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LESSON 1 –FISHES OF MEN BIBLE STUDY
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LESSON 1: FISHERS OF MEN BIBLE STUDY
A STUDY IN PERSONAL SOUL WINNING (by B. H. Struthers, Ph.D.)
"And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." Daniel 12:3. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth soul is wise. Proverbs 11:30
This lesson is the first in this series on SOUL WINNING. You will notice that some words in the Scripture quotation have been omitted. This has been done purposely so that you will have to look up the reference in the Bible and fill in the blanks. You will find that this helps you to remember the main truth taught in the verse. Be sure to read the verse several times after you have filled in the blanks to get the meaning thoroughly fixed in your mind. When three or four periods come together in a quotation, it means that part of the Scripture was omitted. This is done to particular line of thought that is pertinent to the study.
FILL IN ALL THE BLANKS IN THE SCRIPTURE QUOTATIONS; THEN STUDY THE LESSON CAREFULLY BEFORE TRYING TO ANSWER THE QUESTIONS.
You should answer the test questions without turning back in the course for the answers. You only cheat yourself by looking back, because the primary purpose of the test is to show you how much you have learned and what points you need to study further. We want everyone to do as well as possible; so do not rush through the course. If some part of it is not clear to you, please contact us. Read all of the instructions very carefully.
OUTLINE - INTRODUCTION
I. THE DEFINITION OF SOUL WINNING
II. THE NECESSITY OF SOUL WINNING
A. Men's Souls are Condemned to Eternal Destruction
B. Man is God's Primary Channel of Reaching Men
C. Christ's Last Command
III. BASIC QUALIFICATIONS TO BE A SOUL WINNER
A. Personal Experiential Knowledge of Salvation
B. Absolute Love for Christ
C. Deep Realization of Man's Lost Condition
D. Sincere Love for the Lost
E. Divine Sense of Commission
F. Prevailing Prayer
1. Guidance to the Right Personal
2. Preparation of the Heart of that Individual
3. God's Message
4. Boldness of Speech and Power
5. Rooting of the Seed that has been Planted
G. Unwavering Faith
1. In God's Power
2. In an Immediate Harvest
3. In the Sown Seed
IV. THE PLACE OF GOD'S WORD IN SOUL WINNING
A. The Power of God's Word
B. The Importance of Studying Scripture
C. Thee Importance of Memorizing Scripture
FISHERS OF MEN INTRODUCTION
1. Salvation Memory Verse: Romans 3:23 (Write in full on small card to be carried with you. Memorize in your spare moments during day. Entitle it: THE FACT OF SIN. Memorize reference with verse.) .
2. What was the primary objective of the early church?
3. What are the two purposes of this course? .
4. What is the author's motto?
5. How is soul winning accomplished?
Almost overnight the early church grew from 120 to 3,000 believers (Acts 1:15 and Acts 2:41). It was not long before there were 5,000 men plus women and children (Acts 4:4). As we continue to read of the astonishing growth of the church in the book of Acts, we notice that in 4:32 it had become a multitude; and in 5:14 we read that "believers were more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and men." What was the secret of this tremendous growth? As you read the history of these early believers, you soon find answer. They were a group of soul winning Christians. The winning of souls was their primary objective, their program and everything else was secondary. So it is with us, soul winning must be the dominating objective of our lives, the focal point of all our endeavour. Therefore, the purpose of this course is (1) to challenge you as to your personal opportunity and responsibility in leading lost souls to Christ, and then (2) to teach you how to do the job effectively. Although this course is a means to these ends, we must constantly remember that Jesus said, "Follow Me and you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19) All the soul winning courses in the world will be absolutely useless if we fail to follow our Lord in daily devotion, for it is the Potter who moulds us into useful vessels, into effective fishers of men (Isaiah 64:8). However, part of the following will be to thoroughly learn the truths presented in this course, for "faith without works is dead." Our motto in soul winning through the years has been Psalms 126:5-6, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” When the truths of this verse become a vital part of our daily lives, we will be well on our way to fulfilling God's plan for us. And, oh, the joy of doing His will, of winning a soul for Christ. Any Christian will readily testify that next to his personal salvation, the greatest joy in life is to see a soul for whom he has wept and with whom he has dealt, pass from death unto life. May God help you start right now to follow Him and to claim His promise to make you a FISHER OF MEN.
1. THE DEFINITION OF SOUL WINNING
1. Salvation Memory Verse: Romans 6:23 (Write in full on a small card, to be carried with you. Memorize in spare moments during day. Entitle it: THE PENALTY OF SIN. Review- previous verse.)
