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Identified By My Witness August 30, 2010

Posted by theronwatson in Uncategorized.
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Matthew 10:32-42
The tenth chapter of Matthew turns a corner from Jesus doing all the work to Jesus commissioning His twelve disciples and sending them out to work. He is sending them out into a dangerous world. A world that, for the Christian, is not our true home. A world that is hostile and contrary to everything about God. We learn from Scripture that the world walks at enmity with the God. We were once there. But, we were spared by Jesus and His sacrifice upon the Cross. Why then do we think that the world would not come against us if we proclaim the very message that is contrary to its very nature?
In countless Protestant churches around the country and around the world, especially Baptist churches, at the end of the service there is a time to respond to what was heard. It is called ‘an invitation.’ Numerous churches do it, but numerous churches do it out of focus. It is not the church that is extending the invitation as if they were offering something. Rather, it is God making the offer for the hearer to respond to. The responses are as diverse as the hearers. People respond to God’s call for salvation, recommitment of one’s life back to following Christ, surrender to missions, service, even to become a member of a particular congregation. The hearer is asked to walk the aisle to “identify with Christ.” Countless preachers and evangelists have sited this passage in support of this practice. But, it is not to identify with the preacher, it is to identify with Christ.
Baptism is another, very dramatic way people identify with Christ. Jesus was baptized by the John the Baptist who told Jesus He should be baptizing him. We identify with Christ in our own baptism which is a graphic portrayal of what has taken place spiritually in our lives. As we stand upright in the water we symbolize living our old life. Then we are lowered down into the water as if to say we are dying. We are then entombed in a watery grave which is followed by miraculous resurrection, at least in a spiritual sense. We are currently still awaiting the full resurrection that comes with the Second Coming of Jesus.
If you are a Christian, people know it. Or, they should. Even your car parked out in the church parking lot identifies you with “those people.” As a Christian you are called, dare I say “expected” to tell other people about this Jesus character who changed your life. Even your speech identifies you with Jesus. Or, it should. So many are afraid of sharing their faith. They are afraid of rejection. They are afraid of failure. The good evangelist would say, “They aren’t rejecting you, they are rejecting Jesus.” But that really doesn’t make us feel any better, does it? I would say, “Read this passage again.”
Here is the real reason for evangelism. Here is the reason for walking the aisle, being baptized, talking about Jesus, witnessing, working, doing missions. Here’s the point. If you don’t, you can’t expect Jesus to speak on your behalf to the Father. You have to be willing to lose friends and alienate people. This is so contrary to the world. We are taught to try to get along with everyone. Use your words. Don’t argue. Be understanding. Be politically correct. NO! Jesus taught something else. His truth divides. You must be willing to lose everything for His sake. You must be willing to alienate people; your friends, your parents. You must be willing to deny everything, take up your cross and follow Him. In order to gain your life you must lose it. It is quite a paradox. But it comes down to who you are identified with.
God calls us out of our darkness and into His glorious light. We are called to evangelism which I believe is the greatest expression of identifying with Him. Acts 1:8 clearly spells it out. We are to witness in our communities, county, state, nation and even abroad. To speak of Christ with others is to invite the ire of the very ones you are speaking to. But, were we so different? It is not enough to walk an aisle. It is not enough to be baptized. It is not enough to park your car in the lot and walk in the doors. You were called for a purpose. You were called to use your gifts and talents to win a few who might believe. You were called to identify with Christ without shame.
Who have you told lately?

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