A word that conjures up fear and guilt in the hearts of many Christians is the word witnessing. By witnessing I mean sharing our faith in Jesus with those who don’t believe in Him yet. We fear what others will think of us. We feel guilt when we have a chance to witness but don’t. But what if a gifted evangelist like Billy Graham went with you and did all the hard work when you talk to others about Jesus? Would that make it less threatening? Let me encourage you in this study by describing the work of the Holy Witness. But first, a reminder of –
1. Our Great Commission. Jesus described our great commission like this: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NIV) Our mission is to tell everyone we can about Jesus. But notice we haven’t been asked to do it alone! That’s why I’ve underlined the co in “commission”—to underscore the fact that we have a Great Co-Partner in this work! Who is our Co-Partner? The Holy Spirit who lives in us and empowers us to do what we could never do otherwise. All successful witnessing begins with Him, for He is the Holy Witness sent into the world by Jesus to draw people to Himself. Without Him we wouldn’t have the courage or wisdom to know what to say or how and when to say it. We need Him to prepare the way before us and give us to ability to speak the truth in love to those who don’t yet believe.
2. Our Little Courage. Why does it take courage to share our faith? The reason is that most of those who don’t believe don’t want to hear about Him. I learned this a few Christmases ago when I went door-to-door offering a free DVD about Jesus to my neighbors. Of the 63 homes I visited, only 1 accepted it and he was a believer. But that’s what Jesus said to expect. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19) We march to the beat of a different drummer. That’s why people are uncomfortable when we talk about Jesus, and why they may take it out on us! We’re challenging them to stop following the world and start following Christ. But if we’re led by the Spirit, we need not fear their reaction because our Co-Partner is God –
3. Our Divine Co-Partner! Jesus assured the disciples in Matthew 10:19-20 – “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” This is the gift of the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised would give us “power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) In, fact, what we’ll discover in our next study is that the Holy Spirit does all of the heavy lifting for us! We go. We speak. We share the truth with others. But it’s the Holy Spirit who does the hard work of breaking up the dry soil so we can plant and water the seed. He’s also the One who causes the truth to grow in their hearts so they believe. Jesus explained, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” (John 16:7-8 NASB)
To listen to the audio version of this message, left click on the following link. To download it, right click and save it to your computer – “The Holy Witness.”
(Next time – “The Saving Power of the Holy Spirit”)