• Jenna

Witnessing Part 4 - Laying the Foundation

Updated: May 10

that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Philippians 2:15-16




Laying the Foundation of Witnessing


The corporate testimony of the church is important when it comes to witnessing to the power of Jesus Christ in our own lives. In the community, a church’s reputation and corporate testimony can often set the tone and lay the groundwork for whether or not people are going to be receptive to our own personal testimonies.


For example, let's pretend we are a member of a church that is suddenly exposed for being corrupt. The pastor comes under investigation for embezzling money, or the youth pastor is suddenly exposed for being a child predator, and it spreads through the local news and across everyone's mini feeds. In pretending that we belong to this church, let's say we go up to someone in our community to tell them how amazing Jesus Christ is and how He transforms lives with the gospel. If that person knows we were associated with this church, why should he or she trust us with our own testimony of Christ? The corporate testimony of the church often precedes our own, either to its detriment or to its success. The corporate testimony can pave the way to diminish our own testimony where it gets rejected or simply falls on deaf ears. On the contrary, it can pave the way to strongly support and enhance our own testimony to where it's truly received and takes root in someone's heart - and ultimately is believed.


Here's another example of corporate testimony. Imagine there’s a dentist who's a complete fraud in the community, and he happens to go to our same church, posing as a Christian. And let's say we invite our neighbor to church to show her Jesus in a Spirit-filled place of worship. And she says, “Isn't that true that crooked dentist volunteers at your same church? He's lied about dental work, stolen money and teeth from people, and he still hasn't paid anyone back. I don’t know if I feel comfortable learning about God alongside a lying thief." This is sometimes how people can get turned off about Jesus before they even get to know who Jesus is. Hypocrisy in the church is very destructive to laying a good, solid foundation for unbelievers to truly come to know Jesus. See how some of our personal witnessing can be reliant on other Christians (or false self-professing Christians) and the groundwork they lay for us through their own actions and behavior?


On the contrary, sometimes we witness to a person who has already met real, true Christians, living upright and blameless lives. When that happens, it’s typically smooth sailing to give our own testimony because the foundation of trust and credibility has already been nicely laid out for us. Now, all we have to do is add yet another powerful testimony to the growing pile, which makes Christ become even more enticing to whoever we are sharing Him with.


Satan and the Watching World


This is why it’s critical for a church to be discerning and carefully choose trusted elders to lead their flock. With Satan being the god of this age, the world is watching the church with a close eye, whether we're aware of that truth or not. The world is ready to find hypocritical errors at every turn by the way church leaders talk, behave, lead the church, and live their daily lives. Once the world is able to shoot down the leaders of a church, it’s much easier for our own personal testimonies to be shot down as well and dismissed. So, as you see in some ways, our personal testimonies depend greatly on one another, since we all belong to the body of Christ. We are all connected in Christ. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it (1 Corinthians 12:26-27)


With that being said, we must also keep in mind that there are many wolves in sheep's clothing who pretend to belong to the body of Christ. In reality, these people belong to the kingdom of darkness and come only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). They come to bring destruction to the church and divide the body of Christ. It's often those who mask themselves as real Christians who seriously hurt the church's corporate testimony to the watching world.


Take Heed Lest You Fall


Even as true believers, may we take heed lest we fall! So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! (1 Corinthians 10:12). Just because we truly believe in Jesus doesn't mean we get the green light to live on easy street and live however we wish. The thing is, when we truly believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit won't ever let believers just live on easy street or however we wish! He will convict us whenever we start to let our guard down and allow sin in our lives. We are kept by His saving grace, and what a blessing that is! As believers, we need to be vigilant, careful, and on the lookout for Satan's schemes. We must not let our own pride trip us up, but we must remain grounded and firm in the Christian Faith. Knowing that we truly belong to the body of Christ, we ought to bear the name of Christ with honor and all diligence so that our light truly shines in this dark world to the souls who need Jesus. As Christians, what we do, how we act, and the way we live may very well affect another Christian’s testimony down the line. Satan and the world is closely watching and waiting for us to fall so that the power of Christ in our lives loses impact and credibility to those who need Christ.


