Victory by the Word of Their Testimony
Dr. Joe Temple

Review

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Revelation, chapter 12, as we deal with the subject we have been thinking about for some time. We will read from verse 7:

Revelation 12:

7And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
10And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Will you notice particularly the 11th verse:

Revelation 12:

11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Notice the second phrase in that verse: “…and by the word of their testimony.”

We have been thinking together about the Devil, his demons, and the power of the Devil in relation to the lives of believers. We have suggested to you that though the Devil is mighty, though his work is great, there is victory that each of us may have over him. We said that that victory is described in this verse which we have emphasized. In the 12th chapter of the book of Revelation, there is the story of the final defeat of the Devil when he is cast out of Heaven for the last time, never to enter again to accuse the brethren.

When he is cast out of Heaven, it has a twofold effect. In Heaven there is a great deal of rejoicing because the Devil is cast out, never again to make an attack in Heaven upon the children of God. Then there is the effect upon the earth because the Devil realizes that what he has to do, he must do quickly. So he redoubles all his efforts. For this reason, as Heaven looks down upon the earth, the people in Heaven cry out, “Woe unto the inhabitants of the earth.”

We may think that the Devil is a problem to us now, and he is. We may think that he gives us a difficult time now, and he does. But if we were to be living on the earth during the last part of the Tribulation, we would discover that the Devil had been playing with us in comparison with what he is going to do to the people who live on the earth at that time.

As the people in Heaven rejoice over this final defeat of Satan, they cannot help but give testimony to the threefold secret of victory over the Devil. For these people who sang in Heaven victorious are said to have overcome the Devil by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and by the fact that they loved not their lives unto the death.

We have thought together about the first statement, how they overcame the Devil by the blood of the Lamb. And we showed how the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ gains our victory over the Devil, how the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ retains our victory over the Devil, and how through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ we can literally claim our victory over Satan.

Victory By The Word

We want to notice the second thing in this verse of Scripture—namely that these people overcame the Devil by the word of their testimony. Those of you who are familiar with this verse of Scripture will recognize that in the marginal references of your Bibles and in other translations, it is suggested that this phrase may be translated not only, “by the word of their testimony,” a reference to personal witness, but it may also be translated, “by the word of the testimony,” which is a reference to the Word of God. Both of these things are true, and both of them may be included in the translation of the text.

Personal Witnessing

We are thinking about the power of personal witness as it provides victory over the Devil. I would like for us to examine what the Bible has to say about the personal witnessing, so that we may know how we can use it and claim it as a means of victory over the Devil. Will you notice carefully the term I am using. I am not using the term personal soul-winning. I am using the term personal witnessing.

I have said before, and I want to say again, that when you first hear it, you wonder if it is true. But when you think about it, you come to the conclusion that it is true. Nowhere in the Bible are we commanded—now notice carefully what I am saying—nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to win souls. Nowhere. We are told that it is a good thing to win souls, and we are told that the individual who wins souls is wise, but we are nowhere told in the Word of God to win souls. We are told in the Word of God that we ought to witness.

Commanded To Witness

The first thing I want you to notice with me is the reason that is given to us for personal witnessing. Turn to the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1. This is a very familiar verse of Scripture, one you have heard over and over again, and one which many of you, I am sure, have committed to memory. I would like for us to read it and recognize it as a definite command from God. Perhaps as it is printed upon the page of our Bibles, we may find it printed upon our hearts and upon our minds. In verse 8, the Lord Jesus Christ said:

Acts 1:

8But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Notice the first part of this verse: “…ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:…” When the Lord Jesus Christ uttered these words, the Holy Ghost had not yet come to the earth to abide. These disciples were to await the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit would come to abide. The Holy Spirit came to abide on the Day of Pentecost, and from that day forward, every time an individual is born again, the Holy Spirit comes to live in his heart. The Holy Spirit will take control of your heart the moment you are born again, if you will let him.

