Jesus told us to “be his witnesses.” We have all experienced that it is much easier to talk about witnessing than to actually witness. Today we are going to study the Commands of Christ that are related to our witness. We will discover that the instructions he gave really help to remove the pressure and guilt that Christians sometimes feel about witnessing.
I think that we feel pressure and guilt about witnessing because we fail to read all of Christ’s instructions. Since it is Thanksgiving week, I found these examples of not following the instructions. These are calls answered at the Butterball turkey hotline that is open on Thanksgiving. 50 volunteers operate the phone bank. Readers Digest provides us with their must humorous calls.
1. After discovering a turkey from 1969 in his dad’s freezer, an Alabama man called the Talk-Line to ask about the best way to cook the 30+ year-old bird. The volunteer instructed him that first step was to purchase a fresher fowl! This same gentleman also had in his freezer: the top of his wedding cake and a snowball from every snowstorm he’d experienced in Alabama.
2. When a Talk-Line staffer asked a caller what state her turkey was in (meaning how thawed was it) the caller responded with, “Florida.”
3. A woman in her seventies, cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time, called for help because her mother said she was tired of cooking and it was time her daughter learned how to prepare the Thanksgiving meal.
4. Another gentleman called to tell the operator he cut his turkey in half with a chain saw and wanted to know if the oil from the chain would adversely affect the turkey.
5. A lady from Colorado called about “how to thaw” her frozen Butterball. She proudly shared the fact that her turkey was stored in a snow bank outside! It had snowed the night before and it then dawned on her that she didn’t have a clue which snow bank her turkey was in. She hung up to go find the turkey.
If we have trouble following the instructions on baking a turkey, we might need to review Christ’s instructions on loving others and preaching the gospel!
Tom Blackaby’s book, “The Commands of Christ, puts every command of CHRIST into six main categories:
Coming to Christ
Christ as Lord
Preaching the Gospel
This type of study helps us in two ways:
1) RELATED commands that help further explain the central command
2) CHRIST’S EXAMPLE
Today we are studying the command to Go and Make Disciples. “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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:19–20, NIV84)
The central part of this command is the main verb, “make disciples.”
Three participles add further explanation to this verb.
The first is “go.” This appears as another verb in our English translations, but in the original language it is a participle. It carries the idea that we are to be witnesses everywhere we go. In every aspect of life. We are to be witnesses when we go to the grocery store, when we go to school, when we go to work, when we go to the gym, every place where our feet take us is a place where we carry the gospel
In addition to carrying the gospel with us in every aspect of life, the church is also commanded to develop plans and strategies to take the gospel to places that the normal course of life will not take us. The church in Antioch did this in Acts 13, and they sent Paul and Barnabas on the church’s first missionary journey. That same mission attitude is to prevail among us today.
The second participle is the word baptize. This adds emphasis to the evangelistic portion of the Great Commission, because baptism requires that we share the gospel.
The third participle is the word “teaching.” This emphasizes the discipleship aspect of the Great Commission.
The necessity of preaching the gospel is accentuated by the Apostle Paul who said,“Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” 1 Corinthians 9:16
Let’s examine the related Commands that demonstrate HOW we are to preach the gospel.
We are to preach the gospel selflessly. John 21:15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
We are to preach the gospel tenderly. Matthew 10:42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”
Christian compassion is part of our witness
Christian compassion is not an option
Christian compassion without the gospel message is not sufficient to save.
We are to preach the gospel prayerfully.
Part of this prayerful attitude is for our own personal witness. Jesus frequently admonished us to “watch and pray.” These exhortations motivate us to pray that we would be good witnesses for Christ
Mark 14:38 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Luke 22:40 “On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”
Luke 21:36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
We are also to pray for the witness of others. We are to pray that the Lord would raise up and empower other witnesses.
Matthew 9:37–38 (NIV84) 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Romans 10:14–15 (NIV84) 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
We are to preach the gospel preparedly (with preparation). We should do our best to be prepared by knowing the Scriptures and knowing how to witness to others.
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV84) — 15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect
Some ideas that can help us in this task:
1. Learn One method evangelism (Romans Road, EE, Bridge to Faith, 4 Spiritual Laws)
2. Learn to ask spiritual questions that require more than a yes/ no answer
a. How does your spirituality address the questions of life?
b. What do you think about Jesus?
c. How does your world view answer the problem of human suffering?
d. If you were stand before God, why would he allow you into His heaven?
We are to preach the gospel confidently. Matthew 10:19–20 (NIV84) — 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
After you have prepared, RELAX
Most people would respond favorably to an invitation to church
Be confident that God will give you the words to say
We are to preach the gospel globally. Every Christian should have an outward focus that is actively working to share the gospel with others.
Matthew 28:19 (NIV84) — 19 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,
Matthew 24:14 (NIV84) — 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Acts 1:8 (NIV84) — 8 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.”
How will you take the gospel:
To a different CULTURE
To a different part of your COMMUNITY
Consider “in what way has God empowered me to get the gospel to the ends of the world?”
If we leave out ANY of these instructions, there will be a VOID in our preaching
Which one of these 7 is most neglected in your life?
Selflessly, Tenderly, prayerfully for me, prayerfully for others, preparedly, confidently, globally
Which one will you work on this week?