“WITNESSING YOU” Part 1
1. Turn in your Bible to Hebrews 12.1-3. When you find that passage, please stand so we can read that portion of God’s Word together:
1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
2. This evening we have recognized some high school graduates and some college graduates. Courses of study have ended for some and courses of study are about to begin for others.
3. Major decisions are being contemplated by people who are untested and untried in the fine art of decision making, and those decisions that are made will have the profoundest kinds of impact on your lives and the lives of others.
4. On a practical note, may I suggest that you approach decision making in slow and thoughtful way? Do you recognize the two significant types of decisions that can be made? One type of decision opens the doorway to an expanding variety of options, while another type of decision closes the doorway and drastically narrows one’s options.
5. For example: When you go to college you typically open whole new vistas of opportunity, broader in their expanse than you ever could have realized. But when you get married you close doors of opportunity and eliminate future options and considerations. So, ponder which will happen with each decision you make.
6. And some practical advice from a guy who has been around the block a few times? If you are a guy, don’t even think about marrying the woman who comes after you. There is something wrong with a woman who pursues a guy. Either she is an ill bred woman, or there is something wrong with her that she is afraid will come out unless she hurries a guy into marriage, or she is bossy and wants to be in control. So, take my advice and steer clear of any woman who pursues you. I know it’s flattering, and you think she’s after you because you are such a catch. But there are other reasons why she is after you, I assure you.
7. If you are a gal, don’t think about marrying a guy who can’t support you. You may think he’s got lot’s of potential, and that he will someday be a great provider, but there are a whole bunch of losers in the world who have a lot of potential, but whose wives support them.
8. I have a generally high opinion of women, but am convinced that women do not know how to pick a husband. And this is because God doesn’t want women picking husbands, but husbands are supposed to pick wives. So, out of high school or out of college, be extremely careful about the decisions you rush into, especially the ones that lock you into something for life.
9. That was free, and just a sampling of specific advice. What I really would like to challenge you with this evening is a consideration of what’s involved in this thing we call life. There is more to all this than meets the eye, so I would like to quickly review some of the more important considerations that you will wisely address as you live your life.
1A. Tonight, I Would Like For You To CONSIDER YOUR WITNESSES
Especially those of you who are converted, whether you are just graduating from high school and college or not, have you ever taken the time to ponder and reflect on who is watching you? Whether you are converted or not, someone is always watching you. But for you who are saved this evening, seven witnesses observe how you live your life. What do you show them?
1B. First, There Are Human Opponents Who Witness You
1C. If you live any kind of a decent Christian life there will be human opposition. After all, if you are a witnessing Christian those you witness to have to deal with the offense of the cross, Galatians 5.11. And if you live godly in Christ Jesus you will no doubt suffer persecution, because “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution,” Second Timothy 3.12.
2C. So, these types of people, the college professors, perhaps your fellow students, your coworkers, and even family members, will oppose your stand for Christ . . . if you stand for Christ.
3C. What kind of Christ will you show those lost people? By looking at you, by considering your stand, will they highly appraise your Christ? Or will they discount Him like they discount the pathetic savior of the typical evangelical Christian?
2B. Next, There Are Human Allies Who Witness You
1C. How will you initially know who is and who is not a Christian in your college class room? Or at your place of work? Perhaps someone observing you is a brand new believer, who does not yet know how to contend for the faith, but will learn from you . . . if you contend for the faith.
2C. Perhaps all you need to do is make one stand to so encourage another believer that for the rest of the term you will not feel alone, you will not be alone. And the same may be true at work.
3C. Imagine the encouragement, the example, you could be to that Christian who observes you. The question that needs to be asked is, Is there anything to observe? Anything distinctive? Anything spiritual? Anything that the Christian who witnesses you to remember?
3B. Third, There Is Satan And The Demonic Foes Who Witness You
1C. In addition to those you can see there are those you cannot see. Enemies they are, and more intelligent and powerful than you can ever hope to be. They know who you are, even though you do not know who they are, or where they are, or even if they are at any moment observing you in your daily movements and activities.
2C. My Bible informs me that they attack strong and determined Christians as well as weak and pathetic Christians. But my Bible also tells me that they flee from Christians who resist them, James 4.7.
3C. So, how do think these witnesses should be dealt with? Do you wait for them to hit you, to tempt you, to afflict you? Or do you assert yourself as a Christian and perhaps convince them ahead of time that their efforts are better spent picking on some pathetic wimp of a Christian who’s afraid to witness or make a stand?
4C. “Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” We know that from First Peter 5.8. So why don’t you mount a spiritual offensive wherever you go to convince this most dangerous of your spiritual foes that if they takes you on they will have a vicious fight on their hands?
4B. Fourth, The Angelic Host Witnesses You
1C. I think the great cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews 12.1 refers primarily to the now in heaven faith heroes in Hebrews chapter 11; men such as Abraham and Noah, and women such as Sarah and Rahab. But I can’t help but think it also refers to the angelic host of holy angels.
2C. Imagine, if you will, this company of holy supernatural creatures, who are completely and totally dedicated to God’s glory and service. We also know from First Peter 1.12 that these angels are keenly interested in our involvement in the Gospel ministry, where it says on this subject, “which things the angels desire to look into.”
3C. These holy creatures do not know sin by experience, as we do. Therefore, they cannot know God’s grace by experience, as we can and as all believers do. That means they can only watch us, curious and captivated by our words and deeds that either reflect well on God’s grace, or by our words and deeds that give evidence of having fallen from grace, Galatians 5.4.
