The Tabernacle Scroll
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth” [Acts 1: 8 NIV, emphasis mine].
Jesus spoke these words to his Apostles immediately before he was taken up bodily into heaven. They have become the mandate for every true believer. A true believer is a disciple, and consequently is one who is commissioned. If you are a believer, the task of telling others the good new of salvation is not optional!
However, you are not commissioned to extract a confession of faith from anyone, simply to tell the gospel. It is the Holy Spirit who brings about the conversion of a person’s soul. You and I are simply the carriers of the good tidings. Our zeal must, therefore, be accompanied with wisdom. Let me explain.
Firstly, though we are not of the world, we are in the world. Our testimonies must not be borne out by mere words but by our very lives. As Christians we must penetrate the society in which we live. Jesus socialized with the irreligious, whereas we tend to enjoy each other’s company at the expense of those outside. In doing this we are like ‘salt that has lost its flavour’. You see, there can be no lasting influence in the lives of those we witness to if there is no sustained and loving contact. Bumper stickers, tee shirts, lapel buttons and the like are cheap gimmicks that may attract attention, but fall terribly short of earning us the right to speak.
Secondly, much of the language that Christians use in ‘witnessing’ amount to nothing more than spiritual jargon, totally unintelligible to the outsider. “Are you washed in the blood?” will do more to terrify and alienate an unbeliever than help him to understand the essence of the gospel, which is eternal life for all who believe in Jesus. Keep the message as it is – simple and uncluttered. The use of plain speech to ordinary people has always been God’s way of communication.
Thirdly, Christians must learn that respect for the other person provides a healthy ground for discussion and presentation of the Christian truths. Remember what Scripture says? “ The Lord’s servant must not quarrel. Instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to instruct, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will (2 Tim 2:24).
Truth’s companions are Grace and Love. Truth without Grace is mere dogma. Love that shuns Truth is only sentiment. Keep the balance!
www.kerysso.org-Preach The Word with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues