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by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, February 20, 2016

“Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13).

Great crowds had been following Jesus on His way to Jerusalem. He stopped by the city of Jericho. And while He was there, Jesus won a soul. His name was Zacchaeus. He was a short man who couldn’t see Jesus because of the crowd. So he climbed up a tree to get a look at Jesus as He was passing by. Jesus sees him, looks him in the face, and tells him, “Come down.” And the Bible says, “He made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.” Zacchaeus was saved! Then Jesus said,

“The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

Right after saying that Christ gave us a parable. A nobleman goes to a far country. And after some time He will return to receive His kingdom. The nobleman is a picture of Christ. And the faraway country is a picture of Heaven. Christ is there now. But one day He will come again. And while He is gone, Christ tells us,

“Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13).

Occupy means, “to carry on a business” (Fritz Rienecker, Ph.D., A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, Zondervan Publishing House, 1976, p. 198; note on Luke 19:13). And so, Christ is telling us to carry on His business until He comes back.

And what is the business that Christ wants us to carry out? It is the same business that He came to carry out.

“The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Like 19:10).

Christ’s main business was soul winning! And He expects that to be your main business, too! This is what Christ told you to do. Can He trust you to continue His work? Will you be faithful to Him? Will you love souls and try to win them the way that He did? These are the big questions for you tonight. I tell you, carry on Christ’s business of soul winning! Occupy, do Christ’s work, until He comes! And this is exactly what you would do if you obey Christ, and if you love Christ.

We must find lost sinners, bring them to church to hear the Gospel, so that Christ can save them. Christ won souls with great passion and zeal. So must we. Only then will we have souls that are saved to present to our Saviour when He comes back. And only then will we receive a good reward from Him.

I. First, your main business in life is to win souls.

Christ told us to,

“Occupy [carry on His business]” (Luke 19:13).

Most of us are busy people. And we all have different jobs. We all have some business to take care of. And these are important. If you’re a student, it is your job to study hard and do well in school. If you are working, you should do the best job you can at work. If you’re a parent, it’s your business to take care of your family and raise your kids. But no matter what your job is, your main business is to win souls! I’m not saying that you should spend all of your time doing it. But soul winning should be where you heart is. Then you will make time for it. Go out to the colleges, malls, and boulevards to do evangelism. And turn in at least one name every time you come to church.

Soul winning is the most important thing on Christ’s heart. Then let it be the most important thing to us. He has given His business of soul winning over to us. And we must be faithful to Christ and not disappoint Him. And God has not left us without help in winning souls. He has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us and help us. And He has sent the Holy Spirit to work on the lost. He has given His Holy Spirit to teach us to pray. So we can ask God for His blessing on our soul winning. God hears our prayers through the merit of Christ and His Blood. Christ has also promised to always be with us as we go to make disciples and win souls. Our success in soul winning does not only depend on us. God has given us His Holy Spirit. But still, we must be willing to make Christ’s business of soul winning our main business. Only then will we be successful. Only then will we please Christ.

If winning souls were your main business in life, you would be thinking about it all the time. You would certainly set aside time to get names and numbers. You would be in prayer that God would use you to win souls. You would have a great burden and passion for it. You would find great meaning and delight in it. And you would always get at least one name to bring in.

But for many of you your main business in life is not soul winning. You are interested in your own business. You are interested in your own career or school. You are interested in your own family or friends. You are interested in video games and social media and having fun. But you’re not very interested in soul winning. And some are not interested in soul winning at all. They are those who never turn in a name. Your priorities in life are all wrong. You are disobedient to Christ who told you to carry on His business of soul winning. He is Heaven, and He has left His business in your hands.

But I want to challenge you tonight. Make soul winning your main business in life! Only that will bring real peace and happiness to your soul. If you are already bringing names in, get more names. Throw yourself completely into the work! Don’t hold back! Go out more often. Spend more time at it. Have more zeal. Pray that God would help and use you to bring a young person into our church. And if you haven’t been bringing in a name, start doing it now! We need everyone involved in this great work of soul winning! Amen!

II. Second, examples of those whose main business was to win souls.

Christ said,

“Occupy [carry on My business] till I come” (Luke 19:13).

One example of someone who carried out Christ’s business to win souls was Pastor Wurmbrand. He was a Romanian pastor who was put in prison by the Communists for preaching the Gospel. He tells the story of his being in solitary confinement. And in the middle of the night, he knocked on the walls with Morse code to communicate with other prisoners. He told them about Christ. And men were won to Christ that way! He also talked about the times when he was tortured. And every time the guards beat him, he told them how much Christ loves them. And his torturers were won to Christ because of it. What an example of someone who made Christ’s business of soul winning his main business—no matter what it cost him!

