Committed to Tell - Part 2
January 14, 2018
Last week we asked this question: “If we allowed God to write out a New Year’s resolution for us for 2018, what would it be?” What would God want to be different in our lives. I am sure that the answer to this question would be different for every one of us. We all are at different places in our walk with the Lord, we all have different struggles, and a variety of propensities toward sin. But what would God want different in your life? We looked at a number of Bible verses last week that talk about different things that God might be speaking to us concerning change or new beginnings for 2018.
My point in looking at so many Bible verses last week was not just for an exercise in reading the Bible but to help us understand that if we are in the Scriptures, reading and praying daily through our Bibles, God will clearly show us things that He wants us to change. The Bible is the Christian’s New Year’s resolution, sort of speak. This is not rocket science. God speaks to our hearts through His Word. If we want to have His direction and leading in our hearts and minds, we need to spend time in it.
Yes, devotionals and other books are good also, but never replace the reading of God’s Word with the reading of other books. The Bible should be “More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.” (Psalm 19:10).
We concluded last week with a challenge that I think most, if not all of us, could make as a commitment to the Lord for 2018. The challenge was to tell at least one person our story about how God saved us and give out at least 20 tracts or other materials that directly talk about salvation. Today, I would like to spend more time looking at what the Bible says about this subject of being a witness to others.
For many of us, when it comes to testifying to others about salvation we feel we are not called, not gifted, or that it is someone else’s job (i.e. the pastor or some paid professional evangelist). But we need to understand that Jesus never said anything like that. It is the calling of all who follow Christ. If you claim Jesus as your Savior, if you say you are striving to walk with Him in your life, if you are His disciple, you are called to discipleship (making disciples).
Jesus’ Call to Discipleship
Jesus made it clear that when He called12 men to follow Him, it was way more than just learning from Him. Yes, part of following Jesus was to learn what Jesus was teaching them, but it is was so much more. It was to take what they learned and put it into practice. Listen to what Jesus said to Peter and Andrew when He called them.
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
Jesus calls these two men to follow Him, in other words, they were to follow Him like a student follows a rabbi. They were to learn all that Jesus had to teach them. But it didn’t end there, did it? Jesus said, “I will make you fishers of men.” In other words, Jesus’ call to His disciples, and to you and me, to follow Him is not just about learning all we can about Him, expanding our knowledge about Him, but telling others so that they will follow Him, also. Fishing for other disciples. We could say that we are saved to proclaim salvation.
Saved to Proclaim
I love how God describes those who are saved by faith in Him. We are unique and chosen vessels in His sight. Peter makes this clear when he tells us that we have a unique and special place in God’s heart and the reason for His choosing us . . . is to proclaim the Gospel.
1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Did you hear that? We are His special treasure, He has called us into a relationship with Him, why? That you may proclaim the wonders of our God who has called us from darkness to light. Jesus calls us to learn of Him and proclaim it to others. You might say we are saved to proclaim. But this is not just a good suggestion for us, this is Jesus’ command to us.
After Jesus rose from the dead, He met with His disciples in Galilee. There, Jesus gave assurance to them of His continual presence and a command to do something when He is gone.
Go therefore and 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 observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
This is what we call the “Great Commission.” This is not just for those 12 disciples, this is for all disciples, for all believers. We must go and make disciples of other people. Jesus wasn’t saying, “well if you feel like, or if you have the gift for it, go and make disciples. No, this is clearly a command to all of us. He promised not only His presence while we are fulfilling this command, but He promises the power we need to accomplish it.
Just before Jesus ascended into heaven, His final instruction to His disciples was accompanied with a promise of the power needed to be witnesses of His salvation.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
The promise of God’s presence and God’s power to be God’s witnesses. What more do we need than that? Every time you testify about God’s salvation to someone, you can be assured of these promises. No matter if you stumble over your words, can’t remember a verse, or are unsure how to answer a question, God’s power is there doing . . . His work. It is not about us, it is about Him. But we must proclaim the message. Why? How else will anyone be saved?
Required to Proclaim
There must be preaching or proclamation of the Gospel message for people to come by faith and receive salvation. Preaching you say? That sounds like something pastors have to do, not all Christians. The word translated preach is κηρύσσω (kerusso) and it simply means to proclaim something, like a like town herald used to do. Someone going through the streets announcing a message. The message must be proclaimed for salvation to be heard.
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!"
Do you have beautiful feet, that is, as it is described in these verses? Are you a heralder of the message of salvation? Listen, the fact that we are saved, and others are not, should make us enthusiastic or eager to proclaim the message.
Eager to Proclaim
We should be eager to tell others. Paul tells the people in Rome that he is eager to come to them to preach the Gospel of salvation.
