In All the Earth
Come to think of it, maybe I will get prophetic for a minute. I want to remind you of something God promised: “Truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD” (Numbers 14:21).
Many of us think this is referring to some dramatic time in history that is still to come, some end-times occurrence. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s happening right now. The whole earth is even now being filled with the glory of the Lord. As we proclaim Jesus in all the earth, the glory of God is covering every square mile.
That’s a marvelous fulfillment of prophecy that each of us has a part in.
Every time we proclaim Jesus in our neighborhood or wherever else we are, we are spreading the glory of the Lord there. That’s why it’s so important that every follower of Jesus respond to His call to go into the world with His message— so that, by all of us working together, we can spread God’s glory everywhere. He deserves to be glorified in every creature He has made.
Worried that you cannot contribute to such a lofty goal? Remember this, my fellow servant of Jesus. God has not sent you out empty-handed. God’s Spirit and His glory are with you. And as you are faithful to Him, He will manifest His glory within you. So the next time you’re waiting at the bus stop or in line at your bank, don’t think it is just a ho-hum situation with no particular meaning. Think Jesus is here at this bus stop with me, here at this bank with me. The glory of God is here. May it fill me to the brim and overflow so that these people next to me can sense it. Then speak.
I’ll say it one more time. Let the glory that Jesus has given you be manifest in your life and your witness. Don’t quench the glory of God—oh, no! Instead, let it flow like a mighty stream of flame throughout all the world!
Questions to Consider
• What evidence do you have that the glory of
God is inside you?
• How can you let the glory of God shine forth
from your countenance more plainly?
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom He has redeemed from the hand of
When I was seven, in 1947, my family moved to a small farm near Oak Grove, Louisiana. One Sunday our pastor, Brother Dewey Mercer, announced that a brush-arbor revival was going to break out the following week. An evangelist from Texas would be the preacher. Something in me stirred. I was only seven, but I knew I was a sinner. “All have sinned,” I remembered from Romans 5:12 (KJV).
We arrived for the first night of the revival to find a makeshift church set up in the parking lot. We sat under a roof of boards, tree limbs, and brush held in place by a dozen slim poles, each topped by a naked light bulb. The preaching came fast and forceful, ending with a call from the evangelist for sinners to step to the pulpit and be saved.
I started to go forward, but my mother grabbed me by the shirt. “You’re cutting up, son,” she said. She wouldn’t let me go. And I couldn’t blame her. I had wiggled all through the service, but it was the wiggling of impatience and excitement rather than that of boredom or inattention. No one had ever been more anxious to get up and be counted for Christ, but I couldn’t convince my mother to let me.
On the ride home I asked Mom, “Why wouldn’t you let me go up to the front with the others?”
“Why did you want to go?”
“I wanted to be saved!”
“We’ll be back tomorrow night, and the same fellow will be preaching.”
“But I want to be saved tonight!”
Dad, who had been unresponsive up till this point, suddenly screeched our truck to a halt in the middle of the road. He shifted into reverse, backed up, and wheeled toward the brush arbor. I knew that ribbon of road was leading me straight to Christ. I had always loved Jesus and wanted to live for Him. But on this night, for the first time, I felt lost and separated from Jesus. I was aware of my need and immediately wanted Jesus in my life forever.
Brother Mercer and the evangelist were still in the parking lot when we returned. After Dad talked to them, the two preachers came over to me. “All you have to do, son, is ask Jesus into your heart,” the evangelist said. “Accept Him as your Savior and know that He died on the cross for you. Then you can be saved, right here, right at this moment.” “I’m ready.”
We knelt and I repeated each line of the brief prayer offered by the evangelist. “Dear God, I know I’m a sinner. I ask Jesus to come into my heart and live in my life forever. Make my home heaven. Thank You, Jesus.”
My sin washed away, I went to sleep that night knowing that Jesus was my best friend and that He always would be. And He always has been.
That period of about an hour or so was the only time in my life when I have ever felt lost and separated from Jesus. I have had the privilege of living with Jesus all my life.
Making Life with Jesus Personal
You have just read my testimony, my story of coming to Jesus. I started sharing it with others the very day after I accepted Christ. I told my friends and even my dad—who had not yet fully committed his life to Jesus—about how I had been changed by God.
I’ve been telling the same testimony ever since. You might not think that the testimony of a seven year old praying with an evangelist at church would have much of an impact. But that hasn’t stopped me from sharing it with effect with all kinds of people, including gatherings of Hell’s Angels and terrorists. Why? Because it’s the truth; and the truth always has power.
