Wednesday, April 18, 2012

“Spiritual Gifts for Evangelism and Witnessing”

Second Quarter 2012 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
“Spiritual Gifts for Evangelism and Witnessing”
For the week of April 15-21, 2012

Each one of us has been called to be a witness for Christ. But before we can be a wit-ness for Him, we must first have an experience with Him, an experience that has transformed our character. Jesus in His prayer for us emphasized, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3, NKJV)

Witnessing will only be effective when the witness knows Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord, and then shares with others the unconditional, changeless, self-denying love of Christ. Being able to share this in a soul-winning manner is the essential reason behind developing the spiritual gifts God gives us. Witnessing is not primarily to attract people to become Seventh-day Adventists, although this should be the natural outcome. It’s not about us. It’s about Jesus. That was the reason God sent a special message to the church - the pure gospel - through Elders Jones, Waggoner, Prescott, and Ellen White during the 1888 period.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror [Jesus], the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:17, 18, NKJV) Therefore, “The love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus, that if One died for all, then all died: and He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again…. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:14, 15, 18, 19, NKJV)

Spiritual gifts are given “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God.” (Ephesians 4:12, 13, NKJV) The work of the church is to organize, train, and equip each of its members, preparing them to proclaim the gospel to the world. A world that is as close by as our lost, lonely, hurting neighbor, or as far away as the despairing multitudes circulating the globe.

We are told, “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14, NKJV) Should I be worried or fearful that I am not up to the task? For many years I thought salvation, and witnessing, was my job, until I heard the 1888 gospel message. Then I discovered this was God’s work, which He long’s to accomplish in and through us. He promises to multiply our gifts and empower us by His Spirit. “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13, NKJV) Jesus exclaimed, “all authority has been given to me in heaven and earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [that includes each person in the circle of our influence], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [with all my authority], even to the end of the age. Amen!” (Matthew 28:18-20, NKJV)
--Lloyd Knecht