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Salt and Light

October 2006

One wonderful aspect of the Bible is the sheer diversity of people and personalities within its pages. It does not matter what kind of person you are, you will find someone like you within the Scriptures. The full range of human-ness can be discovered in the pages of God’s book.

This ought to encourage Christians in their personal witness and church evangelism. The Lord Jesus has a message for all kinds of people and no one can say with honesty, ‘Christianity is not for me!’ Christianity is for people just like you, and for your friends and neighbours too.
Possibly you are an extrovert like the Lord’s disciple Peter or have a quieter, reserved nature like Timothy? Maybe you like to be busy like Martha or prefer to sit still and get priorities right, like her sister Mary? Perhaps you are a leader of men like Moses or a ‘team player’ like Barnabas? Every kind of personality can be found in God’s Word.

Life’s problems

Of course, in certain circumstances it makes little difference what kind of people we are. The same events can overtake all unbidden. Yet here too the Bible has something to say – on pressures from too much work; on having no work at all; on problems from wealth and over-supply; on problems of poverty and sickness; on struggles with personal sins; on coping with large-scale disasters – the Bible has a word in season for us all.
Do you struggle with personal relationships? Read all about it in the life of David. Do you face bereavement and loss? Consider Job. Do you feel inadequate? Read about Jonah. Are people out to get you? See how Daniel survived.
The Bible is all-encompassing, because it is God’s Word, his message to the people he created. There is no one better to refer to than your Maker, no one with greater ability than your Designer. There is no greater authority upon the vital, intimate matters of everyday life than him.
Furthermore, the Bible pulls no punches. It speaks straight to the heart of the issue and to the heart of man. It does not fill two hundred pages with padding, only to offer simplistic and suspect formulas in its last pages.

Relevant testimony

It deals with every aspect of human fault and failure. It calls sin exactly what it is and explains what is the only remedy for the root and consequences of the problem. It presents a complete Saviour for a universal problem, and boldly declares ‘Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’ (John 3:3).
This universal gospel message is the foundation for our evangelism. Christians have something to say to everyone because the Bible addresses everyone’s need. Every Christian has found answers at the deepest level.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the answer to our guilt and a friend worthy of our trust. He loved us and gave himself for us. In time we learn to love him in return.
He proves himself a faithful friend, who does not simply stay for a while but abides with us for ever. What person on earth would not benefit from hearing that testimony from a believer? Which of your family, neighbours or work colleagues is so ‘sorted’ in life as not to need Christ too?

Living the life

We do not have to be ‘militant’ to be evangelists, as some might imply. Although the world flaunts its flawed values in our faces, we do not have to respond in that kind of way with the gospel.
Evangelism is not a flag waving contest or a competition to see who can mobilise the biggest crowd. What makes Christian testimony real is living every day in a kind and Christ-like way, mixing with men and women who need Christ, and by our caring lifestyle, thoughtful actions and helpful conversation pointing them to him.
Personal evangelism must be personal. There are no short cuts. It is done person-to-person, face-to-face. It requires Christians to be open and available, even to the point of being vulnerable.
Often our approaches will be rejected. We must be there in the concourses of life – on the street, at the shops, in the school, factory and office. It takes courage to speak about the Lord when it is easier to be silent, but the rewards of witnessing are immense. The Lord is with his people and ready to honour the efforts of those who honour him.

Spiritual understanding

How are souls won for Christ? Not by slick, professional presentations, but by bringing the word of truth into the consciousness of those whom the devil has blinded to the glorious gospel.
Can we do this work by ourselves? No, the gift of new life is the unique work of the Holy Spirit. But within the process of conversion the Lord is graciously pleased to use poor, weak witnesses like us as a means to this glorious end.
Pointing sinners to the Lord Jesus Christ is telling them who he is, what he has done and what he means to us. In these matters every true believer knows what they are talking about. Through Christ radical changes for the better have been brought about in us – ‘Let your light so shine before men!’ (Matthew 5:16)
We may give a tract, or pass on a copy of a book or newspaper (including the evangelistic December edition of Evangelical Times!), but ultimately we are seeking to bring the Word of God to bear upon the lives of those we encounter. It is the entrance of God’s Word that brings spiritual understanding to lost sinners.
May the Lord help and use us to the glory of his name.