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I reflected today on the occasion that was quite a few years ago when I joined the leadership team at our local church. A meeting was soon arranged for me to meet with the pastor to go through the specifics of the role. We discussed at length the qualifications for the position as listed in Timothy 3: 8-12. At the end of our time together he handed me a couple of sheets of paper that laid out in great detail the actual role and responsibilities that I been given. This ensured that there was complete clarity regarding the position bestowed upon me, which was a big help.
Key Point: We should labour out of our love for Jesus
Witnessing is a command that we should all take very seriously. But it should not be a chore but rather a labour of love. When we truly love someone we will put them first. I can give you a simple example from my own experience.
On a very cold night last winter, my wife Desiree and I were about to retire to bed when she remembered that she had left something very important in her car. She was in her pyjamas and dressing gown at the time and asked me if would go outside and get it for her. I immediately opened our curtains and looked out to see heavy rain being blown sideways by very strong winds. I then remembered that her car was parked at the back of our house at the end of our quite long lawn. I answered, “It’s pouring down outside, is it really that important”? She explained that it was and that she really needed it. I made another excuse and she replied, “OK, I will get dressed and get it myself”. Well, you won’t be surprised to learn that I ended up sprinting to her car and back to the house in quick time, returning soaking wet with the important item in hand.
My point is that I didn’t do that because I was ordered to. I did it out of love, nothing else. Sharing what Jesus has done for you and me should be done out of an even greater love. After all, He died in our place so that we might live. With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to clarify some of the responsibilities that we, as believers, have to the lost. I am not talking about labouring for Christ as work, because whatever we do for Him should be done out of our great affection and gratitude for the sacrifice He made.
First of all, we do need to be clear on who ‘the lost’ are. We are talking about people who the Bible describes as walking “through the wide gate”, whether they realise this or not. It therefore make sense to say that they are going in the wrong direction. I they were not, they wouldn’t be ‘lost’.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.” Matthew 7: 13
We know well from Scripture that the Lord has a desire that everyone would come to know His Son.
“That the Lord desires that all men be saved: For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3-4
The incredible thing about this is that He chose us to reach people! The question that I often ask myself is, “Why would God, who is perfect, entrust imperfect people like me and you with the message of salvation”? His ways are higher than ours as scripture says.
Below I have listed out some of the believer’s ‘job description’ in relation to witnessing. It is presented in a similar way that my responsibilities as a deacon were given to me:
WITNESSING & EVANGELISM:
Part of your role as a believer is to tell others about the message of salvation. Remember that Jesus said:
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” John 14-16.
When you obey, the Holy Spirit will be with you and empower you.
Be a Labourer: First and foremost, you are to work as a witness amongst people you know, or come into contact with, always being prepared to share the message of salvation.
“Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.”
Be a Witness: You are to be a faithful witness. You should be able to share your story detailing the account of how you came to Christ, as well as being able to effectively share the reasons why people must be saved.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1: 8
Be a Servant: Perform the work of a servant of the Lord. We are commanded by the Lord to proclaim the good news – even in the face of adversity and opposition.
“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” Matthew 5: 16
Be a Discerning Believer: You will need to walk in wisdom towards people who don’t know Christ, being ready ‘in season and out of season’.
“Using wisdom to take advantage of the opportunities to share Christ.” Colossians 4:5
Be a ready and willing witness: You must always be prepared to share your own story of salvation or be able to share the Gospel in a way that your listener(s) can relate to.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3: 15
This is by no means an exhaustive list. You may well have other scriptures that you could use. We know the Lord doesn’t give us job instructions in this way, but we should be willing to carry out tasks like these, not because we have to, but purely and simply out of thankfullness for the work of the cross.
I again say that it is clear that we are not all called to be evangelists, but we are all commanded to be witnesses. The Holy Spirit will be with us every time we witness for Christ, plus He will empower and guide us.
Let’s not end up in heaven having hardly ever shared our faith!
Are you willing to be used by the Lord?