Pastor James J. Barker

Text: PROVERBS 11:30


1.     “Even if I were utterly selfish, and had no care for anything but my own happiness, I would choose, if I might, under God, to be a soul-winner; for never did I know perfect, overflowing, unutterable happiness of the purest and most ennobling order till I first heard of one who had sought and found the Saviour through my means.  No young mother ever so rejoiced over her first-born child, no warrior was so exultant over a hard-won victory” – Charles H. Spurgeon. 

2.     “I believe that if an angel were to wing his way from earth up to Heaven, and were to say that there was one poor, ragged boy, without father or mother, with no one to care for him and teach him the way of life; and if God were to ask who among them were willing to come down to this earth and live here for fifty years and lead that one to Jesus Christ, every angel in Heaven would volunteer to go. Even Gabriel, who stands in the presence of the Almighty, would say, ‘Let me leave my high and lofty position, and let me have the luxury of leading one soul to Jesus Christ.’  There is no greater honor than to be the instrument in God's hands of leading one person out of the kingdom of Satan into the glorious light of Heaven” – D. L. Moody.

3.     Revelation 14:6 says, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.”

4.     According to Revelation 14:6, during the tribulation period, an angel will preach the gospel.  But in this dispensation the Lord has given you and me this great privilege.

5.     When I say, “preach the Gospel,” I am not referring strictly to preaching from behind a pulpit (cf. John 4:6-42).

6.     “He that winneth souls is wise” (Pro. 11:30).

7.     Here are three basic elements for successful soulwinning.







1.     J. Oswald Sanders, in his excellent book, The Divine Art of Soul-Winning, explains that while most Christians believe sinners are lost, this belief does not affect the way they live.

2.     Sanders says, “There may be a willingness to subscribe to the orthodox creed concerning future punishment, but there is a world of difference between a creedal belief and a working faith.”

3.     He gives the example of a Judge Mingins from Philadelphia.  Judge Mingins had been an infidel in his youth, and had lived with his infidel companions in Philadelphia. Some time after his conversion he was visiting one of them, who said: “George, I hear you are a Christian now.  Is that so?”

“Yes,” said Mr. Mingins.

“George, do you believe in God?”


“And do you believe in Hell, and that all who do not believe in God and in Jesus Christ will ultimately go to Hell?”

“I do, most certainly.”

“Well, George,” said he, “does Christianity dry up all the milk of humanity in one’s body as it has in yours?”

“Why,” said Mr. Mingins, “what do you mean?”

“I mean this,” he replied, “that here you have been living under my roof for three days and three nights, knowing and believing all this, and yet you never put your hand on my shoulder, or said one word to save me.”

4.     General Booth said he would like to send his preachers to hell for 24 hours.  He felt that would be better training than any college or seminary.

5.     One has to wonder if one of the reasons most churches (even so-called evangelical and fundamental churches) are not winning souls is Christians do not really believe what the Bible says about eternal retibution.  Do Christians really believe sinners will spend eternity in hell without Christ?

6.     Billy Graham started out as red-hot fire and brimstone preacher, but he started compromising and got mixed up with the liberal crowd.  Listen to this quote from a message Billy Graham gave at the Berlin Congress in 1966.  By this time Graham was already entangled in the ecumenical movement.

7.     “In recent years we have seen a change from the Biblical doctrine that men are individually sinners before God and will be held responsible to Him at the Judgment, to a doctrine of collective sinfulness and of the corporate guilt of society.  We have seen a change from man’s personal responsibility before God, to an entirely new concept of reconciliation which assumes that all men are Christians. Therefore, reconciliation takes on a new and non-Biblical meaning” (http://www.wheaton.edu/bgc/archives/berlinaddress.htm).

8.     If this was a big problem in 1966, it is a far greater problem now (41 years later).  For years preachers like Billy Graham have been preaching a confusing message and a watered down Gospel.

9.     Before moving on, let me say that just as it is important to have a conviction that souls are lost without Christ, it is equally important to believe that God will direct us to those who will be saved.