2. What 3 things must we make the sinner realize?
3. How can the sinner be made to realize these? (2 factors)
There are many terms used by Christian workers to define the task of getting lost souls to Christ, such as witnessing, testifying, personal work, fishing for men, savings souls and soul winning, but basically they all refer to the same thing. Some have defined these as follows:
1. Witnessing is "telling others about Christ," telling what you have seen and heard about Christ. "That which we have seen and heard we unto you." (1 John 1:3).
2. Testifying is to speak of what you have experienced in your own life regarding salvation.
3. Personal work, says R.A.Torrey, is hand-to-hand dealing with men ,women and children," that is, personally coming in contact with other persons, especially the unsaved.
4. Fishing for men is "going out into the ocean of sin and pulling drowning souls into the ark of safety," which is the Lord Jesus Christ.
5. Personal; evangelism is " telling of the gospel to a sinner with the intent of bringing him to a saving knowledge of Christ."
In brief, soul winning is the act of effectively convincing a lost person of the following facts, through the use of God's Word and in the power of the Holy Spirit:
1. That he is under the sentence of eternal death (John 3:36)
2. That Christ is the answer to his need (Acts 13:38-39).
II. THE NECESSITY OF SOUL WINNING
1. Why must we "fish" for men? (3 reasons)
2. List Bible verses that tell us why we should be soul winner.
3. Review salvation verses you have memorized.
A. MEN'S SOULS ARE CONDEMNED TO ETERNAL DESTRUCTION.
The basic reason why we must "fish" for men is that all men have been sentenced to death as a penalty for their sin. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin; and so for that all have sinned." (Romans 5:12) Paul stated in Romans 6:23, "The wages of sin is ." Man has earned eternal death in Hell; that is, eternal separation from God. Therefore, we must plead with him to accept God's pardon, "the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Otherwise, "The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God… and he shall be ; and in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb . . . and they shall have day nor night. . ." (Revelation 14:11). Do you really believe it? If so, you will be about your Father's business, seeking those who are lost.
B. WE ARE GOD'S PRIMARY CHANNEL OF REACHING MEN.
When a lost soul realizes his fate, he is saved by' calling on the name of the Lord. But "How then shall they call on him . . . how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard (belief is dependent on hearing, Romans 10:17) and how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14). God could have preached the message of salvation Himself, but instead He has chosen each one of us to be a preacher, a messenger of the "Good News.” Paul and Barnabas realized their God-given purpose for living when they stated in Acts 13:47, "For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set to be a light of the Gentiles, that shouldest be for salvation unto the ends the earth." Realizing this, let us not be careless Christians who go about in this life blindly unaware of the reason for our existence. God is constantly searching for channels, saying, "…Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" May we say with Isaiah, "Here am I; ; . (Isaiah 6:8); I am afraid, however, that God is too often forced to say, And I ought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: . (Ezekiel 22:30). My Christian brother, let us be about our Father's business (2 Timothy 2:2; 2 Corinthians 5:20).
C. CHRIST'S LAST COMMAND
Jesus stated that His primary purpose in coming to this earth was "to . (Luke 19:10). Just before He left to go back to Heaven, He told His disciples, "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you" (John 20:21). "Go ye into all the world, and the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15). This was a direct order from the Captain of our salvation, an order which issued from the compassionate heart of One Who has already given His all for condemned humanity. Let us in loving obedience carry out this Great Commission, thereby glorifying our crucified, resurrected, returning Lord. Read prayerfully Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 24:46-48 and Acts 1:3-9. Yes, even as Jesus was, so must we be about OUR Father's business; EVERYTHING else must come second. Only a redeemed sinner can tell another of God's power to save!
III. BASIC QUALIFICATIONS TO BE A SOUL WINNER
1. What is the first basic qualification of a soul winner?
2. Name four more qualifications, backed by a Bible reference.
3. How is our love for Christ made evident, or manifested? List three ways.
4. How will complete abandonment to Christ be demonstrated in our life, or in us? List three things that we will abandon to Him.
5. In what three things do we need steadfast faith?
6. Why is faith in God's power important in soul winning?
7. Continue to review memorized Bible verses.
In any work there are a few basic qualifications a person must have to do the job effectively. And the degree to which a person is qualified will determine to a large extent the quality and quantity of work which he accomplishes. So it is with soul winning; the extent to which a person meets the qualifications to be discussed will determine his effectiveness as a witness for Christ. Therefore, as you study these qualifications, take careful inventory in your own life and ask the Lord to make these things an experiential part of your daily life.
