PART 7 ASPIRING TO BE A WITNESS FOR CHRIST
PART 7 ASPIRING TO BE A WITNESS FOR CHRIST
BEING A WITNESS OF ATTENDING TO THE ASSEMBLING OF THE SAINTS
Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine …
The final witness we should aspire to is what I believe is the most important of all that we have mentioned. Why do I believe this to be the case? Because it is a place where the saints gather, where the saints’ worship and praise God, and where the saints receive anointed biblical teachings. If all that we are encouraged to be a witness of are motivated by the fruit, promptings, power, and guidance of the Holy Spirit, then we will have an opportunity to evidence Christ-likeness on a consistent basis in everything we do and in everywhere we go.
If indeed this is the case, then these are the things that we will be a witness. We will be a witness of being grounded in foundational teachings, of gathering together with the saints and the poor for the agape feasts, of growing spiritually, of presenting the gospel message, of operating in the gifts of the Spirit, of expressing the symbolic meaning of the Lord’s Supper, and of evidencing the fruit of the Spirit. If there is little or no witness of most of these in our own lives, then it’s time to go on a spiritual journey.
Are you ready to go on an adventure to find the place where God shows up, where the believers live for Christ, where unbelievers become born again, and where the assurance of eternal life is a certainty?
I hope that you have enjoyed this study. I believe that each and every believer wants not only to be a witness for Christ but a better witness for Christ. I hope that you will apply these teachings to your own life so that you will be conformed to the image of God’s Son and be a bright light in a dark world that so desperately needs you. I want to leave you with some closing thoughts.
I’m sure for those of you who have children that as soon as they grew old enough, probably sometime in their teen years, you decided to warn them of certain things that you had participated in when you were their age that caused you much trouble. I can remember telling my oldest daughter when she was in her teen years that I knew she would go out and drink with her friends. I advised her to be careful. If you are going to drink, drink in moderation, drink responsively. If someone in your group has had too much to drink, exhibits erratic behavior, and is the designated driver to bring everyone home, then call me no matter what time of the night or morning it is, and I will come and pick you and your friends up and bring all of you home.
Well, I soon found out that she respected and acted upon my advice. I have either owned or driven a taxi for over 25 years. One night, I received a call from my daughter in the early morning hours asking me to come to pick her up. I said something like, don’t go anywhere. I’m on my way. Apparently, she had attended a party and realized when it was time to leave that the designated driver had too much to drink. Many of those who attended this late-night party, along with her best friend, decided to go with the impaired driver.
In the morning, my daughter found out that her friends had gotten into a car accident. The designated driver lost control of the vehicle and went through a stone wall. Nobody died, but most had physical injuries, some minor and others major. My daughter’s best friend severely hurt one of her arms and needed surgery right away. Unfortunately, the damage was so severe that she needed to have a metal rod placed inside.
I said all this because I know what it’s like to make a difficult decision like my daughter had to make. In my case, it had to do with leaving a church that I frequently attended with my parents in my younger years. I left this church in my late teens because something was missing. In my later years, due to various reasons, I began looking for a church to attend. God guided me to a different denomination.
I left the latter church after a period of time because even though God came into my life and I experienced His presence, I sensed that something wasn’t right. I might not have clearly known it at the time but reflecting back on my time there; I noticed that no gifts of the Spirit were manifest. There were also no teachings on how to grow spiritually. Yes, there were teachings on doctrine but none on personal sanctification. Although, in their eyes, being sanctified meant obeying the dos and don’ts of the church. Eventually, I found a church that I will call Spirit-led or Spirit-filled, where the gifts were being manifest, where I was growing spiritually, and where unbelievers were getting saved.
As the saying goes, what a difference a day makes; well, in this instance, it was what a difference a church makes.
You might ask, whatever happened to my personal associations along the way?
As far as my immediate friends go, over time, I invited all of them to what I will call the fun and God-personal church. Some got saved, and others didn’t. Because of my knowledge about some of them who didn’t get saved and continued on in their lifestyle of excessive alcohol, drugs, and partying, I separated myself from them. Why did I disassociate myself from them? This was because I wasn’t at a place in my walk with God where I could resist temptation. I hoped that as I grew spiritually, at some point of time later on in my life, I would be able to revisit them and be a witness of a changed character, i.e., of reflecting Christlikeness.
What about those religious associations that had been developed in my younger years? I knew of many who stayed in my initial faith and others who remained in the faith where God came into my life. I wasn’t ready at that time to reconnect with any of them or attend the same church where they decided to remain. As the years went by, and I learned more about my Christian faith and grew spiritually, I was able to reconnect with some of them, being able to dialogue about what God had done in my life.
The last thing I wanted to mention was, how do I feel now about going back and attending my former churches or, for that matter, any faith? As far as the latter faith is concerned, they do adhere to the foundational teachings of the Christian faith. I would have no issue with attending their worship service again. However, I am very much aware of how they address the topic of spiritual growth. So, in this respect, I wouldn’t go back on a consistent basis.
The former faith does not follow some of the foundational teachings that I presented earlier in this study. I have gone back to this church on a few occasions mainly because of the death of loved ones who remained there as members for most if not all of their life. However, I am careful not to participate in any aspect of their service, especially communion, as I believe that by participating in such, I would be condoning the literal interpretation of the bread and wine. As advocated, this ritual is believed to cultivate spiritual growth and godly character in the participants instead of learning how to put on the new man (person) that we have become at salvation.
Participation means acceptance. Acceptance of what or of what else? Acceptance of salvation by means of water baptism and the Spirit, acceptance of going to a place after death to atone for venial sins, acceptance of confessing sins to someone designation in the church other than directly to God the Father; acceptance of using different leadership titles other than those delineated in the writings of the New Testament, etc.
In regard to other faiths (i.e., Seventh Day Adventist, the Mormon church, Jehovah’s Witness, the Episcopal church, etc.), I have either been involved with most of them to some degree via attending their worship services, by engaging in a Bible study, or by means of personal study and have gathered information concerning each one and placed it in one of my books called My search for the one true God. Personally, I would not attend any of them on a regular basis as they either deny some of the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith and inhibit their followers from growing spiritually. However, I am always willing to dialogue with any one of their members concerning my new life in Christ.
I hope that this study has helped you in reacquainting yourself with your former relationships with other people, whether they are religious or not, now that you are a mature Christian. Christianity is not an easy road to be on, but it is a rewarding one. It’s a rewarding path where our character is changed by thinking anew. It’s a rewarding path where we are empowered by someone else. It’s a rewarding path where we see our prayers answered in God’s way and timing. It’s a rewarding path when we know we have an assurance of a heavenly dwelling place after death. It’s a rewarding path when we see our own kids receive this new life and become a witness of this life to others.
May we become a better witness for Christ and see the world be turned upside down.
Acts 17:6 … These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;
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