Proverbs 11:30

Winning Souls

 

Introduction:

1. We hear this expression a lot today… “winning souls”!

2. There are seminars on soul winning… books on soul winning… conferences on soul winning…

3. Some churches boast that they are “soul winning” churches…

4. But what does the BIBLE mean where the expression is found?

a. This is the ONLY passage in Scripture where the expression is found.

b. Rather than looking to the way men use the expression today, let’s consider how it is used in the Scriptures.

30a The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life…

1. The fruit of righteousness.

a. Solomon is speaking here of the fruit or RESULT of being righteous… of living a righteous life…

b. Every man’s life brings forth fruit… some good fruit; some evil.

c. A righteous man brings forth good fruit.

d. Matt. 7:15-18 – here the Lord uses the illustration of men as fruit trees to distinguish the false teacher from a good teacher…
• Ye shall know them by their fruits
• The principle is simple: good trees bring forth good fruit.
• In this illustration, the man is the tree… the fruit refers to his works.
• The Lord implies that there is a direct relationship between the KIND of tree and the KIND of fruit. Good trees = good fruit. Evil trees = evil fruit. Apple trees produce apples. Crab apple trees produce crab apples.

e. Solomon speaks of the FRUIT of the righteous…
• He means the fruit… the visible results or works in a man’s life.
• The righteous refers to believers—those justified by faith.
• If a man is righteous in God’s sight—then the fruit he produces (over-all) will be good.
• Of course, some men justified by faith have produced some not so good fruit… and some downright rotten fruit. But over all, the fruit of a righteous man is good. (Isn’t that true in all of our lives?)
• Are you righteous? Have you been justified by faith? What kind of fruit is being manifested in YOUR life right now?

2. A righteous man is a tree of life.

a. The result of living a righteous life is that the person becomes a TREE of life.

b. This is the result or FRUIT of such a righteous life.

c. If YOU live a righteous life… YOUR life will be a tree of life.

3. A tree of life defined:

a. Prov. 3:18 – Wisdom itself is A tree of life… not THE tree in the Garden of Eden.

b. THE tree of life in the Garden of Eden was created to preserve life… eat of it and live forever.

c. Wisdom is LIKE a tree of life.
• It provides continual preservation and protection for us in our spiritual life.
• Wisdom enables us to MAINTAIN and SUSTAIN our spiritual life…
• Wisdom is health… like medicine for our spiritual lives… refreshing and restoring our souls…
• Wisdom keeps us from evil—enables us to avoid ruining our lives… protects us…
• A tree of life is a source of that which is life sustaining, life invigorating, life stimulating, life strengthening, life protecting, life guiding, life healing, life restoring, life nourishing, life promoting, life preserving…

d. It is a tree—a continual source of life to those who lay hold upon her…
• Trees keep on producing fruit… season after season. They are not like annuals—they bloom and die. Trees keep on producing their fruit.
• Trees like people, go through seasons. Sometimes our lives may be exceedingly fruitful. At other points, we may go through a dry period with not much fruit…
• But the tree keeps on growing… and there is always another season coming…trees have to wait for their season.
• A tree of life is exceptionally helpful… even necessary… supportive… an endless source of that which is needed in life.

4. Solomon says that the RESULT of a righteous man’s life is that HE becomes a tree of life…

a. He becomes a tree of life… and out of his life comes the kind of wisdom that will guide and sustain him throughout life.

b. The righteous man who walks the straight and narrow way will be like a tree that keeps on producing good fruit…

c. This kind of fruit will be exceedingly helpful to him for the rest of his days.

5. He becomes a tree of life for OTHERS…

a. It is the idea of helping OTHERS that seems to take precedence in this verse.

b. The man, woman, or child who leads a righteous life will also be a tree of life for OTHERS.

c. He will be an endless source of help for them… wisdom…

d. Prov. 15:4 – his wholesome tongue will be a source of wisdom for them… admonition…

e. Prov. 13:12 – a tree of life also has the capacity to LIFT UP a discouraged soul. YOUR righteous life can have that effect on others.

f. Prov. 3:18 – HAPPY is the one who has this source. The man who has access to this kind of wisdom will have blessedness in his life… and enough to spread around to others.

g. Rom. 15:14 – the believer who is walking in wisdom and leading a righteous life… will have what OTHER believers need:
h. He will be filled with the knowledge of God. He knows God and is able to teach others about the Lord…
i. He is able to admonish… warn… encourage… give advice… help.

