As today is a Gospel Sunday, I want to spend the time talking about the care for souls and I have titled my sermon, “Fishers of men.” I normally tell my story that I was born in a very Roman Catholic home. My brother has been a Catholic priest for forty-years now. My sister for thirty-seven and half years was a Catholic sister but is now a deaconess of the Church of Pentecost. I was a mass servant and they used to wash my feet like one of the apostles, but my problem was girls. So, by the time I was ten years old I had slept with my half-sister and one day, three of us—three brothers—slept with the same girl.
The second problem I had was stealing. My father was a shopkeeper and my mother divorced my father when I was four years old. I used to call it “taking,” not stealing and then one day my big brother stole from the shop and told me where he kept only for me to go and steal that one too.
My third problem was sleeping with myself—masturbation. I picked that up in secondary school form three. I was masturbating everyday, even in the classroom. I did it from form three to lower six. I was a hopeless slave to these three things. I confessed to the priest, told my friends, wanted to stop, but nothing could help me. Then I went to Mfantsipim School for sixth form. The headmaster heard that some boys were smoking, and he asked the pastor to preach to us. The pastor preached and showed us his arm, explaining how he was on drugs until somebody helped him accept Christ and his life was changed forever. For the first time in my life, as he preached, I felt someone talk to me.
As he preached I resisted so when he made the altar call I refused to go but God wanted to save me. My roommate, Sammy Anguah, who is in Tema now, started to change. I used to lecture them on how to chase girls but he stopped coming. I used to break bounds with them to buy yokegari but he stopped coming. One day he went to the bathroom and the Holy Spirit arrested him and he started speaking in tongues. I told him, “Sammy, you are changing” and he said, “When the preacher invited us, I went and lifted up my hands; then I fell down and started weeping.” In my whole life all I wanted was to encounter God. I lifted my hands and he prayed for me. I did not fall—I thought my sins were too heavy to be forgiven. I also thought he didn’t know how to pray so I went with him to Scripture Union. There I saw small boys praying and speaking in tongues. I didn’t know John 3.16 but I determined to read the Bible and, as I started, I began to ask, “Is this in the Bible? Is that also in the Bible?” and eventually the Holy Ghost fell on me.
I went back and wrote to all my girls that it was over and, the masturbation, for about forty-six years I haven’t done it. If this is not Jesus tell me what it is. I met my wife, we dated for four years—no kissing, petting, lollygagging or any such thing.
Let us look quickly at why Jesus came.
In Luke 19.10 the Bible says, “The son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” In 1 Timothy 1.15 it says, “This is a truth worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came to save sinners of whom I am chief.” In Matthew 9.13 Jesus said “I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” In Luke 4.18 Jesus said “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to set the captives free, recovery of sight to the blind, and to set at liberty them that are bruised.” In 1 John 3.8 it says that the reason the son of God was manifested was to destroy the works of the devil.
We need to find out why Jesus came because he said in John 20.21 that “Just as the father sent me, so send I you.” You have been sent. Everyone of us here is on a mission. We have been sent just as Jesus was sent. And why did Jesus come? He came to seek and save the lost. We human beings don’t understand how important another human being is, but the Bible, in Mark 8.36, says “What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world but lose his soul?” The human soul, when you put it on a scale and put all the story buildings in London and all the gold mines in Ghana and South Africa on the other side, Jesus says the human soul is worth more than all those. The reason is that God made man in in his image and likeness. Every human being is a carrier of the image and glory of God. In Genesis 9.6 it says, “Don’t kill anybody, not even a madman, because man carries the image of God.”
