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CHRISTIAN LIFE - WITNESSING SALVATION AS A WAY OF LIFE PART 1

Witnessing as a Way of Life - Part 1

I’ll review the Good News of Jesus Christ so we know what’s involved in the life of a Christian and our responsibilities in witnessing. We need to know about our faith. We talk about witnessing, spreading the Gospel, telling the Good News of salvation and eternal life in Heaven. Heaven is a free gift (Romans 6:23). It is unearned, undeserved, and unmerited. We all have heard that there's nothing in this life that's free. But thank God that the greatest thing humans could ever have in life—is free (Ephesians 2:8-9).  

No amount of personal effort, good works, or religious deeds can earn a place in Heaven for you or me. Eternal life, like any genuine gift, is free. We can see this fact more clearly when we understand that the Bible says repeatedly that we humans are sinners. This brings us face-to-face with the predicament we are in. According to God's Word, we have made a colossal mess out of everything we have laid our hands on! God says we have broken His law and are sinners (1 John 3:4).

The Holy Bible teaches further that our predicament is compounded by another factor. As sinners, we cannot save ourselves. Few people understand that we cannot merit eternal life by doing good works. We cannot earn our way into Heaven. The nature of God Himself is another part of the predicament.

  • God is just. Because He is just and righteous, He must punish our sins as Exodus 34:7 clearly states.
  • He does not leave the guilty unpunished.
  • His law declares He must judge and punish sin, without a doubt.
  • God is merciful. He doesn't want to punish us.
  • God is love, states 1 John 4:8. One of the most amazing and most difficult facts to learn about God is that He loves us in spite of what we are. He loves us not because of what we are but of what He is. He loves us more than any father or mother could love their child, more than any husband loves his wife. How vast! How measureless is this love of God for us!

Wouldn’t you view with contempt a judge who was overly lenient with offenders? God emphasizes that He is holy and just and must punish sin, but He is also loving and merciful and does not wish to punish sinners. This obviously creates a problem. In His infinite wisdom, God solved the problem. Jesus Christ is the answer to our predicament. John 3:16-18 states this very clearly, and Jesus’ own words support this (John 5:24).

The Holy Bible (John 1:1, 14) teaches that Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter of Galilee, is God, the Creator of the universe, God Almighty. This comes as a real surprise to many people. They don’t understand the Trinity: that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They don’t believe that God the Son became man! Even His disciples had difficulty believing that Jesus was God. When they walked with Him, they called Him Lord or Master. After he died and rose from the grave, John 20:28 says that one of His followers, Thomas, said to him, "My Lord and my God!"

The birth of Jesus is “the Incarnation,” meaning "in flesh." Christ left His home in glory to be born in a filthy stable. God became man for a grand and noble purpose, to die on the cross for our sins and to purchase a place in Heaven for us (Isaiah 53:6; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 3:5).

You know Jesus lived a perfect and spotless life. He taught the world’s greatest teachings. He worked the world’s mightiest deeds called miracles. But dying on the cross and being resurrected was His purpose for coming into the world. When Christ died on the cross, He paid for all of the sins of the world--past, present, and future. When the last sin was paid for, we read that He cried out It is finished. In the original text, the word means "the debt is paid.” That’s why salvation and eternity in Heaven is a free gift: Jesus paid the debt.

Does everyone receive the gift? No. It’s a choice, a process (Galatians 6:8).

  • We receive the gift of God by faith, but faith has several definitions. One simple definition is intellectual knowledge.
  • We have faith that certain drugs are helpful and others are dangerous.
  • We have faith that historical figures existed and events occurred because we read about them.

Many people have this intellectual knowledge/faith that Jesus was a real person in the same way they have faith that Napoleon, George Washington, or Abraham Lincoln were real people. This intellectual knowledge is sometimes called “head knowledge.”

Even Satan and his demons have knowledge/faith that Jesus was a real person and really God (James 2:19; Matthew 8:29). Matthew chapter 4, Mark chapter 1, and Luke chapter 4 record Satan’s Temptation of Jesus. Satan knew Scripture, for in Luke 4:10 he used the same words Jesus used, It is written.

We need “heart knowledge,” or saving faith, believing that Jesus is truly God and trusting Jesus Christ alone for our eternal salvation and that what He did on the cross for us was all that is needed for us to have eternal life (Acts 16:31).

