Witnessing v. Preaching

“For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”  (Acts 4:20)

Witnessing is to give an account of what is seen and heard. Not everyone can be a witness of Christ, even though they can be preachers. A witness doesn’t need the credentials to become qualified to preach but his daily walk with the Lord turns him into one.  A witness manifests the power of God that works in him and through him to bless many. People can choose to become preachers but unless the power comes down from above, no one can become a witness for Christ.

A witness preaches even though he/she is not speaking. A witness is a living epistle that others read and come to know the one he follows.  “You yourselves are our letter written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.”  (2Cor. 3:2).

Worldly education can produce well trained preachers who know every single detail of the scripture but a witness’ education begins and ends at the feet of the master. The greatest teacher is ready to break the bread of his word every time we open our ears to listen to his voice.  “If someone hears my voice and opens the door, I come in and eat with him and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)

Our Rabbi chooses different modes of training according to the need and the magnitude of faith of his follower. The Lord acknowledges faith at every level, and rewards his people by taking them from one level to another, but in his time. Everything looks beautiful in his own time and we can’t rush the process to become Christ’ witnesses.  The Lord lets his people wait and learn in humble submission as he himself did. “Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” (Heb. 5:8). Once he was made perfect, he became a source and left a pattern that needs to be followed by his followers.

Preaching is a gift that comes down from the Lord to multiply his kingdom. A preacher may or may not follow the teachings of the Lord. “Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord did we not prophesy in your name…Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. “ (Mat 7:22). A preacher may have many skills and have brought many to the Lord by his charismatic preaching but he may have never accepted Christ as his Lord.  For such preachers, it is said, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mat. 16:26).

People preach for various reasons and the Lord blesses their efforts irrespective of the motive behind their preaching for the “word of the Lord never comes back void”. Paul declared that he is happy as long as Christ is preached for whatever reasons, “some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition…But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.” (Phil. 1:15-18)

Are you a preacher? Wait upon the Lord!  Waiting is the tool that God uses to turn a mere preacher into a powerful witness who brings glory to him not just by preaching the Word but also by living a Christ centered life.

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Preach to yourself

Matthew 16:26, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life”.

The verse says that it is possible to save others for the Lord by preaching a way of life that may not be followed by the preacher.

Is it possible to gain the whole world by proclaiming the mighty word of God without being touched by its life changing power?

Yes. God can use anyone to spread his word. He chooses people from different cast, creed and nations to work for his kingdom. Is there anything that the preacher can boast about? Nothing! Someone who has been chosen by God to spread the word is a medium not the source. It’s the work of the Lord to turn the seed into a tree.  The preacher can only sow the seed of the word of God.

A preacher has no special privileges, nor is he any better than the listener. In fact, the one who is preaching the word of God becomes accountable and in danger of judgement if he never follows what he preaches. “The word of God is sharper than any double edged sword. It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and desires of heart.” (Heb. 4:12).  A preacher with a humble heart and a little knowledge will gain more lives for the kingdom of God than the one who knows every single verse of the scripture but has no desire to follow the word of God.

Why does God choose someone to preach the word that has no desire to be touched by the word of God?

God does it to prove that no one is above the authority of his word. The listener and the speaker both come under the same power and both are equally accountable to what they have heard. The Lord in his love provides opportunities to the preacher to be touched by the word while preaching it to others, so that he may save his own life while in pursuit of saving others.

Next time you rush to preach the word, listen what it says to you! Meditate on it. You may be the one who is in need of this word of encouragement.

Come into the presence of the Lord with the brokenness of heart and readiness to learn rather than with heaps of knowledge. Learn in humility and then go!

Witnessing Christ

Christ has called us to be his witness. Witnessing is powerful only when it either encourages or gently convicts the listener otherwise, it is empty and just a collection of interpretations from famous authors and videos pulled from youtube.  This kind of witnessing neither benefits the listener nor brings any contentment on the part of the speaker.

A true witness is the one who has heard and seen the truth that lies at the core of the word of God. A witness is not the one who reads a passage from scripture and runs out to share it with others but the one who meditates on the word by spending time with the Lord, experiences the deep joy that the word brings and tests the firmness of the word when everything else seems to fall apart, but the word still retains its authority as the chief source of peace and security.

Christ has called us to see, hear and learn from his word. When we come to spend time in his presence, we experience unique joy, love and a deeper revelation that brings us closer to the Lord. We come out renewed, convicted and free. In freedom when we testify Christ, our testimony will not only be powerful but will melt the hardest of hearts. The listener will experience a special feeling of being wounded and healed at the same time, for the word of God is alive and active,  sharper than any double-edged sword. It penetrates to our deepest core. The one who has experienced the penetrating power of the word becomes instrumental in spreading the word effectively.

Jesus asked his disciples to wait until the power has been poured down on them from above. Since Jesus is same yesterday, today and forever, he is still asking us to wait in silence, learn from his word in quietness and then go out and witness.

