Proclaim the Gospel!

Proclaim the Gospel!

We are at the end of this record of the work of the Holy Spirit in the church and as we see, it ends the way it began with an emphasis upon proclaiming the Gospel. As you read this I urge you to consider that our communion together, the taking of the Lord’s Supper of the bread and the cup, is an act of proclaiming the Gospel. Jesus said that as often as we do this we proclaim the Gospel and we are thankful that we can proclaim the Gospel, until He comes, through the Lord’s Supper. We desire for the Lord’s Supper to be a reminder to us as well of our need to continue to bring physical and verbal testimony to the world.

In Acts 28:31, Luke concludes the record of the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the church in the 1st Century in this way: “Boldly and without hindrance he, Paul, preached the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.”

As I have read through the Book of Acts, and as we have studied it, I have found myself challenged over and over again by the examples of the Apostles: Peter, Philip, Paul, and the others. Since that day I find myself challenged by many others in church history who have been so committed to being a bold teller of the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One such one is a man by the name of D.L. Moody who ministered in the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s. D.L. Moody, in his life, made a covenant with God that he would witness to Jesus Christ to at least one person every day. One night, about 10:00 o’clock in the evening, he realized that he had not kept that covenant commitment that he had made with God so he went out into the street and he found a man standing by a lamppost and he came up to him and he asked him boldly, “Are you a Christian?” The man flew into a violent rage. He threatened to punch D.L. Moody and to knock him into the gutter. Later, that same man went to an elder in the church that D.L. Moody was attending at the time and told him, “Moody is doing more harm in Chicago than ten men are doing good.” So angry he was at D.L. Moody’s boldness. The elder went to D.L. Moody and begged him to temper his “zeal with knowledge”. I don’t know exactly what that meant for that elder, but undoubtedly it meant that D.L. Moody shouldn’t be so bold.

Three months later, Moody was awakened at the YMCA, a ministry in which he was involved, by a man knocking at the door. It was the man to whom he had witnessed three months earlier. The man came to him and said, “I want to talk to you about my soul.” He apologized to Moody for the way that he had treated him that night and he said that since that night he had no peace ever since. Moody, that night, led this man to Jesus Christ and that man became a zealous worker in D.L. Moody’s Sunday school, witnessing to children in Chicago.

God uses ordinary men, women, and children who decide to follow Jesus and become “fishers of men”. I believe that personal evangelism is a burden that true believers can never shake themselves free of, even though it sometimes pains us.

I remember, even as a young boy in 1st grade, God had miraculously redeemed me at a very young age through His Son, Jesus Christ, and I realized that I had an obligation to the classmates who attended school with me and I began to ask God for help to talk to my classmates about Jesus. I could not, even at age six and seven, get away from this internal sense that God had given me a mission to fulfill. I believe that this is true in every believer’s life. Yet, despite this internal Holy Spirit-driven engine that fires me to proclaim that Jesus is Savior and Lord to as many people as possible, I have to confess that I have often failed. I have let fears and timidity stand in the way. In fact, just recently, on my day away from the office, a day I take for a bit of leisure and family and to get some things done around the house, I happened to cut out some time for nine holes of golf. I went, that day, to the course all by myself, but I found that the course partnered me with another man who came to the course that day by himself.

During that time I found out that Calvin, the man I was golfing with that day, attended an evangelical church in our area. I discovered that Calvin’s grandfather was a Baptist minister. I also learned that Calvin had been rather sobered by the responsibility that he had to be a good example for his son and that is one of the reasons why he decided to go to church as often as he did. He realized that he needed to be a good example for his eight or nine year old son. I also learned, as we talked about various instances in life that there was a report of a young lady who had died in her early 20’s and we talked about that. I told Calvin how it is so important for us to be ready at any moment because we never know when we will meet God. He agreed with all of those things, and yet, as I drove home from the golf course that day I had an extreme sense of failure.

Why did I feel as though I had failed? I tell you, it is not because of my golf score – that is a given – no, I felt as though I had failed because, indeed, I did fail. I did not apply this matter directly to Calvin’s soul, to Calvin’s heart, and to Calvin’s person. I did not ask Calvin, “Have you trusted in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? Would you say that you have been born again? Tell me, do you believe that you will one day rejoice in Heaven and if you do so, why do you believe that you will rejoice in Heaven with God forever?” For this I kick myself and then confess my failure to God and I am so thankful that God gives us new opportunities each day, that, in spite of our failings, He gives us another day to be faithful to Him and to be a part of His great and awesome work. I am thankful that He keeps me in His service despite my failures.

