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A Closer Look at Witnessing

Witnessing and watching the results of our ministry can be frustrating or rewarding depending on our accurate understanding of what is going on: what our part is, what God's part is, and what part the person to whom we are witnessing has. So let's look at all 3 for some clarity here...

In the simplest of terms, our part is to deliver the Word of God, kind of like taking a bag of seeds and scattering handfuls all over the place. You can't improve on the raw Word of God, that is, Bible verses, pure and simple. You can devise any number of clever evangelistic schemes or explanations, but in the final analysis, it is the inherent power hidden in Bible verses that transmits the life-changing energy to a person. This is a great mystery..and it took me many years to discover it. Consider this...

Isa 55:11 (KJV) So shall my Word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

God's part in the witnessing process is to empower the delivered Word by means of the Holy Spirit and to drive the message home into the consciousness of the person whom you witness to. God must clear away all the hardness and spiritual debris which gets in the way of penetrating to the part of that person's mind that allows him to decide whether to accept or reject God's offer of salvation.

Now, once the clear Word of God is presented to the person, perhaps with some explanation from the seed-sower, it is that person's responsibility to act on what they have heard....they can either accept The Word gladly, ask for more information, accept Christ, or reject the Word and turn away from Christ. Consider this verse...

Deu 30:19 (KJV) I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

Ezek 2:3-7a (TLB) "Son of dust," he said, "I am sending you to the nation of Israel, to a nation rebelling against me. They and their fathers have kept on sinning against me until this very hour. {4} For they are a hardhearted, stiff-necked people. 

But I am sending you to give them my messages--the messages of the Lord God. {5} And whether they listen or not (for remember, they are rebels), they will at least know they have had a prophet among them. 

{6} "Son of dust, don't be afraid of them; don't be frightened even though their threats are sharp and barbed and sting like scorpions. Don't be dismayed by their dark scowls. For remember, they are rebels! {7} You must give them my messages whether they listen or not.....

The probability of success of any witnessing, as with any attempt at farming, is in the quality or preparation of the soil prior to the introduction of the seed. (See the parable of the sower and the soil. Matt 13:13-23) but let's modernize it a little by imagining we stand up in the middle of crowded lunchroom and start reading Bible verses about salvation to the crowd...according to the parable of the sower there will be at least 4 types of response to this action....
  a.. Resistance-too many objections, real or imagined; hostility toward God and the gospel; normal sinful rebellion against God; enjoys sin too much, and doesnt want to give it up. 
  b.. Idle curiosity-willing to play-at or dabble-in religion, but when real consequences result from satanic opposition, the attractiveness disappears, and they go run and hide. 
  c.. Worldliness/wrong priorities-begins to start on the christian path, but then concerns about money and worldly matters take higher precedance, and former christian commitment is superceded by paying attention to other things, or considering other things more important than spiritual growth. 
  d.. Serious acceptance-a person who hears the word, recognizes it as something desireable, and glady turns away from sin and accepts Christ into their heart, begins growing in Christ and becomes a serious christian.
I am sure that you could classify your acquaintances into one or other of these categories. If you can't, it probably means you have not been doing a lot of witnessing to these people.

One thing to notice is that not much is known about the sower himself. Some of his qualifications are
  a.. he is a person who has accepted the saviour's command to sow, 
  b.. he recognizes that sowing is something he should be doing. 
  c.. he "went forth to sow", that is,  he is distributing The Word, 
  d.. and is not doing anything himself to hinder the growing of the seed
But aside from that, once the word has been delivered, God confronts the person of the claims of Christ, and it is up to the person to decide.

Now I have said all that to say this...If your life is free from overt or unconfessed sin, (which is about the only thing you could do to hinder the spreading of the Gospel), you dont have to worry about anything else you are doing when you are witnessing. The Word of God contains its own inherent power to change lives. Once you have given out the Gospel, in effect, your job is only to water from time to time or add a little fertilizer, but the transaction is all between God and the recipient. Your silent witness carries on without doing anything because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in your heart.

2 Cor 2:14-17 (TLB) 
But thanks be to God! 
For through what Christ has done, he has triumphed over us 
so that now wherever we go he uses us to tell others about the Lord 
and to spread the Gospel like a sweet perfume. 

{15} As far as God is concerned 
there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our lives. I
t is the fragrance of Christ within us, 
an aroma to both the saved and the unsaved all around us. 

{16} To those who are not being saved, 
we seem a fearful smell of death and doom, 
while to those who know Christ we are a life-giving perfume. 

But who is adequate for such a task as this? 
{17} Only those who, like ourselves, are men of integrity, sent by God, speaking with Christ's power, with God's eye upon us.... 

Now, before you present the Gospel to a person, you should be interceding for that person and asking God to prepare their heart (the soil) to receive the Word. Perhaps God will cause some negative thing to happen in their life, a loss or a tragedy, or an opening of their spiritual eyes in some other that when God moves you to present the Gospel to the person, they will respond in the right way. 

In fact, all successful evangelism is preceded by seasons of prayer for those who will receive the Word. There was a famous christian missionary named "praying John Hyde" whose ministry method was in spending hours and hours in prayer for the salvation of such a result that people would start coming to him and begging to hear the Gospel...or when he prayed in partnership with a travelling evangelist, he just stayed in the back room and prayed for the salvation of the congregation, and people would start coming forward before the preacher even spoke one word. (see the book "The Kneeling Christian" by An Unknown Christian....or " Praying Hyde: the Life of John Praying Hyde" by E.G. Carre)

And as you pray for others and spend long sessions in prayer, seeking God's face, He will start changing you, causing you to become more Christlike...causing you to have a love for His word and a passion to obey it, and "to become transformed by the renewing of your mind" 
(Rom 12:1-3), so that just by living in communion with God and rejoicing in the presence of Christ in you heart, your life will become a light set on a hill to draw people to Christ.

God bless you as you seek to serve Him.

in bob..........<><


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