4C. What will the angels in heaven say and do when they see you in class this fall, my friend? Will they hoop and holler and rejoice as you contend for the faith? Or will they drop their heads and wonder to themselves, “How could he let that opportunity pass by? Why didn’t she say anything in the face of that blasphemy? Doesn’t he know what’s at stake here? Does she not realize how close the guy next to her is to getting saved? If only she would stand up for Christ!”
5C. So, whether you are at work or at school, with friends or with family, remember that there is a whole category of witnesses to your activities who you cannot see, but who watch with the keenest interest and amazement at every movement, every gesture, and who listen to every word you speak.
5B. But Don’t Forget That There Is Also You And The Indwelling Spirit Witnessing You
1C. That’s right. You watch you, don’t you? You certainly listen to you. And the indwelling Spirit of God is with you wherever you go, observing whatever you do, as well.
2C. Will your actions grieve Him by doing what you should not be doing, Ephesians 4.30? Or will your inaction quench Him by not doing what He prompts you in your mind and conscience to do by His Word, First Thessalonians 5.19?
3C. Even if no one else witnessed your actions at work or in class, the fact that you know what you do and the Holy Spirit is ever present is a big consideration. Will you become one who is sensitive to the Spirit of God, or resistant?
6B. Then, There Is The Lord Jesus Christ Who Witnesses You
1C. It’s His judgment seat that you will someday stand before, if you are a Christian. Will you receive a “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”? Or will He have nothing to say to you because of the empty and fruitless life you’ve lived, because you were silent when you should have spoken up, you were quiet when you should have contended?
2C. Oh, my friend, it’s a terrible thing to think of the Savior, sitting on His throne on high, watching you do nothing, hearing nothing for Him from your mouth, with no testimony on His behalf among men. Remember that when you find yourself in a place to speak or stand for Christ. Look to Him, Hebrews 12.2. Consider Him, Hebrews 12.3.
7B. Finally, There Is Your Heavenly Father Who Witnesses You
1C. Proverbs 15.3 declares that “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” Do you think you can say anything that God does not hear, do anything that God does not see, think anything that God does not know?
2C. God saw Cain slay his brother Abel just as surely as He saw the serpent tempt Eve and then watched her succumb to the temptation to eat the forbidden fruit. God saw Nimrod plotting rebellion and then confused their tongues at the tower of Babel. He also heard the cry of His people in Egyptian bondage and sent Moses to deliver them.
3C. And you don’t think God sees you? You don’t think God watches you with concern and interest? What does He see when He watches you? Does He see His child trust Him? Or does He see His child tuck tail and lower his head in class so he won’t have to dispute what the teacher says, say nothing at work and thereby let an opportunity to witness pass by?
1. Let’s draw this to a close. We needn’t be too long to make the point that needs to be made. And the point to be made is that you are being watched, always watched, ever watched.
2. If there are no scorners watching you then there are the curious eyes of other believers. Then there is the Devil himself to glance at you from time to time, and the intelligent and probing observation of the demons, who look for spiritual weakness and the hesitation produced by doubt, the timidity produced by unbelief, to show them who to prey upon.
3. And don’t forget the heavenly host of holy angels. There is Michael and Gabriel and the cherubim and seraphim. All looking down from heaven’s parapets to see what you are doing, what you will do, and reflecting upon what you have done.
4. Then there is you looking at you. What are you to you, my friend? What kind of man or woman do you think you are, do you know you are? Are you who you wish to be, who you want to be, who you could be? Or do you despise your own cowardice, dismiss yourself as someone of no spiritual substance? And if you think of yourself in this way, what, then, must the Holy Spirit think of you?
5. Do you consider the Savior looking down from His heavenly throne? Do you think of the Father’s loving gaze upon you? When you do what you do, when you stand for Christ in the way that you stand for Christ, when you contend however it is that you contend, are you mindful of the Savior, of the Father?
6. If you’ve recently graduated from high school or college do you realize that you’ve been given a fresh new start by God? You can literally start anew in the next phase of your life, with a bold and fervent testimony, with an attitude of determination that is bolstered by a strengthened faith. Or not.
7. You can be a loud and brassy woman who has little time for God, who takes matters into her own hands, and shows that your devotional life is shallow and your prayers are perfunctory. Or you can purpose to walk close to God, spend quality time in His Word, and learn from Sarah and Hannah and Mary how you ought to behave yourself. It is from that quiet posture that a Christian woman contends for the faith.
8. Guys? What will it be like for you in this first part of the 21st century? What type of person will your witnesses see in this age of mostly effeminate Christianity? Will they see a man or a mouse when they observe your Christian life? Will they see faith or folly? Will you be one who is seen by others, by the angels, and by God to be a Christian man worthy of the name Christian? Or will you slink, perfectly happy to let the women be boisterous and loud while you shake in your boots and try to remain innocuous?
9. Please, understand something. Just about everyone who has any sense feels fear and foreboding when thinking about making a stand for Christ. You see, it’s perfect love that casts out fear, and your love and mine are not yet perfect, First John 4.18. But we can serve God effectively if we keep in mind who is watching, if we pay attention to who the real audience is.
10. The truly important members of your audience are the persons of the Triune Godhead, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. After that in importance are those spiritual beings who cannot be seen, the angels and the demons. And don’t forget yourself.
11. The least important of all are the people who observe you, especially those who oppose you. Remember that God superintends the affairs of men. And don’t you dare think God is any less involved in placing you in a situation that calls for faith and courage than He was in Esther’s situation.
12. Remember, although she greatly feared, Mordecai asked her at her moment of decision, “Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this,” Esther 4.14? In other words, who are you to tell whether or not the sole purpose for your existence, and your supreme opportunity to serve and glorify God, is that challenge that you next face to make a stand for God?
13. Just make sure you make the stand. After all, there are witnesses.