But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Last week, as we reviewed what we had previously read, we considered one of the clear evidences of the giving of the Spirit of God. Every one possessing the Spirit will be a faithful witness of Jesus Christ! God’s children confess Christ, and He in turn confesses them before His Father. (Mt 10:32) “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God…” (1 Jn 4:2) But for every true thing, Satan has a counterfeit! His ministers disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness (2 Cor 11:14-15) and preach in Jesus’s name as well, but beware, dear soul. They are preaching another Jesus! (2 Cor 12:3-4)
To be a witness of Christ means we must faithfully represent Him. We can’t change who He is to make the gospel message acceptable to a wider audience! As Paul told Timothy, our job is to simply, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season.” (2 Tim 4:2) In other words, whether the word is acceptable to the taste of those who hear or not, just be faithful to preach it, and make sure you don’t change it to suit their tastes!
The English preacher Charles Spurgeon wrote an article in the 1800’s entitled “Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats”. In it, Spurgeon rebuked the churches of his day that had shortened their sermons and added concerts and drama to attract the masses. He observes, “The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.” He saw this trend beginning over a hundred years ago. He would no doubt be shocked at the forms of entertainment in churches today and just how little faithful, gospel preaching takes place!
One of the clearest pictures of Christ in the Old Testament is Abraham’s son Isaac. “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering…” (Gen 22:2) Remind you of another Son who was made a sacrifice? In Gen 24, Abraham sent his servant to his homeland to find a wife for Isaac. It is a beautiful picture of God sending His servants to call individuals to come to Christ and become part of His spiritual bride, the church. Concerned that the young woman might not be willing leave her home and come to Isaac, the servant asked, “Perhaps the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I take your son back to the land from which you came?” Abraham was emphatic: “Beware that you do not take my son back there.” (v. 5-6)
Do you see the analogy? We have a responsibility to declare Christ to the souls around us. We invite them to come, but they must leave their world behind to meet Him–we are not to change who Christ is to suit them! We are called to be witnesses of Him. Tell them of His glory and majesty, but don’t make Him out to be anything He’s not. What if they won’t come? God’s response is the same as Abraham’s to his servant in v. 8: “And if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be released from this oath; only do not take my son back there.” Your oath is fulfilled as long as you faithfully declare Christ as He is, handling the word of God truthfully! “But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitful, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Cor 4:2)