Faithlife Sermons

The Power to Witness

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A witness is to be prepared, but must be yielded to the Holy Spirit

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A fully prepared Witness for Jesus has an Effective Knowledge of the Word ()

Explanation: Luke begins his 2nd Volume of Inspired Scripture with the account of the Ascension of Jesus. Luke reminds Theophilus that he already wrote about “all that Jesus began to do and teach” in his Gospel. He then tells Theo that the Risen Christ was alive after the Crucifixion and that He presented Himself alive across a 40 day period. Luke states that Christ “presented Himself alive . . . by many proofs” () Evidence exists for the Resurrection; it is not simply a fairly tail made up of whole cloth. Luke’s point is that Christianity is a rational system of belief - not a leap in the dark
Illustrate: SJW’s who can’t even explain to an interviewer why she is protesting or what she is protesting against. (Shapiro and 21 year old girl on transgender)
Argument: An important ability for a witness is to be able to discuss the basics of the topic under discussion. A Christian, therefore, should have, at minimum, a working understanding of the basics of the faith (cf., ). As John MacArthur puts it, “There must be an accurate understanding of the content of Christian truth before any ministry can be effective. Such knowledge is foundational to spiritual power and to fulfilling the church’s mission. The lack of it is insurmountable and devastating to the evangelistic purpose of God. (MacArthur Commentary, , p. 11).
Believers are instructed to be careful students of the Word () and we should all be striving to be as prepared as possible
Application: Do you know why you believe what it is that you profess to believe? Do you know what the Gospel is, and could you explain it to another person? To be an effective witness does not require a seminary degree, but it does encompass the basics. You can learn this, if you don’t already

A fully prepared Witness for Jesus remains Focused on the Main Thing ()

Explanation: The disciples are understandably excited. The leader they had been following for 3 years, the One they watched die, was miraculously alive! Jesus had conquered death and the grave, and now they saw Him with even more power than before. And, given that Jesus had been teaching them more about the Kingdom (v. 3b), they naturally expected Him in His new role as the Resurrected One to set that Kingdom up immediately.
Jesus, however, focuses their attention in another direction. While He doesn’t challenge their understanding of the Kingdom with Himself on the Throne, He does tell them it isn’t going to take place they way they were hoping. Jesus tells them not to be concerned about the when of the Kingdom, but to be about the business of the who and the what of the Kingdom. Jesus gave them the assignment of taking the Gospel to their own city, their neighbors, and the world.
Illustrate: Rearranging deck furniture on the Titanic. A ridiculous concept, yet we engage in silly and unimportant pursuits while the people around us are dying and going to Hell.
Argument: Intentional focus is crucial to prevent drift. If we are not intentional in cultivating relationships in which we can share the Gospel, it will not happen. Ministry drift is real (), and it shows up first in the area of evangelism. It is remarkably easy to develop programs and ministries that focus on ourselves. It is more difficult to minister to those who are still in darkness. Ministry is messy! But seeing lives transformed by the Gospel is worth the effort.
As a Church we need to periodically evaluate our ministries. We need to ask and answer the hard questions. Why are we doing this? If the answer is simply tradition, then we don’t need to do it any longer. Another question to ask: how many of our ministries have an outward focus? When the focus is on us, when our priority is remaining comfortable, then we can be sure we aren’t really fulfilling our mission. We have been talking about church ministries, but we cannot forget personal ministry. Our walk with Jesus doesn’t stop on Sundays; our relationship is designed to be 24/7. In our personal sphere of influence we have the responsibility to keep a balance between outward and inward ministry
Application: Who is the one lost person you are intentionally building a relationship with in order that you might have a platform to share the Gospel?

A fully prepared Witness for Jesus Surrenders continually to the control of the Holy Spirit ()

Explanation: Jesus gives the disciples the key to witnessing: He tells them the Holy Spirit’s indwelling power is absolutely necessary in evangelism. Jesus tells them to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes upon them. This promise was fulfilled ten (10) days later in Jerusalem at the Feast of Pentecost () The permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believers’ lives marked the beginning of the Church. The power of the Holy Spirit enabled the Eleven to stand up for Jesus and to share the Gospel message with boldness.
Even though still in the future, Jesus told them the results of the Spirit’s arrival. He told the Eleven that they would be His witnesses! Jesus was telling them that the power of the Holy Spirit was a game changer! They were not supposed to move forward until His arrival, but when He came, they would indeed move!
Illustrate: 1993 Pizza Hut commercial. Opens with a shot of a backboard, and then the players warming up. The voice over states: to play this game you gotta have the drive, you gotta have the moves, you gotta have the love . . . but most importantly you gotta have the ball.
Argument: We can do a lot of different things, and we can create and implement plans and programs, but without the leading and the empowering of the Holy Spirit they are just things. Jesus really meant it when He said, “Without Me you can do nothing” ().
Commenting upon the necessity of the Holy Spirit, MacArthur states, “All the preparation and training that knowledge and experience can bring are useless without the proper might. Power had to accompany truth.” (MacArthur Commentary Series: Acts, Vol 1, p. 19)
As believers we are permanently indwelt and sealed with the Holy Spirit (). He sets Himself in a believer’s life at the moment of conversion. At the moment of Regeneration, a believer receives all of the Holy Spirit. A Christian does not get more of the Spirit as he or she grows in the faith. The process of Christian growth (sanctification) is actually the process of learning to yield more and more control of our lives to Him.
Application: We can grow in our understanding of our relationship with the Holy Spirit. In our process of becoming more and more like Jesus, we come to realize we can quench the Spirit (), and we can grieve the Spirit (). This means we need to continually examine our life to rid ourselves of those things which lead to these conditions. And not by willpower or self-effort, but by surrendering anew to the Spirit’s empowering (Eph 5:18).
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