Summary: One of the towering questions of Christianity is the question of responsibility for bearing witness.
AM I RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WHOLE, WIDE WORLD?
INTRO: One of the towering questions of Christianity is the question of responsibility for bearing witness. “Am I responsible for the whole, wide world, or just myself, my salvation, my actions?” These questions are clearly answered in Mark 1:16-18, when Jesus called Simon and Andrew to a life of responsible witness as His disciples.
These verses comprise the world’s greatest challenge. We must hear them as a call to us to a life of responsible witness as His disciples. Jesus was just beginning His ministry when this call was issued. His call to Simon and Andrew is laden with responsibilities for witnessing to the whole, wide world. In this call we must see our responsibility and opportunity for witness.
I. WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR OTHERS.
There is one central message in Jesus’ call. It is, “There’s a world to be reached and you have a responsibility to be a reacher.” This was His message to Simon and Andrew. It is His message to us.
But how do we do this? The world is so big and I am but one. Jesus had the answer. “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” This is a literal translation. This suggests evangelism is our priority. If it isn’t, what is? We must witness to reach our world for Christ.
ILLUS: Ken Chafin wrote a book entitled The Reluctant Witness. His title describes many of us. We know we ought to witness but we’re reluctant. We feel phony or frustrated or uncomfortable. Or we just haven’t found a natural and satisfying way to witness. Well, Jesus can change all that. He said if we will follow Him, He will make us to become fishers of men.
It also says evangelism, personal witnessing is our responsibility. “I will make you...” If we don’t witness, who will?
It’s also a promise. “I will make you to become...” (KJV) This means Jesus Himself will empower us, cause us to be something we are not. If we will follow Jesus closely enough, long enough, He will change us and make us something we are not — witnesses, fishers of men. If we are willing, He’s able.
Jesus calls us to get into the process of becoming witnesses, make it our priority, realize our responsibility, and claim His promise. Jesus wants from us not hesitation by immediacy, not excuses but obedience, not floundering but following, not complaints but commitment, not whining but witnessing, not groveling but growing. He wants our love, loyalty, and life, and He wants them now!
II. WE ARE ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR OURSELVES AS HIS WITNESSES.
As we hear Jesus’ call of responsibility to the whole, wide world, we must remember we’re a part of His world. So our responsibility is not only toward others, but it is also to ourselves. We must maintain a credibility for witness before we can have much effect in witnessing. Jesus was calling disciples, learners. This is a call to grow in Him.
ILLUS: A witness in court is only effective when he testifies of what he sees and knows personally. Also, his integrity must be above reproach. The same is true of the Christian witness. Our relationship with Christ must be current and our life exemplary.