Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
November 2, 1997
Last Updated :
December 31, 2012
Remain Faithful Despite Reactions, Your Personal Disposition, Just Be Happy, God Doesn't Judge Us By Our Numbers But By Our Faithfulness, Don't Be A Fair-Weather Christian, Tank Up On God's Word Before You Go Out Witnessing, Virtue Is Spiritual Healing Power, Spirit Without Measure, Power Of Holy Ghost, Seek Out the Hungry Sheep, The Foolishness Of Using Pressure Tactics, Avoid Goats Dogs And Yabbuts, Our Spiritual Warfare
Remain Faithful Despite Reactions
Over time, you will learn that people react in all kinds of different ways when it comes to hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some of them will be sheep, and will thus react in a positive manner. Others may adopt a "neutral" attitude with a "whatever-you-want-to-believe-dude" response. Yet others will be absolute goats, devils and reprobates. The more that you engage in witnessing, the more you will become familiar with these different reactions and attitudes. Regardless of how people choose to react to the message which we bear, as I explain in some of the aforementioned articles, we need to remember that as stewards of God's Word, our duty is simply to remain faithful messengers. Please consider this verse:
"Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."
1 Corinthians 4:2, KJV
As we learned earlier, God, by His Spirit, is responsible for the outcome of our witnessing endeavors. He alone can touch a person's mind and heart so that they will be convicted of sin in their life, repent of their sins, and accept Christ as the only means of Atonement for their sins. However, in order for that to happen, God relies upon us to faithfully deliver the Word to them first. Allow me to again share some verses with you from part one:
"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things . . . So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Romans 10:14-15, 17, KJV
Your Personal Disposition / Be Happy
Whatever you do, do not fall into the trap of allowing your spiritual, mental and emotional attitude to be determined or affected by the outcome or fruit of your labors; because if you do, you will constantly be bouncing from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other on a regular basis. In other other words, regardless of whether many souls come to Christ as a result of your endeavors, or only a few, treat it all the same. To reiterate, the Lord does not judge you by the numbers, He judges you according to your faithfulness.
As I explain in other articles, if the Lord were to judge all of His servants by the numbers alone, then many would no doubt be viewed as failures. Noah preached to the world for one hundred and twenty years, and yet only eight souls were save, those being his very own family. The Prophet Elijah had to confront the four hundred and fifty false prophets of Baal, and he complained that he was the last Prophet left in Israel. The Prophet Jeremiah faithfully preached for forty years in Israel, yet we only hear of one friend who came to his aid in his time of need. Consider the following verses:
"Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."
1 Peter 3:20, KJV
"And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."
1 Kings 19:9-10, KJV
"Now when Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs which was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon; the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin; Ebedmelech went forth out of the king's house, and spake to the king, saying, My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is like to die for hunger in the place where he is: for there is no more bread in the city. Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die. So Ebedmelech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took thence old cast clouts and old rotten rags, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah. And Ebedmelech the Ethiopian said unto Jeremiah, Put now these old cast clouts and rotten rags under thine armholes under the cords. And Jeremiah did so. So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison."
Jeremiah 38:7-13, KJV
In a word, we cannot just be God's fair-weather friends. We cannot be fair-weather Christians. We cannot be fair-weather witnesses for the Lord. Regardless of what may be going on around us, and no matter what kind of results our witnessing endeavors may bear, for the sake of those people who we are trying to reach with the Gospel, we need to present a happy, joyful countenance that radiates the Spirit and Love of the Lord. The world knows enough pain, sorrow and heartache. What they need to see is a little bit of happiness and Heaven in our faces. They need to see that we have something which they do not possess, and that we are more than willing to share it with them as well. What say ye?
Tank Up on God's Word
One good way to ensure that you are in the right spirit and attitude before you go out witnessing is simply by spending some quiet time with the Lord, studying His Word. Doing so will strengthen and inspire you spiritually. After all, being a public witness for the Lord does drain one of both physical and spiritual energy. It is somewhat similar to when Jesus performed miracles of healing. When these incidents occurred, we are told that "virtue" left His body. This word is derived from the Greek word "dunamis". This word signifies strength, power or ability. In other words, spiritual power or energy emanated from Jesus' body when He performed said miracles. It is obvious then that "virtue" is actually the creative power of the Holy Spirit which proceeds from our Heavenly Father Himself. Consider the following verses:
"And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?"
