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The Awakened State of Sinners

John Wesley called the awakened state of man as “the almost Christian.”  Wesley believed that most people in the church were that way, they were aware of their sins but they had not truly become children of God.  They were servants of Christ but not sons.  All sons are servants but not all servants are sons.

Wesley believed that Romans 7 described the awakened state.  While nearly all Calvinists that I know of teach that Romans 7 is the normal state for Christians and Martin Luther taught that a Christian is both a sinner and a saint at the same time, Wesley taught (along with Arminius I might add) that Romans 7 describes people who are not saved.  This is what Wesley deemed the awakened state, where a person is aware of their sins and aware that they are not pleasing to God so they seek to please God by their works or by their flesh.  This cannot merit salvation (Romans 4:5).  Those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:7-8).

Sadly many in the modern church are in that state as well.  Many of the seeker sensitive churches preach an easy gospel that is without conviction, without true repentance, without a true knowledge of God’s holiness and our sinfulness before God.  They preach a message of “come to Christ” but they fail to convict sinners of their sins.  They ignore the Bible’s call to repentance (Mark 1:15-16).  They fail to preach repentance for the forgiveness of their sins (Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19).  They seek to lead people to Christ using the goodness of God but fail to preach His just wrath nor His forbearance and patience with sinners (Romans 2:4).  Just this week I listened to two local seeker churches “sermons” and both were focused on the flesh rather than God, on what the sinner can get from God rather than repentance from their sins, and they both gave “altar calls” where the sinners just said a prayer and were said to be saved by grace.  Both failed to preach the gospel where sinners see their sins and repent of their sins against God.  Both failed to present Christ as the propitiation for our sins (John 1:29).  Both preached a message of “Christ wants to fill the void in your life.”  That is not the gospel.  That is what many people are hearing week after week in many churches.

The Arminian should preach the law of God to produce the awakened state.  Of course, the Spirit of God is the one who produces mighty conviction of sin (John 16:8-11).  The almost Christian will see their sins and their need for Christ but they don’t know how to respond to the call of God to salvation.  People believe (because of their sinfulness) that they must do something to earn salvation.  This is human thought through and through.  World religions attest to this fact.  Religious people are consistently trying to earn God’s favor, His forgiveness, or His salvation.  They think that they will be saved if their good works out number their bad works.  Others believe that their actions (sacrifices, prayers, etc.) will bring salvation.

The truth is that only Jesus Christ can save us from the wrath of God (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  Isaiah the prophet saw the work of Christ in Isaiah 53:4-6:

4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

The Lord Jesus is the hope for our salvation.  Jesus is the hope for the awakened sinner who sees his sins but doesn’t know how to flee from them.   The hope for the sinner is not rehabilitation or reform.  The hope for the sinner is to be born from above (John 3:3-7).  The hope is for the Spirit of God to regenerate the sinner to bring about new life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Titus 3:5-7) and this only comes through faith.

Romans 3:21-26 is full of the richness of God’s mercy and grace given freely to the sinner in Christ Jesus our Lord:

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

The sinner is justified before God only grace through faith in Christ alone (Romans 5:1).  The sinner is not justified before God by a combination of human works and God’s grace (as many cults teach).  We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  Why is this?  Because the sinner cannot merit God’s salvation.  Consider good works for a moment.  How many good works must we do to earn God’s forgiveness?  What works qualify as “good” works?  How do we know that our wicked hearts will not produce pride in our “good” works?  How will we know if God approves of our “good” works?  Are there any “good” works which we consider good but God considers as bad?  How can we know?

The awakened sinner, writes Wesley, fears God but does not love Him.  The Christian loves God and fears Him (Romans 11:20-22; 1 John 4:18).  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7) and the Christian has a healthy fear of God (Hebrews 10:31).  Too many do not fear God but sadly few actually love Him either.  The awakened sinner fears God and knows that the judgment of God is just in punishment of their sins but they do not love God.  They seek to win God’s approval by reforms, by vows, by religion.  They find Romans 7 to be true, that they are too sinful to do any “good” works.  Their flesh simply will never please God.  They find in their awakened state that they are fully aware that they are sinners but have no peace with God.

