The Importance Of Christian Witnessing
Many Christians have already "packed up" to leave for Heaven, but work must continue for some of us and we encourage you to work, work. The end is not yet; it is still daytime, so we must work in the Lord's vineyard.
As a prelude to this article, it is said by world leaders, some religious groups and the one world religion advocacy groups that all faiths point essentially to the same God. Our Lord Jesus Christ categorically states: “I am the Way, and the Truth and the Life NO ONE (emphasis mine) comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6 NIV). One of the most significant endorsements of this eternal Truth is our Lord’s throne on the right-hand side of God the Father as our Advocate and Intercessor (Colossians 3:1; 1 John 2:1). Do any of the other faiths have a representation of God? I know of none.
We will briefly examine a few approaches to witnessing and possible hindrances. We base our teaching on a collective experience of more than 10 years involving more than 15 people and lately less than five people. During this time, the Lord acted as a “Coach” on a personal level to each one of us. Some of us needed more encouragement through rebukes, while some were commended by the Lord Jesus Christ as being faithful witnesses. If one is appraised as being a faithful witness by the Lord, since we know the Lord’s testimony is higher and valid, it therefore would mean the individuals concerned had consistently and obediently witnessed at every opportunity.
Honestly, we did not like and welcome the idea of witnessing especially at night, we reasoned through a deep conviction that if we do not go and witness in obedience to the Lord, we might as well forfeit our salvation. Yes! You heard correctly, forfeit our salvation because serving the Lord means being OBEDIENT even if it caused inconvenience. We could not bear the condemnation of our conscience, this was the Lord Jesus Christ speaking and commanding. There are numerous Biblical examples of people who went through the severe test and life-threatening situations to obey God (Genesis 22:1-18; Exodus 3:1-22; 2 Corinthians 11:22-33). We were confronted by a similar choice, that of obedience. The week before we went witnessing, I boldly announced to the team of my wife and I’s determination to go witnessing even if it meant just the two of us.
Consequently, from a team of 14 people that prayed with us only four volunteered to witness with my wife and I. As for the others, they offered all kinds of excuses and left. We relied on some of these brethren who left to transport us. Since the distance from our house to the area designated by the Lord was about 2 Kilometres away. This was very discouraging, but we were determined to obey the Lord and He graciously provided us with transport. The Lord does not take kindly to excuses, one sister was rebuked by the Lord for her love of excuses and this made us cautious. He expects His children to respond in obedience (Matthew 21:28-31).
Scripturally, we have evidence that the Lord rewards FAITHFULNESS and Him being the Faithful Witness and Shepherd of the Flock, He promised to be with us until the end of time (Matthew 25:21; Matthew 28:20; Revelation 1:5). The Lord, in His sinless nature, concerned Himself more on doing the work of our Heavenly Father (John 4:34-35). He did not seek to do His own will but He was faithfully obedient to the Father (Matthew 26:39; Philippians 2:6-11. With this in mind, we are admonished to have the same attitude as that of our Lord Jesus Christ — that of unquestionable obedience (Philippians 2:5).
While it is good and acceptable to learn from the experiences of others, especially if we are being edified, Biblical examples of obedience should be our benchmark (1 Corinthians 10:11). The Lord has purposely provided a written record of teachings and His dealing with people so that all future generations can learn and obey. As a follower and believers in Christ Jesus, we have an obligation to witness. The scriptures address you and me as an individual, and we will be judged individually (Romans 2:6; Matthew 24:14). So your response should be to obey!
We should witness because of the CROSS and to warn and save souls from going to HELL! (John 3:16-18; Romans 6:23). Man’s greatest need is to be forgiven of his sins. Believers or witnesses GO out presenting the gospel of salvation with the sole purpose of warning people that God the Creator, is also Judge, and He will hold us accountable if we do not Repent of our sins and accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour (Acts 3:19; Romans 10:9-10). We also witness to tell people “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV). As humans, we have a sin problem and sin brought guilt, guilt points to an offence and an offence awaits judgement (Romans 3:11-12). While the points considered below are not exhaustive accounts, they list among the most basic and serious. We, therefore, witness to:
- Tell people, we all have sinned and need a saviour “We have redemption through His blood….” No BLOOD No FORGIVENESS of sins (Colossians 1:14; Romans 3:23; Hebrews 9:22).
- Warn people that God is going to Judge us and hold us accountable for things we have done and said and if guilty ultimately result in Hell and a lake of fire punishment (Romans 2:6-11; John 3:17-18; Revelation 20:12-15; Hebrews 9:27).
- Point people to a Saviour and so escape God’s Judgement (John 3:18; Romans 10:13; Acts 16:31).
- Teach and correct people to lead a life of obedience in Christ (Matthew 28:19; 1 Timothy 4: 11-16; 2 Timothy 3:16).
- Proclaim to people that we will receive the crown of eternal life and immeasurable Heavenly rewards for believing in and obeying Christ Jesus (John 3:16; Revelation 2:7, 10, 26).
Furthermore, our witnessing was not just confined to our official calling to witness in areas designated by the Lord; He also admonished us to witness to our own families, colleagues and people in our immediate vicinity. In short, we live a witnessing lifestyle. Right now, my wife and I just arrived from visiting a widow who lost her husband recently. We took some gospel tracts and went witnessing on our way to her. We derive pleasure and joy from witnessing. This is our happiness, not the world or its material wealthy. Souls for the Kingdom of God are our business. We encourage you to do likewise. Beloved brothers and sisters, YOU DO NOT NEED THE CHURCH OR THE PASTOR’S PERMISSION TO WITNESS IT IS YOUR INDIVIDUAL CALLING AND RESPONSIBILITY TO BE A WITNESS.
