Charles Finney always spoke out of his vast experience dealing with those who needed to hear the Gospel. In his Revival Lectures, he pinpointed just what Christians are supposed to be doing to help the world understand truth. Here’s his perspective:
One grand design of God in leaving Christians in the world after their conversions is that they may be witnesses for God. It is that they may call the attention of the thoughtless multitude to the subject, and make them see the difference in the character and destiny of those who believe the Gospel and those who reject it.
Finney speaks of the thoughtless multitude. I believe that’s even more of a problem today. At least in Finney’s time, the American society generally maintained a basic Biblical worldview. In our time, much of that has dissipated. He then becomes specific:
More particularly, Christians are to testify to:
- The immortality of the soul. This is clearly revealed in the Bible.
- The vanity and unsatisfying nature of all earthly good.
- The satisfying nature and glorious sufficiency of religion [by which he means the Christian faith, not some general religious belief[.
- The guilt and danger of sinners. On this point they can speak from experience as well as from the Word of God. They have seen their own sins, and they understand more of the nature of sin, and the guilt and danger of sinners.
- The reality of hell, as a place of eternal punishment for the wicked.
- The love of Christ for sinners.
- The necessity of a holy life, if we think of ever getting to heaven.
- The necessity of self-denial, and of living above the world.
- The necessity of meekness, heavenly-mindedness, humility, and integrity.
- The necessity of an entire renovation of character and life, for all who would enter heaven.
A Christian’s witness takes two forms:
How are they to testify? By precept and example. On every proper occasion by their lips, but mainly by their lives. Christians have no right to be silent with their lips; they should “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Tim. 4:2) But their main influence as witnesses is by their example. . . .
All the arguments in the world will not convince mankind that you really believe this [Christianity], unless you live as if you believe it.
In other words, to resurrect an old cliché, your walk must match your talk.