Methods to Find Interested Souls

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By John Thiel

There are four main points of our study. We must have something in order to gain souls and now we are going to consider how to find souls, how to win souls and how to keep them. We must understand the time in which we are living in. It is the time of the closing of the world’s history. The work of finding interested souls has been taking place over a long period of time. Now the most pressing work is to glean. We’ve been living in the time of the harvest for a long time. The harvest has been reaped but at the end of the harvest they were to glean the last grains of wheat. Not a grain was lost. We have the work of gleaning the last few people that will respond to God’s message. When we discover how sinful we are, we will have compassion on others.

Jude 1:22 And of some have compassion, making a difference. 23 And others save with fear, pulling [them] out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

In this scripture lies the specific work that pertains to our time of earth’s history. We must have compassion and make a difference for certain people. We are barely pulling them out of the fire before it is too late.

The instruction given by Jude from verse twenty to the close of the chapter, will make our work a complete whole, teaching us how to conduct the warfare in the service of Christ. No one-sided extravagance is to be revealed, no indolence of shiftlessness is to be indulged. We are not to ignore any man’s individuality, or in any way to justify cold-hearted criticism or selfish practice. {7BC 953.4}

This scripture brings to view the fact that there is most earnest work to be done, and we need divine intuition that we may know how to work for souls ready to perish. {7BC 953.5}

That work intuition needs to be understood which will be in our next study. But very simply, intuition is a gift that at the very moment of meeting someone, you will know what they need. If we’re going to pull them out of the fire, we need to be very fast.

There are souls to be plucked out of the fire, there are souls who are to be treated with the tenderest compassion. Workers are needed who have learned in the school of Christ His method of saving souls (Letter 7, 1895). {7BC 953.5}

We need to understand the method of Christ from His school in finding interested souls. There are souls right on the brink of salvation or destruction. If you see someone right on the edge, you need the intuition to make sure he doesn’t teeter over. Divine intuition is needed. How do we get it so we can find the interested souls and save them?

The people who will now see what is soon to come upon us by what is being transacted before us, will no longer trust in human inventions, and will feel that the Holy Spirit must be recognized, received, presented before the people, that they may contend for the glory of God, and work everywhere in the byways and highways of life, for the saving of the souls of their fellow-men. {HM, November 1, 1893 par. 1}

There is no room for human inventions by what we see what is before us. You must not only recognise the Holy Spirit in such a time that is so crucial as to even recognise is difficult but also to receive it but present it before the people.

O how we need the divine Presence! For the baptism of the Holy Spirit, every worker should be breathing out his prayers to God. Companies should be gathered together to call upon God for special help, for heavenly wisdom, that the people of God may know how to plan and devise and execute the work. {HM, November 1, 1893 par. 2}

We need to know how to plan and devise the work under the tuition of the Holy Spirit

Especially should men pray that the Lord will choose his agents, and baptize his missionaries with the Holy Spirit. For ten days the disciples prayed before the Pentecostal blessing came. It needed all that time to bring them to an understanding of what it meant to offer effectual prayer, drawing nearer and nearer to God, confessing their sins, humbling their hearts before God, and by faith beholding Jesus, and becoming changed into his image. When the blessing did come, it filled all the place where they were assembled; and endowed with power, they went forth to do effectual work for the Master. {HM, November 1, 1893 par. 2}

We are here to find effectual ways and means of finding interested souls. What do we need? Divine intuition. How can you get it? You need to recognise the Spirit before you can receive it and by receiving it you can present it and you can interact with people to have power and go forth effectually redeem people out there that are still yearning for that last hope that is so difficult to find today. A gentleman I was talking to said there are not many around like you. He recognised there are so few tuning into this. It doesn’t exist much anymore.

We should pray as earnestly for the descent of the Holy Spirit as the disciples prayed on the day of Pentecost. If they needed it at that time, we need it more today. Moral darkness, like a funeral pall, covers the earth. {HM, November 1, 1893 par. 3}

If that happened way back then how is it today? These are statements that send shivers down my spine in how depraved the earth is now compared to back then and already then the funeral pall was over them.

