Title: Expert Witnesses for Christ
Theme: Telling People about Jesus Christ
“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed Him.” (Matthew 4:18-20)
All who claim to be a Christian are witnesses
In a court of law, an expert witness is one who is recognized by others in their field as an expert. According to the law this expert is able to appear before a court of law and is able to justify his or her professional opinion under cross-examination.
An expert witness for Jesus Christ is able to appear before the court of the world and is “Always …prepared to give an answer to everyone who ask [him] for the reason for the hope that [he] has.” (1 Peter 3:15) Because of his preparedness he is able to give gentle answers out of respect, with a clear conscience, so that those who speak about him maliciously are put to shame because of his behavior. (1 Peter 3:16) Such an expert is prepared in season and out of season and he can give careful instructions on what he believes with great patience. (2 Timothy 4:2)
Those who are lost and bound by the flesh, the world and Satan are the ones who need to hear the testimony of a Christian who is an expert witness for Jesus Christ.
I would propose to you that all who claim to be a Christian are witnesses. Some are bad and some are good and there are those who are experts.
Just how do we become an expert in witnessing about Christ? In what ways can we tell about Jesus? Remember when Christ was lifted up on the Cross and then raised from the grave and ascended into heaven He won victory over sin and death and gave a promise of His return. All men will stand before a court, either the Judgment Seat of Christ or the White Throne Judgment. Every child of God stands before the court of those who live in this world. What does the witness of your life say?
Why should we witness about Christ? Jesus said, “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” (John 12:32) (Thru the Bible; The Expositors Bible Commentary;
His death paved the only way for mankind to escape the judgment of God, therefore, Christians are called to bare witness to the saving grace found in Jesus Christ and to testify of His wonderful works especially His work on the Cross. (Matthew Henry Commentary)
Our key text holds a truth that is for all who will but surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Listen as I read Matthew 4:18-20, “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed Him.”
Have a heart that is willing to respond
The first step to being an expert witness for Jesus Christ is to have a heart that is willing to respond when Jesus says “Come and follow Me.” (Matthew 4:19)
There are many expressions for “follow Me” in classical Greek. A true follower of Jesus Christ does not just hear His words and understand His life. He actually becomes a trainee in a sense, thus, striving to live out the Lord’s instructions in every part of his life. (The Expositors Bible Commentary)
Following Jesus, as it is understood from the whole of Scripture dose not give the thought of following Him from place to place. The disciple of Christ who follows Jesus has an immediate detachment from that present sphere of his interest to an attachment to Jesus as guide, friend and Lord. (The Pulpit Commentary) He seeks the Lord’s will, personally finding instructions on how to use his Spiritual gifts, God-given talents and resources in a way that will lift up the name and life of Jesus Christ for all to see.
Jesus used a term “follow Me” to Peter and Andrew in John 1:35-42. “Follow” (akoloutheo) meaning to be a companion or expressing a like-ness of Christ. (Vines New Testament Words) It means to cleave, to be united with Him, to be in close union with and to be conformed by His continued influence. (Practical Word Studies of the New Testament) This is an individual calling involving an abiding fellowship, not only for the sake of learning as a scholar from Jesus as Teacher (Matthew 8:19), but for the salvation of ones soul. This involves having a complete trust in and obedience to Jesus Christ. This cleaving comes as the results of allowing Him to lead in every part of a Christian’s life. (John 8:12;10:4,5,27)
Jesus teaches that a follower of His lives a life of self-denial and takes up his cross daily. (Matthew 10:38 Mark 8:34; John 12:26) Following Jesus denotes a fellowship of faith as well as a fellowship of life, sharing His sufferings not just inwardly but outwardly if necessary. (Matthew 9:9,19,27) Such an outward fellowship with Jesus can only continue through spiritual fellowship with the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit.
All this can be summed up in one word, “disciple.” In the New Testament the word disciple usually refers to adherents of Jesus Christ. (The New International Dictionary of the Bible) A disciple (mathetes) is a person who accepts the instructions given to him by a teacher and he makes it his rule of conduct. (The Complete Word Study of the New Testament, Spiros Zodiates) The Word implies the acceptance in mind and life of the views and practices of the teacher. Applying this to a child of God means that he accepts the views and practice of Jesus Christ and he makes the Lord’s instructions the rule and conduct of his life.