I am stressing this because many, many believers are discouraged by their pastors not to witness. The command to witness has to come from them, this is wicked and unscriptural. God is calling you and the Scriptures are addressing you as an individual and not just the church leadership. They do not have a different Bible. We all get our instructions from the same Bible. I do encourage the unity of purpose and as a body, we collectively participate in all Church activities, but we are equally called as individual members who have a responsibility to witness, pray and bear fruit (Matthew 20:1-16). I am not encouraging rebellion here. You must witness. When the earlier church was persecuted, they did not wait for the apostles to give them a command to witness wherever they were scattered, but they witnessed for they had the word of truth with them and signs followed (Acts 8: 4-8). I was once labelled as having an independent spirit when I went out witnessing with a few friends on a Saturday afternoon. One pastor, instead of sharing my joy told me he would have rebuked me if he knew I took some of his members with me to witness. We went out not as against the Church, but as witnesses (Mark 9:40). In his thesis to the Catholic Church, Martin Luther – the reformer, loosened the grip of bondage the Church had over the conscience of the individual believers and preached a gospel of saving grace through personal faith.
Kindly allow me to add this. Today, certain scriptures are being used to bind believers into submission to church rules. Those scriptures apply to the unity of service as a body of believers (Hebrews 13:17; 1Thessalonians 5:12-13), and not as much as a general rule. This is for collective unity and “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining…” (Ephesians 4:13). Likewise our Lord Jesus also said: “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). Hold on! I am not done yet, we are to submit in obedience while we are being taught until we ‘reach unity in faith' and ‘be like our teacher’. This then is not a life-long submission unless you have chosen to remain an infant in the faith and ‘bury your talent’ (Matthew 25:17-18). I HAVE WARNED YOU! Before I conclude kindly allow me to stress this point; I know of many ineffective brethren who are still waiting for a ‘Word’ from the Lord before they witness. Let me tell you, you do not need a calling from the Lord to testify about your faith. This is your natural answer to those ‘who ask you to give the reason for the hope that you have…’ (1 Peter 3:15). This is your testimony, and you must GO and “tell how much God has done for you” (Luke 8:39). Heaven is populated through the testimony of individual believers who respond in obedience and go out witnessing (Acts 8:4).
“Therefore GO and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). This gospel is for all people everywhere and all believers are called to witness. We show no fear or favour when presenting the message of faith. The apostle Paul in his zeal to take the good news to people, targeted every kind of group, and religious belief (Acts 17; Acts 18:4). Some believers get discouraged to witness to some denominational groups within the Christian sect. While I recognise that it is somewhat very difficult to witness ‘religious’ people, we must not be discouraged to present the gospel to them. The Holy Spirit convicts all people (John 16:8). There are dozens of testimonies about people who either followed a cult or some other religion who got saved through witnessing and testimonies.
Our first witnessing assignment from the Lord was to go into our own community and immediate neighbourhood. Like the disciples, we witnessed door-to-door with gospel tracts. If we found no one home we would leave a tract in their mailboxes or by the fence. I strongly encouraged our witnessing team not to allow anyone to pass without us being a witness to them. Some church folk labelled us ‘mad’, but if it is to save souls, Praise the Lord! I have no problem being called names. This was our ‘Jerusalem’ (Acts 1:8) and soon after we finished our community, we thought our work was completed, but the Lord now sends us to our neighbouring towns and suburbs.
Being based in South Africa as a multiracial society, the Lord sends us to all racial and religious groups. The language was not a problem as most South Africans speak and read English. We also have witnesses who are fluent in more than one language and this serves as a great advantage to our message. If you go out as a sole witness, target your language group. God is sending you to those who understand you.
the Lord once gave Charis a vision about a friend I knew personally; in fact, I drank with him when I followed the pattern of the world. This friend’s family adhered to the old apostolic teachings. He had no idea about the doctrinal differences churches have, he just believed in the God of the Bible. I witnessed him on many occasions. If you wish to read more about this way of belief please go to Google and search “Old Apostolic Church - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.”
Anyway, I went up to this friend and told him what the Lord has shown Charis, he was convicted and believed the warning (to stop smoking marijuana, drink alcohol and accept Christ as Lord and Saviour). He gave his heart to the Lord. I subsequently blessed him with a Bible and encouraged him to attend church, and to read and pray daily. Because he was chronically sick, he stopped indulging in addictive habits. The Lord promised to heal him and He gave me a message through Charis to preach about “healing in Christ.” His sister, who is a strong follower of this sect, vehemently opposed him so he decided not to attend our meeting. I was deeply discouraged and we asked the Lord what we should do to get him to our meetings, the Lord responded by saying that we must not be discouraged and we should just continue to pray for him. I also continued to encourage this brother to seek the Lord in obedience. The Lord in His Faithfulness touched this brother and we witnessed his health improving drastically as he started putting on weight. Unfortunately, He got involved with his old friends and went back to his former habits, some three (3) months later he suddenly died fulfilling the prophetic vision the Lord showed Charis.
In conclusion, why wait? So pray and take your Bible and a few gospel tracts or CDs and GO! Starting first in your neighbourhood or witnessing to colleagues, friends and immediate family members can be a great start, they will reject your message ridicule and discourage you, but confidence and faith grow through these tests (Acts 7:1-60).