PART 4 ASPIRING TO BE A WITNESS FOR CHRIST

CHAPTER 7

Being a Witness of the Spirit-filled Life

When we have learned how to grow spiritually and maintain this growth, our old ways of responding to people and circumstances will be unrecognizable from the way we used to respond. This response will witness or be clear evidence of the manifestation of the Spirit’s fruit (love, joy, peace, etc.) operating upon the soul. No longer will others recognize our same patterns of response from when we were an unbeliever, but will realize that somehow our life has been changed with the hope that they will approach us concerning this. Let’s take a look at a Christian’s response when they are operating under the influences of the Spirit.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, (1 Corinthians 13:4) 

Suffereth long

Patient in bearing the offences and injuries of others.

Has a long mind17.

Kind - Gentle in behavior.       

Envieth not

Neither jealous.

Not grieved because another possesses a greater portion of earthly, intellectual, or spiritual blessings18                                                    

Vaunteth not itself - Does not desire to be noticed or applauded.

Not puffed up - Not inflated with a sense of one’s own importance.

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; (1 Corinthians 13:5)

Doth not behave itself unseemly - Gives reverence and respect to superiors.

Seeketh not her own - Does not seek one’s own happiness to the injury of another.

Not easily provoked - Though he may be injured, yet he governs his passions, restrains his temper, subdues his feelings19.                  

Thinketh no evil - Will not think evil of one’s motives, opinions, or conduct until we are compelled to do so by the most unbreakable evidence.

 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; (1 Corinthians 13:6)                                                                                       

Rejoiceth not in iniquity - Does not find pleasure in the report that someone has done something wrong, and in the following up of that report, find it to be true.

Rejoiceth in the truth

Desires others happiness.

Everything that is opposite to falsehood and irreligion.

Those who are filled with the love of God and man rejoice in the propagation and extension of divine truth - in the spread of true religion, by which alone peace and good will can be diffused throughout the earth20.                                                                                              

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. (1 Corinthians 13:7)                                                                                                                                        

Beareth all things

Bears up under, sustains, and does not complain.

Never gives up.

Does not make the sins of others, if alone privy to them, the subject of conversation or censure.

Seeks to hide the sins of others, and then help them make things right21.

Endures without divulging to the world its distress. Literally holding fast, like a water-tight vessel22.               

Holding its ground when it can no longer believe nor hope23.

Believeth all things

Never loses faith.

Never stops believing.     

Hopeth all things

Is always confident.

Hope is averse to sourness and gloom. It takes sunny and cheerful views of man, of the world, and of God, because it is a sister of love24.                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Sees the bright side of things. Does not despair25.                                                                                                                                                                                           

When there is no place left for believing good of a person, … anticipates the repentance of the transgressor, and his restoration to the good opinion of society and his place in the church of God, from which he had fallen.                                                                                  

Endureth all things  

Endures persecutions in a patient and loving spirit from enemies and friends.

Never says of any trial, affliction, or insult, this cannot be endured.

Charity never faileth: (1 Corinthians 13:8)

Never faileth

Never falls powerless, never will be without effect.

Survives everything.

It will be adapted to all of the situations of life.

As we can see, spiritual growth expresses spiritual life. This new life has no basis in what a believer does or does not do. We can’t earn it. It has its source from the Holy Spirit. Do you want to be a witness for Christ manifesting the spiritual qualities of character to others? Put off the old man and put on the new so that the Spirit will co-labor with us.                                                                                                

CHAPTER 8

Being a Witness of Attending to the Assembling of the Saints

And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine … (Acts 2:42)

Now, that you have clarification concerning foundational teachings, gathering together for sharing food, prayer, growing spiritually, and the Lord’s Supper are you desirous to attend to a gathering of the saints where these biblical topics are being taught and implemented accordingly?

Are you desirous in becoming aware of the spiritual gift or gifts (spiritual endowments) that you have been given by the Holy Spirit as you grow spiritually and see them be used to edify the body of Christ?

Would you like to experience at times the saturating divine joy and peace of the Holy Spirit?

Are you looking forward to unbelievers recognizing that there is something about your character that is contrary to the way human character would respond in the midst of trying situations and desire to want to know from you what has taken place in your life that has brought this change about?

Are you ready to go on an adventure to find the place where God shows up, where the believers live for Christ, where unbelievers become born again, where the assurance of eternal life is a certainty?

I hope that you have enjoyed this study. I believe that each and every believer wants to be not only a witness for Christ, but a better witness for Christ. I hope that you will act upon these teachings so that you will be conformed to the image of God’s son and be a bright light in a dark world that so desperately needs you.  

