This is a post by Klaus Brune who is a member of the TechServants ministry. Klaus is a Christian web developer and is the founder of PlowStr8.com. You can follow him on Twitter here.
I took a test recently that’s supposed to show people what their spiritual gifts are. I thought mine might have been giving. Or teaching. According to this test, my biggest gift is evangelism.
Let’s see if that’s accurate. I’ll let you decide.
First, I grew up kind of shy. I really didn’t like talking. Not in front of people. Not in front of strangers. And I used to stutter a little bit. Trouble with all that is, it was Moses’ excuse too, and God got angry with him (Exodus 4:10-14)
Second, you should know that none of this is me. Not the old me, at any rate. The old me sees all the evil going on in the World and thinks, “Fine, let them all go to Hell. It’s what they deserve.”
Here’s the thing though. That is not the heart of God. That is the heart of the Adversary, who wants to take as many people down with him as possible.
A New Heart
Remember the story of Jonah? He didn’t want to do what God wanted him to do because he knew that God was ready to forgive them if they turned from their ways. And when they did turn and God did forgive them, Jonah got angry. (Jonah 4:1-5)
I don’t want that to be me. I pray, like David, “Lord create in me a new heart.” (Psalm 51:10)
So, that said, I’m about to share with you what I think are some of the scariest portions of Scripture, for a believer. And that is a good thing.
We all believe that God is Love and his biggest gift to us is his Grace and Mercy. Yes. God is all of that. However, he is also Judgement. The God we worship is also the God we read about in the Old Testament, and He doesn’t change. Let’s compare old and new.
Solomon writes that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. (Proverbs 9:10) (though in this case fear can and does also mean respect)
Paul, possibly the greatest evangelist ever, writes that everyone should work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)
Much is Expected
Jesus said that to whom much is given, much is expected. (Luke 12:48)
He also said “Why do you call me Lord, and then not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46)
He also said that many would come to him on the that day (Judgement) and call him Lord and he will tell them, “Get away from me. I don’t know you.” (Matthew 7:22-23)
Note that Jesus is saying all of this to his followers, to disciples, to the church.
Remember the illustration he gave of the men who built houses? The wise one built on a foundation of rock, and the foolish one built on sand? (Matthew 7:24-27)
The builders are both believers. The houses they build are both the words they received. We’re not talking about unbelievers here.
The one who built his house on the sand is not expecting it to get washed away. He thinks he’s fine. Notice that Jesus gave this illustration right after telling people, “Why do you call me Lord, and then not do what I tell you?”
He started this parable with, “He who hears my words and does them is like…”
Faith vs. Works: Which one is right?
Some of you may now be thinking of the whole faith versus works issue. This seems to be a paradox in scripture, and like any seeming paradox, there is a deeper truth to be found and when it’s uncovered, there is no paradox at all, and the ideas complement each other perfectly.
People asked Jesus what work they needed to do and he told them that the only thing God requires is to believe on the one he sent. True. (John 6:29)
Paul writes that we are saved by grace, through faith. And grace is a gift, not something that is earned (Romans 5:15 ; Ephesians 2:8).
And yet, James writes that faith without works is dead. (James 2:14-20) Jesus writes that you can know a tree by it’s fruit. (Matthew 7:16-20) Your works are the fruit of your faith.
Your faith is what saves you, but your results are the measuring stick of your faith. If Jesus tells you something, and you don’t act on it, then you have to ask yourself, did you really believe it in the first place?
If someone tells you hey get up and get out, the building is on fire, do you move or do you think yeah, yeah, when I get around to it?
Your House is on Fire
Picture this. You’re at home with your family, late at night, and you’ve just awakened from a deep sleep. You smell smoke. You go out of your bedroom to investigate, and sure enough, there’s a fire.
Do you (a) run out of the house immediately to save yourself, or (b) wake up the rest of the family and make sure they all get out?
How about co-workers? If your office building is on fire, would you let everyone burn? Or would you warn them? Would you say to Hell with them, I’ll save myself? Well, when your heart has an unwillingness to share, you very well may be doing just that.
