“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
As we come to Acts 1, Jesus’ earthly ministry was now complete. He was born of a virgin, lived a blameless life, died a vicarious death, and arose from the grave with a glorified body. He had been on earth for 40 days since His resurrection and was now ready to return to Heaven.
The disciples were curious about the future (aren’t we all?). They asked Jesus about the coming kingdom and Jesus basically says, “You are asking the wrong question. Let me lay out your job description.” Acts 1:8 says that every day, believers are to major on telling the world about Jesus. Just think about it. Who told YOU about Jesus? Was it your mother or father? A pastor or Sunday School teacher? Somebody cared enough about you to tell you about Jesus. Now…who have YOU told about Jesus?
We can talk for hours about our favorite sports teams or politics and we are not shy to share our opinions on a host of subjects. But…as a believer…are you doing the job you were given by Jesus? Are you telling others about Him?
Jesus used the word WITNESS to describe our job. Our word witness comes from another noun that means “martyr.” In the days of Jesus, and those that followed soon after, to be a Christian witness could and often did mean death.
In many parts of the world today (2016), it is still very dangerous to be a WITNESS for Jesus Christ. For example, Pastor Han Chung-Ryeol, 49, was brutally murdered on Saturday, April 30, in Changbai, China. Born in China, he pastored a Three-Self Church near the North Korean border and helped countless North Koreans come to know Christ. MURDERED for sharing the message of the Gospel.
When Jesus told us that we would be WITNESSES, He knew the trouble we would endure and yet, spreading the Gospel message to all nations is our job and our task.
Let me quickly share with you three requirements necessary to be a WITNESS.
A witness must KNOW something. Go to any courtroom and look at a witness on the stand. What is the first requirement? A witness must be certain of the facts. If you don’t know anything about the matter before the court…you are not called on to be a witness. The judge is not interested in your opinion about a case…he/she is only interested in what you KNOW about the facts of the case.
The first qualification for a witness of Jesus Christ is the same…he/she must KNOW something. More importantly…he/she must KNOW SOMEONE. In II Timothy 1:12, Paul said, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”
What is your knowledge of Jesus Christ? Do you have a personal relationship with Him? Before you can ever be a witness of the power of the Gospel, you must first have a relationship with the Savior. Until you have been born again, you have no first-hand knowledge of this power of salvation.
A witness must SAY something. I like to watch true crime dramas on TV. Sometimes you will hear about a witness who comes forward many years after a crime was committed. This person often has a testimony that frees a prisoner from jail. If this person had been a witness at the trial, the prisoner never would have been convicted. This person KNEW the facts but never SAID anything.
To know Jesus Christ and fail to tell others is criminal. What if I knew the cure for cancer but I kept quiet about it? No logical argument nor eloquent persuasive oratory can turn the world upside down; only the simple testimony that Jesus is Savior and Lord can do that. One of the greatest tragedies today is the number of people who MIGHT have been saved if some “Christian” had simply SAID SOMETHING.
Would the people you work with be surprised to know that you are a Christian? Have they ever heard you talk about your relationship with Christ? I’m not talking about inviting them to church…I’m talking about telling them how Christ saved you from your sin and transformed your life. The Bible says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!” (Psalm 107:2)
Finally…A witness must BE something. The story is told of how Gandhi attended a Christian school and was disillusioned. He is believed to have said, “I would have been a Christian if it had not been for Christians.” That certainly is not the ONLY reason Gandhi didn’t accept Christ, but there is certainly enough truth in such a statement to make us examine our way of life.
Back to our courtroom…
If a witness KNOWS something and SAYS something but the opposing attorney has evidence that the witness is not a person of integrity, many times the testimony is not believed. In the same way, you can go to church dressed in your Sunday finest. You can sing and shout the loudest. But if your life doesn’t match your verbose vocalizings…nobody will believe you. Paul says in I Corinthians 13 we are like “sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.”
So…let us seek to be wise as we witness. Don’t fail to let others know about your relationship with Jesus both through lip and life. And most of all, make sure your WALK matches your TALK.
What kind of witness are you?