6. Do YOU want to be a tree of life for others?

a. Lead a righteous life!

b. This implies that our HEART is right with God… for our life flows out of our heart relationship to God.

c. Col. 2:7 – We need to be rooted and built up in Him…
• For HE is the source of all wisdom. (vs. 3)
• The closer we are to Christ—the source of ALL wisdom… the more wisdom we will have to share with others…
• The closer we are to Christ, the more fruit will be manifested…

d. The more fruit in our lives, the better able we are to function as a tree of life for others.

7. Do you know Christians who are trees of life?

a. You know you can come to them and find a person in tune with God

b. You see fruit in their lives all the time…

c. They are always helpful… always willing to share the wisdom God has given them… willing to give advice when asked… willing to help… willing to encourage…

d. When we are hungry, we go to the refrigerator. In ancient times, they might take a walk to a tree for a fig or a pomegranate.

e. The tree has the fruit you need to sustain life… to feed and nourish.

f. There are believers who are just like that. You KNOW that when you come to them, you are going to be pointed to a Scripture verse that will be helpful… or perhaps have a fault pointed out that needs attending to… or a word of encouragement.

g. You know that they are more than willing to share the fruit of their righteous life.

h. Perhaps in their righteous life they have studied the Scriptures…

i. Perhaps during their righteous life they have developed a sweet, gentle spirit…

j. Perhaps during their righteous life they have gained much spiritual discernment and are able to distinguish between holy and unholy, unclean and clean.

k. And all this fruit from their lives is available to you… free for the picking!

l. This brother or sister refreshes your soul—like a tree of life.

8. The believer who walks closely to the Lord and leads a righteous life becomes a source of guidance, hope, help, wisdom, admonition, and inspiration for others… a tree of life.

a. The godly man who leads a righteous life is a great blessing to others.

b. They are to be valued—like a tree of life.

c. The example of their lives; their prayers; their instruction; their interest in things above… in the eternal…

d. They, like a fruitful tree, continually provide nourishment for the spiritual lives of others…

e. They are spiritually refreshing to be around…

30b And he that winneth souls is wise…

1. Winneth =

a. Strong’s: to take; get; fetch; lay hold of; seize; take in the hand; to take and carry along.

b. Winning souls refers here to the believer who… through his righteous life is a tree of life to others… and takes hold of a person’s hand… and leads them along… leads them to God’s wisdom… becomes a source of guidance, hope, help, wisdom, admonition, and inspiration for others… a tree of life!

2. The one who DOES win souls (attracts them to wisdom) is wise himself!

a. It is a DEMONSTRATION of wisdom to take others by the hand and lead them to the way of wisdom.

b. The one who leads a young man away from a life of immorality is a tree of life (preservative) to that young man AND he is demonstrating that he himself is wise.

c. The one who leads a righteous life and uses that righteous life to help others is a wise man.

d. Attract your children to wisdom. That IS wisdom at work!

e. Be that kind of a member in the Body—to attract others to walk in the way of wisdom…

f. A wise man WILL SEEK to take others by the hand and build them up…

g. Wise men will seek to be a channel of blessing to others.

h. The wise man walks in wisdom and shares it with others along the way. He is a tree of life.

3. Winning souls here has nothing to do with Christian evangelism.

a. That was certainly not on Solomon’s heart when he wrote these words.

b. He DID have in mind the capacity of a believer’s righteous life be a source of help to others.

c. It may include the idea of winning them over to wisdom… attracting them to the way of wisdom…

d. YOUR righteous life… and the fruit of righteousness manifested in your life can have this effect on others… it can attract them to the way of wisdom.

e. Perhaps a disobedient believer will be convicted by your righteous life and miss the fellowship that you are presently enjoying!

f. Perhaps a confused believer will recognize the stability of your life and seek guidance and counsel from you…

g. Perhaps a distraught believer will be attracted to peace and rest that is seen on your countenance… and will come to you and ask how he too can obtain that kind of fruit…

h. The wise believer will WIN over others to walk in the way of wisdom… (Cf. James 5:19-20)

i. He can WIN a brother away from a life of sin, wood, hay, and stubble and TO a life of living for God!

j. The context here is sinning BROTHER (one of you) who sins… and needs to be converted (turned around)…

k. YES—brothers in Christ at times need to be turned around…

l. Their hearts need to be WON back to the Lord… WON back to walk in the way of wisdom.

m. The one who wins his brother’s soul back from a life of sin and wandering will hide a multitude of sins…

n. That seems to be the primary emphasis… in James & in Proverbs.

o. Of course, we can make APPLICATION to evangelism.

p. By our righteous life, we can also point men to God… and the gospel of God’s grace.

q. We SHOULD be interested in attracting the unsaved to our Savior… but let’s use the Bible term for that: evangelism… not winning souls.

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