If statistics reveal anything close to reality, most of you have experienced the same failure that I just described. Bill Bright, who is founder and prior president for Campus Crusade for Christ, would say, “Millions of surveys, which we have helped to take around the world, indicate that approximately ninety-eight percent of the Christians do not regularly introduce others to the Savior.” I ask you, and I apply the matter directly to you, are you a part of that ninety-eight percent who do not regularly introduce others to Jesus Christ or are you a part of that two percent? I hope that you are encouraged, through Acts 28, to become a part of that two percent.

An essential purpose for our lives, as followers of Jesus Christ, is to personally introduce others to Him. If you are a believer, genuinely born again, I know that you know that this is true; that you have this internal sense that God is calling you to do just that and you cannot get away from it as much as you have neglected it in the past, you still wake up and you know that this is God’s call upon your life to tell others about Jesus Christ. In Acts 38:17-31 we find some encouragement and some help.

Paul is a shining example to us of faithfulness in personal evangelism. From this last story recorded of Paul’s life we are going to consider six specific commitments necessary for being a witness of Jesus.

The context is that Paul has, in Acts 21, been arrested in Jerusalem for proclaiming the Gospel. In Acts 22 through 26 Paul experiences various trials before various Roman officers and officials in relation to these charges of sedition, heresy, and desecration of the Temple. In Acts 27, Paul gets on a ship. He has appealed to Caesar during those trials. He is still under arrest of the Roman government and he is setting sail for Rome to stand trial before Caesar himself.

Acts 27 records that ship met a fateful end; it suffered shipwreck and broke apart, yet everybody on the ship survived. Acts 28 describes how Paul finally arrives in Rome after they picked up another ship.

The suspense in this whole story is beginning to build. He is arrested. He has all of these trials. He speaks boldly to Festus and to Felix and to Agrippa. He arrives in Rome and he is about to stand before the emperor himself. What is going to happen? Let’s look at how this story ends, now that he has arrived in Rome, in Verses 30-31, as Luke concludes,

30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you have been following this story with any interest at all, you response has to be, “What? Wait a minute! I want to find out about Paul. This whole story is leading up to the point where Paul is going to stand before Caesar and Luke ends before he even gets to stand before Caesar. He doesn’t tell us about Paul standing before Caesar and he doesn’t tell us how the trial turned out, what Paul said before Caesar, and what Caesar’s response was. None of the things that this story has been driving us towards are told by Luke. What happened to him? What kind of ending is this, anyway?”

I tell you, I believe that it is a great ending. Luke ends with a report, not on Paul’s life, but on reports of the progress of the Gospel. The Gospel is going forward unhindered and this is what truly matters. What happens to Paul personally is incidental to the greater story and the greater story that Luke wants us to keep focused upon is the expansion of the glorious name of Jesus Christ throughout this whole world and the building of God’s Kingdom through His church.

Remember how Luke began? He began by telling us of Jesus’ commission to these disciples (Acts 1:8), “You will my witnesses, after the Holy Spirit comes upon you, in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the world.” That is how it all happened! Church, if you are a part of the church you know a lot of the rest of the church history because you are a part of that history.

Paul is faithful to this task of presenting the Gospel. That is what really matters about the details of Paul’s life, but some are still curious: what happened to Paul? I can only tell what scholars have intimated and believe happened.

We know that while Paul was in prison for these two years in Rome he was under house arrest. It was not a difficult prison stint. In other words, he had a rented house but he couldn’t leave that house because he was still connected to a Roman guard. There were many limitations in his freedom, but none-the-less he was in a house and during this house arrest he wrote the four “prison epistles”: Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon.

At the end of the two years it is assumed, and in all probability it is true, that Paul was released from prison and he resumed his ministry and continued his travels. Some believe he was able to travel as far as Spain. It is believed that a couple of years later, however, he would again be arrested in Rome and this time his imprisonment was much more difficult. It is believed so because of the second letter he writes to Timothy, in which he writes of a very difficult imprisonment. At the end of this imprisonment, in Acts, he has many friends with him. At the end of his imprisonment in which he writes about to Timothy everybody deserts him except for Luke. He hopes that Mark is able to come and bring him a cloak because he is so cold, along with Timothy, to come to his side and bring him some parchments which we believe were some of the Scriptures.

