"My life is my witness." Quite a few church members today support what I call "Life-Style Evangelism Only." Endorsers of this viewpoint argue that it is sufficient just to let their life be their witness. There is a verse of Scripture which, on the surface seems to support this viewpoint and is quoted frequently. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven" (Matthew 5:16). In a moment, we will examine this passage more closely.
Certainly, our life-style is a great part of our witness. And our life must be consistent with what we say. Our life must reflect, or mirror, Christ. Our verbal witness will lose its effectiveness if our life-style is contrary to that of Christ. All the precious cultivating of a potential Christian may be for naught without careful consideration to having a consistent, Christ-like life-style.
However, "Life-Style Evangelism Only" is insufficient to obeying the instructions for witnessing given in God's Word. Time and again clarity is given as to what God requires of the obedient witness.
Let us now examine our earlier verse in Matthew 5:16. Let's begin with the question, "What is our 'light', which is supposed to 'shine before men'?" Is our life-style our light? Or is it something else?
Consider Psalm 119:105. The Psalmist wrote, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." David was saying, God's Word is a light unto our path.
Now, let's look at 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, "But of our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
So, what is our light? Does it not go well beyond simply referring to our life-style? Is not our light our Gospel, the Good News of God's provision of salvation, which is in His Word?
Some other verses of Scripture which clearly reveal God's precise command for witnessing are as follows:
Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15. These verses constitute the Great Commission. "Go, tell" is Jesus' command to His followers. The verbal witness is not optional.
Acts 1:8. Jesus' final words before His ascension into Heaven.
Luke 14:7-23. A very good parable given by Jesus to show the attitude we Christians should have concerning those about us to go out and compel (necessitate, urge) the lost to come into the Household of God, that the house may be filled.
John 3:17-18. People throughout the history of the church have been, and continue to be influenced to turn from condemnation to everlasting life through the witness of obedient disciples. Being aware of the eternal fate of the unsaved, should not we Christians have a deep seated enthusiasm, a "fire in our bones", to share with them the Words of life which may rescue them from the torments of hell?
Ezekiel 33:7-9. The responsibility of the watchman rests squarely upon our shoulders. Most people would be quick to help rescue someone from a burning building. But, how neglectful we Christians are toward those speeding down the path of destruction and hell.
When our verbal witness and consistent Christian life-style shine upon the lost person, perhaps he will become "pricked in his heart, and ask, 'What shall I do to be saved?'" (Acts 2:37).
Let us practice Paul's persuasion, "For I an not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." (Romans 1:16).
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May God speak to your heart! Bob Conar