In Psalm 8.3-8 it says, “What is man that you are mindful of him or the son of man that you visit him… you have clothed him with glory and honor.” In Hebrews 2.5 it says, “It is not to angels that he has given the world to come but under human beings.” We have been put in charge of the world to come. In 1 Corinthians 6.2 it says we shall judge angels. We are more special than we think. In Matthew 10.30 it says even the hairs of our head have bene numbered. In heaven there is a file for the hairs of your head. Even you don’t know how many hairs you have but heaven takes stock of that, but not only that. When you go to the market to buy tomatoes and you see them rotting and they tell you they are worth 5000 cedis, you would wonder who would buy them at such a price but Romans 5.8 says that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Acts 20.28 says the church of God was bought with God’s own blood. 1 Peter 1.18-19 says we were not bought with perishable things like silver and gold but with the precious blood of Christ. Why would God buy a sinner with the precious blood of his son? Is there any sense in it to buy your enemy with the blood of your son? But this is how God approaches human beings, and not only that, in 1 Kings 8.27 it says even the heavens cannot contain God. Even though God is so huge and the heavens and earth cannot contain him, our bodies are called temples of God. In 2 Corinthians 6.14-16 we are called temples of God. Acts 7.48-49 says the Most High God does not live in temples built with human hands but in our bodies. 1 John 4.15 says if you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is the son of God, God comes to live in you and you in him. Philippians 2.13 says God is at work in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Colossians 1.27 says Christ in you is the hope of glory. Christ lives in us; the Father lives in us, and we are in him. John 14.23 says “If you love me, my father will love you and we will come and make our abode with you.” 2 Corinthians 5.17 says if any man be in Christ he is a new creation; old things are passed away and all things have become new.
Romans 8.11 says the Spirit of God that raised Christ form the dead lives in us. We don’t appreciate our value. Romans 8.17 says we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. You see, many of us value the things of this world more than we value the human soul. God wanted to correct it and that was why Jesus came. When he came he said in Matthew 4.19, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Every good follower of Jesus is a fisher of men and women. In fact, Mark 1.17 is more specific. It says, “Follow me and I will make you to became fishers of men and women.” The only way to know someone is not following Jesus well is if he is not winning souls because Jesus has said “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
No man goes home and starts crying to his wife. Men don’t cry to their wives. We know the wives can cry on us but we can’t do that. But in Luke 19.41-42, we are told that Jesus wept when he saw Jerusalem. Many of us never weep until our computer has crashed or somebody has stolen our iPad. There is no room in our hearts for weeping for souls. Matthew 9.36 says when Jesus saw the multitudes he was filled with compassion because they were as sheep without a shepherd and he said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into his harvest.”
There are three things I want to say.
Firstly, I want to inform you that everybody you see on the street, at the workplace, or at home—look at the person carefully because you will meet that person again in heaven or hell. Matthew 25.41-46 says human beings will go to either everlasting punishment or everlasting life. Human souls are eternal. They are forever and, unfortunately for us, when God made man in his image we fell. Our great-grandmother Eve and great-grandfather Adam ate the forbidden fruit and God drove them out of the garden. Since then, we are born people leaning towards Satan and nobody can save himself.
Jeremiah 17.9 says the heart of man is desperately wicked. Genesis 6.5 says the heart of man was continually evil and he couldn’t help himself. It says in Psalm 51.5 that “In iniquity did my mother conceive me and in iniquity was I born.” Psalm 58.3 says the wicked start telling lies right form the womb. Romans 3.10 says there is none righteous.
If anybody can go to heaven without Jesus, then Jesus’ death was useless. No Buddhist, agnostic, Hindu, or juju man can dodge. I had a friend like that in Hohoe, he said on judgement day he would stand close to the door so that when Jesus opened the door he would sneak himself in. Absolutely ho body can enter heaven secretly. Hebrews 9.27 says it is appointed unto man once to die and after that judgement. Hebrew 9.22 says without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. You need Jesus to get to heaven and, unfortunately for us, God has decided that no angel will preach the gospel to your sister, cousin, or mother. Only human beings can preach the gospel to other human beings.
Look at Acts 8.26. We are told that an angel told Philip to go to the south, to the road from Jerusalem to Gaza. In verse 29 the Spirit of the Lord told Philip to get close to the chariot and enter it. Why waste time? Instead of the angel telling Philip to go the road between Jerusalem and Gaza, why not do it himself? Instead of the Holy Sprit telling him to join the chariot of the Ethiopian eunuch, why not do it himself and preach to the man? Heaven has decided that if you don’t preach they will die because the person who will preach the gospel is you. Romans says whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved but how can they call on him if they have never heard of him?
