Every local church should be a contributing member of the global church, fulfilling the call of Christ [not only in being a place of discipleship, relationship, and training in the Word and Spirit, but] especially in the arena of becoming and functioning as a harvesting combine of souls.
Recently, I came across a passage that Pastor Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) penned and preached to his local church. His passion for seeing the lost soul come to Christ, and for the transformation of some Christians within his church that are missing the call of Christ to be a soul-winner, is expressed as follows:
“The soul-winner must be a master of the art of prayer. You cannot bring souls to God if you go not to God yourself. You must get your battle-ax, and your weapons of war, from the armoury of sacred communication with Christ. If you are much alone with Jesus, you will catch His Spirit; you will be fired with the flame that burned in His breast, and consumed His life.
You will weep with the tears that fell upon Jerusalem when He saw it perishing; and if you cannot speak so eloquently as He did, yet shall there be about what you say somewhat of the same power which in Him thrilled the hearts and awoke the consciences of men.
My dear hearers, especially you members of the church, I am always so anxious lest any of you should begin to lie upon your oars, and take things easy in the matters of God’s kingdom. There are some of you—I bless you, and I bless God at the remembrance of you—who are in season, and out of season, in earnest for winning souls, and you are the truly wise; but I fear there are others whose hands are slack, who are satisfied to let me preach, but do not themselves preach; who take these seats, and occupy these pews, and hope the cause goes well, but that is all they do.”
~ Pastor Charles Spurgeon, “The Soul Winner”, [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989 reprint], Pg 246–47. Bold were Italics in original.
Perhaps, if you are like me, it would be helpful to re-read the above quote several times so that the full impact of the message can be received, followed by an introspective application to our heart.
If we are not earnestly praying for the salvation of the lost, we have not yet begun to be that which Christ has called us to be. The scriptures say regarding Jesus that He “came to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10) and also in regard to those who are bound in sin, that He “was manifested, that He may destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8).
The difference between the fruitful and the unfruitful local church [in regard to the harvesting of souls] is profoundly simple: the fruitful church contains some branches that have engaged in the simple yet profound art of soul-winning intercessory prayer. The unfruitful local church just won’t do it.
Let us (you and I) agree to make a world of difference within the local churches that we are branches within (Jesus said that He is the Vine, and we are the branches). Let us (again, you and I) determine to see the prayers of Pastor Spurgeon for his local church in the 1800’s answered and fulfilled in our local churches in 2013 & Beyond. Let us (yes, you and I) master the art of soul-winning prayer!