The world needs a Savior, and we know Him personally. As Christians, we have seen Jesus change our behavior and our priorities. We have heard His voice in both comfort and correction, and we have felt Him heal old wounds and fill our hearts with love toward others. We are His witnesses that He is real, and the stakes of heaven and hell are real as well. But telling other people about Jesus can be frustrating at times. Despite our best efforts, hearts remain hardened, nothing seems to change, and our own weaknesses seem to trip us up at every turn. But this week in preparation for a new ministry God has for me, three comforting truths came to me about our witness for Christ. They gave me renewed determination of purpose and helped me see evangelism in a whole new light.
“Then he said: ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.’”Acts 22:14-15
1. Jesus Saves
I think a lot of my frustration with evangelism seems to be the lack of control. People are lost and dying, but they just don’t get it. I can’t make my family see their need for Jesus. I can’t convince them that Jesus is the only way. Our world says everyone is entitled to his or her own truth. What is true for one might not be true for another. The deeper I get into my faith, the more my family sees me as weird and extreme. My concern for their salvation is echoed back with their concern for my soundness of mind. It’s a helpless feeling.
But, this week on a ministry page for Reinhard Bonnke, I saw a wonderful quote. “We believers are not lawyers, attorneys or barristers in court pleading in the defense of Jesus. We are WITNESSES. Witnesses don’t plead. They simply speak the truth, declare what they know. And here I stand – being a living piece of evidence that Jesus is alive and that there is cleansing power in the Blood of Christ.”
We are witnesses. We are telling, not selling. John 6:44 says no man can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him to Him. God is the only one who can soften hearts and draw people to Jesus. We only need to be available to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). We can’t personally save anybody. But when we listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading, live what we believe, and pray, pray, pray, we can make a difference as a witness for Christ.
2. Evangelism is a Process
When we are hungry for an apple, we don’t grab a pack of seeds and head to the garden to plant and wait. In the Bible, evangelism is always described in terms of planting, watering, and harvesting. None of these things happen instantly. 1 Corinthians 3:7-8 says that some plant and some water, but it is God who gives the increase. In Matthew 9:37, Jesus says, “The harvest truly is plentiful.”
Consider the thief next to Jesus at His crucifixion. Luke 23:42 says, “Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’” Obviously, this was not the first time this man had heard of Jesus. He must have seen the things that Jesus had done in the lives of others, and maybe someone even spoke to him about Him. Did he reject that person? Did he mock and scoff and continue to live the life that caused him to also be crucified that day? The Bible doesn’t say. What we do know, though, is that in the last few hours of his life, he made the decision for Christ.
In our world today, we are used to instant results. We press button A, and we get result B. But people don’t always respond the first time they hear something. Or the second, third, or twenty-third. Our words and actions today may not mean anything at the time, but they could come back to someone’s mind in a powerful moment of understanding when added to other events. Just because we don’t see our efforts of love blossoming to the fruit of salvation before our eyes doesn’t mean that we aren’t making an eternal difference in people’s lives. We may never know this side of heaven what harvest our labors produce, but one day we will. And won’t that be an amazing day!
3. We Are Not All the Same
The great commission says for us to “Go.” Every one of us is called to a measure of evangelism, whether that is one of our specific gifts or not. Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” People need Jesus, and we are His hands and feet. But I don’t know about you, but when it comes to talking to strangers about Jesus, my stomach churns. I can’t seem to make myself ask shoppers about heaven and hell in the deli section. I have to force myself to give out tracts as I stand in line to pay.
On the other hand, my church is filled with people who evangelize, hard core, on a weekly basis. They offer to pray with people in stores and laundry mats, and they chat up waiters, repairmen, and the guy at the gas pump. One has even even prayed the prayer of salvation with a telemarketer! The question of my own weakness in this area was starting to weigh on me. I tried to do some research that would help me find a way to get past my aversion, but the more books and articles I read, the more guilt I felt. “Feeling nervous?” asked an article. “You just care more about what people think than what God thinks. Uncomfortable? You must not love people.” But feelings aren’t like faucets. You can’t turn them off and on, and the pressure of my responsibility in light of my limitation was starting to paralyze me. But this week, I think I had a breakthrough.
God has called me into a new ministry that doesn’t scare me but excites me. Amazingly enough, it involves talking to strangers about Jesus. The difference is in application. Instead of doing what my brain tells me is “bothering” busy shoppers, I will be taking a message of hope along with a food or drink item to people who have nothing more to do than stand and think. I will be bringing a snack and a “taste of church” to the men who stand and wait for day jobs on Sunday morning.
My hope is that the men will come to look forward to the weekly treat and message, and maybe they will be comfortable enough to ask me for prayers or even visit my church on Sunday evening. I’m not the same as the other people in my church, and God understands. He has given me my own way to be a witness for Christ, living proof that Jesus can change hearts and lives.
Be A Witness for Christ
Psalm 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.” We have found the Savior that the whole world needs. It’s up to us to be His witnesses. We can’t get frustrated when people don’t listen; we just have to remember that Jesus saves. Our efforts may seem futile in the moment, but the Bible says evangelism is a process, and we may not ever see the results this side of heaven. Finally, we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others because we aren’t all the same. We just have to listen to our Master’s voice, obey the commission He assigns, and trust that we are making a difference for the kingdom of God.
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