All manner of false doctrines, heresies, and Satanic deceptions are misleading the minds of men. Without the Spirit and power of God, it will be in vain that we labor to present the truth. {HM, November 1, 1893 par. 3}

It will be in vain. So many people are going out and doing work but it is in vain because what is need is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and what is that? My doctrine shall fall as the rain, the pure doctrine. That is the Holy Spirit. For ten days the disciples had to pray so how do we stand?

We must have the Holy Spirit to sustain us in the conflict; {HM, November 1, 1893 par. 3}

It gets too hard to do it Gods way in today’s circumstances and I get tired very quickly and I need the Lord to keep me going. It’s nearly too hard. We need the Holy Spirit to sustain us.

“for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” {HM, November 1, 1893 par. 3}

We need divine intuition which is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that we have something inside of us that can make some quick decisions on the spot. Not, oh I have to call a committee first. I can’t baptise you till I have a committee meeting. There are many situations in today’s circumstances where need to make quick decisions to pluck people out of the fire. Yes, we do need to have the committee but the point was where there was an occasion where the Ethiopian was baptised without any committee meeting. As a result Ethiopia became a powerful Christian people just by one person doing it without a committee. It’s something to think about. We need the divine intuition. When Jesus sent out the disciples, He sent them out according to Luke 14. This is how Jesus sent them out.

Luke 14:21 So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

14:22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.

14:23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel [them] to come in, that my house may be filled.

The Lord sent out these people, these servants of His into all the different places. The highways, the hedges, the streets and the lanes of the city bringing in whomever they could. Here is precisely what we are addressing in this study. How do we find them? Where do we go? Into all these different places. In this method we must give room for the Holy Spirit to do his work in each person.

Some will work in one way and some in another, as the Lord shall call and lead them. But they are all to strive together, seeking to make the work a perfect whole. {AG 340.5}

What is suggested? Each one of us can work in different ways. Some will work in this and that way. In other words, I’ve been in training programs where I’ve been cajoled into a particular way of working which is not my way of working. They were trying to bring the whole church into one way of ministry. What way do you imagine that everyone thinks we have to go? Door knocking. That is not everybody’s work. Some work in door knocking yes but some in this and some in that way. If we plan to find methods to find these interested souls we have to remember this. Each requires a different method. We must grasp the basic principle from which we can branch out from these different ways for while we go into different methods into effective work, we must strive together. It must be a while and at the same time everyone must be able to work according to the particular way they can. What is the basic principle that we can branch out from this? You are trying to reach people in different localities, social and cultural backgrounds. The hedges are different to the highways s and the lanes are different to the streets so we have to reach them all to pick out some.

1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I be free from all [men], yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

Can you see what he is addressing? Methods to find interested souls.

1 Corinthians 9:20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;

9:21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

How can you be without the law yet being submissive to it?

1 Corinthians 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all [men], that I might by all means save some.

These are the methods to find seeking souls. Is there any one method? By all means I might win some and that must govern our missionary mentality. The Spirit of Prophecy gives us an indication of how we must adjust ourselves.

Paul could be as zealous as any of the most zealous, in his allegiance to the law of God, and show that he was perfectly familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures. He could dwell upon the types and shadows that typified Christ; he could exalt Christ, and tell all about Christ and His special work in behalf of humanity, and what a field he had to explore. He could advance most precious light upon the prophecies, that they had not seen; and yet he would not offend them. Thus the foundation was laid nicely, that when the time came that their spirits softened, he could say in the language of John, Behold in Jesus Christ, who was made flesh, and dwelt among us, the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. {6BC 1089.1}

He could really fascinate his hearers. With all the different theories and reasoning’s people have he could have offended them but he wouldn’t. When he had paved the way so they would come to the point of accepting the next step, then and then only would he come to the next step. This is the method of reaching people where they are and becoming one with them and speaking their language symbolically speaking so they can actually pick up on the point they are going to have difficulty to accept.

