SHARING OUR FAITH
What is a witness?LEARNING ABOUT THE BIBLE
Why we give witness to Jesus
How to be a witness
Some practical thoughts about sharing our faith
LEARNING ABOUT PRAYER and WORSHIP
Recap of Unit(3), on introducing the Holy Spirit.
Someone who gives evidence based on personal knowledge. To attest to, to testify, to give reliable evidence, to give an account of something which is true.
Who was a key witness for you in your journey to faith?
After Jesus ascended to be with His father, God provided and continues to provide evidence about His son - through the lives of those who know him. Their task is to convey the good news of salvation in Christ to a lost and perishing world. This personal message, from one to another is sufficient to get the job done. In the right spirit, it is more important than miracles or signs, in reaching people with God's message (Luke_16:19-31).
Everyone is a witness whether they like it or not. The only question is - what kind of witness, and to what!
"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience..." (1_Peter_3:15).
To know Jesus is to have something beyond comparison to give testimony to...
On the lonely isle of St. Helena, the exiled emperor, Napoleon, was once discussing Christ with General Bertrand, a faithful officer who had followed him into banishment and did not believe in the deity of Jesus. Napoleon said:
"I know men, and I tell you that Jesus Christ is not a man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between the founders of empires and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and whatever other religions, the distance of infinity... Everything in Christ astonishes me. His spirit overawes me, and his will confounds me. Between him and whoever else in the world, there is no possible term of comparison. He is truly a being by himself. His ideas and sentiments, the truth which he announces, his manner of conviction are not explained either by human organisation or by the nature of things... The nearer I approach, the more carefully I examine, everything is above me - everything remains grand, of a grandeur which over-powers. His religion is a revelation from an intelligence which certainly is not that of man... One can absolutely find nowhere, but in him alone, the imitation or example of his life... I search in history to find the similar to Jesus Christ or anything which can approach the gospel. Neither history, nor humanity, nor the ages, nor nature offer me anything with which I am able to compare it or to explain it. Here everything is extraordinary."
What a saviour! What a privilege to be drawn into such a faith!
Kenneth Scott Latourette, director of the Department of religion in Yale's graduate school, historian and author, commented about Jesus:
|"Measured by its fruits in the human race, that short life has been the most influential ever lived on this planet. As we have been at pains to point out, the impress of that life, far from fading with the passing centuries, has deepened. Through him millions of individuals have been||transformed and have begun to live the kind of life which he exemplified. Gauged by the consequences which have followed, the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus have been the most important events in the history of man. Measured by his influence, Jesus is central in the human story."|
Being a sign post:
How does the good news spread? The British scholar W.H. Griffith Thomas said:
(The above quotes are reproduced from the Teacher's Manual of the 'Ten Basic Steps Toward Christian Maturity' (pp 20, 33), Campus Crusade for Christ, used with permission ).
Returning again to the words of Jesus from Acts_1:7 (see above), let us draw attention to
the fact that Jesus said "You will be my
witnesses", not "Be
witnesses". This might seem like a fine distinction, but the point is to do with
We are NOT witnesses by compulsion or by expectation!
We are NOT witnesses by compulsion or by expectation!
As our love of Him grows, so our witness can't help but happen. The more our affection for Him grows, the more the darkness and reserve and embarrassment is expelled from our thoughts and emotions - and the more our lives reflect a deepening maturity in Christ. In this way a consistency between our lives and our words provides credibility to our witness of Jesus (2_Corinthians_5:11-15).
The potential for this kind of witness can be indicated by the following diagram:
Check out the scriptures in the following table and summarise the key points about being a witness to Jesus:
Discuss: In the light of 2_Corinthians_5:14-21 - what is on God's agenda? What is God's provision for people? What is the ministry God has given to us?
Priorities of wisdom and love
We have a wonderful saviour and a wonderful message. The Church is His witness to the unbelieving world - to bring others to reconciliation with God. To be witnesses, the gospel must first be true in our own lives, demonstrated by a consistent life style. The Christian message is so profound, only a passion for its liberation is a worthy response!
We can do nothing of ourselves to witness. We must be empowered by the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to vitalise our motivation of love and our obedience. Our presentation of the gospel must have love and wisdom as priorities.
IF YOU DON'T WALK THE WALK - DON'T TALK THE TALK!
Sharing the gospel - a practice run
Let's imagine a scenario where God places you in a situation where someone enquires of you - "How do I become a Christian?" This is an opportunity to put the following scripture into practice:
"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience..." (1_Peter_3:15)
You may like to use 2_Corinthians_5:14-21 to prepare an outline of the kind of answer you would like to give. This should take into account the following points, in the order and way you would like this to occur:
In a Bible Class a young student questioned: "I can't understand what the death of a man (Jesus) has to do with the forgiveness of sin?" How would you answer this?
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