I Believed Therefore I Have Spoken
This phrase comes from a messianic prophecy in Psalm 116:10 and is quoted by Paul in II Corinthians 4:13: "I believed and therefore have spoken. We also believe and therefore speak." Paul connects his motive for preaching the gospel directly to Christ who spoke because he knew that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes. He says "I am not ashamed" (Rom. 1:16). I must ask myself, "Am I ashamed?"
Every one of us who is a first-generation Christian knows someone who was not ashamed. They were not ashamed to invite us, to say something about salvation or to extend sincere friendship to a worldly person. They took the risk of losing a friend, the respect of a colleague, a love interest or even a family member. I must ask myself, "What am I willing to risk?"
In most cases that person went beyond just teaching us the gospel. They nurtured us as newborn babes in Christ. They put up with our bad language, smoking, ignorance of almost every fruit of the Spirit and brought us along to the pace where we could stand on our own. "Will I give up that much of my time?"
What is the spirit that lives in those whose passion is to share the gospel? I am persuaded that it is the same spirit that was the source of Paul’s passion and the passion of our Redeemer Himself. Paul who was a Pharisee of the Pharisees and almost certainly destined for greatness in the Jewish religious order realized that Jesus thought it not robbery to be equal with God, humbled himself and took on the form of a servant. It is that same spirit of love that God and Christ demonstrated from before the foundation of the world. "Do I have that spirit of love?"
To my shame and concern I see passion all around me and even get caught up in it. I see passion for hunting, fishing, careers, cars, sports, entertainment and politics. Imagine if we spent as much energy and resources bringing lost souls to Christ as we spend on trying to take care of our fantasy football teams or our politics. "In what endeavors do I spend my energy?"
Our brethren in the First Century went everywhere preaching and teaching the gospel as a direct result of persecution. "Would I do the same? If I were forced to run for my life because I am a Christian, would I preach or teach everywhere I went?"
Peter admonishes me to be ready to give an answer to every man that asks for the hope the lives within me. Being ready means being willing and prepared. Paul says I should be a workman that does not need to be ashamed because I can correctly handle the word of truth. "Am I ready and able or am I ashamed?"
I have been thinking a lot about something our brother said the other night. "We are seed sowers, not soil inspectors." When I meditate on the parable of the sower, I usually think about the soils. I must always be the good soil so that I can look into the "perfect law of liberty as a doer or the word" (Jam. 1:25). If not, I won’t receive the instruction and bring forth fruit. There is a little statement in Matthew’s account about bringing forth fruit "some a hundred-fold, some sixty, and some thirty" (Matt. 13:23). "How do I do that in my life?"
A person taught me, my family, and many others the gospel. Some did not listen, some fell away and bore no fruit but some were able to teach many others including several who brought more to receive the seed and more fruit was born.
We cannot predict the outcome of our efforts at sowing the seed of the gospel, except that some of the efforts will find hearts that are seeking God. We can predict the result of a loving and concerned attitude toward others. We can predict the outcome of being prepared to give an answer for our hope. If the one who asks is seeking, they will find. They are the soil that will nurture the seed.
If you are a Christian, a believer who on their penitent confession was baptized into Christ for the remission of sins, you are the product of a sower. Somewhere in your past there was one who sowed the seed of the gospel in your life. If you are part of a family that has been Christians for many generations, there was a still a sower in your past. There always is. It’s the way it works.
I am a sower; I have to be because I believe. I am compelled by my faith and love to continue to sow the seed. It would be unthinkable to stop. We, you and I, are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who are sowers. Some are in our past and some in the present. They seek to spread the seed of the gospel and pray earnestly for it to find it the right soil. Are you a sower? Let's work together to sow the seed.