Paul, in 2 Timothy 4, he knew that his end was near and that this was the end. That is not the sense we have from the prison epistles in Philippians, for instance; Paul believed that he had more work to do. 2 Timothy, I believe, is the end of the story in this plane for me and in this life. Tradition tells us that he was beheaded in Rome in the 67 or 68 AD.

Luke doesn’t write about these things, rather he writes about the Gospel and we are going to look at the six commitments which help us to be a faithful witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. The first commitment that we observe is that we embrace all opportunities. Wherever Paul is he has but one errand, one concern, and one focus and that is to witness to Jesus’ love, to Jesus’ grace, to Jesus’ work, and to His salvation. All of Paul’s thoughts run in one direction. Whatever strength and ability he had he employed it in the work of this purpose: of bringing the Gospel into the uttermost parts of the world. Some will say that is because he is a “professional”. No, this is a call upon every believer, and again, I believe that if you are genuinely reborn you know that this is God’s call upon your life. There is an internal sense that you cannot get away from and you know that you must be an ambassador for Christ.

Paul will say, in Philippians 1:21, “For me to live is Christ,” as he writes from this prison home in Rome. He would write to Corinth, previous to this imprisonment and he will say, “When I came to you, brothers, I proclaimed to you the testimony about God for I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified,” and that is what we find at the end of the story in Acts. He is continually teaching and preaching, day and night, about God’s Kingdom and about Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Paul made the most of every opportunity.

He arrives in Rome on trial, to stand before the emperor of the world, Caesar himself. Caesar, very likely, could have given Paul the death penalty right here and right then and you might think that Paul has some other concerns and some other matters that might preoccupy him at this time – like his defense and what he is going to say as he stands before Caesar. That doesn’t seem to be Paul’s focus at all. Let’s look at Verses 17 and 20,

17 Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans… 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”

Paul went out of his way to gather together the Jewish leaders who are in Rome, with whom he had no prior contact. He begins to teach them about the hope of Israel. He is going to take them through Moses and the prophets, the text tells us, and he tells them of the good news of Jesus Christ and what the God has done in these days, as it says in Verse 23,

23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.

When they did not listen what did Paul do? Paul says, in Verse 28,

28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”

Paul is saying that if the Jews in Rome won’t listen to him he will talk to the Gentiles. I am not going to be hindered or stopped; he will continue to proclaim the Gospel.

Turn with me to Philippians. Paul wrote this letter during this two-year imprisonment, this house arrest in Rome, which is spoken of in Acts 28. You might ask, “Who did Paul have to witness to in house arrest? He couldn’t go out into the streets and preach.” That is why he asked the Jews to come to his house. They stopped coming so who is going to go and visit Paul, besides other believers? We know of one group of people Paul had a great influence upon. In Philippians 1:12, we read,

12 “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.”

Paul is confirming that advancing the Gospel is all that really matters. It didn’t matter that he was uncomfortable in a ship that is about ready to shipwreck or that he was in house arrest. It didn’t matter because those were incidental circumstances. What really mattered, and what was his heart’s passion, was that the Gospel would advance. He is saying that there are two effects: first, every soldier that had ever guarded him has heard the Gospel from the time they are there until the time they leave and they would go out and say, “Have you ever been assigned guard duty with this guy, Paul? Did you hear what he is telling you?” Some of them became believers.

Paul is also saying, furthermore, because of his boldness in using this opportunity, as he did every opportunity, other believers had been encouraged and emboldened to share the Gospel as well.

My friends, it is so vital that we use every opportunity, first, for the sake of the unsaved that they might hear the Gospel and receive it, but also for the sake of the church. I believe one of the reasons why there are ninety-eight percent of the people who are not regularly proclaiming the Gospel is because there are ninety-eight percent of the people who are not regularly proclaiming the Gospel! There are not enough examples to encourage others and say that this can be done and this can fit into a normal, Christian life. God will bring honor to the one who does so.