It isn’t the length of the story or your storytelling
ability that matters most; it is your
honesty about your experience with Jesus.
Let me strongly encourage you, when you are sharing Jesus with an unbeliever, to tell your own story of coming to Jesus. Sometimes you might go into considerable detail about coming to know Jesus and about your life with Him.
Other times, you might be far less circumstantial. It isn’t the length of the story or your storytelling ability that matters most; it is your honesty about your experience with Jesus.
Sometimes, in a brief encounter with an unbeliever, I have offered nothing more in the way of a testimony than words like “I have experienced Jesus, and you can too.” And I have found that saying even as little as that can grab people’s attention. For example, I have been sharing Jesus in Europe, where for many the Christian faith is just an archaic set of traditions, and when I say that I have a personal relationship with God Almighty, people will stop and say, “Really?!”
When I simply say that I talk with God in prayer, people of other religions are often amazed. Many Muslims, for example, believe that God quit speaking with people after Muhammad died. And many Jews connect the idea of talking with God only with the elders of their faith, such as Abraham and Moses. So the idea that I have a personal relationship with God and talk to Him brings them up short. They are ready to listen to what I have to share about Jesus.
Should you fail to share your personal testimony, unbelievers might think that what you are saying about Jesus is merely a philosophy or a theory. But you want them to know that following Jesus is personal and that it is life changing. You can do that by telling what following Him has meant to you.
Next to your testimony of who Jesus is (we’ll be getting to that in the next chapter), the most powerful thing you can share with people is your own personal testimony of knowing Christ.
We Cannot but Speak
Offering a testimony about one’s own experience with Jesus is not just good advice; it is a biblical pattern.
Indeed, it seems that when people met Jesus during His time on earth, they couldn’t stop talking about Him. The same should hold true for us when we have met Him, for our experience of Him is just as real even though it has not occurred face to face. “We also believe and therefore speak” (2 Corinthians 4:13).
The Gospels are full of stories about people encountering Jesus. Those are stories that were passed around for years until they were recorded by one or more of the Gospel writers. Clearly those events had a big impact on the people involved, and since then they have had a big impact on all of us who have heard or read them. Several times the Gospels explicitly tell of people sharing with others about Jesus.
The woman whom Jesus met at a well in Samaria ran back to her village and started talking about Jesus with everyone she could find. What was the result? “Many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did’” (John 4:39).
On another occasion, after Jesus had healed a man who had been blind from birth, religious officials expressed their disdain for Jesus because they didn’t know where He was from. The newly sighted man boldly stated, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes!" Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. "If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing” (John9:30-33).
When Jesus cast demons out of a man in the region known as the Decapolis, the man wanted to go with Jesus. “However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.’ And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled” (Mark 5:19-20).
The book of Acts records the story of the conversion of Saul—later called Paul the apostle—no fewer than three times (Acts 9:1-19; 22:1-21; 26:1-23). Two of these are actually accounts of Paul himself sharing the story with others. At critical moments in his life (when on the verge of being mobbed in the temple and when standing trial before a national leader), he chose to recount his story of meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus.
When Peter and John were ordered to cease preaching about Jesus, they retorted, “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). May that be our attitude, too!
Testifying Is for Everyone
As we saw in the biblical examples, sharing with others about one’s experience with Jesus is for everyone: new believers and mature believers, men and women, the educated and the uneducated, people who have led a relatively moral life and people who have been exceptionally sinful—everyone who has been saved through grace!
Even a brand-new convert can give a testimony, just like the woman at the well, the newly sighted man, and the former demoniac.
Immediately after leading someone to Christ, I often will say something to this person like “Tell your friend here what you have just done” or “Go home right away and share with your husband what has happened to you.” Often the new believer has so much enthusiasm that his or her testimony is powerful, even though the new believer may at this point know little about the Bible or about following Jesus.
The experience of sharing with others also solidifies in new believers the salvation that has occurred in their lives. These persons have now gone public with their experience. Others will be watching to see whether they follow through by sticking with Jesus and submitting to making changes in their lives.
New followers of Christ should always be encouraged to share about Jesus right from the start; they should never be disqualified from offering their testimony. On the other hand, people will sometimes try to disqualify themselves, saying, “I can’t witness for Jesus. I’ve got so much sin in my life right now.” Sadly, there is some truth to this.