How To Be An Effective Witness
Being ready to share your faith with others at any time means having a right heart with God, a gentleness and respect for the other person, keeping in mind the results might come later on, and keeping in God's will living a godly life.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? This is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you to share from God’s Word.
Turn with me then, to the 1st Peter, chapter 3. We’re talking about what makes an effective witness to be right with God in your own heart, to approach your relationship with other people as being ready, ready to share your savior with anyone where the opportunity is given. Don’t be like a bulldozer and crash into people’s lives but wait until God gives you the opportunity and then be ready. A reason of the hope that is in you, the Christian faith is reasonable, you don’t have to base it entirely upon emotional fireworks, but base it upon the Word of God. “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God,” we read in the Bible, and so it’s a reasonable testimony that God blesses.
Then he says, “Do it with meekness.” You approach your relationship with other human beings realizing that they are a special creation of God, and that they’re infinitely valuable, you also approach them with the respect that is due them. This word fear means a wholesome awe and respect.
And so you deal with other people not on some flippant basis, but solemnly knowing the tremendous importance of the individual and also knowing the awesome importance of the relationship you were about to sustain with them. It’s like handling a live wire. You do so, not because you’re cravingly afraid to do so, but you exercise a great deal of respect and care for that dynamic force that you are now about to deal with.
Then we talked about good conscience. God keeps your conscience clear as you keep walking in the light. Don’t let any time elapse between the realization that you’ve stepped out of line and fleeing to the mercy seat to be cleansed. This needs to be an instantaneous process. Walking in the light is a matter of foot step, how long does it take a foot step? How long does it take to make one step? Not very long. And so, before you’ve taken another step, have reference to your Savior and to his cleansing blood so that your heart has kept clean. A good conscience. Alright.
Again, you don’t have to be morbid about this, you don’t have to go around wondering if something’s wrong. You don’t live in fear, but live in the commitment of faith, knowing that the Holy Spirit of God is faithful, faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord,” the Bible says. So you can count on the faithfulness of God, and when you sense in that sanctuary of your own soul, you’re in most spirit, when you sense that God is reminding you that you’re out of line, then is the time to straighten it out immediately with God, and if need be, with the people who have been affected. A good conscience, keep it clean.
Now He says that, “Whereas they speak evil of you as evildoers they may later be ashamed, those who falsely accuse your good lifestyle in Christ.” Witness looks for the long pull, not just for the present circumstances. When you witness for Christ, you’re measuring the effectiveness of your witness not by the instantaneous reaction at that moment, they speak evil of you as of evildoers, that’s the instantaneous of that reaction.
You measure the effectiveness of your witness by the long-term results. They may later be ashamed who falsely accuse your good lifestyle in Christ. Peter has the same word in a previous chapter,”What glory is it, when you buffet it for your fall so you take it patiently but if when you do well and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. And people who criticize you, will lead her glorify God on your behalf.” Says He. Alright, that is part of my witness.
Something that you may not have realized. We tend to evaluate the merit of individual happenings on what happens right then. I tried to share Christ with this man and he rebuffed me. Is at the end of it? No, five, 10, 15, 20 years later, what you said may come back to that person and the Holy Spirit of God may use it to bring him to Christ. You don’t know.
I asked Sam Skelton, my friend of many years ago who lived just across the Illinois River from us, we were in the LaSalle, Illinois and he lived over in a little town just across the river. And I asked Sam, I said, “How are you saved?” Oh, he said, “I was an unsaved young man in Scotland.” And he said, “One Sunday night, I was walking down the streets of Edinburgh in the rain.” “It was raining,” said he, “And I was walking and feeling miserable, unsaved. And as I walked along there was a solitary street preacher on the corner, preaching the Word of God. Not a person around him to listen to him. There he was preaching away in the open air. And as I walked past him, I was on the other side of the street, so as not to come anywhere near him. I didn’t want anything to do with the Gospel. As I walked by on the other side of the street, I heard him quote from Amos, ‘Prepare to meet thy God.’ I went on home but I couldn’t get away.” Said Sam Skelton. “I couldn’t get away from those words. They lingered in my memory.” And it wasn’t so long before that young man knelt beside his bed and gave himself to Jesus and was indeed prepared to meet his God. You don’t know what will happen with a chance encounter with another human being, do you?
