Gospel Witness and the Holiday Season
Pastoral Word by Charlie Fernandez
As we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas, we should begin thinking about how we will engage in Gospel conversations with strangers, friends, and family. This time of the year offers an increase of opportunities due to the meaning behind these holidays. The following are three reminders that will help you be a good steward of the opportunity and time God will place before you to glorify him by proclaiming the Good News. He deserves all the attention in the midst of this busy holiday season.
First, make the holiday a Holy day for the glory of God. First Peter 3:15 tells us to set apart (make holy; sanctify) Christ as Lord in our hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks us to give an account for the hope that is in us, yet with gentleness and reverence. Our encounter with unbelievers is inevitable during this season; therefore, let's enjoy every moment we will have with them instead of being apart from them if possible. If our heart is right, our conduct and speech will be right. We must focus on honoring Christ the Lord as holy in our hearts so that we may be ready to call unbelievers to repentance of sin and belief in King Jesus with gentleness and respect. Do not set yourself apart from unbelievers, but rather set your heart apart for Christ.
Second, be thankful for the Lord’s harvest by praying for his laborers. Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 9:37 and 38 that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few; therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest. Evangelism was known as the ministry that lacked laborers for reaching the lost with the Gospel, but God is always able to provide the laborers. We must not only pray for the lost, but also pray for the saved to reach the lost. Let us not only give thanks for the physical harvest, but also for the spiritual harvest. Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful for the harvest of salvation by praying that his laborers would lovingly warn and lead the lost to Christ. Be thankful for the spiritual harvest around you this season.
Third, do not be ashamed of the true Christmas message. According to Romans 1:16, we like Paul should not be ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. The Christmas message is about the word of the cross and it is foolish to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. There is no reason to change or soft-pedal the message, but trust in the written words of God that can change the mind and heart of a sinner. When you speak about the holiness and righteous standard of God, use Scripture. When you speak about the sinfulness of man, use Scripture. When you speak about the only hope we have in Jesus Christ, use Scripture. When you speak about their response toward the Christmas message, use Scripture. Trust in the written words of God that have the power to save.
May God be glorified this holiday season!