Copyright 1994 - 2017 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
November 2, 1997
Last Updated :
December 31, 2012
Spiritual Famine In Israel, Hard-Hearted Corrupt Kings And Priests, Murderers Of The Prophets, Deceived By Choice When We Reject God's Word, Failure To Learn From The Past, Falling Away And Apostasy Of Our Modern World, Serious Compromise In Churches, Let Your Light Shine, Don't Be Ashamed And Preach Boldly, Willingness To Be Preachers Of The Gospel, Our Great Commission, Continuous Harvest Of Souls, Pray For Laborers, Witness On A Daily Basis Morning Till Night Throughout Year
Introduction by the author
Greetings. What you are about to read is a major update to my 1997 article of the same name. This is the first time that I have touched this article in fifteen years, and it contains a lot of brand new information, as well as dozens of new Bible verses. If I were to give this series another name, it would probably be something like "The Christian Soldier's Handbook" or something similar. Whether you are a young Christian or a mature Christian who has been walking with the Lord for some time, if you have a sincere interest in being a witness for the Lord, this series will hopefully be a help and a blessing to you. The purpose of this series is not to teach you how to witness; that is, it does not put actual words in your mouth. After all, that is for the Lord's Holy Spirit alone to do.
What this series does do is provide you with a lot of useful information regarding different witnessing methods you can try out, reactions you can expect from the people you meet, how to deal with critics and troublemakers, setting up your own contact system, dangers and pitfalls to watch out for, and a lot of other practical tips which will help you to be an effective witness for the Lord. A lot of time, thought and effort has been invested in this series. I hope you enjoy it.
Spiritual Famine in Israel
In the Old Testament Book of Amos, we are told that a time would come in Israel when there would be a spiritual famine for hearing the words of God, as we see by this verse:
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:"
Amos 8:11, KJV
My personal studies have led me to believe that the above prophecy may have been partially -- or perhaps even fully -- fulfilled during the few hundred years which transpired just prior to Jesus' First Century arrival on the Earth. As you may know, it has been said that in the years which ensued following the period of the Prophets who were alive at the time of the Babylonian exile and shortly thereafter, the Lord simply stopped the mouths of His Prophets due to the fact that the religious elders of Israel -- that is, the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees -- had become hardened of heart, and refused the Lord's correction.
Corrupt Religious and Political Leaders
This hard-heartedness and corruption of both the religious and the political leadership, as well as of the common people of Israel is made quite evident in a plethora of verses which are found throughout both the Old and the New Testaments. For example, consider some of the harsh utterances that were made by the Prophet Jeremiah prior to the Babylonian invasions:
"Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers."
Jeremiah 7:26, KJV
"Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the LORD."
Jeremiah 29:19, KJV
"I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me."
Jeremiah 35:15, KJV
In fact, as I point out in such articles as "The Fruits of Disobedience", from the time that the Lord delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage, they did nothing but complain and rebel against Him. Their long history is a tragic story of periods of obedience to the Lord, followed by other periods of blatant disobedience. Some kings were good leaders who strived to obey the Lord's Commandments, while other kings utterly rebelled against the Laws of the Lord and engaged in deep apostasy. The religious leadership was no different. It was in fact corrupt through and through. Thus, the Prophet Jeremiah exposed their sins with verses such as these:
"The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by heir means; and my people love to have it so: and what will e do in the end thereof?"
Jeremiah 5:31, KJV
"For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD."
Jeremiah 29:9, KJV
Murderers of the Prophets
Tragically, the rebellion of Israel's political and religious leadership did not end there. As the Lord Himself informs us in the Gospels, just as evil King Herod had silenced John the Baptist by having him beheaded, because John had thoroughly exposed Herod's sin of adultery -- King Herod married his brother's wife while his brother was still alive -- so too, the wicked leadership of ancient Israel also murdered God's Prophets, in their attempt to cover their sins, and silence the Word of the Lord. Consider the following harsh verses:
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."
