WITNESSING FOR JESUS
BREAKING THE MOLD
God has sent His Son to this fallen world, and His Son, Jesus, has paid the price for our sins. So now any sinner who believes upon the Lord Jesus as the Son of God who paid for his sins and provided the only way to eternal life can be saved. There is no other way. None. Jesus Himself said no man can come to the Father God but through Him. Forget about all these fallen heresies that try and show that some of the attributes that Jesus showed while here on earth can be found in other religions and therefore Jesus can be found in these other religions. That is diabolical and profoundly false.
Just before Jesus left this earth He exhorted us to be His witnesses. And the main conduit for that witness is the everlasting gospel. We can use different words to present that gospel, but Jesus and His redemptive work must always be at the core. And Jesus and His redemption is the divine calling of the church. Jesus is not schizophrenic. What I mean is that He came to seek and save that which was lost the first time and now His body, the church, has been given the very same mission. Jesus is still seeking to save the lost through us, His body. Every time the church gets involved with fallen causes of this earth it does damage to the gospel message.
But surrounding the gospel and buttressing its message must be a manifestation of the person of Christ. Selfless works of kindness and generosity should be what ministers to the lost and what the Spirit can use to soften hearts. So often the church has confined witnessing to tracks and preaching and some Roman’s road plan. The concept of evangelism has all but excluded the salt and light of our lives.
Matt.5: 13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
And herein lies a great mystery that is filled with power and glory. In Acts chapter one Jesus commands the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they are endued with power when the Spirit descends upon and in them. But the Word of God has a power all its own, and sinners sometimes get saved through a message spoken by a man secretly involved with some great sin. Yes, the Word of God is powerful on its own. Some sinners have picked up a Bible in a hotel room and read a portion and miraculously come to Christ.
So what is this power that the Holy Spirit gives us and just what is it for? This is the power to walk in the Spirit and both resist the lusts of the flesh as well as be a beacon of light through all kinds of selfless acts toward our lost neighbors. And there is where the church has abrogated its divine responsibility. Much of the evangelical world looks suspiciously at good works that are humanitarian in nature since it is guarding the justification by faith fort. If a church has a pantry or a clothing drive it considers its religious obligation to be done. I have heard many a professing believer complain about those who they deem lazy and shiftless and therefore poor through their own devices. And armed with that sort of justification they take solace in living a moral and patriotic and even industrious life while being ambivalent about being a light to the darkness. With all the exhortations found in the New Testament about being aggressive about our ministry to the lost and poor and lonely, why are we not observably passionate about it?
I believe there are two major ports wherein the church has steered her ship and by which we have lost a significant part of the gospel ministry. One which I have outlined continually is the issue of nationalism and being in love with a nation. Patriotism is a poison pill to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It subverts the message and drowns it in selfishness, pride, and a moral inspection of the lost rather than a perspective which is filled with God’s love and Christ’s redemption. It continues to be a major part of the road to apostasy. It has captured the hearts of millions of professing believers and has rendered them spiritual impotent if not even an enemy of the gospel.
But another way in which the church has altered the Word of God and constructed her own brand of the Christian faith is how we have formulated our doctrinal statement and how we define liberal theology. For instance when a man denies the virgin birth but is dedicated to helping the poor he is deemed at least liberal because he doesn’t believe the Word of God. But if a man does believe in the virgin birth but he does almost nothing to help the poor he is deemed orthodox. You see what has happened? We have made the Christian faith a system of answers to Biblical questions and completely downplayed any demonstrations of the redemptive love of Christ Jesus. When James teaches us the importance of works he doesn’t mention going to church or giving or even witnessing. Look what the Spirit says:
Jam.1: 27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Jam.2: 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
Let us painfully honest here. Through education and the consistent pressure of the western culture we have made a brand of Christianity which is ultimately a system of doctrinal truths, albeit important, but we have almost despised the humanitarian and self denying works which Jesus manifested and taught throughout His entire earthly ministry. So why isn’t the professing believer who checks all the orthodox doctrinal boxes but cares very little about ministering to the poor and needy not considered “liberal” because he openly forsakes large portions of God’s Word? I could give reasons like intellectualism or patriotism or hedonism, but in the end it all goes back to self righteousness.
In this post I am attempting to expose something crucial that has been all but abandoned in the western brand of Christianity. And yet throughout the New Testament an undeniable and vital element of the faith manifests itself in works that minister to the least among us. And allow me to expose another aspect of our self righteousness. So many believers dismiss people who seem lazy or shiftless and we believe they are unworthy of our help. We see people using food stamps to buy things that they should not and we feel justified in judging them and withholding any help we might offer. Do you see what has happened here?
Why are we who were so unworthy and yet were shown the grace of God requiring lost people to live their lives with some integrity before they meet our standards for humanitarian help or gospel ministry? Where did we get this kind of attitude? From the political world. If you will only help those who you believe deserve it than you will help very few if any. Do not the lazy and the shiftless and the thief and the drug addict deserve to be ministered to through the gospel and the works of God’s love which see their eternal need in spite of their open sin? Are we going to weigh people’s sins and only reach out to those whose inventory of transgressions do not exceed a certain level? What kind of Christianity is that? We have not been called to assess people’s character before we help them. Many people who take advantage of the system can be moved by our love and kindness. Away with this kind of Christianity which only loves and ministers to those who are supposedly deserving of it. None of us would have been saved if God had placed that requirement upon us. No one is deserving of anything. No one is worthy of anything. It is all by God’s unfathomable love and amazing grace.
So it is up to us to set out to demonstrate the love of God in hopes that sinners will see and hear and believe the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. Help those who you might not normally help. Love those who are difficult to love. Reach out to those who might be taking advantage of you in the natural but who might be reached by God’s Spirit through your kindness. How do you measure a depraved and fallen sinner who has earthly character against a depraved and fallen sinner who exhibits little earthly character? Does the man who murders twenty people deserve more sympathy than the man who murders five?
In the end, we are not called to judge the lost. They already stand condemned. We are called to witness Jesus to them by word and by deed. It is time for us to break out the mold that religious spirits have created for us. It’s time to preach and to BE Jesus to those who dwell in darkness. All of them.