How Do You Witness?

After his victory in Idaho, I was listening to Ted Cruz give a speech and I was shouting at the screen to” shut up” with all of those Bible verses. Now to don’t me wrong, I love the Scriptures and I admire people who can quote them, but not during a political speech. It makes you look like a clown or something.

Read any of the speeches from George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, even Martin Luther King. They  certainly quoted the Scriptures and even quite well, but they didn’t say, “As the Bible says  . . .” Or, “As Matthew such and such . . .” No, they simply spoke the Truth the Scriptures presented. It is so easy to speak the Truth, without saying, “The Bible says . . .” We simply speak the Truth, and that is all that you need.

Let me give you some examples of this. In his letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, George Washington wrote,

“…when the seeds of happiness which are sown here shall begin to expand themselves, and when every one under his own vine and fig-tree shall begin to taste the fruits of freedom, then all these blessings for all these blessings will come . . .” (George Washington, Letter to the Marquis de Lafayette)

He even quoted a passage in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel,

“To form a new Government . . . We have, no doubt, some good parts in our present constitution; many bad ones we know we have, wherefore no time can be misspent that is imployed in seperating the Wheat from the Tares.” (George Washington, Letter to John Augustine in reference to the making of a new Constitution, May 31, 1776)

George Washington quoted Paul:

“The hour is fast approaching, on which the Honor and Success of this army, and the safety of our bleeding Country depend. Remember officers and Soldiers, that you are Freemen, fighting for the blessings of Liberty – that slavery will be your portion, and that of your posterity, if you do not acquit yourselves like men.” (George Washington, General Orders, August 23, 1776)

Then we have Abraham Lincoln:

Near eighty years ago we began by declaring that all men are created equal; but now from that beginning we have run down to the other declaration, that for some men to enslave others is a “sacred right of self-government.” These principles can not stand together. They are as opposite as God and mammon; and whoever holds to the one, must despise the other. (Speech at Peoria, Illinois, on October 16, 1854)

Regarding Stephen Douglas, Lincoln said,

He says I have a proneness for quoting scripture. If I should do so now, it occurs that perhaps he places himself somewhat upon the ground of the parable of the lost sheep which went astray upon the mountains, and when the owner of the hundred sheep found the one that was lost, and threw it upon his shoulders, and came home rejoicing, it was said that there was more rejoicing over the one sheep that was lost and had been found, than over the ninety and nine in the fold.

The application is made by the Saviour in this parable, thus, “Verily I say unto you, there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, than over ninety and nine just persons that need no repentence. And now, if the Judge claims the benefit of his parable, let him repent. Let him not come up here and say: I am the only just person; and you are the ninety-nine sinners! Repentence, before forgiveness is a provision of the Christian system, and on that condition alone will the Republicans grant his forgiveness (Speech at Springfield, Illinois, on July 17, 1858)

In his historic and iconic speech, “I have a dream,” Martin Luther King alluded to Psalm 30:5, in the second stanza of the speech. Not only that, King quoted from Isaiah 40:4-5 (“I have a dream that every valley shall be exalted . . .”) and Amos 5:24 (“But let justice roll down like water . . .”). He also alluded to the opening lines of Shakespeare’s Richard III (“Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer . . .”) when he remarks that “this sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn…” The point I am trying to make is that we can share the Gospel, without carrying a Bible to thump on. Paul stated that we are the letters of Christ!

The point I am trying to make is that we can share the Gospel, without carrying a Bible to thump on. Paul stated that we are the letters of Christ!

It is clear that you are Christ’s letter, written as a result of our ministry. You are a letter written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, a letter written not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts (II Corinthians 3:3)

Because of this, we can quote Scripture, without quoting Scripture! Our lives are to display the greatness of our God!

Many years ago, I taught classes on witnessing. We would take teams downtown to share the Gospel with people on the street. After that, we would have great reports of the results. We were so proud of ourselves. When I was pastoring a group at Western Michigan University, instead of going downtown, we would go door-to-door in the dormitories. Again, we were so proud of ourselves.

But eventually, the Lord began to show me that there was much more in what Paul wrote. What he was saying is that there was a far more effective way to share the Gospel, to witness to those I met, worked with and even my family. To share my faith, what I truly believed, I had to remember what Paul wrote: “You are Christ’s letter . . .” That’s right. My life tells the story of the Gospel.

It is not the Fleur-de-Lis Cross you have tattooed on your back or the Jerusalem cross you wear around your neck or the “I love Jesus” bumper sticker on your minivan. The perfect witness is what your children see you do and hear you say when someone cuts you off and you yell:

“Hey you %&$#?@!”

When you receive that bill in the mail,

“Oh dear Gawd, what are we going to do now?”

When the doctor gives you that ominous diagnosis:

“Oh my, how long do i have . . .?”

No, “if you are ‘risen‘ with Christ, reach out for the highest gifts of Heaven, where your Master reigns in power. Give your heart to the heavenly things, not to the passing things of earth. For, as far as this world is concerned, you are already dead, and your true life is a hidden one in Christ. One day, Christ, the secret centre of our lives, will show himself openly, and you will all share in that magnificent revelation.

“In so far, then, as you have to live upon this earth, consider yourselves dead to worldly contacts: have nothing to do with sexual immorality, dirty-mindedness, uncontrolled passion, evil desire, and the lust for other people’s goods, which last, remember, is as serious a sin as idolatry. It is because of these very things that the holy anger of God falls upon those who refuse to obey him. And never forget that you had your part in those dreadful things when you lived that old life.

“But now, put all these things behind you. No more evil temper or furious rage: no more evil thoughts or words about others, no more evil thoughts or words about God, and no more filthy conversation. Don’t tell each other lies anymore, for you have finished with the old man and all he did and have begun life as the new man, who is out to learn what he ought to be, according to the plan of God. In this new man of God’s design, there is no distinction between Greek and Hebrew, Jew or Gentile, foreigner or savage, slave or free man. Christ is all that matters for Christ lives in them all.

“As, therefore, God’s picked representatives of the new humanity, purified and beloved of God himself, be merciful in action, kindly in heart, humble in mind. Accept life, and be most patient and tolerant with one another, always ready to forgive if you have a difference with anyone. Forgive as freely as the Lord has forgiven you. And, above everything else, be truly loving, for love is the golden chain of all the virtues.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, remembering that as members of the same body you are called to live in harmony, and never forget to be thankful for what God has done for you.

“Let Christ’s teaching live in your hearts, making you rich in the true wisdom. Teach and help one another along the right road with your psalms and hymns and Christian songs, singing God’s praises with joyful hearts. And whatever you may have to do, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, thanking God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3)

Doulos Studies

(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you—a to the list: Mail List)

I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.

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