You really don’t know? And so you look for the long pull, you look for the long haul, as we say, you look for the ultimate results of what you’re doing. Not just for the immediate reaction. Christianity is not a series of knee-jerk reactions.
The Christian faith is a constant commitment to the God who doesn’t give up. “Faithful is He who hath called you also will do it. Being confident of this very thing that He which have begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
The Christian life goes, for the long-term results because God is faithful and He doesn’t quit. That’s a good thing to know, isn’t it? Because it’s painful when people slam the door on you, when they rebuff you, when they get angry at you, when they shun you or snub you or discriminate against you because you’re a Christian. Well, Peter knew something about that. He says, “They speak evil of you as of evildoers.” What you’re doing and witnessing for Christ, is considered to be a wrong thing by some unsaved heart. But he says later, “They’d be ashamed because they falsely accused your good lifestyle in Christ.” Go for the long haul. Don’t react to the reactions. Alright.
It’s a good thing, it’s a good lesson to learn. Now he says, “It is better if the will of God be.” So, what makes a good witness? What have we said so far? Put God on the throne of your heart. Get ready and be on the job. Make your approach to human beings with meekness realizing there are special creations of God and they’re valuable. Approach the whole matter with the respect that it deserves as like you’re handling a live wire.
Keep your conscience clean, through constant reference to the cleansing blood of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Then what? “It is better,” said He, “if the will of God be so.” Stay, here’s the next point, for a good witness stay in the will of God.
Now, how do you get in the will of God? Well, first of all, to be saved. “This is the will of Him that sent me that every man to see if the Son and believeth on Him may have everlasting life and I will raise him up at the last day.” To be saved is the initial encounter with the will of God, “God who will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth,” the Bible says. So that’s the first step, a holy life is part of God’s will, this is the will of God, even your sanctification.
A holy life is part of the will of God, a thankful life is part of the will of God. “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you.” The will of God has to do with making Christ your Lord and Savior, living according to His control, giving Him the praise and the glory and yielding your entire body to Him. The Romans 12:12 says that, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service, and be not conformed to this world.” Don’t be jammed into the world’s matrix but be transformed by the renewing of your mind as you may prove what is good and what is acceptable and what is perfect namely the will of God. God’s will is for you to prove that He’s right.
The devil’s lie from the beginning in the Garden of Eden, is that God is mistaken and His motives aren’t right. The accusation that satan with an honorable goal and the brass courage of the iniquitous spirit that he is uttered that lie in the garden that God isn’t doing the right thing by you. What is the purpose, what is the ultimate will of God, to prove that satan is wrong and to prove that God is right. That you may prove what is good, and acceptable, and perfect namely the will of God, that’s God’s will.
Now, these are generalizations based upon scriptures, which I’ve quoted for you from memory in these moments. There’s a great deal more to it as those of you who study your Bible will know. However, how do you make these general truths practical on a given Tuesday morning? We have to think about that now because we live in a practical world, the will of God. First of all, be sure your heart is right, be sure you’re saved, be sure your heart is right and be sure you’re trusting God step by step to guide you.
There is no substitute for moment by moment, surrender to God’s leadership. How can you know His will, if you don’t let Him lead you. “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” This needs to be then a lifetime commitment to moment by moment, surrender to God within the parameters of given situations.
You have to leave the house and go shopping, you pray, as you leave Lord, guide me as I go shopping, God knows which store He wants you to be in and what items He wishes you to purchase. You are faced with a discipline problem for Junior. Shall I love him or spank him or both? And in what order. You pray and say, “Lord, guide me.” You kept in the will of God, in delicate interpersonal situations like that.
You have a business decision to make. Shall I do this at a cost of umpteen thousand dollars or shall I not do it? And you’ve learned of course if you’ve learned the Harvard decision tree method, you’ve learned to say, “If I do this it will be involved that much cost or profit and it will lead to something else, which will have that much cost or profit.” And you do the decision tree analysis. But in the end you have to come back and say, “Oh God, guide me now.” The will of God, it means instantaneous surrender to God’s leadership, within the boundaries of a given situation. I’ll come back to this the next time we get together. God willing.
Lord, Jesus Christ, we worship and adore Thee. Oh, may we be a good witness for our Lord. I ask in that wonderful name, even Jesus, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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