Here’s another convicting scripture God gave us through Ezekiel. Did you know that if you know that someone is living in sin, and you don’t warn them, and they end up in Hell because they didn’t get a chance to repent, then God will hold you accountable? (Ezekiel 3:17-21)
If that doesn’t light a fire under you to get out there and say something then I don’t know what will.
Well, enough about doing what God expects of us out of fear. Next time I’ll talk about what Jesus said about rewards. And just to be clear here, again, good works will not get us to Heaven, which is why Jesus did what he had to do on the cross, and our only “work” is to believe.
However if your vision of Heaven is that we’re all going to be equal there, you would be mistaken. Jesus had quite a bit to say about the kinds of things that will be rewarded in Heaven. More about that later.
The Treasure that Lasts
Ever heard the expression you can’t take it with you? That’s a lie. Sure, you can’t take all those possessions. But, there is something that you can take with you. Something that will definitely be part of your treasure in heaven. Other people.
Think about that next time you have a chance to witness to someone. That’s your treasure standing in front of you. Go get it.
Since I’ve talked about fear here, I want to wrap up by saying something about love. It’s not really fear that’s the biggest motivation for me to share my faith. It’s love. Picture this…
You love someone (say your spouse). You know that you’re expected to do the dishes. You know she/he will be disappointed if you don’t do your share of the chores. Your love will be your motivator to do something you don’t necessarily want to do.
How much more so when the “chore” is other people. How much more so when the person expecting this from you is the Creator, and after what he’s done for you already?
The Movie Everyone Should See
Here’s another one: Let’s say you’ve just come out of the theater after seeing the most amazing movie ever. 3D, wonderful special effects, truly inspired story and plot, super-talented actors and actresses. It just doesn’t get any better.
Do you tell your friends about it? Of course, right? Why would you not? Everyone should go see this!
How much more so for what you’ve already got inside you right now? It really is the Greatest Story Ever Told.
So go tell it already.
Another Call to Action…
I say another because the first one is the sentence above. If you’re reading this, on this website, then you probably already have a desire to share your faith. Just two points & requests…
- Please do read & consider & pray over the scriptures I shared. The links take you right over to BlueLetterBible.com so you can read them online. Do read them in context and get the real impact of what God is saying to you. I didn’t quote chapter & verse here just to prove my points. My hope is to get people reading & pondering God’s word, not my own words.
- Can you put your desire to share the Good News in your own words? Please do comment here. We’d love to hear from you. Remember you’re writing not just to us here at the TechServants but to any and all seeking to do what Jesus told them. That’s what this site is about, after all. If you’ve not signed up yet, do consider doing so via one of the links to your right.
[image via Josué Ribeiro]
Great article, thank you.
I think that many people struggle with evangelism. Sharing with someone involves a certain element of risk. You may be rejected, (actually we are not being rejected, but Christ and the Gospel are) laughed at, the other party may have a very poor attitude towards what you are saying etc. It is tough to do this for most of us.
Yet sharing the Word is what we are all called to do! Overcoming fear is what holds many back. I have shared with only a few as I really do struggle with this. I have spoken before a group as well…that was no easier!
I think it matters that people are willing to try. Do something…if evangelizing online is what you are capable of doing, then do it!
dont allow fear to stop you meditate on Romans 1:16 and realize the power of what you know don’t limit the souls you bring into heaven to only be a few. its not easy but the Lord will help YOU.
@ae322d63957369b72a783d1c2ab1a275:disqus @disqus_HWkK3SEPhx:disqus the both of you are such a blessing to this online community – thanks for being the best part of it 🙂
Thank you so much @disqus_HWkK3SEPhx:disqus for being so transparent and sharing that with us. When I first started evangelizing, I also struggled with it. But praise God for the sanctification process, because now I feel a lot more comfortable than I did when I first started.
It doesn’t always come easy to me and I still struggle sometimes,, but by the grace of God it’s better than before. Your comment made me remember that Scripture in Timothy that says that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind..
Thanks Greg for that very powerful insight 🙂
Thanks Greg. Sometimes the willingness to try is exactly what God is looking for. Remember when he told the Apostles that when the time came he would bring to their remembrance the words that needed to be said? I pray for that all the time, “YOUR words Lord, not mine. Don’t let me mess this up, it’s too important. YOU know what they need to hear, not me.”
