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THE SOUL WINNER’S REWARD
by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 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 12:2-3).
This text speaks of the two coming resurrections. The true Christians will be raised “to everlasting life” (Daniel 12:2a) at the rapture. The Apostle Paul spoke clearly about that when he said,
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).
Then there is a second resurrection, of those that are not Christians, who will be raised from the dead “to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2b). This is the resurrection of the damned at the Last Judgment of the unsaved dead. The Apostle John spoke of it when he said,
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:12-15).
Those who are resurrected at the Last Judgment are raised, as Daniel said, “to shame and everlasting contempt” in Hell.
But, then, in Daniel 12:3 we are told that there will be a distinction between those Christians who zealously win souls and those who do not,
“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).
Concerning this verse, Dr. John R. Rice said,
In the [first] resurrection many of the first shall be last and the last first, as Jesus said. There will be a great shifting in human estimates and values then. And who will be first? Who are they who may be counted last now, but in the eternal glories of Heaven will be counted first? Daniel 12:3 tells us in these words...“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.”
Oh, the wisdom of soul-winning! The man who is willing to take the long look and do the main thing now for Jesus’ sake will find that one day he will be famous. One day he will “rise and shine!” Many a mediocre and now unknown man or woman will in that day “shine as the brightness of the firmament.” And those soul winners who turn many to righteousness shall shine “as the stars for ever and ever,” says the holy Word of God!
We had better adjust our thinking to another economy besides that of earth! We had better set our heart on things that do not so easily pass away...
I do not wonder that Proverbs 11:30 says, “He that winneth souls is wise.” Yes, the soul winner is wise with the eternal wisdom of the long look [looking ahead to the future]! How foolish it is to waste our time and efforts and energies on things that are soon gone with no permanent reward...The man who seeks [to win souls] is the man who will be great in the world to come! (John R. Rice, D.D., The Golden Path to Successful Personal Soul Winning, Sword of the Lord Publications, 1961, pp. 302-303).
Again, Dr. Rice said,
One who believes in Christ already has eternal life according to John 3:36, John 5:24, and many other scriptures. But in Heaven, rewards differ according to our works. Oh, that God will give us grace to win the eternal rewards which will go to the soul winners! “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” (Dr. Rice, ibid., page 305).
Dr. Henry C. Thiessen, the theologian, said the same thing as Dr. Rice,
The Lord has given His people an opportunity to lay up treasures in heaven... (Matthew 6:20)... As one responsible for the souls of others, the believer will be rewarded according as he has led many to righteousness. “And they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever,” (Daniel 12:3) (Henry C. Thiessen, Ph.D., Introductory Lectures in Systematic Theology, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1949 edition, pp. 456-457).
Dr. Rice said it well in one of his beautiful songs,
So little time! The harvest will be over.
Our reaping done, we reapers taken Home.
Report our work to Jesus, Lord of harvest,
And hope He’ll smile and that He’ll say, “Well done.”
Today we reap, or miss our golden harvest!
Today is given us lost souls to win.
Oh then to save some [loved] ones from the burning.
Today we’ll go and bring some sinner in.
(“So Little Time” by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980;
chorus altered by the Pastor.)
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, founder of “The Voice of the Martyrs,” gave a striking illustration of what might happen in Heaven to those who do not earn rewards by being zealous in their Christian lives, in soul winning and other activities for Christ. Tom White, the current director of “The Voice of the Martyrs,” gave a paraphrase of a sermon he once heard preached by Pastor Wurmbrand,
...he said, perhaps when we are taken up to heaven and Jesus leads us through the gate, He will stop and introduce us to a shining, beautiful soul who is receiving great honor. We will curiously ask Jesus, “Who is that person? [He is] certainly remarkable. What did [he] do with [his] life?” Then Jesus will turn to us with a tear in His eye and whisper... “This is what you could have been” (The Voice of the Martyrs magazine, February, 2011, p. 2).
Tom White said,
I...visited a Chinese girl from Central Vietnam who went to jail when she was 14 years old. Her crime was teaching the children in her village about Jesus. This young woman did not miss what she could have been. At the age of 14, she served Jesus in jail, and seven years later she continues to be a witness. The same is true of Gao Feng. After Chinese Christian Gao Feng returned from a three-year prison sentence, his friends lamented his “lost time.” Gao replied, “I would rather go to prison for three years for doing something for Jesus than sit at home and do nothing for Him”... Don’t be satisfied to [accept] the easiest path...reaching out to no one because you “deserve” a rest...
Before Richard Wurmbrand passed on 10 years ago, he left us with a challenge...it was simply two words: “Be aggressive.” (VOM, ibid.).
That’s what we need! “Be aggressive!” Go out with us to evangelize this city every Saturday evening! “Be aggressive!” Be like that Chinese girl who was willing to go to jail for winning souls to Christ! Be like Gao Feng who was willing to spend three years in a Chinese prison rather than stop soul winning. “Be aggressive.” Don’t let it be said of you in Heaven, “This is what you could have been!”
In Pakistan it is against Muslim law to witness and win souls to Christ. “Voice of the Martyrs” reports that Asia Bibi was “taunted” by Muslim co-workers for becoming a Christian. They told her she should follow Mohammed. She finally told them,
Our Christ sacrificed His life on the cross for our sins. What has your prophet done for you? Our Christ is alive. Your prophet is dead (VOM, ibid., p. 8).
Asia was convicted under Pakistan’s cruel blasphemy law, which demands a jail sentence just for talking that way about Mohammed. After more than 30 court hearings, Asia was sentenced to death in November 2010. Muslim leader Qari Salim told CNN that when he heard of her death sentence, “Tears of joy poured from my eyes.” Shame on him! A man with such sinful cruelty in his heart desperately needs to be forgiven by Christ! Asia was given a death sentence for witnessing about Christ. As of this date she has not yet been executed, largely because her case has gained world-wide attention, with thousands of people around the world (including the Pope) appealing to the Pakistan government to release her. Asia Bibi says from her prison cell, “Jesus is my faith. He is with me” (VOM, ibid.). You can read about her and other who are persecuted for soul winning efforts at www.persecution.com.
Be like that girl! As Pastor Wurmbrand said, “Be aggressive.” As Dr. Rice said, “The soul winner is wise with the wisdom of the long look...The [person] who seeks [to win souls] is the [person] who will be great in the world to come.” As Tom White said, “Don’t be satisfied to [accept] the easiest path...reaching out to no one because you ‘deserve’ a rest.” “Be aggressive.” Be with us every Saturday night at 6:00 as we go out to the streets, the colleges and the malls to evangelize the lost and get them into church to hear the Gospel preached! Be with us at church next Saturday evening – and every Saturday evening for evangelism!
Please stand and sing the last song on the song sheet, by the great missionary-minded pastor, Dr. Oswald J. Smith.
Give us a watchword for the hour, A thrilling word, a word of power,
A battle cry, a flaming breath That calls to conquest or to death.
A word to rouse the church from rest, To heed the Master’s strong request.
The call is given, Ye hosts, arise, Our watchword is, evangelize!
The glad evangel now proclaim, Through all the earth, in Jesus’ name;
This word is ringing through the skies: Evangelize! Evangelize!
To dying men, a fallen race, Make known the gift of Gospel grace;
The world that now in darkness lies, Evangelize! Evangelize!
(“Evangelize! Evangelize!” Words by Dr. Oswald J. Smith, 1889-1986;
sung to the tune of “And Can It Be?” by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).
(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Matthew 6:19-21.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“So Little Time” (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).