Sharing your personal testimony of how Jesus changed your life can be very powerful…but it can’t be the core of your conversation. Our personal stories of salvation can be a good place to start, but they’re usually filled with a lot of feelings and emotions and little else. That’s why proclaiming the Scriptures is so important…for the power lies in the Word of God. Colossians 3:16 tells us to, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another…” That means either memorize Scripture or have it clearly marked in your Bible so you can seamlessly move the conversation to the Word. I like the Roman Road – Romans 3:23, Romans 5:8, Romans 6:23, Romans 10:9, and Romans 10:13. For if you look them up, you’ll find a clear, concise, and comprehendible path to salvation. No matter what method you use to share the Gospel Message, remember the power is in God’s Word, not yours.
In His personal conversations with people Jesus asked really good questions. And as we read through the Gospels, we can see that Jesus routinely engaged people this way. He asked questions that provoked deeper thinking and personal response. His questions often led a person to the self-realization of where they stood spiritually…as it was with these two blind men. In John 5:6 Jesus saw a paralytic lying near the pool of Bethesda and learned he had been in this condition for a long time (38 years), He asked him, “Do you want to get well?” Or put in laymen’s terms, “Do you have a earnest desire to be healthy, or are you happier with all the attention you receive from everyone and would rather blame others and make excuses than be totally healed?” Yes, Jesus asked really good questions, and in our personal ministry with those around us we should too.
Simply put…the Jews and Samaritans hated one another! To the point, no self-respecting Jew would even consider traveling through Samaria, let alone purposely going there . But we find the disciple Philip intentionally traveling to Samaria to preach the Good News of the Gospel. But what was so different, was his approach to a potentially hostile and resentful crowd. Instead of brow beating, Bible thumping, or telling them how wrong they were…he ministered among them first. And it says because of this, the Samaritans listened to him and his message. Words and deeds go hand in hand when sharing the Gospel…and in doing so Philip’s good works paved the way for the Samaritans to truly open up their hearts to Jesus.
After the stoning of Stephen, a great persecution of the early Church broke out and Believers made a hasty retreat out of Jerusalem. They became exiles in foreign areas of Judea and Samaria…uprooted from friends and family…alone and suffering. But one thing they refused to do was to stop talking about Jesus. It says that wherever they went so did the Good News of the Gospel Message. They looked for opportunities to share the love of the Lord with those who didn’t know Him. They turned their misfortune into a mission field…always looking for a chance to proclaim the Word of God. Paul wrote in Colossians 4:5-6 about this, “Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Don’t allow what you may be going through today to stop you from sharing the Gospel with those around you…for you never know who needs to hear it.
Humans are a stubborn, rebellious, and selfish lot. We want, what we want, when we want it…not really caring how it may effect others. We foolishly think we’re the master of our own destiny, but that is so far from the bitter truth. God is the only true liberator of mankind…purchasing and redeeming us from the slavery of sin. But for many, pride and self-reliance will stop us from true repentance. But have no doubt about it…God’s justice is divinely perfect, rewarding the godly and punishing the wicked. Or as it tells us in Isaiah 59:20, “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins, declares the Lord.”
No one has knowledge of the great Day of Judgment, except God the Father. Jesus isn’t privy to it, neither any of the celestial beings ministering in heaven. No one here on earth knows either. Right before the risen Lord Jesus ascended into heaven His disciples asked Him if it was going to happen soon and He replied to them, “It’s not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His authority.” (Acts 1:6-7) People can guess when the Second Coming is going to take place…but that’s all it is…a calculated guess. That’s because I Thessalonians 5:2 tells us that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
On the night that Jesus was betrayed and arrested He spent time encouraging and praying with His disciples. In Chapter 17, verses 1-5 Jesus prayed for Himself, in verses 6-19 He prayed for His disciples, and in verses 20-26 He prayed for you. Yes, He prayed for you! Jesus specifically beseeched His Father on our behalf, praying into the future for all those who would come to a place of saving faith in Him by way of the Gospel Message. Think of it…before you knew Him, Jesus was praying for you.
Born again…other than Jesus, only Peter used this term in the New Testament. But as Christians, it’s a very common label we give to someone who has accepted Jesus into their life. But to the unbeliever it’s very foreign sounding. Kind of like Nicodemus’s confusion when Jesus told him the only way to see the kingdom of God was to be born again. (John 3:3-7) Or as a bewildered Nicodemus asked, “How can a man be born when he is old?” So the term Spiritual Rebirth might be an easier way to explain it. Peter brought clarity to the term when he wrote, “In God’s great mercy He’s given us new birth into living hope through the resurrection of Jesus.” (I Peter 1:3) Or as we read in Titus 3:5… we are saved through the washing of rebirth and renewal through Jesus Christ.
Throughout the Gospels we see Jesus very frequently going off by Himself to pray. “At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place.” (Luke 4:42) “Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowd. After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray.” (Matthew 14:22-23) So what can we learn from His example here? But more importantly, why should we implement it into our own lives? Jesus sought out secluded areas to be alone with God…away from the noise, confusion, and distractions of the world….with nothing to draw His mind away. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? That’s because quiet solitude with God, far from the busyness, chaos, and racket of everyday life, can be life changing to a stale, stalled, or nonexistent prayer life. Try it today. Get off by yourself somewhere quiet and pray…just you and God.
The meaning of the type of judgment used here is about our private opinions. It’s about quickly pronouncing judgment using such high standards and criteria that we ourselves can’t adhere to them…rather than taking the time to ask questions and gain knowledge first. For as prideful humans, we’d rather judge, slander, and speak against each other than to offer grace. But Romans 2:1 warns us, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” It’s the old adage of the pot calling the kettle black…none of us have the right to judge, only God can …or as Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth, “It is the Lord Who judges me.”