I was playing an online multiplayer game with a bunch of other guys from all around the world using voice communication to plan tactics and strategies. All of these guys come from different backgrounds and have various ideas and beliefs. I remembered that Christ had called us to be witnesses to the ends of the earth. So I asked them, “What is your biggest problem with Christianity?” One of the guys responded, “Well, I am a Christian, but I don’t talk about it much because it only causes problems.”
It seems to me that the idea of witnessing with our actions alone is used somehow as an excuse not to talk about Christ or even question others on what they believe. To be sure, witnessing by our actions has it’s place, but even that means more than just doing good and going to church. The world would need to be a very dark place indeed if simply not being evil all the time makes you stand out so much that someone would see Christ in you. And even then, could they believe?
“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?” —Romans 10:14
Paul is one of the best examples of a life that was more than just actions. He was constantly seeking and teaching about Christ and his mercy for mankind. One of the best illustrations of his vocal life can be found in Acts 20:18-28:
When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.
“Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood….”
Paul tells us how he declared to everyone as he went from house to house that they need to repent and turn to God by having faith in the Lord Jesus. Later he says “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” Testifying, speaking, declaring, proclaiming, and teaching; all this is more than just an action or an example by good and holy living. But Paul goes further still: “Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.” Paul was very aware that Christ’s message affects our eternal souls. He did not hesitate to speak because he knew that nothing else was more important than the gift of life Christ has offered.
When I was much younger I once asked my dad why all the Christians didn’t just get taken right to heaven an when they first believed. My dad explained that if that happened there would be no one left to tell others the good news of Christ’s gift. So once you are saved, and your life is secure in the hands of Christ’s mercy, your only purpose in staying here on earth is to actively tell others about Christ.
In our world we have misconstrued “tolerance.” We feel we shouldn’t talk about Christ because it “would only cause problems.” Yes, it’s true that Christ causes problems. In fact Christ said so himself:
“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn”
‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
“He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.” —Matthew 10:32-40
How much money would you like to be paid to sell your co-worker’s soul to the devil? If you keep quiet, you don’t have to worry about losing your job. You’re trading souls for cash. You can provide for your family and maybe even have a few nice things. Or you can speak up, risk losing your job by acknowledging Christ before men and trust God to work things out. The Christian life is not supposed to be an easy one or one promising comfort and bliss. Christ knows that truth creates division — and the greatest truth will cause the greatest division. But He tells us to speak anyway!
Don’t be afraid to speak. And don’t think you need to know a million things before starting to declare his name. It is good to learn and grow in wisdom, but do not let your fear keep you from witnessing to the guy next to you. You don’t know how long he has left.
“Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.” —Acts 20:26-27
Be like Paul.