Witnessing for God – John 4:39-42

The Power Of The Spoken Word Is Not To Be Underestimated

39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.

42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Say Something

Sometimes, the most important thing to do is just to say something:

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Since faith comes through hearing the message, if we don’t tell other people, how will they come to faith?  God not only uses people, but also the heavens above to speak about Himself:

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.

Even the skies proclaim the work of His hands.  All creation bears witness to Him:

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

God prefers that people hear testimony about Himself from people, for we are more persuasive, and people are more able to relate to our experiences.

Seed the Soil

When we speak about Almighty God and His Son, Jesus Christ, we are sowing spiritual seed in the hearts of whomever may hear.  It takes a great effort to prepare the soil, fertilize it, and get it ready for the farmer to plant seed.  The Holy Spirit, using the trials of life, gets the soil of our hearts ready for the seed of the Gospel.

And like all seed, it needs to be watered, and the soil needs to be weeded.  If we don’t, the soil will dry up, and the seed will die.  Paul used this analogy as well:

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.

It is important to remember that our job is to plant and water.  God is the one who prepares the soil, and makes the seed grow.  That’s not our responsibility.  Many people take on the burden of results when that solely belongs to God.  Then, when it takes time for the seed to grow, they grow discouraged.  Just as seed takes time to germinate and grow, so too does the word of God in the lives of many people.

Hefty Harvest

And when the plant has reached full maturity, it is time to harvest it.  We have been given the wonderful opportunity to see the work that God has done in someone’s life come to fruition when they believe upon The Lord Jesus Christ and give their life back to Him.  God uses us to help people make the final leap from faith to action.

These are very simple things that disciples of Christ can do, and have been commanded to do.  Yet for some reason, many are not engaging in the tasks that we have been assigned.  Whether it is fear of rejection (you are just the mailman!), not knowing the right answers (be a Berean – study the scriptures!), or whatever else it may be, we need to be engaged in the business with which our King has entrusted us.  Let us be found faithful in our responsibilities so that we will not be ashamed when He returns.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I actively seeking out opportunities to witness to people about the work that God has been doing in my life and the lives of His people?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, give me a heart that is burdened for the lost.  Help me to be more attentive to those who do not know You, and share the good news with them.  Strengthen me when I am challenged, and help me to overcome all obstacles that I may face when speaking about You.  Give me an opportunity today to share You with someone who doesn’t know You, and help me to be content in just doing that.  And when it is time, help me to be one of the workers sent into the fields to harvest those whose soil has been prepared and whose seed has matured.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Healing by God – Matthew 9:35-38

Jesus Healed Every Sickness And Disease

35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Serve Soup

Catharine and William Booth started the Salvation Army.  They embraced the call of Christ to send workers into His harvest field.  As indicated in this passage, there are two parts to healing a person:

  1. Take care of their physical needs
  2. Take care of their spiritual needs

For the Salvation Army, the cry was “soup, soap, salvation.”

The first thing that we as Christians should do is look to the physical.  When someone is hungry, the message of salvation is hollow compared to the pain in their stomach.  When attempting to reach people, see if there are physical needs that first need to be met.  God may be using you as His messenger to prepare the way for the gospel through this simple act of charity.  It is hard to tell someone who God loves them and provides for them when they are homeless, in abject poverty, and are starving.  We must meet people where they are.  One they have eaten physical food, they are in a better position to consume spiritual food.

Supply Soap

After they are fed, they may feel uncomfortable.  Give them the opportunity for dignity.  Washing of their physical bodies is the next step in preparation.  After dealing with hunger, are they having problems with some other physical need?  Do they need a coat to keep them warm in the winter?  Are they walking around barefoot because they have no shoes?  The “soap” part deals with the non-food physical needs of the person.  Have you practiced hospitality?  In today’s world, it is dangerous to invite a stranger into your home.  Many people have been severely injured, even to the point of death by strangers who have ill-intent towards them.  Yet we are called to be ambassadors for Christ.

And while we need to consider our safety and the safety of our family, have we made every effort to help those who just don’t know where to go or what to do find the resources that they need to survive?  What does it cost to call a cab to take someone to a shelter?  Until our physical needs are met as well, we won’t be in a position to listen about our spiritual needs.

God sent His son out to heal people of their physical and spiritual issues.  Where two or more are gathered in the character of God, He is there also.  Why not ask people if you can pray over them for God’s physical healing in their life?  One of the efforts that prepared the way for the gospel was the miraculous healing of people.  God still want’s us to go out and give comfort and healing to people, just as we received it from Him.

