Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

11/08/2017

Randall Caselman

 

"You Will Be My Witness"

Will We, Really?

 

  The Book of Acts opens with Jesus saying: "You will be My witness." Will we? Really? I agree that Jesus was speaking to His Apostles, but the early church understood this command was for all disciples, believers. When the persecution arose, Luke tells us in 8.4 that "all those scattered preached the word wherever they went." It was Paul who promoted the idea that we are all participants in witnessing for Jesus. He says the "love of Christ compels us" to share the good news: "He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us... As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain... For today is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 5.14, 19-20 & 6.1-2). What believer has not heard Jesus say: "Go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28.19-20). "Just as the Father has sent Me, I am sending you" (John 20.21). Who can deny that we are to be witnesses, that we are to share Jesus, that we are to be evangelistic?  Wow, what a concept that we are laborers with God in His grace work!

 

  With these facts in mind, why do we have a problem with witnessing? The Greek is martus. It means one who gives his testimony on behalf of another. One who brings new facts to light, even at the expense of his own life. Literally, "One who remembers." The word appears 34 times in the Greek New Testament, Our King James translates it witness 29 times, martyr 3 times, and record twice. So, when we speak of "witnessing" we're speaking about: Sharing Jesus with others, bringing the facts of Jesus to light, remembering Jesus. Remembering what He's done in our life. Are we doing this? Really?

 

Let's consider some ideas that will help us

to become a more effective "witness."

 

  We must always exalt Jesus. It was John the Baptist's call, his life mission, his purpose, to prepare the way for Jesus, to point to Jesus: He came as a witness that he might bear witness of the Light, that all might believe through Him. He was not the Light, but came that he might bear witness of the Light" (John 1.6-8). We must stop being so overly concerned with self, issues, questionable doctrines, traditions, and just share Jesus, point to Jesus. Let's remind one another that it's all about people. Instead of pointing out what's wrong with others, let's point to the salvation available in Christ.

 

  Where are our priorities? When John saw Jesus, he said: "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." This is our task! And when John's disciples became worried over the fact that Jesus was gaining more disciples than John... He responded: "He must become greater, increase; I must become less, decrease." (John 3.30). Isn't it time we stop being so concerned about self and our status and become like John: Point to Jesus?
Exalt Jesus?

 

  We must walk the walk, live the life, we're witnessing to. Evangelism is more than sharing Jesus verbally. Witnessing is a lifestyle. We can't point to Jesus and live like the devil. Amen?


  I was astounded over the weekend, when I heard an interview with a Washington Legislator, a woman, who said of those who disagreed with her: "Let them go to hell." Gotta tell you, no wonder we have problems in Washington! Mygrandmothers, mother, mother-in-law, and wife never said such words, had no such attitude toward others, any others. In fact I can't remember hearing such words from any lady till this weekend.

 

  Church, people are watching us, taking note of us. Are we pointing to Jesus by the way we live? Are we? Do they taste the "salt of the earth," see the "light of the world?" Do they see a Jesus heart, attitude, disposition, behavior, in our daily walk? Do they see the Fruit of the Spirit: Joy?... Peace?... Patience?... Kindness?...Goodness?... Faithfulness?... Gentleness?... Self-control? Here it is, If the Spirit of Jesus lives in us, our witness will affirm His presence. "We,who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3.18). Witnessing is a lifestyle! Jesus living in us!

 

  We must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's work within us. Believe that God is at work in our life! If we do we'll be a more effective witness. Do we believe that God has a predetermined work for us to do? Do we believe that He brings certain people into our life for us to witness to? Such a belief will enhance our witnessing."We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2.10). "Be confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1.6). May the God of peace... That great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus" (Hebrews 13.20-21). If God brings certain people into our life so we can point them to Jesus, and we don't! Who will? Who will indeed? No wonder Scripture tells us to: "Be filled with the Spirit." "Live by the Spirit." "Keep in step with the Spirit." "Do not quench the Spirit." "Don't insult the Spirit." The Spirit is helping us in ways we never dreamed of: "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us"(Ephesians 3.20). "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us" (Romans 8:26). Stop believing those who are determined to convince us that God is not at work in the lives of His people. Our witnessing depends on His working. Amen?

 

  Witnessing demands commitment. John the Baptist was consumed by his God-given task. John 5.35 tells us that John was "a burning, shining light." John was ignited, on fire for the Lord. Are we? Jim Elliot was murdered in1986, in South America. An entry in his diary says: "He makes His minister a flame of fire. Am I ignited? God deliver me from the dreaded asbestos of 'other things.' Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be a flame." Christianity is not a spare time religion, not a religion of convenience, but of discipline and commitment. It must ignite us, consume us, regulate every thought, attitude, disposition, and behavior.

 

  Listen! Listen! Can we hear His voice: "Whom shall I send? Who will go for Us" And I said: "Lord, here am I send me." And the Lord said: "You shall be My witness." Will we? Really?

 

 —Randall Caselman