I work in an office composed of what I am very certain includes not one other Christian. It’s a new experience for me – I live in Texas, where there’s almost as many churches as there are Starbucks…one on every corner! So when you get into an environment where there is a group of people, probability alone dictates that there should be at least one other person who shares your Christian beliefs. But in my office, out of the 20 or so people who work here, I may very well be the only one who believes the way I do. I always thought working in an environment like this would be awful – I worried that being around people whose moral standards were not gauged by the Bible would put me in terrible situations. Fortunately, this hasn’t been the case. Everyone here is great – polite, helpful, and passionate about our company being the best it can be. But the things they talk about and some of their lifestyles prove that they are not Christians. And that means that I have a duty to be a witness to them. And I fear that I am failing miserably.
Today’s lesson from the The Ever Loving Truth teaches from Acts 4:1-4:
The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.
In this passage, we find Peter and John preaching to a group of people that they can have eternal life – that their physical bodies will resurrect at the command of Jesus, and that they live forever in Heaven with Him, if they place their faith in Him. Apparently they were speaking to quite a large group of people (around 5000 men ended up being converted), and among that group that were listening were some Sadducees. Sadducees held some very different beliefs from what the apostles were teaching – they said that there was no such thing as a resurrection of the dead, that there were no such things as angels, and that there were no such things as spirits (see Acts 23:8). Obviously offended by this bold preaching of a theology which they took to be wrong, the Sadducees had Peter and John arrested and thrown in jail for the night.
The apostles did what they were told was the most important thing they could do – be Christ’s “witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). As believers and followers of Jesus, we have this same duty, to speak the truth to those around us, to those in our area, to those living amongst us, and to everyone in the world. For me, this means that I have a duty to witness to my co-workers. But I continue not to do so – for fear of ridicule, for fear of offending people, I keep my mouth shut. I’m not saying that I don’t make it obvious that I am a Christian – there’s a Bible sitting on my desk, and I definitely don’t act the way they do or talk the way they do. I often convince myself that this is enough, and that they will come leaping into my office one day and say “oh, you have a Bible sitting there! Tell me what I must do to be saved!” But I doubt that will ever happen. If these people are to ever know the truth, it must be shown to them, point blank, in their face. But I’m too scared to do it.
Sharing the gospel can be costly. Voddie Baucham pointed out that many of the early believers were killed because of preaching the gospel – some beheaded, some stoned, some hanged, and some crucified. Today, our chances of being persecuted in such a way are slim (in America at least – throughout the world, that is a different story). Yet we fear sharing the gospel with our neighbors. We need to reevaluate our commitment to God, then get out there and do what He has commanded us to do. We need to uncompromisingly share the truth of Jesus with the world, and not change the gospel to make it easier to swallow. And we need to realize that, in the end, it will all be worth it.
So if you will, pray for me to get stronger and be willing to be bold in my faith with my co-workers. I don’t want to lose my job…it took me 7 months to get it! But at the same time, I don’t want these people to lose the opportunity to know the Jesus I know. God can work it out so that I can share my faith with them without offending them or getting in trouble and losing my job because of it. I pray that He’ll show me how. And if He chooses that I must lose my job for the sake of the gospel, then I will count it an honor to do so, and I’ll trust that He will provide as He always has.