Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Witnessing: Part 1

The Message We Carry As Christ’s Witnesses

“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, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

This is the message the Lord gave me to accentuate. I was told by the Lord Jesus Christ to write an article about Witnessing: Part I’. I have no idea what part II or even part III might entail. So, brace yourself and learn from the Lord! As you might have noticed on our website, I have written an article on witnessing as a foundation. This ministry is wholly given to witnessing, worshiping of our Lord and Bible teachings through this and other media. There might be a slight overlap of certain things written in the previous article, kindly bear with us. This is meant to benefit you anyway; the apostle Paul wrote “It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you” (Philippians 3: 1b NIV). The Lord at times has repeated the same things. He told us in the exact wording and some words are even emphasised in capital letters.

We therefore encourage you not to despise the message or teachings the Lord gave us to share with you. He loves you and wants you to DO His will so that you might inherit all His Good promises. What we share is not just information, but we are entrusted with a message to help you Become Christ-like. Furthermore, these teachings are for the humble and obedient, not for those who think they know everything. It is not our Biblical knowledge that will get us to enter the Kingdom of God, but being the doers of the word (James 1:22). The Lord has called us to have a child-like attitude and approach towards His will (Matthew 18:3-4). On the other hand, others think because they belong to this Church or that ministry, this message has nothing to do with me. My brothers and sisters, you are BADLY mistaken. All revealed TRUTH is for you, YOU! The BODY of believers are unified through the Holy Spirit and He distributed the gifts for the overall benefit of His BODY (1 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:16). Let NO man deceive you! You BELONG to Christ Jesus and you must serve and obey Him. I would like to close this paragraph with this question: “Are you sure by the way you are serving is from the Lord or what others told you? If it is from the Lord, is it Biblical and is it driven by a deep conviction from the Holy Spirit or just what we are taught to believe?

What is the Testimony of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples?

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NRSV).

This statement was released just before our Lord’s ascension to Heaven. Having been on earth for a brief period, the Lord Jesus Christ chose for Himself disciples or witnesses (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:14-19; Luke 6:13-16). The Lord’s disciples saw, heard and witnessed everything He did (John 17:6-19). He thus established the validity of His testimony through 12 men. Christ’s testimony is best summarized by these verses “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world be saved through Him. Those who believe in Him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:16-18 NRSV). This is what our Lord came to testify, that He was sent by our Heavenly Father to be the Savior of the world for the salvation of humanity and if obeyed and accepted, our reward would be eternal life. This was our Lord’s testimony and He came as a revealed witness (Revelation 3:14). He was the one chosen by the Eternal Father to fulfill man’s destiny and provided deliverance from the dominion of sin and Satan (John 1:29). As it is, John the Baptist, as a recognized prophet from God, came and testified about our Lord’s work (Luke 3:16-17). The testimony of John the Baptist as a witness about our Lord Jesus Christ was the most valid revelation of Christ’s identity (John 1:33). What further accentuates John’s testimony is the fact that he was promised and prophesied about in Scripture (Isaiah 40:3-5). He was a prophet and the crowds and leaders of the day recognized and identified with his message as from God (Luke 3:1-7; Luke 7:28). In summary, John the Baptist was sent to reveal the Lord Jesus Christ to the world through baptism and his testimony (John 1:19-35). Together, the witnessing of John the Baptist, that of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of God through the gifts of the Holy Spirit later confirmed and repeated by the disciples laid the foundation for our message that Jesus Christ is Lord and humanity’s only means of eternal salvation. “This salvation which was first announced by the Lord was confirmed to us by those who heard Him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will” (Hebrews 2:3-4 NIV).

There is therefore no other Gospel or message we must preach except about Christ crucified and resurrected (1 Corinthians 2:2). It is through this message that I have been saved and I testify about it. “I believe; therefore I have spoken” (2 Corinthians 4:13 NIV). Your message as a witness should not be different. We have compelling Scriptural evidence of this truth, Paul said: “For no-one can lay any other foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11 NIV). Moreover, another witness, Peter, testified saying: “Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). This is not a formulation of doctrine, nor is it something you don’t know. We are repeating it here for you because this is the message you kept quiet about. You witness and testify about this message!

The Testimony of the Disciples and Truly Obedient Saints

Since the time of our Lord’s ascension, He ordained and sent the disciples out to witness in their own territory and then to other part of their country and ultimately to the various parts of the world (Acts 1:8; Acts 13 & 14). They had no other message except the basic Gospel of salvation (Acts 2:36-41). The message of salvation, which was confined to Jerusalem, was rapidly spread through the fire of persecutions (Acts 8:1-40). Their message has gone out into the entire world and it reached us (Romans 10:18).

Brethren, as a fellow servant and witness to this Gospel of salvation, without deep going into Church history, the Church lost its mission and limit itself through the formulation of doctrines. This was done to partly protect the Church against internal and external threats. There were Church council meetings to establish rule of faith. This led to the Church becoming more defensive and our message was limited because of two things; persecutions and our lack of witnessing. Today, through the various sects within Christianity we are still defending even after well formulated doctrines. For further reading on the stages of the Church development please see “The Story of the Church” by A.M Renwick and A.M Harman 2nd Ed, and “The story of the Christian Church” by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut.

