Are You Swinging Your Crutch?

crutch free

James Stephenson tells this story:

When the German army, during the Franco-Prussian War, was proceeding towards Paris, they passed through many villages. At one of these villages the inhabitants went out to resist their progress armed with crude weapons of various descriptions. It is said that an old woman came out with a crutch, which she swung in the air. “Go back! They will think you mad,” her fellow villagers exclaimed. “I don’t care what they think,” said she, “as long as they know whose side I am on!”

No, that old woman wasn’t mad, she was fearless and full of conviction. Christians would do well to take a lesson from her. Here’s a question each one of us should be asking ourselves: Do our friends, relatives, co-workers, neighbors, and acquaintances know whose side we’re on?

That’s not an unimportant question. In the midst of our so-busy lives, we’re engaging in so-important endeavors, yet the most important thing is whether or not the people in our lives know we belong to Christ. Because in the end, C.T. Studd will be proven right:

Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Our duty: Share the Word

Sharing Christ isn’t an option for the believer, it’s his solemn duty. It can be terrifying. A lot of us aren’t really confident sharing our faith. Part of that fear might be our temperaments. Let’s face it, some of us are shy, we’re not used to being personal with other people. We’re afraid of what they might say or think of us. And our culture has really screwed up our heads, too. At least a couple of generations have been taught that our faith in Jesus is a “personal thing.” But the Bible teaches the exact opposite; giving your faith away is an essential part of the Christian life.  Witnessing is such a vital part of your Christian experience, the apostle Paul wrote about a two-fold emphasis in Romans 10 –

But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:6 – 10 NIV)

Witnessing to the lost involves both your heart and your mind. But what does that mean? If you can understand what Paul is getting at, you’ll have more confidence than you’ll know what to do with. You’ll be a witnessing machine.

Non-believers are always needing to see before they’ll believe. In other words, unbelief in the Gospel message is made manifest when a person demands to have firsthand empirical proof of the Incarnation (“bring Christ down”) and the Resurrection (“bring Christ up from the dead”). The stubborn, unsaved heart needs to see the proof before they’ll believe.  But faith doesn’t work that way. Faith works with the divine Word of God – the witness of God Himself proclaimed in the message (the Gospel) of Jesus Christ. Therefore – and here’s the kicker – the faith to believe, which isn’t native to man, is immediately generated when a lost soul hears the Gospel! What that means is simply this: When a sinner hears the Gospel – when he just hears the Good News – the Lord imparts to his heart the ability to believe the message. Of course, learning more about Jesus comes later. But that historical knowledge, as important as it may be, is purely secondary and nonsalvific. In the very simplest of terms, you’re not saved with your brain, you’re saved when God enables your heart to believe.  The Word of God, not your words, does all the work. All you have to do when you share Jesus with the lost is liberally salt your words with His. Your words might pique your unsaved friend’s interest, but God’s Word, when you speak it, will save him. That’s your duty. You speak the Word from your heart with your mouth.

Our witness: Our word

So then, it’s the Word of God that does the saving. But quoting Bible verses at a lost soul will probably yield pathetic results. Or maybe a black eye. When we share our faith with the lost, our witness is our word – it’s telling them our story. There are five components to every believer’s story:

I’m a sinner. The only thing that separates you, a believer, from that lost soul you’re witnessing to is the fact that you’ve been forgiven and he hasn’t been. He needs to know that. He needs to know that you’ve been saved in spite of yourself.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8, 9 NIV)

And he needs to know that, too. You don’t confess your sins to him, you are saved because you confessed your sins to God, and that’s what he needs to do. Every Christian has had to do that. The sinner you’re witnessing to isn’t any worse than any other sinner; we all came to God the same way: Confessing our sins to Him!

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:5 NIV)

I’m not perfect. You confess your sins to God, but to others, especially to that unsaved person you’re sharing your faith with, you own up to them. There’s nothing worse than a Christian who thinks they’re faultless. Unfortunately, much of the unbelieving world has been given that impression. It’s up to you to disabuse them of that falsehood! James 5:16 –

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Of course, you don’t go crazy with that; you just let him know you’re not perfect.

Jesus is for all. Here’s another thing every sinner needs to know: Jesus died for them. He didn’t die just for certain people, He died for all sinners. Now, not every sinner benefits from Jesus’ work; only those who do this:

“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32 NIV)

The word Jesus used is “whoever,” not “some.” The lost soul you’re talking to is “whoever,” just as you were once. Nobody is so bad that they can’t come to Jesus or that He would turn them away. And nobody is too good for saving. Jesus makes a bad life good and good life better.

Jesus is God. This is obvious to you, but maybe not the person you’re witnessing to. This present generation is probably the most spiritually dull generation in American history. To many, “Jesus Christ” is just something you say when you’re angry or surprised. But He much more than that.

