“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” – Luke 19:10
On December 31st—the final day of 2022—I was scrolling through social media and came across a one-minute excerpt from a sermon. And that 60-second message cut me to the heart.
was taken from a sermon delivered some 20 years ago by Dr. Adrian Rogers, who
served as senior pastor of a Baptist church in
Is he right? I hope not, because if he is, most of us will have a lot to answer for on Judgment Day. But I’m afraid he’s right. Even if we give our tithes, attend church faithfully and live clean, moral lives … if we’re not actively winning souls for Jesus Christ, we’re not right with God.
Jesus did a whole lot of soul-winning during his three-year ministry. In fact, winning souls for His Father in heaven was the main reason Jesus came to earth in the first place: He came to seek and save the lost. And one of those lost souls that He came to save was a despised tax collector named … Zacchaeus.
passed through the city of
But Zacchaeus wanted to see who Jesus was and find out what all the fuss was about. And Zacchaeus was short—so he climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see Jesus over the crowd. In verse 5, we read: “When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’” Although that’s not something we typically do in our culture today, in First Century Israel it was a great honor to be chosen to host a famous rabbi like Jesus. And when Zacchaeus heard Jesus’ invitation, “He came down at once and welcomed him gladly” (v. 6).
So Jesus went home with Zacchaeus, dined with him and invited him to make the most important decision of his life: to put his trust in Jesus as His Savior and Lord, repent of his sin and live a brand-new life. In response, Zacchaeus stood and said, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount” (v. 8).
Jesus responded, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham” (v. 9). Some people mistakenly think this means Zacchaeus was saved by his good works. But he was saved BEFORE his good works. A greedy, hell-bound sinner like Zacchaeus never would have done what he did in verse 8. He did it because he was a new creation. What we read in verse 8 is simply the fruit of his repentance.
After declaring that Zacchaeus was saved, Jesus spoke these glorious words in verse 10: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” There’s something profound in this verse that is easy to miss. Zacchaeus thought he was the one doing the seeking. But, truth be told, Jesus was seeking Zacchaeus long before Zacchaeus began seeking Him. And the same is true for me and for you and for everyone else we know. Jesus was seeking us long before we started seeking Him.
So, aspiring soul winners, listen up! We don’t sit back and wait for someone to express an interest in Jesus. We bring Jesus to them, because Jesus always seeks us before we ever seek Him. Whether it’s a family member, friend, co-worker or a perfect stranger, Jesus is seeking them long before they ever seek Him. It’s our job to make the introduction.
Here are three steps to becoming a soul winner:
for yourself. Ask God to give you a burden for lost souls and to choose you to
be a soul winner.
In Isaiah 6, God needed someone to go to His chosen people and urge them to
repent. The LORD Almighty asked, “Whom shall I send? And who will go out for
us?” (v. 8). And like a kid whose teacher just asked, “Who wants a free ticket
#2: Pray for others. Pray by name for the salvation of people you know who need Christ. How many people do you know who are far from God? You should pray for them by name on a regular basis—asking God to soften their hard hearts, open their closed minds and draw them unto Himself for salvation. Would you please begin doing this EVERY day? Remember, the prayers of a righteous man or woman of God are powerful and effective.
#3: Be intentional about building relationships with those who need God’s grace, and take the initiative to steer conversations to Christ. Jesus Christ has called YOU to take the initiative. YOU need to build relationships with those who need Him, and YOU need to take the initiative to steer conversations to the gospel. Let’s start introducing people to Jesus Christ.
Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us at Impact for Sunday services: in person at 9 a.m., or online at 10 a.m. on YouTube or Facebook. For more information, visit www.GreaterImpact.cc.