I reflected today on the occasion quite a few years ago when I was made a Deacon at our then local church. After I joined the leadership team of our fellowship, a meeting was arranged with the pastor to go through the specifics of the role. We went through the qualifications for the position of a Deacon that are 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
The whole of this book relates in one way or another to witnessing or evangelism. With that in mind I thought it would be interesting to clarify 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 love.
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. They are going in the wrong direction, or 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! Why would God, who is perfect, entrust imperfect people 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.”
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
and in all Judea and ,
and to the end of
the earth.” Acts 1: 8 Samaria
Be a Servant: You will be required to 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.
This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” Acts 16:17
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 gratitude 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!