The gospel is the solution.  The gospel brings peace.  Jesus is the prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6).  Jesus came to bring peace (Ephesians 2:14).  Jesus came to bring us not just peace in the storms of life (as many seekers preach) but He came to bring us peace with God whom we have greatly offended by our wicked sins.  The holy God of the universe is the one that we have violated.  He is the offended one.  When we talk about salvation we are saying that we are being saved from something and that something is the wrath of God that we justly deserve for breaking His laws and shaking our fists at Him.

The awakened sinner is not saved.  The duty of the evangelist is to preach Christ to the awakened sinner and call the sinner to faith and repentance through Christ.  The blessed Holy Spirit aids us in this preaching.  The Spirit works on the sinner’s heart to free the will to believe freely the gospel of God’s grace and mercy.  May we preach Christ and Him crucified for our sins.

Evangelism & Personal Testimonies

There is no denying that a personal testimony of salvation in Christ Jesus is powerful.  Three times in the book of Acts we read of the powerful conversion of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:1-22; 22:1-21; 26:1-23).  Revelation 12:11 (NKJV) reads: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”

So a testimony can be powerful.  I have listened to many people share how they came to faith in Christ.  It always blesses me to see the hand of God leading these sinners to faith in Christ.  It amazes me that people come to faith in Christ in so many different ways (by that I don’t mean different in the sense of the gospel but from many sins and many different places in life).  The Lord continues to save lost sinners from rich people to poor people from people here in the United States to people in China, the gospel is moving!  I rejoice in sinners being saved!

However, I do want to warn us that we must guard against the temptation to make evangelism all about our testimony.  Evangelism must include the gospel and the gospel is found in the Word of God.  The Word of God is the supernatural means by which God converts sinners.  The Word of God cuts sinners (Hebrews 4:12-13) and the Word of God brings about faith (Romans 10:17).  The Holy Spirit takes the Word of God and He opens the sinners heart to the gospel (Acts 16:14-15).  As the gospel is preached from the Word of God, the Lord, by His grace, opens sinners hearts and frees the bound will of the sinner so that the sinner can either repent or reject the gospel (John 1:12-13).  The sinner who repents is saved by grace through faith by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God (1 Peter 1:20-25).  The Lord calls sinners to Himself through the preaching of the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).  The gospel found in the Word of God is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16) and God saves those who believe the gospel that is preached (1 Corinthians 1:21).  This salvation is His work (1 Corinthians 1:30-31) that God may be glorified!

We must then preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2).  A testimony should never replace the Word of God.  The reason why is simple.  A sinner can hear a testimony from a Christian, a Buddhist, a Jehovah’s Witness, a Catholic, a Muslim, etc. and each of them can describe how they were “saved.”  They will each talk of the virtue of their religion and how faith in their religion will bring peace, forgiveness, wholeness, healing, peace, etc.  And the sinner is wondering, “They all have powerful testimonies of their religion but who is right and yet who is to say that the others are wrong?”  The Christian, without the Word of God, has nothing to stand on but their subjective experience and each of us has a different experience with life.

The foundation then for the disciple preaching the gospel must not be our testimony.  It must the truthfulness of God’s Word.  The Bible alone is the truth of God (John 17:17).  The problem with the testimony of the above religions (or even atheists for that matter) is that they must borrow from the Bible to make sense of their own experiences.  The foundation for the disciple is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  It is not our testimony.  Apart from the Bible, the disciple is nothing but a subjective story among others.  With the Bible, the disciple is full of the truth of God and the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).  We must be faithful to quote and preach the Word of God to sinners.  When sharing the gospel with a sinner, don’t just share your personal testimony (that is okay by the way) but make sure you quote the Word of God over and over again to show that your testimony is based not on your subjective view of reality but upon the Word of God.  I even encourage you to begin witnessing to sinners with the Word of God before sharing your testimony.  Forgiveness of sins, peace with God, repentance, justification, sanctification, etc. are all based not on our testimonies but upon the Word of God.

Again, I rejoice that people are being saved by grace.  I rejoice that sinners are turning from sin to the Lord Jesus and finding that He is indeed a wonderful Savior but I warn us all to preach the Word of God.  Sinners must hear the gospel to be saved (Romans 10:14-17) and we must preach the Word of God faithfully as God has called us to (Matthew 28:19-20).  The Word of God is the seed to salvation (Matthew 13:18-23).  I pray that our gospel would be full of the Word of God.

