When was the last time you can recall that a complete stranger initiated a conversation with you, and within a few minutes you could easily tell that this person was a Christian. Not pushing their faith upon you, not questioning your own knowledge of the word of God, but just by their unfeigned words, so to speak, by their general comments you were able to tell this person is not of the world. The better question here my friends, is when was the last time that you were this person.
Finding out if the person you are speaking to is a born-again believer should not be a series of twenty questions, as it were, speaking of the grace and mercies of Christ should come just as easily to us as a discussion of the weather, as easily as the topics of the day. Because believers have a personal relationship with Christ, because personal relationships are just that, personal, we tend to keep that relationship, well, personal, we shy away from speaking to others not only with a form of effort, a determination, but within just the general construct of our communications, we do not speak the words of grace and truth. It is so simple for the lost to recognize us, a simple “Praise God” or “Amen,” and we have set ourselves apart from them, and this I believe is why even the most singular expressions do not pass our lips as often as they should. Once the person we are speaking to realizes that we are indeed believers, one of two things generally occurs, they will either excuse themselves or will go on the attack, if you will, seeking to find a chink in our armor, looking for a way to belittle us because of our faith.
There are of course two other possibilities, perhaps they also are saved or will come to the knowledge of Christ, no matter the outcome, unless we take the initiative they will more than likely not direct the conversation to the Scriptures, that is our responsibility, and it is our honor and privilege to do so. Therein lies the reason for this letter to you, if you are not meeting these people in your daily travels, then where are they, are they all expecting someone else to take the initiative, and are you doing the same. The personal repercussions are, for the most, moderate to minor at best, a simple refusal to listen, perhaps a mocking term or two, but rarely have I meet anyone that is prepared to go much further. “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:10)
We have brothers and sisters around the world who hold back speaking the words of truth to some not for the fear of death, but so that they can witness yet again tomorrow to one who may actually listen and hear. Their persecution comes not in the form of embarrassment, but in torture, prison and death, the loss of life is a much greater persuader to speak on the behalf of Christ than a disparaging look. Far too many Christians are deficient in this area today, finding comfort only with those that they know are like minded, seeking companionship among other believers instead of seeking the lost. “Invite them to church” is the calling card, not “Go ye into all the world,” (Mark 16:15) “Forsake not the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb. 10:25) has taken precedence over “If you are my disciples.” Why is it so difficult for us to utter a single phrase, what is this false ideology that says we must become friends with the lost first before we can ask them if we can speak to them about our Savior. The excuses abound, the rationalizations overflow, and too many have found comfort in only the words they hear from the pulpit and not in what they are to be saying.
How many family members and friends have you lost because of Christ, how many of your co-workers will offer no more than general pleasantries to you anymore, how many have left your side because you walk beside the Lord now. “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” (Deut. 10:12) Think on this my friends, I know it is an old, well-worn statement, but it still holds truth, what would Jesus think of you when you meet individuals, a conversation ensues, and His name is not brought up once, what expression would you see on His face, when that person leaves, can you turn and look at the Lord at that moment and make Him believe you truly love Him, that He is more important than anything or anyone in the world to you.
I firmly believe that the born-again believer who continues to fail at this most easy of obligations, the one who simply will not speak to others about the Savior, will in time be given no more opportunities to do so, they have proven time and again that their desires are not to serve in this area, the fears are seemingly unsurmountable. They seek the praise of men above the things of God. (John 12:43) Are they truly saved, that is knowledge that only the Lord of Glory knows, perhaps there is a place for service for them still, Martha was indeed serving, (Luke 10:40) but she was not doing the better thing. We are given ample opportunities to serve nearly every day, but that is all they will ever be for many, opportunities. For reasons only known to themselves they refuse to speak of the mercies of God to any, and in this matter I have no right to judge, only offer the truths of Scriptures.
We have been offered the opportunity to serve, to show our love of Christ to our neighbors, whom we are commanded to love. To lay down our lives means more than the death of the flesh, it is the death of all shame, embarrassment and fear of all, for we are heirs to the kingdom, and children of the King do not hide their faces from any who deny Him. If you are meeting few people on a regular basis who by even the most general terms can be considered useful to the Lord, how many do you think they are encountering, we are the called out ones, we have been chosen by God for a purpose, that purpose is to lift up the name of His Son, and unless you are opening your mouth and speaking to others about Him, then you are not fulfilling your obligations. What expression is on the face of Jesus Christ when He looks at you my friends.