Preachers are expected to preach and Christians should witness

Published 8:39 am Monday, May 8, 2017

By Hunter Greene
Imagine that your church has asked me to preach. I come in and sit on the front row as the service starts. We take up the offering and sing our songs then someone asks me to come and preach. What would happen if I got up there and said, “Sorry guys, I can’t preach today. I forgot my Bible.” Or what would happen if I never even mentioned the name Jesus and started a lecture on biology? Or football? Or what if I got on stage, sat down, and scrolled through my phone for a bit? What would happen? I think I am correct in saying that in most of our churches, including mine, I would be asked politely to leave the pulpit and would most likely not be asked back to preach. Why is that?
I would be asked to leave because the expectation was for me to show up and to preach. Someone called for a preacher and preaching is the expectation. It is expected that the person in the pulpit on Sunday morning preach the Word. It is expected that teachers teach. It is expected that drivers drive. It is expected that quarterbacks throw. I believe we can all agree that there are expectations placed on a million jobs and roles and for someone not to fulfill these roles is absurd. Then why is it not absurd for us, as Christians, not to share the Gospel?
Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” We are clearly expected to be public with our faith. In the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus tells us, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” We are expected to share our faith with others and lead them to Christ. If I would be asked to leave the church for not preaching, why am I not asked to leave the church for not sharing my faith like I should? Why are we allowed to be Christians when we don’t even care enough to tell someone what Jesus did for us?
I thank God that we are saved, not by our works, but by our faith in Christ or we would all be doomed. However, I think we can all learn a lesson or two from the apostle Paul in how and when and where to share the Gospel. If you were to meet Paul anywhere at any time, you better believe you were about to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need that focus and intensity in sharing the Gospel.
Paul uses three things to spread the Gospel. The first is his testimony. In Acts 23, we find that Paul has been arrested. For what? His testimony. Paul had been sharing his testimony so much that a group of Jews had banned together and promised not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. Jesus appears to Paul while in prison and tells him that he has testified in Jerusalem and he must go to Rome also. Everywhere Paul went, he shared his Damascus story. It wasn’t some big elaborate, typed-out speech. Paul just told people what Jesus had done for him. He told how he was blind, the worst of all sinners, and a murderer, and then Jesus cleaned him up and let him see the way. I don’t know about you but I do not tell people what all Jesus has done for me often. It’s not because He isn’t working in my life, but rather because I am too scared to open my mouth. Christians are expected to share their Damascus experience with everyone, everywhere, at every time. What has Jesus done for you?
The second way Paul spreads the Gospel is through his platform. The man was famous. Not because he was a superior tentmaker, but rather because he was an outstanding apostle for Christ. Also in Acts 23, the Chief Captain is informed by Paul’s nephew what the Jews were planning to do to him. The Chief Captain then proceeds to order 470 soldiers together (200 soldiers, 200 spearmen, 70 horsemen) to take Paul to Caesarea. Four. Hundred. Seventy. Paul was no closet Christian. This man would have been on News Channel 11, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and probably even SportsCenter. But Paul didn’t use this big stage to glorify himself. He shared the Gospel. He used his platform for Jesus. Are you? You don’t need TV cameras and reporters in your face to have a big stage, but you do have to glorify Christ wherever God has put you. Glorify God at the nursing home, basketball court, beauty shop, prom, bathroom. Wherever you are, Jesus is who you should be talking about.
Lastly, Paul used his struggle to spread the Gospel. In Acts 24, Paul goes before the governor Felix in Caesarea. Felix just wants to please the Jews so he leaves Paul in prison for two years. This particular story does not tell us what Paul did, but I have a pretty good idea. This is the same Paul that prayed and sang hymns with Silas in a jail cell earlier in Acts. It didn’t matter what thorn was in Paul’s flesh, he was still worshipping the King of Kings. We must also learn to sing, pray, and worship even when we are in life’s toughest battles. Don’t let your struggle overcome you but rather overcome your struggle with the joy and peace of God.
The world is watching you. They know you call yourself a Christian. They know the expectations the Bible gives us to follow. But are we meeting those expectations? Are we sharing the Gospel as we are commanded to? Share your testimony, give God glory on your platform, and praise Him in your struggle. Friends, we have the greatest news on earth and in heaven, and I believe it is time we start sharing it!
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton, and his associate, Hunter Greene.)

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