Every circumstance was a new opportunity for Paul. I want you to think through, with me, your opportunities. I remember dear Carrie Barrett in our church, a dear saint. I remember her telling me, as she had to go to the nursing home, how much opportunity she had to share with every one of the people in the nursing home with her. She didn’t say, “I have to be in a nursing home. My life purpose is over.” Instead, she said, “Look at all of these people. They can’t get away from me! They are right here and I am going to go door-to-door,” and as long as she had strength to wheel her wheel chair or take her walker and go visit door-by-door, she would go and talk about Jesus Christ as Savior and she would witness to people, making the most of every opportunity.

I remember another dear woman who was in our congregation who was in a car accident and she gave, as I visited her in the hospital, praise to God. She said, “Just think of how many doctors and nurses I will be able to tell the Gospel to.” That is exactly what she did, even in the midst of her pain.

I think through my day of how many opportunities that I have. I think of the waitresses and waiters in restaurants that I eat breakfast or lunch at. I think of the guys I work out with at the fitness center. I think of the parents of the team members of my son, whether they are on the tennis team, the baseball team, or the soccer team’s that they might be involved with and I think of the opportunities to speak with them. I think of my neighbor’s with whom I have an opportunity to chat with across the street or the people who are waiting the room outside the doctor’s office, or the doctor’s and nurses that I go and visit. I think of the people who come to my home to repair various parts of my home because I am not very advanced in those kinds of things, so I ask people to come and repair them and of the opportunities to sit and talk with them about the Gospel. I think of my son’s friends who come over to our house and play basketball with my sons and I get out and play basketball with them myself and of the opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. There are myriads upon myriads upon myriads of opportunities if only we would begin to take them.

Howard Hendricks, one of my favorite professors at Dallas Theological Seminary, said this, “In the midst of a generation screaming for answers Christians are stuttering.” Friends, let us not stutter, but let us be clear and bold.

The second commitment is that we aim where we hope to convince. Consider Paul’s method in Verse 23,

23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.

You might underline those three words: explained, declared, and convince(d). This was Paul’s method for evangelism and if we are to be involved in the witness for Jesus Christ we must, first, explain; that is to say, we must make it clear to people who Jesus is; what He has accomplished; why we need Him; and how we can respond to Him so that we can receive His grace, the gift of salvation. We must explain these things in the plainest language possible and God has given you some very plain language to communicate with people that you work with and live with and rub shoulders with day-by-day.

It is true that we don’t create the message, but we do need to explain it. God has already given us the message and God forbid that we should ever tamper with it or that we should ever dilute it. God has it to us to explain it because people need to understand before they can believe and that they, before a Holy God, are condemned because of their sin, but that God in His love sent His Son Jesus Christ down to this earth becoming one of us so as to represent us, to provide a sacrifice in our place; that Jesus Christ, in His dying upon the cross, didn’t just provide an example of love to follow, but Jesus Christ, in dying upon the cross, suffered underneath the just condemnation of God the Father against our sin. He bore our sins in His place so that the wrath of God was exhausted upon Him so that everyone who believes in Jesus would not have the wrath of God remaining upon them because the wrath of God, for our sin, has already been poured out upon Jesus, and that we can now see God in His glory and we can know Him and live forever with Him through faith in Jesus Christ. People need to hear and understand before they can believe.

Then the passage says that Paul “declared”, which means he bore witness to the effect the Gospel had in his own life. It wasn’t a doctrinal explanation that was laid cold upon the home in which he was arrested, but rather Paul declared, “I want you to know what Jesus Christ has done in my life and the difference that has taken place. I have been forgiven. I now know God. I have a mediator. I can go to God directly and personally through Jesus Christ. There is a passion now for holiness and righteousness and a new power to be free from the enslavement that sin had me under. There is a hope and a joy and an anticipation of the life which is to come because of Jesus.” Paul told his story personally and it is important for us, as we witness and we hope to convince others, that we first explain and we also relate to them, “This is what God has done in my life and this is the difference that Jesus Christ has made for me.”

There is a reason why, when we look at infomercials, there are many testimonies of people saying, “This is what this particular brand of food processor has done in my life and everybody thinks that my life is now perfect because of this food processor.” There is a reason why infomercials have personal testimonials because we want to know if the product will really make a difference in anyone’s life and had it really made the effect that manufacturer’s claim it to make?

