Category Archives: 3) A Witness to the World

A Witness to the World

Therefore said he unto them, 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 Bible repeatedly tells us that our purpose here on earth is to glorify God. What does it mean to “glorify God”? To glorify means to give weight, importance, relevance, and priority, the opposite of trivializing and dismissing. We glorify God by worship, praise, and obedience; but the most consequential way to glorify God is to impress upon the world the incomprehensible magnificence of his love toward us and the critically important message of salvation by faith in his son Jesus Christ. Working to make God the most important thing in the lives of others is to dramatically glorify God. We do this by being a witness to the world of his perfect will


Salt and Light

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16

We are the salt and light to reach the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ. These metaphors depict the impact and influence of Christians on an increasingly ignorant and immoral world.

As salt, the effect of the Christian character is as a preservative to slow societal decay. This silent testimony, evident by how we live, is a bulwark against the corruption and evil thriving in our increasingly godless society. We are an agency for the delay of God’s inevitable judgment. Read Genesis 18:23-33 Watch what happens when the church is removed from the world.

As light, we are the visible communication of the content of the gospel. We are to be an overt and blatant influence by boldly presenting the light of hope and salvation in the word of God. But we must be salt first, living a life that demonstrates Christian character, before we can be light. Otherwise, our story is not believable. Light is good only when seen. If the gospel is kept to yourself or shared only among the saved, then the lost will stay lost. Jesus tells us to teach all nations, Read Matthew 28:19-20 so let your light shine to the world, be an effective witness and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew warns us that failure to be salt and light is possible, if not probable. If sin controls our lives because we do not live in the spirit, then we will not be salt or light. Submit to God, resist Satan, live a holy life, and you will be the salt and light of the earth.

Effective Evangelism

And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Matthew 4:19

Evangelism is to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, with the hope that the Holy Spirit will compel our audience to repent and trust in him. Our evangelistic work is made credible by a holy life (when we are salt) or discredited when we are no different than those who pursue the shiny things of the world. To execute effective evangelism is not difficult since God carries the load, but man can complicate the effort with unwise philosophies, techniques, or programs. The instinct of some is to confront the lost and hit them over the head with a heavy bible while telling them that failure to repent means an eternity in the fire of hell.  The gospel of Jesus delivered with condescending; pious judgment seldom yields the desired result.

What follows are the elements that produce effective evangelism. These concepts are from scripture, experience, and from the excellent example of bold and effective evangelism in my brother-in-law, Jim. A towering Christian, he has done great good for the kingdom of God and is a man to imitate.

The Power for Salvation is in the Word of God.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Romans 1:16-17

To those with a hard heart, wise in the world but dead to the spirit, the word of God is nonsense. Read I Corinthians 1:18 But to those who are drawn, receptive and contrite, the word holds the divine power to do what man cannot do for himself. That is to be accredited with righteousness in the eyes of God and be saved from his condemnation and wrath, by trust and faith in his son Jesus Christ. Therefore, use the word when proclaiming the gospel of Christ, because in the scriptures lives the power of God.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

To do this, obviously, you should know what is in the bible. Yet another reason, perhaps the best reason, to live in the word. Godly character joined with a command of the scriptures will produce an effective and formidable evangelist. How blessed is he who gives God an awesome resource to reach the lost!

The message is simple and elusively profound. I love the “Romans Road to Salvation” from Paul’s masterpiece of the Christian faith to present the salient points of the gospel:

  • For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God – Romans 3:23. Not even one person on earth is righteous, we all need a savior.
  • For the wages of sin is death; – Romans 6:23. We are all headed to judgment, condemnation, and an eternity in the agony of hell.
  • But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 6:23. Christ paid the price for our sin on the cross and those who believe and trust in him will be saved from the condemnation and wrath to come. The sacrifice of his son for those who are naturally his adversaries testifies to God’s great love for us. But know that to “believe and trust” requires repentance (a change of direction) from the sin of your current life and complete devotion to Christ as Lord for the rest of your time here on earth. 
  • That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. – Romans 10:9-10. To “believe in thine heart” is the key. If so, then pray to God in confession, give your life to Christ and your sins will be forgiven and you will be declared righteous in his eyes (this is justification).

The message is that simple. The truth of the gospel is further distilled to its essence in the best know verse in the bible:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

I think it is important that John 3:16 also be understood in the context of the last verse of the chapter. You should know that the choices you make have consequences.

