What is a witness? By definition it is a person who sees an event take place. It’s also evidence or proof of something. This is the noun definition. The verb definition goes something like this: To give or serve as evidence of; testifying to.
Wow…powerful descriptions when we consider that Christians are supposed to be a ‘witness’ of who Jesus is and what He has done for them. Christians are supposed to ‘witness’ or ‘testify regarding the evidence of’ their changed life and the power of God. If this so, then why don’t they? Why aren’t we? Why aren’t we being the witnesses we are supposed to be as the Word of God entails and as Jesus commanded? This continues to be a point of main concern with the modern church today. Let’s look at some scriptural evidence indicting us of our current trespass:
‘Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.’ -Matt 28:18-20a/NIV
‘He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’-(Mark 16:15-16/NIV
‘He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”’ -Luke 24:46-49/NIV
‘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
Here we have four excerpts of scripture where Jesus is giving the mandate-the instruction-the mission-for believers to share the Gospel. So why don’t we? I will attempt to share some thoughts on this subject and one of the things I believe is a problem today.
First, I believe the pastor(s) of churches need to be soul winners themselves. Everything flows from the top down. Just because a person is a pastor, doesn’t exclude them from personally sharing the Gospel with those around them. They are a Christian first, pastor second. So they should model what they want to reproduce. Secondly, I think a lot of churches do promote winning souls but…their method of winning souls and sharing the Gospel isn’t Christians going out and sharing the Gospel and getting people saved. No, it’s the following mantra, ‘Bring your friends and family to church to get saved!’. Now in my younger days as a Christian, I did this. I would invite sinners to my church in hopes they would get saved. That was okay at the time for I was a baby Christian and just learning. God’s grace is there for the immature and He will use whatever we have to give to reach people. But as we mature in the Lord, we need to start sharing our faith with people personally. This means talking about Jesus with those we come in contact with: whether at our jobs, at the convenience store, at our kids sports, or more formally so as we get involved in outreach and direct evangelistic ministry. Sharing our faith is NOT just telling people we are a Christian and inviting them to church. I’m sorry and I may ruffle some feathers with that statement but that just is not Biblical and honestly it’s just plain lazy. Problem is, many pastors and even lay church leaders today promote this very thing. They preach from the pulpits to their congregation to “go and invite someone next week to service”. Since when was the assembly of the saints supposed to always be an evangelistic outreach session?
If our churches are always targeting services to reach the lost, how do the saints ever grow and mature in their faith? When do they get taught? Now the church can provide additional classes and training sessions in the Word but honestly, why? Why do all that extra having to supplement what should already be there? (Of course I’m all for extra training and teaching classes but my point lies with having to add these in order to overcompensate for the lack of Biblical instruction present in the regular services.) Why are pastors providing a disservice to their congregants by telling them to just bring people to church to get saved??? The pastors job is to shepherd the sheep-not just to evangelize the lost every Sunday. Now the pastor may have a dual calling upon their life to evangelize as well and they can most definitely engage in that during their sermons, in outreach and in their personal witnessing but their job as a pastor is to teach, instruct and train up the body of Christ for works of service. Let’s look at what the Bible says: (I love looking at what the Bible says, don’t you?)
‘ And [His gifts to the church were varied and] He Himself appointed some as apostles [special messengers, representatives], some as prophets [who speak a new message from God to the people], some as evangelists [who spread the good news of salvation], and some as pastors and teachers [to shepherd and guide and instruct], [and He did this] to fully equip and perfect the saints (God’s people) for works of service, to build up the body of Christ [the church]; until we all reach oneness in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, [growing spiritually] to become a mature believer, reaching to the measure of the fullness of Christ [manifesting His spiritual completeness and exercising our spiritual gifts in unity]. ‘ -Eph 4:11-13/AMP
See what the Word says?? If the shepherds don’t shepherd, the sheep grow cold and content. This creates a lazy, out of shape, overweight body of Christ who stays relatively immature spiritually and unable to effect anything on the world landscape with regards to souls. “It’s the pastor’s job.” is their mission statement. This is DEAD WRONG! …and honestly a lie of the devil himself over the church in today’s culture.
