Lesson 2: The Message Of The Soul Winner

Lesson Two: The Message Of The Soul Winner

The soul winners' message is the gospel.  It's good news.  While it is true that the messenger delivers the message, it is also true that this message carries the messenger.  It propels men and women to the ends of the earth, where they willingly endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.

What is the gospel?  What does the Bible have to say about this?

 

The Gospel Of God

In 1 Thessalonians 2:9 the apostle Paul wrote, "We preached to you the gospel of God."  Other references that you might look up are Romans 1:1; 15:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:2, 8; 1 Peter 4:17.

The gospel originated with God.  It started with Him.  It's His plan for man.

In the Old Testament the nation of Israel was indeed unique in its declaration of the Shema, "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one!"  Deuteronomy 6:4.  Their monotheistic faith was contrary to the heathen beliefs of their surrounding neighbors.  If you examine the major (and minor) religions of the world, you'll find that they are worldly in their origin.  What is the basis for what they believe?

Most major cults in the world today can be traced back to individuals.  So and so said this or that.  In contrast to world religions cults use the Bible to support some of their doctrines.  They ride their doctrines of demons on the back of the truth.

Who are you going to believe?  Today there are all kinds of voices crying in the wilderness.  Too many people are influenced by the godless philosophies of such men as Charles Darwin, Thomas Henry Huxley, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sigmund Freud.  How much confidence can you place in a public education system that ridicules the Bible?  The message of the liberal media usually distorts spiritual truths and makes a mockery of Christianity.

We can believe God.  He is the source of the good news.  He has revealed His plan of salvation in the pages of His book, the Bible.  The soul winner can proclaim the message of the gospel with confidence, knowing that it's God's message.

 

The Gospel Of Christ

Paul wrote to the church at Rome, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jews first and also for the Greek."  Romans 1:16.  See also Romans 15:19; 1 Corinthians 9:12, 18; 2 Corinthians 2:12; 4:4; 9:13; 10:14; Galatians 1:7; Philippians 1:17; 2 Thessalonians 1:8.  Be careful when you handle the gospel of Christ.  It's dynamite!  In Romans 1:16 it referred to as "the power of God."  The Greek word for "power" is "dunamis" from which we got our word "dynamite."

The gospel is about Jesus.  We need to know who He is, and what He did.

In the Bible Jesus has many titles, too numerous to mention here.  However, in just the first chapter of John He is the Word, God, the Light, the only begotten Son, the Lord (Jehovah), the Lamb of God, the Son of God, Rabbi (Teacher), the Messiah (the Christ), Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph, the King of Israel, and the Son of man.

These titles teach the deity of Christ and His humanity.  He is both the Son of God and the Son of man.  He is the Word (God) who became flesh.  How can that be?  the apostle Paul wrote, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh."  1 Timothy 3:16.  This is truly a great mystery, but without controversy.  It is a revealed doctrine of the holy Scriptures.

What did the Lord Jesus do?  Paul wrote, "Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you...that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures."  1 Corinthians 15:1-4.

The bad news is that "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  Romans 3:23.  Most people would agree that this is true, saying, "Sure, everybody has sinned."  But what about Romans 6:23 where the penalty of our sins is recorded.  "The wages of sin is death."  Since you have sinned, you deserve to die.

That's why the death of Christ is good news.  Because He died for our sins.  Continuing in Romans we find, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  Romans 5:8.  Jesus died in our place.  Remember that He is indeed "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world."  John 1:29.

We know that God accepted Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf, because He raised Him from the dead.  The Lord Jesus, "the seed of David according to the flesh," was "declared to be the Son of God with power...by the resurrection from the dead."  Romans 1:3, 4.

Simply stated, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for our sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead.  This is the greatest story ever told.  Nothing comes close to "the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."  2 Corinthians 4:4.  Do you know any news better than this?

 

The Gospel Of The Grace Of God

The apostle Paul was a champion of grace.  Before his conversion he was a devout Pharisee, one who sought to establish his own righteousness by keeping the law of Moses.  He was so committed to his religion that he persecuted the church.  But he learned the meaning of John 1:17.  "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."  Paul told the elders of the church at Ephesus, "But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God."  Acts 20:24.

The test of the gospel is grace, the unmerited favor of God.  "The gift of God is eternal life."  Romans 6:23.  Salvation by grace is diametrically opposed to salvation by works.  Grace and works are like water and oil.  They just don't mix.  Paul made the distinction clear, when he wrote, "And if by grace, then it is no longer works; otherwise grace is no longer grace.  But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work." Romans 11:6.

There are those who say, "Yes, we must believe in Jesus, but we must also...."  And they add unreal conditions of salvation to the finished work of Christ at Calvary.  This is "a different gospel."  See Galatians 1:6, 7.  At Galatia circumcision was preached as a condition of salvation.  Today some preach and teach this different gospel, saying, "We believe the whole Bible."  What pious preaching!  Paul asks those who are of this persuasion, "Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?"  Galatians 4:21.  Such people are likened to "children of the bondwoman."  Read Galatians 4:22-31.  When you add to the finished work of Christ, you subtract from it.

Sinful man (and all have sinned) cannot save himself by doing good.  "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us."  Titus 3:5.  Many people have the mistaken notion that if they are good they will go to heaven.  That just isn't true.  Paul himself at one time was trusting in his self-righteousness to have a right relationship with God.  He is the one who wrote, "I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."  Galatians 2:21.  The writer to the Hebrews makes this point: "the law made nothing perfect."  Hebrews 7:19.

We are saved by grace or not at all.  The good news is that salvation is a gift, which brings us to the next point.

 

The Gospel Of Your Salvation

Ephesians 1:13 says, "In Him (the Lord Jesus) you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise."  Notice three steps in this verse.

First, the saints at Ephesus "heard the word of truth, the gospel" of their salvation.  Second, after hearing the good news they "trusted," that is "believed" in Christ.  Third, they were saved, "sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise."

Believing in Jesus is not a mere mental assent; it is a personal trust, a commitment.  How do we come to faith in Christ?  "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."  Romans 10:17.  In Acts 4:4 we read, "Many of those who heard the word believed."  Another example of faith is found in John 4:46-54, where it is recorded, "The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way."

This then is the message.  God Himself has made a way for sinful man to be saved.  He loved us, and gave His Son, the Lord Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins.  Christ rose again from the dead, and is the living Savior of all who trust in Him.

 

Lesson 3: Soul Winning Scriptures

 
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