The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
During the worship service on June 7th, Pastor Brian congratulated and encouraged our high school graduates from the class of 2015. The entire worship service can be heard here. What follows is an abridged version of his sermon.
Good morning and welcome to Senior Day at Bent Creek. Today, we recognize our graduating seniors who are moving on to the next stage in their lives. This is one of the first milestones in a young person’s life. We recognize not just the achievement of completing high school but also that they are moving on from the BCBC Youth Group, with the expectation of having a relationship with Christ wherever they may be.
As I was deciding on a topic, Libby pointed out that these young people have an impressive amount of mission experience: Ecuador, Israel, Australia, and Nicaragua several times. This summer some among our graduates will go to Haiti, Mexico, and Nicaragua again. For this reason, I’ve decided to speak about our call to be a witness for Christ.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
This verse runs parallel with the Great Commission found in Matthew.
Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19)
The Great Commission was the final challenge given by Christ to his disciples. So, we should assume it’s important and it applies to all Christians — not just the disciples who heard it firsthand. The Bible refers many times to all Christians as his disciples.
So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7)
You can tell by the way Jesus spoke that he’s not giving us a choice in the matter. He says you “will be” my witnesses. The question isn’t whether will you be his witness, but the kind of witness you will be?
So, what kind of witness will you be?
In the legal world there are several types of witnesses: the controlled expert witness, the hostile witness, and the eyewitness. Let’s see how they line up with the type of witness we can be for Christ.
Expert witnesses are experienced in the field, but have no direct involvement in the case. For a price they give their testimony. The hostile witness has knowledge of the case but doesn’t want to be involved. It’s risky to call on this witness.
By comparison, our graduates aren’t paid a penny to go abroad. Their Godly witness comes from their deep commitment to the Lord. Our young people are deeply involved, and their witness is compelling.
Most importantly for us, there is the eyewitness — the average person who relates events as observed. Each of us has been touched by Christ. Our graduates have a story to tell about what the Lord is doing in their lives. Their eyewitness account of these events is what he wants them to share with the world.
How do we become a proper eyewitness?
First, live a transformed life for others to see. The way you live your life before the world is your witness for Christ.
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (Acts 4: 13)
Second, we must serve. Peter didn’t just preach at the beggar, he met his need. Preaching at a starving man isn’t enough. Meet his real needs, and he will see Christ in you.
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. (Acts 3:6-9)
Third, we must pray. Our prayer life fuels our relationship with Christ and should be a constant.
When they [11 Apostles] arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. (Acts 1:13-14)
Fourth, tell the truth. Speaking truth to power is a difficult challenge, because it entails personal danger. Despite this, when Peter spoke the unvarnished truth of events as he saw them (Acts 2), the response was breathtaking!
“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:36-37)
A witness for Christ needn’t be eloquent. There will be many opportunities both here and abroad for our graduates to witness. Trust that God will put you in the right place at the right time. Recognize that you are a witness, and make sure you are a proper one. The Holy Spirit is with you and gives you the power to open the eyes of unbelievers by illuminating God’s word. Once your relationship with the Lord is where it should be, the witness part of your life will overflow from your reaction to what Christ is doing for you.