Testimonies Change, The Gospel Remains the Same

When teaching people how to share the gospel with the lost, I have noticed that there is often an emphasis placed on personal testimonies for sharing Christ with the lost (or unchurched seems to be the preferred term despite it not being in the Bible at all).  Testimonies are often seen as less offensive, full of hope, often come down on a practical level, and leave the “unchurched” wondering about this Man called Jesus.  While I am not 100% opposed to testimonies when witnessing with the lost (Paul used his testimony after all in Acts 26:12-18), we must be clear in our gospel presentation and must remember that God saves sinners (sorry, I mean the unchurched) by His own power and every person comes to Christ by His grace and His grace alone (John 6:44). Every person then will have a different testimony of God’s saving grace.  My testimony is not like yours but the gospel I was saved by remains forever the same (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

My advice then is to share your testimony but don’t neglect the gospel.  I fear that people won’t to share their testimony because they don’t really know the gospel.  In fact, I have encountered “former” Christians who could share with you both their testimony of how they came to Christ and now their testimony of why they don’t believe in Christ.  Testimonies come and go.  Testimonies often change.  People will add to their testimony or take away from it depending on the situation.  The gospel does not change.  The gospel must be our focus.

The fact remains that every person we share Christ with is lost.  They are not unchurched.  In fact, they hate God (Romans 1:18-19).  People are not seeking after truth.  They hate the truth (Romans 1:25).  People love their sins and they especially love themselves (Romans 1:21-23).  They don’t want the God of the Bible.  They want their own gods.  They want a moral therapeutic God who will solve their problems, heal all their diseases, meet all their needs, and bless their socks off.  They don’t want a holy God who is wrathful against sin (Psalm 7:11 NKJV).  They don’t want a holy God who judges sinners (Romans 2:7-10; Revelation 20:11-15).  They don’t want a holy God who calls out to us to repent and turn from our wicked ways (Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 2 Peter 3:9).  They want a loving God, a soft God, a God who will not judge them.  They want to live in their sins while claiming heaven (Matthew 1:21) but they are in error about God’s holy character (Romans 6:23) and His call to perfection (Matthew 5:48).

We must preach the holy wrath of God against sin.  We must open our Bibles and preach the law of God on sin (Romans 7:7).  We must warn sinners that those who break God’s law will be judged by that very law (James 2:10-13).  We must show sinners that the moral law exposes their guilt before God (Galatians 3:23-24).  The law shows us our guilt and the gospel shows us the mercy of God in the giving of His Son for our sins.  Without the preaching of the law, the sinner does not see their desperate need for salvation.  The law prepares the heart of the sinner to see the grace of God.  When the sinner sees their sinfulness before a holy God (1 John 3:4), the beauty of the cross shines forth and the gospel becomes precious to the sinner.

Testimonies don’t always do all that.  Again, I don’t have an issue with sharing with a sinner how I came to Christ.  In reality, He found me (2 Timothy 1:9).  The Bible says that the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).  The great Shepherd goes after His sheep (Luke 15:1-7).  The Holy Spirit opens the sinner’s eyes to the gospel and reveals our need for salvation (John 16:8-11).  The Spirit does this through the preaching of the gospel (Romans 10:14-17; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).  While testimonies can be good to show the goodness of the Lord in saving us, the gospel is what saves (Romans 1:16-17).

One final note.  In Revelation 12:11 we read that the saints overcome the enemy by the word of our testimony and the blood of the Lamb.  Both go hand in hand.  To merely share your testimony is not enough.  We must preach the blood of the Lamb!  Without the blood of Jesus, none can be saved (Acts 4:12; Hebrews 9:22, 27-28).  The blood of Jesus alone cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).  The blood of Jesus alone is what enables us to stand before a holy God (Romans 5:8-9).  We must preach the shed blood of Jesus to the lost sinner.  It is by the blood of Jesus that I am holy before God (Hebrews 10:10).

May we preach both our testimony and the truth of the gospel to the lost (that would be unchurched for some of you).

