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Power to go on - Part II

Acts: Be the Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Power to them; WIttness to them; Truth/proof to us

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Are we witnesses today?

Act1:8 is a key verse in the book of Acts; It is a lynch pin from the ministry of Christ to the ministry of the apostles and our ministry work today. The power to go on.
Jesus just before the ascension promised them power, they were going to need it to be able to carry on His work. Jesus gave them a promise and a charge,
Acts 1:8 NASB95
but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
The promise (power)
The charge (be My Witness)
The place (Jerusalem . . . )
The view of many when it comes to “be My witness” is that we are to be witnessing to people in an effort to win the lost. It is a church word for evangelism. But is that a true statement? Is this what our evangelist efforts are? Can we today, 2000 years later, witness like the apostles did in carrying out their charge after the promise?
Definition of witness:
Witness (n) 1. a person who sees an event . . . 2. evidence; proof (Merriam - Webster)
Our word martyr comes from the Greek word for witness , and we know many people have been witness by laying down their lives for Christ (Stephen a great example)
So as we look at this verse and the context let’s see if we can answer the question
“Can we be witnesses today like the Apostles?”

I. Witnessing for Christ today

Common Practice
Sharing your conversion experience with others in hope to win them to Christ, you know be a soul winner
Used to provide convincing evidence of a changed life as evidenced by your witness, your changed life
Encouraging others to share their testimony, and witness of how they were before Christ, what brought them to Christ, the changes that took place after receiving Christ
The common thread in this common practice is you, it is not Jesus, it is your story, your thoughts of the changes in you, not Jesus and what the scripture says. So this kind of witness is not a true witness is it?
Justification for this kind of witnessing
Of course we have our passage today
Acts 1:8 NASB95
but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
so that is plural “witnesses” so easy to make that jump. - many take this to mean all Christian’s are to be witnesses.
This really should raise some questions,
Does this mean all Christians or a few?
Bear witness of what? Own conversion or something else?

II. Witnessing in the New Testament

Who were the witnesses “for” Christ? - let’s look at the context and pay attention to the pronouns and it will help.
(You need to go in and bold the pronouns through out the passage)
Acts 1:1–2 NASB95
1 The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.
Acts 1:3 NASB95
3 To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.
ACt1:30
Acts 1:4 NASB95
4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me;
ACt1:4
Acts 1:5–6 NASB95
5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
Act1:
Acts 1:7–8 NASB95
7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Acts 1:9 NASB95
9 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
Act1:9
ACt1:10
Acts 1:9–10 NASB95
9 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them.
Acts 1:11 NASB95
11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
I think you can see from the context who the witnesses are, if in doubt it tells us
Acts 1:2 NASB95
2 until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.
Remember that the apostles were from Galilee - other disciples were from many other regions (many named (Act2:9-11)
To be an Apostle there were qualifications that are named
Acts 1:21–22 NASB95
21 “Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us— 22 beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”
One who had been with the apostles from beginning starting at the baptism of Jesus and present until the ascension; they were to become witness.
What were they to become witness of? - Witness of His resurrection!
As just mentioned they were witness of something specific and this is noted in other places too
Acts 2:32 NASB95
32 “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.
Acts 3:15 NASB95
15 but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.
They bore witness of His resurrection and also ofhis life
Acts 10:38–39 NASB95
38 You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 “We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross.
Acts 10:40–41 NASB95
40 “God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.
Acts 10:42 NASB95
42 “And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.
Remember the promise and the charge? - here under the power of the Spirit they were fulfilling the charge!
Now you may say “Paul did not qualify then” well he was a special witness
Acts 22:14–15 NASB95
14 “And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. 15 ‘For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard.
Act26
Acts 26:16 NASB95
16 ‘But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you;
As I mentioned before the word martyr comes from the Greek word martus, designated for those who have suffered death in consequences of confessing Christ - Complete Word Study Dictionary of N.T (Stephen, Antipas and others are examples)
Have you noticed that the word witness has not been used to just tell about Christ, and their own experience but witness of the resurrection of Christ. There really is a difference there is a distinction between the witness then and the witness today.
Acts 26:22 NASB95
22 “So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place;