Another example is in the film about the revival in China. An elderly Christian lady who had taught at a music conservatory was put in jail for spreading the Gospel. She spent 20 years in prison. When she came out of prison, she went right back to winning souls. When they asked why she did it, she replied that the reason God had put her on the earth was to spread the Gospel. Her main business on earth was to win souls! And it must be our main business, too.

The great Englishman C. T. Studd was converted when he was twenty years old. He did not do much for Christ until his older brother became deathly sick. It was then that eternal things filled his mind and soul. He was a tremendous athlete, and his family was very rich. But he gave away all that wealth and status to become a member of the “The Cambridge Seven.” These seven men were mostly college students who sailed to China as missionaries. They followed the lead of Dr. James Hudson Taylor and became part of the China Inland Mission. Before sailing to China C. T. Studd wrote,

“Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell;
 I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.”

After spending 15 years in China he became a missionary to India. After 6 years there he returned to England. On the boat back home he met a German missionary who was concerned about large parts of Africa that had not heard the Gospel. Shortly after that he set sail for the Sudan in Central Africa to win souls. He died in Africa at the age of 70. He is remembered for these words,

“Only one life, 'twill soon be past.
 Only what's done for Christ will last.”

What wonderful examples of those who loved Christ and made soul winning their main business! Compared to them we have not done much at all. Don’t let materialism, selfishness, and the American way of life control you. Make soul winning the main business of your life!

III. Third, Christ will reward you if your main business is to win souls.

Christ said,

“Occupy [carry on My business] till I come” (Luke 19:13).

Christ is coming again! He will receive His kingdom from God the Father. And He will reign upon the earth for a thousand years. Good and faithful Christians will reign with Him. If we have been faithful in soul winning, we can expect a great reward from Christ. He said,

“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12).

The thought of Christ’s return bringing His reward will keep us motivated in our soul winning. Let us then think of Christ often. Let us bring lost souls into our church to hear the Gospel preached. Let us all go out and bring in names from evangelism. Then we will be ready for Christ’s return. And that will be a day of great rejoicing for us!

Our church, under the leadership of our pastor, Dr. Hymers, is set up to win souls. We are set up as a missionary church. And you have been called to be missionaries to win souls. Gospel preaching churches are rare. But we have a pastor who preaches the old-fashioned Gospel. We sing the old hymns. Our young men pray like they did in times of revival. And, friends, we have this great opportunity to win souls, to build up our church, and receive rewards from Christ. When Christ returns, He will consider what we have done for Him. Christ will know if we have made soul winning our main business in life. The Apostle Paul said,

“If any man's work abide [remain] which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward” (I Corinthians 3:14).

If we have been faithful in our soul winning, Christ will reward us for our labor.

But Christ also said,

“Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48).

God has given our church much. And so He requires much from you. So if you are obedient to Christ and make soul winning your main business in life, you will receive a great reward. But some have not been going to evangelism much, or not at all. The Apostle Paul said concerning you,

“If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (I Corinthians 3:15).

If you’re saved, you will not lose your salvation, but you will not receive many rewards from Christ. And you will have a low position in Christ’s kingdom. Don’t let that be true of you. Bring in a name the next time you come back from evangelism. Win souls. And receive rewards in Christ’s kingdom!

He will reward us according to our faithfulness in trying our best in soul winning. Some may be able to get many names, some less, but all who are faithful will be able to get at least one name. Our elderly sister Rose Chenault-Quinn passed away last week. Her soul is with our Lord Jesus in Heaven. And she will receive a great reward from Christ at His Second Coming. That’s because Rose had a soul winner’s heart. She had a caregiver named Angie. They became very close. Rose cared about Angie’s soul. So Rose would ask Angie to read the Sunday morning and evening sermons to her during the week. Rose had already heard them preached, but she wanted Angie to hear them, too. It was Rose’s desire that Angie come to church, hear the Gospel, and trust Jesus. Rose would often invite Angie and other nurses at her retirement home to come to church. Rose couldn’t do much. She was 97 years old and very weak. She couldn’t go out to get names on evangelism like you or me. But she did a lot more than many of you here tonight. Because she was faithful to Christ, and she loved lost souls. Angie finally came to our church and attended the Christmas banquet. Rose was faithful in what she could do to win souls. And all of us should follow her example.

You have been called to this church to do Christ’s business. And that is to win souls. Put everything else aside, catch the vision, and help us! You can do this. You can get names and numbers. We are all in this together. Come and help us make our church a great soul winning church. And receive great rewards from Christ, our Saviour. Amen and Amen!

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by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan

“Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13).

(Luke 19:10)

I.   First, your main business in life is to win souls, Luke 19:13.

II.  Second, examples of those whose main business was to win souls.

III. Third, Christ will reward you if your main business is to win souls,
Revelation 22:12; I Corinthians 3:14; Luke 12:48;
I Corinthians 3:15.