Anybody out there remember the Great Commission? In the Great Commission Christ called us not only to make converts but to make disciples. A disciple is, of course, a learner and follower of Jesus Christ. We are called to the task of making disciples through the testimony of our love, our lips and our lives.
One of the secrets of growth in the early Christian church was the testimony of its love. The love of Christ not only compelled early Christians to be ambassadors but constrained the world to take note of these ambassadors as well. The love of Christ was so contagious that is swept through the Roman Empire like wild fire.
The early Christian church transformed an empire not only through the testimony of its love but also through the testimony of its lips. The book of Acts in particular tells us that on the day that Stephen was martyred “a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria”(Acts 8:1) Those who were scattered preached the word wherever they went. I think therein is the secret of growth in the early Christian church: every believer was a witness for Christ.
While it is true that not everyone was called to be an evangelist, everyone was called to evangelize. That’s why we here at the Christian Research Institute and Bible Answer Man radio broadcast take seriously the task of equipping for “works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Eph. 4:12).
Of course closely related to the testimony of our lips is the testimony of our lives. I remember the story of man who was working in a factory in the north of England. He was standing on a ladder and lost his balance and was skewered on a red hot metal disc and his workmates ran around frantically looking for a doctor, and the man cried out, “Forget the doctor, I’m dying, can anyone tell me how to get right with God?” Of the more than 300 men in the factory, not one stepped forward. Later one of the men confessed that he could have stepped forward but the testimony of his life had long ago silenced the testimony of his lips.
If we testify only by our lives, we’re in danger of testifying only to ourselves. On the other hand, if the testimony of lives blithe the testimony of our lips, we might well be dragging the name of Christ through the mud. We have to testify both by our lives and our lips. It is clear to me that it is not the pastor’s calling to do the work of ministry by himself. The pastor is called to “prepare God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature” (Eph 4:12-13).