Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Rapture is Near, Share Christ

Recently my wife was speaking to a young mother of five about her relationship to her children's father. The young woman had brought up the subject and my wife told her that as a Pastor's wife and Christian how she felt about getting right with God. She said, you really need to get married. The woman said she agreed and was indeed concerned about it. Then, point blank, and no doubt because of current world events and the anti-Christian cultural shift, she asked my wife, "Are we in the last days?" Brenna was able to share with her the love of Christ and how close we are to His return. People are ripe to hear the truth. They have questions and we have answers.

Evangelism does not come easy to most people but if we pray for the Lord to use us in the special way that only He can then opportunities will arise for us to share our faith. All we need to do is listen to His voice and say, "Yes Lord. I will."

Ray Comfort is one of the foremost evangelists of our time. Not only does he regularly share his faith but he also gets video responses from those to whom he witnesses in order to publish and share with churches around the world. I was recently listening to a radio show where he was the guest and a caller asked, "Ray, are you ever scared when you share Christ?" His answer was not unlike any of us who regularly share their faith. He laughed and said, "I am scared to death." You wouldn't know this from watching his videos but that's because he shares Christ with the faith that his life is in Christ's hands and the outcome is the Lord's.

We think one must be a super-Christian to be able to share Jesus. Hostile responses often keep us at bay. I know because I have been there myself. There was a time when I became "Gospel Shy." I had confronted a co-worker at a printing plant about a statement he made about attending church. I knew this man to be a non-Christian who often bragged about drunkenness, wife-swapping, and the sexual orgies he participated in, so I was intrigued when he said to another he attended church. Taking the opportunity, I went over and asked him what church he attended. To better illustrate his response envision a young child who does not get what he/she wants in the grocery store and then throwing one of those "where can I hide" temper tantrums. This man became so obnoxious and belligerent, spewing every curse word of his limited vocabulary directly at me. He then proceeded to jump up and down with his finger in my face continuing to call me the lowest piece of filth on earth. Now in a printing plant, that kind of commotion will get the attention of all the employees; the loudness of the outburst is akin to someone getting their hand caught in the printing press. So all the machines on the shift came to a halt and the whole shift came running over to see what was the matter or who got hurt. To their surprise no one was hurt. It was just little ole me asking a question about church attendance. Wow! They had circled the wagons and the weight of every eye was not on him but on me. I looked around for the nearest mill-roll of paper to crawl under. Needless to say, I was sent home for sharing my faith. It was then that in tears I told the Lord, "Never again."

In 1 Corinthians 2:1-4 the Apostle Paul wrote the following:

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, (1 Corinthians 2:1-4 NKJV).

Concerning this passage, Ray Comfort wrote the following simple points about witnessing that I thought would be good to share.

Ray's Qualifications for Evangelism:
  1. A witness need not have "excellence of speech or wisdom." He should simply declare what he has seen and heard.
  2. He must not get sidetracked with unnecessary details, but focus on the essentials of Christ's death on the cross.
  3. He must have "weakness" (not trusting in his own strength or ability).
  4. He must have "fear" (in Greek, phobos, "that which is caused by being scared).
  5. He must have "much trembling" (awareness of his insufficiency).
He then asks, "Do you meet these qualifications?*

I know that if you have a deep love for those who are lost and understand these two things: no one is guaranteed tomorrow and the Rapture of the Church is near you will want to share your faith but something is hindering you. Is it fear? Is it weakness? Is it your lack of knowledge of the Scripture? A witness is one who shares their testimony of the mighty works of God (what he has seen and heard). A little later in 1 Corinthians Paul says He planted, Apollos watered, but it was God who gave the increase (see 1 Cor. 3:6-7). God does not ask us to be a super-Christian, he asks us to simply be a witness of the change He has brought to your life, that change into a new creation (1 Cor. 5:17), the same change He can also work in their life.

On many occasions I have been sent home from work. Usually it was because I refused to participate in the evil deeds of the patrons whose literature I was asked to print; such as Playboy, Penthouse and the atheistic literature of Madeline Murray Ohare before she passed. My response was always, "We ought to obey God rather than men," Acts 5:29b.

For some time I was gospel-shy, but I could not help but listen to the still small voice inside that told me I needed to share Jesus. The love of Christ compelled me, so I continued. A few years later a funny thing happened, I was fired from that plant for simply clocking in two minutes late from lunch. We had a five minute grace period and everyone used it. But the night I was fired followed the night I caught my boss snorting cocaine in the men's restroom. Yes, he fired me because he was afraid I would turn him in but I had not said a word, accept "can I help you? Do I need to call 911?" as the blood streamed from his nostrils.

Did I ever see fruit from those years of sharing Christ at that plant? In the years I was there only one soul came to know Christ out of  17. But one day a few months after I was fired I received a call from that same person. He said excitedly, "You are not going to believe what has happened since you were let go, almost everyone on the shift have now started going to church!" Imagine that. I was elated to hear that God had gave the increase.

Being faithful to the still small voice of God is all God requires. Listen to Him and leave the results in His hands.

God Bless
Pastor Mike

*The Evidence Bible, Ray Comfort Commentator, Bridge-Logos
**Image Lifeway - Transformational Discipleship

P.S. Here are a couple of pics of the toolbox that for a couple of years sat next to the man in the story who threw the temper tantrum. And no, I was never asked to remove it or close it, by God's grace.