In Knight’s Treasury there are two quotes. One is a statement and the other an exhortation. The first, “The devil is willing for a person to confess Christianity as long as he does not practice it.” The second, “So let our lives and lips express the holy gospel we profess; So let our words and actions shine and show forth the doctrine of [Christ].”
Walter B. Knight wrote about the power of a Christ-centered life in a brief article titled, “Why Are You Different.” The article tells of a man who was not a preacher, not a singer nor public speaker who worked in a factory with men who swore, cursed and spoke ill of each other. He lived a life that was quiet, a Christian life and he spoke of Jesus every opportunity that opened up.
One day as he was eating lunch, one of his fellow employees asked him, “May I sit with you, Bob? There is a question I have wanted to ask you for some time, but I was ashamed to do it. I want to know what makes you different from the rest of us. You never let your anger overcome you and respond as we do. Even when we rough fellows say and do bad things to you. You withstand and respond to life’s hard blows in a much different way than we do. What do you have that we do not?”
Bob replied with, “I am no better than others, but it is Jesus Christ who lives in me by His Holy Spirit that enables me to live and respond differently from those who do not know Him as personal Savior and Lord.”
Bob was an expert witness for Jesus Christ. He withstood the cross-examination of wicked men and life’s hard blows. He had made a connection with a fellow worker and by his life he intrigued one man who observed his life to ask the needed question.
All your life you are standing in the courtroom of the world. According to a court of law an expert witness is one who is seen as an expert by those in their field. Does God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit see you as an expert witness, a follower of Christ? Can you withstand the cross-examination of those who live in this world and life’s hard blows? Are you seen as a disciple of Christ?
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors
Once the child of God has been marked as a disciple of Jesus Christ he must be growing in his knowledge of Him through the written Word of God if he is going to be an expert witness.
Keeping in mind the “Great Commission” is given to all who are in Christ Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20) and what the Book of Ephesians says about the Christ apportioned gifts given to the church for preparing her for works of service unto the Lord. (Ephesians 4:11-12) We must prayerfully consider the writings of the apostle Paul that tells us how we are to be approaching the Lord’s work. He writes, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)
Webster tells us “An ambassador is a minister of the highest rank, employed by one prince or state at the court of another, to manage the concerns of his own dignity and the power of his sovereign.” The ambassador of any country is to deliver the message of the country he represents. It is his duty to deliver a definite message, to carry out a definite policy. He is to do nothing more than explain or enforce the heart of the message being brought forth. He is bound to obey the instruction of his leader and as far as possible to do only what the leaders of His country would do if they were present in the court.
At all times, and in all countries, an ambassador is to live and exercise his authority in a way that reflects the character of the nation he represents. He is obligated to watch for opportunities to place before his hearers his message in a way that would cause the listener to think well of his country.
An ambassador of a foreign country spends most of his career in a place where people have different traditions and who follow a different way of life. There is always that pull to draw an ambassador into that country’s way of thinking and living, which may be in conflict to the nation he represents.
The Christian finds himself in that condition as he lives in this world; he takes part in all the life and the work of the world; but his citizenship is of heaven, working for the God of heaven and earth and serving the King of kings and Lord of lords. (Barnes Notes) The apostle Peter reminds Christians that they are “…aliens and strangers in this world.” (1 Peter 2:11)
The Apostle Paul’s message of being an ambassador speaks loud and clear. Being Christ’s ambassador (presbeuomen) is a wonderful privilege and great responsibility. Christ’s ambassadors are not to negotiate on any new terms nor change those truths proclaimed by God. They are not to think lightly of their mission, seek their own glory, aim at their own comfort, or depart from their instructions or mission.
They are to go where they are sent, communicate the mind of the Lord Jesus, defend His honor, influenced only by the welfare of the Kingdom of God, to make Jesus’ business distinguished from all others, to strive in every way to qualify themselves for their mission by prayerfully studying the Word of God, to endeavor to do their work in the best possible way and to endure personal loss and suffering for the cause of Christ. (The Pulpit Commentary)
This is to be done by speaking on behalf of Jesus Christ and declaring the mind of God as revealed and illuminated by the Holy Spirit through the written Word of God. A constant exposure to the Word of God and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit reminds Christians of who they represent and of what kingdom they belong to.