If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. (1 John 4:15 NIV)

To “acknowledge” that Jesus is the Son of God is more than just an intellectual exercise. It all goes back to “believing in your heart.” To “acknowledge” the divinity of Jesus is to believe by faith that Jesus is who He claims to be.

Jesus is Lord. Believing that Jesus is the Son of God is just be beginning; the foundation. Jesus Christ must also be Lord of your life.

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:11 KJV)

When Jesus is Lord of your life, He’s the one in control. He’s the Sovereign, reigning on the throne in your heart. The lost soul needs to understand that. That means Jesus, the Savior, also wants a relationship – He wants to be the One to lead you through all the rough waters of your life. That’s what “Lordship” means.

Jesus is coming again. There’s a lot of talk about “the End of Days” being upon us, and the “Second Coming” may be close at hand. The truth is, we are living in the last days and Jesus is coming back, sooner rather than later. But something else is also true: we will all see Jesus face-to-face, either when He returns to earth as King of Kings or after we die and see Him in glory. There is no way to avoid seeing Jesus. It’s in the sinner’s best interest to see Jesus as Lord and Savior, not as Judge.

How to give your faith away

Here’s where the rubber meets the road: You know what to say, but when, where, and how do you say it? What’s the best way to share the Gospel with a lost soul? Volumes have been written about this thing called “personal evangelism,” but there are really five simple ways that have always worked.

Write or speak an encouraging word. Did you know most people are either discouraged, depressed, or frustrated? It’s true. We live in a negative world at a very negative time in history, and all that negativity rubs off on people. Nothing can lift a sagging heart like a note or email of encouragement or just a simple, sincere, “I’m praying for you” spoken in passing.  It can open the door to more later.

Carry your Bible. If you’re timid or shy, let the Bible open doors for you. Carry a small Bible in your car or in your back pocket, have one on your desk at work or in your locker. Read it at lunch time. It will open a door; somebody will say something, guaranteed. If you’re scared about approaching people, let them approach you.

Speak like a Christian. Christians are supposed to live differently. They should also speak differently. Sir Robert Peel, Conservative statesman who served two terms as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was also a strong Christian. One time he was having dinner with some Members of Parliament and was irritated by some of what he referred to as “improper language.” In the midst of dinner, Sir Robert called for his carriage and explained to the other “gentlemen” around the table, saying, “Gentlemen, I must ask you to excuse me: I am still a Christian.”  That took guts, but it is a form witness. Being mindful of what you say and how you say it counts for something. How you react to “improper speech” you hear is also just as important.  Let people know you’re different.  It will make them curious.  Or furious.  But a door will be open.

Say grace. Believe it or not, just saying grace is like killing two birds with one stone. You’re thanking God for your food and you’re witnessing to onlookers at the same time. Never be ashamed to bow your heard and say grace, wherever you find yourself at lunchtime or dinnertime. It’s harmless and unobtrusive. And it makes the sinner think.

Be baptized. Being baptized in water isn’t just a ordinance of the church, it’s a form of witness. Being baptized in water is a way to share your faith with those who may be watching it. It’s a drama in miniature of what Jesus did for you; it’s a way to openly testify to your friends and neighbors of your new faith.

If you are a Christian, there is no more important activity you can engage in than sharing your faith with one who is lost. Nothing. Not getting work on time. Not paying your bills every month. Not raising your kids. Nothing is more important than witnessing for Jesus Christ. Paul wrote this:

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14, 15 TNIV)

Let’s look at that word “preach.” Normally, when we see that word we think of the Preacher, or the Pastor. We equate preaching the Gospel with preaching a sermon, and that’s something the Pastor does every Sunday. That’s not the idea Paul is trying to convey. “Preach” comes from the Greek word kerusso, a verb. It means to “publish,” or to “proclaim” or “to make known.” The call to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ has been given to everyone who trusts Him. From God’s point of view, there is no division between clergy and laymen in this. All believers are alike in the sight of God and all are on the same level. It is true that God has declared that some members of the church should be set aside as elders to preserve order within His church, but no elder – no pastor – has special access to God, and most of all, no elder or pastor stands as a mediator between man and God.

The simple truth of the matter is this: All Christians have been called to take the Gospel to an unbelieving world. Like the old Parisian lady who swung her crutch over head to show the invading army whose side she was one, we need to ask ourselves: Do the people around us know whose side we are one? Are we swinging our crutches high enough?

1 Response to “Are You Swinging Your Crutch?”

  1. 1 The Isaiah 53:5 Project November 4, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    This is great Mike. I would like to share it as a guest post with a link.

    Let me know if you are OK with that, I think it will bless and help readers.

    God bless,


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