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A Time To Testify


My heart began to race.  Each beat thumped wildly within my chest.  Heart failure seemed inevitable.  Why was I such a chicken?  It was probably my dreaded fear of hell fire, and these long moments of silence didn't help matters.  I was ready to jump to my feet, but I didn't.  I couldn't.  I was paralyzed with fear.  "I'll try the next time", I thought.  What if there was no next time?  What if I was killed in a car accident on the way home?  We were all told that was a real possibility.  I would have no chance then.  Others could do it, why couldn't I?  How could they honestly expect an 11 year old to be so bold?    


There was another pause in the action, another moment of silence.  This was my chance.  If I hesitated, that would be it.  Someone else would beat me to the punch.  I was determined to do it this time, and to my surprise, I did.  With stammering lips that quivered as fast as my heart was pounding, my confession flew from my mouth like a bat out of hell.  "I'm glad Jesus saved me and I'm glad I'm going to heaven when I die".  That was it.  As fast as I stood to my feet, I was back in the pew, blanketed with embarrassment.  There, I said it.  It's all over for another week.  I had survived another Sunday evening Evangelical ritual called "testimony time".  I didn't deny my Saviour and hell's fire was no longer nibbling at my feet.   


I certainly didn't want to deny Jesus.  Even if my understanding of Matthew 10:33 was faulty, and it was, the verse scared me.  "If you deny me before men, I'll deny you before my Father in heaven".  Of course, failing to say a few words about Jesus to a bunch of long time Christians in that which is commonly called church isn't denying Jesus.     


The concept of testifying or being a witness to the gospel of Christ is found throughout the New Testament.  In Evangelical circles, witnessing is usually associated with preaching the gospel to the lost, but I believe it's more than that. 


Jesus told us that in the last days the gospel of the Kingdom of God would be preached in all the world "as a testimony to all nations". (Matthew 24:14 - NIV)  Note the word "testimony".  Also note that this end time gospel is the gospel of the Kingdom of God .  It's more than a message of personal salvation, as important as that is.  It's the gospel of the soon coming Kingdom of God to earth.  It's the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ ruling the nations with a rod of iron.  It's the gospel of nations no longer determining their own destiny. It's the gospel of national accountability. 


In Mark 13:9 Jesus also told us that His disciples would be brought before national leaders as a "witness to them", (NIV) or, as a "testimony against them". (KJV)  I like the KJV version because it better reflects what I believe Jesus was saying.  In my opinion, testifying to the gospel of the kingdom can be compared to a witness testifying in a court of law.  While on the witness stand, the witness testifies to the truth.  His truthful testimony helps the judge or jury determine guilt or innocence.  If the alleged is found guilty based on all the witnesses' testimonies, he is sentenced.  Thus, a witness "testifies against the alleged", just as Mark 13:9 states.   


Throughout the centuries God has spoken through His people to the nations.  Now, in these last days, the disciples of Jesus will stand before the nations and testify to the soon coming Kingdom of God, and all that comes with it.  In actuality, we will "testify against the nations" who have consistently rejected the gospel, just as Mark 13:9 states.


There are two aspects to witnessing and testifying to the gospel.  One is to bring lost souls to Jesus.  The other is a proclamation of God's standards of righteousness to the nations by which they will be judged.  As representatives of Jesus in these matters, we have a serious responsibility on our shoulders.    




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