My Witness

I’m sure for those of you who have kids, as they grew old enough, probably sometime in their teen years, you warned them of certain things that you had partaken of and in some cases caused you much trouble. I can remember telling my oldest daughter, when she was in her teen years that I knew she would go out and drink with her friends. I told her to be careful. If you are going to drink, drink in moderation, drink responsively. If someone in your group has had too much to drink, exhibits erratic behavior, and is the designated driver, then call me no matter what time it was and I will come and pick you and your friends up and bring all of you home.

Well I soon found out that she respected and acted upon my advice. I have either owned or driven a taxi for over 25 years. On one night, I received a call from my daughter in the late hours asking me to come pick her up. I said I would be glad to. I picked her up and brought her home. Apparently, the designated driver had too much to drink. Many of those who attended this late night party along with my daughter’s best friend decided to go with him. In the morning, I heard they had got into an accident. The driver lost control of the vehicle and went through a stone wall. Nobody died, but most had physical injuries. My daughter’s best friend needed surgery on one of her arms, needing to have a metal rod placed inside.

I said all this because I know what it is like to have to make a decision as to whether you should leave the church you are attending and go to another. I was brought up Catholic. I left this church in my late teens, because I wanted a personal relationship with God, and didn’t find it there. Later, God found me when I decided to attend a local Baptist church. I left this church after a period of time, because even though God came into my life I felt as though something was missing. I might not have clearly known it at the time, but reflecting back there were no gifts of the Spirit manifest and no teaching on how to grow spiritually by putting off the old man and putting on the new man. Eventually, I found a church that I will call Spirit-led or Spirit-filled where the gifts were being manifest, where I was growing spiritually, and where unbelievers were getting saved.

Whatever happened to my personal or religious associations along the way?  

As far as my immediate friends go, I invited all of them to church. Some got saved and others didn’t. Because of my knowledge of some of them, who didn’t set saved and continued on in their lifestyle of excessive alcohol, drugs, and partying I separated myself from them. Why? I wasn’t at a place in my walk with God where I could resist temptation. I hoped that as I grew spiritually at some point in time later in my life I would be able to revisit with them and be a witness of Christ.

What about those religious associations? I knew of many who stayed in the Catholic faith and other faiths that I wasn’t ready to reconnect with either personally or by re-attending their church. As the years went by and I learned more about my Christian faith, I reconnected with some of them being able to dialogue about my faith and its teachings. Some were receptive and others were not.

The last thing I wanted to mention was how do I feel about going back and attending the Catholic or Baptist faith or for that matter any faith? As far as the Baptist faith is concerned, they do adhere to the foundational teachings of the Christian faith. I would have no issue with attending again. However, I am aware of how they address the topic of spiritual growth. So, in this respect I wouldn’t go back in any kind of a consistent fashion.

The Catholic faith does not follow some of the foundational teachings of the faith. I have gone back a few times because of the death of loved ones who remained Catholics. However, I am careful not participate in any aspect of the Mass especially communion as I believe that by acting as such I am indeed being a witness of the Christian faith and of the one new man who God has made me to be. Participation means acceptance. Acceptance of what? Acceptance of salvation by water baptism; of spiritual growth by means of partaking of the elements of communion; of approving of the names and functions of those in leadership, just to name a few.

In regard to other faiths (i.e. Seventh Day Adventist, The Mormon Church, Jehovah’s Witness, The Episcopal Church, etc.), I have either been involved with them via attending their worship gatherings or by engaging in a Bible study or by means of personal study and have gathered information concerning each and placed it in one of my books entitled “My search for the one true God”. Personally, I would not attend any of them on a regular basis as they either deny some of the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith or inhibit their followers from growing spiritually. However, I am always willing to dialogue with any one of their members concerning my new life in Christ.

I hope this helps you in addressing your relationships with other people whether they are religious or not now that you are a Christian. Christianity is not an easy road to be on, but it is a rewarding road. It’s a rewarding road where our character is changed by thinking anew. It’s a rewarding road where we are empowered by someone else. It’s a rewarding road where we see our prayers answered in God’s way and timing. It’s a rewarding road, when we know we have an assurance of a heavenly dwelling place when we die. It’s a rewarding road when we see our own kids receive this new life and be a witness of it to others.

May we become a better witness for Christ and see the world be turned upside down.

… These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; (Acts 17:6)

Endnotes

17Thayer’s Greek Lexicon Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006, 10 Nov 2017 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

18Adam Clarke.

19Barnes.

20Adam Clarke.

21The Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989, 12 Nov 2017 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

22Jamieson, Faucet, and Brown.

23Vincent’s New Testament Word Studies Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 14 Nov 2017  ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

24The Pulpit Commentary.

25Robertson’s New Testament Word Pictures Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 20 Nov 2017   ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

26Adam Clarke.

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Synopsis
What does it mean to be a witness of the Spirit filled life?
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