Summary: If you won’t walk the walk, talking the talk is worse than silence. If you won’t walk the walk, take the bumper sticker off your car.
BIBLE-TEACHING MINISTRY of
CEDAR LODGE BAPTIST CHURCH
a fellowship of faith, family and friendship
Dr. Russell Brownworth, pastor
Pillar 7. Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ
The greatest and most noble purpose in life is to glorify the Lord through the fulfillment of His great commission. I will glorify the Lord by sharing my faith with my family, and by joining with them and others in specific activities that cultivate a passion for fulfilling the Great Commission.
July 4, 2004
19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB)
I was glued to the newscasts on Thursday as reporters detailed all the charges brought against Saddam Hussein. The broadcasts indicated that this would be a “first” for modern times, having an Arabic dictator brought to trial for crimes against his own people (as well as war crimes).
Hussein was defiant in the face of the charges, claiming that the trial and all the court proceedings is nothing but “theatre”; the real criminal is President Bush.
A number of the “experts” interviewed on Thursday made some really strong claims; that a fair trial was impossible. The lawyer who defended Panama’s Manuel Noriega in the 1990’s flatly said, “The prosecutor could walk into the courtroom wearing a Ronald MacDonald costume, present no evidence at all, and the jury would convict Saddam Hussein in 30 minutes.
Another indicated that, for the sake of freedom around the world, this trial would be a hinge, upon which history swings; we are watching the beginnings of a new door of freedom.
Now, that grabbed my attention, because it will only be true freedom if it’s a fair trial. Dictators like Saddam Hussein never give a fair anything! Freedom, on the other hand, is based upon the consent of the governed; and that consent is grounded in fair application of the God-granted rights of all people by our Creator. God made us free; to continue to live truly free, we must grant that same freedom to others, regardless of how guilty they appear.
Saddam Hussein’s trial will be watched around the globe by billions of people.
• They will watch a jury being selected and seated.
• They will hear opening arguments from the lawyers and admonishments from a judge;
• it is all preamble to the meat of any justice system – witnesses!
Without the sworn testimony of credible witnesses there is no justice, and therefore no true freedom. In the end, the fate of Saddam Hussein, and the living conditions of many people being tormented under the hand of totalitarian dictators, rests squarely on the shoulders of witnesses who will stand and tell the truth. There are some parallels I see with respect to that trial process.
• A jury can have its verdict thrown out by a judge; it happens occasionally.
• A judge can be overruled by a higher court. It happened this past week. Judge Honeycutt attempted to take the phrase “God save this state and this honorable court” out of his courtroom. He also tried to do-away with witnesses placing a hand on the Bible to pledge to tell the truth. Judge Honeycutt got overruled by the Supreme Court of North Carolina. The judge got judged!
• But the witnesses – testimony just stands as what it is – the witness of one’s life and credibility as opposed to another’s.
This morning I want to talk with you about being a witness for Jesus Christ. Years ago R.A. Torrey wrote these words: "I would like to ask what right any man has to call himself a follower of Jesus Christ if he is not a soulwinner? There is absolutely no such thing as following Christ unless you can make the purpose of Christ’s life the purpose of your life."
The purpose of Jesus’ life was to bring lost people to God for forgiveness. That’s also the purpose of any true follower of Jesus Christ.
• There is a difference between being an admirer of Jesus and His disciple. It’s the difference between being a fan and a follower.
• There is a difference between those who sit in the stadium and those who grind it out on the field.
The question comes; do you consider yourself a disciple of Jesus? If so, you must take the self-test, AM I A WATCHER OR A WITNESS.
Now, it is not my main purpose in this message to inform you that Christians ought to witness, especially if it’s only a guilt-trip. If someone has to coerce or manipulate you into sharing the best news that the world has ever known, what you have is, at best, an experience with religion, and not a relationship with the Christ.