Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Sin of Silence

The power to proclaim the greatest news in heaven or on earth was not given to the angels. It was given to redeemed men … Every Christian is to be a witness; every follower of Christ is to preach the Gospel.”  -- (p. 68. Billy Graham in Quotes, c. 2011.

Sadly, I have recently learned that ninety percent of Christians have never shared the Gospel message with anyone. Why are Christians not telling others about the most wonderful gift, transformation, and forgiveness that can be obtained in this life? Why are Christians so afraid to tell someone about Christ, but will not hesitate, in the least, to tell another person their opinion on politics, on movies, or on their ideas about any other subject that is brought into conversation? Could it be that we don’t have our priorities established? Could it be that Christians feel that they have been given a ticket to heaven, but are now willing to let others find their own way? If that is the case, how sad for those authentic Christians who are supposed to be living their life for God and His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. For, they will one-day have to answer to Christ when they get to Heaven. I don’t know about you, but I certainly do not want to have to tell the Lord that I failed to obey Him when He told us to go and tell the world about Him and the gift of Salvation.

In fact, Christ gave every Christian a commission before He went back to Heaven. Christ told us through His personal direction to the Apostles to “Go then and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the very close and the consummation of the age.”  -- (Matthew28:19-20. AMP). So, what part of that commission do Christians not understand? Oh, we understand, but many Christians are lazy, self-centered, and fearful, instead of being overcomers who love their neighbors and even strangers as themselves. For, if we loved others as we love ourselves, we would want everyone to come to know Christ as their Savior.  We would not let fear, self-centeredness, and possible laziness come between us and our sharing Christ with others. But many Christians are committing the “sin of silence”, which is the sin of not telling others about Christ.

Christians Have Three Main Objectives within their Earthly Journey

There are basically three main objectives that Christians have been given in living for God. The first objective is to glorify God each and every day. The second is to tell non-Christians about Jesus Christ and the gift of Salvation. And the third objective is to help other people, both Christians and non-Christians, who may need our help in some way or another.

Believe it or not, all three of these objectives are actually intertwined. For, we can glorify God in many ways, including by following His commandments, by living for Him, and by sharing His Word with others, to just name a few of the many ways wherein we can glorify God. But it is the glorification of God by honoring His commandments, by sharing His Word and by living daily for Him that should lead Christians right into the fulfillment of the second objective, which is to tell non-Christians about Christ and the gift of Salvation, so that the un-saved can hear the Gospel message and can make a decision for Christ when the Holy Spirit tugs at their heart and calls them to Christ.

Finally, the third objective, which is to help other people who are need, is also to be woven or intertwined within the other two objectives. This third objective is actually godly servanthood through different services or ministries. One such ministry is that of Active Relational Christian Mentoring. There are, however, other personal Christian works or ministries that will also tie directly into the first two objectives of glorifying God and sharing the message of Salvation. But no matter which ministry that a Christian is called to engage in, we are helping others, and at the same time we are shining the light of Christ upon them. It is during our ministry or our servanthood that we will be given golden opportunities to speak up and tell someone, who does not know Christ, about the Good News of Salvation. But if we do not speak up while we engage in godly servanthood, we are committing the sin of silence.

The world can often tell that there is a difference between worldly people and people who live for Christ. The non-saved individuals should be able to see that Christians have a special light shining out from them. It is Christ’s light, which resides in us. With Salvation Christians have the ability to shine Christ’s light upon someone who needs to understand that God and His Son will always be there for them. Certainly, it is our Christ-light that enables another person to see that there is something special about the life of the one who has given their heart to Christ.

Ultimately then, it is through our godly love for another that the lost person can come to see and understand the love of God given through His Son for them. For, it is through a Christian’s godly servanthood of love and the shining of their true Christ-light upon them that a lost person can be see that there is something more they need. When this occurs, they can then be introduced to the Gospel message. Remember, that our Christian actions along with the verbalization of the God’s Truth can slowly open a heart to hearing the Gospel message of Salvation. God is then glorified when honor Him by sharing of the Gospel message.