It is so important for us, as believers, to get the word out and say, “I want to tell you that Jesus Christ has made all the difference! Do you see this trial that I am going through? Yes, I am fearful and yes I have struggled, but Jesus Christ is with me. He has made all of the difference and He gives me strength to walk day-by-day in it.” It is important for us to declare and to bring witness to the grace of God in our own lives.

Yet, this is not all. Look at the third word: Paul also sought to convince. Paul was not satisfied with explaining and declaring. He desired to convince; that is to say, to persuade. Paul was not of a mind to say, “I told them the Gospel and that is all that I can do,” and wash his hands of the situation. No, he urged his hearers to turn to Jesus Christ and he implored with them to trust in Christ as their Savior.

It is true that if anyone is persuaded, they are persuaded solely because of the Holy Spirit and of the work of God’s grace, and not because of the ability of the messenger to persuade. But, it is also true that the Holy Spirit, in persuading the hearts of men and women to repent and believe, uses instruments and these instruments are you and me. Evangelism is not merely a matter of informing; it is also a matter of inviting. It is not enough for us to declare that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord, but we also must press the case home personally with those around us and that is where, I believe, I failed so miserably with Calvin. I didn’t press it home personally and say, “Calvin, how would you like to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and as your Lord?” That is an essential aspect of evangelism itself. Persuading is our target. This is what we aim for with people, but you say, “I don’t know how to explain and I don’t know how to declare and tell a witness story of my personal life. I don’t know how to convince.”

You know something, and here is a great piece of news for you, God has provided His church, and particularly God has provided us at Bethany Baptist Church, with a training ministry to help train us to learn how to declare and how to explain and how to convince others to be able to be a part of personal evangelism. Thank the Lord that God has allowed us to have nearly two hundred people of this church go through this training of “Evangelism Explosion”. That is the training we use. It is not the only training method. There are many good training methods, but it is the one we use. Whether you go through Evangelism Explosion with this church or you find another training method, please note that while it might be legitimate now to say, “I am uninformed as to how to explain, declare, and convince,” it will not be legitimate six months from now because God has given you an opportunity to learn.

Commitment number three is that we joyfully commit our time. Did you notice in Verse 23 how it says that “they stayed from morning till evening”? Paul took priority in his “Daytimer” to mark out time for evangelism. Often times in our hectic lives one of the reasons why we are so ineffective in evangelism is because we have jammed up our schedule with so many things that if someone would come to us and say, “Do you have an evening that I could spend with you to talk to you about Jesus, your Savior,” we would have to say, “I don’t know, maybe three weeks out from now!” Paul was not interested in spending evenings looking at his favorite television show; he was interested in trying to invite people in and to talk to them more about Jesus Christ. That was his passion.

The fourth commitment is that we expect various response, as in Verse 24, which says,

24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.

We do not think that because many reject the Gospel that something must be wrong with our witness or with us. We want to learn how to be better witnesses, but even the best witness, the Apostle Paul himself, met with mixed results. That doesn’t discourage us; we would expect that and that is our commitment to expect various responses.

Luke does not want us to miss the point: all through this record he has revealed how some believed and some would not believe. Why would some not believe? After coming to learn and having it explained so clearly to them, of Jesus and the sacrifices and the offers of eternal salvation through Him, why would someone not believe? The answer is this – because they are unwilling. If you are here today and you have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ explained to you and have had someone, if you have been in this church long and I would pray that I would be one of those, to convince you and persuade you to commit your life to Jesus Christ through faith and repentance, and yet you have not come to faith in Jesus Christ, and someone asks you, “Why have you not,” you might have a whole list of why not, but here is the biblical reason: you have not trusted in Jesus Christ because you would not trust and you are unwilling to trust in Jesus Christ.

Friends, I absolutely and gloriously affirm the precious doctrines of unconditional election and of efficacious grace. If you ask me why some people believe the Gospel I will tell you, “God had mercy upon their souls. It was not because of man’s desire or man’s will that they come to Jesus Christ, but it is only because of God’s grace. God deserves all the glory.” If you ask me why one does not believe, I will tell you it is because they are unwilling to believe, for God does not keep anyone from believing. All are held absolutely responsible. The explanation is given in Verse 26 and following,

26 “…You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”

27 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.