Matthew 23:29-39, KJV
As many of you know, within a short period after making the previous comments, Jesus Himself was also murdered by those very same unbelieving, rebellious Jews, when they handed Him over to the Roman procurator -- Pontius Pilate -- to be tried and executed on trumped up charges. Is it really any surprise then that God would choose to send a spiritual famine into the land of ancient Israel? The Jewish leadership -- as well as many of the common people -- did not want to receive God's Word; either before Jesus' arrival, or even afterwards. Thus, the Lord apparently chose to withhold it from them, as per the prophecy of the Prophet Amos. Of course, it should also be recognized that not everyone rejected Jesus. After all, if they had, then we would not have the Bible, or the knowledge of Salvation, today. Thousands did in fact come to accept the Way; and we today can be very thankful for that.
Deceived by Choice
However, it should also be noted here, that when we knowingly choose to reject God's Word; when we willfully and stubbornly choose to resist the conviction of His Holy Spirit working on our minds and hearts; we leave ourselves open to deception. Furthermore, the Scriptures inform us that if we are really that rebellious, God Himself will send the delusion, as we learn from this verse:
"I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not."
Isaiah 66:4, KJV
Failure to Learn from the Past
Many of you will be familiar with the old adage which states that if there is one thing which we learn from history, it is that we never seem to learn very much from history. In fact, both the Apostles Paul and Jude inform us that if we are truly wise, we will learn lessons from the Biblical past, and will not make the same serious mistakes which they made back then. Consider the following verses:
"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:"
Romans 15:4, KJV
"Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted . . . Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."
1 Corinthians 10:6, 11, KJV
"Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."
Jude 1:7, KJV
Modern Falling Away and Apostasy
Tragically, we humans seem to have a propensity for repeating our errors. As a result, the same spiritual conditions which existed in Israel several thousand years ago, not only exist in the antichrist State of Israel today, but they are present in many other countries all around the world as well. Aside from embracing atheism, there are many false religions which worship other gods, where Jesus Christ is not recognized as being the Son of God, and the only Savior of the world.
Sadly, even within our own Christian faith, there are so many people -- including a growing number of major denominations -- who have fallen away from our rich Christian heritage, as it was soundly taught by Jesus and His Apostles, and who have embraced doctrines of devils, and misguided practices which are clearly contrary to the Scriptures. I discuss this issue in more detail in other articles, so I will not belabor the point here. Suffice it to say that the Bible refers to this falling away from the Truth of God's Word as the Apostasy. This word is derived from the Greek word "apostasia".
Let Your Light So Shine
Taking into consideration the state of the world, as well as the present sad condition of our own faith, as I point out in the articles "Are You a Burning Ember for the Lord?", "Study, Work, and Don't Be Ashamed" and "Sluggards and Sloths: Are You Diligent and Faithful in the Affairs of God's Kingdom?", it becomes evident then how important it is that we who are God's children, and thus the Children of Light, do not hide our spiritual lights under a bushel, but rather let the flame of truth shine forth from within our beings. This Christian obligation is made evident by verses such as the following:
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 5:14-16, KJV
"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 10:32-33, KJV
"Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
Mark 8:38, KJV
"No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light."
Luke 11:33-36, KJV
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
Romans 1:16, KJV
"That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;"
Philippians 2:15, KJV
"For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
2 Timothy 1:12, KJV
Preach Boldly and Don't Be Ashamed
As you can see, we must not be ashamed of our faith. The Lord and the Apostles admonish us to let our lights shine brightly in this dark world. We must not surrender to fear, or bow to political correctness, as so many Christians and churches have already done. As the following verses likewise reveal, we are to boldly preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and then leave the results of our preaching up to God alone to deal with:
"Now when they saw the BOLDNESS of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus . . . And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all BOLDNESS they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with BOLDNESS."
Acts 4:13, 29-31, KJV
"Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men."
Acts 5:29, KJV
"But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached BOLDLY at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake BOLDLY in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him."
Acts 9:27-29, KJV
"Long time therefore abode they speaking BOLDLY in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands."
Acts 14:3, KJV
"And he began to speak BOLDLY in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly."
Acts 18:26, KJV
"And he went into the synagogue, and spake BOLDLY for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God."
