19 August 2009

Good and Encouraging Reminders

Throughout the book of Acts, we learn about God’s determination to bring sinning, undeserving people into a forever-forgiven relationship with Himself through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. As we participate in the plan of God to save, keep in mind these several practical truths that Acts provides. As we do, these truths will encourage all of us in our witnessing for Christ.

1. God is patient with lost sinners. The leaders of Israel had rejected the ministry of John the Baptist (Matt. 21:23–27) and the ministry of Jesus, and yet God called out to them with another opportunity to repent and be saved. They had denied and slain their own Messiah, and yet God patiently held back His judgment and sent His Spirit to deal with them. People today need patience as we witness to a lost world.

2. True witness involves the bad news of sin and guilt as well as the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. There can be no true faith in Christ unless first there is repentance from sin. It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to convict lost sinners (John 16:7–11), and He will do this if we faithfully witness and use God’s Word.

3. The way to reach the masses is by helping the individual sinner. Peter and John shared the good news with a crippled beggar and his transformed life led to the conversion of 2,000 men! Let us treat each person with grace and mercy, sharing the good news with them. Who knows who or how many they might reach!

4. A great defense of the truth of the Christian faith is a changed life. The healed beggar was “Exhibit A” in Peter’s defense of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

5. Whenever God blesses, Satan shows up to oppose the work and silence the witness. The same crowd that opposed the ministry of Jesus Christ also opposed the work of the Apostles, and they will oppose our ministry today. Expect it—but don’t let it stop you! The important thing is not that we are comfortable, but that the name of the Lord is glorified through the preaching of the Gospel.

6. God has promised to bless and use His Word. And so let’s be faithful to witness. Jesus even prayed that our witness would have success (John 17:20), so we have every reason to be encouraged.

There is power in the name of Jesus, so we need not fear to witness and call sinners to repent. We can preach the “remission of sins” in His name (Luke 24:47) so that people might believe and have “life through His name” (John 20:31). We can give someone a cup of cold water in His name (Mark 9:41), and we can receive a child in His name (Matt. 18:5). These ministries may not seem spectacular, but they are still important to the work of God.

Yes, the name of Jesus Christ still has authority and power. Let’s go forth in His name!