Jesus stated clearly his purpose to Pilate, the Roman authority in Jerusalem in his day:
He reiterates this in his glorified state to John the Revelator, too:
In the first installment of this series, I recommended the following which was Tweeted from our church account (follow us @DanforthCC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram):
If we're really going to be Jesus' disciples - which essentially and irrevocably means "being an imitator" - then we, too, must be witnesses. He was a witness to the truth. We to will be witnesses to the truth.
But why don't we?
Patrick Morley in his book The Man in the Mirror shares a list of common excuses. I've used some of these. Which have you used?
I know I should be witnessing more. I have the desire, but I don’t do it. I allow other things to get in the way. (Yep. That's me. You, too?)
I just don’t feel like it’s my responsibility. (That's the pastor's/church's/evangelists'/missionaries' job, not mine)
I don’t know any non-Christians. (Really? That's not like Jesus at all. He hung out with not-yet-believers all the time. He couldn't be a witness to the truth without it. Neither can we.)
I’m too busy. I just can’t afford the time. (Yep. That's me, too.)
It’s just easier to not risk offending someone. (This one is very common in Canada today!)
I’m so uncomfortable. I’d be so embarrassed.
I had a bad experience…don’t want to do that again!
It could be too costly to my career.
I’ve been told not to talk about religion at work.
I feel ill-equipped. I just don’t know what to say.
Me? You’re kidding! Who’d ever listen to me?!
The thought is terrifying to me. I could never do it.
Or, did Morley miss yours? What will you insert here?
To turn the corner, begin acting with true faith imitating Jesus and being his witness, starts with what's in our heads and hearts. If we don't believe something, then we won't do it. That's the essential test of faith that James talks about in his gospel: If you don't do it, it's not real faith.
So, to help us get our heads - and thus our hearts, too - into the game of imitating Jesus as a witness, Morley shares these 5 CONVICTIONS:
The single most important need people have is to know Jesus Christ personally. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” ~ Acts 4:12
A Christian should feel a certain sense of urgency to tell the good story. Peter and John replied (to the Jewish council), “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” ~ Acts 4:19-20
People will listen only to someone they trust. “Be wise in the way you act toward outsider; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasons with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” ~ Colossians 4:5-6
People will consider us credible on the basis of their values, not ours. Therefore, we must earn their respect by the way we live. “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasons with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” ~ Colossians 4:5-6
To speak well we must prepare in advance. “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
And it's #5 that really gets us: If we have no intention of being a witness, we won't prepare. If we do intend to be a true faith imitator of Jesus and be a witness, we prepare ourselves in obedience to 1 Peter 3:15 (and other passages) to do so.
One of the best ways to be prepared is to take a small New Testament and/or Gospel tracts with you. Have a tract in your wallet always. A New Testament in your car/purse/backpack/briefcase/etc always.
And another way to always be prepared is the card that was inserted into your bulletin on Sunday. Did you miss that? It's the header image for this blog posting. Print it and use it for yourself. List 3 people you already have some level of relationship with. Then begin following the three steps on the card: a) Ask the Holy Spirit daily to work in their hearts, preparing them; b) for yourself, asking for faith, wisdom and boldness (all three) to be Jesus' witness to them; and c) for opportunity to share, even if it takes creating that opportunity ... like Jesus did with the Samaritan woman and her entire village when he said, "I must go through Samaria"!
May the Lord bless you as you take these steps of true faith to better be Jesus' witness! Be sure to reply in the comments section, sharing your faith adventures.