Redeeming the time by winning lost souls is an instruction that the Apostle Paul gave to us:
Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time (Colossians 4:5).
Undoubtedly Paul knew Jesus’ only plan for the salvation for those "that are without" is that Christians would evangelize the world:
.... Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).
We know that the Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) and to obey gospel preaching we die through repentance, are buried through baptism in the name of Jesus for the remission of our sins, and are resurrected when we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38). How do we know we have received the Holy Ghost? We speak in tongues just like every lost soul (including the disciples and Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ - Acts 1:13,14) did in the first century (Acts 2:4, Acts 10:46, Acts 19:6).
Jesus gave us the following parable to use when we are redeeming the time by winning souls:
And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled (Luke 14:23).
We know that when Jesus was telling this parable, that the house is His Kingdom, but we also know that if we don’t get the unbelievers to the house of the Lord, to Church, how will they ever be saved? So the details we want to discuss now are the why, who, when, where and how of compelling lost souls to come to church.
Firstly, the lost must hear the word of God. This is best described using scripture:
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things (Romans 10:14-15).
Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict (Titus 1:9 NKJV).
Secondly, the lost must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins. Churches that know Bible Truth will either have a baptistery in the church or a source of ground water where the lost who can be baptized by the pastor as soon as possible after they have repented of their sins.
Thirdly, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost after repentance readily happens at a church service:
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31).
This one is really simple: anybody and everybody we talk to that has not been born again i.e. those that have not repented, have not been baptized in the name of Jesus for remission of sins and have not received the gift of the Holy Ghost with evidence of speaking in tongues. This includes family, friends, co-workers and complete strangers.
We are not all called to be missionaries in foreign countries! Our primary mission field is primarily the "highways and hedges" where we live. This includes where we work, where we attend school, where we shop, where we play, anywhere where we are with people.
The time is now as we live in the end times. We should not waste one second redeeming the time to those that are without Jesus Christ. We need to be in action at all times preaching and teaching the gospel to anyone who will listen.
We can't possibly preach or teach the gospel, or even extend a simple invitation to attend church without speaking. If you are with family, friends and co-workers, you are talking to them anyway so the opportunity to turn the subject to God is always there. In fact if you are being a testimony to them by the way you live your Christian lifestyle, they will always be curious because they will see that they are not like you and that you are not like most Christians they know.
The conversation is not complicated. Almost every person around the globe has heard that Jesus came to this earth, was crucified, was buried and was resurrected. They might not believe it, but they have heard this before. After they acknowledge that they have heard this before, then it is simple to explain that Jesus' death, burial and resurrection is the Gospel of Jesus Christ by referring them to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.
They almost always know that they have also heard that one must obey the gospel to get to heaven when you bring it into the conversation. So then, it is a simple question to ask at that point in time "With that being the case then how do we die, how are we buried and how are we resurrected to life?" Then explain that Jesus did all this literally so that we only have to do it figuratively. We do this by taking them to the first time this message was preached in Acts 2:1-47 (to the Jews that crucified Jesus). After they heard Peter preach the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, they asked Peter and the other disciples standing with him "what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37). Peter said "Repent, be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38).
Then you simply connect the dots for them:
I then explain that this is the born again experience that Jesus said in John 3:3-5 where He said you must be born again to see the kingdom of God.
When I have this conversation with strangers, I almost always start with a question (after I have introduced myself and got their name), like "Do you want to go to heaven?" or "Do you love Jesus?" or "Do you have a religious background?" or anything else that the Holy Ghost has laid on my tongue. Nine times out of ten, that will lead to teaching the Gospel as I have described above.
When you first start out redeeming the time with those that are without, whether you know them or not, are you going to do it perfectly? Don't worry about that for one second as you won't! When you get in this conversation with the lost, remember that the Holy Ghost is right there with you directing the conversation and speaking to their heart.
Also let the Holy Ghost lead you to finishing the conversation. At times they may want a complete Bible study on the born again experience. If that is the case, arrange a time and place and give them the Bible study. Or they may want to meet you again informally to discuss the gospel further. Always try to exchange phone numbers so that you can follow-up. Always give them a church card and invite them to a service. Always be prepared to give them a ride to church if they are without transportation.
Remember these words of wisdom from Paul:
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up (Galatians 6:9 NLT).
God gave every born again Christian this mission. If we all do as He has asked, He will always be working in the background on the hearts of those that are without. Souls will be saved because we have been redeeming the time winning them to Him.