Be Ready To Answer
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Christians never seem to debate whether they should tell others about Jesus Christ and His work of salvation for us. Perhaps it would be better if they did debate the issue since far too many Christians simply seem to ignore the need for evangelism. Many simply leave telling others up to the pastor, "because, after all, that is what he is paid to do." Some churches have evangelism committees. Many Christians feel that they have done their part if their church has such a committee. Many people would be shocked to learn that the early church grew at an amazing pace without evangelism committees, and without seeing the pastor as the one whose job it was to evangelize for the congregation. What was their secret?
1. There are many examples of this secret in the Gospels. Upon seeing and hearing Jesus many ran, told others, and brought them to the Lord. They were simply SO excited at what they had found that their excitement left them little choice but to tell others! The Book of Acts shows us that this joy and the numbers brought to the Lord Jesus did not decrease, but rather increased after His ascension and the sending of the Holy Spirit.
2. What is really going on here can be easily seen in 1 John 1:1-4. As you read these verses note the stress on the witness, and the source of that witness. While John, as an Apostle, had a very special office and witness in the church, his basis for the witness he speaks of here is the same as every witness recorded in Acts, even the witness of those who were not Apostles - his own experience with the Lord. Every Christian is in a position to tell others what salvation in Jesus Christ means to his or her life. Only you as a Christian can give a firsthand witness of what it means to you that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior from sin, death and the devil!
3. For this reason, a reason that each of us as Christians have, John says in verse 3 that this is what we have to proclaim, or tell others about. A reason for that is also given, "so that you may also have fellowship with us." When you have a friend who does not trust in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, no matter how good a friend that person is, you cannot have the same kind of relationship with that person as you could if he were a Christian. You can be very good and close friends, but the closer the friendship outside of Christ, the more wonderful that friendship could be within the fellowship of Christ! Besides, in Christ, that friendship can last for eternity, but outside of Christ, your friendship will ultimately have a bitter end.
4. Note also what verse 4 says, "And these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete." The failure to evangelize and the lack of Christian joy in one's life go together. The Holy Spirit fills every believer with the urge to let others know about their Savior. Perhaps the simplest proof of this is that our own lives, and experience, show us that while those who do witness offer no excuses for witnessing because they don't need to, those who do not witness always feel bound to offer excuses ("I'm not trained," "That's the pastor's job," "Everyone I know is a Christian already... I think..."). When this happens the Christian's life becomes more and more joyless simply because it is such an unpleasant task to fight the urgings of the Holy Spirit to witness.
5. On the other hand, it is a joyful thing to tell others about Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. Much of the joy of Christianity is in obeying the Lord - not because of the Law of God - but because following the Lord in this way is the highest expression on earth of our eternal partnership with God - in the love of Jesus Christ!
Copyright Â© 1983 Bible Science Newsletter, Pastor Paul A. Bartz. Creation Moments, Inc. PO Box 839, Foley, MN 56329