To the Gentiles, he preached Christ as their only hope of salvation, but did not at first have anything to say upon the law. {6BC 1089.2}

Some people don’t want anything to do with the law, uplift Jesus, they love Jesus.

But after their hearts were warmed with the presentation of Christ as the gift of God to our world, and what was comprehended in the work of the Redeemer in the costly sacrifice to manifest the love of God to man, in the most eloquent simplicity he showed that love for all mankind–Jew and Gentile–that they might be saved by surrendering their hearts to Him. Thus when, melted and subdued, they gave themselves to the Lord, he presented the law of God as the test of their obedience. This was the manner of his working–adapting his methods to win souls. Had he been abrupt and unskillful in handling the Word, he would not have reached either Jew or Gentile. {6BC 1089.2}

The Jews were in the highways and the gentiles were in the byways so he adjusted his presentation in such a way that by all means he could win some and this was the method. Here is the principle from which we branch out in method searching. The first principle in developing a method to reach souls is to gear your mind to vary a method. To change your tact according to what is in front of you. That is the central method that will then give you wisdom to vary the methods according to individual stations. That is why we need the Holy Spirit.

2 Timothy 4:2 …be instant in season, out of season…

You must have the ability as a missionary to be able to exercise that divine intuition whether you feel like it or not. In other words, out of season. When you think you are in season you need prayer so you don’t jump ahead of yourself and become excited like he was. In our zeal we run ahead of the angels and we make damage. Continuously instant in and out of season, in prayer. What are the different methods that can be sighted by which we can find precious souls who are out there?

It is through the social relations that Christianity comes in contact with the world. Every man and woman who has tasted of the love of Christ and has received into the heart the divine illumination is required of God to shed light on the pathway of those who are unacquainted with the better way. . . . {ML 189.4}

The Pathways

There are people walking the highway, the byway, in the paddocks and hedges. There are people that are walking in the streets and lanes. Their pathway is a social pathway. In this principle, what are the way by which you can reach the people through social relations? Remember we are fishermen. Jesus said ‘I will make you fishers of men’. Can we today go out with the fishing net? Our work in gleaning is now one by one. We have to find these precious souls. There was a time where the fishing net could go out and large numbers could be able to come but we are now in a situation where they escape the net quickly before you even get it out there and we are too small to have a big net and so it is the fishing line. What are the social situations by which we can find souls who would be interested in what I have to share?

  • Through our jobs. If I am a servant of God in my daily work I can find people. People work in different realms.
  • Neighbours
  • The shops
  • Internet – you will reach people.

Is the internet a net? It’s called a net. What is the individual work that is a method through the internet? You’ve reached out for them by putting something on the internet and one or two will grab it and you have them interested only enough but there is the personal work, one to one through the internet.

  • Distribution of books with an address on the back of the book.
  • Canvassing. This is how I started my work and I got so busy I couldn’t do anymore but that was one of the first avenues I found souls and after 2 months I had so many studies I couldn’t go canvassing anymore.
  • The markets

These are seeking methods. You are looking for people who might be picked up on the line to bring in. We need to have something that is emanating from us. You can see from the principal of making myself something for anybody, we can then realise okay, here are the different channels. I have to be able to be pliable but every church member can do something somewhere. As you are doing those things, what should you do to rope them in?

How Do You Rope People In?

How do you pull the line? If you have ever been fishing, you might get a bite and you might think you can reel it in but you can’t as they are gone. According to their interest you have to get right there when you have someone nibbling on the hook. What do you have to do as a fisherman? That is where you have someone nibbling and as you carefully listen, you know what to do under divine intuition and you have got them.

