Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Always Be Ready to Witness

1 Peter 3:15
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

Here is the verse that shows me God wants us to always be ready to share the gospel. It can be done alone or with groups, planned or unplanned. 1 Peter 3:15 talks about responding to a question but I will present other Scriptures that discuss other ways of witnessing.

What does it mean to sanctify Christ as Lord? To put His purposes first and to give up in things in your life which get in the way of making Christ Lord.

Jude 3
Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.

Now that we are always to be ready to share the hope, we are also to contend earnestly for the faith. Now this verse does not ask us to do it all the time but it does imply we use the information we have learned and experienced to contend for the faith. Contending for the faith implies that we reason with others that disagree. Yes we are to do it in love and gentleness, but love does not ignore the glaring blindness the non-Christian is arguing with.

2 Timothy 4:2
preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

Preach the word in season and out of season. What is out of season? It is when people don't want to hear the topic. To preach something to someone that does not want to hear is hard. But it is what is commanded by God in this verse. One of the needs for Christian workers is to be prayed up. To have our heart pliable and humble. Then as we speak for Him we have that sweet spirit that will increase the chance that people will be able to listen to us.

Be ready and willing to preach out of season. I am reminded of Luke 12 which states to be dressed in readiness and keep your lamps alight. Being dressed in readiness and being ready to preach go hand in hand. We need a heart to listening for God.

Romans 1:16
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.

There is power in the gospel of Christ. It is not just intellectual ideas. God's spirit can break through a heart with His light. Being not ashamed has 2 elements. One we know that it has power and will penetrate the heart of a sinner to bring them to repentance. And 2 we have consecrated our hearts to serve God and not ourself. So what others think of us is no problem.

A note on consecration: for me this comes at times through fasting and prayer. I am not easily persuaded in the goodness of sharing the gospel. My choice is to hike in the park not to talk to people. So I need to spend time on my knees before I go out and share the gospel. This is good because I don't have any ability in myself to trust in myself. I must trust the spirit in my heart.

Matthew 5:14-16
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;
nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. “

One of the ways of sharing the gospel is to do good works before the world and they will see your love and be willing to listen to what you have to say. This ties in with James 3 that also says we should not spout out wisdom but show it by our works.

That is not to say we are not to share the gospel with others without works but works many times will open a door that would be closed otherwise.

Prov 11:30
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
And he who is wise wins souls.

One of the proofs of wisdom is winning souls. People talk a good talk but do they walk the walk that the Bible explains. Witnessing is a seeking for wisdom. If we have knowledge without love we are arrogant. To know the Bible without winning souls I would say is moving towards arrogance especially if we are not on our knees for the softening of our heart to find the move of the spirit to lead people on the road to an everlasting hell to the way of salvation. Why do I say this so strongly? Because if someone is on the way to hell and we don't attempt to share the way of life with them we do not have any love for them. Without love we become arrogant. 1 Cor 8:1

If we are not arrogant we are asleep. If we are asleep spiritually then we are open to attack from the enemy. An on fire Christian will have winning souls as a priority.

Lord I don't want to be arrogant or asleep. Let me be awake in you and seeking you for the fire of the Holy Spirit.