We Were Created to Glorify God and were created for God’s Pleasure

Let’s take a moment to look a little closer at the first objective or purpose of all Christians; which is to glorify God. The Bible tells us that, “God has planted [his people] like strong and graceful oaks for His own glory.”  -- (Isaiah 61:3. LB). Later, David, in one of His prayers or psalms says: “All nations whom You have made shall come and fall down before You, O Lord; and they shall glorify Your Name.  For You are great and work wonders! You alone are God.”  -- (Psalm 86: 9-10. AMP). These are only a couple of verses in the Bible that talk about our responsibility to glorify God. There are many more verses about glorifying the Lord. We are also told that eventually “… all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.”  -- (Numbers 14:21. NASB).

God’s Word also tells us that God created us for His pleasure. We know this because we can again read in the Bible about what God had in mind when He created us. In fact, one of the most profound verses about being created for God’s pleasure is within the last book of the Bible where we are told that, “You, God, created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created.”  -- Revelation 4: 11. NLT). In addition, we can read in the Psalms that “God takes pleasure in those who honor Him; in those who trust in His constant love.” – (Psalm 147: 11. TEV). Moreover, “the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.”  -- (Psalm 149: 4. NASB).

Indeed, I believe that God smiles down upon those people who truly love Him, truly trust in Him, and who are willing to obey Him without reservation. I believe that God also smiles upon those who remember to praise Him for all the blessings that He bestows upon them. In other words, we are to continually praise God and thank Him for Who He is and for all the blessings that we receive, no matter how small a blessing. For the psalmist said, “Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.” – (Psalm 67: 5. NASB). We can also be assured that God takes pleasure in the people He created, for within the book of Psalms we are told specifically that God “… has lifted up a horn for His people, Praise for all His godly ones; Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him. Praise the Lord”.  -- (Psalm 148: 14. NASB). But who are God’s people?

Originally, God created all of mankind to be His people. But, early on, starting with Adam and Eve, mankind in general rejected God. Many people even went so far as to worship false gods, denigrating the One and Only True God. So, God chose a specific group of people, i.e., the Israelites, who are known as the Jewish people, to be His representatives to the world. For, it was through a man named Abraham, who on His own recognized the One and Only True God, that God chose to make Himself known.

Through Abraham’s seed the nations of the world would be blessed. In fact, it was through His grandson Jacob, whom God later chose to rename Israel, that the Israelite people multiplied and became a nation. First, though, they lived in a foreign nation for hundreds of years and were then eventually forced into slavery. But, God heard their cries and sent a man named Moses to rescue the people. In doing so, these people were not only shown the power and glory of God, but they were given many blessings as well. Even so, they could not seem to live up to God’s holy standards. They could not live up to the holy standards of Truth and morality even when given specific laws to follow. But, in being the loving, kind God that He is, God heard their cries and chose to save them. He not only rescued them, but God, through the Israelites, decided to give all other peoples on the face of the earth a way to know Him too, which included an offer to spend eternity with Him. So, what did God do? Well, God sent His Only Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to tell the Israelites of God’s Truth, mercy and grace.

Unfortunately, the Israelites did not believe in Jesus as the Son of God, so they crucified Him. But, Jesus Christ died for all our sins. However, it didn’t end there, for Christ arose from the grave and conquered eternal death for all, i.e., for all those who will believe on Jesus Christ as the living Son of God. For, no one who believes on Christ as the risen living Son of God will have to face eternal death and damnation. This is the Gospel message and the message of Salvation! The Jewish people who believed in Christ soon spread the Gospel message far and wide. They did not keep silent! Moreover, God also offered all Gentiles eternal life too, if they believed on Christ as the risen and living Son of God. In fact, anyone who repents of their sins and asks Christ in their heart can be saved.

But, the Bible also tells us that even before Abraham recognized the One and Only God and even before Adam and Eve fell from the Garden of Eden, that God had made plans to save His people from eternal death and damnation. Even back in the Garden of Eden, God knew what Adam and Eve would do, so He had already decided that He would send His Only Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to die for our, i.e., mankind’s sins so that on believing on Christ as the risen and living Son of God, a person could be saved. God would not only give us mercy from eternal death or destruction, but He would give us grace as well. Indeed, the Scriptures tell us that “Because of His love God had already decided that through Jesus Christ He would make us His childrenthis was His pleasure and purpose.”  -- (Ephesians 1: 5. TEV).  Then, as believing children, who have given their life to Jesus Christ and who now attempt to live for Christ daily by living for God and expressing their love of others, we are now His eternal children. 

