3 Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.
— Titus 3:3 NLT
We should always remember that all of us were once sinners and slaves to sin. We lived ungodly lives satisfying the ungodly desires of our flesh. We wasted our lives chasing after earthly pleasures that fade away with the dark of night. But, Jesus Christ, through His mercy died for us and we have been justified by His grace. We could not and can not do anything to save ourselves. So, we need to keep those thoughts in mind and always live our life remembering that we owe a debt of love that we can never repay. We need to thank God may times every day for all that He has done and is doing for each of us. We can show our gratitude by telling the old, old story that is still true today. We were born in sin and needed a Savior. Jesus is our Savior and our Lord. The story never changes. Tell it to those God puts in your path today. And tell it with love. Let our thoughts, words and actions lift up Jesus. We live in a fallen world filled with lost people looking for an answer to their feelings of loneliness and worthlessness. Our lifestyles should show them that there is only one answer and that is Jesus.
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the Lord’s name for saving me.
— Psalm 116:13 NLT
If God never did another thing for us after giving us the gift of salvation, it would be more than sufficient reason for us to praise Him forever. Yet, He just keeps on giving and giving. Every breath is a gift. “Every good and every perfect gift is from above”. Those gifts come from the Father in whom there is no variation. He has always been a giver, He is a giver now and He has no plans to change. He is the Solid Rock, whatever good there is comes from Him and that will not change. Every day is a day that He has made just for us. He doesn’t need day and night, they are a gift for frail humans whose minds are too small to grasp an eternity with no seams. He gives us “a time for all things”. He is never more than a thought away from us. He is our constant companion so that we are never alone. If we were in heaven with Jesus, we would be praising Him constantly. Yet, here on earth we live every day in His presence and spend little or no time praising Him and offering up thanks for all that He does. We should praise the Lord daily for saving us and tell the world about our salvation. Our tongues should be like the “pen of a ready writer” and tell the story over and over. “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
6 God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. — John 1:6, 7 NLT
God sent John the Baptist as a forerunner of Jesus. The purpose and plan for John’s life was to tell the world about the Light that was coming. John understood and accepted his mission wholeheartedly. John spent his life in the wilderness living on locusts and honey, witnessing to those who came out to hear him. He was not the Light but was a witness that the Light was coming. John was so effective in his work that Jesus called him “the greatest man who ever lived”.
Yet, Jesus said “even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is”. How can this be that we could be greater than John the Baptist who lived his life for and utltimately gave his life for Jesus? The word “greater” here is used in the same sense that the word “greater” is used when Jesus said that we would do even “greater” works than Jesus did when He walked here on the earth. It is not meant to demean or lessen the value of the work that John and Jesus did, but to emphasize the greatness of the Kingdom of God itself. It is not written to give us illusions of grandeur or self-importance, but to encourage us to work for the Kingdom of God. It is not as individual Christains that we are greater or can do greater works but it is our inclusion in the Kingodm of God that is emphasized as being of utmost importance. So, the work we do for the expansion of the Kingdom of God is greater in importance than anything that we do that the world considers great or important. If we are to be “greater” then we must finish the work that John started. John was the forerunner, Jesus was the reason and we are the witnesses for this and future generations. We are here as Light and Life to a dark and dying world. So, let your Light shine and speak the words of Life to those around you wherever you are and whenever you can. There is no “greater” work to be done.
3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7 Instead, we were like young children among you. — 1 Thessalonians 2:3-7 NIV
Each of us has been approved by God to spread the Gospel. Some of us have large audiences and some of us have small audiences, nevertheless, we are all instructed to “go and make disciples”. God knows where we can be the most effective. Whether we realize it or not, we are “witnessing” all the time. The question is this: “For whom are we witnessing and what word are we spreading?” We must always be sure that when we speak or act, that our motives are pure and that we are speaking truthfully. This is particularly true when we are preaching, teaching or witnessing for God. When we are laboring for God, we should always remember that it is Him we are trying to please. We should never water down the message the Holy Spirit gives us to speak. Our mission is to spread the Word of God, not to get rich or famous, nor are we in a popularity contest. The world hears enough about those kind of things every day, yet they are still unhappy and stressed out, they are looking for some kind of relief from all those daily pressures. They are looking for something to fill the void that is inside them. We have the answer and it should be our hearts’ desire to give the answer to others. We must present the message with love and kindness, We should be as innocent as little children. We are to go out “as lambs among wolves”.
2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. — Luke 10:2, 3 NIV
7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. — 1 Thessalonians 1:7-10 NIV
What words of encouragement Paul gives to the Thessalonians! They have become models for believers everywhere. They are known throughout all of Greece for their faith in God! So, when Paul and his companions arrive at a new place, the people there are already aware of who they are because of the good things they are hearing about the church in Thessalonica. They already know the story of how the people in Thessalonica have turned from serving idols to serving the true and living God. Because of Paul’s message which is being delivered with the power of the Holy Spirit, they now wait for the return of Jesus, the One God has raised from the dead, the One who would come and rescue them from the coming wrath! Do the churches that we attend have that kind of reputation in the world today? Is our local church seen as a place of safety and comfort? Or would people find more fellowship and feel more welcome in a secular setting? Do we do a good job of greeting newcomers and make them fell comfortable in our pews? Are we more like a wide-open hospital tent in a war zone or an emergency room only for believers? Pick a number, any number. If that many newcomers came to our church today, would we have enough members willing to pray with each one individually and explain the message of salvation to them? Or would we need a triage to assign the degree of urgency to each case so the staff could handle it? No, we couldn’t do that since we all have the same disease and we are all affected to the same degree and in the same way. So, would any of them have to leave without having an opportunity to talk to the Doctor? Am I personally able and willing to introduce them to the great Physician? My prayer for each of us is that we are not only able but that we are willing to do that. The fields are white with harvest.
4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” — John 9:4, 5
1 As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says,
‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.”
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. — 2 Cor. 6:1, 2 NIV
Now is the time! We are not promised the rest of today, much less tomorrow. As we go through our day, let’s take the time to look around.. As we look at each person God puts in our path, we should ask ourself this question: Should I speak to this person about Jesus? If we feel that little nudge from the Holy Spirit, don’t hesitate. Speak! Buts, what ifs, and all those negative thoughts come from the devil. There is no guarantee that they will accept what we are saying, never has been, never will be We are not responsible for the results of our witnessing. It is our duty to be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. There is a guarantee that God’s word will do exactly what it is supposed to do.
10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. — Isaiah 55:10, 11 NIV
We are sent to rescue the perishing. Sometimes that requires talking with them
20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins. — James 5:20 NIV
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. — 2 Cor. 4:3-7 NIV
When we allow God to use us as His witnesses, we may not see the results of our labors immediately. It has been determined that it takes more than 7 “touches” or exposures to the Good News for a person to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. Our God desires that everyone should be saved, but the “god of this age”, satan, has blinded many to the truth of the Gospel. They cannot see the Light because they are focused on the pleasures of this world and the desires of the flesh. Their refusal to see the Light does not alleviate us of the responsibility of being the Light of Jesus Christ shining in a world of darkness. We have this Light of the knowledge of God’s glory shining in our hearts. God has placed His treasure, this knowledge of Him, in the hearts of human beings. These jars of clay are weak and decaying but the Light shining forth from them displays the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This power is from God and not from us. That is why God has made us responsible for shining, but He has kept the responsibility for dispelling the darkness. We can be assured that if we do our part, He will faithfully do His part and souls will be added to the Kingdom.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. — Isaiah 55:9-11 NIV