Sin in the Church


The church must choose leaders whose lives are blameless for the health and protection of the whole body of Christ. Also, when a church member is sinning or getting out of hand, the church leaders must deal with that person appropriately so as not to pollute the church and cause division. Scripture is absolutely clear about God’s desire for us is to image His holiness and righteousness (1 Peter 1:15). The Bible is also explicit about the need for church discipline and biblically dealing with sin in the church (Matthew 18:17), (Titus 3:10-11). Since the church is called to reflect the goodness and holiness of God, a church member who continues in sin must be dealt with accordingly. The elders need to take the steps to address the state of that person’s soul, as well as protect the body from being corrupted. Once their corporate testimony is shot down through corruption in the church, it can have lasting effects on other Christians' testimonies. That's why sin in the church is so serious. It doesn't just affect one person's soul, but the whole body of Christ.


Salt of the Earth & Light of the World


So, we have the corporate testimony of the church, and we also have the individual testimony in the body of Christ. If we want to truly be a light in this world and be an effective witness to the power of Jesus, we must live our lives submitted to Christ and obedient to the Word of God. It’s vital to effective witnessing that our words, actions, and personal lives be upright and in line with the Truth.


The place that we're going to have the most impact in our witnessing is the environment in which we live and work in all the time. This is where others see how we talk, behave, and live on a daily/weekly basis. If people consistently see us in our environment as being proud, lazy, impatient, unkind, selfish, or lacking self-control, how can we expect them to all of a sudden listen to us and trust us when we start talking about Jesus and preaching holiness? We would only sound like hypocrites through mere words because our actions would prove our true authentic selves. Living a blameless life is not about keeping up appearances and images, nor does it have anything to do with pride or being "better" than someone else. This is about glorifying God and the fact that people’s eternal souls are on the line. As believers, we are supposed to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world for others. We are commanded to be witnesses of Christ and bear His name with honor. Being a Christian is a great responsibility, day in and day out. It's also a daily battle against sin and the flesh and the devil's temptations. Being a follower of Jesus is a responsibility far beyond just ourselves, our families, and our jobs. It’s our responsibility to God as children of light and workers in His kingdom. Believing in Jesus is a daily choice and a lifelong commitment.


It’s living a pure life that paves a rock-solid road to giving a powerful testimony of Christ. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people (1 Peter 2:15). By living an upright life, this not only protects us from the schemes and snares of the devil, but it instantly silences the voices of the critics surrounding us, waiting to see us all fall as Christians. The Truth shines brighter through us when we live it, not just preach it. We must remember this - Satan runs this world. That means as Christians, we have a serious target on our back in the spiritual realm, since this life is a battle for the Truth. And as Christians, we are essentially people of the Truth. We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Therefore, we are under much more scrutiny and examination than the rest of the world at all times. Satan takes every crafty opportunity he gets to make us sin and cause us to fall in front of the world, aiming to diminish our testimonies of the Truth.


Jesus says in Matthew 5:13-16, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.


What a tremendous privilege that we are called to - by Jesus Himself!


A Blameless Life


I think we all would love to live a blameless life - where no one could call us out on any sinful habits, serious faults, or hypocritical behavior that would put us to shame. All believers would love to show that blameless life to the watching world as we bear the name of Christ and stand in the Truth with integrity and zeal. What makes Satan angry and frustrated is when believers live humble and righteous lives, joyfully. I am not talking about being a perfectionist, sinless, or anything in regards to being legalistic. As believers, we know that we are sinners saved by grace through faith in Christ alone. Knowing this glorious Truth is what humbles us and helps us live lives filled with joy and gratitude, regardless of our external circumstances. I am talking about living an honest, God-glorifying life full of integrity and obedience to God's Word where we can humbly say, "Yes, of course I mess up, and yes, I am a sinner. But I turn from my ways, and I turn to Jesus and rely on His grace. He is my strength and my refuge. It's His Spirit that helps me walk on the safe and righteous path, even if I fall at times. He always helps me get back on the straight and narrow path to the narrow gate. It is not I but the grace of God that is with me.” This is the kind of life I think we all want as believers. This is the kind of life that lays a strong foundation for our testimonies to be truly received and believed so that others too can come to true saving faith and rest in Jesus :)


Love,

Jenna


Continue reading part 5 here.

 

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23).


And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-10


Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Philippians 2:14-16


Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:12


having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:16-17


For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 1 Corinthians 12:14-20


I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 1 Corinthians 1:10


Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Psalm 119:1


Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13



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