Study Christ’s Methods. If ever it has been essential that we understand and follow right methods of teaching and follow the example of Christ, it is now. –Letter 322, 1908. {Ev 53.1}

If you would approach the people acceptably, humble your hearts before God, and learn His ways. {Ev 53.2}

What is meant by saying if you want to approach the people acceptably? Humble your hearts before God. What is meant in practical terms here? There is an unacceptable way. Why does it say humble your heart; to come onto their level in humility and meekness. How can you come onto their level if you think you are above them? If you think you have an answer and you know what to tell them and when they come, wow, you have lost them as they don’t want to be Bible bashed. I was a bricklayer and the people came to know that I was a Christian and if you know what it is like working amongst brickies, they are real tough nuts. They realised who I was and they did their typical act. Instead of being prudish which means full of myself, the Lord told me to humble myself and to let them rag me as much as they did and laugh with them about me.

Do you know what they did in the end? They begin to respect you. When they worked amongst themselves and swore and carry on, when they got close to where I was working they said sshh, John is here. We are called upon to humble our hearts so we can respect the most vile. That is a method. That you respect the most vile. They don’t know any better but they know you have something and if you want to reach them, they must feel you are not standing there judging them as then they respect you. We are in the highways and byways now, if you want to reach them and get them interested, you must be without the law to those who are without the law. Not even flinch or give them the slightest sense that you are astonished at the way they are talking to you. That is required and you will find you then have them on talking terms with you.

We shall gain much instruction for our work from a study of Christ’s methods of labor and His manner of meeting the people. In the gospel story we have the record of how He worked for all classes, and of how as He labored in cities and towns, thousands were drawn to His side to hear His teaching. {Ev 53.2}

When you have them, they are prepared to listen but they are not prepared to listen if you are a Bible basher.

The words of the Master were clear and distinct, and were spoken in sympathy and tenderness. They carried with them the assurance that here was truth. It was the simplicity and earnestness with which Christ labored and spoke that drew so many to Him. {Ev 53.2}

The great Teacher laid plans for His work. Study these plans. We find Him traveling from place to place, followed by crowds of eager listeners. When He could, He would lead them away from the crowded cities, to the quiet of the country. Here he would pray with them, and talk to them of eternal truths. {Ev 53.3}

Did you notice something? It said that we are to study the plans that the great teacher laid for his work. Is there anything chronicled what his plans were? You never read it. His plans were not chronicled but if you carefully study, we find Him traveling from place to place followed by crowds. As you go through the Bible and you see what Jesus is doing, you will pick up by example from Him the plans He had. He was working to lead them away from crowded cities. He had a plan to lead them away to listen to Him. Why else did He take them away from the city for? To take them away from the Pharisees. If you follow the path that Jesus trod, you will be able to work out from the Spirit of God what His plans were. That is what I do, I follow the observations I find in Jesus Christ.

Let us gather together that which our own experience has revealed to us of the preciousness of Christ, and present it to others as a precious gem that sparkles and shines. Thus will the sinner be attracted to Him who is represented as the Chief among ten thousand and the One altogether lovely. {Ev 186.3}

Here is a method. What are we to do? As you are listening to people as they talk with you, you are listening. To be a real missionary, you need to listen much more than talk. You have so much to tell them but no, listen. As you listen you will realise what their interests are. Where they are fascinated, as you listen for that, you then bring home and sparkle and shine what you know of your experience that is related to what their interest is. You are to gather from your experience the gem that will sparkle in their eyes. Are you with me? This is a method. They must find what you have as very attractive. Remember people are out there who are looking for answers to the questions of life and you must know truth in such a way under the tuition of the Holy Spirit that you will be able to gather together that which your experience has revealed to you as precious in Jesus Christ. As I was speaking to a man, he was talking and talking and as he was, I was listening carefully. His intellect was higher than mine but I was able to listen and understand what he was talking about. He said this earth is hell and I could agree. He sighted a few things such as needing a Bible to help people. I showed to him a brief record of where this world is going in prophecy. He was happy I could identify something with his intelligence. In the end he said I really appreciated our conversation.