This has to change. Every Christian is a soul winner. Every Christian has a testimony and needs to share it. Every Christian should be endued with power from the Holy Spirit-a power provided for the very purpose of being a witness and getting people saved (Acts 1:4,8). Too many pastors are responsible for dumbing down the already dumb sheep. With this of course, the people need to have lives sold out 100% to Jesus in every aspect of their lives. Too many of these seeker sensitive churches keep the sheepfold just barely alive spiritually, babying them and not mandating the very things that are spoken of in the Word of God! Feed the sheep for goodness sake! Feed them the entire Word of God, even if it’s painful for them to hear. Medicine doesn’t normally taste good. Punishment rarely if ever feels good. The truth hurts! But the truth saves. The truth brings about change-change that is needed. The sheep need to hear the truth of God’s Word in its fullness. No filters. That’s the only way the sheep will grow up into maturity and begin to impact the people and the world around them.
Now if an unbeliever wants to visit someone’s church then by all means, they should come. I’m not by any means advocating that we need to bar the doors of the church to the unsaved. Heaven forbid! But we shouldn’t be waiting for them to meander into a service one day or just maybe, take us up on that offer to come to church with us. That should by no means should that be our default. The church is supposed to be comprised of the ‘body’ of believers. We need to be getting people saved ‘out there’ so then we can invite them to ‘come in here’. The mindset is all backwards. Then of course there is the issue of teaching people how to share their faith. It can be daunting. People don’t like rejection. Too many people-pleasers. I myself struggle with people-pleasing and wanting to keep the peace and avoid confrontation but, I have to continually press through that. Is it easy? Of course not! Who honestly wants to be rejected? Shyness and introversion is simply another form of pride and really brings no peace at all. Avoiding confrontation for the sake of peace is just false peace. We have a mission and a mandate as followers of Christ to proclaim the name of Jesus. I know some will say it’s just by our lives that we witness. I disagree. If we saw someone drowning would we keep our mouths shut and just walk by them CARRYING a life preserver in hopes that we don’t offend the person drowning and somehow believing that by some miracle of chance, they will see our life preserver and want one themselves??? C’MON PEOPLE!! I know that sounds absurd but that is exactly what we do every day when we choose to sew our mouths shut and walk right on by another sinner, without sharing the Gospel. The way we live our lives should be the evidence that backs up the things we preach. Many people may see a Christian’s life and realize something is different but be too shy or introverted to ever ask. We need to open our mouths and speak for goodness sake.
The NT is aplenty with scriptures about confessing and speaking and the foolishness of preaching. We have to confront. We have to be willing to get in the trenches. There is power in the name of Jesus and that power is released when we speak it. Our testimony is shared when we speak it to others. Our pride has to fall. Our inhibitions need to come down by the waist side. We need to get of our comfort zones and share our faith-boldly. Pastors need to instruct their people how to share and that they NEED to share. We can’t be making excuses for the sheep. In reality we are all part of God’s sheepfold once accepting Jesus as our savior. We are responsible for what God has given to us. The Bible tells us ‘to him whom much is given, much will be required.’ Have you been given much? If you’ve accepted Jesus, having ALL your sins washed away by His precious blood, having been filled with the Holy Spirit empowering you to have victory in this life, being promised eternal life-everlasting life with God, having been granted fellowship with God Himself, being given hope in a hopeless world, then guess what? You been given much.
We are to be Jesus here on this Earth! Jesus said the following:
Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a CITY ON A HILL. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. So…let’s get to work. Let’s open our mouths. Let’s proclaim the name of Jesus! Let’s do what we were born again to do! -Matt 5:14-16/Mess
Let’s open our mouths! Let’s let our light shine before all the world! We have the victory through Jesus! Let’s start doing what we were born again to do. Storm the gates of Hell with the good news of Jesus Christ!
‘The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out.’ -John 1:5/ISV