III. The distinction of witness

The distinction between content of witnesses
Modern day witness provides testimony of own conversion
This is personal and cannot be substantiated with facts
Conversion stories can be used as a selling tool, to sell people on Christ or your belief in Christ
nversion stories can be used as a selling tool, to sell people on Christ or your belief in Christ
These testimonies, including even my own could be exaggerated or even fabricated.
Apostolic Witness: We have already been told it is witness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ .
This witness is of facts and evidence
1 John 1:1–2 NASB95
1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—
The evidence could easily be refuted if it were not true.
Acts 10:4–41 NASB95
4 And fixing his gaze on him and being much alarmed, he said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God. 5 “Now dispatch some men to Joppa and send for a man named Simon, who is also called Peter; 6 he is staying with a tanner named Simon, whose house is by the sea.” 7 When the angel who was speaking to him had left, he summoned two of his servants and a devout soldier of those who were his personal attendants, 8 and after he had explained everything to them, he sent them to Joppa. 9 On the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. 10 But he became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance; 11 and he saw the sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, 12 and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. 13 A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.” 15 Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” 16 This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into the sky. 17 Now while Peter was greatly perplexed in mind as to what the vision which he had seen might be, behold, the men who had been sent by Cornelius, having asked directions for Simon’s house, appeared at the gate; 18 and calling out, they were asking whether Simon, who was also called Peter, was staying there. 19 While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. 20 “But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself.” 21 Peter went down to the men and said, “Behold, I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for which you have come?” 22 They said, “Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear a message from you.” 23 So he invited them in and gave them lodging. And on the next day he got up and went away with them, and some of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him. 24 On the following day he entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am just a man.” 27 As he talked with him, he entered and found many people assembled. 28 And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. 29 “That is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for. So I ask for what reason you have sent for me.” 30 Cornelius said, “Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour; and behold, a man stood before me in shining garments, 31 and he said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. 32 ‘Therefore send to Joppa and invite Simon, who is also called Peter, to come to you; he is staying at the house of Simon the tanner by the sea.’ 33 “So I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” 34 Opening his mouth, Peter said: I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, 35 but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him. 36 “The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)— 37 you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. 38 You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 “We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. 40 “God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.
1Cor15:
1 Corinthians 15:5–6 NASB95
5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;
If it were not true wouldn’t there be some recorded proof and the 500 people thought of as crazy and all of it disproven?
The witness is proven by the evidence of the people (number of people) and the credibility of their witness (suffering for the cause; would they endure and suffer if it were not true?)
The former, the witness today is subjective and the latter provides objective biblical proof
The Distinction between the purpose of the witness
The modern witness - things can change, what about if they fall from grace and go back into the world and deny Christ, their witness chances does it, the conversion is either weakened or was not real in the first place. - this is scary and can shake your own faith.
The Apostolic witness - Is recorded and kept, if it were not true it would have been objected to and it would have been the former vs. the witness of the resurrection as laid out in the scripture.
The Apostolic witness is backed by their lifestyle in Christ and for Christ and was sealed by their own blood and is unchangeable since they are all dead.
The former is again subjective and can lead to disappointment, don’t we all know people who once walked with Christ who are no longer doing that? The later provides verifiable facts, historical facts that help us build a foundation built on faith and the historical evidence.
Jesus knew, Jesus prayed for “them” that people would believe because of “their words”
John 17:20 NASB95
20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;
So the power to carry on, to carry out His charge is about to happen. The indwelling had already happen and the empowering of the Spirit was about to happen.
John 20:22 NASB95
22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
See no one comes to the Father except through the Son - no one comes to the Son unless drawn by the Spirit.
The spirit comes on you to draw you
The spirit comes in you when you are baptized
The spirit comes upon you to empower you to do the works that He has called you to do.
We may not have the same empowering, but we have the inspired word to help us to lead people to Christ- to be soul winners, not subjectively but objectively through the historic evidence coupled with faith that leads to grace, mercy and the forgiveness of sins.
Conclusion: We started tonight with can we be witnesses for Christ like the charge of the apostles today? - I hope the evidence has proven itself out. What you have is the power of God in the Word of God to transform the people of God so that the world may know you are His and He is yours and you can share your hope that is in you that can lead others to obey the evidenced proof.
Bible is the Word of God
Jesus is the Son of God
Belief in Him, obedient faith can give you forgiveness of sins
And to the believer, a life, life full, or complete in Him and for Him
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