Control Of Holy Spirit

It is a sad commentary on human experience, but it is very largely true that people do not let the Holy Spirit take control of their lives as soon as they are saved. They go along in the first full bloom of their experience of salvation without realizing that the Holy Spirit is not controlling their lives. Then they awaken to the realization that there is something that is not quite as it ought to be, and when that awakening comes, they seek for the trouble and find they have not yielded themselves to the Holy Spirit. So they reach the place in their lives where they ask the Holy Spirit to take control of their lives, because that is experimental instead of theological.

A great many people are confusing theology with experience.. They think that there must be a time when they have the baptism of power before they can be a witness, that they have to have a second blessing before they can be a witness, that they have to have a filling of the Spirit before they can be a witness. We would remind you that according to the Word of God, the moment you are born again, you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. You may be controlled by the Holy Spirit, and if you are, you have all the equipment you need to be a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Scope Of Witnessing

Notice the second part of this verse: “…ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” This is not a suggestion that you may be a witness. It is not a suggestion that somehow—if you have the chance, if you have the opportunity—you will be a witness. The construction of this statement in the original language is in the form of a command: Ye shall be witnesses for Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in all Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

We know that people are lopsided for the most part, and many are interested in witnessing in Judea and Judea alone. Their vision goes no further than Jerusalem and Judea. Some extend their witness a little and go out to Samaria. There are people lopsided on the other extreme who witness only in the uttermost parts of the earth while they neglect Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.

We would remind you that if you and I are to fulfill the command to be witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ, our witness will be a well-rounded one. It will include Jerusalem as well as the uttermost part of the earth, and it will include the uttermost part of the earth as well as Jerusalem. We would suggest to you that the basic reason for personal witness is that we have been commanded by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Once again, it is a command to witness and only to witness. It is God who gives the increase.

Consistent With Our Testimony

Not only should we be personal witnesses because it is commanded, but we should be personal witnesses because it is consistent with our Christian testimony. By that, I mean that it is utterly impossible for you to be other than a witness if you are a real born-again child of God and are doing what comes naturally for a Christian. There was a song that swept the minds of people several years ago, “Doing What Comes Naturally.” It was not as inspirational as it might have been. It may have been more suggestive than it should have been, but it was a good lesson for believers. If you are a born-again Christian, there are certain things that you should do naturally because you are a Christian. You should not need to be urged to do them. You should not whip up strength to do them. You will be doing them unless something hinders.

Salt Of The Earth

Let me give you a few concrete illustrations. Turn, please, to the gospel of Matthew, chapter 5, verse 13. The Lord Jesus Christ was speaking to His disciples along this very line:

Matthew 5:

13Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Why do you suppose the Lord Jesus Christ used this metaphor to describe our consistent living in relation to personal witnessing? The natural thing for a child of God to do is to witness. Salt naturally is supposed to be salty. You do not add anything to salt to make it salt. You do not wish it were salty. You do not do anything in the world except let it do what it was created to do. If you let it do what it was created to do, it is going to make people thirsty. If the child of God does what he is saved to do, he is going to be a witness for Jesus Christ. He is going to make people thirsty to know the Lord Jesus Christ.

Listen very carefully to what I am saying to you. If you are not making people thirsty for Jesus Christ, there is something wrong with you. If the only time you can witness is during a two weeks' protracted meeting, there is something wrong with you. The natural thing for a child of God is to witness, as it is natural for salt to make people thirsty.

I have never been able to pass over this passage of Scripture without being definitely impressed by the comparison which the Lord Jesus Christ made when He said, “If the salt has lost its savour”—that is, if it has lost its ability to make people thirsty—“what is it good for?” It is not good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled beneath the feet of people. Beloved, I say this kindly, but I do say it advisedly on the basis of the Word of God: If a Christian has lost his ability to make people thirsty for the Lord Jesus Christ, he is good for nothing. There are a tremendous number of Christians who are good for nothing. They are good, but they are good for nothing because they have not done one thing to witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Light Of The World

Look further down in this passage of Scripture at verse 14, where the Lord Jesus Christ says:

Matthew 5:

14Ye are the light of the world…

Notice what He said immediately:

Matthew 5:

14…A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all [the men] that are in the house.

