The Shocking, Sweet Spirit of Christ About Soul-Winning

Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday morning, July 22, 2001, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia. 


By Michael D. O’Neal                  Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church                  Albany, Georgia

Scripture Reading: Matthew 23:13-22

Text: Matthew 23:15

Matthew 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Introduction: Liberals accuse Bible-believing fundamentalists like you and me of not having “the sweet spirit of Christ.” I don’t mind their accusations, because they are spiritually ignorant. I think they would say the same thing of our Lord if He were here in the flesh.

Actually, what Jesus said when He was here got people SO angry that they wanted to kill Him before He ever went to the cross. The only reason they didn’t kill Him earlier was that the scriptures had to be fulfilled about the exact manner of the Lord’s death.

However, not only did the Lord shock the general public with some of His statements, but He also shocked His own disciples! Today I want to bring another message in our series on “The SHOCKING, Sweet Spirit Of Christ,” as we consider “The Shocking, Sweet Spirit Of Christ About Soul-Winning.”

In our text, the Lord Jesus made a shocking statement about lost religious people who try to win souls. I want you to know that if you are lost today, you don’t need to try to be a soul-winner. You can’t help those lost in sin until you are saved yourself. Don’t get confused.

I want to point out at least four ways in which our Lord compared soul-winning to other things. As we look at them, you may be shocked at Christ’s “sweet spirit” as He spoke about such things.

First, the Lord made a shocking statement about


Matthew 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

The shocking truth is that if a Christian is following Jesus Christ, then he is out in the community trying to lead people to the Savior!

I have preached entire messages on that text, but let me point out three brief things about soul-winning and fishing:

A. There is a precept

  • “Follow me”
  • This is a requirement, an absolute necessity.
  • The main problem in churches is that most Christians are simply not willing to follow Jesus.

B. There is a promise

  • “I will MAKE you fishers of men.”
  • If you find someone who is following Jesus, this verse says that you have found someone who is being trained to be a soul-winner.

C. There is proof

  • John 21:10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.
  • Soul-winners should regularly bring in a “catch.”

Next, the Lord made a shocking statement about


John 4:31-34 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

The shocking truth is that soul-winning is as necessary to the believer’s spiritual health as food is to his physical health!

While the disciples were out shopping, Jesus was soul-winning! While they were at Wal-mart looking for a sale, Jesus was at the well looking for a soul!

From the scripture we just read, we notice two great, although perhaps shocking, truths:

A. The Father’s will is first

  • Jesus was more concerned with evangelism than He was with eating.
  • He was more interested in satisfying the thirst of the woman at the well than His own physical thirst for water.

B. The Father’s will is fulfilling

  • Jesus didn’t act hungry when the disciples arrived.
  • He compared doing the Father’s will to food, “meat that ye know not of.”

Next, the Lord made a shocking statement about


John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

The shocking truth is that if we are abiding in Jesus, that is, if we are living our lives practically, daily, in the center of His will, drawing strength from Him, listening to Him, and having fellowship with Him, then we will bring forth MUCH FRUIT.

A. Fruit-bearing is our purpose

  • Notice the first half of the following verse:
  • John 15:16 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.
  • We are saved to serve, and we are saved to be soul-winners

B. Fruit-bearing brings power in prayer

  • Notice the second half of this verse:
  • John 15:16 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.

C. Fruit-bearing brings praise to God

  • John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

D. Fruit-bearing requires pruning

  • John 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
  • We have to have some things removed in order to be fruitful: sins, selfishness, laziness …

E. Fruit-bearing avoids a penalty

  • John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
  • Disobedient Christians don’t go to hell, but they can be cast forth and withered. That is, they become dried up and useless.
  • Men burn branches like that. Christians get consumed by their trials and problems if they are not soul-winners, while they should be purified by the same trials.

Finally, the Lord made a shocking statement about


John 4:35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

The shocking truth is that it doesn’t matter HOW bad the field looks to YOU, Jesus said it is WHITE UNTO HARVEST.

A. There is a procrastination about the fields

  • Jesus asked, “Say not yet, There are yet four months, and THEN cometh harvest?”
  • People want to put off getting involved in soul-winning until some OTHER time.
  • Our next soul-winning training session begins in two weeks. Every member of our church should enroll THIS time.

B. There is a possibility in the fields

  • “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white ALREADY to harvest.”
  • There are people in our community who could be won to Christ if we would just LOOK for them!

C. There is a problem with the fields

  • It really is not so much as a problem with the fields as it is with the WORKERS.
  • Many men think God has written “Ichabod” (the glory has departed)over a town and “written it off” as a hopeless place to reach, when in reality, the glory has departed from the SOUL-WINNER!
  • Matthew 9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;

D. There is a petition we should make about the fields

  • Matthew 9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
  • Let’s pray for workers! Let’s pray for soul-winners! Let’s pray for missionaries to the foreign field! And while we are praying, here is a good prayer to pray:
  • Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
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