Sunday, 29 July 2012

Can you stop talking for a minute?

When you come into contact with people, do they know that you have been with Jesus? Is there something about you that causes people to wonder why you are different? 

This is a big challenge for us all in many ways. My point here is to ask you if there is more that you can do to be an effective witness for Christ. It is likely that we could be more compassionate, more prayerful and more loving if we follow the example Jesus gave us. In the light of the scriptures below, we could also aim to be more like Peter and John. What do you think?

When we understand the love of Christ and what He did through His atoning sacrifice at Calvary on our behalf, we undergo a life changing experience. This, in addition to spending time with God in prayer and through reading His Word, the Bible, changes us – doesn’t it?

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 4: 13

Do people take note that you have been with Jesus?

The experience of having the Holy Spirit literally coming to dwell in our hearts when we accept Jesus is nothing short of a miracle.  The fact that we, in that instant, move from death to life though making Jesus Lord of our lives, changes us forever. To realise that Jesus died on the cross to purchase our forgiveness, save us from a lost eternity and that He remains with us forever, is almost too much to take in. The life changing experience alters our feelings for those that don’t know Him as Lord -  doesn’t it?

“Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4: 18-20

Has your experience of what Jesus has done for you make it so that you cannot stop talking about what you have seen or heard?

There are days when people can see something different in me, and days when I feel like I could shout from the mountain tops declaring the wondrous works of the cross. But the truth is there are other days when I don’t feel or act that way and when I don’t witness as I should and pass over opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel.
The scripture where Peter tells the Sanhedrin that he couldn’t help speaking about what they had seen or heard has been on my heart. Shouldn’t it be an example for us to follow? Was it just for the disciples?

Key Point: We need to be honest with ourselves and ask the question “Do people know that I have been with Jesus?”

Imagine for a moment that a law was brought into this country where being a believer in Christ meant that you would be thrown into prison, or even put to death for professing the exclusivity of Christ as the only way to heaven. The second part of this hypothetical situation would be that you are able to meet at church in secrecy every week. So in other words, no one that you know has the knowledge that you attend church at all.

If you live your life the way you do now, remembering the fact that no one knows you attend church, would there be enough evidence against you proving beyond all doubt that you are a Christian, which would lead to your conviction?

Honestly, would people know that you have been with Jesus?

Would your friends, family, neighbours, works colleagues, fellow students and many besides be able to present evidence against you such as the following? :

·        You were seen declaring your faith on a regular basis
·        Seen distributing tracts
·        Giving food to the poor in the name of Jesus
·        Reported for sharing your testimony

Reading the scripture has made me examine what I do, how I live and how I share the most important news of all. I fail and mess up on many occasions and know I could do a better job.

I thank God for His grace and forgiveness. He wants all men to hear the Gospel and desires that all men would be saved. Amazingly He chooses to reach them through you and me. He has given us command to follow that involves us sharing the gospel in word and deed.

If we are nervous, we can pray and He will give us boldness. If we don’t think we know enough, we can read His word and the Holy Spirit will bring scriptures to our remembrance. If we need examples to follow, there are plenty to be found in the Bible. We have everything we need. All we have to do is to be obedient to the commands that Jesus so clearly gave us.

I am not suggesting that we all stand on the street corner proclaiming the Gospel, or be like a good friend of mine, who goes on a karaoke machine to share the love of Jesus in bars and nightclubs. I just write this to ask you a question -

Is there more that you could do?