Leon Fontaine - Witnessing Made Easy
I'm gonna read you a wild story. Luke 16:19-31. This story is hotly debated by preachers. We have one group of preachers today who believe there is no hell. They believe that it's not real. It's just a figment of imaginations. It's just kind of a story people talk. They say it's a parable. So, the very first line of this story is very crucial to interpreting it. This is not a parable. A parable is a made-up story to teach a point. So, and those are cool. Like, a man had two sons. But this one says there was this rich man. Stop right there. There what? There was. There was. Jesus Christ is telling a story that actually happened. It's not a made-up story about a woman with 10 coins. It's not a made-up story about planting seeds in soil. There was this rich man.
I gotta read this to get to my message. There was this rich man who had everything purple. Clothing of fine quality. High fashion. Gourmet meals every day. And the large house. Dang, this guy's got everything everyone's trying to get today. We're all trying to get hot clothes, high fashion quality, gourmet meals, eating at the right restaurants, a large house. Just outside his front gate lay this poor homeless fellow named Lazarus. Lazarus was covered in ugly skin lesions. He was so hungry he wished he could scavenge scraps from the rich man's trash. Dogs would come and they would lick the sores on his skin because there was puss flowing out actually. The poor fellow died and was carried on the arms of heavenly messengers, angels, to the embrace of Abraham.
Let's stop right there. As you read the Bible, one of things you'll find is that before Jesus died on the cross, nobody could go to heaven. So, when they died, if they had followed God in the Old Testament way, they did not go to hell. They went to a place called Abraham's bosom, a place of waiting and it was in the compartment of hell, the Bible teaches, but it was separated by a canyon. And there was no way to get across. And so when Jesus died on the cross, he died for the sins of everybody living at that time. He died for the sins of everybody in the future. But he also died for the sins of everybody all the way back to Adam in the past. And so when Jesus died on the cross, one of those next number of weeks that he did things that we actually don't know what specifically he did other than through just little teachings, one of the things we now he did was to go to this place of waiting and for the first time in history, heaven had people in it who could have been washed cleaned by the blood, the sacrifice that Jesus made for them.
So, this story is before the cross. Let's continue. Heavenly messengers took him to the embrace of Abraham then the rich fellow died and he was buried and found himself in the place of the dead. In his torment, he looked up and often the distance he saw Abraham with Lazarus in his embrace. What a shock it must have been to have died from one world and having everything you ever wanted and instantly be in a world of pain and first thing you notice is across the big gulf is Abraham with Lazarus in his embrace. He shouts out, "Father Abraham! Please show me mercy! Would you send that beggar Lazarus to dip his finger, dip in water? Cool my tongue. These flames are hot and I'm in agony". Then Abraham said, "Son, you seem to be forgetting something. Your life was full to overflowing with comforts and pleasures and the life of Lazarus was just as full with suffering and pain. So now is his time of comfort. Now is your time of agony. Besides, a great canyon separates you and us. Nobody can cross over from our side to yours or from your side to ours".
"Please, Father Abraham, I beg you," the formerly rich man continued. "Send Lazarus to my father's house. I've got five brothers and they're on the same path that I was. If Lazarus warns them, they'll choose another path and they won't end up here in torment". Abraham said, "Why send Lazarus? They already have the law of Moses and the writings of the prophets to instruct them. Let your brothers hear them". "No, Father Abraham," he said, "they're already ignoring the law and the prophets but if someone came back from the dead, then they'd listen for sure. Then they'd listen for sure. Then they'd change their way of life". Abraham answered, "If they're not listening to Moses and the prophets, they won't be convinced even if someone comes back from the dead".
If you wanna change your life and find purpose and joy and happiness, it's not gonna be changing your weight first. It's not gonna be changing your job first. It's not gonna be finding something new to focus on as a new challenge for the year. That goes on all over the world all the time and people are still unhappy, depressed, moody, and down. We all think that if our family would just see a miracle, God would just do something in front of them, he'd be convinced but the Bible teaches us that if people choose their way of life and they won't, see, the prophets and Moses' law, those were written books that were available back then. That was the Bible they had and written in those books actually is the story of Jesus and the future, etcetera. And we think that, well, if a great miracle took place on national TV, we'd see great things take place. No. They'll explain it away.
