Acts 4:15-17 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”
It would seem that not only were those who witnessed the miracle convinced of it, but overnight, they had gone and told others what they had seen so the word spread throughout Jerusalem. The religious leaders as they conferred with one another, characterized the miracle as “gnostos phaneros,” which means “known and obvious” so not only did people know of the miracle, but the miracle was obvious and evident to everyone. These religious leaders knew that they could not hide the miracle, it had been seen by so many and because the man who was healed was known before and after Jesus, the miracle was undeniable.
This speaks to the importance of our testimonies to the power of Jesus; it was the miraculous change in another’s life that led me to Jesus. It may be the miraculous change in your life that causes someone else to desire a relationship with Jesus. That will not happen though, if we are unwilling to stand before those who might question what we believe. Sometimes Christians use the excuse that they wouldn’t know what to say or how to say it, but that’s where the Holy Spirit comes in, empowering us to speak but also working outside the other person to convict them of unrighteousness so that they realize their need for Jesus. There is no failure for us when we share the gospel or when we give a testimony of Jesus’ goodness in our lives, yet no one receives. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to move someone to repentance, so there is no reason to be discouraged or intimidated from sharing.
Testimony is not only how you received Jesus, but is the evidence of Jesus in your everyday life. Satan recognizes and hates the good that the church and individual Christians do and he knows that he cannot stop it; he has no power to harm the body of Christ. So he has to figure out ways to hide the good done by the church and Christians. Unfortunately, he has been able to convince many churches and Christians that they need to “tone it down” to be more effective and relevant to the culture. What sense does that make? None! And yet so many churches have bought into it lock, stock and barrel. They don’t talk about sin, or about death, or about the cross, or about blood, or about sacrifice, because those words can be offensive. It’s symptomatic of a generation of Pastors who have lost confidence in the Word of God.
You see, the gospel was designed by God to be simple for those who are seeking, yet an offense to those who are perishing. The late John Stott wrote, “The fact is that the authentic gospel of the New Testament remains extremely offensive to human pride, and nobody who preaches it faithfully can expect to escape at least some degree of opposition.” Toning down the gospel may fill pews and seats, but it does not dethrone the ruler of the heart so that Jesus may occupy that throne. And whereas the Gospel may offend some people or even all people, to change the Gospel or alter it in any way from how it was given to us is an offense to God. I would much rather offend people than offend God.
Linda Luecke says
He amazes me!