Ready, Set, Go!!!
I have been to numerous Gospel sharing clinics, conferences, and training times. It’s amazing how much you have to learn to share your own personal testimony. I remember learning certain techniques at an Evangelism Explosion Training Seminar and them sending us out to homes in the area to hone our “skills.” At first it was a little stiff sharing the way they wanted us to, but then I became familiar with the whole thing and it became kind of personal. I have had the great opportunity to lead hundreds to Christ through my years as a Christian and it never gets old seeing someone bound for hell choosing the grace of Jesus and doing a total turn around. At times in my life I have even been a zealot. A zealot is a person who is dynamically consumed with whatever they are doing. I say “at times” because there have been times when just “doing the work” of the ministry has overtaken the real reason for ministry and that is sharing your faith. Both are important, but both have to be firmly established in who Christ is, who you are, and how that is lived out in a fallen world. In 1 Peter 3:13-14, Peter continues to push the positive effects of taking a stand for Christ. In verse 13 he says, “Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?” He was sharing this knowing that persecution was occurring to him and all disciples who were just sharing the message. That statement would be more applicable today in America. Who’s gonna mess with you if you prove to be totally, all out, committed to the faith? Basically, no one. And keep in mind, that is how our country is at this very moment, but things….they be a changing. Which further emphasizes the need for each of us to be more zealous about sharing the message of Christ…..while we can. In verse 14 Peter throws in a disclaimer by saying, “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed, and do not fear intimidation.” Why should we be intimidated? Maybe if we are not too sure about who we are and whose we are. You can always tell someone who has a nominal faith. They are the person saying there are many ways to do the one thing Christ has commanded. In their argument it usually means they aren’t going to do anything. You will notice that the moment you step out of the apathetic crowd into the light to take a stand for Christ, you will have many nominal Christians who set back and read you the rules to the game they aren’t even playing. They are the kind of people who step up to the line at a race and say ready, set, NO!!! Not gonna do it. Wouldn’t be prudent! In other words, they talk a good fight, but they never fight. I call them casual observers. They pull up their lawn chairs and tell you how to do something they have never done.
Peter is more concerned with those who are runners. They don’t talk about the race. They basically need to be pointed in the right direction and let go. Verse 15 speaks to how to prepare these willing participants. They have set Christ apart as Lord in their hearts and now they just want to RUN! They just need to be equipped to handle the struggles along the way and turned loose. Not too many like that today though. Most Christians have to be talked into sharing the message that burns in their hearts. Or they have to go overseas once a year to an area where no one knows them and most don’t have more than a first grade education in order to be bold. These are what I call “Observation Experiments.” They observe their neighbor down the street or their coworker and then go somewhere else to experiment on willing people who just want a drop of clean water or a piece of bread. It is totally part of the Great Commission to go to those “people groups” but the other part of the Great Commission is even more important. Peter wasn’t equipping the followers of the day to go hundreds of miles away to live this vibrant, zealous faith. He was equipping them to do it right where they were and let it spread from there. In writing this some might say, “David are you against foreign missions?” To which I would reply, “I am for missions….period.” Where is our mission? Right here. Where do most Christians think missions are….somewhere else. I had a “real live” missionary who loved me and my family and really believed in and lived Foreign Missions in the country of Jordan. I hadn’t been in the ministry very long and she was home on furlough and I made the statement, “I wish I could get called to missions in a foreign country.” She turned and looked at me and smiled and said, “You already are.!” She said, “We are all aliens in this world and everywhere we share the gospel is foreign missions.” Wow. It changed my perspective and I hope it changes yours as we prepare every day through a quiet time with God to see and reach the harvest of Jesus Christ. He has raised his starter pistol and His Words are Ready, Set, Go!!
The Pilgrimage continues….