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Growing A Big Mouth for Jesus
Big Mouthed Person
Have you ever wished that you could speak up for Jesus more often than you do? Fortunately, you are not alone because most Christians would like to; it's the one thing over my years in ministry that has been a common factor. The problem is, most people don't know where to start in the process of speaking up about Christ. People don't even think they're qualified enough to because they don't have a degree in ministry or read the Bible enough. That, my friends, is where you are wrong. You are qualified. Just because you didn't go to Seminary doesn't mean that you're disqualified. In fact, if you remember, Peter was a fisherman. Neither he, nor many (if not all) of the apostles had a formal education and yet we see Peter give a sermon in Acts 2. He quoted Scripture and even rebuked men who were educated. Peter had learned how to grow a big mouth for Jesus.
In today's world, many people have a big mouth. They just talk about the wrong things. Their hearts are far from God. Even Christians who love Christ with every fiber of their being talk about everything but Jesus in public. Those who do not talk much at all usually are too shy and introverted to even speak up about everyday topics, let alone talking about Jesus. No matter which one you identify with, you can grow a big mouth for Jesus, just like Peter and the Apostles did. Let's start by looking at where Peter came from before the sermon in Acts 2.
Peter's Denial and Restoration
Peter is a great example of someone who had a big mouth because many times prior to him denying Christ 3 times, Peter had a very big mouth. He boasted about how much he loved Jesus, how much he would fight for Jesus, and even how he was willing to die with Christ. Yet, when the chips were down, Peter denied Him. When Christ restored Peter, it showed us that we are never too far for redemption and restoration. Peter is so moved and changed by Jesus that in Acts 2, we find as the Holy Spirit was given to them, Peter stood up with great boldness and grew a big mouth again - this time for Jesus in the correct manner.
Peter was very well aware of how ruthless the Pharisees and Sanhedrin could be. He knew that death could be a result. Yet, he risked all of this to speak to the crowd gathered together. In America, we probably won't have to give our life as a martyr. However, we will face rejection, ridicule, razzing, and rebuking for standing up for Biblical beliefs. If you stand up for Jesus, you will risk becoming a social outcast among the 'politically correct' crowd. But having a big mouth for Christ is more than declaring what's right or wrong. It's about relationships. What follows are 5 steps that we can use. Keep in mind these are not "set in stone rules" to follow, but yet observations that I've made from Scripture and real world events.
Map of Modern Day Jerusalem
Where Peter and the disciples were in Acts 2
The first step is to be brave. Whether you are introverted or extroverted, being brave will be a problem either way. It has become socially inacceptable to speak up in public about Jesus Christ. Many people find Him to be offensive and this fact should not surprise us. People don't want to hear that the only way to forgiveness and salvation is through the one and only Jesus Christ, Lord, Savior, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. People want to be told that they're fine where they are at which is why it takes bravery to step up and speak out about Jesus.
When we do step up in bravery to speak out, we need to realize that we are making ourselves vulnerable to criticism and attack. Some people will listen and respond well; others will listen and then talk negative behind your back. Still others will be completely rude straight to your face, most of them in a sarcastic way.
Our society is at the height of 'personal religion'. Whatever religion works for you is acceptable and I will debate you on what it means to me. We need to be prepared for this. The Authority of Scripture is not present in our culture. We need to be prepared for the response that "every religion claims they are the correct way." Rather than quoting Scripture at people, we need to be prepared by actually walking the walk of Christianity. But walking the walk is only half the battle. We must be brave and speak up. Peter did this in Acts 2 with remarkable success thanks to the gifting of the Holy Spirit.
World Religions by Pie Chart
The chances of you winning someone who is a complete stranger to Christ are not very high. More than likely, you are going to win someone to Christ via someone you know and have built a relationship with. For example, if you bring someone to church and they give their life to Christ on the spot, it isn't only the preacher who won them over. You took part in the work that God has done. Somewhere along the line, that person trusted you enough to set foot in a church. It was a relationship that got the ball rolling.
The question becomes this: are most of the people you know and hang around Christians? If so, you need to step outside of your box to form some new relationships to try to win people over to Christ. If most of the people you hang out with are not Christians, then my friend, you have lots of work to do! While it is good and beneficial to be around like minded people for encouragement and building up of the body, (1 Thess. 5:11) it is also necessary to be sent out into the world (Acts 1:8).
