Chosen to Witness
Dear BPCWA worshipper, Have you ever taken the trouble to go out of your way to buy something for a specific purpose, paid a very high price to purchase something that is not worth anywhere close to what you paid for? What if, when you finally want to use it for your purpose, that thing refuses to function the way you intended it to – how would you feel? Well, we often say that God chose to save us for His purpose, but do we actually want to live a life to fulfill His purpose? Or do we refuse to? In this 35th Anniversary year, BPCWA and individuals in it must truly reflect upon this fact lest we go on failing God if we have not been out living His purpose. I wish to remind ourselves what we have learnt from the church series on “Chosen to Witness” so that we do not quickly forget what God’s Word commands of us as His children.
Chosen to be witnesses. God chose us to glorify Him, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world . . . To the praise of the glory of his grace” (Eph 1:4,6). And we do so by shining forth for Him, “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. (16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Mat 5:15-16). Hence Christ sends us out to bear witness for Him, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Act 1:8). If God chose us to glorify Him by being His witnesses, we must not fail Him in this life. God chose the nation of Israel to be His witnesses. But the Israelites refused and failed to be God’s witnesses. The light is currently passed to us. Will you and will BPCWA fail as well? Christ is called the “faithful and true witness” (Rev 3:14). He has set the example for us.
The role of His witnesses. We saw 3 key roles of what God expects of His witnesses. 1) Point people to the only Living and True God, “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me . . . I have declared, and have saved . . . therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God” (Is 43:10-12). 2) Manifest God’s Truth to people, “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments . . . Keep therefore and do them . . . which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people . . . Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” (Deut 4:1-9, Matt 5:14). 3) Bring people to God to be discipled and make them witnesses “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them . . . teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Mat 28:19-20).
The actions required of witnesses. Witness means someone who has personal knowledge and experience and hence is able to attest to a truth. For role 1), believers must be actively sharing to others Who God is. This is why we constantly remind you about evangelism even during this restrictive time. Do you make opportunities and share to your relatives, colleagues, and classmates about God and their need for Him? Moreover, how we worship in church is a witness to those who come into the church. We must sing joyfully and zealously in the worship of the Living God. We must receive His Word with attentiveness. We willingly offer up our tithes and offerings. Mumbling instead of singing, falling asleep, failing to give makes us fail as witnesses. For role 2), believers are to show by our lives that God’s Word is true. Israel was chosen to be the repository of God’s Word. We are given God’s perfect and complete Word so that others will know it, and hence know God and what He commands us to do for His glory and for our good. How do we witness to those around us that God’s Word is true? By obeying all His commands in our own lives! When we obey, we are testifying that God is Supreme and true, and hence His Word is to be obeyed. For role 3), believers must realise that witnessing is not just about evangelism to unbelievers and missions work. We are also called to be witnesses to believers in God’s house. “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house” (Mat 5:15). The biblical but often neglected role of a witness is about ensuring that others are discipled to become witnesses after salvation. This means we are witnesses to believers too! We do so by bringing them to church and by encouraging others to come and study the Word. We call and reinvite those we have invited before, unless they are blatantly against the church and its teachings. Here again, because we will make followers after us, we must be faithful and true to all commands, not just those we can obey without impinging on our personal desires. The church must faithfully and truthfully teach the Word as much as possible. The church must not avoid “sensitive” and “unpopular” subjects that may offend some or point out sins of some. The church needs to be a faithful and true witness like Christ our Head. The world has infiltrated and deceived the church, Bible colleges, and homes by altering the thinking and values of believers. Good is called evil and evil is called good. Biblical Christianity has been hijacked to a point where God’s truths seem difficult to accept even the elect.
Do not be false witnesses. Because we erroneously think that witnessing is to unbelievers only, it leads us to believe that our personal disobedience has no consequences on others. So, we live as we wish and choose to obey what is convenient for ourselves. The reality is that when we live in disobedience, we are teaching others to be disobedient. We are being false witnesses! Remember, God warns us, “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Mat 18:6). Hence, Paul was very conscious that his personal witness would not stumble others, “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend” (1Co 8:13). By our disobedience in certain areas, we are teaching others that it is fine. We need also to help others be taught to “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”.
Yours in our Lord’s service,