Monday, December 4, 2023

            The word “witness” conveys a certain credibility and sincerity.  Those who claim to be followers of Christ are called to be witnesses—to give credible and sincere testimony about Christ, speaking about who He is and what He has accomplished.  To be a witness for Christ is no small thing or calling.  It is a big deal for believers today.  We know that Christ is Lord and we are prepared to speak and to live for Him.  In his own words, Peter wrote, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:15-18).  The word witness hangs over these four verses that Peter wrote.  We are not passive bystanders in the gospel.  Not at all.  We are to be witnesses for Christ—to make Him known and to draw others to Him by how we live.  We find a few truths from Peter’s pen that can speak to us today.
            First, we want to be clear about who our Lord is.  Leave no room for doubts or uncertainties.  Peter commands us to “revere Christ as Lord.”  We cannot have multiple lords.  We do not choose our Lord as we might choose a meal from a menu or a movie on Netflix.  There is only One who is worthy to be called Lord and to be trusted with your life or mine and that one is named Jesus.  The book of Revelation declares that Christ is worthy!  Set Him alone apart as your Lord and Master.  Do not divide your life or loyalties between Jesus and something or someone else.  Be clear and consistent about your allegiance to Him. 
            Second, be ready to speak about Christ and to speak for Christ.  Be a witness.  Simply tell what Christ has done for you and what He has meant to you.  “Always,” the Bible says, be ready to do this—at the grocery store, online, in a line, with friends and even with strangers.  There is never a wrong time to speak about Christ.  The time is always right to speak about Christ and anyone is the right person with whom you can share that witness.  There is no reason to exaggerate your witness—just declare what Christ has done for you and how the gospel has changed your life forever.
            Third, let your life be a compelling witness.  Let your life be your best argument for the life-changing power of the gospel.  Live like you love Christ and your life has been forever changed and blessed by Him.  He is worthy and may we be worthy in making Him known as we witness and lift high His glory and greatness.  Peter says to live in a way that no slander, malice or unseemly charges from others against you could ever stick or be believed.
            Fourth, if you prioritize being a witness, you will suffer.  There will be those who come against you and malign you.  We are to be courageous and confident when we suffer for Christ and the cause of the gospel.  Remember, the disciples and apostles suffered, bled and died for Christ and His glory.  Missionaries have been martyred.  Christians are persecuted today.  Churches are burned and shuttered.  The Church of Christ is often targeted for hate, wickedness and reprisal.  But we live courageously and boldly as His witnesses.  When we suffer for being witnesses or for doing what is right, we take comfort in knowing that we are in good company.  Christ suffered too—far more than we will ever suffer or even could imagine.  And Christ was innocent and sinless—suffering for sins that He had never committed.  Any suffering that we might experience for the gospel of Christ will pale in comparison to the joy and reward that await us in eternity.  
            Fifth, we want to remember that our Lord dwells with us as we witness for Him.  We are not alone.  We are not forsaken.  The whole message of Christmas is Christ has come.  He is our Immanuel—our God with us!  It is good that we remind ourselves of this every year when the Advent season begins.  The enemy would love to deceive and delude us into thinking we are alone, adrift and aimless.  Don’t buy the lie.  Christ has come and what a glorious gift that is!  He dwells with us until the day He calls us to dwell with Him.  What a joy to witness for such a great God and gospel!  Have a great Monday!  Remember you can worship and share our worship with others at YouTube.Com/FirstBaptistKannapolis. 

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