How Jesus won souls

Before Pentecost, Jesus told his disciples, “Do not start any revivals yet. Do not begin to preach yet. Do not try to win souls yet. You are not ready. Tarry in Jerusalem until you receive Holy Spirit power.”

Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:46-49)


He had already given them three and a half years of training, and when he breathed on them and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22) he had risen from the dead and been teaching them for 40 days. So what was the waiting all about? They had the promise, and were indwelt with the Holy Spirit:


Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:17)


But they still needed to seek the filling of the Spirit. It would take much emptying of self, much prayer, and much brokenness.

Jesus sought the power of the Holy Spirit

You cannot find a word about Jesus winning souls until he was 30 years of age. He lived a perfect, sinless life. But from the time he was baptized and prayed and the Holy Ghost came upon him, he went with the power on him. Oh, how marvellous and gracious were his words when he was endued with power from on high.

Jesus is, of course, the Son of God. But he emptied himself of his glory as the second person of the trinity, and then came in the power of the Holy Spirit to preach. He loved to call himself the Son of man. He made himself a model for us. He did his miracles and wonders in the power of the Spirit.

Do you want a Bible revival? You cannot have it without the Holy Ghost. God forgive me that I have not preached more about it. God forgive me that I have not sought more of his power and fullness.

How many of you have children, or a husband, or a brother, or a sister, or a mother, or a father, or someone you love whom you have tried to get converted, but you could not do it? Now, what is the matter—is there anything wrong with the gospel? Is God dead? Is the gospel out of date? Or is it that you do not have the power of God on you?

Ask yourself:

  • Is it is a light matter for you to come to the choir?
  • Do you really care whether you bring somebody to church or not?

Neither of these things would be an issue if you were filled with the Holy Ghost. If you were so filled, you would have a burden, and a passion. You would have asked for his filling, and you would have emptied yourself of yourself.

  • When you talk with your loved ones, do you find nothing happens?
  • Do your children believe in your religion?
  • Are you are willing to be scorned, and hated, and thought a fanatic and a fool?

Your kids are going to hell because you are not filled with the Holy Ghost. You speak to people, but nothing happens. Don’t say, “I wish I was filled …” Don’t say that unless you mean you are willing to die for the cause of the cross. Don’t just wish for the filling of the Spirit unless you are willing to pay the price that filling demands.

Year in and year out Sunday school teachers have unsaved children in their classes but never get them saved. Why? Year in and year out, as your children reach the years of accountability, and you never win them. Why?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could go to that boy of yours, and talk to him, and he would be all broken, and would come when you say come? Or if you could go to your brother, or your business partner, or someone you know, and they would be broken up, and the Spirit of God would cut them to the heart—as he did in Bible times when Spirit-filled Christians talked to sinners?

If you ask for the power of God but you are not setting out to win souls with a holy passion, you simply do not mean it. God said he would give it to you: “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me.” Are you ready to be a witness? Have you prepared? If you’re seeking the thrills of life more than the Spirit of God, you must also be content to go through life and never win a soul.

You say you give to missions. That’s good, but God is not broke. What he really wants is your heart. He wants “self” made-over and anointed and endued so you can be a soul-winner.

How to be filled with the Holy Spirit

If you want to be filled with the Spirit, you must know three things:


1) It is a command: Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) Now if violating the first half of that verse and getting drunk is a sin, then is not the failure to be filled with the Spirit the same kind of a sin? If you keep half of that and don’t get drunk, it doesn’t make you a good Christian. You’re not a good Christian until you keep all of the verse, including, “Be filled with the Spirit.”


You are not given any choice in the matter. If you are not filled, you are not in the will of God. You are living a life of disobedience, a life more or less of fruitlessness. God did not say, “I think it would be nice if you were filled with the Holy Spirit.”


2) You must obey God’s command: When it was time for Jesus to die, when he was baptized, and when he prayed in the garden, he was obedient. Peter said, “And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” (Acts 5:32) Obey him? “You mean as the apostles did?” Yes.

The apostles were slain one way or another. Peter was crucified head downward, another was boiled in oil, another was dragged behind a horse and killed. John, past 90, was exiled on Patmos for his faith. “Do you mean like that? Do you mean follow Jesus if it kills you? Do you mean give up your own plans and dreams and count self dead, and live a new life?” That is exactly what God means.

Are you ready to lay self on the altar, count self dead, crucified? And when self is crucified, will you come and follow Jesus, and do what he says about soul-winning? That is the kind of obedience the Bible is talking about.


3) You need to wait: Why did it take 10 days of waiting before Pentecost? Jesus didn’t promise the power would come on such-and-such a day. His followers needed time to confess their sins, and judge their hearts, and make things right with one another, and to beseech God, and wait on God.


We need to ask God until we receive the filling, because he promises, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13)

How do you know you are filled?

People ask me how they are going to know whether or not they are Spirit-filled. I ask, “What are you looking for?” You say, “Oh, I want to feel as light as a feather. I want to hear angels’ wings flapping. I want to see a great light shining around. I want to feel electricity come in my head and run out my fingers and toes.”

If you want to feel electric shocks running through your bodies, I would not be interested in that. If you want to fall under a spell and fall down, I would not be interested in that. Let God do whatever he wants. I will make no complaint. But he is talking about power to win souls.

If you actually win souls, that is the sign itself. What is the power for? “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.” That is the point.

Don’t think the cup may overflow and you may get a little splashed on you. At Pentecost “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” Every one. (Acts 4:31)

“Tarry until . . .” “Tarry until” what? Ten days ? No! No! “Tarry until ye be endued.” That is it. “Tarry until ye be endued with power.”