The Failure of George Whitefield

In reality, George Whitefield was not a failure.  Many souls were saved under his preaching of the gospel.  I don’t doubt one minute that God didn’t use Whitefield to honor His name and to make known His name among the English-speaking peoples.  God raised up George Whitefield and used him mightily for His own divine purposes.  I am not then writing that Whitefield was a failure in the sense that he was not used by God nor that souls were not saved under his preaching.  That is not what I am meaning by the use of “failure” in this post.

I’m actually borrowing from Whitefield’s own testimony at the end of his life.  Both he and John Wesley had preached all over England.  It was Whitefield who had encouraged Wesley to preach in the open air (field preaching they called it).  Whitefield was perhaps the better preacher (so I am told) and that his voice was a powerful preaching voice.  Wesley was the leader.  Wesley would preach but he was quick to organize and Wesley never left the Church of England.  Wesley was seeking to bring reformation to the Anglicans.  Wesley would preach but he would create societies and bands wherever he went.

It was here, Wesley’s societies and bands, that Whitefield looked back on his life and admitted his failure.  Whitefield stated:

“My brother Wesley acted wisely.  The souls that were awakened under his ministry he joined to societies, and thus preserved the fruit of his labor.  This I neglected, and my people are a rope of sand.”

Thousands upon thousands were no doubt awakened by the Spirit of God under both George Whitefield and John Wesley.  Wesley, however, would take the newly awakened souls and place them in societies.  In fact, Wesley did not give altar calls for salvation nor did he lead people in “the sinner’s prayer” as we know today in many evangelical churches.  Instead, souls hungry to be saved were placed under the care of a true Christian and they would pray with the sinner and read the Bible with the sinner until the sinner came to know Christ and have the assurance of their salvation.  While I would prefer baptizing such sinners into Christ (Acts 2:41), this would be the time when the Church would recognize the awakened sinner to be a saved saint of God.  The new Christian would be placed then in a society meeting where they would meet with other saints to confess sin, to be encouraged, to pray, to read the Bible, and to grow in holiness.

This act of sanctification kept the saints.  It was this that Whitefield failed at.  Whitefield preached and many souls were saved.  However, Whitefield did not organize them into societies.  He left the church to do that and few did.  Many fell away because of a lack of accountability and discipleship.  Even John Piper admits that sanctification is a work in the church and not just in the individual.  Sanctification is not just the work of the Lord in the heart of the saint but it is the work of the Church as well (Hebrews 10:23-25; James 5:16).  As we gather with other saints, we are encouraged to continue in the faith and to keep our eyes on Jesus at all times.  We are able to confess our sins to each other and find help to overcoming sin.  Sanctification then is not just my work but it is a team work, a work of the church as well (Ephesians 4:11-16).

In terms of application, let me warn my fellow saints who enjoy sharing the gospel with the lost (which should be us all), we must preach Christ to the lost but we must encourage those who are seeking salvation to be discipled after being set free from sin.  It is not enough to preach that Jesus saves from sin and then leave the new Christian alone to just wander.  Matthew 13:18-23 warns what will happen to the seed that we plant apart from being rooted in Christ.  I am aware that some Calvinists will preach that Christ saves and expect God to keep the new saints but read Whitefield’s words again and again.  Let them sink deep into your soul.  Jesus told us to go and make disciples and not just to preach the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20).  Even the Apostles in Acts 2 obeyed the words of Jesus and did just what He said in Acts 2:42.  I pray that we would as well.  Preach the gospel as Whitefield and Wesley did but place people in societies for the purpose of sanctification as Wesley did.  This will bear fruit.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

11/05/2014 at 2:42 PM

Disarming Arguments Against Evangelism (Part 2)

This is part of a series of posts on this subject.  You can find the first post here.

Does it work?  This is the question that I often hear from pragmatic leaders in churches.  They want to know if the evangelism method I aspire works.  In other words, does it produce numbers?  Does it get people coming to my church?  Will my money increase?  Well they don’t ask this but this is the underlining motive I fear.  Numbers, sadly, are equated with success.  If your church draws large crowds, you must be doing something right.  In our day, churches do not revolve around doctrine but around methodology.  I know of Pentecostal churches that were planted and based off Reformed Calvinistic models and yet because the Reformed church has had success, doctrine is not an issue.  I know of other church leaders willing to travel to listen to T.D. Jakes or Creflo Dollar since they have large success and no one questions their faulty theology simply because of numbers.