Mark 5:30, KJV
"And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all."
Luke 6:19, KJV
"And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me."
Luke 8:46, KJV
As I point out in other articles, the reason why the Lord was able to do this repeatedly, is because He was provided with the Spirit of His Father without measure. Consider the following verses:
"For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him."
John 3:34, KJV
"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
Colossians 2:9, KJV
Holy Ghost Power
In contrast, as I point out in such articles as "A Treasure in Earthen Vessels: God's Promise of the Spirit", we humans do not possess the Holy Spirit without measure. We in fact possess just a small dose of it compared to what Jesus had. Thus, it is imperative that we constantly spiritually renew ourselves, and recharge our batteries so-to-speak, if we are going to be active witnesses for the Lord on a regular basis. As you can see by the following verses, it is in fact this "treasure" -- that is, the Holy Ghost -- which empowers us:
"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
2 Corinthians 4:7, KJV
"But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost."
Mark 13:11, KJV
"And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
Luke 1:35, KJV
"And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about."
Luke 4:14, KJV
"And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."
Luke 24:49, KJV
"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."
Acts 1:8, KJV
"Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost."
Acts 8:19, KJV
"How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him."
Acts 10:38, KJV
"And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:"
Romans 1:4, KJV
"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost . . . Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ."
Romans 15:13, 19, KJV
"And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."
1 Corinthians 2:4-5, KJV
"For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake."
1 Thessalonians 1:5, KJV
Seek Out the Hungry Sheep
At this point in our discussion, we are going to examine some verses which explain exactly who we are to try to reach with the Gospel. As we have already seen, different people react to the Gospel message in different ways. As the verses below reveal, because we want to invest our time wisely, and not waste our time with unreceptive souls, we should endeavor to seek out the lost -- that is, those people who realize that they are lost -- and those people who are really hungry for the Truth of God's Word. In other words, we need to find the Lord's sheep in the great harvest fields of the world:
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."
Matthew 5:6, KJV
"But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Matthew 9:13, KJV
"But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Matthew 10:6, KJV
"But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Matthew 15:24, KJV
"For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."
Matthew 18:11-14, KJV
"When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Mark 2:17, KJV
"I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Luke 5:32, KJV
"What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance . . . Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth . . . For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry."
Luke 15:4-7, 10, 24, KJV
"And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
Luke 18:9-14, KJV
"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."
Luke 19:10, KJV
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:"
John 10:27, KJV
"And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely."
Revelation 21:6, KJV
"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
Revelation 22:17, KJV
As I noted in part three, pressure tactics simply don't work. If there is one thing which I have personally learned during the course of my life, it is that we cannot shove the Gospel down the throat of someone who does not want to hear it. As occurred with the Pharaoh of Egypt during the time of Moses, it is evident that the more that we try to convince someone who really does not want to be convinced, the harder and more rebellious they will simply become. As I mentioned earlier in this series, as long as an individual believes that they are alright; as long as they think that they are doing okay; as long as they fail to realize their sinful condition, and the dangerous position that it puts them in with the Lord; we are going to get nowhere with them. We simply cannot force anyone to believe if they do not wish to believe. It is just wasted time and energy on our part, so forget the pressure tactics.
It is my personal belief that the Lord has an appointed time for everyone. As I point out in such articles as "Free Will and Personal Choice", "All Are Given a Chance, But . . .", "Is the Message of Salvation Meant for All Men?", "Do You Want Love and Light, or Rod and Wrath?" and "Not Everyone is a Child of God", Salvation is a matter of free choice. While it is true that God has made Salvation available to everyone, that does not mean that everyone is going to accept His free Gift. In fact, it is quite evident from Jesus' own teachings that most people will not choose the Way of Salvation. This is made rather plain by the following verses:
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
Matthew 7:13-14, KJV
Taking into consideration the truth that is revealed in the previous verses, to what end do pressure tactics serve? It is obvious that the answer is "none". God's Word appears to indicate that only in very rare instances does the Lord ever strongly and directly intervene in someone's life; and if He does choose to intervene, it must be for a very good reason. In most cases, God's Holy Spirit slowly works on a person's mind and heart, to bring them to the point of Salvation. God is like a master surgeon who slowly and carefully cuts away tissue in order to reveal the sin which inhabits our wicked hearts. Once He reveals the problem to us, and we are able to see it, then He offers us His solution in the form of Jesus Christ.
