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Worship and Witnessing

Witnessing for Christ

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Expressions Explained
Romans 10:13.14; Proverbs 23:26; Luke 18:13; Revelation 3:20

Many expressions we use in witnessing must be explained lest they be misleading. Consider some common instructions to non-Christians.. The exhortation is often given: "Just call on the Lord to save you, for the Bible says, 'Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved' (Rom. 10:13)." However, the next verse plainly states, "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?" From this it is clear and consistent with the rest of the Bible that salvation comes by believing on the Lord Jesus (Rom. 1:16; Acts 16:31). Calling on the Lord is good if the gospel is understood and accepted as the basis for salvation.

A common expression used is, "Give your heart to Jesus." Its origin is Proverbs 23:26: "My son, give me thine heart." This verse is not an invitation to salvation at all. The biblical message is not that we give anything but we are to receive Someone. Christians mean well, and no doubt many have come to Christ through the use of this expression; but we should be alert not to take too much for granted and to be sure the gospel is explained and understood.

Often used is the so-called "sinner's prayer," "God be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13). People are told to pray this prayer as though it were a magic formula. The Greek word for merciful means "to be made propitious'' or "satisfied." We are told in I John 2:2 that the Lord Jesus "is the propitiation for our sins." You see, God has already been made propitious or satisfied by the death of Christ. Man must now believe that salvation has been accomplished and receive Christ by faith.

"Ask Jesus to come into your heart" is another instruction sometimes given. This is based on Revelation 3:20: "Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in." If we can apply this to the sinner, we must be sure he hears Christ's voice through the Word. Be certain he understands the basic truths of the gospel (see Part II, Lessons 8 and 11). Then he can "open the door" by receiving Christ.


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