The Importance Of Teaching One Person
Volume IX ~ Issue XXIII ~ March 1st, 2009
By: Brian A. Yeager
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When studying the Scriptures and talking about the number of people who will be lost, we often note that few will be saved (Matthew 7:13-14, Matthew 20:16, Matthew 22:14, and Luke 13:23-24). Then we find ourselves looking to try and help more to be saved so that we can be sure that the few looking are not missed. Efforts on the World Wide Web, knocking doors, etc. which we have worked on here locally intend to reach the most people possible. This is not wrong, for the Gospel is supposed to be preached to all (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15-16, and Luke 24:47). Our work is not measured in successful conversions, but in the work of publishing the Gospel to the lost (Titus 1:2-3).

While our efforts are necessary in reaching the masses, we must not forget the individual who has a soul. More significantly, we must not forget about the one who has already been converted but is in need of repentance. Jesus, in response to being accused of eating with sinners (Luke 15:1-2), said:
“And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (Luke 15:3-7).

I can think of a few times when I have changed a class, redirected a class, or preached a whole different sermon for one person, and someone was a little “put out” by it. Maybe it’s easy to think that this review is not necessary or something is too simple for me. It is easy to think that we need to be the one’s “getting more out of it” than about others. Frankly, it is easy to become selfish when we must study something over again for just one person. During those thoughts, we need to step back and think about the importance of that one lost soul!

When We Lose Sight Of The Value Of One Soul

When talking about brethren who are lost and in need, we can easily wonder why all the members should sacrifice for just one person. Maybe we forget that we are one body and every one members one of another (Romans 12:4-5). Maybe we forget how we are to treat the weaker with more honor, as they are significant in the body (I Corinthians 12:18-27). If you have ever had an injury (such as a broken leg), you know that your whole body suffers from that one injured part. You don’t just cut off that broken leg. You use other members of your body to strengthen that broken leg. You might miss out on some things while your leg is healing. You might have to make some sacrifices. Yet, you realize the importance of that leg and you do all that you can to have it healed. Brethren, the same is true of our brethren. We need to be willing to help them correct their lives and help them bear their burdens (Galatians 6:1-2).

Whenever brethren get somewhat aggravated with the efforts of helping our weaker brethren or the erring to be restored. We need to be reminded of the view our Lord takes on this matter. Notice:
“And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:11-32).


Here at Sunrise we have done a pretty good job of putting the needs of struggling brethren before the interests of the whole body. We need to keep that up! We are the family of God (Ephesians 2:19; 3:15). We need to keep acting like it. Our brothers and sisters in Christ depend upon us to work together (Ephesians 4:16). Loving our brethren like Christ loves us is a simple command (John 13:34-35; 15:12-13). We know that Christ put our needs before His comfort in life and death (Romans 5:6-9). Sometimes we think about how one of our brothers or sisters in Christ should be further along than they are. I would assume we could all look back in our own lives and see the same in ourselves. Do not forget how longsuffering the Lord has been with you and how you should be with your brothers and sisters in Christ (Ephesians 4:1-3). Seeking out and aiding one soul to be saved is not a burden, but a reason to rejoice (Luke 15:8-10).