So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
When we were first saved, many of us were more eager and enthusiastic about telling others about what God did in our lives. There was no shame or at least there was less shame felt. But somehow, over the years, our enthusiasm has dwindled. Through some situations when we may have experienced ridicule, we become ashamed that we are a Christian. But that shouldn’t be. We should be eager and unashamed because there is power and great influence in proclaiming the Gospel. We spoke about this intentional influence when we finished studying the Beatitudes back in November.
Jesus tells us that we should be salt and light in a world that needs the glorious light of the Gospel of salvation.
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Remember, we spoke about the intentional contact we must have with unsaved people, like salt must be in contact with the ice in order for it to melt. To get light to come on in a room, we must intentionally flip the switch. Are we intentional in being an influence for the Lord in our world? Or does our life and our message sound more like the world? But if we are to be intentional, we must be prepared!
Peter says that we need to be prepared to tell people about why we have the hope of salvation and even be willing to suffer for telling them about it.
1 Peter 3:14-15
But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.
Last week I said that if we don’t have a concise testimony prepared and on our lips, if we don’t carry with us tracts or other information to give people, and if we don’t study the Word for answers, then we are NOT planning on sharing the Gospel. If you are planning on sharing the Gospel, you prepare yourself. Maybe we don’t prepare ourselves because we feel shame about what others might think of us.
No Shame in the Gospel
Paul tells Timothy to fan his gift into a flame, a flame that proclaims the Gospel without shame. He is encouraging Timothy to not let anything diminish his fire for the Gospel.
2 Timothy 1:8
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,
Have you ever thought about why it is we would be ashamed of our salvation or our Lord? The world wants us to think that we are stupid, that we are dreamers about something that is unrealistic. Well, nobody wants others to think less of them. So, we are ashamed that that we believe something other people think is crazy. We are ashamed because we care more about how we look to others than the message that could save their souls from an eternity in Hell. Kind of self-serving isn’t it?
Listen, if we are connected to Jesus Christ, we will bear fruit. Jesus used the illustration of a vine and branches to demonstrate our relationship and connection to the Father and Jesus. Like a vine that produces fruit from the branches, Christians should bear the fruit of their connection with Jesus the vine.
By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Jesus makes it clear that one of the proofs of our relationship with Him is fruit. Just like a vine that produces branches and the branches bloom and produce fruit, Christians, by their connection to Jesus Christ the vine, should produce fruit.
Now keep in mind, that there is the principle of sowing and reaping. One sows the seed of the Gospel, but there may be some time for germination to take place and another person comes along a reaps the fruit. We are told that it is neither the one who sows or the one who reaps, but that the fruit that is produced is because of Jesus Christ. But the point of all these verses is that there is fruit.
But there is a need for people to sow and harvest. There is a need for Christians to be laborers for the harvest.
Need Laborers for the Harvest
In Matthew 9, Jesus restored life to a young girl, healed a woman, two blind men, and a demon possessed man. Crowds were thronging around Him and He looks in compassion at them and recognizes the need of workers for the harvest of souls.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
The easiest thing for you and me to do is nothing and assume someone else will share the gospel with them. We may have a friend or loved one who we hope will trust Christ as their Savior, we pray that they will be saved, but expect someone else to tell them about Jesus.
Listen, there is a desperate need for Christians to tell their friends and loved ones their story, their salvation story, about how Jesus has changed their life. It may be that you are the one that is supposed share the gospel with them and if you don’t, then who will? If you care about another person the way you should, you should put your ego aside and share your testimony with them. We may be the only representative of Christ they know that can show them how to be reconciled to God.
Ambassadors of Reconciliation
All who put their faith in Jesus Christ have been reconciled to God. In turn we become ambassadors, representatives, of Jesus Christ as agents of reconciliation to God.
2 Corinthians 5:17-20
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
I love this passage. Paul is writing to the people in Corinth and he says that God is making His appeal of reconciliation through them. Paul stands as a representative, an ambassador of Jesus, making an appeal to the people to be reconciled to God. In other words, to become saved.
Listen, for many people, we are the closest they come to when it comes to knowing what God is like. Not just through our lifestyle, but in our words. We stand as representatives of God appealing to others to put their faith and trust in Him as their Lord and Savior.
So where are you on the spectrum of commitment to tell others about Jesus? Are you planning on sharing the Gospel with someone? Or do you care about that person you know who is unsaved?
Know your story, keep it concise. Use tracts to help present the Gospel. Live like His disciple!
Illustrate: tipping a server.
Video: “It’s your move.”
How much do you have to hate someone to not share the message of salvation from eternity in Hell?