Sadly, I also have had people bash certain forms of evangelism because, to them, “it doesn’t work.”  Take open air preaching.  I enjoy open air preaching.  I am nervous when I do it.  I fear more than anything that my words may not glorify God.  I want to honor Christ when I preach to the masses.  One brother was asked how many people had he led to Christ preaching in the open air and his response was great, “All of them.  I always lead people to Christ by exalting Him as Lord and Savior.”  Great answer.  True open air preaching should be focused on exalting Christ and lifting up the wonderful salvation that God has given to us in His Son.  In Acts 5, the angel gave instructions to the Apostles what to preach in verse 20.  This led to gospel conversations in verse 25.  Open air preaching should point people to Christ and hopefully produce one-on-one gospel conversations that could lead to someone repenting of their sins.

Yet how often do people criticize open air preaching!  Sure I have seen the “anger preachers” preaching in the open air.  They attack sinners by name and often will point out things from afar.  I know of one brother in the Lord who had longer hair.  He truly loved the Lord Jesus and was seeking Him.  While walking across a university campus he heard someone yelling, “Hey hippie, cut your hair you sinner.”  He turned to see an angry open air preacher pointing at him.  When he responded, “I love the Lord Jesus brother.”  The man replied that no true Christian man would have hair like a woman and proceeded on with his “sermon.”  This bothered my friend much that this man had judged him merely by what he saw and not by his heart.

The faithful open air preacher should preach both law and grace.  Ray Comfort teaches that we should preach “law to the proud, grace to the humble.”  The law of the Lord brings conviction of sin (Romans 7:7) and the law also humbles the proud and self-righteous (Romans 3:19-20).  Jesus used the law to humble the rich man in Luke 18:18-24.  Jesus used the law on the woman at the well in John 4:16-18.  Yet Paul used grace in Acts 16:30-34 with the Philippian jailer.  We should allow the Spirit of God to help us discern where people are when witnessing to them.  It is actually easy to see who is proud and who is humble when you begin witnessing to someone.

My point in all this is not to simply lift up open air preaching.  It is just one method.  The disciple of Christ can have various methods in evangelism but don’t make excuses for not sharing your faith.  Don’t say in your heart, “Well, I don’t like that so I won’t do that.”  Your pride may keep you from sharing your faith at all.  Certainly, there are methods I don’t like.  That doesn’t keep me from sharing my faith.  I want to obey Christ as Lord (John 14:15) and He said to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19).  The heart of God is for the lost (John 3:16).  That should be our hearts as well (Romans 10:1).  We are called to imitate Christ (1 John 2:6) who said He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).  That should be our heart as well.  Whether you pass out tracts, hold up a cross at a busy intersection, preach in the open air, one-on-one witnessing, doing good works for people to preach the gospel to them, etc. we all should be preaching the gospel to the lost.  Any form of evangelism that doesn’t preach the gospel is not evangelism!  The copout for the American church seems to be either friendship evangelism (in which people never share the gospel) or the social gospel where they feed the poor, clothe people, build houses, etc. but never share the truth of the cross.  How tragic that people will die and go to hell while Christians never bothered to share the truth of the gospel with them!  How tragic that people will go to hell who we helped but didn’t really help!

My earnest prayer to God is that the Church would exalt the Lord Jesus in our evangelism.  The focus should not be numbers.  The focus should be on discipleship (Matthew 28:20; Acts 2:41-42).  Don’t make excuses for not sharing your faith.  Don’t be lazy.  Don’t be full of self-righteousness and pride.  Go out and share the gospel with a lost sinner.  Remember the words of Paul the Apostle in Romans 10:14-17.  How can your lost sinful neighbors, co-workers, family members, etc. ever know the gospel if they don’t hear the gospel?  Don’t be lazy thinking that they will hear from TV or from the radio.  Be bold and share your faith.

May the kingdom of God come (Matthew 6:10) and may we all be fishers of men (Matthew 4:19)!