Notice without going into detail in this passage of Scripture the very simple statement in verse 14: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” Did you notice what He is saying? It is absolutely impossible for a city that sits on a hill, lighted up with lights—it is absolutely impossible for that city to be hid. There is no way in the world for it to be hid, as long as the lights are burning. That is the reason during World War II that we had so many blackout experiences. In other parts of the world, they were very literal. Here in this part of the world, they were more practice than they were fact. But we had to know what it meant to be able to blackout a city. The reason for it is that you cannot hide a city. It is too full of light.

The Lord Jesus Christ gives us that same figure of speech to describe the naturalness of witnessing for the child of God. If there is any light about you, Beloved, people are going to see it. You do not need to go around saying, “I am going to find somebody to witness to today.” You do not need to lie awake at night and say, “I did not witness to anybody today.” There is something wrong with you if you have to tabulate your witness, if you have to go up and down the streets to seek somebody to witness to. There is something wrong with the light because a city set upon a hill cannot be hid.

Objective Witnessing

Turn with me, please, to the book of Ezekiel, chapter 33, where the consistency of a Christian witness is emphasized, not only from the standpoint of consistency, but from the standpoint of responsible obligation. We read from verse 7:

Ezekiel 33:

7So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.
8When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
9Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

This is the other side of the picture. We have been talking about the naturalness of salt being salty, and the naturalness of light being light. Now we come to some objective witnessing. Now we come to some witnessing that takes a very definite effort, and we cannot have the one without the other.

Did you notice what God said to Ezekiel in verse 7? He says it to every child of God. “I have set thee as a watchman unto the house of Israel.” Whether you like it or not, God has set you as a watchman over the souls of men. From time to time, when you witness personally to an individual, you may get the answer that I have often received when I have witnessed: “It is none of your business whether I am a Christian or not. You just mind your own business, and don't be bothering me.” Many times when I have received that answer, I have said, “Friend, I am minding my business. It is my business whether you are saved or not. It is my business whether you are on your way to Heaven or to hell.” And if I can keep their ear, I read them this passage of Scripture.

Warn The Wicked

Notice what God said in the 7th verse:

Ezekiel 33:

7So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.

We do not need to take the time to say that we don't have big crowds here at this church. But I say to you that if you come here to this church—or anywhere else for that matter, but we will talk about this place because we are here—if you come here to this church, it is your responsibility to hear the Word of God from the servant of God, and then go out to warn the wicked man.

This business of saying, “I wish I could get somebody to come to church” is not going to excuse you in the sight of God. Nor will this business of saying, “People do not come to church any more. I wish they did, but they don't, and there is not anything we can do about it.” Here is something else I have often said that people disagree with on the surface, but they cannot challenge it on the basis of the Word of God, and that is that the Bible does not teach that the church is the place for people to be saved.

In the mercy of God, people are saved when they attend religious services, but this business of thinking that the church is supposed to be the place for people to be saved is an excuse that people have whipped up to excuse their own lack of personal witnessing. What they want to do is bring somebody to hear the preacher preach, and then they will get saved. What they ought to do is come to church, receive the Word of God from the mouth of God, and then go out and warn those that are on their way to Hell that they need the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Somebody said critically of this church, “That is all it is—a filling station.” They did not know how Scriptural they were. That is exactly what every church ought to be. It ought to be a filling station where people can get filled up with the Word of God and then go out and warn those that are on their way to Hell. Recognize the seriousness of this passage of Scripture. Realize that God is saying that if you see someone who is unsaved, and you are afraid to attend to the business that is rightfully yours and to tell them that they are on their way to Hell, and they need a Savior, God is going to require their blood at your hands. God is going to look upon you as though you murdered their eternal souls because you did not take the time to witness for Jesus Christ.

You will notice once again that it is a matter of witness because He said here, “If they do not listen to what you have to say, then you are free from their blood. If they do listen to what you say and are saved, then there is rejoicing.”

Do not be discouraged by the Devil, for he will discourage this matter of personal witnessing. Do not be discouraged by the Devil in thinking that you are not a success because you have never led a soul to Christ. I have had Christians say to me with real heart concern, “I feel that I am a failure. I have never led a soul to Christ.” My question to them is this, “Have you ever witnessed for the Lord Jesus Christ?” Many, many times they say, “I have witnessed for Christ, but I have never led a soul to Christ.” Then I say, “Well, you are doing all that God wants you to do if you are witnessing. If you are a faithful witness, God will see to it that there is an increase.”

