• Jenna

Witnessing Part 7 - Recap of Series

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:13-15

Reading paired with piano hymn, Go, Preach My Gospel, Saith the Lord - Recorded by Concert Pianist and Follower of Jesus, Andrew Remillard - My piano teacher, friend, and brother in Christ.


Final Recap on Witnessing


In the final blog of this 7-part series, I will give a recap to wrap up the topic of witnessing and evangelism. I will summarize the main points of how to effectively witness and be faithful messengers of His Word, while we allow the Lord to do the saving through the power of the gospel.


Faith Comes by Hearing


We learned that one of the first major steps in evangelizing is sharing our personal testimony of Christ and how the gospel has transformed our life. Beginning with our testimony by placing Jesus in a real life example gives us a nice segue into sharing the gospel. When we share the gospel, we learned it's best accompanied by and supported with Scripture. So it's good to be prepared with a few Scriptures on hand that we can reference to our recite from memory. So faith comes by hearing and hearing through the word of God (Romans 10:17). It's the Spirit of God through His Word that strikes the conscience, confronts someone's sin nature, convicts them of it, and calls them to trust in Jesus Christ as Savior, and obey Him as Lord to be saved.


Dependent on the Spirit of God


As I’ve stated earlier in this series, when it comes to effective witnessing, we first have to be witnesses ourselves to the power of Jesus Christ. This is the non-negotiable for effective witnessing. We must personally know and walk with Jesus Christ to be able to truly testify about Him. Next, we have to understand that we are dependent on the power of God’s Spirit to open someone's heart. This is important to know because it helps us from unintentionally manipulating people into believing in Jesus. Sometimes, it’s easy to get someone who’s emotionally restless or feeling desperate for any answer. It’s rather easy to persuade someone into making a false profession of faith out of emotion when they're in a certain state of mind. We must be careful from doing that, and so we have to depend on the Spirit of God. We have to allow His Spirit to move through our testimony and the power of the gospel to bring about an authentic profession of faith, yielding to true saving faith. and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).


We Carry the Message, God Does the Saving


There’s not one single person on this planet who has ever gotten saved by anyone's human intellect, persuasion, articulation, or cleverness. Sharing the gospel is not some type of marketing exercise. We can’t manipulate people into believing in Christ and becoming a Christian. We know that being born again is a sheer miracle and gift of God, and we cannot will ourselves to be reborn. Just as we had no control over our physical birth, we have no control over our spiritual birth in Christ either. The rebirth is a monergistic (solo) work and supernatural act of God, and so we must never depend on our own intellect, words, or articulation for someone's conversion. We must always rely on the Spirit of God to move in that person’s mind and heart and bring about repentance and faith in the process called regeneration. Regeneration precedes faith. Once a person is regenerated by God's grace, he or she is able to express faith and trust in Christ, but the initial step is the sovereign work of God, and God alone. Even our faith comes not from ourselves. Faith is a gift of God by His grace. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). As we allow God to do the saving, it takes the pressure off of us. We are simply His witnesses and the carriers of the great gospel message, not the heroes. God is the Only Hero, and this is His story. By His grace, we are a part of His story, pointing everyone to the Hero.


God Opened Lydia's Heart


An example of this is in the Book of Acts where God intervenes in a person's heart upon hearing the gospel. There is a woman named Lydia who comes to faith when she hears the gospel message from Paul, and it's by the power of God that she hears it and receives it. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul (Acts 16:14). It's not Paul who gets her to believe in Jesus, but it is the Lord Himself working in her heart that brings her to faith. Lydia believes only because the Lord enables her to believe. She is saved by grace through faith. It is God's grace that initiates her faith.


We Can't Get Anxious


So, we can’t get discouraged or anxious when people don’t receive our message of the gospel. It’s out of our hands. Of course, it’s sad and disheartening when someone chooses not to respond to the gospel, but God never called us to save souls. He calls us to be His witnesses and His messengers. That’s it. We are to preach the Word to every creature (Mark 16:15), and that’s what He calls us to do. That’s our job. It's God alone who does the saving. So, when we are faithful to His commands of witnessing and sharing the gospel, we can't get anxious or frustrated when people don’t respond to the good news. We have been faithful to God’s Word in clearly sharing the gospel, and that’s all He can ask of us. We can also pray for the Lord to grow the seed we planted and beg Him to have mercy on that person's soul. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16). God hears His children's prayers, and prayer is part of God's sovereign plan.