Let me tell you a story. Jesus rose from the dead in front of hundreds of people. They nailed his hands to a cross. They pierced his feet. They shoved the sword in his side 'til blood and water flowed out, a sure sign of a fatal injury and death. He died in front of hundreds. Then it says in Acts 1, he rose again and in fallible proofs, he walked into crowds, hundreds saw him. They saw the holes in his hands. They even put their fingers in the holes in his hands. He pulled his cloak back for some of them and let them show the hole in his side. The holes in his feet. The ripped-up skin on his forehead. They saw it. And they all made up stories of his body was stolen. He didn't really die. And today, it's still the hottest debated topic. With infallible proof, Jesus rose from the dead and some people followed him but tons didn't.
I wanna talk to you about why Holy Spirit needs to be in your life and flowing. Because in Acts 1:8, it says there that Jesus is telling his disciples, "Don't go out and try to help people 'til you've got power from Holy Spirit". Now, what's interesting is they wait until the day of Pentecost and when Holy Spirit began to, they were baptized. Literally, Holy Spirit came upon them. From that point on, the words that they spoke were so powerful that they cut through all of the beliefs. The Bible says the god of this world, Satan, had blinded people's eyes. With their pride, they adhere to what they believe. They believe in spaceships and aliens and evolution and anything but God because if they believe in God, they have to listen to Him. They've got to change their life. They can't just treat people like crap and do anything you want if there's a God. So every person out there, so many wanna prove there's no God. But if there is, there's a difference.
Now when we share, here, I want you to notice that the Bible says that Holy Spirit says, "Wait for power and then you're gonna be witnesses". Let me ask you a question. How many times have you shared the hope that lies within you with anybody around you? If the percentages are accurate, very few of you share your faith. The reason why most of you don't in the questions that I field is that you don't feel like you can answer questions. When they say why do bad things happen to great people? Why are children by the millions starving in other countries? Where's God if he's a god of, where do the dinosaurs fit in? Like you don't feel like you have answers. But the Bible doesn't say, "Wait for power and then you're gonna be my theologians". It doesn't say, "Wait for power and then you're gonna be my experts". It doesn't say, "Wait for power because then you're gonna be able to answer any question they give you".
Now there are verses that promises they'll give us answers. But he says, "You're gonna be my witnesses". If I'm a judge in a court of law and someone was brutally murdered and a mom and a dad both saw it. Neither of them even have a grade 12 education but they're healthy psychologically. Normal people. And they come sit in that court room and they say, "I saw him do this". They can bring experts with 14 degrees in psychology. They can bring experts with all of this, the knife really wasn't there. But the education doesn't change. An eyewitness changes so much. God doesn't want you to go debate with people. He wants you to share your story.
You see, if you saw that accident or that murder, that actually becomes a part of your story because you are present to hear the sounds, to see the action. It's a part of your story. You were there. The Bible says if you wanna know how, if this year, you wanna change your life and find purpose and joy and happiness, it's not gonna be changing your weight first. It's not gonna be changing your job first. It's not gonna be finding something new to focus on as a new challenge for the year. That goes on all over the world all the time and people are still unhappy, depressed, moody, and down. It's gonna be because you have changed something in you. That changes everything around you. And you're gonna have new goals, new purposes, confidence to rise up for new positions. You'll do greater things but in you has to change and the thing that you are called to, the Bible says is you are ambassadors for God. Representatives of Jesus that this world doesn't know Christ and you are to speak up.
The Christian voice has been silenced everywhere while we have experts talk to us about gender and experts talk to us about finances. Politicians are blabbing their stuff and all that goes on attacking Christian values. We all go, "I don't wanna look prejudice. I don't know what to say". And so, we've almost been silenced. How can you share your faith? Stop trying to be an expert. The Bible says, "And he shall also receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnesses". The enemy has shut you down because you're not an expert. You're not an apologist. You don't know doctrines or Greek or Hebrew. You can't answer Biblical questions.
You know, over the years, I love sharing my faith with people on planes, coffee shops. Sometimes I'll talk for a while. Most of the time, it's a one or two-minute clip is all the chance to share. I've never had anybody come back to me and say, "Remember that talk we had about dinosaurs and ages and the rock and the incrustation and, yeah, I gave my life to Jesus because of that talk". I've never once had someone tell me that. Never once. I've never once had someone say to me, "You sat down and explained to me how the cross, the authority, how the devil's in power, the god of this world, and so, I've figured out why bad things happen to good people so I gave my life to Jesus Christ". Never once have I heard that.
