But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
The last word Jesus told His disciples before He was taken away from them, in the physical, was this instruction for them to be His witnesses, first in Jerusalem, then in all Judea and Samaria and finally to the ends of the earth. The church today is also under this same instruction to be the witnesses of Jesus Christ “to the ends of the earth”. A “witness” is someone who attests to a fact and as such must have experienced and be sure of what he or she is being called to be a witness of. And since the object of this witness is Jesus Christ, it becomes imperative that we know Him. In 2 Timothy 1:12b Paul writes, “But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him”. The challenge before the church today is whether she can make this same claim by Paul.
Knowing Christ is an experience we can only have when we allow His Holy Spirit, who will teach us the truth, to indwell us and this is a key requirement. Jesus told the disciples that “they will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon them and …” The Holy Spirit would transform our lives and make us new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new”.
For our witnessing to be effective we have to remember these basic things put down by one writer:
- The THEME of our witness is Jesus Christ. Paul defined the gospel as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). If we are not explaining the sacrifice of Christ, then we’re not really sharing the gospel. (See also 1 Corinthians 2:2 and Romans 10:9-10.) An important part of this theme is the fact that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, not just one of many ways. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
- The POWER of our witness is the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who transforms a life (Titus 3:5), and a transformed life is evident to all. As we witness, we should spend much time in prayer, appropriating the Spirit’s power so that we are enabled to let our light shine in such a way that others will recognize the power of God in us (Matthew 5:16)
- The VALIDITY of our witness will be shown in how we live our lives. Philippians 2:15 sets this goal for us: “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” The effective Christian witness will live his/her life above reproach in the power of the Holy Spirit, whose fruit we exhibit when we remain in Christ (John 15:1-8; Galatians 5:22-23).
- Perhaps most importantly, we must be familiar enough with the Scriptures to be able to accurately and coherently present the gospel to others. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). Always being prepared means diligent Bible study, memorizing Scripture, and praying for God-given opportunities to share with those whose hearts have been prepared by the Lord to hear His message of salvation.
Beloved, as we reflect on this theme this week, bring to memory what God has done for you and testify to others by words and deeds so as to be true witnesses of Christ.
May God give you the grace to study and make yourself approved worker that need not be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.
Your brother, friend and pastor