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"Weeping For Lost Souls"

"Weeping For Lost Souls"

The spiritual business closest to the heart of God is weeping and travailing for lost souls.

Even as a mother cannot give birth to her burden until the pains of travail are upon her, neither will the saints win the lost until there is much weeping. The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart some months ago saying, “I cannot answer prayer in your altars until I first answer prayer in your prayer closets.” I hear much despair in the church because most converts are shallow and have little change of lifestyle. It is apparent to me that the level of change in our convert are the direct results of the level of prayer by the leaders and soul winners themselves.

Infallible truth says, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy; He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126:5-6) There is no such thing as compassion for a lost soul that does not effect great sorrow in the heart. It is painful to bear a lost person on your heart and to stand between them and hell fire. Because almost nobody preaches about a literal hell where the lost will be tormented for eternity, neither do we weep over those on the way to that horrible place. God has ordained that every born-again saint never forget what he was saved from.

Apostle Jude, whom I quoted last week, also said, “And some have compassion making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garments spotted by the flesh.” (Jude 1:22-24) When we see souls on their way to hell and want to “make a difference,” then we with “fear”, fear for them and fear for ourselves if we have no compassion on their soul to pull them out of the fire. It is an awesome reality that the business of soul winning is on our shoulders. This is the reality that drove the Hudson Taylors to inland China where the millions were perishing. Unless we come to understand that we before our God are responsible for the unsaved, nothing will change.

Untold millions will spend eternity in hell because nobody would weep for their souls. The whole business of the Holy Spirit in conviction of sin awaits the travail and great compassion of God’s saints, “We are labourers together with God, ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” (I Corinthians 3:9) There is no backup plan for the harvest of souls; “ye are God’s husbandry” (the keepers of His vineyard of souls.) The Prophet of God, Ezekiel, warned us of our responsibility to the wicked. “When 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. Nevertheless, 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.” (Ezekiel 33:8-9)

“Pulling them out of the fire” has got to be one of the greatest statements ever voiced by the Holy Ghost to Christ’s church. Any approach to “travail of prayer” that does not grasp this promise-filled statement will fail to win. We, the Spirit-filled saints of Almighty God, have been promised and warned that we are the gate watchers of hell. We can pull souls back from the precipices of fire and give them, at least, one last choice. No, we cannot decide for them, but we can guarantee that they will hear the call and invitation from the mighty Spirit of the “Lover of Souls” that “waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth.” (James 5:7). He patiently waits, but we must be the harvesters of the fruit.

Nothing describes my Heavenly Father and His Son better than these words, “Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” (James 5:7b)

In one verse of scripture, we are called the husbandry and in this verse He is called the Husbandman. Souls are His business and our business, and “we will reap if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9) and bear the pain of travail and great weeping. That’s our fellowship of His suffering.

-Joseph Chambers
Indeed, weeping is a gift of the Spirit and Lord knows I have been turned into a faucet at times. This is a wonderful reminder of the heart we should have and the dire need for workers for his kingdom.

I especially loved the line, "Unless we come to understand that we before our God are responsible for the unsaved, nothing will change." Amen!

But some of this, perhaps with the best of intentions, seems a little misleading.

The Jude's verse about "pulling souls souls" from the fire, was about responsibility, and it seems Chambers has skipped over what seems to be directions for keeping "yourselves within the love of God." Jude is spelling out how to appeal to people in different places spiritually. That is, some people will respond if you act compassionately (as Jude says, if they are wavering), others need a harder approach and would not respond to compassion. And to still others, he says, you must be compassionate but wary. But perhaps Chambers just wanted to stress the one line about pulling from the fire.

What should be equally stressed is that the power of this appeal, will only have power if it is led by the Spirit. This is a great topic and should be explored, but explored with care, so that it is clear what our responsibility is.

l don't agree that we are giving nonbelievers a choice. To God be the glory. We are just pointing out that there is a choice, that He has freely given. That is a more subtle, arguable point. How would they know they had a choice if we did not show them? Still, our ability to show them is His work, just as knowing when and how we are to witness is to be governed by His Spirit.

I do flat out disagree with one line. We cannot guarantee they will hear the call. Only He can, they will only hear if He wills it.

Perhaps Chambers is trying to emphasize a responsibility that many Christians don't feel the magnitude of, but a line is clearly drawn that Ezekiel shows us. The soul of the wicked's accountabilility is ultimately to God once he has been witnessed to. He does state that we are responsible for them if we don't state the truth and make clear the choice, but beyond that, it is clear that it is up to the wicked whether or not they repent.

I reread this in a version with less thees and thous to make it more clear for myself and am posting it below, even though the fancier language leads to the same understanding. What struck me from the verses after mulling them over is that God said first, - when you hear a word from my mouth...

He takes the initiative. His Spirit prompts the whole process.

(New Jerusalem Bible) Ezekiel 33:7-9

Son of man I have appointed you as watchman for the House of Israel. When you hear a word from my mouth, warn them from me. If I say to someone wicked, "Evildoer, you are to die," and you do not speak to warn the wicked person to renounce such ways, the wicked person will die for this guilt, but I shall hold you responsible for the death. If, however, you do warn someone wicked to renounce such ways and repent, and that person does not repent, then the culprit will die for this guilt, but you yourself will have saved your life."
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