It’s Tuesday and time for some worship! Whether you sing along or are experiencing this song for the first time, we hope that it is an encouragement to you and a reminder of the One who does indeed, hold you fast.
Prayer from Pastor Sam:
Father, the times we are in evidence a great need for your grace and mercy, and a great need for the salvation of the souls of men and women all across this continent and all around this world. Lord, help us to grow in our understanding of the Gospel and in the clear articulation of it to those we might find opportunity with. Help us to think beyond the immediate and to see eternity, that we not lose sight of what people really need when the common needs are what they, or even we, cry for today. Lord, bring us in line with you; help us to have hearts that beat in tune with yours; help us to love others more than we love ourselves. Transform our words, our behaviors, our values and our hopes to be more and more what you’d have them to be. You are good to us; help us to live like children of a good heavenly Father. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
A man sent from God. Many folks are looking for a calling, a cause, a passion, or a goal in our society. It seems that to be an American is often to entertain visions of personal grandiosity, a deep purpose and a fulfilling career of some sort. Person after person may be “sent” by their own ambition, driven towards the attainment of ideas of success, whose definition often comes from culture and personal ideals. Many people are sent in this world to complete a vast array of tasks with good intentions. The question, though, is whether they are sent by, or from, God.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23:
“Not everyone who says to Me,`Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. “Many will say to Me in that day,`Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ “And then I will declare to them,`I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
How do we know if someone is sent from God? God is sovereign, so He makes no mistakes, but certainly there are people, ministries, beliefs, and religions that don’t line up with Scripture. The solution is not to negate biblical claims or to take a subjective, postmodern approach to beliefs. Syncretism, the blending of belief systems, has grown leaps and bounds within even the evangelical church as people have taken humanistic views and coupled them with a growing biblical illiteracy. The placement one gives to Christ and to the gospel message of salvation by grace alone through faith alone is of utmost importance.
A witness. The word for witness in the Greek is martureo (pronounced mar-tur-eh-oh). You may have heard the term “martyr” especially if you’ve been in church for any length of time. John the Baptist was sent as a witness to the Light, to point to Christ with the purpose that all through him might believe. John himself would become what we tend to think of as a martyr: a person who has died for their faith in Christ as a result of persecution. He would later be beheaded under the direction of Herod and have his head brought in on a silver platter. Typically, when we think of martyrs either in the Bible, the early church, or even today (there are many), few want the honor of being a martyr. Give me Jesus…but don’t forget money, security, ease, and a helmet and knee pads. Give me Jesus…just don’t let this involve blood! It takes a lot less to make most of us chicken out, though, doesn’t it!?
Witnessing has often been reduced to the communication of the Gospel message in an oral presentation, but I’d remind you that that is far from all witnessing is. Witnessing is transformation before others; it’s what you value in the sight of men while claiming a risen Savior rules your life. Witnessing is kindness to the stranger and preferential thoughtfulness of others. It’s your priorities and your love for God (or lack thereof) and a willingness to let Him take the reins of your life. A message of forgiveness of sins is never given from a vacuum! It comes wrapped in a package, and that package oftentimes is you or me, the bearers of the message. If you’re a believer, just remember that you are not the hope of your message—you’re imperfect, you fail, you still have your struggles with sin and also doing what’s right. We aren’t calling people to ultimately be followers of us; we’re calling people to follow Christ.
We are each giving testimony today to what we think ought to be valued. We are each giving testimony today to a version of what being a Christian is all about. We are each telling others, perhaps through mixed messages at times, of what the whole point of this life is. Your spouse, your children, your parents, your friends, your neighbors, the cashier at the store, you name it, we are witnessing all the time to some message we inherently believe. Take it back to Christ and put everything you do in check under the light of Scripture.
Here are some questions for you to think about as you go through the rest of your day in light of this study today:
Have you had a limited view of what witnessing means?
How do Christians bear witness to the gospel?
How did John the Baptist bear witness of Christ in this Gospel?
Have a blessed day! And remember, we are here if you need anything! A listening ear, a delivery of groceries, we can help!