In Acts 9 Paul encountered Jesus and fell before him. He asked who who the man was and the man said he was Jesus whom Paul was persecuting. Upon asking Jesus what he should do, Paul was told to go to the city and it was there that he was going to be told what to do. The person who was to write half of the New Testament was met by Jesus but Jesus didn’t baptize him because he has left salvation in your hands. It was Ananias who baptized Paul.
You might say that it happened that way only in the lives of Paul and the Ethiopian eunuch but what about Acts 10? Cornelius was a just man and, while he was praying one day, an angel appeared and said he should send me to Joppa to find Simon Peter who was in the house of one Simon who was a tanner and it was this Simon Peter who was going to tell him the words he needed to hear to be saved. Why didn’t the angel preach himself? Nobody will be saved if human beings do not talk. Heaven has left salvation in our hands.
When I finish this sermon, if you are here and you are not sure you are a child of God and that you are born again or if you are not sure that your sins are forgiven, I will ask you to come forward but I want to spend the last part of this sermon to talk about how to take care of the people who come to Jesus.
Almost every church I go to and almost every Sunday, new people come to our churches. Today I’ve seen a few people. Anybody who comes to PIWC, Atomic on a Sunday is voting for this church with his legs. He has seen Assemblies of God, Lighthouse, Action Chapel, and other churches but he chose come here. Therefore, for anybody who comes to PIWC on Sunday, if you don’t call or reach out to him within 24 hours, you are telling him—the customer—that you are not interested in him. There are many times I go to church and when we close and I am a new person, I see how the old people greet one another and leave the new person. Nobody has anything to do with that new person.
Even when we introduce the new people in church, after introducing them, that is it. What about those who come one Sunday and return the following Sunday? Why not do something about them? If you don’t do something about them and they don’t have any friends in the church they will leave. If after six months you don’t have six friends in the church, you will leave the church. After they are welcomed on the first Sunday nobody knows them but if you get two or three people every week and make them stay, at the end of the year your church grows by 104 but if nobody visits him he doesn’t want to come back. This is why when women are pregnant they start vomiting—a new and unwelcome person has entered their body and the body is rejecting it. That is how visitors to our churches are like. But not only that. Needs, problems, challenges, and hunger and thirst for God bring people to church. Also, when they come they want to see a member of the church who is like Jesus. They come because they are searching for something. It is when somebody picks them up—we call it follow-up—that they stay. And this follow-up should have an order in it so that it is not like Asabea goes and says, “Were you in church last week? As for our church we pay tithes. Have you paid your tithes?” It is not the first thing to tell a new person. That is like giving kokonte to a one day old baby. It must be orderly. The first thing you tell a new member, the second thing, third thing, and so on. We call that disciple-making.
There is a lot of evangelism going on but in Accra only two out of ten go to church on Sunday. 8 out of 10 people in Accra don’t go to church. 81 out of 100 Moslems, Buddhists, and Hindus have never seen a practicing Christian in their lives. Out of 17,000 people groups, 7,000 are called unreached because they have less than 2% of evangelical Christians among them. 42 out of 100 people groups are not reached. The whole church must be mobilized as a machine for winning souls and keeping them.
In John 6.39 Jesus says, “This is the will of the father who sent me: that of all he has given me I should lose none but raise them up at the last day.” Some people in the CoP have come up with a doctrine that “I am a prophet or a teacher” and, because of that they have left the wok for a few evangelists to struggle under the load. No! Everybody is first and foremost a soulwinner before he is a teacher or prophet. If you won’t win the souls who should win them for you to prophesy to them? Are you entrusting your mother’s going to heaven in my hands? Suppose you are a grandmother in some village and your daughter’s son, Kwaku, is gone to Germany. Every month he sends money and you take and enjoy it. Kwaku will go to hell if you leave him in Germany like that. If they bring the phone and you talk to him, ask him if he went to church and tell him, “Kwaku, if you will not go to church then don’t attend my funeral when I die and don’t send me money again.” If every grandmother would talk to their grandson in Germany and Britain like that, they would think. You take their money but you don’t care about their souls. What a shame! Don’t leave the salvation of your family members as a burden on this church. When Jesus said he will build the church, you are the church