A Living Declaration
One of the major glaring weaknesses in the churches of the United States today is in the area of evangelism. Many people go to church week after week and take not one moment to speak to another about Christ. Why are we so spiritually weak when it comes to building Christ's Kingdom? Perhaps we can find an answer in the wild kingdom.
Illust.: National Geographic ran an article about the Alaskan bull moose. The male of the species battle for dominance during the fall breeding season, literally going head to head with antlers crunching as they collide. Often their antlers, their only weapon, are broken, which ensures defeat.
The heftiest moose, with the largest and strongest antlers, triumphs.
Therefore the battle fought in the fall is really won during the summer, when the moose eat continually. The one that consumes the best diet for growing antlers and gaining weight will be the heavyweight in the fight. Those that eat inadequately sport weaker antlers and less bulk.
There is a lesson here for us. The results of our future spiritual battles
depend on how we prepare now. If we are to be victorious in winning future battles in building God's kingdom, now is the time to prepare.
The Apostle Paul supplies us with several qualities of a Christian witness that we have to build on to secure success in witnessing for Christ in order to build His kingdom.
The first one he shows us is that:
I. An Effective Witness Will Be Empowered By Prayer
A. Devout prayer life
B. Grateful and lively
C. Not just prayer for your own witness (Outreach prayer)
II. An Effective Witness Will Be Unhindered By Difficulty
A. Paul's example (i.e. prison)
B. An attitude of determination
C. If you want to you will
III. An Effective Witness Will Be Careful Of Conduct
A. Responding with wisdom
B. An eye towards onlookers
C. The shame of lost opportunity
IV. An Effective Witness Will Be Graceful In Speech
A. A liberal seasoning
B. Practice makes perfect (How will you respond)
C. A case by case application
Are you strong in all these areas? Perhaps you would tell me that you are already enjoying a strong prayer life. Perhaps your perseverance and conduct are impeccable. Maybe even you think your speech gracious. Then I would relate this story to you.
Illust.: Awhile back on "The Merv Griffin Show," the guest was a body builder. During the interview, Merv asked, "Why do you develop those particular muscles?"
The body builder simply stepped forward and flexed a series of well defined muscles from chest to calf. The audience applauded.
"What do you use all those muscles for?" Merv asked. Again the muscular specimen flexed, and biceps and triceps sprouted to impressive proportions. "But what do you use those muscles for?" Merv persisted. The body builder was bewildered. He didn't have an answer other than to display his well developed frame.
Our spiritual exercises are also for a purpose. They're meant to strengthen
our ability to build God's kingdom, not simply to improve our pose before an admiring audience. We have to be willing to put our strength to work for the sake of Christ and the lost He died to save.