As I have mentioned on a number of other occasions, one good example where the Lord decided to take a more direct approach concerns the former Christian hater and persecutor, Saul of Tarsus. Obviously, God was not happy with the man at all. As a result, as many of you will already know, Saul -- who later became known as the Apostle Paul -- was violently knocked off of his horse, and blinded for three days, as he traveled on the road to Damascus. Saul's intentions were to persecute the Christian brethren in that city, but Jesus was determined to stop him in his tracks, which He most certainly did. Saul was clearly placed in the Lord's vise grip, and the pressure was applied firmly until Saul cried "Uncle!". You will find the full story discussed in Acts chapter ten.
Goats, Dogs and Yabbuts
Normally speaking however, we should not waste our time with the stubborn goats and spiritual "dogs" who only resist the conviction of God's Spirit, and who reject the Truth of God's Holy Word. As Jesus Himself states in the Gospel of Matthew"
"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."
Matthew 7:6, KJV
The Apostle Paul basically adopted the very same attitude in the Book of Acts when he became so disgusted with his proud, unbelieving Jewish brethren, that he decided to turn to the Gentiles instead. Consider this verse:
"Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles."
Acts 13:46, KJV
Wow! What a symbolic slap in the face to those old goats! In my series "Exposing the Tactics of the Enemy!", I refer to these kinds of people as "yabbuts". These unreceptive souls have a very peculiar habit which you will no doubt soon come to recognize, once you begin to actively engage in public witnessing. They are very easy to identify, because when you try to share the Truth of God's Word with them, they usually respond by making such comments as the following:
"Yeah, I believe in what you are saying . . . but!"
"Yeah, that may be perfectly true . . . but!"
"Yeah, that makes a lot of sense . . . but!"
No matter what you say to them, such people never seem to fully agree with you on one single issue, or at least not with very many of them. They are always butting, just like stubborn old goats. They are "yabbuts" who butt, butt, butt. Sadly, while some of them may have deceived themselves into believing that there is actually a place reserved for them in the Kingdom of God, as Jesus points out in two of the Gospels, someday they may be totally shocked when they find themselves butted right out of Heaven, as we see by these verses:
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Matthew 7:21-23, KJV
"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."
Matthew 25:31-46, KJV
"And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"
Luke 6:46, KJV
"Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last."
Luke 13:24-30, KJV
To reiterate, the truth of the matter is that there are so many hungry sheep in the harvest fields of the world who earnestly desire to hear the Truth of God's Word, and to be freed from the bondage of sin and death, that there is really no need for us to have to waste our time with the goats, dogs and proud "yabbuts". As a general rule, as long as someone is still listening to your words, there is hope. It is when they stop listening, start arguing, turn away, or close the door, that it is time to bring your witness to a close. Be polite; be nice; shine for Jesus; but walk away. If you fail to do this, then don't be surprised when they start to gnash on you in self-defense.
Our Spiritual Warfare
From everything we have discussed thus far in this series, it should be rather evident to you that as soldiers of the Lord, we are involved in very real spiritual warfare. As I pointed out earlier, when you are out witnessing, it is very similar to being on a battlefield. You are in fact invading Satan's territory, and he does not like it one bit! As a result, the minute that you decide to stick your head out of the trench, and go on the offensive, he is going to start firing at you. It is imperative then that you make certain that you have properly prepared yourself for your upcoming battle. As we discussed earlier, one way in which you can do this is by immersing yourself in God's Word. Second, make sure that you have the right attitude before you go out the door. Here are a few more verses which discuss the spiritual nature of our warfare. I encourage you to read Ephesians chapter six in its entirety:
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"
2 Corinthians 10:3-5, KJV
"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."
1 Timothy 6:12, KJV
"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."
2 Timothy 2:3-4, KJV
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:"
2 Timothy 4:7, KJV
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."
Ephesians 6:10-13, KJV
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, KJV
Please go to part five for the continuation of this series.
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