Sin is a Heart Issue


Furthermore, we are to gently bring up the issue of sin and confront someone’s conscience by giving them the Law. This is not easy to do, but without first telling someone the bad news of sin and how we've all broken God's Law, the good news of the gospel won't seem like good news to them. It's good to share at least three or four of the 10 Commandments to show how we all have broken every single one of them, since sin originates in the heart. For example, Jesus says, "but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). Scripture also says, Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him (1 John 3:15). Sin is a heart issue, which manifests itself in different ways. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). It's true many people don't commit full-out murder or adultery, but those crimes are ones that must originate in the heart of a person for it to come to pass. It's our hearts that are the problem, and that's why it is unbiblical when the world tells us to "follow our hearts," and "be true to yourself." The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds" (Jeremiah 17:9-10).


The Wind Blows Where it Wishes


As His messengers, it's not us who convicts someone of their sin, but it’s the Spirit of God through giving His Law. Jesus tells us that when He goes, He will send the Spirit who will convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment (John 16:7-11). So, we are dependent on the Spirit of God to work in someone’s heart and mind, we are dependent on the Spirit of God to come through the Word, and we are dependent on the Spirit of God to convict someone of their sin. Ultimately, it is the Spirit of God who causes regeneration and opens someone's heart to receive the gospel. We are dependent on the Spirit of God to be born again and come to true saving faith in Christ. who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:13). And we never know who will respond to the gospel message. Some of the most seemingly unlikely people are the ones who come to faith in Christ. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it is coming from and where it is going; so is everyone who has been born of the Spirit. (John 3:8).


Hidden Wisdom


Scripture says we cannot understand the things of God based on our own human intellect or reasoning, no matter how deeply intellectual, philosophical, or intelligent we are in a worldly sense. We could be the smartest person who ever walked the face of the earth, and without God's Spirit, we would never be able to arrive at an understanding of God's divine wisdom. God’s divine wisdom means a hidden wisdom that is only understood by those who choose to believe in Him; those who have been gifted the Holy Spirit by grace through faith.


The unbelieving person, otherwise known as the natural person, does not have the ability to understand the things of God or respond to Christ. But a natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). The Holy Spirit is the One who brings salvation in Christ, teaches us the things of God, and reveals His hidden wisdom to us. So the natural person without the Spirit cannot access that realm of God's divine wisdom simply because he or she lacks the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The natural person simply does not have the mechanism anywhere in him to be able to grasp the wisdom of salvation in Christ and all the blessings that come along with it. In First Corinthians it says, What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).


What No Eye Has Seen, Nor Ear Heard, Nor Heart Imagined


What does this Scripture mean when it says that no eye has seen nor ear has heard? It means that the things of God are not accessible to someone objectively. Then Scripture goes on to say that no heart of man imagined. This means that the things of God are not accessible to someone subjectively either. The things of God are not rational or at all comprehensible to the person without the Spirit. To sum this verse up, a person is incapable of understanding the Truth of God both outside of himself and inside of himself. Scripture goes on to say these things God has revealed to us through His Spirit. It's critical to keep this in mind when we are witnessing to all walks of life. No matter who the individual is, we must step back and allow the Spirit of God to be the One who works in that person’s eyes, ears, and heart. We can't force the gospel message. We can't force what we can so easily see ourselves - onto that person. If you're able to, try to recall back to when you didn't understand the hidden wisdom of God. Remembering your old, unregenerate self in this situation will stir up compassion and patience as you step back and yield to the Spirit to do His Work. Although we do not do the saving of souls, what an incredible privilege is it to take part in the Spirit of God moving in someone's eyes, ears, and heart.

I don't play for the Pittsburg Steelers. I'm not a member of the presidential cabinet. All I do is work everyday for the King of Kings. That's all I do. No what could be more insignificant than that? All I get to do is to work in the most significant enterprise that God has ever created. To work for the building of the Kingdom of God, for the preaching of the gospel, for the nurturing of the saints - is the highest calling in the universe. Why evangelize? Because it's a command, and it's the highest privilege that God could give to us. - RC Sproul

Final Summary of Witnessing


We know it's God's Spirit that does the saving. But in the final section here, I'd like to lay out our responsibility as the messengers of the gospel and summarize the overall, basic method of evangelism. Here is a recap of the four major steps of witnessing:


1. Step 1 - Start with Our Testimony


We start with our own personal testimony of how we have seen, heard, and felt the power of Jesus Christ transform our lives from darkness to light. We talk about how Jesus came to us and how we responded, regardless if it was intense and dramatic, or if it was quiet and subtle. Each and every testimony is powerful in their own unique ways, for we are all different. We all have different personalities, backgrounds, and upbringings. When we begin with our personal testimony, this places Christ into a real life situation for the receiver to better understand. We talk about our previous lack of purpose, peace, deficiency, and sense of being lost, and then we introduce to them how Christ came to us and transformed our life to be filled with purpose, peace, joy, gratitude, and given the gift of eternal life.