Send Salvation

Once our physical needs have been met, we can finally listen with our ears.  Jesus Christ cared enough about every person that ever lived on this planet to come down from Heaven and die upon a cross for our sins.  We also should be willing to take the message of salvation, a far more valuable and important need of man than physical healing to those who may never hear it.

Some people may be deaf to the word of God because the trinkets of wealth call to them.  Some people may not hear because the emotional pain of the difficulties in their lives drown it out.  Some people cannot hear because the physical pain of their bodies screams like a boiling kettle of water.  And others just haven’t heard.

In business, there is a term that is used to keep people on-task: “go for the low-hanging fruit.”  Fruit that is too high in the tree takes too much time and effort to go after.  And while it is valuable, the low hanging fruit is more plentiful and profitable.  If we spend all of our time going after the fruit high in the tree, we will miss out on the opportunities that are most profitable in the time we have been provided during the harvest:

7 “As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

9 “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts- 10 no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”

Note that Jesus does NOT say, “And when you enter a village or home, stay there until every last person has heard the message and accepted it.  Take as much time as is needed to make sure that you miss no one, and do not leave until every person has given their lives to God”.  On the contrary – Jesus tells them that if people won’t listen, move on.  That is the essence of harvesting “low-hanging fruit” – gathering as much as you can in the least amount of time that you can, because the harvest season is short, and is now near its conclusion.

So what is stopping us from bringing the message that will save people’s souls from eternity in Hell to those who need to hear it?  Are we terrified that our lives may end?  Are we afraid for loss of property?  What ARE we afraid of?

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  When around other people outside of work, what is primarily on my mind?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have seen fit to save me from my sin.  Help me now to have renewed effort in spreading the word of Your salvation message to those who may not have heard it.  Help me to remember that I am merely the messenger, and if people reject the message, they are not rejecting me, but the message that has been delivered.  Give me the strength and will to overcome any fear in talking with others about You so that You may be proclaimed everywhere.  And in places where it is too dangerous to speak Your name, give me the boldness of heart to do so anyway, for I would rather die proclaiming your Name than live hundreds of years hiding in fear for my life.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Commission of God – Luke 10:1-4

Get Going – The Harvest Is Ripe!

1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.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.4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

Get Going!

The hardest part of anything is taking the first step.  We are being sent out to fulfill The Great Commission!  The Church needs to take to heart this command from Jesus so that we can be fruitful in our labors.  If we aren’t pursuing this, then what are we doing?

Hefty Harvest

At the time this passage was written, the people were hungry for God.  The soil of their hearts had been prepared, and there was a great gathering of souls as Christianity spread throughout the entire known world.  Even today, in many places that haven’t heard the message of Christ, there is hunger when the salvation message is given.  We are to ask God to send people out to gather the harvest.  Let us be like Isaiah who said, “Here am I. Send me!

Little Lambs

Christians are referred to as lambs, and Jesus as our shepherd.  These metaphors were used because the world was an agrarian society, and the people would easily relate to the similarities in the stories to their own lives.  One of the interesting things about lambs is that they listen only to the voice of their shepherd.  If anyone else comes and tries to lead them, the lambs are scared and run away.  We need to learn the voice of our shepherd and listen carefully so that we can run from the voice of anyone else.

Trusting Travels

We are to trust in God.  God wanted the early disciples to trust Him completely.  He told them that they should take nothing with them – neither a purse (money) nor a bag (supplies) nor sandals (extra shoes).  They were to be completely dependent upon the one who supplies all of our needs.  And in fasting and prayer, following the Lord’s commands, they performed many miracles and drew close to God the Father.

A Qualifying Question

So let’s ask a question: Are we doing what we know that God wants us to do?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have called us out of darkness and to Yourself.  Help me to completely and totally follow You with complete abandon to my former life.  Help me to trust You, and not look upon what has been provided to me.  You are able to provide for my every need.  If you have called me to something, You will provide whatever is required.  Your character is perfect, and You will fulfill all that You have set forth to accomplish.  Help me to know Your voice so well that I would flee the voice of any other.  Help me to take any first steps toward the goals that You have provided to me so that I may be faithful to You.  Show me the harvest that is ready, so that those whose hearts You have prepared will the brought into the light.  This I ask and pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?