October 14, 2016

What it means to be a witness

At least one well-known theologian says a careful reading of the New Testament will reveal how little is said about soul-winning. Instead, Christians are to witness to the life of Christ and teach others what He has taught them.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18–20)

This above-mentioned theologian pointed out that with Christ the kingdom of God had come, mostly hidden from view, but is becoming more visible as Christians demonstrate with their changed lives what it means to be a child of God. He also notes that most of the spiritual conversions in the New Testament were people who came by the thousands to ask Jesus’ followers what had happened to them.

Even the above verses, often called “The Great Commission,” do not tell us to evangelize, but “as you are going” be making disciples. Chambers adds that the Lord will take care of the going —He will place us where He wants us to be, and wherever I am I must teach others from my life and personal experience of Jesus Christ.

Jesus also tells me to abide in Him. I am aware of the difference between that and focusing on my personal interests. Abiding in Him produces spiritual fruit. When I realized that spiritual fruit is missing, I know I have strayed and must come back to Him, abide in Him, keep short accounts with Him, be renewed in Him, rely on Him for everything.

Jesus also said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

As Chambers points out, Jesus didn’t tell His disciples to go to those places, but what kind of people they would be. In following Him, their lives would be a witness to His grace and power. People became curious and many wanted what they had.

My life is to be like that, not because I am consciously trying to be like Jesus, but as I abide in Him He makes it happen. As I change, people will ask what has happened to me.

As Chambers also says (quoting Jesus), “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you . . . .” then he adds that this is the way to keep going in my personal life. Where I am placed does not matter; God engineers that part. What I am doing isn’t as important as how I do it.

I’m not to be concerned about the temporary stuff but make Him and His kingdom a priority, gladly following His lead in all of life. That response alone is a testimony to how He has created new life in me. Being content where He puts me, being able to say, “None of these things move me” when trials come, being joyful in Him — all of that is how to keep going until I am gone!

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