Our core values at Alpine are the important truths that help to guide us in all aspects of what we do. Let’s continue taking a deeper look at what they mean. This week we examine:
- Witness: We proclaim that Jesus sacrificed his life with love and rose from the dead so that all people can have new life.
Here are some interesting facts. The word evangelism and evangelize appear in the Bible zero times (not counting commentary notes and added titles). The word convert has 6 occurrences. The word witness appears 295 times! This is the word that is used over and over when the Bible discusses how the Gospel is spread – by people witnessing to what they have seen, heard, and experienced. The biggest difference between the words evangelism, conversion, and witnessing is that the first two are concerned with changing someone but witnessing is focused on simply telling a story; your personal story of how you encountered God and what you have discovered about the Good News.
For many of us this should be extremely relieving. Too often we as Christians have shied away from telling others about Jesus because we feel the pressure of needing to change people’s hearts. We must always remember that it is the Holy Spirits job to change people. We are responsible for telling a story. A story that tells some of the most wonderful news a person will ever hear. A story that is far easier to tell then we sometimes imagine. What often trips us up as witnesses is that we begin by telling the wrong story. We assume that we need to tell people how bad they are (which no one really wants to hear). So our words then get tangled up in judgment and condemnation. Instead what we need to focus on is telling the story of how much Jesus loves people, forgives everyone, and grants new life – using our own lives as the illustrations of how this new life changes us.
There are two great stories form the Bible that help to illustrate this. Jesus speaking in to his disciples and then later to a Samaritan women.
“Do not hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father (Mathew 5:16).”
“Then the woman left her water pot beside the well and went back to the village and told everyone, “Come and meet a man who told me everything I ever did! Can this be the Messiah?” 30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him. (John 4:28-29)”
Both of these story’s emphasize; 1) Not hiding what God has done in your life. Letting others see who you really are. 2) Introducing others to Jesus through both your words and your actions. The whole goal is to get people to meet Jesus (not to inform them that their politics, views, lifestyle, spending habits, or anything else is wrong). It is as simple as introducing them to your best friend. We do this by learning how to tell a story – The story of Jesus and how Jesus’ forgiveness and grace changed our lives.
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