If you received a thousand dollars for every soul you led to Christ, would it make a difference? Would it increase your motivation? I want to speak to you about the soul winner's motivation.
The mightiest soul winner I know anything about is the Apostle Paul, and in 2 Corinthians we find out what motivated him to be the greatest missionary the world has ever known. People asked Paul, “Why do you work so hard?” And here is his answer:
Paul had a compelling motive that drove him. He said in 2 Corinthians 5:9: “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him.” He is simply saying, “I want to be acceptable to God. I want Him to be pleased with me.”
If you're not endeavoring to bring souls to Christ, you are not acceptable to God. I don't care how much money you may give, how faithfully you may attend church, or how faithfully you may live; if you are not endeavoring to bring souls to Jesus Christ, you are not acceptable or pleasing to Him.
He was also motivated by future rewards. In verse ten he says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
One of these days, our lives will be reviewed before the Lord, and our works will be tested by fire (see 1 Cor. 3:11-15). It will be a time of reward for some but a time of regret for others. If you're a soul winner, your life will be gold, silver, and precious stones; and you will receive a crown. If you're not, it will be wood, hay, and stubble; and your works will be destroyed.
And in verse eleven Paul continues by saying, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men...” Paul was a soul winner because he knew what it meant for a soul to die unredeemed and go to hell. He called it “the terror of the Lord.”
There is a place of everlasting fire that the Bible calls hell. But when you lead a soul to Jesus Christ, no longer are they facing an eternity in hell or the terror of the Lord. They can know the grace of the Lord. This is a mighty motivation in winning souls.
Paul was also motivated by an overwhelming compassion that caused some to say he was not mentally stable – that he was “beside himself.” He replied, “For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us...” (2 Cor. 5:13-14).
He was driven by the love of Christ that was shown to him. And that love caused him to love others. How can we say we love Jesus and not be concerned for souls He died for? Our love for Christ should fill us with compassion for lost souls.
And in 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 we see another of Paul's motivations: “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh ... Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Here's his confidence – if I lead a soul to Christ, he will be a new creature. He will become brand new in the Lord Jesus Christ. And he said, “I don't see people ‘after the flesh' – like they're big shots or little shots, rich or poor, educated or uneducated.” We too should not see people, but souls that Jesus died for and wants to transform.
And finally, Paul was motivated by his calling – his commission. Second Corinthians 5:18 and following: “And all things are of God, Who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”
We too have been called to the ministry of reconciliation. We have been reconciled. And now Paul says we are appointed ambassadors. We have been appointed; and if we're not interested in winning souls, we are guilty of treason against heaven's King. To refuse is not only to be ineffective, it is to be in revolt.
Do you want to win souls for Christ? What's stopping you? Would you say, “Lord, with Your help I will endeavor to win at least one soul for You this year”?