10. “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35; cf. Acts 18:9, 10).



1.     Sometimes I think Christians are blind to lost souls.  They are invisible to us.  We need to see people the way Jesus sees people.

2.     “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them…” (Matt. 9:36).

3.     Five times in the Gospels, we are told that Jesus was “moved with compassion.”  But oftentimes we Christians move with indifference.

4.     William Chalmers Burns was born in Scotland in 1815 and died in China in 1868.  He worked in China with the famous missionary Hudson Taylor.

5.     J. Oswald Sanders, in his book The Divine Art of Soulwinning, tells us that one day William Burns met his mother in Glasgow.  She noticed her son was crying, and she said, “Why those tears?”  He answered, “I am weeping at the sight of the multitudes in the streets, so many of whom are passing through life unsaved.”

6.     We need that kind of concern.  The Psalmist wrote, “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).

7.     We often sing:

Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master,
Though the loss sustained our spirit often grieves;
When our weeping’s over, He will bid us welcome,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

8.     But do we mean it? 

9.     General Booth received a message from one of his captains that the work was so hard he could make no progress.  General Booth sent back a very brief reply: “Try tears.”  The advice was followed and they were soon successful.

10. Last year I was at a preacher’s conference and heard a pastor say, “We complain that sinners are too hard, but the problem is we are too hard.”  That remark convicted me and I have repeated it a few times.  One Sunday night when I was preaching I said it and a pastor friend happened to be in the audience.  Just yesterday he told me how that comment has affected his ministry.



1. The soul of man must be very valuable because our Lord left the glories of heaven to come down here and die on the cross for our sins.

2. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Peter 1:18, 19).

3. Man’s soul is valuable because man was created in the image and likeness of God.  Genesis 1:26 and 27 says, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

4. The soul of man will exist somewhere (in either heaven or hell) forever.

5. Over and over again in the Bible we read of this great spiritual battle over the souls of men.  Satan and his demons seek to destroy lives and lead lost souls into hell.  God wants to save souls.  Jesus said, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

6. John 3:17 says, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

7. We must comprehend the value of a soul.


CONCLUSION: (from The Divine Art of Soul-Winning, by Sanders):

Dr. Wilbur Chapman tells of such a case: WHAT "CONCERN" ACHIEVED
     “I went to hear D. L. Moody preach when I was a country minister, and he so fired my heart, that I went back to my country church and tried to preach as he preached, and we had really a great work of grace.  It did not start immediately; and I was so discouraged, because things did not go as I thought they ought, that I called my church officers together and said: ‘You will have to help me.’  They promised to do so, and finally an old farmer rose and said: ‘I have not done much work in the church, but I will help you.’  One of the officers said to me afterwards: ‘Do not ask him to pray, for he cannot pray in public,’ and another said: ‘Do not ask him to speak, for he cannot speak to the edification of the people.’  Next morning we had one of those sudden snowstorms for which that part of the country is famous, and this old farmer rose and put his horse to his sleigh and started across the country four miles to a blacksmith's shop.  He hitched his horse on the outside, and went into the shop all covered with snow, and found the blacksmith alone.  The blacksmith said: ‘Mr. Cranmer, whatever brings you out today?’ The old farmer walked to the blacksmith’s bench, and putting his hand upon the man's shoulders, said: ‘Tom!’ and the tears started to roll down his cheeks.  Then with sobs choking his utterance, he said: ‘Tom, when your old father died, he gave you and your brother into my guardianship, and I have let you both grow into manhood and never asked you to become a Christian.’  That was all.  He did not ask him then; he could not.  He got into his sleigh and drove back home.  And he did not go out again for months; he almost died from pneumonia.

     “But that night in the meeting, the blacksmith stood up before my church officers and said: ‘Friends, I have never been moved by a sermon in my life, but when my old friend stood before me this morning, with tears and sobs, having come all through the storm, I thought it was time I considered the matter.’  We received him into the church, and he is a respected church officer today.  PREACHING FAILS, SINGING FAILS, BUT INDIVIDUAL CONCERN DOES NOT FAIL."


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