Bella Vista Church of Christ



Randall Caselman


A Soul Winning Heart


  Most of us have been taught a hermeneutic which says, we practice religious concepts because of direct command, NewTestament example, and necessary inference. If this is correct, then each Christian must become evangelistic, have a soul consciousness. We are to be sowers of the seed, teachers of the Word, proclaimers of the Good News... Soul Winners.


  I'm convinced that soul winning, in our churches, is a priority to the extent that we care, really care. Until we have a deep personal concern for the lost, we will make little effort to serve them, win them, or keep them. Many of us are not soul winners simply because we are selfish. We are so focused on self that we have little concern for others.


  Paul was soul conscious. Let’s examine his heart, see what we can learn from his letter to the Thessalonians, in chapters two and three:


  We must have a father’s heart. Just how much do we care? "For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God who calls you into His kingdom and glory" I Thessalonians 2.11. Paul spoke of those he led to Christ as his children, sons in the Gospel. He felt an ongoing responsibility to keep them in Christ, faithful to the word. Because a father's love never ends, we need to feel the responsibility for souls kept as well as souls won. Wonder how many we've allowed to slip out of the kingdom because of our lack of fatherly love, care, concern, teaching, and discipline. Church, if we love the lost with the love of a father, we would be more evangelistic. Amen?


  We must suffer from an enlarged heart. Being soul conscious will cost us. "So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. We sent Timothy who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the Gospel, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith" I Thessalonians 3.1-2.


  Even the casual Bible student understands that Paul needed Timothy with him in Athens. The mission effort in Europe had not been easy. It had taken its toll on Paul. But he was willing to give up Timothy’s companionship for the saving of others. Note the phrase: "To be left by ourselves in Athens." The Greek word translated "to be left" is strong. It was a word used to describe those left behind due to the death of a companion. Sending Timothy back to Thessalonica was not easy for Paul, more like losing a loved one. Then there was the matter of traveling expense. Paul’s evangelistic campaign was hand-to-mouth by tent making. This was tough, but sacrifices were made to keep the saved of Thessalonica saved. A soul winner has an enlarged heart, a sacrificial heart. Does that include us?


  We must have a heart of faith. "You know quite well that we are destined for trials. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you know" I Thessalonians 3.3-4. It takes faith and understanding to know that trials will come and yet not let the troubles of life blow us away. Soul winners need to tell converts that God never promised to remove troubles and problems from our life, but He does promise to give us strength to overcome. We are family. We need to share our faith. Faith is contagious. Faith causes us to be evangelistic in the first place. Share your faith. A soul winner has a heart of faith.


  Have a heart of joy. "How can we thank God enough for you, all the joy we have in the presence of God because of you" I Thessalonians 3.9? Some in the church have a problem with joy and rejoicing. Not Paul. Seriousness and long faces are not a sign of piety. "Rejoice and I say again, rejoice." Put a smile on your face – A song in your heart: Philippians 4.4, Ephesians 5.19, Colossians 3.16. Souls won, souls saved, souls rescued, call for joy and rejoicing. Heaven rejoices… so should we. We need to learn to celebrate when we win over Satan. Some of us are afraid of a party. God smiles. His children are to have a heart of joy.


  And a praying heart. "Now may our God and Father Himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May He give you inner strength that you may be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy ones" I Thessalonians 3.11-13. Paul had a genuine concern for his converts. We must love them, teach them to love one another, teach them to pray for inner strength, so that they be found blameless and holy as they look forward to the coming of Jesus.


  How are we doing? Do we have the heart of a soul winner?


Lead me to some soul today,

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.


—Randall Caselman