Acts 4:18-20 - So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the Name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard."
Comedians are people who try to get you to laugh by saying funny things.
Over the years, I've run into many people who think they are comedians when it comes to their faith. One of the lines these imaginary comedians love to say goes something like this: "I don't have to go to church on Sunday. I know what I believe, and that's enough. After all, faith is a private matter between me and God, isn't it?"
I know they think they're being funny because, almost always, they say those words with a wink and a smile.
At first, when people said such things to me, I replied with a scowling, "Where did you get that idea? That's just about the silliest thing I've ever heard." My response was neither welcomed nor appreciated. More often than not it ended the conversation.
So now when people say their faith is a private matter, I agree with them and say, "You know, I've looked through the Bible, and I've found a number of people who agree with you."
When they say, "Really? Who?" I am free to share:
1. "Well, there was Moses. He didn't want to talk to Pharaoh about freeing God's people."
2. "Then there was Jonah. He didn't want to tell the folks of Nineveh about their sins."
3. "Then there were the disciples who, after Jesus' crucifixion, kept themselves locked away."
4. "There also were the Jewish leaders who told the apostles to keep their faith to themselves."
The reaction is usually something like this: "I didn't know that." All those folks thought their faith was a private thing.
The only problem with their thinking was God didn't agree. It's then I mention to the fellow who wants to keep his faith private, "Of course, you realize God shot down all of Moses' excuses and sent him to Egypt. And the Lord used a miracle to turn Jonah around to go and preach words of repentance. And the disciples were eventually given the Holy Spirit, and then they couldn't stop talking about Jesus. And when the Jewish leaders told them to be quiet, they said, "We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard."
The last thing I share is this: "My friend, you are a believer today because for 2,000 years people have shared Jesus' story. Through the ages, people around the world have conveyed their faith with others. I finish with, "But, of course, I could be wrong. Can you tell me where in the Bible you've heard the Lord say, 'Don't go and preach the Gospel' and 'Don't baptize them in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,' and 'Don't teach others all that I have commanded'?"
Naturally, they can't do that.
Blessings on you as you share Jesus' love today.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, bless the Good News I share with others about Your Son who died to redeem us. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
Excerpted from a message by Rev. Ken Klaus, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. What's the funniest reason you've ever heard for someone not sharing their faith?
2. Do you think people felt more compelled to share their faith in New Testament times than they do today? Why might this be so?
3. What do you do to overcome your hesitancy to share your faith?
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