Summary: A sermon about the need for more personal testimonies, and the need for more involvement on behalf of Christians, both in and out of church, to tell others. This precedes our STEP 3 class, which will help us to understand our Spiritual Gift(s).
In JOHN 19:34 it tells us that, as Jesus hung on the cross, a guard pierced His side.
In JOHN 19:35, it says that the one who loved him saw it personally and knows it is true. It says he testifies "SO THAT YOU ALSO MAY BELIEVE."
Going over to ISAIAH 43:10, it tells us -
‘You are my witnesses, declares the Lord …’
And then, in 2 TIMOTHY 1:8 it says:
‘So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord …’
Why am I telling you this? Because each and every one of us has a personal testimony of what the Lord has done for us. And it is urgent that we start sharing that testimony with others, SO THAT OTHERS ALSO MIGHT BELIEVE.
We hear about how we live in the "Bible Belt", but have you ever thought about what that really means? To most Christians, it simply means there are a lot of churches around here and they go to one of them.
It should mean that we have been raised in the way of the Lord and that our churches are continuing to teach the true Word of God, and that you live your life as a church-going Christian to the fullest extent in Jesus Christ.
But we don’t think of the Bible Belt in those terms, do we? Why? Because our churches have long ago given up teaching the nuts and bolts of Christianity and have been given over to teaching how to put up with life’s anxieties, instead.
One of the areas not being taught anymore is the area of giving witness, or sharing your testimony.
We are going to have a time of personal testimony this morning. But before we do, I want to “set the stage”, insofar as explaining why it is necessary for us to witness in the first place.
Did you know that the average church member has heard over 4,000 sermons, sung over 20,000 songs, and has brought less than 5 people to church with them in their entire lifetime? And the most staggering thought of all; did you know that the average American churchgoer has helped to convert zero people to Christ?
That is because churches today have bred at least one full generation to do nothing but go to church, go home, and then repeat the cycle again next week, while calling themselves “Christian.” Most churches teach very little today, and what little they do teach is often world-related and not biblical in nature.
The American Christian has a false sense of what Christianity really is. Millions believe that as long as you believe in God, you are a Christian. Many more believe that if you go to church and live a good life, you are a Christian. Still others don’t know exactly what to believe. There are even some who openly deny that Jesus even existed; yet they still call themselves Christians because they go to a church that tells them they are Christians.
The word “Christian” means, “like Christ.” It doesn’t mean anything else. And the only people who are really Christians are those who really do try to wrap their whole lives around Jesus.
One of the hindrances to our ability to learn is our language. The English language lacks much in dealing with description. For instance, there are many kinds of love, so which kind are we talking about when we say we love our new home? And in addition to that, we misuse words. An example of that is when we say something like, “I hate my new boss.”
Are you saying that you want to destroy your new boss? The true meaning of "hate" is to want the object of your hate to disappear forever, or to be dead. In truth, we might dislike our new boss, but I doubt very seriously if we really “hate” our new boss.
To be a Christian, we must have faith in Jesus. "Faith" is another word that our language does not do justice to. When we say “faith”, most of us just think it means to believe Jesus exists. That is not what it means.
A deeper meaning of the word “faith” is found in the Greek work, “pestuo.” “Pestuo” means to trust with all your might; to rely upon with all your heart; to depend upon with your very life; and to receive fully everything that is offered. Is that what you think of when you think of having faith in Christ? And if we do not fully understand the words used to describe Christianity, how can we understand what a Christian’s walk should be like?
Millions sit in churches today numb to the feeling of the Holy Spirit. They have rejected the Holy Spirit’s call many times because they do not want to feel awkward in front of others, or have others look at them. So, little by little, their hearts grow cold to the touch of our Lord, and ends up with our just going through the motions, thinking we are being good Christians but missing out on everything that Christianity offers.