What did they see, and how did they respond?

To be a disciple today is to take up the invitation Jesus issued to His disciples — to be fishers of men and women. There is nothing more thrilling, there is no greater adventure, than to be used of God to fish in the global waters of humanity. That’s really what evangelism is; it’s fishing for the lost.

When we fish for food, we take fish out of a beautiful life into death. But when we fish for the lost, we take men, women and children out of death into a beautiful life.

Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17, ESV). Would you like to become a soul winner in 2014? If so, Jesus invites you to follow Him and to witness firsthand your nets being filled beyond capacity.

A Called People

We must become first the people whom Christ has called. As I have been blessed to travel and network with denominations and ministry organizations around the world, I have witnessed firsthand nets filled with millions of souls, people of all ages being harvested worldwide into eternal life.

While listening to so many followers of Christ whom God has called to share the gospel, I have been challenged in my own pursuit of redemptive nets, and I would challenge the reader to add his or her voice to the chorus of soul winners.

Consider again Jesus’ invitation and expand your view to consider the recipients of that invitation: “Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon [Peter] and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men’” (Mark 1:16,17).

Jesus had three years in which to minister on earth and carry out His Father’s mission of salvation. How did He choose to spend that time? He invested in a team of Twelve. Whom did Jesus choose to be on His team? Jesus chose Galileans. The Galileans were known as being crude, or as we would say, “rough around the edges.” They were tough, untutored, common people. They were about as far from the theologians and exegetes of the synagogues as you could get.

Jesus did not choose the “best and the brightest,” the crème de la crème. Jesus chose humble, common men to be His Twelve.

Have you ever felt it is too late in your life for God to use you? That you haven’t accomplished enough to be prepared to adequately serve Him? Trust me. You are a called servant of God if you have committed your life to Christ. God’s plan is to take ordinary people and do extraordinary things through them so God will be glorified.

Is there anybody more unlikely to have been used of God than Simon Peter, the big fisherman? Uncultured, uncouth, given to foul language and cursing, Peter always seemed to be talking when he ought to be listening. About the only time Peter ever opened his mouth was to change feet. Yet, God took Simon Peter and used him as a dynamic voice for the gospel and leader in the Early Church.

Jesus did not choose the disciples for who they were; He chose them for what He could make out of them. Jesus said simply, “You come after Me, and I will make you to become ... .” Jesus is the maker of fishermen. Just as surely as He transformed the Twelve and they became the foundational leaders of His Church, He can make something out of us for His glory today. Christ can bring to light in our lives characteristics no one else sees in us.

A Commissioned Purpose

Second, we need to join the purpose that Christ has commissioned us to fulfill. What was the purpose of the Lord Jesus when He was here on earth? Why did He leave the glories and the splendors of heaven? Why did He come to earth through the portal of a virgin’s womb? Why did He live among us? Why did He walk the dusty shores of Galilee? Why did He preach and teach and heal? Why did He suffer and die? Why did He bathe this world with His blood?

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10, KJV). Jesus’ purpose is accomplished every time a lost soul is saved. His purpose was accomplished if you repented and accepted Him as your Savior. If you are a follower of Christ, then His purpose will become your purpose, and you will become an instrument in its greater fulfillment.

In January 2004, I interviewed Mel Gibson regarding his film The Passion of the Christ that was about to be released. More than 6,000 pastors and leaders had gathered for our ministry’s biannual conference that year, and Gibson had given us a screening of his amazing portrayal of the suffering of our Savior.

“Why did you produce The Passion of the Christ?” I asked.

Even though Gibson is not known for his theology or commentaries on the Bible, his answer was profound:

“Jesus was and is so holy that He could have pricked His thumb and one drop of blood would have been enough to save the world. Yet, the pricking of the thumb would not demonstrate His love for the world. So, Jesus underwent crucifixion to show the world how much He loved it.”

When we say some level of pain is excruciating, we’re using a word derived from “crucifixion.” Our culture has largely lost an accurate understanding of what crucifixion entailed. The Roman Empire devised a hellish method of nailing a criminal on a cross in such a manner that he would live the longest possible time in pain and ultimately die due to a slow suffocation.

It was the Lord’s measureless love for the world that caused Him to be willing to go through the shame and sorrow of excruciating torture so that we might be saved! He fulfilled His redemptive purpose on earth at an immeasurable cost. In a similar manner, we must be willing to pay any price to do our part in continuing to carry out His purpose.

A Communicated Promise

Third, we need to believe the promise Christ has communicated to us. When we read that Jesus said He would be the One to make us fishers of men, we need to read that promise with all the attendant realities of Jesus’ divine identity. Come after me, and I — the Lord of Glory, the Sovereign Savior, the creative Word who brought the universe into being — I will make you to become fishers of men and women.

That doesn’t mean you are going to become adept at fishing overnight. You have to learn how to fish. You need spiritual mentors in your life to teach you and to guide you. But if you will submit yourself first of all to your Heavenly Master, and then to the earthly masters/mentors He brings into your life, you will embark on a journey of exciting service for the Kingdom — fishing for lost souls.

I want to share with you some amazing truths that will bring to life this reality of living as fishers of men..

Part 2 of “The Secrets of Soul Winning” will appear next week.

Dr. JAMES O. DAVIS is founder of Cutting Edge International and co-founder of Billion Soul Network.


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