Acts 19:8, KJV
"Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more BOLDLY unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,"
Romans 15:15, KJV
"And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth BOLDLY, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak."
Ephesians 6:19-20, KJV
"According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all BOLDNESS, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death."
Philippians 1:20, KJV
"For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible."
2 Corinthians 10:10, KJV
"So that we may BOLDLY say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."
Hebrews 13:6, KJV
"Quench not the Spirit."
1 Thessalonians 5:19, KJV
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, KJV
Willingly Preach the Gospel
Of course, for any of this to be possible, not only must we be filled with the Lord's Spirit, but we must likewise have a willingness in our hearts as well, to be the preachers of Salvation that God desires for us to be. We must have the vision for reaching the world -- even if it just means our small part of the world -- for Jesus Christ. We must have a vision for the Great Commission. Again, please consider the following verses:
"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
Philippians 2:13, KJV
"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things . . . So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Romans 10:14-15, 17, KJV
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
Matthew 24:14, KJV
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"
Matthew 28:19, KJV
"And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled."
Luke 14:23, KJV
"And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
Luke 24:46-47, KJV
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Mark 16:15, KJV
"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent."
John 6:29, KJV
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
John 15:16, KJV
"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 all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
Acts 1:8, KJV
"And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house."
Acts 20:20, KJV
"For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!"
1 Corinthians 9:16, KJV
"Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things."
Galatians 6:6, KJV
"Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:"
Colossians 1:4-6, KJV
"And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."
2 Timothy 2:2, KJV
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."
2 Timothy 4:2, KJV
Continuous Harvest of Souls
In the Gospel of John, the Lord emphasized to His followers that the harvest of souls was not just a future event that they should look forward to. Rather, He made it clear that it is something which is going on all the time, all around us. Not only that, but in the Gospel of Luke, the Lord also encourages us to pray for willing laborers who can be sent into the fields of the world, in order to reap the harvest of souls. This is made evident by the following verses:
"Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest."
John 4:35, KJV
"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."
Luke 9:23-24, KJV
These verses still apply to our modern times. In fact, it may very well be that they apply more today, than they did two thousand years ago, because there are obviously a lot more people in the world. The truth of the matter is that a new generation of souls is constantly being born which needs to be reached with the Gospel. In thinking about this harvest, the spiritual condition of our present world, the attitudes which prevail, and some of the problems we encounter as we go about being Christian witnesses, I decided to put together the following list of helpful tips and Bible verses, based on my own experiences over the past forty plus years.
Whether you witness in person on city streets, in parks or on beaches, or online via the Internet as I now do, I hope that this list will assist you in your personal ministry for the Lord as well. Allow me to suggest that, time permitting, you endeavor to read the verses surrounding the ones which I have listed here. In some cases, these verses were extracted from a discussion which dealt with another subject. However, I feel that their spiritual significance -- and the lessons which can be learned from them -- is relevant to the topic of this current series. Thus, I have presented them here. This list of helpful tips and Bible verses is by no means complete; but it should answer some of your common questions regarding the topic of witnessing, and how to avoid some of the pitfalls which can be -- and which often are -- associated with it.
Witness on a Daily Basis
One of the very first questions you may be motivated to ask concerns where and when we are supposed to be a witness of our faith. As the previous Bible verses reveal, if we are truly yielded to the Lord's Spirit, we should be willing to witness anywhere and at anytime that we have an opportunity to do so. Of course, we need to be Spirit-led as well. In fact, as the following verses clearly reveal, we should be willing to sow the Seed of God's Word's from morning until night on a daily basis, and throughout the year as well:
"In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good."
Ecclesiastes 11:6, KJV
"I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled."
Mark 14:49, KJV
"And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."
Acts 5:42, KJV
"And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily."
Acts 16:5, KJV
"Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him."
Acts 17:17, KJV
"Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."
Acts 20:31, KJV
"For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God."
1 Thessalonians 2:9, KJV
"For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us."
2 Thessalonians 3:7-9, KJV
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."
2 Timothy 4:2, KJV
"But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."
Hebrews 3:13, KJV
Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.
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