Has the one witnessing Christ been made perfect? By no means, we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. All of us are bound to fall, but doesn’t our falling reveal the saving grace of God to our deepest core. Doesn’t it prove that there is just one who is perfect and the rest of us are the same.

All we could do is to try to live a Godly life and become sensitive enough to realize our own shortfalls and come to the cross for renewal. Christ has not called us to witness because we are perfect, He has called us to witness so that by seeing the amazing power of the word of God in the lives of others we may fall down at HIS greatness and raise our hands in prayer every time we feel tempted.

Bring a colt that has never been ridden

In Mark 11:2-3 Jesus told his disciples Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If someone asks you, “Why are you doing this? tell him, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.”

Lord, the creator of heaven and earth knows each one of us intimately. He has designed us in the womb of our mother and has the blueprint of our lives – he knows exactly what will happen to us and when.  In Mark 11:2-3 before sending out  his disciples, The Lord knew where the colt had been and what kind would it be (never been ridden). The Lord knew that his disciples would be questioned upon untying the colt and gave them a specific answer.

The Lord prepared his disciples before sending them out.

How important it is to cultivate the habit of listening to the Lord and his divine voice before going out to work for HIM. The Lord is aware of all  – where, what and how of our lives:

1. The Lord has destined a place for us to go – The Lord has given us great commission to preach the gospel but he has thought of a specific place for our ministry. Unless we know where to go, we will not be successful in our work despite our best efforts. To listen to the voice of the Lord by spending time with him brings us into an intimate relationship with Jesus which is needed before preaching Christ to others.

2. The Lord has a specific purpose for us – Not all of us can be preachers, some  of us are called to be miracle workers, some intercessors, evangelists, teachers, and some worshippers. Sometimes, the Lord wants us to remain where we are and bring glory to his name by being faithful – be it our workplace or our family. Some of us have been called to raise Christian families and Godly children. That is a part of our work for the Lord and the Lord will bless us if we carry it out faithfully.

3. The Lord sends his people with HIS word – Jesus gave an answer to his disciples when he had sent them to untie the colt. A very specific answer to the question – why the disciples were sent to the city? Jesus is still doing the same, preparing the people with his word before sending them out.

Where should I go, O’ Lord? What should I do to bring glory to your name? Shall I join a worship team or preach the word? If you have all these questions in your mind…The answer is WAIT and LISTEN TO THE LORD. Its time to spend more time his presence . Talk to him, question him and he himself will lead you and prepare you to work for his glory.

Do you want to follow Christ?

In Mark 10: 17-23, A rich young man comes to Jesus and asks him “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus told him, “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, Then come and follow me”.

Go When the Lord sends, he equips with his own word of power for human strength cannot achieve God’s purpose. When the Lord speaks, it turns into reality to whom the word is spoken. In John 14:7 Jesus said to his disciples, “If you really knew me you would know my Father as well. FROM NOW ON YOU DO KNOW HIM AND HAVE SEEN HIM“. In the above verses Jesus’ word that the disciples would know the father turns into reality the moment it was spoken. The Lord continued in next part by saying “From now on you know him”. Along the same principle, When the Lord asks someone to Go, HIS command to go turns into reality  and that person is filled not only with a zeal to go and work for the Lord but also with an immeasurable supply of strength from the one who is the origin and source of all power and might.

Sell everything – Matthew 6:21 “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. Our treasure is not made up of the thighs that we possess but rather the things that control and possess us – things that take up our time and efforts, for what entraps our heart and captivates our mind, becomes our treasure.

Jesus is asking to sell EVERYTHING. Selling involves two parties – buyer, seller, and some sort of exchange between them. Christ is asking you and me to make Christ our invisible buyer, to sell  the things that have enslaved us for long. Christ is willing to purchase them for a price. The price is precious, and it comes in the form of freedom – True freedom. But it is only for those who are willing to sell EVRYTHING to the Lord.

Give to the poor – Once the Lord has granted freedom to us by taking everything away that was keeping us busy, we become indebted to share this freedom with those who have piled up false treasure for themselves, treasure that has no value in the sight of the Lord. It becomes our responsibility to share the good news of freedom with them so that they may receive the same gift of freedom from the Lord as we have received.

You will have treasure in heaven The more we give to the poor, the richer we become in Lord’s sight. Sometimes, we don’t see the fruit of our labour for a long time, but the word says that nothing you have ever done for Lord’s service will ever go wasted”. All we could do is to trust and sow the seed of the word in all seasons. Let’s put in our best efforts to turn the freedom we have received from the Lord into freedom for all.

Then come and follow me – The Lord says “Once you have done your part and spread the word of freedom, then come back to me to receive more from me. You don’t need to do anything in my presence, just listen and receive. The more you practise listening to me, the more you will learn to trust me. Unless you have built a trust relationship with me, you can’t follow me. Once you begin to follow me, you don’t need to worry about anything. I will take care of everything, just FOLLOW ME”