Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Believer’s Work – Witnessing (Acts 5:32)

 
 
What do we do with the Gospel given to us?  What did the believers in the book of Acts do with it?  They proclaimed it.  In Acts 5:32 verse 32, Peter’s response to the High Priest was, “We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” 
 
Peter calls himself and all the believers “witnesses”.  The word witness in the book of Acts is used about 12 times and its synonym “testify” about another 9 times so we know it is a key word in Acts.
 
What is a witness?  Basically, he is one who testifies of what he has personally seen and directly heard.  In a musical staged by HPC some 9 years ago, “The Witness”, all the songs spoke about the characters’ interaction with Jesus as he walked on earth.  All they said was what they had seen Jesus do and say. That is what a witness does, one who tells of what he has seen and heard.
 
In the same manner, if I only saw John holding a knife as he stood over the corpse of a cat, I cannot go to court as a witness and testify that John had killed the cat. After all I did not see him stab the cat. As a witness, I can only testify that I saw John standing over the cat holding a knife.  As to my opinion on whether John had done the killing that is for the court to decide. All I can do is to be a witness of what I had seen.
 
So maybe when pastors talk to you about “soul-winning for God’s Kingdom”, “evangelizing the lost” you may find that a bit daunting.  You may be right. However, while only some of God’s people are called to be evangelists and apostles, all of God’s people are called to witnesses.  And you can be a witness to what God has done in your lives.  Your story as a Christian has power.  There are people everywhere who need to hear about Jesus and how He can change their lives. You only need to talk to them; what happens after that is up to God. But your part is crucial, since God designed His message to flow from person to person.
 
Your story has power.  First, it's personal.  You don't have to memorize Bible verses, or worry about telling it correctly. You only need to share on how Jesus is at work in your life, helping you to bear with the challenges of life. Second, it is conversational.  It's not a sermon.  It can be shared over a cup of coffee or after a round of golf.  Third, no one can dispute it.  If you have joy, peace, and love in your life as a result of knowing Christ, that will be evident.  Fourth, it is interesting.  It's natural for friends to want to know more about each other.  Even if your friend is antagonistic to the Gospel, he or she may still be interested in why you value your relationship with a man named Jesus.  So be encouraged and be a witness even if you are afraid of being an evangelist.
 
We have been given a glorious Gospel of grace. The Christians of the early church, as seen in Acts, were given the same glorious gospel. They were willing witnesses to the Gospel of Christ. May we also be ever so willing to be witnesses of the glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus.

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