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[thoughts] Faithful Witness (February 3-9, 2003)

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  • Mark Roth
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    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 8, 2003
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      PAUL: FAITHFUL WITNESS
      (Acts 26:12-23,27-29)


      WHAT HAVE *YOU* SEEN?

      If he didn't know it before, Saul learned that God has purposes in
      what He chooses to do. When the Lord Jesus appeared to Saul on his
      way to Damascus, He didn't do so merely wishing to give Saul some
      sort of memorable mystic experience. (God doesn't waste His time
      with experiences for the sake of experience, feeling, or emotion.)
      No, one of God's purposes in that supernatural encounter was to
      turn Saul around and get him going in the right Way. God also had
      another purpose which He reveals in Acts 26:16 -- "I have appeared
      unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness
      both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in
      the which I will appear unto thee."

      That statement of purpose on God's part reminds me of something the
      Apostle John wrote: "That which was from the beginning, which we
      have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked
      upon, and our hands have handled...That which we have seen and
      heard declare we unto you" (1 John 1:1,3).

      These verses strike me with the realization that God wishes to use
      the experiences of *my* life as part of His witness through me
      about Himself. This reality requires that I learn to experience my
      own life as one medium by which He wishes to communicate His
      message to others. What that means to me is really quite simple --
      God intends my life experiences as illustrations of His message. Do
      you get that?!

      I must discipline myself to filter what I see, hear, and otherwise
      experience with this question: What does God want me to take from
      this in order to share it with someone else? My friend, God gives
      us a life to give us a personalized message of His grace. What we
      experience in life is not designed only to give us an experience
      but also to illuminate His message.

      Thus, my approach to life and its experiences should be one of
      exploration and inquisitiveness. I must look back at yesterday's
      events to find God's message of grace, peace, comfort,
      encouragement, exhortation, correction, truth, and light. Then,
      having experienced that in my own life, I must pass along that
      message to those around me, be they saved or lost. Furthermore, I
      must look to today's events yet to come with an alertness for God's
      message in progress, so that this time I get the message in the
      midst of the experience instead of in hindsight.

      What, my friend, have you experienced (seen, heard, witnessed)?
      Pass it along! That is an essential part of being a faithful
      Christian witness as were Paul and John.


      THE MISSION OF THE WITNESS

      So we have a life and its accompanying experiences which we have
      witnessed and continue to witness. And as we rehearsed in the above
      section, we faithfully become witnesses of that which we have seen
      and heard. But what should be our purpose in passing along God's
      message? Sure, our purpose should be to obey God's command to be
      witnesses. But beyond that, what should be our purpose and mission
      in witnessing?

      Acts 26:18 gives us a good answer to the question: "To open their
      eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power
      of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and
      inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in
      me."

      God wants to use our witness to enable people to see Him and His
      truth and grace in our lives. He wants to open their eyes so they
      can behold the salvation of the Lord. Having opened their eyes and
      given them sight, He wants to use our witness to guide people in
      acting upon His truth. He wants to use *us* to lead them to new
      life and then lead them in that life. He wants to use the witness
      coming from us to move people from darkness and Satan to light and
      God . . . so that they might be forgiven and made heirs!




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      Mark Roth




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