Requirements For Witnessing

Let me suggest to you rather hurriedly the requirements for personal witnessing because all of this is wrapped up in the manner in which we will have victory over the Devil. At the risk of being rather foolish in your thinking, I am going to suggest that you turn with me to the second epistle of Peter, chapter 1, verse 16, as I remind you—and this is where you may think I am a bit foolish—that the first requirement for personal soul winning or for personal witnessing is conversion. Before you can be a witness for Jesus Christ, you must be converted yourself. Please notice what the Apostle Peter is saying concerning his testimony for Jesus Christ:

II Peter 1:

16For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

“What we are telling you,” he said, “we have seen with our own eyes. It is not something that we have read in a book.”

I want to tell you that you can study all the study courses in the world on personal soul winning and all the study courses in the world on personal witnessing. You can go to school to learn how to be a soul winner. You can go to school to learn how to witness. But if you have never had an experience of grace in your own heart, everything that you say is going to be as dry as dust and as unemphatic as it possibly can be. Before there is any witness, there must always be an experience.

Turn with me to the first epistle of John, chapter 1, verse 1, and notice what John has to say:

I John 1:

1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
2(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
3That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

I repeat: It is utterly impossible for an individual who has never known the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior to be a personal witness. You cannot witness unless you can tell that Jesus Christ is your own personal Savior.

You may think it is a bit foolish, but do you know that I run into people every day of the world who are trying to witness who have never met the Lord Jesus Christ themselves. The only thing in the world that is true of them is that they are members of a church. They are busy in church enlistment programs and are endeavoring, without an experience of grace in their own hearts, to bring people into the church. They do not even know what they are doing.

I was talking to a man, a very fine man, the other day, and he said, “Did you have a good time Easter Sunday?” I said, “We always have a good time because the Lord Jesus is with us.” He said, “How many folk did you take in?” And I said, “We did not take in any.” He said, “We were really disappointed, too. There were 50 of us who went out the week before, and we just worked awful hard on an enlistment campaign. We had 60 people ready to enlist. And do you know that only two of them came Easter Sunday. That is a real disappointment.”

I said to him, calling him by name because I have learned to know him a little bit, “You are talking about enlistment. What do you mean by enlistment? You are talking about working hard to get folk enlisted. What do you mean by that, anyway?” I went on to talk to him about a personal experience of grace, and discovered that that man, a good and decent man, had never been born again. Yet he was spending all this time in enlisting people into a church which he appreciated and loved.

It is possible for people to be witnessing in their way without being converted, and it never does work. It cannot work because you must be able to tell about what you have seen and what you have heard, and not have just a few formulas which are empty and meaningless to utter.

Consecration Necessary

Turn with me to the Old Testament, please, and notice with me Psalm 51, as I suggest to all of you who have been genuinely converted that not only is conversion necessary for personal witness, but consecration is necessary for personal witness. Herein lies one of the secrets of how personal witnessing can become a source of victory over the Devil. You have never heard of a back-slider witnessing for Christ. You have never heard of a person out of fellowship witnessing for Christ. And if you have ever been out of fellowship and tried to witness while you were out of fellowship, you know that nothing falls any flatter than a witness which comes from a person who is out of fellowship with God.

That is exactly what is presented to us in Psalm 51, which represents, as you probably know, the confession of David after his sin with Bathsheba. David was like a lot of us today. He did not want to admit that what he had done was wrong. If you compare Scripture with Scripture, you will find that David remained out of fellowship with God for two years. Think about it—out of fellowship with God for two years. He went through all the motions he had ever gone through. He sang the same songs. He went to the same services and did everything just the way he had always done it. But for two years he was out of fellowship with God, and at last he could stand it no longer. He said, “Have mercy upon me, O God, I can't take this any longer.” You will notice he said in verse 12:

Psalms 51:

12Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

You know what he meant, don't you? If you have ever been out of fellowship with God, you know what he meant. He is saying, “Lord, I am miserable. I am unhappy. I am a liar. I am a hypocrite. I want You to give me back the joy that I had when first I knew the Lord. Lord, I have been bound down. I have been all tied up in knots. Lord, I want You to uphold me with Thy free spirit.” That was what David was praying. Notice verse 13:

Psalms 51:

13Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

David, when are you going to be able to teach transgressors His ways? David, when are you going to be able to see people converted? “When I get back into fellowship.” That is what he said. “When the joy of the Lord is restored to my own heart, then I will be able to be a witness for Jesus Christ.”

