Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Contemplate...a Church Full of Soul-winners

I have been reading Charles Spurgeon's Lectures to My Students in which he has a powerful chapter called - "On Conversion as Our Aim." He concludes this lecture by pointing to the importance of the whole church coming together to pray and earnestly seek the salvation of souls for the glory of God. Here is a quote in which he invites us to imagine the power of a whole church coming together for the salvation of souls. [color emphasis mine]

With all that you can do your desires will not be fulfilled, for soul-winning is a pursuit which grows upon a man; the more he is rewarded with Conversions the more eager he becomes to see greater numbers born unto God. Hence you will soon discover that you need help if many are to be brought in. The net soon becomes too heavy for one pair of hands to drag to shore when it is filled with fishes; and your fellow-helpers must be beckoned to your assistance. Great things are done by the Holy Spirit when a whole church is aroused to sacred energy: then there are hundreds of testimonies instead of one, and these strengthen each other; then advocates for Christ succeed each other and work into each other’s hands, while supplication ascends to heaven with the force of united importunity; thus sinners are encompassed with a cordon of earnest entreaties, and heaven itself is called into the field.

It would seem hard in some congregations for a sinner to be saved, for whatever good he may receive from the pulpit its frozen out of him by the arctic atmosphere with which he is surrounded: and on the other hand some churches make it hard for men to remain unconverted, for with holy zeal they persecute the careless into anxiety. It should be our ambition, in the power of the Holy Ghost, to work the entire church into a fine missionary condition, to make it like a Leyden jar charged ‘to the full with divine electricity, so that whatever comes into contact with it shall feel its power. What can one man do alone? What can he not do with an army of enthusiasts around him? Contemplate at the outset the possibility of having a church of soulwinners. Do not succumb to the usual idea that we can only gather a few useful workers, and that the rest of the community must inevitably be a dead weight: it may possibly so happen, but do not set out with that notion or it will be verified. The usual need not be the universal; better things are possible than anything yet attained; set your aim high and spare no effort to reach it. Labor to gather a church alive for Jesus, every member energetic to the full, and the whole in incessant activity for the salvation of men.

To this end there must be the best of preaching to feed the host into strength, continual prayer to bring down the power from on high, and the most heroic example on your own part to fire their zeal: then under the divine blessing a common-sense management of the entire force cannot fail to produce the most desirable issues. Who among you can grasp this idea and embody it in actual fact?
(Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, 391-392, “On Conversion As Our Aim”)

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