If we stay within our comfortable little circles and never push the boundaries of our own faith, we will not grow, but stagnate. Imagine what would have happened to Peter if he'd just given no response in Acts 2. What if those first 12 never did anything but stay within their circle? Well my friends, the answer is simple. You and I would never have the knowledge of Christ as Lord and Savior. Christianity would have died with those 12. I have faith God would have found another way, but being brave and building relationships was always a part of God's plan. With that said, let me pose the questions in a different light. What would happen if you never give a defense for your faith? (1 Peter 3:15) What would happen if you never left your comfortable circle? Who would be forever lost because you never spoke up about Jesus Christ? Be brave and form relationships, because you matter to the Kingdom.
Share Your Testimony
Being brave and forming relationships is all good and dandy, but giving your own, personal first-hand knowledge of the saving power of Jesus Christ cannot be substituted. Many times the Apostle Paul reminded his readers of where he came from and what Christ had done for him. Peter did the same in Acts 2. He testified to the fact that he saw the resurrected Christ with his own eyes. (Acts 2:32)
So what's your story? How did you come to Christ? Who first introduced you to Christ? What were the circumstances surrounding your choice? How long did it take for you to warm up to Christ? All of these questions probe into your testimony. This is how you give it. For example, allow me to give a brief overview of my own personal testimony. Please watch the video down below for an example of giving a testimony. People relate with personal testimony. Do not be afraid to share what God has done in your life!
My Personal Testimony
Giving your personal testimony goes hand in hand with what Jesus purpose was. Jesus purpose was to change lives. He came to seek and save the lost - which is all of us. He came to save the lost sinners of the world and repair the damage that had been done in the Garden of Eden.
Though it may seem elementary to you, people need to understand why we need a Savior in the first place. We are all sinners and in our culture, we are writing sin off as a thing of the past. We constantly make laws to say things are ok that are Biblically not ok. At this point, we should utilize Scripture, but we should be very cautious in how we use it. Scripture isn't for attacking. "16All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17, HCSB) This is the purpose of Scripture in addition to revealing God's plan of salvation through Christ alone. Scripture is to be used with responsibility and care. Share the Scripture God gives you with love and allow God to do the convicting work. Using Scripture for attack can actually do more harm than good.
As we share our testimony, Christ's purpose, and Scripture, people are going to naturally have questions. If you do not know the answers, don't worry! Utilize resources like pastors, elders, teachers, commentaries, websites like www.biblegateway.com or www.bibleatlas.org. It's ok to not know the answer. No one has all the answers, the difference between a pastor, elder and teacher and you is that they just know where to look! The whole idea of Seminary is teaching those pastors and teachers to know how to research and look for the right answers in Scripture.
In addition to all this, discouragement can be a common problem as well. When people don't see the fruit of the attempts to win someone to Christ, it can get very depressing. Don't get discouraged, because there are stories of it taking 20+ years for someone to come to Christ. It takes patience, time, more patience, prayer, even more patience...you get the idea. More times than not, our timing does not line up with God's.
Carrying the Cross
The final step after we have won someone to Christ is the all important Discipleship factor. It's where the rubber meets the road in Christianity. It's where being comfortable is pushed aside for the Kingdom work. Getting someone to accept Christ as Lord and Savior and then getting baptized is only half the work. Helping them walk the walk is a step that is all too often overlooked. Take a look at Luke 14:25-35; many have not counted the cost of discipleship because chances are, many of us were not properly discipled either. We can accomplish discipleship by engaging in small groups, bible studies, Sunday School, Scripture reading and studying, prayer, meditation, service, and many other ways. Discipleship is a very wide and broad subject and cannot possibly be taken on in this hub. I encourage you to ask your local congregation to help you be discipled or to help disciple someone you know. Take time and make the effort to grow a big mouth for Jesus.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment below! Currently, I am writing a book series on the subject called "The American Discipleship Problem". For more info on this upcoming series, please check my hub page or website for more!
- Luke 14:25-35 HCSB - The Cost of Following Jesus - Now great - Bible Gateway
The Cost of Following Jesus - Now great crowds were traveling with Him. So He turned and said to them: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his