A. A PERSONAL, EXPERIENTIAL KNOWLEDGE OF SALVATION.
To help another person receive forgiveness of sins, you must know beyond the shadow of a doubt that your own sins have been forgiven. Paul, a former blasphemer and persecutor of Christians, preached the message of forgiveness with confidence and boldness because he assuredly knew that his sins had been forgiven. He states in 1 Timothy 1:13-14 "... I mercy .... And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant .... This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." He also knew that Christ had made him a son of God, one of the "partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light" (Colossians 1:1, read verses Colossians 1:13-14 also). Paul did not just hope this had happened to him, but he asserts ". . . I (have absolute confidence in) whom I have believed, and am that he is able to keep that (my soul, my life) which I have committed unto him against that day" (2 Timothy 1:12). Yes, the soul winner must have a genuine assurance of salvation, for vague assurance leads to vague soul winning, or almost without fail, no soul winning at all. This is the basic qualification.
B. ABSOLUTE LOVE FOR CHRIST.
When we once fully realize that Christ has "brought me up out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock" (Psalm 40:2-3), we, too, will have a new song in our mouth. We will be singing with the songwriter "How can I help but love Him, when He loved me so.” David, who loved his Lord with humble devotion says, "Oh God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is" (Psalm 63:1). "As the heart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God (Psalm 42:1). Too much soul winning today is the "must" a clear conscience (Ezekiel 3:18-19), or to add numbers, and not the must' of a humble devotion to our blessed Lord. The person who often walks alone with Him "in the garden will be found often out in the highways and byways compelling others to come in. A consistent devotional life characterizes the consistent soul winner. Souls were added daily to the early church (Acts 2:47) because the people took notice of them that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). ". . . Peter went up upon the housetop about the sixth hour (noon)" (Acts 10:9). Peter and John went up together into the temple , being the ninth hour (3:00PM)" (Acts 3:1). "And at midnight Paul and Silas unto God" (Acts 16:25). These men who were in love with Jesus spent much time with Him and, as a result, were effective soul winners. Oh, Christian, do you long for that time alone with Him to pray, to worship, to meditate on His Word and to express your love to Him?
This is the CORNERSTONE OF SOUL WINNING. "The love of Christ" constrains Paul to tell others of his wonderful Saviour (2 Corinthians 5:14). This kind of love for Christ will also cause us to abandon ourselves completely to Him: First, abandonment of our WILL. Note the disciples' example. Jesus said, "Follow me . . .and they straightway (immediately, without question) left their nets, and followed him" ( Matthew 4:19-20). Note Jesus' example. ". . . Not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42). Second abandonment of our BODY. "…Yield yourselves unto God . . . and your members as unto God" (Romans 6:13; see also Romans 12:1). Third, abandonment of ALL THINGS. "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of , and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ" (Philippians 3:7-8) An absolute love for Christ also means a separation from the ambitions and desires of this world. "Love not the neither the things that are in the . If any man love the , the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." (1 John 2:15-16). See also 2 Timothy 2:21. God's love is a holy love. Such holiness can never flow through an unclean channel (Isaiah 5:11). These sins may not always be sins of commission. To the Christian, they are more than likely ones of omission. Failing to witness can be a sin. Why is it that we are not willing to give ourselves to witnessing? It is because we fear the cost. "We can only crucified Lord when we are willing to live a crucified life." The divine order demands a price: it is death to all that we are and desire. An absolute love for Christ is the cornerstone of soul winning.
C. DEEP REALIZATION OF MAN'S LOST CONDITION.
To win souls we must be thoroughly convinced that souls need saving. We must realize that man is devoted to his ways and, as a result, is totally estranged from God and destiny to an eternal Hell. God states that man's "heart is , and ...."(Jeremiah 17:9). His heart is deceitful (misleading, full of plots, watching for an opportunity to snare, treacherous) to the extent that his every thought and action is characterized by selfishness, pride, and rebellion against God. As man looks on the outward appearance, he sees a sinner's charity, kindness, and thoughtfulness, but as God looked on man before the flood, He saw that . . . every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was ." (Genesis 6:5). Paul, in quoting David, emphasizes, "...There is none righteous, : There is none that seeketh after God . . . there is none that doeth good, ," (Romans 3:10-12). This truth cannot be overemphasized; we must believe it and not tone down. Because of his sinfulness, man is separated from God, estranged from his Creator. Isaiah says, ". . . your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins has hid his face from you, that he will not hear" (Isaiah 59:2). Even more ,at death the sinner is eternally separated God: only judgment and the "lake of fire" await him. Hell is forever. Jesus said,… these shall go away into everlasting punishment..." (Matthew 25:46). God states that the unrepentant sinner shall be "tormented with fir and brimstone . . . and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up ; and they have no rest day nor night" (Revelation 14:10-11) (Read further Revelation 20:11-15) No wonder, then that Paul exclaims: "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men" (2 Corinthians 5:11). He realized just how lost men were; therefore, he "ceased not to warn night and day " (Acts 20:31). To be a soul winner, our hearts MUST be gripped night and day with the truth of man's lost condition.
