Has the church been an effective witness a question we must all answer as God's leaders, and being that we all have to answer; what will your answer be?
The church has been called to be an living testimonial (witness) to the world at large with a life style that sets (the church) apart even though not fully understood by the world. The true churches' life can not be understood, by the world using a natural mans mind. 1 Corinthians 2:10 - 16 (NLT) 10But it was to us (the Church) that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God's deep secrets. 11No one can know a person=s thoughts except that person's own spirit, and no one can know God's thoughts except God's own Spirit. 12And we (the Church) have received God's Spirit (not the world's spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. 13When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human (the worlds) wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths. 14But people who aren't spiritual can't receive these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can't understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 15Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. 16For, who can know the LORD's thoughts? Who knows enough to teach Him? But we (the Church) understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.
In a court of law many cases are won and lost based on witness testimony. A witness can either accurately describe or even fabricate events that did or did not take place. When you look for a witness you want them to possess basic qualities which lend to and effective witness. We even look for a church that has been a sound witness to us. Basic qualities are integrity (truthfulness) and reliability (dependable); these qualities make for a creditable witness. The congregant desires the church to be true to the purpose of its mission, which should be the mission of Christ. Another component for a good witness is his/her presentation of events witnessed. Have the leaders of the church presented the doctrine of Christ in the spirit of love which is indicative of the Lord' or have they presented cunningly devised tales. In the world we want the witness to be believable in presentation of their testimony as not to cloud the targeted audience with doubt, and is the testimony indicative of reputable character. Are the leaders who represent God, holding fast to their faith, which would serve as a testament to new adoptee's into the body of Christ? In the worlds system and even in the church, Lives have been seriously altered, even terminated literally and spiritually by witness testimony. In a court of law regardless of the prosecution or the defenses case, an effective witness heavily influences the outcome and decision of their case to the point where it can be either won or lost. God's leaders must be affective witnesses to win and not lose souls for Christ. The ultimate purpose of a witness is to influence and effectuate a desired outcome. Eg. making one guilty or innocent, becoming a part of or rejecting the invitation? The witness of the church should reflect that of its leader for the Word of God declares in Acts 22:15 (NLT) 15For you are to be His witness, telling everyone what you have seen and heard. We have been sanctioned by God to be effective witnesses based upon what we have seen and heard via His Word. And if the Lord has brought about a change in our lives, then we without question should have a sense of urgency to bear true witness to our conversion (being born again) into a newness of life eternal, and so much so that our converted life testifies and invites others to become part of the body of Christ. However, there have been cases where witnesses have been approached or intimidated or even persuaded by opposition (enemy) to give an altered version of the original witness' (testimony) account. In essence, there's been some involuntary coercive recanting, lapses of memory, and even deception (severe lying) which has been made believable and casting shadows of doubt. The salt of the witness must remain salty. However, some witnesses have succumbed or allowed themselves to be stripped, robbed, and intimidated out of their saltiness as an effective witness, they have become useless and uncredited as a witness. The Word of God states in Matthew 5:13 - 16 (NLT) 13You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. 14You are the light of the world, like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. As one can see if a witness is no longer worth his or her salt their testimony is thrown out for it no longer has value.
Some churches, and its leaders have lost saltiness, thus being rendered ineffective? Here in the early twentieth first century far too many churches are rendered ineffective via one of several possible examples: the promotion of prosperity in terms of material tangibles as opposed to prosperity of the soul. Where lavish living by some in leadership tends to trump sound doctrine. Recently it was aired through media that a well known televangelist has a toilet valued at $2300.00, a table valued at $30.000; another given a Bentley valued at about $350.000. Do Not get me wrong it is God's desire to bless and give us an abundant life when we walk up-right, but when the church leaves sound Godly doctrine (principles) through selfish and misguided teachings the witness of the church weakens. 2 Peter 2:12 - 15 (NLT) 12These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed. They scoff at things they do not understand, and like animals, they will be destroyed. 13Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have done. They love to indulge in evil pleasures in broad daylight. They are a disgrace and a stain among you. They delight in deception even as they eat with you in your fellowship meals. 14They commit adultery with their eyes, and their desire for sin is never satisfied. They lure unstable people into sin, and they are well trained in greed. They live under God's curse. 15They have wandered off the right road and followed the footsteps of Balaam son of Beor, who loved to earn money by doing wrong.
When one encounters what has come across media, what is being taught in some houses of worship by well known and even some lesser known spiritual leaders the affect is mind boggling. The idea that one can have a $1.5 million dollar home earning $50.000. per annum and their child is falling behind in school, and they have been late with their car payment and rent. Even more disturbing is, they even have a problem getting from Genesis to Malachi or Matthew to Revelation without going to the index to know for themselves what the Word of the Lord says, and how one should live their life in dependence upon Him. If one can not demonstrate how to be a good steward over what one currently possesses, then explain to me how can one possess much: when they have not been faithful over little.
Raping and pimping the people of God for selfish gain and greed will be dealt with by God. When prosperity and selfish gain cloud sound spiritual judgement then the effectiveness of spiritual leaders has been rendered null and void. Ask this question of yourself if you are a leader: how does God feel about your prosperity; is it ill gotten or given in up-rightness before God? I tell you a truth, God Knows!
To Be Continued: