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Living In Grace

A Christ inspired work dealing with American Christian Culture in the New Century.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Are We Effective?

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
Matthew 28:19

Are we failing, like the polls show, as a called out people to effectively reach the lost with the Good News of the Gospel?  This command, and our obedience to it, is reflective of our attitudes towards our neighbors and more importantly God. 

Witnessing is a vital aspect of a living and vibrant faith and as such should be of the utmost concern to everyone who names the name of Christ.  Our names will probably never be in lights, our fame will not fill stadiums, and books will most likely not be written about us but our testimony is every bit as important to God and those around as those who do such.

There are a few things that I have found in my walk with the Lord that leads to more effective witnessing and they include:
1.  We must be completely reliant upon the Holy Spirit for guidance, faith, and power to be witnesses in this world.  The Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, resides within every believer and because of this we can be effective in our witness and ministry.
  • Acts 1:8 " but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. "  The Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, resides within every believer and empowers them to live for Christ and to share their testimony.
  • John 12:32 " And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."  Our Lord said that if He be lifted up He would draw all men unto Himself.  He was literally lifted upon the cross at the crucifixion and into Heaven during the Ascension, but we must lift Him up in our daily lives before others.  The focal point of our witnessing should glorify God and point all people to Christ.
  • John 14:6 Jesus said to him, " I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through MeThat is an amazing statement from our Lord that must be taken seriously.  The exclusivity of Christ is apparent and He is truly the only name given under Heaven whereby men must be saved.
  • 1 Peter 2:9 " But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; " He did it. He alone  called you so that you could proclaim His glory and His goodness to a lost and dying world.

2.  Our Faith must be active and fruit bearing for it to reach the lost.
  •  James 2:18 " But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."  Our faith must have feet.  We have all heard the old saying, " actions speak louder than words, " and often it is true.  The social gospel, which really is no gospel, cannot save but we as believers must show genuine love and compassion for the lost and hurting.
  • Ephesians 2:10 " For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." We are made to serve Him and it should be our utmost desire to please the one bought us.  Do what He has commanded and make disciples.  We must plant and water and let the Lord give the increase.
  • Go therefore and make disciples- This was not a request but rather a command, to make disciples of all men....all over the earth without exception.
  • Matthew 5:16 " Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Let your Light shine since a spotlight hidden and off is not effective or fulfilling its purpose.  Our works should never glorify us but point upwards to our Master and Savior.

3.  We must always be prepared to speak the Truth.
  • 2 Timothy 2:15 " Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. " We must accurately handle the Word of God and study it.  We should all be like the Bereans and search the Scriptures to see what they hold and let God speak to us through them
  • 1 Peter 3:15 " but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; " We as Christians have a hope that the world lacks.  A hope for the here and now and a hope found in the resurrection and with this hope comes the responsibility of defending it to those who don't.
  • Ephesians 4:15 " but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, " We are to share the truth in love.  Love for those we dislike and disagree with.  Love for those who are lost and despise the Word of Truth.  Standing for the Truth does not involve a mean spirit.
  • Romans 10:17 " So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of    Christ " We must actually speak the words out loud because faith comes by hearing.  The word of God is powerful and sharp and can accomplish more in seconds than we can in years.
4. We must Pray earnestly both for ourselves and for others
  • Pray that God would prepare you daily to meet the challenges of witnessing
  • Pray that He will send people into your life that can be effectively ministered to.
  • Pray for the Lost in general that God would grant them repentance and that their hearts would be fertile soil for the Word to grow in.
  • Pray for our Pastors, Elders, and all ministry workers that God would both protect them and inspire their words and deeds.

How has God been moving in your life?  How does witnessing affect your life?  What are some ways you find helpful in ministering to others?

Labels: ,

9 Comments:

Anonymous Carla@3-foldcord.com said...

Wow, Luther, every time I was thinking of something else to add to your list, I scrolled down and there it was! Sharing Jesus' love and message with others is a priority in Christian's lives, but few I think understand the complexity that goes into it. Our hearts must be open to witnessing to anyone and we must follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I don't think there is any set manual or any one process for how to witness and evangelize, but your points certainly summarize many important Biblical principles we need to follow. Sometimes I think people have a strong passion and desire to evangelize, but no guidance or knowledge. Others seem to have all the tools and no desire. But like you said, if we have faith, reliance on the HS, and are prepared we shouldn't be failing!
Thanks for another great post!

April 4, 2011 at 8:32 PM  
Anonymous lwstapleton said...

Thanks Carla for taking the time to read.

It is by no means an exhaustive list and like you said there is no foolproof method of witnessing, but there are things that we can do to better prepare ourselves

April 4, 2011 at 9:49 PM  
Anonymous lwstapleton said...

Thanks Carla for taking the time to read.

It is by no means an exhaustive list and like you said there is no foolproof method of witnessing, but there are things that we can do to better prepare ourselves

April 4, 2011 at 9:54 PM  
Anonymous Healingleaf2011 said...

Hi Luther, you have compiled a great list above! I think it is important to be "accessible" as well. I think of 1 Cor 9:19-23 (where verse 22b says "I have become all things to all men so that by all posible means I might save some.")
If we put ourselves in a "holier-than-thou" position, we are not accessible anymore, we are not approachable, yet we are supposed to be servants.
Really enjoyed your post (and all the verses - beautifully thought out and written down)

April 5, 2011 at 12:10 PM  
Anonymous lwstapleton said...

Hey HL!! Thanks for stopping by and reading. A Self-righteous attitude is contrary to what we are to have in light of the fact that we are all saved by grace and not of orslefves

April 5, 2011 at 1:07 PM  
Anonymous lwstapleton said...

Hey HL!! Thanks for stopping by and reading. A Self-righteous attitude is contrary to what we are to have in light of the fact that we are all saved by grace and not of orslefves

April 5, 2011 at 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Amanda Daubenmeyer said...

Another great message Luther! If you don't mind, I'll share your link on my website facebook page. It will go great with my message this week.

I love how you said, "Our names will probably never be in lights, our fame will not fill stadiums, and books will most likely not be written about us but our testimony is every bit as important to God and those around as those who do such."

It's like Luke 15:10 says, "there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." God rejoices when we allow Him to lead others to Christ through us.

Thanks again for sharing that.
Blessings:)

April 5, 2011 at 7:49 PM  
Anonymous lwstapleton said...

Thanks Amanda and of course I don't mind you sharing my link. It is amazing to me that God both ordains the ends ( even when we don't fully understand ) and the means to those ends ( working through us )

April 5, 2011 at 10:37 PM  
Anonymous Healingleaf2011 said...

Being busy does not help, but I was thinking more along the lines of being accessible within our actions and words - creating relationships with people, and not just 'creating converts'.

April 6, 2011 at 7:10 AM  

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