Lesson 2 -- fourth quarter 2008
September 14, 2008
© Copyright 2008
We should be driven by an inner desire and certainly not by human force of any sort. Neither should peer pressure be our sole motivation. Street meetings are good and so are jail visits, rest home singing, and house-to-house tract distribution. However, if we do them simply because they are "required" or "in," we have surely denied ourselves full blessing and reward. Here are three reasons for witnessing.
His Command. Jesus asks no one to witness for Him; He commands us to. A package deal, you could say. For the privilege of walking in the Way with Him, we are commissioned with the responsibility of promoting It and Him. We are called on to testify of His work in us, of His offer for all mankind, and of His imminent return (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).
Their Need. We are perhaps too engrossed with ourselves; we are not accustomed to hurting for the spiritual and emotional needs of the heathen about us. They cheat us. They mistreat us. They tempt us. They annoy us. And our responses incline more to the flesh than to an earnest concern for them -- their emotional frame of mind, their personal difficulties, their spiritual vacuum, their deep-down hopelessness. We see and feel our own hurt, not the hurt they have that causes them to hurt us. Consider what they may have had happen to them, what they are experiencing now, and what they face in eternity. The Master's heart was moved with compassion for such; it still is. He would move ours, too.
Our Obligation. "Having the best, they reserved it for themselves." Even four Old Testament lepers couldn't accept that epithet for themselves (2 Kings 7:9). And Paul exclaimed, "Woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel!" (1 Corinthians 9:16). Jesus put it very plainly, "Freely ye have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8). We are debtors to all lost mankind to share the Gospel with them (Romans 1:14-15). We were in great bondage and have been freed. We knew corroding guilt and have been forgiven. We were abject outcasts and have been elevated to sonship. How can we withhold such a message in such times in such a world?!
We have cheapened witnessing by regarding it too much as a special event that happens at special times at special places under special circumstances. Witnessing ought to be a common occurrence that happens during the common moments of our lives in common places under common circumstances. In other words, witnessing is to be an integral part of our daily experience. Though we treat it as such, personal witnessing is not an option to be exercised irregularly and occasionally.
And how or what might a Christian "preach" to his heathen peers? The most convincing "how" is your life. The "how" that fills in the blanks in your oral explanations. Your life and your speech must supplement each other in order for either to be effective. You must be equipped to use both in a persuasive manner.
The Apostle Paul would hear nothing from the Corinthians except Christ, and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). When people observe in our lives and hear in our speech the "what" of our witness, they must be helped to see Jesus. The majority of unbelievers today lack certain life ingredients -- contentment, satisfaction, happiness, purity, purpose, responsibility, submission, respectability. May they see these things in you and may they see Jesus in you producing these things. You may be no evangelist, but you ought to be an Evangel spreader.
Jesus said, "Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest" (John 4:35)." If the fields were white then, surely by now too much of the potential harvest is rotting in the fields! How many have lost interest in the Gospel because I wasn't there to "harvest" them when they were ready? Or perhaps someone preaching a false gospel has introduced the scythe in the field you have neglected. Serious thoughts, eh? Unfortunately, we so easily brush them aside with a broom called If-I-Don't-Do-It-God-Will-Get-Someone-Else-To-Do-It. Break that broom with Ezekiel 33:7-9!
Jesus told His followers, "The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest" (Luke 10:2). The harvest still is great and the workers still are few. I have heard the "Lord's Prayer" repeated so many, many times; why does the harvester's prayer suffer from such chronic neglect?
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