Someone might say, “I have this saving faith. But how can I be sure God knows that I have accepted Jesus as my Savior? That I asked for forgiveness from my past sins and don’t want to sin any more?” Well, God is omniscient: He knows everything. But He also has a written record. You have probably heard of God’s record book, called the “book of life” in the Old Testament or “the Lamb’s book of life” in Revelation. Don’t be confused about this book. This is just a list of names of people who have accepted salvation and who will be in Heaven when they die. It does not show anything else. When we ask God for forgiveness for our sins and accept Christ as our Savior, God forgives and forgets our sins (2 Corinthians 5:19; Psalm 130:3-4; Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 38:17; Isaiah 43:25; Micah 7:19). 

To receive eternal life,

  • You must transfer trust in yourself to trust in Jesus alone.
  • You must repent of sin. This means turning away from anything you have been doing that is displeasing to God.
  • You must trust in what Christ did for you on the cross, not any work you could do for Him. You get to Heaven through your saving faith, not by going to Sunday School and church regularly, or giving to missions, or being a good neighbor. When you are saved, you do these things because of love for Jesus.
  • You must commit your life to Him and live for Him. Christ takes our sin, and we receive His righteousness.
  • You must continue to follow Him and be guided by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, the Holy Bible.
  • As a member of God’s forever family, you should fellowship with other members of the church, the “body.”

Let’s stop here for a minute. What have I just told you? I’ve just reviewed the steps to accepting Christ as Savior. Hopefully, this is Old News to you who are already saved! But what does it have to do with our topic of witnessing? To witness effectively and with authority, you need to be familiar with the process of your own salvation: have faith, trust, repent, commit, follow, and fellowship.

Question: Why do we witness?

  • Because we have received the gift of salvation, we should be self-motivated to share the gift by witnessing to others. 
  • Witnessing glorifies our great God. Each time we proclaim the Gospel, we proclaim the excellence of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). Of course, we must also live our lives in a way that reflects the heartfelt gratitude we have for our Savior (Matthew 5:16).
  • Witnessing is a divine command for every Christian to obey (Matthew 28:19-20). Christians are to make disciples as they go from place to place. Jesus has given us the responsibility of making His last command our first concern. When you break up the word responsibility, it becomes our “response” to His “ability.”
  • We have the only message of Hope (Acts 4:12). There is no other Savior, no other mediator, and no other Gospel. Those who do not share the Gospel are only helping the Devil’s cause.
  • Witnessing is evidence of a new life. Christians are born again to reproduce! Whenever I see repented sinners respond to the Gospel in genuine saving faith, the very first thing they want to do is share the good news with their loved ones (Ephesians 2:10).

A most important work God has prepared for us is to His Church by making disciples for Jesus Christ. Followers of Jesus will fish for people (Matthew 4:19). Jesus gave this command to two brothers who were professional fishermen. They had been successful at catching fish which were alive. Jesus wanted them to be successful catching men who were dead. The only way to catch people who are dead in [their] transgressions and sins is with the life giving power of the Gospel as Paul reminds us in Romans 1:16. A disciple of Jesus will follow Him, and to follow Him is to be a fisher of men. An old-timey preacher said it this way: You catch ‘em, and He will clean ‘em.

Let’s assume we have just witnessed to someone and covered all these steps and Scripture. The next step is to ask the person these questions:

  • Do you believe Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead to save you from your sins?
  • Do you believe Christ wants you to be saved and live in Heaven with Him? Revelation 3:20 has the answer to this question. Are you ready to receive the resurrected and living Christ as your Savior?

The person says they believe and are ready to receive Christ as Savior. Your next step is to pray with the person, hear the confession of sin and repentance, and acceptance of Christ and commitment to serve Him. Let me give you a few examples of how to lead a person to prayer their prayer of confession.

You can say:

  • “The Lord is here right now. We can tell Him that you want to stop trusting in yourself and begin putting your trust in Christ. You want Jesus to be your personal Savior and Lord.”                              or
  • “Jesus is in Heaven on the throne of God the Father. He wants to be Lord of your life and be with Him in Heaven. He wants you to accept His gift of salvation, to repent of your sins, to turn from what you have been doing and follow Him, and to become a responsible member of His body.”                   or
  • “The Lord will hear your prayer if you are sincere. The Lord is listening to your lips, but He’s looking at your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 says, You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Then you can pray in preparation.

“Father, I pray that You would grant (Jane Doe) eternal life. I ask that the Holy Spirit would help (her) understand what You did for (her) on the cross. Grant her the repentance she is requesting. Help her turn from her sin and turn to You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

Then the person prays for their own salvation.

This is the witnessing way of life.

THE INVITATION

You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned  (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).

To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).

You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:

         Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed.

      Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on.

      I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.

      Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.

                     In Your name I pray, Amen.

 

nessing process, your way of life.