Disarming Arguments Against Evangelism (Part 2)

This is part of a short series of posts on disarming augments that I have heard on evangelism.  I have found that people, because of the flesh, will come up with various arguments against sharing the gospel with the lost.  This series is designed to answer those arguments and to provide disciples of Christ with biblical answer for sharing our faith.  These posts are not in any given order.

In the previous post, I examined how fear is often used to cripple us from preaching the gospel to the lost.  The Scriptures promise us that we have the power of the Spirit for evangelism (Acts 1:8) and Acts 4:31 demonstrates how we can pray for the boldness of the Spirit to share our faith.  We must, however, step out and begin to share our faith for this supernatural boldness to come.  God is not going to zap us and we receive some sort of subjective experience that now prepares us to share our faith.  We must, in faith, trust God and step out and begin to share our faith (Hebrews 11:30).

Another objection that I have heard (and have used myself) would be the lack of knowledge.  It is amazing to watch men of God such as Ray Comfort share the gospel with the lost.  They seem to always have an answer for the hope that is in them (1 Peter 3:15).  Yet I often have stumbled in my own witnessing.  I have been sharing the gospel with a lost person and they have asked me questions that I just didn’t seem to have an  answer for.  Other times, I would try to give an answer only to later realize that I could have said this or that but it was too late.  This lack of knowledge can cause a disciple to shut up and not share their faith.

My solution to this is two-fold.  First, the disciple should spend time in the Word of God daily to learn more about their faith.  As we abide in the truth, the truth will naturally get into our minds and hearts (John 8:31-32).  In Matthew 28:20 Jesus taught His disciples to not just baptize disciples but to also observe all that He had commanded.  The Word of God will bring conformity in both word and deed (Romans 15:18).

Secondly, the disciple should memorize the Word of God.  The principle of hiding God’s Word in our hearts finds its root in the Old Testament.  God commanded His people to hide His Word in their hearts (see Deuteronomy 6:6; 11:18; Joshua 1:8; Psalm 119:11).  The Lord Jesus spoke of the good heart in Luke 8:15.  That is what the disciples heart is to be.  A good heart that stores up the Word of God.  The prophet Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 15:16 that he ate the Word and it became “to me a joy and the delight of my heart for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts.”  

While a disciple will no doubt benefit from reading apologetical books or from reading theology, it is the Word of God that is our sword (Ephesians 6:17).  How did Jesus answer both the enemy and His critics in the Gospels?  With Scripture (Matthew 4:4-10; 15:1-9; 19:1-9; 21:14-16; 21:42-44; 22:41-46; etc.).  If Jesus our Lord answered the devil and His critics with the Word of God, so should we.  The Word of God cuts deep not just in us but also in our hearers (Acts 2:37; Hebrews 4:12-13).

Each of us have different understanding and are different in our knowledge of God’s Word.  This should not keep us from witnessing.  A witness in a court of law simply tells what they have seen.  They are not there to convince the jury but to simply testify to what they have seen or heard.  This is true of biblical witnessing.  God alone saves sinners by His grace.  The Spirit of God convicts sinners as we witness (John 16:8-11) and His job is to draw sinners to salvation (John 6:44; Acts 16:14-15).  Our job is simply to testify to what we have seen and heard (Acts 4:20).  We are to speak all the words of this life (Acts 5:20).  The Holy Spirit takes our witnessing and He opens sinners hearts to the gospel truth.

In my own witnessing, I have witnessed to people for hours and then to someone just for a few minutes.  Time is not the issue.  The gospel should be the issue.  We should fill our witnessing with as much of the Word as possible.  Human reasoning only goes so far.  We need the supernatural power of the Word of God to see sinners saved.  In fact, salvation is the work of God and not of men (John 1:12-13; 3:3-5).  When the Lord saves a sinner, He does so by His grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9) and not by meeting a person half way or by the Lord doing His part while the sinner does his part.  Our job is to preach the gospel to the lost sinner and the Lord will take our seed and He brings forth fruit in His timing (1 Corinthians 3:6).

Yet how can we witness what we have not been seeing or hearing?  We must abide in the Word of God so that our witnessing is in truth and not merely based on our own experience of coming to Christ for salvation.  The Word of God is our solid foundation to build on and not our own subjectiveness (2 Peter 1:16-21).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/06/2014 at 3:36 PM

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