Throughout the ages, God raised up faithful men and women to proclaim the Gospel; The message is still being hindered by divisions and confusions with the source being Satan (Genesis 3:4-5). Today, more than ever in the history of mankind, the Bible is available in almost all the world’s languages. Yet the Bible is being used as a source book and good for historical information. Its teachings are being despised and man has applied its truths to become Christ-like and abstain from sin (Romans 12:1-2). It does not matter how Scripturally literate we are; it is the application of Scripture that saves (Romans 2:13). This is the basic formula for salvation in Christ Jesus leading to eternal life:

  • Faith in the sacrifice of God’s salvation (Romans 10:9-10; Acts 16:31; Acts 2:37-39).
  • Obedience towards God and Christ (John 12:47; John 10:27).
  • Become like Him through the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22; Colossians 3:1-17).

So then, from the Scriptures quoted above, the apostles proclaimed this basic message to all new believers and the rest of the Scriptures were to build them up in the faith (1 Peter 2:2). We preach the Gospel to attract man to Christ and not to a particular message (2 Corinthians 10:5; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21). This verse, and many other Scriptures, states the problem is SIN which was atoned for by Christ. Why do we hide behind our Church doctrines if the Scriptures clearly teach us as individuals what to witness about?

My brethren, we examined the Scriptures to arrive at the message the Lord gave us to witness about. This message from the Lord is given to appeal to the individual Christian. I therefore beseech you to seek the Lord in prayer regarding witnessing, and not your leader, unless for support. You have a conviction, you have a message, you have a testimony and you have the Lord (Matthew 28:19-20).

Brief Testimony of Witnessing and Why Some Believers Don’t Witness

We have a lot of testimonies on witnessing, but for the sake of time I will only mention a few recent ones. As is my custom, I arm myself with Gospel tracts with the basic message of salvation every day and I go out in the streets witnessing. I am not trying to commend myself to anyone, I love witnessing and this I do for the Lord. Recently, I spoke to an unbeliever and he told me that he does believe in God and that “God” was speaking to him in dreams warning him about wrong things. He went on to tell me that he does not believe that the Bible is the Word of God and neither does he believe in The Lord Jesus Christ. I challenged his thinking and I tried correcting him Scripturally, telling Him that his belief in God apart from Christ Jesus yields no eternal fruits. After a further discussion I left him with a few Gospel tracts and our contact details as I perceived his lack of Scriptural literacy and confusion.

Soon after my discussion with this man, I witnessed to a much younger man who showed understanding in the Scriptures. I was impressed with his Biblical knowledge, and I sensed the peace of Christ upon him. He was tormented by things in the Bible which we have no answers for, so I pointed out to him that God has concealed certain truths from us and what God made available is enough to keep us busy working on our salvation (Proverbs 25:2). He was relieved as I encouraged him on things that could build him in the faith. In witnessing, we sometimes think we should know everything, but we know in part, so share that part you know (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Some few nights ago, the Lord showed me in a dream how I was busy preaching to a group of people, among them were Muslims, born-again believers and normal Church going folk. The Lord showed me after the presentation of my message how each one of these people returned to their groupings. In the dream I heard myself saying: “Christ is the head of all things and He is above and before all things” (Colossians 15-23). After saying this I felt a deep rejection and alienation from some people in these groupings. I knew the Lord was preparing me for this message and some will continue in disobedience. I am not disturbed by this; I am called to be a witness to you. I am not ashamed of the Gospel. I witness to save souls from Hell (Romans 1:16-17).

Some believers are outright ashamed to witness; they say ‘what will others think or say about me?’ They will be rejected too (Luke 9:26). Others are disobedient (Jonah 1:3), while others live a hypocritical life and worldly life so they hide their testimony (Matthew 5:16). Still there are others who are prevented by their local Church to witness because they might be seen as dividing the Church or being independent (Mark 9:40).

In conclusion, whatever excuse you might have the Lord will judge you as an individual member of his body and not in accordance to your faithful Church attendance. If you bore no fruit, you will be told: “Throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30). Did you ever think there was no Scripture on the judgement of disobedient and non-witnessing Christians? Well, now you know!

The Lord once rebuked a sister in our ministry for complaining and using some excuses not to go out witnessing. He heard her murmuring so He rebuked and expelled her from our ministry. This precious sister immediately felt the Lord’s anger so she submitted herself, repented and a few weeks later the Lord restored her to our witnessing team. Similarly, many other people who had us inquire for them from the Lord were told to witness as obedience towards Him. This message applies to you, so stand up today and go witnessing!

Are you sure by the way you are serving is from the Lord or what others told you? Are you ashamed to share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ? Are you willing to be faithful witness? Please start by praying this Prayer of Sincere Repentance.

For questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Brother Glenn.