Free files for youth pastors:
Driving my vehicle and following my parents on Christmas day as we were traveling a five-hour trip from Tuscaloosa, AL to Pensacola, FL, the seventy mile-an-hour traffic came to a sudden stop. Going with the flow of traffic, I had to jerk my car into the right lane in order to avoid slamming into the back of my parents’ car. I stopped right beside them, looked out my drivers-side door window right at them in the lane next to me, and breathed a deep sigh of relief. Right at that moment…a huge Ford Expedition rammed into the back end of my parents’ car which caused them to run into the rear end of the car in front of them. I saw it. I was an eye-witness. I passionately told police writing up the report that my parents were fully stopped. “It was not their fault!”
Read Deuteronomy 29 – 34. These chapters find Israel on the brink of entering into their long-awaited promised land that they have dreamed of for the past 40 years. Finally, they can almost smell it as they gaze at it over the banks of the Jordan River. This is where God calls timeout, gathers His troops for 2 whole months, and reviews with them the very reason why He has brought them to this land…Himself. If we make life about anything other than God, we’re missing out on the best life He offers. He does this in the structure of an ancient peace treaty. The last section of an ancient peace treaty is “The Witnesses,” and this is also the last section of Deuteronomy. Usually in an ancient peace treaty, nations entering into peace with one another would call on their gods to hold the other country accountable and to punish if the demanded laws were disobeyed.
God cannot call on other gods because He is the only God. As they would, He cannot call on someone or anything else that is higher or more powerful than Him…because He is the most powerful being in the universe. Rather, God calls on heaven and earth to witness the faithfulness of Israel… with whom He is making His peace treaty. (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). He called heaven and earth to watch over Israel. This does mean the creation. I believe it also means the angelic realm as both angels and demons witness God working out salvation. I believe it also means that the world of unbelievers are watching (witnessing) how God’s people are faithful to worship Him. How sobering is that? Witnesses are watching how we worship God.
Keeping that in mind, think about what Jesus says to His disciples just before He leaves them. He says, “You will be my witnesses.” Notice He did not say that if they witness then they will be His witnesses. No, Jesus said that they are automatically His witnesses. How we live automatically communicates to a watching world of witnesses what we really believe about God. If we live in worshipful obedience to Him, then they see us witness for the real, awesome Jesus. If we live in cowardly disobedience to Him, then they see us witness for a weak, powerless, and less than worthy Jesus.
We must live as witnesses for Christ to a watching world. Let’s review what we’ve learned about how to witness. The first section of the peace treaty was the introducing of the parties. When witnessing, we simply need to introduce people to Christ by getting into conversations about Him. The second section was the history. We need to share our stories, our testimonies of salvation and life in Christ. The third section was the laws. We need to make sure to not just call people to faith in Christ, but also to repentance so that they desire to follow Him as their Lord. The fourth section was the curses and blessings. We need to be real with people at appropriate times about the consequences of not believing in Christ and the rewards of believing in Him. And lastly, the whole point is the last section of the witnesses. We can talk about this all day long, but until we truly witness, our understanding of Deuteronomy won’t make any difference.