In all my years of sharing and I share right across the board in all these topics but the one thing that I hear over and over and over again is a man will tell me, "I was in Starbucks when you have that pound of coffee away to that person and just said, 'Merry Christmas' even after you'd paid for it," and that family's in our church right now. How simple was that? Or I stopped somebody in a safe way line which you've heard me talk about. When everyone is mad because she's struggling and fix slow and I said, "Everybody has bad days. You're doing okay. God bless". When she finally found our church which is kinda cool because she just told me, "For weeks and months after you left, I couldn't get out of my head that this man, 14th in line looks at me and he just says, 'You're gonna be okay. All of us have bad days. God bless you.'" And she says, "Night after night, that man had such kindness. That man had such love".
It wasn't me. I have my bad days just like you. Ask my family. But when you share your faith, Holy Spirit gets on your words and those words carry weight or the Bible calls it anointing and the worlds that you speak. I remember having one time a teenager in our church and years ago, she just gave her life to Christ, was coming to church, great family. All of a sudden, she starts dating this drug pusher. This guy who'd rough and tough and tattoos and you know, he's the man. She thought she had arrived. So they asked me to come over and talk to her and I said, "Okay". So I walked in their house and actually, she couldn't believe her parents would bring the youth pastor over like what in the world. She sat through like this glaring at me.
How do you talk to someone like that? They want me to talk to her about drugs. They want me to talk to her about gangs. They want me to talk to her about the unequally. They had a list they wanted me to talk about. I thought, "You've already talked to her about all those things". So I just told her my story. The very short period of time just shared with her how that I'm always being tempted to get off of what God has called me to. To move away from His peace. From thinking of others. I just shared me, the temptation, and how I'm so thankful that God has helped me to stay on track and if you get tempted off track, just quickly share how bad your life can go.
There was nothing deep about it. Months later, she walks into our church. She meets me at the end of the service as I'm shaking hands and she goes, "Can I talk to you"? And I said, "Sure". She looks at me and she just starts to cry. We're not talking like a little bit of cry. This is a wail. And she goes, "I haven't enjoyed anything since you talked to me". I said, "Yeah"? "Night after night, your words keep coming in my head. But I try to go and do this and I just". Holy Spirit took my words. The adjectives, the prepositions, the clauses, the tenses probably didn't score any kind of a writing award.
I hummed. I hawed. I tried to think of what do I say to this girl whose parents have said everything to her? It wasn't my incredible verbiage. It wasn't my incredible ability to put thoughts together. It was the fact I shared my story about Jesus in my life that Holy Spirit goes. And once I speak it and once I walk out, he is allowed to use those words to draw her, to speak to her, to influence her, and he did it day after day, week after week, month after month until those praying parents saw this girl stop that activity. The Bible says in Proverbs, and I've gotta close up. He who winneth souls is wise.
Today, before Sunday is done, 100 to 200.000 people will go into eternity without Christ. And to be silent doesn't make sense. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life". He said there is no other way to God except through me. We don't need to convince people. That's not your job. Holy Spirit's job is to convince people. Your job is to be a witness. Does that ever make it simple? He just makes it so easy. On a plane, you don't have to answer his questions. Just say, "Yeah, dude, I'm working to get the dinosaur thing, too". Yeah, I'm wondering too why that person all of a sudden, it's like a hell in a hand basket out there but there's one thing I do know. You know something? Yeah. There's one thing I do know is just what he's done for me. What do you mean? When he forgave me, the weight that lifted off my shoulders, the strength that I have to love my wife, my kids. Man, I'd be a mess without Jesus. If that's all I share, that was less than 30 seconds.
See, the Bible doesn't say Holy Spirit is the one that goes into the streets and shares with people. The Bible says that people can't believe without a preacher and there's not gonna be a preacher unless someone is sent and so, he's not talking about me. He's talking about all of us. We're all ministers. So, you are witnesses. Please begin to fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Pray. Look for opportunities to share your faith. We've been lied to by the enemy of our souls. We've been told that we can't share our faith because we can't be, we don't wanna, we don't have answers. We're not good enough. Our life's too messed up and you've missed the whole thing. No one's life is perfect enough to share their hope.
Today, show acts of kindness. Today, be kind to somebody somewhere and if you can take it further and just say, "Hey, God bless you". Or if they wanna talk, God will give you ways to share your story. Well, how you doing? You know, this morning I went to church and I'm doing really good. Dude, you go to church. Yeah, I know. Never thought I'd be going to church but this is not church. This is like the most incredible, uplifting wow. Really? There you go. Had a conversation. Don't have to explain anything. Just your story, your testimony, your life, your marriage. You ain't perfect anywhere. But that's what brings them hope.