Saturday, June 21, 2008

Lead Me to Some Soul Today

by Larry Rouse

One of the first thoughts bursting from the heart of a new Christian is how he might personally reach others for the Lord. Words cannot fully express the joy of salvation and the impact that joy has in creating a crystal clear sight of the real condition of this world. Just as our Lord did 2,000 years ago, anyone today can see this world as lost, dying and desperately in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ. “Jesus said to them, My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 3And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.” (John 4:34-36)

One of my favorite songs is “Lead Me To Some Soul Today.” This song reflects the thoughts of every Christian who sees these white fields. “Lead me to some soul today; O teach me, Lord, just what to say; Friends of mine are lost in sin, And cannot find their way. Few there are who seem to care, And few there are who pray; Melt my heart and fill my life; Give me one soul today.” How are you doing in this great work of harvest? Is your sight clear to see what this careless world cannot?

When I first became a Christian, I was blessed to be associated with a young man of great faith. Immediately after my baptism I was placed in a class he was teaching on evangelism. That class met three times each week and every student was expected to memorize 10 passages of scripture before the next week. We practiced together how to teach the lost. Within two weeks I was off and running. That semester a good friend obeyed the gospel. Within a few months my brother took the great step of putting the Lord on in baptism. These first steps led me to a life of talking with others with the goal of getting hearts opened around the word of God.

How can we today accomplish having more Christians involved in this great work? The answer is found in the ministry of Christ and that answer may disturb you.

Jesus had just encountered a man who was possessed by such a great number of demons that when Jesus asked the name of the demon they replied: “My name is Legion; for we are many” (Mark 5:9). The people of that area knew this man as one who “had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones” (Mark 5:3-5). Jesus has mercy on this man and cast out the demons that afterwards went into a nearby heard of swine who immediately ran into the water and drowned.

The people of this area, having heard these things, immediately went to Jesus and begged Him to leave. They did this because they did not know Jesus and now they feared Him (Mark 5:17). How was Jesus ever going to reach this community?

The formerly demon-possessed man, was now “in his right mind” and very thankful to our Lord. This man seemed to have no future here, having a reputation that surely would keep him from having any significant relationship. He naturally began to beg that Jesus would let him into the same boat that He was departing on. Jesus had a plan for this man, a plan that you or I would have thought ridiculous and unworkable. Jesus instructed him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you. (Mark 5:19)” Did this man not need further instruction? How would he be effective without special classes on speaking, overcoming objections and the many other possible challenges that such a work might bring? How could a man with this little ability and with such a bad reputation accomplish anything?

Who would hear this man? “And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled (Mark 5:20).” Did these men need to hear more than this new convert could give? They did, and when Jesus returned He had an audience that was ready to hear Him. “So it was, when Jesus returned, that the multitude welcomed Him, for they were all waiting for Him (Luke 8:40).”

There are some disturbing conclusions for us to draw from this account. First, the driving force behind one who is effective in evangelism is the realization of “what great things the Lord has done for you.” A genuine understanding of that will melt the heart, put our bodies in motion and give us a message that will be effective. When these things are lacking in a Christian, you can rest assured that his heart is not filled with the joy and love of what Christ has done for him. One of the hard lessons I have learned over the years is that most of those who have their names on the church roles have become cold and stale. They are like the tongue-tied preacher who, while trying to quote Matthew 20:16 which reads “many are called, but few chosen,” instead said “many are cold, but few frozen.” Sadly, I have discovered that there is no point in even mentioning evangelism to these people. They need to be converted themselves!

How about you? Do you have a clear view of what the Lord has done for you? It is time to get to work. By the way, remember to pray for more laborers!

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