All who profess to be children of God should unceasingly bear in mind that they are missionaries, in their labors brought in connection with all classes of minds. There will be men who are untrue in their dealing with their fellow men; there will be the aristocrat, the vain, the proud, the frivolous, the independent, the complaining, the desponding, the discouraged, the fanatical, the egotistical, the timid, and the sensitive ones, the elevated in mind, and the courteous in manner, the dissipated, the uncourteous, and the superficial. . . . These varied minds cannot be treated alike; yet all whether they be rich or poor, high or low, dependent or independent, need kindness, sympathy, truth, and love. By mutual contact our minds should receive polish and refinement. We are dependent upon one another, closely bound together by the ties of human brotherhood. {ML 189.3}

How should you meet them? With kindness and sympathy. Can you do it? That is why we need to be in prayer and in and out of season and constantly instant. If you meet someone untrue, you should reach that varied mind and treat it with kindness and sympathy and truth and love. Can you talk with a person who is a crook in love? If you know that he is a crook, and he is doing all sorts of horrible things, how do you think you will be able to help him? By being kind towards him. A crook knows he is crooked. If he knows that you know and you are very kind to him, what do you think is going on in his mind? What? He is accepting me and he knows what I’m up to? You are winning a person’s interest and he will start nibbling on the line. Examine yourself to meet the sensitive ones.

We often tread over the lives of those who are sensitive and squash them even more. You might be a strong minded person who says don’t be so sensitive. Don’t even think it. Meet them to win them. To show them the beautiful sensitivity of Jesus Christ and that he has taken all their sensitivity and they will get strength to not be so sensitive anymore. We must adjust ourselves to meet them in that area of their mentality. Do you like fanatics? Have you been treated in a fanatical way and you can’t stand it? Yet to treat them with kindness and yet bring them out of their fanaticism. There is the aristocrat. You can reach them. Respect them. As you asses where they are, what must you do to really reach them?

By methods peculiarly His own, He helped all who were in sorrow and affliction {Ev 54.3}

We must find the methods of Christ.

The Prince of teachers, He sought access to the people by the pathway of their most familiar associations. {Ev 55.1}

As you are reaching all these different minds, you are watching Jesus. Jesus, what did you do in this situation?

He presented the truth in such a way that ever after it was to His hearers intertwined with their most hallowed recollections and sympathies. He taught in a way that made them feel the completeness of His identification with their interests and happiness. {Ev 55.1}

That’s how we must find them so they can feel he really understands me.

His instruction was so direct, His illustrations were so appropriate, His words so sympathetic and cheerful, that His hearers were charmed. The simplicity and earnestness with which He addressed the needy, hallowed every word. {Ev 55.1}

How did he speak to the Sadducees? What language did he use? The rich man and Lazarus. People twist that today saying it was truth but it was the Sadducees mentality. That is how people can misinterpret Jesus.

Even the crowd that so often thronged His steps was not to Christ an indiscriminate mass of human beings. He spoke directly to every mind and appealed to every heart. He watched the faces of His hearers, marked the lighting up of the countenance, the quick, responsive glance, which told that truth had reached the soul; and there vibrated in His heart the answering chord of sympathetic joy {Ev 55.2}

This is more than ordinary preaching. It is the kind that comes from Jesus. Jesus reached to individuals.

Christ drew the hearts of His hearers to Him by the manifestation of His love, and then, little by little, as they were able to bear it, He unfolded to them the great truths of the kingdom. We also must learn to adapt our labors to the condition of the people–to meet men where they are. While the claims of the law of God are to be presented to the world, we should never forget that love, the love of Christ, is the only power that can soften the heart and lead to obedience.–Review and Herald, Nov. 25, 1890. {Ev 57.3}

He opened to them those subjects only which were essential to their advancement in the path of heaven. There were many things in regard to which His wisdom kept Him silent. {Ev 57.4}

If you have something you want to tell the people, never give what is not essential.

Christ gave them special instruction in regard to their course of action and their work. In His own life He had given them an example of strict conformity to the rules which He now laid down for them. They were not to enter into controversies; this was not their work. {Ev 58.5}

We are not to enter into controversies.