I’m also reminded of what Jesus said at the end of the beatitudes – when people make fun of us and belittle us because of HIM, our reward will be very great. Not that the reward should be our motive, but knowing that He’s paying attention definitely gives me more confidence.
It can be particularly challenging when the people we’re sharing with are friends and neighbors and coworkers, people we have to see every day. What if I say something that insults them? Just the other day my Buddhist neighbor asked me if I thought he was going to Hell, and I told him that MY opinion didn’t matter, all I could share with him is what Jesus said, and that is that HE is the only way, that no one goes through the Father but through him. I’m pretty sure that offended him a bit. I’m praying I get the opportunity to expand on that. I plan on letting him know that NO ONE is saved. There’s no being judgmental here, we’re all in the same boat. No act of goodness or kindness ever got anyone into Heaven. If we could make it that way, then Jesus went through all of that for nothing.
great article. reminder to me and now that i know that verse I know God will not let me forget it. good motivation because sometimes our love/burden can grow cold.
Yes, you are so right @ae322d63957369b72a783d1c2ab1a275:disqus our love can grow cold. It’s so important that we keep the fire burning and that we ask the Holy Spirit for His help. Thanks for that important reminder 🙂
Thanks, Mikey. Evangelism is definitely not an easy thing, or volunteering for anything. Whether it’s a congregation like the one that hosts TechServants with thousands of members, or a smaller one with just hundreds, I’m always amazed (and saddened) at how FEW respond when there is a call to volunteer for an outreach program. Sometimes I think our first “evangelism” needs to be within the church.
I like that fire analogy! Great stuff.
Thanks Kurt. Sometimes when people know (or are – ahem, “warned”) that I’m Christian, they get apprehensive waiting for the other shoe to drop, when I try to get them to go to church or “save” them.
I tell them to look at it this way… if I really believe that they’re headed for a disaster, shouldn’t they be more upset if I said nothing? If I knew the brakes on their car weren’t working because I saw the big puddle of break fluid on the pavement, and I just let them drive off and smiled and waved “bye” then what kind of friend is that?
Oh yeah @google-cf48607196665e6107f1d0662285d6f1:disqus I forgot that you are a firefighter, lol 🙂
Thanks for stopping by
My very soul shook reading this! It was like it was written just for me!I know I have 1 of the greatest testimonies, but I feared telling it because I felt I could’nt articulate well enough yet, I’m still evolving & not yet where I need to be in Christ, I felt my past would humiliate me & embarrass my family…. Lately theres been a fire in my (belly, as my late great Pastor James B. Alford used to say) , a fire to tell my testimony. The voice telling me somebody needs to hear me NOW. Completing a increment of Homework, he said go to twitter&read the post-. I came to this one opened it up, and recieved my blessing and my confirmation of what he said to me yesterday afternoon. Where to go to began telling my story. He said don’t worry about the battles I still fight. In telling my story I wil be delivered from all I struggle with! Tears of Joy pour from heart& my soul as I think and thank him for guiding me to this page, and for giving me the direction I consistently prayed so much about. I’m not perfect, but I continue to look up from where my strength comes from and move foward to tell my testimony and fulfill his purpose for my life. Thank you for these words just for me:)
Thank you @30cb8fe4a6705cc2e77776cdad925fb9:disqus for the heart-felt comment. While it does feel good to know that what I’m writing is of use to people for inspiration and direction, it feels even better knowing that I’m being of use for His Kingdom. My writing would be nothing without his direction.
You remind me of something someone told me once, that as a family going to church when younger they would always put their best appearance and behavior on in church and never ever share family problems and failures.
That is the exact opposite of what church should be and the exact opposite of what God wants. Just look at the dirty laundry aired by the “heroes” of Faith in the Bible? What other evidence do we need that it’s God doing something mighty through us, that by ourselves we can do nothing unless we abide in Him?
Now I know that non-religious people reading this would think that is pathetic, that we’re using religion as a “crutch” and can’t take credit for anything for ourselves. To that I say, never-mind the crutch, give me a wheelchair. What some people don’t seem to realize is that we’re ALL damaged and in need of that support. So would you rather have Jesus lift you up? Or go crawling around in the dirt? Those are really the only two options.