As believing and saved children we have a major purpose in life, which is to tell people everywhere of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We are not to be silent, but are to tell other people of the Gospel message every chance we get. Indeed, one of the easiest ways to tell others about Christ is to develop Active Relational Christian Mentoring relationships. For, as God’s children, we can honor, glorify, and pleasure God by doing what He has asked us to do.

As God’s children, we are to “Obey God gladly.– (Psalm 100:2. LB). In fact, Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.”  -- (John 14: 15. TEV). One of those commandments is to love others as we love ourselves and in so doing to share the Gospel message with everyone we encounter. Furthermore, in the book of James, we are told that “We please God by what we do and not only by what we believe.”  -- (James 2: 24. CEV). With just these two scriptures it easy to see that obedience brings God pleasure, honor and glory. Furthermore, it is through our obedience that more and more people will come to know Christ as their Savior. So, why are Christians not sharing the Gospel message with other people? Why are born-again Christians committing the sin of silence?

What sets Christians Apart from the Rest of Humanity?

As His children, God wants us to not only worship Him and glorify Him, but we are to be passionate in and about our worship of Him. In other words, we are to be committed in our worship of Him. We are to dedicate our life to not only living for God and His Son, but our objective or goal should be to share Christ with others. We are not to be silent.

But, what does it mean to be passionate and committed in our worship of God? Well, it means that whatever we do in life, we are to keep our focus on God. We are make every activity that we engage in to somehow become an act of worship of the Lord. In other words, we are to “Praise God from sunrise to sunset.”  -- (Psalm 113: 3. LB). And whatever activity or job that we are engaged in, we are to transform that activity or job into an act of worship which will then praise, honor, glorify, and pleasure God. This act of praise and worship of God should set Christians apart from the rest of humanity.

The Apostle Paul explained to us that “… whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  -- (I Corinthians 10: 31. NIV). In other words, we are to be representatives and ambassadors for Christ every day of our lives so that God gets all the glory. This attitude and our daily actions are so important to the Christian life that the Apostle Paul gave this same admonition in another way when he again told the Colossians: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.– (Colossians 3:23. NIV). So, our personal work, our personal servanthood, and our personal living including our godly servanthood that includes such things as Christian mentoring should be accomplished or lived out daily with a heart that wants the Lord to receive all the glory.

Christians are set apart from the rest of humanity by the love that they have for each other and by the love they have for God and His Son, Jesus Christ. We are set apart from the rest of humanity by our desire to love others as we love ourselves. We are set apart from the rest of humanity by focusing on love rather than focusing on evil. Yes, Christians can still make mistakes and unfortunately some may succumb to doing something that is not approved by God. Yes, we can succumb to devil’s implantation of negative and hateful thoughts, which we can then act upon. However, if we do something wrong, we can truly repent and be forgiven. But, if we focus on living for God each moment of our lives, there is less chance of succumbing to such negative or sinful things. For, on the whole, Christians who truly are “born-again” and who focus on living their life daily for the Lord, do not commit evil, hateful, non-caring, thoughtless acts that can hurt other people. In fact, authentic Christians truly focus on obedience to God, on worship of God, on servanthood toward God and others, and on loving others as they love themselves. Indeed, part of loving others, means having a desire to help others or be there for another person when they need our help, and we can do this through godly servanthood. Part of that godly servanthood is to tell others about Christ.  

Any time that we glorify, honor, live for, and worship God, we are giving God pleasure. God’s pleasure comes from seeing our daily worship of Him in so many different ways. How wonderful it is to be able to worship God in even the smallest of activities. Unfortunately, there are times when we all fail miserably in our worship of the Lord. That is because we allow our personal selfishness to interfere in our worship of the Lord. If only we could take each ordinary day, whether we are eating or sleeping, going to work, helping a friend, mentoring, or sharing the Gospel message, and use our life as a way of honoring and glorifying God. If only we could focus on giving God pleasure by sharing the Gospel message with others. The godly servanthood of Active Relational Christian Mentoring, not only helps others, but it can also be a way of sharing the Gospel message with another. This type of servanthood along with many other types of servanthood or ministries, glorifies and honors God. And if we share the Gospel message with others we are not committing the sin of silence.

