Do Not Be Afraid To Speak My Word -- John Whiting

Do not be afraid to speak my word.Proclaim it strongly! People need to hear it. Even if people contradict you and oppose you, proclaim my word! My word will be vindicated by events: the humble will be raised up, and the proud will be brought low, and all people will see that Jesus is Lord!

This message came at a time when I'd been reflecting on Exodus 14:13-15. Several points in that passage stood out to me:

"Do not fear!" "Stand your ground!" "You will see the victory the Lord will win for you today." "Tell the Israelites to go forward."

As the apostle Paul wrote, we haven't received a spirit of timidity. God is bold because he knows he has something we need very badly. He knows that no obstacle can stop him, and he wants us to go forward boldly with him on his mission of mercy.

From another perspective, I was struck by the magnitude of the benefits which are provided by life in Christ even in the present "age": -knowing God personally! -receiving and perceiving infinite love -receiving forgiveness -receiving a purpose in life -freedom from: --habitual sins --addictions --fear and anxiety --resentment --pride -family ties in the Body of Christ -a sure hope -peace -joy -healing -spiritual -psychological and emotional -physical -in personal relationships -empowerment to love and to bring blessings to others -and certainly others that I've left off this list.

Spreading the Gospel is a tremendous work of mercy. As the apostle Paul wrote about the Holy Spirit -- who, of course, produces all the benefits cited above -- these benefits are the first fruits of what we'll experience in heaven. People need these things desperately. I think God wants us to keep these things in mind as we consider whether and how to share the Gospel with others. We're not "selling" merely a dry, abstract, legal forgiveness. We're offering real, living personal relationships with tangible, observable benefits in the here and now. The Kingdom of God truly IS "at hand"!

There is no discontinuity between life in heaven and life on earth. We're living in eternity now. The choices we make now and the relationships we form now will endure, with eternal consequences. I think we should keep this in mind as we consider how to evangelize. I think this is the message that we need to proclaim. Christianity is not about "pie in the sky, by and by". What we do to others, we do to Jesus. God is not an "absentee landlord". "In him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). The Kingdom of God is at hand!