"To Seek and Save"

We live in an hour when a multitude of interests and activities press upon our time and attention.


We live in an hour when a multitude of interests and activities press upon our time and attention. Through the eye and the ear our thoughts are directed into this channel and that, and too often away from what constitutes eternal values. And we are busy—in the Lord's work and in our own. "There is so much to be done!" is the cry on every hand; and at times the demands even of legitimate and proper activity seem almost overwhelming. But work is designed to be a blessing, not a curse to man, The Saviour worked—He went about His Father's business, the work of saving souls. That work transcends all others, both in the reward given and in real, intrinsic value. To win souls to the service of God, to help them to gain eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, is to do God's work and to be sure of His blessing.

Man, created by God, made and fashioned in the image of His Maker, ca­pable of a development which makes him superior to any earthly thing, is of priceless value in the sight of Heaven.

Nothing proves the great worth of man more than the price paid for his redemption. "God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Surely nothing could speak more plainly of the value which God places on the lost than the price that was paid for man's salvation.

The parables recorded in Luke 15 clearly present the value that the Son of God puts upon a soul. Before Him was a mixed multitude,—publicans and sinners, scribes and Pharisees, haughty doctors of the law, ever ready to ensnare the Teacher; men who came to cavil and to sneer; others who hung upon His words for comfort and life; rich and poor, blooming youth and feeble age; some proud and self-satisfied, others humbly longing for pardon and cleans­ing. It was, in fact, such a throng as might gather before Him today if He were present in the flesh; for in its pride and its sin and its great and overwhelming need, the human heart does not change. No doubt some in that crowd were comforted by the parable of the lost sheep. How well they understood the anxiety of the shepherd when one of the flock had strayed away; how truly they en­tered into his joy when the lost was found! And so their hearts were ready to receive the message, "Likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that re­penteth."

And again, the parable of the lost piece of silver, —that perhaps comes closer home, for it is a universal experience,— the anxiety over a treasure lost, the joy when it is restored. Jesus knew the human heart, and how to press the lesson home. "Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."

One purpose, and one only, actuated the Son of God in His earthly life,—"to seek and to save that which was lost." This was His life­work. And those who have accepted the salva­tion bought at so fearful a price, and tasted its joy in the heart, can render no service so valu­able in the sight of Heaven as to carry on His work,—to seek the lost, find them, love them, and if possible save them, turning them to righteousness. Those who do this work for Christ's sake, live His life in their labors, and multiply the life of Christ in their service.

Paul understood the value of souls, and he counted himself a "debtor both to the Greeks, and to the barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise," to such a degree that he was will­ing to spend and be spent to lead souls into the kingdom of God. Hear his testimony: "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh." That was the consuming zeal for soul winning that burned in the heart of Paul as, unwearied by con­tinued labor under trying conditions, he jour­neyed from city to city and from country to country, as the ambassador for his King.

Other godly men have felt the same passion for souls. Doddridge said: "I long for the con­version of souls more sensibly than for any­thing besides. Methinks I could not only labor but die for it with delight."

Matthew Henry said: "I would think it a greater happiness to win one soul for Christ than to gain mountains of gold and silver for myself."

And Brainerd, a man hardened in service and suffering for Christ, said: "I cared not where or how I lived or what hardships I went through, if only I could win souls to Christ. While I was asleep, I dreamed of these things; when I waked, my first thought was of this great work."

The same consuming desire to win souls glowed in the hearts of such men as Wesley, Whitefield, Rowland Hill, Moody, and others who have given their all to guide sinners into the way of salvation.

Nor does the duty of soul winning belong wholly to the ministry, though it must become their passion; it rests also upon the whole church of Christ. To enlarge and extend the dominion of our Lord, to gather into His fold those in bondage to sin, is the duty and should be regarded as the privilege of every Christian. It must be the chief business of every converted soul. No other zeal, no other activity, can take the place of soul winning. To bring sinners to repentance, to lead them to accept Christ as their personal Saviour, must be the supreme motive controlling the life.

The reward is commensurate with the impor­tance of the work. "They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever." Oh, let us, as the ministers of God and as members of His church, make it our first work to see to it that our labor is such as will endure the test of fire spoken of by Paul; for "the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is."

"And if any man's work abide, . . he shall receive a reward."                              


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November 1935

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