Christianity is designed to produce more Christians. In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul commanded what could be described as a “domino effect” for God’s people.
And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
While this command is made regarding Timothy, a young preacher, finding other Christian men who will also be ministers of the gospel, there is an evangelistic application here, too. The idea behind soul winning is not only to baptize people, but to produce those who will be so committed to the Lord that they desire to spread the saving message of the gospel themselves. Jesus commanded us to go into all the world and “teach all nations” (KJV). The original wording literally says, “make disciples of all the nations” (NKJV, ASV, NASB, ESV). Jesus wants true converts produced from our evangelistic efforts. It is His desire – and His command – that one will teach another, who will teach another, who will teach another … and, as the cycle continues, Christianity will be spread throughout the world.
Jesus taught that Christians who fail to bear fruit are taken away and “thrown into the fire” (John 15:2, 6). He concluded this line of thought by saying, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” (John 15:8). In his outstanding commentary on the gospel according to John, Guy N. Woods says that fruit bearing “includes every activity of the Christian.” Bro. Woods continues,
It embraces every act which Jesus endorses and which he would, if present do, but not being present, must depend on his followers to do for him (325).
Are you bearing fruit? Are you doing the Lord’s will in general and, specifically, in evangelism to produce more Christians? These are important questions for each of us to ask and answer. If we do not do our part, then the domino effect does not work.
The success of the domino effect depends on four factors.
1. Your proclamation. Jesus’ specific command is to go and preach, or teach, the gospel (Mat. 28:19-20; Mark 16:!5-16; Luke 24:47). The gospel is the good news of Christ. “How shall they hear without a preacher” (Romans 10:14-16)? We can go and teach others.
2. Your pattern. The lost will not respond to hypocrisy. In order for the domino effect to work, we must live what the Bible teaches. We shine as lights in a world that is darkened by sin (Mat. 5:16; Phil. 2:15). They need to know about God’s love (John 3:16), and we have the message. Never underestimate the value of a life well lived (1 Pet. 2:12; 3:1-2).
3. God’s power. Ultimately, the power to convert someone does not lie within us. While we have an obligation to lead people to the gospel, we must remember that the power lies within the gospel itself to save and convert them (Rom. 1:16). God gives the increase (1 Cor. 3:6; cf. 2 Cor. 3:5). Paul says that those who are involved in the work of the Lord will access a power that is beyond what we can ask or think. Notice what he says next: “according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20, emp. mine, RH). You do the work. God will give the increase.
4. The other person’s penitence. God does not force people to obey the gospel. You and I cannot force someone to be saved. Instead, the success of the domino effect (at least, on an individual level), depends upon whether the person’s heart is receptive to the teaching of the Bible (Luke 8:11, 15). To change one’s life through repentance and full obedience to God is a necessity if someone wants to be saved (Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 17:30-31; Mat. 7:21-23, etc.), and that is a sacrifice that they must be willing to make (Rom. 12:1-2).
Let’s start a wildfire of soul winning! The domino effect will work if we will work God’s plan!