My parents affectionately called me, “an active and imaginative child.” The phrase is code for: He has a genius for finding danger. Not surprisingly, of the 7 in my family, I was a leader in hospital stays, trips to the ER, and number of stitches—all badges of honor for a little boy.
I would not be here today were it not for the watchful eye of my mother, who often prayed for me to play quietly, then panicked when it became too quiet. There were times she saw me heading for danger and called me back just in time. Typically, when my mother knew I was moving toward danger – an enticing campfire, for example – she would quietly caution, “Stay here, don’t go over to the fire pit.” If I took an additional step or two in that direction, the volume would elevate, and her voice would grow stern, “Do not get close to that fire!” If she saw me running toward the fire, she would jump up, run toward me, and shout as loud as she could, “Stop! Stop right now!” Her actions changed when the situation became more serious. When the danger was imminent, she could not remain comfortable in her chair, or be silent—she sprung to action and sounded a warning. That is what love looks like, and it is the call of a Watchman.
We are living in a time when the Lord’s return is imminent. Those who do not know the Lord are running headlong toward the fire. It is not enough for we who know the truth to sit back and remain silent, knowing that many will be left behind when the Lord comes to rapture His Church. True love requires that we spring into action, raise our voice, sound the alarm, and rescue those closest to the fire. Good Watchmen are good witnesses.
WHAT WATCHMEN KNOW
All are called to serve and share. Acts 1:8 says that we receive the Holy Spirit so we can effectively “….be [His] witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, and the uttermost parts of the earth.” We are empowered and saved to serve and share. God expects us to share the knowledge, insight, and grace we have received from Him. Throughout this teaching, we will refer to this process as praying it forward.
The time is short. In most sports, if the clock is about to run out, and points are needed, the coach may call a risky play in an all-out effort to win. Friends, the hour is late. The return of Christ is not just sure; it is imminent. Prophecies associated with the last days and birth pains (Matthew 24) are being fulfilled in our time. Jesus said, “When you see these things happening, you know that it [His return] is near, right at the door” (Mark 13:29). More prophecies have been fulfilled in the 70 years since Israel became a nation than in the 700 years leading up to 1948.
WHAT TO DO
Watchmen must share the Gospel whenever and however the Lord leads. Opportunities can come at any time—we are called to be watching and ready for unexpected open doors. However, we can create excellent opportunities to share by showing initiative in the areas of hospitality and service. We can create opportunities for spiritual discussion by inviting a person to a café for a cup of coffee, offering to help with a project or need we recognize, inviting a neighbor to a meal, sharing a home-made item or gift with someone who is ill or sad, etc. Leading with kindness often leads to the opportunity to share the Gospel.
Spend time building relationships with those who are not saved. We listen best to the people we know well. This means our evangelistic message will be best received by people who know us and trust us. This also means we must take time to build relationships with those who do not know the Lord, to be well-positioned to win them to the Lord.
Certainly, believers are to be ready at all times “in season and out” to witness and share with any strangers who cross their path, but there are likely a few individuals that God has already put in your circle of influence so you can witness to them. Ask God to reveal who those people are. Ask God for wisdom to know how to connect with and witness to those individuals. Then spend time and build relationships with those who do not know the Lord.
If you do not know any ‘lost’ individuals, you need to widen your social circle. To some extent, this can be done online, but also consider whether or not God may be leading you to meet new people by taking or teaching a class, joining a club, working in community events, or supporting a program that provides a community service.
Prayerfully consider how God might use your experience, skill, abilities, hobbies, and resources to connect with and witness to individuals who have not accepted Jesus into their heart as Lord and Savior.
Share what you know. We might reason that we should leave witnessing to the experts, defer personal evangelism until we feel more comfortable, memorize more Scripture, acquire more training, or have all the answers. The desire to learn more is commendable, but do NOT allow that legitimate desire to keep you from your present responsibility. An effective witness does not need to be astoundingly articulate. A powerful witness does not need to be extremely polished. The message only needs to be true, point to Jesus, and come from the heart, to be effective.
Jesus invited Andrew to “Come and see” (John 1:39). The Samaritan woman in John 4 was a powerful witness by simply telling others about the amazing things Jesus said. The blind man in John 9 did not have theological training or know much about spiritual things, but his witness was powerful when he testified of how the Lord had been good to him saying, “One thing I know. I was blind, but now I see!”
Share what you know. Practice sharing a short version of your testimony, less than 90 seconds, and have a longer version for longer conversations. Look for opportunities to share; when you seek them, you will find them.
Do not be afraid to share, but speak in truth and love. In Proverbs 10:10a we are told, “Whoever winks the eye causes trouble…” Our culture suggests we should ignore sin and choose tolerance and peace. Proverbs 10:10 says the opposite is true. Proverbs 24:25 notes that “…it will go well with those who convict the guilty…”
This does not mean condemn, reject, shame, or excommunicate, it means care enough about the wayward brother or lost person to tell them what Jesus expects, and love them into a right relationship with God. One verse later we read: “An honest answer [the truth] is like a kiss of friendship” (Proverbs, 24:26, NLT). A true friend will share about Jesus and His promised, imminent return. It is not OK to be judgmental, but when our motive is pure, and our words are loving, it is OK to make judgments about what is right and wrong. This is a Watchman’s calling.
Do the ask: Many individuals, even preachers, do a fine job sharing about Jesus, but sometimes fall short when it comes to asking individuals if they are ready to surrender, confess, and enter into a relationship with Jesus. Watchmen will wisely and boldly do the ask.
Be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading, but always be looking for that open door to ask, “Are you ready to become a Christian?” Then be prepared to concisely and clearly explain what that means and how it can be accomplished. A document on how to be saved is posted HERE.
Know the Word, and be prepared to answer common spiritual questions. 1 Peter 3:15 tells believers, “…Be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” The 1 Peter 3:15 directive is for ALL believers (not just clergy). Watchmen must study the Word (2 Timothy 2:15), have it embedded in their heart (Psalm. 119:11), and be ready to share it (1 Peter 3:15). It is generally true that the more spiritual answers we can provide, the more compelling our witness will be. Commit to being a lifelong learner. This honors God supports you in your spiritual walk and strengthens your witness.
Use news headlines to create an opportunity to witness. We live in an age of skepticism when the vast majority doubt the integrity and reliability of the Bible. We are also living in an age when Bible prophecies are being fulfilled at a pace not seen in over 2000 years. To be aware of current events and able to share how fulfilled prophecy proves the Bible is true, can open doors for spiritual discussions.
Use social media to share God’s message. Prayerfully consider how you might use social media like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or Instagram to spread the Gospel. Be wise and positive. Never use truth as a club. Post, comment, correct, inform, exhort, inspire, and encourage – all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31-33).
Invite an unchurched person to share in a book or Bible study with you. Free resources are available at IAmAWatchman.com. This bold move requires courage, but remember, God will help you to do what He calls you to do. You do not need to have all the answers to lead spiritual discussions and take people on a spiritual journey of discovery. Write to HERE if you would like counsel, prayer support, or resources to use in your witness.
Expect God to move. James 1:6-7 notes that believers should pray expecting that God will move. Yes, Satan will attack, but God will prevail. We may not always be able to see His working, but we can know the Lord has a plan (Jeremiah 29:11) and that He is at work even now (John 5:17b). Believe that Galatians 6:9 is true: ”Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
CLICK HERE for a brief video teaching on WHY Watchmen should witness.
CLICK HERE for a brief video teaching on HOW to witness.
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