2. Reference Some Scripture With Our Testimony


As we tell the story of when we came to faith and were converted by God’s grace, we reference and recite Scripture to accompany our testimony. We let loose the Word of God, which defends and speaks for itself. "The Word of God is like a lion. You don't have to defend a lion. All you have to do is let the lion loose, and the lion will defend itself"- Charles Spurgeon. Scripture has its own power and glory because of its authority, sufficiency, and clarity. The Word of God is living and active. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:12-13). The Word does not only live, but it works. The Word of God is alive because God is a living God (Hebrews 3:12). In the parable of the sower, Jesus talks about the Word of God being like a seed (Matthew 13:1-23). Like the Word, which is living and active, a seed is a living thing that spreads when planted in fertile soil, producing a harvest in abundance. God's Word is so powerful that it can work deep inside our souls where it transforms our nature, character, behavior, speech, desires, and entire life. God's Word brings life to all those who believe in Him, and it brings judgment to all those who deny and disobey Him.


A few Scriptures we can add in for support of our testimonies and convicting people of their sin and need for a Savior:


• For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redepmption that is in Christ Jesus, (Romans 3:23-24)


• But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, (John 1:12).


Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).


• For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).


• if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).


• Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).


3. Talk About Sin


We highlight that we all have broken God’s Law, and we all fall short of His glory. We bring the person to see him or herself as a sinner in need of a Savior. We can’t tell them the good news of a Savior and salvation until we first tell them the bad news of their sin and how they’ve broken God’s Law. We can’t tell them about grace until they first understand why they need God’s grace. People will never understand the beauty and greatness of God’s mercy until they first understand His righteousness and judgement on those who break His Law, which is everyone. So, all in all, we must preach the Law that condemns people to hell first before we preach the good news of a Savior and the gift of eternal life by grace through faith in Christ.


Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; (Romans 3:19).


The Law closes every mouth and shows people their sin and their need for a Savior. Nobody’s conscience can defend itself against the violation of God’s perfect standards.


4. Share the Good News


Next comes the tremendously good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s when we give them the good news of how gracious, merciful, and loving God is towards guilty sinners and the free gift of eternal life God offers everyone through faith in Christ.


We stress the need for repentance and gently urge them to turn to the light of the gospel and commit their lives to Christ for salvation. When Jesus first begins His ministry, He tells everyone that the time has come, and He calls everyone to repent and believe in the gospel. Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15).

We gently and lovingly tell them they need to repent and believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ to be saved. And we must define that authentic saving faith is living a life of submission and obedience to the Word of God, not just an intellectual assent or a verbal profession agreeing to the historical facts of Jesus Christ and His death and ressurection. To truly confess Jesus as Lord from the heart, one must understand what it means to confess Him, trust in Him as Savior, and follow Him as Lord. It’s living a life of obedience to His Lordship, trusting in His goodness, promises, and warnings, and turning away from our own wills and doing the will of God through faith. Obviously, we are all still fallen and not totally free from the flesh, and so we will not obey perfectly. But by grace through faith, we will inevitably desire to obey Christ and follow Him with our whole hearts. Through the new birth, we are finally free from the bondage of sin and the power of Satan, and now we become slaves to Christ, slaves to obedience and righteousness instead. People must know that as becoming slaves of Jesus Christ, His yoke is easy and His burden is light, unlike the heavy yoke and burden of pride and sin.


Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30


No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24).


Don't you know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one who you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)


With God All Things Are Possible


When people initially see the light of the gospel and come to saving faith in Christ, they will not understand the full gravity of their sin, nor will they understand the full magnitude and glory of Jesus Christ, or the implications of submitting to His Lordship. But there will be seen a sincere attitude and willingness that takes root and grows towards that greater fullness of knowledge and magnificence of Jesus Christ. This sincerity to follow Jesus is granted by the Spirit of God only because a natural person without the Spirit will not be able to turn from sin on his own strength or merit. A natural person will not be able to confess Jesus with his mouth and believe in his heart that Christ is Lord, by his own intellect or rationale. A natural person is simply unable to respond to the gospel and affirm the Lordship of Christ on his own. That's because He is dead in sin, and it takes the grace of God to give Him life in Christ through faith. When a person is regenerated and born again, it's all the work of the Spirit of the almighty God of the universe. When someone repents of their sins, turns to the light of the gospel, and comes to true saving faith in Christ, it's a divine miracle of God. That's why Jesus says, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).


I hope my series on witnessing was encouraging to you! "The greatest joy in the world is to know Jesus Christ. The second greatest joy is to make Him known." - Steve Lawson


And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20


Love,

Jenna

 

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23


For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16


For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2


That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us. 1 John 1:1-2


And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead Acts 10:42


Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 2 Timothy 1:8



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