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:36

Use scripture to convey the message. It is the work of the Holy Spirit that brings salvation, so make the case and then leave it to God. The instinct to apply pressure is not beneficial and most often drives people away. My feeling is that scriptures applied in the brotherly love of relationship is most effective but pray for opportunity and follow the prodding of the Holy Spirit.

Deliver the Message of Salvation like a Christian.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. 1 Peter 3:15

Be alert and ready to take advantage of the opportunity to tell people the good news of Jesus Christ. When the door is opened (and pray that it is), give that message holding tight to the elements of Christian character. This verse in Peter is in response to those who persecute. To answer “the reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” is to answer with gentleness and respect. If we are to engage those who are hostile with kindness, we should then certainly do the same for those with whom we are at peace. When presenting the message, strive to embody and present the fruit of the spirit! Read Galatians 5:22 Avoid the attitudes that repel – judgment, condescension, threat, pious superiority, disingenuous, flippant, etc. Know that if you offend them, you will lose them. Read I Corinthians 9:19-23 Do not strive to demonstrate your zeal for the faith, do nothing to serve a religious ego. Your objective is to say, “come and see”, not “stay away!” So, deliver the message in sincere love and hope, and let God do with it what he will.

Living in a Pagan Culture

As our profane society rejects God and races to become increasingly secular and depraved, how should we as Christians live and interact with godless people? Paul tells the answer to his fellow disciple, Titus, in these verses:

Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;  Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. Titus 3:1-8

Living as a minority among the lost, we are told to remember our duty. That is to be a witness of God’s love and his perfect will, showing that God can save them from their sin by demonstrating a saved life. We do this by embodying characteristics of Christ in our conduct:

  • Obedience to rulers and institutions – to be a good citizen.
  • Be ready to do good! – to serve and love our neighbors, especially the lost.
  • To speak no evil – to not curse them or wish on them God’s wrath or to slander them.
  • To not brawl (fight) with them – no contention, to not retaliate or to seek vengeance.
  • To be gentle and kind – we must remember that these are the people that we are to love and to reach for Christ.

We are told to do this in humility as we remember that we too are sinners. It is only by the grace of God that our sin is forgiven, and we are to feel compassion for these lost souls, not dispensing hurtful criticisms of imagined superiority. In the verses, Paul gives us the characteristics of the depravity of man, in which we were once willing participants, and are so clearly evident in our world today. The absence of these in our lives set us apart from the world:

  • Foolish – ignorant of the truth in God’s word and instead pursuing the error of the world.
  • Disobedient – following their own desires, contrary to the laws of God.
  • Deceived – believing the lies of Satan, that it is preferable to live without God and that sin is accomplished without penalty.
  • Serving diverse lust and pleasures – slaves to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Pursing their own comfort and pleasure, living their best lives now, looking forward to an eternity in hell.
  • Living in malice and envy – malice is the desire to do evil, an ill will towards others. Envy is the discontent and resentment of coveting other’s possessions, qualities or luck. Not a good way to live!
  • Hateful and hating one another – no love for their fellow man. Distrust, self-serving, and happy to hurt for gain.

We are told to remember our salvation. We who believe were made righteous by the grace of God through his son Jesus. We are now heirs and citizens of the kingdom of God (no longer of the world, but now aliens here for a while) with the hope of eternal life. We should be grateful and strive to bring those who are lost to Christ so they can be saved too.

We are told to remember our mission. Our purpose here on earth is to reach lost people with the gospel. We should know it is futile to strive to change the culture, norms, values, and behaviors of the lost by logic, persuasion, or force; only Christ can change them. We are to reject the sin of our society, but we cannot become enemies of the very people we are to win for him. We are to “affirm constantly” the truth of the gospel, while demonstrating a saved, transformed life. Doing these things will be “good and profitable unto men,” meaning to save their souls from hell and instead to eternal joy.

Pearls Before Swine

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. Matthew 7:6

God is intolerant of rejection. Read Romans 1:21-25 He is always receptive to repentance but if you choose to reject the word, God will quickly turn you over to yourself. Disastrous choices are the downside of free will! When you have given someone the good news and they reject it, especially with caustic loathing, then leave them alone. You have done your part and should no longer give that which is holy and precious to dogs or pigs. This is the sad but necessary balance to bold evangelism!