Displayed for Him

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During my early years of having come to know the Lord as my Saviour, God brought it to my attention that the words that we speak as ambassadors for him are not in vain and do not come back empty. I was able to experience this first hand when a lost friend of mine contracted oesophageal cancer. Around about three years earlier, I had discovered that his wife was Sandy’s cousin. This motivated us to pay them a visit. Soon after we arrived at their place, Malcomb offered me some strong drink and mild narcotics. These were things that we (wives excluded) used to partake of when we gathered socially in the past. I said to him that I did not need to partake of that anymore, that Christ was sufficient for me, and that I had changed. Fast forward three years later when I heard of his diagnosis. I arranged to pay him a visit with Henry (my pastor at the time). When we arrived, he told us that he had just been visited by some other men, and when we questioned him on who they were, he said they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. Startled, Henry warned Malcomb about these men. Malcomb then looked at me and asked me if I agreed with Henry. My answer was yes. Malcomb then said to Henry, “I want to believe what Paul does.” He then went on to explain that, when I had turned down his offer three years earlier and had said that Christ is sufficient for me, he was moved by it. We then went on to clearly explain the gospel to him to which he became a recipient. Malcomb did not go on to live much longer but during his last few months he had a shining countenance and joy to the point that, when we were leaving hospice after our final visit with him, the sister came running after Henry and me and asked for us to share the gospel with her because she wanted what Malcomb had.

Although nowhere in Scripture is it penned that Christ is sufficient for me, I’m sure you would agree that Scripture does allude to it and that it is truth. Why am I telling you all this? We may not be able to recite a verse of the top of our head but, as God’s word, through the Holy Spirit, galvanises itself in our hearts and changes our mindset, we can verbalise the truth of it. I had no idea that God would use those words in Malcomb’s life. I had left there none the wiser and came to realise then that we are on display by our actions and by what we verbalise at all times—sometimes for God’s glory and other times, sadly, not. As Christians, we need to be aware that we are on display as a goldfish in a bowl, whether we are at home in front of family, at work, at play, or even in church. We need to ask ourselves, are we being on display with our lives and words for ourselves or for God? God had used those words to save two people that I know of. To us it seems to simple. We feel that we need to use apologetics to convince people as Doug mentioned in Sunday’s sermon. Let me remind you that it is the implanted word that is able to save souls. Who implants it? Is it not the sower who sows the word and the who gives water which God uses to give the increase?

In the above account, I have no doubt that those weren’t the only words that Malcomb and the hospice sister had heard and that, in that case, I was not the sower but the final one who gave water, which God used to give the final increase.

In 1 Corinthians 3:6–9, Paul tells us: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.  He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labour.  For we are God’s fellow workers.”

Not one word of God’s truth proclaimed comes back empty. It will save or condemn. “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

Let us, by our actions and words, point onlookers to Christ as we are on display before them.

On display together with you,

Paul