One of the things I really like about my church is that all the pastors in the local congregations are really not ashamed at all in giving detailed testimonies about their VERY rough pasts and how God really turned them around. God gets the glory through what he’s done in their lives and it’s the same for us.
Thanks again for your kind words, and God Bless.
PS. I’ll be posting part 2 about rewards pretty soon. Also we’re planning another website where people will be posting video testimonies, but I’m getting ahead of myself there, you should ask @peterguirguis:disqus if you’re interested in getting involved in that.
Thanks Klaus 🙂 this post did rather well and social media as you can see the numbers for yourself. To God be the glory 🙂
Some people have asked about that “Spiritual Gifts” test that I mentioned in the beginning of the article. Here’s a link, if you’d like to have a try at it yourself…..
Thank you for this article Klaus, it has really gotten me to thinking. You’re right we have a big job of evangelism, and little time. None of us know when the Lord will return, and none of us know when that person we’ve been thinking about witnessing to may have their last day in this life.
I was thinking today while at work, considering each person I encountered and thinking, this person may very well be lost, and may have a very short time left to hear the gospel message.
Thinking about everyone we meet as potentially lost person who may have to give account for his or her life tonight is a very sobering thought!
It sure makes me aware that I need to consider my efforts at evangelism in a much more serious light.
I totally agree with you @e9dd681395bda907e8436b8092059475:disqus. The thing is for me is that I sometimes have to be careful of thinking like this because I end up feeling burdened. Sometimes I feel like a person’s salvation solely rests on my efforts to reach out to them and so when I fall short, I just feel so condemned.
But of course as you know, I’m mistaken in this area. It’s the Holy Spirits job to bring a person to Christ and to convict them of their sin. We are just sending out the message of salvation out there.
Good thoughts John, thanks for the feedback 🙂
@peterguirguis:disqus @e9dd681395bda907e8436b8092059475:disqus Thanks John for the feedback. And Peter, yes I know what you mean about the burden. There was a verse on my heart this morning that speaks to this… “Don’t cast your pearls before swine”. That sounds harsh, right? But it was Jesus speaking, so we have to pay attention. And he also told us that no one can come to Him unless he called them first.
Maybe sometimes it’s a timing issue, and a person is just not in a place where they are READY to receive, and then the only thing that we can do is pray that they have a chance before their time runs out and their door gets closed. People realized that something was up when the rain started pouring down, but by that time God had already sealed the door behind Noah and his family.
That’s a good point that you make Klaus, I like how you used the Noah analogy 🙂
Absolutely right about people not always being in the right place.
So, sometimes I am a sower, sometimes a grower, or waterer, sometimes I do some weeding, but when the harvest is right, God reaps the increase.
I am often reminded of Isaiah 55:10-11:
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Wonderful motivation. Completely true. Thanks.
Thank you Cynthia for your kind words, we give credit just like you do to the Lord 🙂
God bless you
Hi @5937110a8afd303017de8b9b4d201f55:disqus , thanks for writing. Good to know people are still reading the “old” articles instead of just what’s up and coming at the moment 🙂
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Great read!! I don’t do good works to receive salvation, my good works is celebration of my salvation!
Amen to that @twitter-630499069:disqus , me too 🙂
Klaus, I saw this on Twitter and just read it for the second time today. It is outstanding! One of the most important messages I’ve seen on the internet.
“Why do you call me Lord, and then not do what I tell you?”
Not a scripture you see quoted very often but there it is, truth, staring me in the face! I’m feeling so convicted — but so motivated.
Thank you for this work for His kingdom. I hope it bears abundant fruit for Him.
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Yes, evangelism is a gift… Reposting this link on FB!
Thanks Eli, God bless you 🙂
What I said in this article? I take it back. Evangelism? Religion is a sad joke, and these people will never repent.
Want to know what I really pray for these days? I eagerly await the day I get to drag the entire human race to the lake of fire and throw them in. Remember when God said in the books of Moses how the burnt offering is a sweet incense in His nostrils? Yeah well I look forward to the aroma of burning HUMAN flesh. God, bring it on already.