Wise plans are to be laid, in order that such work may be done to the best possible advantage. {Ev 59.2}

In this work there is a very delicate careful procedure in finding souls so they will ultimately want to come and take on the rest of what you want to share with them. You have to get them to the point where they want studies. You need to do some very careful fine tuning and this can only be done under the guidance of Jesus as he did it. All I am sharing is resplendent through the book Evangelism.

This is the guile that Paul used; this is the wisdom of the serpent; the harmlessness of the dove. When we come to a community that is acquainted with our faith, this cautious course need not to be pursued, but in every case special efforts should be made to come close to hearts by personal efforts. Avoid running down the churches; do not let the people receive the idea that your work is to tear down, but to build up, and to present the truth as it is in Jesus. Dwell much upon the necessity of vital godliness. {Ev 227.1}

You can get so easily into the fall of Babylon and we are to call them out of Babylon. Look at Babylon, that is the Catholic and protestant churches and they are all bad, bad, bad. We are not to do that. We are not to give the impression that we are tearing down the churches. We are to avoid that and let the people discover we are handing out to them vital godliness and in sharing that they will come out of Babylon,. That is how you call them out, with vital godliness not the conspiracy theories.

The message of truth is new and startling to the people of this country [Australia]. The Bible doctrines presented are as a new revelation, and they really look upon the sentiments advanced as infidelity. In presenting the Sunday question, or the union of church and state, handle it carefully. It will not answer to present the strong positions that have been and will of necessity be presented in America. {Ev 227.2}

In Australia it was a different case. Handle the Australian different to American if you want to attract them.

These subjects must be broached guardedly. We have not as yet obtained standing place in this country. The enemy of all righteousness has been and still is working by every device he can invent to hinder the work that ought to be done in enlightening and educating the people; his forces are increasing. Delays have been giving Satan advantage of the situation, and these delays have caused the loss of many souls. The Lord is not pleased with the retarding of the work. Every delay renders more difficult the work that must be done, because advantage is given for Satan to preoccupy the field, and prepare for determined resistance. {Ev 227.3}

As you are meeting these people in this situation, you must be careful that you don’t cause a delay of their discovery by treading on ground that will cause them not to want to hear you anymore.

There is need now to give to the people patient, kind instruction; the education of a lifetime is not to be readily counteracted; great tact and patient effort are needed by those who shall present the truth in any manner. {Ev 228.2}

Great fine tuning and tact must be exercised especially as we are handling unfamiliar doctrine of the people we are trying to reach. I had a man in front of me who was a brickie. He came to the church where I was ministering through his wife who was a member of our church. He wasn’t and he was a real larking fellow who rubbished you from the moment he saw you. He was smoking and he made fun of me like a typical brickie. He came along to our home and I could feel that he was softened because I wasn’t reacting to him. When he came, we didn’t have tea for him but he had his own and we heated some water for him and we were talking outside where he was smoking. He knew I didn’t like smoke but I didn’t say a word. He felt more and more that I was not opposing him. He could feel that everything I communicated was attractive. One day he said can we go fishing together? I thought yes, I will go fishing with you. So we went quite away from Perth to Mandurah. We were driving along and I was fishing him and saying this and that, I came to the point of experience where he identified with me as an ex-brickie. I was identifying different ways in how I studied with people and he broke in and said can I have studies with you? He loved the studies. He opened up and said I’ve studied with many ministers, they never did a thing for me, I want what you have got. He was originally from the Salvation Army church. Four studies in he was so amazed, he went to a reunion and he said, I knew more than them after four studies. As they were talking I gave them answers and they asked where I got it from.

We can capture souls into Bible study programs if we follow the instruction we have seen here. I must exercise constant prayer. I must watch closely whoever it is. As I watch, I can listen and identify with things palatable with them. Lure them into a joyful Bible study together by fine tuning their situations reaching their mind by drawing them out to the point where they see the sparkling gem and they want to have that gem. We will be able to attract them and win them.

Amen.

Posted on October 7, 2011, in Missionary Studies, Sermons by John Thiel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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