May I suggest to you that if your witness has faded, and you do not have the energy and the zeal that once you had, it could very well be that you are out of fellowship with God. It could very well be that you have lost the joy of your salvation. It could very well be that you are never going to have any real experience of witnessing grace in your heart until you ask the Lord to restore you to the joy of your salvation.

Concern For The Lost

Turn, please, to Psalm 126, verse 5, as I remind you that if you are to be an effective witness for Jesus Christ, there must not only be conversion, there must not only be consecration, but there must be a deep concern:

Psalms 126:

5They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
6He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Notice the ingredients that are necessary for effective witnessing. There must be a going forth. Once again, you do not find sinners in a church. That is not where they are. You have got to go out where they are. There must be a going forth.

There must be a weeping. That weeping is representative of concern. He describes it in the 5th verse as “sowing in tears.” And then there is the promise that you will go forth weeping, bearing precious seed. You cannot go out empty handed and expect to win anybody to Christ. Go forth weeping, bearing precious seeds, and doubtless (It does not mean “maybe”; it means “without a doubt.”) you will be able to come again rejoicing, bringing your sheaves with you.

Results Of Witnessing

The last thing I want to say to you is a word or two about the results of personal witnessing. This is all summed up in this matter of winning the victory over the Devil through the matter of personal soul winning.

What is the business of personal witnessing? What is the net end of it? What is the purpose? Why are we to be personal witnesses for Jesus Christ? Why are we to put forth this effort to win souls? There are so many ideas suggested by the tradition of men that I am going to suggest we limit our thinking to what the Word of God has to say.

To Complete The Church

Put out of your minds for the moment every reason we have ever tried to win a soul for Christ. Put out of your minds for the moment any reason you have ever been told why you ought to win souls for Christ, and turn with me to the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 15. This chapter represents a council among the believers at Jerusalem where there was a discussion as to whether or not the Gentiles should be given the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter made his speech, and then James gave the conclusion of the whole matter. You will notice it in verse 13:

Acts 15:

13And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
14Simeon [that is, Peter] hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
15And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
16After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
17That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

Compressed into these few short verses is a tremendous prophetic program. We are told that in the present age, God is interested in doing one thing and one thing alone, and that is taking out—and it literally means that—selecting out of a great number of other people a people who will bear His name. He has given to you and to me the job of doing that selecting at the direction of the Holy Spirit. We preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus. We witness. People are saved, and God takes them out, so to speak, as a people for His name. When the job is complete, we are told in the 16th verse, then the Lord Jesus Christ is going to return to this earth.

I would suggest to you that one of the reasons we are witnessing for the Lord Jesus Christ, one of the reasons we are giving forth the testimony, is that we may be used of God in completing the Body of Christ; that we may be used of God in building up the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice what I am saying—the Body of Christ, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why you ought to be interested in witnessing for Christ with the intent of winning men to Christ, whether or not they ever darken the door of your church. That is the reason we should be interested in winning men to Christ whether or not you ever see an added figure on the attendance record.

I am not suggesting that they should not be in fellowship with the people of God. Yes, you should nurture them and encourage them in the things of the Lord. But what I am saying to you is that you are not doing it to build up the attendance of the local assembly. You are doing it to build up the Body of Christ. If you are doing that, you do not care where they go, so long as they are going to some place where they will be associated with the Body of Believers.

Turn with me, please, to I Thessalonians, chapter 2, and notice verse 19, in which the Apostle Paul gives his reasons for leading men to Christ. The Apostle said:

I Thessalonians 2:

19For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
20For ye are our glory and joy.

Related To Coming Of Christ

I would remind you that personal witnessing is inseparably related to testimony concerning the coming of Christ. You cannot be a real personal witness without being related to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, and you cannot believe in the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ without being a personal witness.

