“You are Witnesses!”
The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor of Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
The title is taken from the words of Jesus recorded by Luke, Luke 24:48a. The Risen Lord Jesus told His followers that they were indeed witnesses of His Person and Work. The implication of His words is that everyone who professes Christ is a witness of the gospel. Note that, Jesus didn’t tell His disciples to witness. He stated a fact of being not doing! The question before every Christian is, “What kind of witness am I?”
In order to answer this question, a Christian should know that his actions tell the world that he is following Jesus. Now Christians know that God made all people to worship Him. Therefore, it is safe to say that the first act of a witness of the gospel is worship.
The question is addressed to Christians, those who profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. We must be clear on what it means to be a Christian. First and foremost, the Bible teaches that God makes Christians. One’s decision to profess Christ is only possible if God has first regenerated him.
The evangelical church seems to be saturated by the teaching that one’s decision makes him a Christian. The Bible teaches that God ordains salvation. God:
1. Effectually calls a dead person to life.
2. Regenerates the one He calls.
3. Converts a sinner to a saint. In doing so, He gives two gifts. One is the gift of faith and the second is the gift of repentance. Those gifts are exercised by those who receive them. The result is the turning from sin and turning to Jesus.
4. Justifies; Justification is a legal term. God declares a sinner to be in right standing before Him only by the merit of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God covers the sinner with the perfect life of Jesus Christ and transfers the sinner’s sin to Jesus. All this is called double imputation.
5. Adopts the sinner into His family. Those changed by God become heirs of His promise in Christ, namely heaven.
6. Sanctifies; as Justification covers the sinner with perfect righteousness, Sanctification is God’s action of making the sinner righteous from the inside out. In Sanctification, the sinner responds to God’s work in him.
7. Glorifies; God promised to see us to glory. Every believer will be in glory in heaven. The comforting fact of glorification is that God sees us as already glorified. I would encourage you to read Romans 8:30 and notice that all the verbs are in the past tense, even glorified.
If you are one who professes Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, the above is how God made you His. If you’re not hearing this preached and taught consistently from the pulpit of your church, find another church!
Christian, God has made you a “new creation”, 2Corinthians 5:17, with a compelling desire to worship God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. You are exhorted to “offer yourself as a living sacrifice to God…” Romans 12:1.
Jesus gave the Great Command, “You shall Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37. A Christian’s most basic demonstration of his love toward God is to worship Him! It is what your neighbors see first. It is a fundamental means that the Holy Spirit uses to change the one “in Christ.” When you gather with God’s people on the Lord’s Day, it’s not about loving people, helping people or being made to “feel good”. It is about demonstrating your love for the God who saved you and your love for others will proceed out of your worship.
In summary, the Psalter is the word of God and it was and continues to be the worship manual of the Church. Psalm 122:1, “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”’ The believer is glad, filled with joy, and is satisfied as he worships God! Each believer has this desire to gather with God’s people to declare His praises and to hear Him speak both in the reading of Scripture and in the Proclamation of Scripture. Yes, God commanded corporate worship. But, a believer grows as he understands that corporate worship is more than a duty; it is our desire! So then, may God fill your heart with a desire to worship Him with other believers.