Summary: An motivational sermon to give the listener confidence that sharing their faith will not fail to reach people with the message of the Gospel.
Why Your Testimony Will Succeed
Rev. Sean Lester
April 27, 2003
Text: Hebrews 4:1-16
Jesus gave you the command to preach the gospel to all people with the idea that you would do it, and that by doing it you would succeed in calling people to salvation through Jesus Christ. It is not possible that God would give a command without the expectation that it would be carried out.
Jesus told the parable of the stewards of a rich man. Each one was told to put his money to work. Each one that did succeeded. The one who was too fearful to put the money at risk, was fired. These men knew the wishes of their master, each man had been instructed on how to succeed. The only way that failure could be the outcome is if the instrcutions were not put into practice.
As was discussed last week, the Israelites were given instructions for conquering Canaan. They were given orders to invade. But they refused to trust God, and the instructions he gave them, and the assurances He gave them when he demonstrated His mighty power for them.
They hardened their hearts. Despite the overwhelming and undisputable evidence that God was for them, they chose to believe that He was against them. They chose to be insane, calling purity evil as if the sky were pink and the grass purple.
An entire generation of people died without the fulfillment of God’s promise having been worked in them. They wandered around without hope of fulfillment or rest for forty years and then died in the wilderness.
That generation was not given another chance to repent and invade the land. However, as the first verse of our passage says, "Therefore, since the promise of entering rest still stands..." This passage would not say this if it were not possible for those who had disobeyed to yet enter God’s rest.
By rest, I mean a rest from the work of trying to solve your own problems. I mean a rest from worrying about your own life day in and day out, hour by hour. You are free to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. You have joy and levity every day.
The passage I read also says, "And on the seventh day God rested from all his work." In six days, God creacted the universe and everything in it. But He rested from his own work on the seventh. He rested from his own work, but continues to work on the behalf of His people. We work for our own purposes six days per week and then work for God one day each week. In contrast, God worked for himself for six days, and devoted the rest of time for your purposes.
Therefore, God still looks to give rest to those who will hear and obey him, today. "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." There are a great many people that I have known who were given every opportunity to live life to the full, the promise of everyone who follows the Lord. But they put off the moment, they waited till later, but later never came for them. Which is why the Holy Spirit says, "Today..."
For many years health warnings have been placed on cigarette packages. You know people who have yet continued to smoke, and have died horrible deaths. They saw the warnings, they also knew the outcome of the habit. But they put off quitting. They eventually quit noticing the warning, becoming hardened in their souls to the pending crisis.
So it is with all who hear God’s voice and don’t respond. And for the professing believer, the Holy Spirit says, "Enter into this world and preach the message of the heavenly world, Jesus Christ forgives sins and grants eternal life to everyone who repents of their sins."
There are as many excuses for not obeying this command as their are professing believers who violate it. "Witnesses are really hypocrites... no, they have courage you don’t have." "I just havent’ had the opportunity... and a good time is when?" "I don’t want to offend...and they will understand as they fall into hell that you really were thinking of thier best interests?"
Unbelief has capsized many professing Christians, the failure to remain steadily at the rudder of thier lives, and instead shifting from side to side trying to move one way and then another until their life has sunk them over thier head into the water. But we who believe in Jesus, who obey His command to publically testify to the mercy of God in Jesus Christ, know His rest and know His power because we have obeyed and seen what good things the Lord does.
The testimony of Jesus Christ and the proclamation of His Word succeeds in calling people to obedience to Jesus Christ. This passage tells us why success is guaranteed for those who do.