A Pattern for Soul Winning

When Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed. He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD.  And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. —2 Kings 4:32-37

Elisha’s miracle of raising this dead boy back to life teaches us several lessons about our job as soul winners. The unsaved are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). Every time a person is won to Christ, he has been raised from the dead. We are in the business of raising the dead.

It was God who restored the son’s life, but He used Elisha as the means to do it.  So it is with raising sinners from spiritual death—God uses human instrumentality to accomplish the winning of souls (James 5:20; 1 Cor. 9:22).

Notice the same procedure Elisha performed is how we are to raise those who are dead in trespasses and sins.

I. Elisha was empowered by God’s Spirit.  Salvation is a spiritual work, and spiritual work requires spiritual power (Zech. 4:6)

II. Elisha had to learn from the example of Elijah (vs. 29-31). Elisha’s first attempt to raise the child by sending his assistant with his staff failed because he didn’t follow Elijah’s example (cf. 1 Kings 17:17-24). Most people learn to win souls by watching how someone else does it.

III. Elisha did not quit when he failed the first time (v. 32). The lesson of non-success is not to quit the work, but change the method.Elisha went himself, instead of sending his representative.

IV. Elisha prayed (v. 33). We must pray for that lost loved one, neighbor, classmate, friend on the job, etc.

V. Elisha began to act (vs. 34-36). After prayer, he went to work!  Elisha made personal contact.  He stretched himself fully upon the child. He threw himself entirely upon the task. He was earnest. You cannot pull branches from the burning without getting close to the fire!

  • Eye to eye—mouth to mouth—hands to hands. If we are going to win souls we must meet the sinner on his level…

(1) EYES—Try to see things from his perspective.

(2) MOUTH—Speak in terms he understands.

(3) HANDS—Enter into his work and interests.

  • The flesh waxed warm (v. 34). But he didn’t stop until life was fully restored.  We must look for more when we see a sinner warming up to the gospel.
  • Upon seeing a sign of life he paced the floor (v. 35). He was praying intensely.  We must first make personal contact with the lost soul. Then we must pray for them fervently and faithfully.
  • Elisha’s perseverance as he again stretches himself upon the child. What was good once is good enough to attempt twice.

CONCLUSION: The eyes opened (v. 35)! This is our job (2 Cor. 4:4; Acts 26:16-18). We are dealing with souls who are dead… blind.

How earnest are you about winning a soul to Christ and raising them to walk in newness of life?

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