Luke is quoting from Isaiah 6:9-10, and what he is saying, and this is a very important distinction for us to make, is there is an important distinction between “seeing” and “perceiving”, when he says, “…they are ever seeing but never perceiving.” It is very much like a dog that goes into the library: they see all of the books and if you open a book in front of them they can see all of the words, but they are unable to perceive what is on the page because they cannot read. And so it is for heart that is not drawn to Christ by God’s grace: they see but they cannot perceive because their mind has been darkened.

Friends, I would urge you, God is so gracious. If you have listened to the Gospel all of your life and you say, “I hear others rejoice in it. I just don’t get it,” I urge you to call out upon God this very day and say, “God, have mercy upon me. God, shine the light of your Gospel in such way into my dark heart that I might be able to perceive.” I believe that God will be gracious to you as you call out upon God in such a way.

The fifth commitment is that we persevere through hindrances. Paul did not allow any hindrance to affect him from pursuing the activity of witnessing to the grace of Jesus Christ. He didn’t allow threats of death, he didn’t allow beatings, he didn’t allow shipwrecks, he didn’t allow imprisonment, he didn’t allow cold and the elements, and he didn’t allow the desertion of other believers by saying, “These guys are all deserting me. I am disillusioned with Christianity.” No, he didn’t allow anything to hinder him, but rather he said, “Jesus Christ is everything and I am going to keep connecting to Him and persevering in my connection to Him. I am not going to quit!”

I believe that the greatest hindrance that you and I have to sharing the Gospel is this – it is spiritual lethargy, that is to say that we have little zeal for God and the key element we need in order to be a witness who is faithful in proclaiming the Gospel is that we need personal revival. Let’s call out to God for that and that we would be broken before God.

The last commitment that we will focus upon is that we focus our communication, or our conversation, on Jesus and His Kingdom. We read Verse 31 again,

31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

This to say that Paul preached the authority of God, both present and future, and who Jesus Christ is and what He did and how we need to respond; that Jesus Christ died as a sacrifice for our sins and so he called people to trust in Him and to confess Him before men, to believe in their heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and confess with their mouth that God raised Him from the dead. This was Paul’s message and this was Paul’s focus of his communication. It is on Jesus. It is not on religion and it is not on morality and it is not on politics. It is on Jesus and it always comes back to Jesus. Often times we get that a little off-center in our witness.

Dwight L. Moody made this commitment and covenant with God to witness to one person every day. I want to challenge you and I am going to ask you to accept this challenge for one month. Let us not start with one person everyday. Let us start with something much easier, but it will still be a challenge to you so that you can get out of the “ninety-eight percent” and into the “two percent”. Is it possible that you can commit for one month, every week, to witness to one person? Is that possible? If it is possible, say, “Yes, I can covenant with God and if it means on Saturday night, before the week ends, I have to go out at ten o’clock at night and find a neighbor and say, ‘Hey, are you a Christian,’ I am going to do it. I am going to covenant with God, I am going to commit to God, that one person, each week, I am going to share Jesus Christ.” Can you do that?

I encourage you to take a pen or pencil and write out, if that is your commitment, “I commit myself, before God, to witness to one person each week this month,” and sign your name. Can you make that commitment?

I want you to know that some of you have not trusted in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, and now I want you to write one more word. If you have not written down anything yet, I want you to leave with one word written on a sheet of paper. The Bible tells us that there are two categories of people in this world: one category of people who, through the grace of Jesus Christ and through faith in Jesus Christ and by His faith, have been forgiven. The other category of person is one who has not yet trusted in Jesus Christ and as a result they remain in their sin and they stand condemned before God. That is where you are; in one of those two places. I want you to write down either one of two words. If you have trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior, I want you to write down the word, “forgiven”, and go and rejoice in that.

If you don’t write down the word forgiven because you are not sure if you are there yet, I want to encourage you to write down the word, “condemned”. You might not believe it at this time and you might think it is funny that someone is even talking like that because it is a bit of foolishness. Write that down. If you are not forgiven through Jesus Christ, write down the word “condemned”. My prayer for you is that God would use that to shake your soul in such a way so that the life of Jesus would be brought near to you and you would respond to Him in faith.

God has good news for you. It is the news of life in Jesus Christ.