Many, many times people say to me, “You know, I don't know why you are always talking about the second coming of Christ. If He is coming, He is coming, and there is nothing we can do about it. We ought to be busy winning souls.” I have never been able to understand the infantile thinking that suggests that if you believe that Jesus Christ is coming back, you cannot win souls. As a matter of fact, the Bible says that if you have a correct understanding of the relationship of the coming of Christ to the rest of the Word of God, you will be a better soul winner then if you do not know the fact that Jesus Christ is coming back to this earth.

The Crown Of Rejoicing

If you believe that Jesus Christ is coming at any moment, then you are going to do all you can to win souls to Christ, because when the Lord Jesus Christ comes, you do not want to be found without one thing to rejoice over in His presence. The thing that is going to be the cause of rejoicing, the Crown of Rejoicing, when the Lord Jesus Christ comes, is the fact that you have been a personal witness for Jesus Christ.

The second incentive for winning men to Christ is not only the completion of the Body of Christ, but also the Crown of Rejoicing that has been promised us when Jesus Christ returns. Someone says, “Well, that sounds kind of selfish, doesn't it? Just to win souls so you will have a Crown of Rejoicing?” Well, it is no more selfish than the Word of God is. The Word of God says it is all right to win souls for that reason—to win souls so that you may have a Crown of Rejoicing, or as the Scripture puts it in another place, “So that you might have an abundant entrance.”

In the 18th chapter of the gospel of Luke, we are told that it makes sense to use the mammon of unrighteousness for winning men to Christ so that when you go to Heaven, you will have an abundant entrance—so that there will be a great crowd of people to meet you when you get there because you have been a faithful witness for Jesus Christ.

There are going to be a lot of people who will have a lonely entrance to Heaven because the only thing that will happen to them is that they will get there, and that is all. They are not going to take one person with them. It is going to be awfully lonely up there because they have not one person to greet them.

Victory Over The Devil

The last thing I want to suggest to you by way of summary of all that I have been trying to leave with you is that personal soul winning is the result of a very definite victory over the Devil. The Devil can deal with a backslidden Christian. The Devil can deal with soul-indifferent Christians. But the Devil is no match for a Christian in fellowship with God, busy witnessing for Jesus Christ because every time that individual wins a soul to Christ through faithful witnessing, Jesus beats the Devil.

Turn with me, please, to II Timothy, chapter 2, verse 24:

II Timothy 2:

24And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Do you realize what these verses are saying? They are saying that the old Devil has a snare, and in that snare caught tight is an unsaved individual. The Devil has taken him captive at his will. He has got him. There is not a thing in the world that poor lost man can do. But you come along, and you witness to him. You are patient. You are kind. You are gentle. You are meek. And you witness to him. When you do witness to him, God gives him the Spirit of repentance. And when God gives him the Spirit of repentance, the old snare is up, and the prisoner is set free. The old Devil is foiled again, and he recognizes that you have dealt him a death-dealing blow. He gets to the place where he does not want to get around you, because every time you get near him, you give it to him because you are a faithful witness for Jesus Christ.

Turn with me to the epistle of James, chapter 5, verse 19:

James 5:

19Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
20Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

The old Devil has lost souls. Do you know what he has planned for them? Death: eternal death, eternal separation from God. But if you and I are the witnesses we ought to be when we witness for Jesus Christ, we snatch that soul from death. We cover a multitude of sins, because if that individual had been left in the hands of Satan, he would have gone on and on and on, piling up sin against God, against man, and against himself. And the old Devil is disappointed once again. He is foiled once more because you have learned how to defeat him.

I say to you that as these saints of God in Revelation, chapter 12, overcame the Devil by the Word of their testimony, you can overcome the Devil by the Word of your testimony, too. Your very desire to be the witness that you ought to be will drive you close to the heart of God. If you are close to the heart of God, it is a pretty hard thing for the Devil to overcome you.

I would suggest that you stay in fellowship. Judge your fellowship by your desire to witness. When you think your witness is lagging, get into fellowship with God again, and the Devil will be defeated once more.


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