Thursday, March 16, 2017

Called to be a Witness

Sitting in missions conferences all over the USA for the last two years, I've heard lots of sermons. I've met lots of people who want their loved ones saved. Yet, when the Saturday door knocking time comes, two Believers (usually the pastor and a faithful deacon) show up. Where's those folks who had such fire for reaching the lost? Where are the people who want to see their friends and loved ones saved?

Recently the Lord has been impressing on me the necessity of the urgency of the gospel and the incredible selfishness of excuses. I've mingled with others on a Sunday morning, or during the meal before the conference speaker gets up to preach, and I know I'm not alone. I've had, and heard many excuses. I get you. I'm right with you, but when we write them out, they really don't hold.

----I work at a very taxing job, and I can't use work time to witness. 
----My neighbor just scowls and complains about everything I do; I gave up trying to be nice. 
----My schedule is just too full.
----No one reads tracts anymore.

And my favorite:
----“I know missionaries and pastors are called to tell people the gospel. I’m called to just live a good Christian life, showing people what Christians are like.”  Yes, I’ve heard it too. Some are “called” by God specifically to share the gospel. Others are called to be a “lifestyle” witness. Unfortunately, this is NOT in the Bible.

Every Christian is called to share about sin, death, Christ, and the cross.

In the military, soldiers are often “volunteered” for undesirable, difficult, and even dangerous tasks. Why then, are they said to have volunteered? They didn’t ask for the mission- they were told. Well, you say, they’re in the military; that’s their job. I answer you: that’s it precisely. When they signed the dotted line for Uncle Sam, they “volunteered” for any job that they were asked to do.

This too, Christian, is your task. See, you may not have “volunteered” to speak out about Christ. Perhaps you’re shy, or afraid, or busy, or…. whatever. Yet, when you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, (as you MUST do to be saved, Romans 10:9,13) you signed the proverbial dotted line. You gave your life to Christ. It is no longer yours to do as you please. You must “please Him who has chosen [you] to be a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:4)

So, your Commanding Officer is now the Lord Christ. He didn’t say, if your personality works with it, or, if you can tell your neighbor without them being offended by it, or, if you have time to knock on doors, then preach the gospel. No, Christ said “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) “And ye shall be witnesses unto me… unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Go. Witness. This is the command to every Believer.

So, that whole “lifestyle witness” excuse is out.
What is a witness anyway? A witness is: "a testimony; one who gives evidence; one who has personal knowledge of something." Dictionary definition aside, what is a witness? A witness is someone who goes to court to testify what they know or have personally seen. Their job is to verify the words of the defendant or prosecutor so the jury can make a knowledgeable decision, hopefully based on truth.

Christian, how can you “testify” if you don’t open your mouth? A testimony is not a testimony if it is never told. A witness cannot truly be a witness if they say nothing.

Am I saying your good Christian lifestyle is unnecessary? By no means! James the apostle wrote a book to Believers to explain how to live. We DO need to live in such a way that becomes the name of Christ- that makes Him be glorified. Going back to our original example, a soldier wears a certain uniform, they have a particular lifestyle, and they have very specific rules and protocols to follow. It’s hard to mistake a military soldier.

Christians too ought to live different from the world. We ought to be ready to “give an answer to every one that asketh of you a reason of the hope that lies within you.” (1 Peter 3:15) However, this ALONE is not enough. The gospel requires urgency. People are dying every day. We cannot just pray that they will ask us about Christ before they have a fatal crash on the interstate!
Christ says “go!” Christ says “witness!”

Even if you don’t know what to say, you can read a tract to someone. You can use a wordless book- that’s what I do. You can tell someone that there is good news for them today and give them a tract or Bible verse about salvation. You can tell them what God did for you and invite them to read God’s Word with you. Whatever you do, open your mouth. Share. DON’T BE SILENT! It’s urgent! And yes, Christian, you are called to do it.

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