I've Witnessed It Copy


2 Timothy 4:2-5
2 Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.
3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths.
5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.


We recommend everything else to each other: Amazon deals, Netflix series, podcasts, even Stanley cups. Why do we not recommend the way of Christ with the same enthusiasm? The Gospel is good news for everyone, and we are called to preach it!  
Preaching, though, probably conjures up images of a pastor/priest in a pulpit or walking a stranger through the ABC’s of accepting Christ as their savior. Most of us don’t feel confident enough to do that. But that’s okay, because that is not what most of us, the laymen, are called to do.

Like the word preach, even the word evangelism has unfair connotations in today’s you-do-you and live-your-truth society. We may think of people knocking on our door to talk us through a pamphlet with colorful descriptions of hell. We might cringe at the memory of a guy with a bullhorn on a busy corner screaming damnation on unsuspecting sports fans.
To be clear, that is not what Paul is saying here.

I have always believed that if we truly understand the gift of God’s grace on a personal level and if we are doing our best to follow the teachings of Christ, evangelism takes care of itself. That is because people who actually live according to the Way stand out. They get noticed, and not because they are drawing attention to themselves. In fact, one of the hallmarks of a saint is their insistence on not drawing attention to themselves, acting instead in ways that give honor to God and to the people around them. CS Lewis describes such people like this: “They will not be very like the idea of ‘religious people’ which you have formed from your general reading. You tend to think that you are being kind to them when they are really being kind to you. They love you more than other men do, but they need you less. They will usually seem to have a lot of time: you will wonder where it comes from.” Who wouldn’t want to be around that kind of person? Better yet, who wouldn’t want to be that kind of person? The early church spread like wildfire because whole generations became completely sold out to Christ. People around them couldn’t help but notice - those people are operating completely differently! That is what draws people in.

The good news is that you are already 100% qualified to “preach” the word of God. In the first chapter of John’s gospel, Philip, one of the first disciples of Christ, goes to his friend Nathaniel and tells him that Jesus is the Messiah they’ve been waiting for. Nathaniel responds with a scoff, doubting what Philip says based on prejudiced opinions. Who hasn’t encountered that same skepticism when talking about Jesus? You are super excited, ready to tell them how your life has changed, and they respond with sarcasm: “Yeah, no thanks. I stopped believing in talking snakes and fairy tales when I was a kid.” Or with condescension: “I don’t need some ancient tribal religion telling me how to act, and I’m shocked you would.”  
The most effective preaching is not to try and convince them of the Bible’s veracity or to tell them that their sin is destroying their emotional and spiritual health. The most effective preaching is, in fact, not preaching at all. The most effective preaching is an invitation, just like Philip’s invitation to Nathaniel.

“Come and see…”

Come and see that there is a different way to think and live. There is a relationship with God that fills that hole in your soul. There is a deep meaning that life’s pain cannot take away. There is love that includes everyone and does not require you to discriminate against others. There is a cathartic relief from the shame and guilt that crushes us all. There is life, and life abundantly.
People want to know you care before they care about what you know. They must see something different in you before they listen to you. So, stop preaching and start caring. People around us are hurting, always. We’re all hungry for belonging, forgiveness, and acceptance. You don’t need to have all the answers. You just need to be ready with an invitation…

Come and see.

Action Step

In his first letter to the church in Thessalonica, Paul writes that “Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel, but our lives as well.” Invite people into your life. Ask how they are doing and try to pray for them. It’s surprisingly easy to remember people’s struggles when you’re regularly praying for them; it involves you emotionally, puts some skin in the game. You don’t have to save the world. Just save your neighbor.

If you’re loving others, inviting them into your life, and living according to Christ’s teaching as best you can, people will eventually ask you why. Always be ready with your elevator testimony. Keep it simple: this is what my life was before Christ and this is what’s different.
Remember that your journey to and with God is a witness, not an exact prescription for everyone else.


Ask God to open the eyes of your heart to those around you, to make them “your people”. Pray for an opportunity to bring them into your life. Pray for courage to do so.
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