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A sermon written by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr., Pastor Emeritus
and given by Jack Ngann, Pastor
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Afternoon, February 13, 2022

“Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37, 38; p. 1008 Scofield).

Preachers usually think that Christ is saying to pray that God will move church members to become soul-winners. That isn’t completely wrong, but it is more of an application than an interpretation. Yes, we can say that this applies to praying for Christians to be aroused and win souls. But that is not exactly what Christ was telling His Disciples.

Jesus was telling His Disciples to pray that God would send new people into the harvest, right away, immediately, before they were highly trained, before many of them were even saved! After all, hardly anyone was a Christian yet when Jesus said that! The Disciples themselves were not yet trained and at least some of them were not converted. Dr. McGee said none of them were saved until Jesus rose from the dead. It is clear that Judas was not saved. Thomas did not believe the Gospel yet, because we know that he did not yet believe Jesus would rise from the dead. Peter denied the crucifixion, and was rebuked by Jesus for his stubborn unbelief. Yet these men were sent to win souls in Matthew 10. And Christ told them to pray that other new people would be sent to bring in a harvest of souls!

What does that mean for us today? Why, it means that we should send people who are new to the church out to win souls immediately! What else could it mean? Hear the text again,

“Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest”
     (Matthew 9:37, 38).

We learn that this is true in at least two different ways.

I. First, Jesus called the original Disciples to win souls immediately.

Please turn to Matthew 4:18-20.

“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him” (Matthew 4:18-20; p. 998).

That was the very first thing Jesus said to these men, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). There’s a chorus that makes this clear,

I will make you fishers of men,
     Fishers of men, fishers of men,
I will make you fishers of men
     If you follow me;
If you follow me, if you follow me;
     I will make you fishers of men
If you follow me.
     (“I Will Make You Fishers of Men” by Harry D. Clarke, 1888-1957).

Jesus did not bring them in and teach them the Bible for a few years before He told them to go out and bring others in, as fishers of men. He did not answer all their questions and teach them theology and apologetics, and Christian history. He did not bring them into a Sunday School class for months before He told them to go after others and bring them in. He did not even teach them how to explain the Gospel!!! No! He just sent them out to bring others in, to “fish” for others! The very first thing He told them was “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

I don’t think it’s completely honest to tell you something else. I think we should follow Christ’s example. I think we should tell you right now what Christ wants you to do. Christ wants you to go and get others and bring them in. Christ wants you to go and get someone, and bring them in, right now, right away! Go and get someone and bring them in with you!

Christ called the first Disciples right away, at the very beginning, to be fishers of men – to be labourers in the harvest – to bring others in right away – immediately! Amen! and Amen!

II. Second, Jesus sent other new people to win souls immediately.

We see that in the first chapter of John’s Gospel. Two of John the Baptist’s disciples followed Jesus to His dwelling place. One of the two was Peter’s brother Andrew. Andrew went out immediately and told Peter, “We have found the [Messiah]..and he brought him to Jesus” (John 1:41, 42; p. 1116). The next day Jesus said to Philip, “Follow me” (John 1:43). Philip immediately went to Nathanael and told him he had found the Messiah. Nathanael doubted that it was true. “Philip saith unto him, Come and see” (John 1:46). Philip then took Nathanael to Jesus and Nathanael also became a Disciple immediately.

Andrew brought Peter to Jesus immediately. Philip brought Nathanael to Jesus immediately. These brand new Disciples became soul winners right away, instantly! They did not wait to be trained to win souls. They went out right away and brought others to Jesus, without delay! They just said, “Come and see.”

Another example is given in the fourth chapter of John. Dr. John R. Rice said,

In [John] chapter 4, we learn that when the Samaritan woman knew that Jesus was the Messiah, she left her waterpots and ran to the city to tell the men, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” [John 4:29]. Some were saved there on her testimony, while others came to see for themselves and were saved. Yes, new converts should win souls (John R. Rice, D.D., The Son of God: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary on the Gospel According to John, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1976, p. 40).

Commenting on these examples Dr. Rice said, “Ah, the main thing about soul winning is to go after them. And personal influence is so important that it may not take a profound message or long explanation, if you let people understand that here is the Saviour for sinners and they may have Him. So Andrew brought Peter to Jesus” (ibid.). So the woman at the well brought many Samaritans to Jesus – right away. She became a soul winner the same day that she herself trusted Jesus!

“And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. And many more believed because of his own word” (John 4:39-41; p. 1119).

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee to Gadara. There He met a man who was demon possessed. Jesus cast the demons out of him, and the man was well. This man wanted to go back with Jesus, but the Saviour told him,

“Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him” (Luke 8:39; p. 1085).

This man became a soul winner instantly, telling others how Jesus had saved him right away!

As Jesus was going to Jerusalem He met ten men that were lepers. They cried out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” (Luke 17:13; p. 1100). Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priests at the Temple, “And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed” (Luke 17:14). One of them returned to thank Jesus. But all of them were sent immediately to witness to the priests in the Temple. Later, that same year, we are told that “...a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7; p. 1156). These priests were undoubtedly converted, at least partly, by the testimony of those lepers that Jesus healed. Those lepers thus became soul winners as soon as they were healed by Jesus!

On the Day of Pentecost three thousand people were saved when they heard Peter preach the Gospel. We are told that these new Christians were “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47; p. 1152). Dr. John R. Rice said, “The church at Jerusalem with thousands of members saw new converts added to the church daily! Soul winning was not only important: it was almost the sole aim and end of the Jerusalem church and of New Testament Christians!” (John R. Rice, D.D., Filled With the Spirit: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1980 edition, page 104).

When people were saved in the church at Jerusalem, they immediately went after their friends and neighbors and brought them in, so “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).

I don’t agree with Dr. Rice on some methods, but I completely agree with him that the main thing every church and every Christian should do is soul-winning.

The Apostle Paul came to the city of Thessalonica in 53 A.D. We are told that some Jewish people there believed in Jesus, and a great multitude of Greeks were saved (Acts 17:4). Paul organized these new Christians into a church. One year passed. It was now 54 A.D. Paul was now in the city of Corinth. He wrote a letter back to the church at Thessalonica, which is called “First Thessalonians” in the New Testament. All of the people in that church had been Christians only one year or less. Yet Paul said,

“From you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing” (I Thessalonians 1:8; p. 1267).

The people in that new church had a national outreach to Macedonia and Achaia. They were winning souls by the hundreds, even though none of them had been Christians more than twelve months!

This is the simple method they used. They just said to their friends and neighbors, “Come and see.” And then they brought them to the meetings. This is the method they use in Communist China, where the churches are exploding, growing by the thousands! This is the method they use in Muslim lands, where many hundreds of people are being converted. It works there, and it will work here. Go and tell somebody, “Come and see.” It’s simple, and it works!

This, then, is clearly the pattern of New Testament Christians. We read over and over that those who became Christians instantly became soul winners, bringing their friends and relatives into the churches in great numbers! Each church was an exploding church! May God speak to your heart! May you bring in someone! Come and help us make this an exploding church!

Go and get somebody to come here to church with you! It’s happy! Bring somebody with you! There’s nothing complicated about it. Just say to them, “Come to church with me. It’s happy and wonderful to be there. Will you come with me this Sunday?” Just do it!

The very first thing Jesus taught His Disciples is the very first thing we must teach you. Jesus says to you,

“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”
     (Matthew 4:19).

May God help you to do so. Amen.