Go witness the Gospel
For us to meet the demand of this age we’re living in, faith-fighter Vesta Mangun makes it her business to tell us what style of men and women we ought to be.
“I am obliged to bear witness because I hold, as it were, a particle light, and to keep it to myself would be equivalent to extinguishing it.”
— Gabriel Marcel
This age has a right to expect something from you. God has called you to be His chosen ones upon whom His Holy Spirit shall rest. He has revealed to you His name, Jesus, so that you shall go forth under God as “terrible as an army with banners”, letting the world see and hear the clear cut witness of the full gospel.
Go witness the gospel!
Is there not an old Book somewhere that commands us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature? Did not Jesus Himself say, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me”?
A witness in a strict sense is a proof, an evidence. Jesus said in effect, “You are my proofs, my living credentials.”
From the word witness, we get the word martyr. A martyr is one who backs up his testimony with his blood. A genuine New Testament witness will proclaim the gospel and will die for it, if necessary. Not only is he willing to die for the gospel, he will also die to all other claims. He is dedicated to one aim, and that aim is to witness for Jesus Christ regardless of the hazards.
He may work in a factory, a bank, a store, a clinic, or an office – but he never loses his purpose in life. He is always a witness, a proof.
Acts 1:8 is as much a standard for a Pentecostal Church as Acts 2:4. No one, whose life has been truly touched by the life of Christ, is free to leave the matter there. He must witness! You cannot be a Christian and avoid being a personal evangelist.
Evangelism is not a professionalized job for a few gifted persons. It is the unrelenting responsibility of every Holy Ghost baptized believer.
The very necessity for this discussion should tell us the deep need of the Church for renewal. Evangelism never seems to be an issue of the early church. Evangelism was assumed; it happened! It is done as effortlessly among the company of believers as water flows from an artesian well. It was automatic, spontaneous, continuous and contagious!
The Church of the Living God, which is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, was inaugurated on the memorable Day of the Pentecost. It is not people streaming to a shrine. It is not people making up an audience for a speaker. It is labourers engaged in the harvesting tasks of reaching their generation with something so vital that, if it is received, will change their lives. This Church has always been under orders to evangelize!
Oh, my friends, this is not time for inertia — when all the forces of evil are at work, when printing presses are publishing infidel tracts, when millions are held captive by drugs and alcohol, when our cities are filled with ten thousand saloons of dissipation and abandonment. This is the time for action!
Never since the curse fell upon the earth has there been a time when it was such a cruel, such an awful thing for us to treat with indifference the charge of Jesus Christ to His followers: “Go ye into the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” It would thus be tragic to soften the thrust of evangelism in this fateful hour.
Evangelism has never been optional. Jesus did not say, “Ye may be witnesses after the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” Evangelism is not conceived. Jesus did not say, “Ye must be my witnesses.” Rather, evangelism is inescapable! Jesus said, “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 Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8
That is to say, the Spirit-empowered Christians were witnesses, not because they chose to be, or were compelled to be, but because the divine witness dwelt in them and worked through them. They could not help but witness! “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20
Those early disciples were no less human than you, no less subject to temptation, no less dogged by weakness and inadequacy. They had no (so-called) advantages we enjoy in our contemporary churches. Their world was certainly no less hostile to the gospel of Christ than ours.
Yet with their witness they turned the world upside down. In one short generation they shook the Roman Empire to its very foundation. It was a pagan, selfish, sodden, rotten empire – and the early church made it tremble from center to circumference! They did it by not failing to teach and preach Jesus Christ in the temple and from house to house every day. The purpose of your life and church is to do it in your town.
Acts chapter 2 to 20 is a period of about 30 years. Door-to-door evangelism was the unbroken operation of the Church. They actively obeyed the Great Commission. Can you say that you have obeyed it in your community?
The 21st century Church must return to the primitive concept of evangelism that calls for every member to participate. This is the purpose of the Church. This is the reason for the very existence of your church – to evangelize the entire community! March! Charge!
It is one thing to recognize that there is no vital Christianity without a witness, but it is another to know how a valid witness is to be made. We can begin our answer by observing that testimony must be in both deed and word. The spoken word is never really effective unless it is backed up by a life. But it is also true that the living deed is never adequate without the support that the spoken word can provide.
The person who says, naively, “I don’t need to witness, I just let my life speak” is insufferably self-righteous. The method of evangelism is inevitably the method of testimony. Each man has only one story that is worth telling. That is why the first book of a novelist is often fundamentally autobiographical, and also why it is often his best.
When Jesus said the labourers were few, He and those to whom he spoke were surrounded by large numbers of priests and religious men. The priests were so numerous in Jerusalem that they had to take turns to perform temple ceremonies. Yet Jesus said the labourers are few! The great need was for persons who count to give a witness that counts.
The great need right now is for witnesses who can say with the man who had been blind. “One thing I know…” The best way to reach another human life is by saying as simply as possible, “Where I was blind, now I see”. There is a moral responsibility upon the person who has evidence that relates to the situation at hand. In the first place, he is not free to withhold it.
Go witness this gospel!
Teach it in the Sunday School, in every service, on the job, on the street, at school, to friends, to family, and to strangers. Woe unto us if we preach not the gospel! You, who are called by His name, filled with His Spirit – march! Christ’s Spirit will anoint you. His sword will defend you! Charge!
Sister Vesta Mangun is the wife of Reverend G.A. Mangun, who pioneered The Pentecostals of Alexandria.