D. SINCERE LOVE FOR THE LOST.
This leads us to our next qualification, which is an earnest desire to see men saved, a passion for souls. Men throughout the Bible not only realized man's tragic position apart from God but also were impelled by a driving compassion to do something about it. Jeremiah is called the "weeping prophet" of the Old Testament because of his love for his people. Hear him cry, "Oh that my head were water and mine eyes fountain of tears, that I might for the slain of the daughter of my people!” (Jeremiah 9:1) We have already seen Paul's concern as he too, wept "day and night with tears.” He further states in Romans 9:3, "For I could wish that myself for my brethren....” It was this kind of compassion that continually drove Paul out after souls even when it meant for him stoning, prison, shipwreck, and all sorts of persecution. Study through the Gospels and notice the compassionate heart of our Saviour. "But when he saw the multitudes, he was ..." (Matthew 9:36) "And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her..." (Luke 7:13), "And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it." (Luke 19:41). The basic meaning of the word compassion is "to suffer with." Jesus and His followers shared in the burden of the multitudes' sin-heavy hearts to the extent that their salvation was the only thing that would ease the agony. So we must "suffer with" the unsaved around us. Yes, tears are an evidence of genuine love necessary in soul winning. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." (Psalm 126:5-6). How many sin-hardened hearts have been melted with tears of compassion when all other methods have failed. How do we get this type of concern for others. Certainly not a whipped-up enthusiasm, but a deep yearning that springs spontaneously from the innermost self when our lives are brought into the warmth of relationship with Christ. It is not a forced love but the fruit of a yielded life. The fruit of the Spirit is love . . ." (Galatians 5:22) It is not the result of praying for tears but the natural fruit of sharing our Saviour's burdens with Him--His compassion for multitudes.
E. DIVINE SENSE OF COMMISSION.
Just before Jesus ascended into Heaven, He said to His disciples, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8) The night before His crucifixion He had said to them, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should and bring forth fruit and that your fruit should remain" (John 15:16). Even in the Old Testament God very clearly commanded the prophet to ward sinners of God's impending judgment. "Son of man, unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the Word at my mouth, and from me." (Ezekiel 3:17) Read verses 18 and 19 also, and notice the serious warning given Ezekiel if he failed to warn sinners of their lost condition. Yes, we must realize that we have been commissioned by God Almighty, by Jesus Christ, by the Lord of the harvest to warn and win souls. Paul was extremely conscious for he stated, "...God...hath committed unto us the Word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors, for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead be ye reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:19-20) No wonder Paul said, ". . . woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel" (1 Corinthians 9:16).
MICROSOFT WORD FORMAT OF LESSON AND TEST FOR - LESSON 1 – (Click on the "Microsoft Word" word in blue to choose this option)
TEST LESSON 1: FISHERS OF MEN
Read each question carefully; then, select the correct answer and mark it with a X.
1. The early church in Acts grew rapidly because of:
a) Human ability. ......................
b) Soul winning efforts. ......................
c) Both of the above. ......................
2. A lost person can be saved if:
a) He is convinced that he has sinned against God. ......................
b) He realizes that Christ can cleanse him from his sin.......................
c) Neither of the above. ......................
3. God has called the following to be His instruments in reaching lost people:
a) Some of us. ......................
b) Most of us. ......................
c) All of us. ......................
4. How separated is man from God because of his sin?
a) Just a little. ......................
b) Greatly. ......................
c) Completely. ......................
5. Who is called the "weeping prophet" of the Old Testament?
a) Isaiah. ......................
b) Jeremiah. ......................
c) Ezekiel. ......................
TRUE AND FALSE
6. Sinners are not saved by what men tell them but by what God tells them through men. True: ........... False: .................
7. Love for Christ is the cornerstone of soul winning. True: ........... False: .................
8. Every word in the Bible does not come from God but the Bible very definitely contains the Word of God. True: ........... False: .................
9. One will not have faith in the power of God's Word who in any way doubts its source, its inspiration. True: ........... False: .................
10. Mature Christians are more prone to commit sins of commission rather than sins of omission. True: ........... False: .................
11. The basis meaning of the word "compassion" is to "recognize a person's need.". True: ........... False: ................
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