Giving God Pleasure through the Sharing of the Gospel Message

Whether it is sharing the Gospel through Active Relational Christian Mentoring, or simply sharing the Gospel when talking to a stranger, Christians have been endowed with the ability to present the Gospel message to others who need to know Christ as their Savior. In fact, as previously mentioned, the second objective or purpose in being a Christian, or child of God’s, is to glorify God through the sharing of the Gospel message.

Obviously, pleasing God should be our first purpose in life, but we need to figure out how we can please God daily. It is through reading the Word of God that we can discover what pleases God. For, it is in reading the Bible that we discover that God is pleased with us when we love Him completely and supremely, when we trust him faithfully, when we obey Him wholeheartedly, and when we praise Him continually throughout the day and within our prayers. Did you know that “God has shaped each person in turn; now he watches everything we do.”?  -- (Psalm 33: 15. The Message). So, it is up to us to bring God pleasure and to please Him with our actions and our heart as He watches everything that we do.

Helping Other People in Need and Sharing the Gospel Message

Have you shared the Gospel message of Salvation with anyone? Is anyone going to Heaven because you stepped up to the plate and gave your all as you told them about Christ? Some of us will be able to say that we have been the catalyst in someone listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in their heart. In other words, we can say that we have shared the truth about Christ. That is all that we are expected to do. Then it is up to the Holy Spirit to draw that person to Christ. We do not save anyone, but we have been commissioned with sharing of the Good News with other people.

You are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do His work and speak out for Him to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you – from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.”  -- (I Peter 2: 9-10 The Message).

Sometimes, it takes several times of “sharing” the Gospel message before a person really pays attention to the Holy Spirit’s call. In fact, William Fay in his book, Share Jesus Without Fear, says that it takes an average of just over seven times of someone hearing the Gospel message before that person finally acknowledges the Holy Spirit’s calling. Remember, as a Christian, we are to explain the Gospel message as many times as the Holy Spirit asks us to do so. It is then up to the person who hears the Gospel message as to whether he/she will acknowledge the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, ‘A man’s heart determines his speech.” – (Matthew 12: 34: LB). Christ's words also apply to a Christian’s willingness to go out on a limb and share the Gospel message. Our heart determines our love, and our love for Christ determines whether or not we will be willing to share His love with others. How much do you love the Lord? How long are you willing to keep silent and not obey Christ’s command to share the Gospel? If you are afraid of sharing the Gospel message with someone, stop and pray to God. Ask Him to help you get over your fear, and also ask God to fill your heart with love for the other person so that love will overcome any fear. For God, “… does not want anyone to be lost, but He wants all people to change their hearts and lives.”  -- (II Peter 3: 9. NCV).

Finally, the Apostle Paul said within the book that he wrote to the Colossians to “Make the most of your chances to tell others the Good News. Be wise in all your contacts with them.”  -- (Colossians 4: 5. LB). Certainly, Wisdom, comes from the Lord. So, ask for wisdom and God will give you what you need to share the Good News. Then, listen to the Holy Spirit within you, and you will easily be able to share the Gospel with others.

I hope someone is going to heaven because you took the time to share the Gospel message or Good News with them. What a glorious time it will be when you get to Heaven and meet other people that are there because you took the time to tell them about Christ. God loves you. He wants you to glorify, honor, and pleasure Him. God wants you to share the Gospel message with others so they, too, can become one of His Children and be a part of the Kingdom of God.

Finally, it is the servanthood of helping others that shows God the heart of love that you have toward others. So, start developing Christian relationships with other people who may need your help. Be there for someone and be willing to be that shoulder they can cry on, that person who can give needed information, or that one who can see with her heart what God would have her do. Perhaps, it is just listening to another woman as she tells you of all the things that she is going through that will give you an opening to tell her about Christ. Perhaps, however, it is simply your invitation to this woman to come to church with you that could end up making all the difference in her life. But whatever you do, engage in conversation. Develop a simple relationship and then be open to Active Relational Christian Mentoring. Determine to no longer remain silent! No longer commit the sin of silence.

If you need to know more about developing godly relationships and Christian mentoring, read the book by Vicky Lynn Thomas entitled: Active Relational Christian Mentoring: Women Mentoring Women With Christ at the Center. The book can be obtained through Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, iTunes, Google Play and Christian Faith Publishing.

God Bless You!

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