While serving as Secretary of State during the Reagan presidency, George Shultz kept a large globe in his office. When newly appointed ambassadors had an interview with Shultz, he would test them by saying, "You have to go over the globe and prove to me that you can identify your country." They would go over, spin the globe, and put their finger on the country to which they were being sent. When Shultz’s old friend and former Senate majority leader Mike Mansfield was appointed ambassador to Japan, even he was put to the test. This time, however, Ambassador Mansfield spun the globe and put his hand on the United States saying, "That’s my country."
Shultz would relate this story to all the ambassadors going out telling them, “Never forget while you are over there in that country, that your country is the United States. You are there to represent us. Take care of our interests and never forget it, and you’re representing the best country in the world."
Expert witnesses for Christ never forget that their home is heaven, their allegiance to Jesus Christ and their interest is the building of His kingdom, which will endure forever.
In the Bible we read of an exiled prophet named Daniel who never forgot whom he was an ambassador for. He delivered God’s message to kings who were some of the most powerful, most ruthless and egotistical kings in all ancient history. The book of Daniel is a record of the many times Daniel’s faith placed him in uncomfortable circumstances where the odds were stacked against him. It was this atmosphere that Daniel stood firm with a “Non-negotiable Faith.” (Taken from Derrick Strickland’s sermon “A Non-Negotiable Faith” on SermonCentral.com).
Daniel served as one of the three administrators (NIV) for King Darius the Mede. He held the highest position of the three presidents (KJ). There were 120 satraps (NIV) or princes (KJ) who held accountability to Daniel and the two other presidents (KJ). The purpose of the accountability was so that the king would not suffer loss. (Daniel 6:1-3) Daniel knew that his responsibility was to fulfill the instruction of Darius, work for the benefit of his kingdom and look out for the king’s interest.
Even though Daniel was in a foreign land, able to distinguish himself from the other commissioners (NAS) and he had exceptional qualities (Daniel 6:3) he never forgot the God of whom he was an ambassador for and which kingdom he was of. He was an ambassador who sought the will of God, spoke forth what he was told to speak and he prayed to God when it was against the law even if meant facing the lions.
Expert witnesses for Christ seek their Lord’s will through the written Word of God, preach, and teach forth what Jesus has taught them (Matthew 28:20) and pray.
This prophet was such an expert witness for the Lord that Darius said to Daniel while they were putting him the lions’ den, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” (Daniel 6:16) “At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?’” (Daniel 6:19-20)
Listen carefully to Daniel’s answer, which brought recognition to the one he was an ambassador for. “My God sent His angel, and He shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in His sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.” (Daniel 6:22)
Daniel 6:25-28 tells the positive results that can come about from the life testimony of an expert witness. “Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout the land: “May you prosper greatly! I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For he is the living God and He endures forever; His kingdom will not be destroyed, His dominion will never end. He rescues and He saves; He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions. So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”
Rest assured that the child of God who lives his life with the heart attitude of an ambassador of Christ will have an effect on all who see his life. As he prayerfully studies the Word of God he will bear witness to all that Christ has taught him and he will be able to make disciples of others, being seen as an expert witness.
Message of reconciliation
An expert witness for Christ is seen as a follower of Christ, an ambassador who can express to others the truths of God, thus speaking out in the best interest of the Kingdom of God and proclaims the message of reconciliation.
He will be the Lord’s witness expressing a heartfelt truth, “as though God were making His appeal through [him]. …Imploring …on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20) The Bible says, “…He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:19) A perfect witness for Christ is proclaiming this truth, which is urgent for Paul, writes, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
Until this reconciliation becomes a personal application in the sinner’s heart and soul he is unable to be a God’s friend. He is in truth antagonistic toward God, opposing God’s will for him.
This causes him to rebel against God, and reject God’s direction. He maybe even curses God, ignores God, literally disobeys God, fights against the work of the Lord, and denies God’s working in his life. He down right refuses to live or use his God given talents and abilities in a way that is pleasing to the Lord.
Reconciliation” (katallage) comes through having Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord. This paves the way for sinful man to be brought back into fellowship with God. The word means to be changed thoroughly, to change from being God’s enemy to being a friend of God. (Word Meanings in the New Testament; The Complete Word Study Dictionary; The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Outline)
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
Such a witness is found in the life of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10). He was a wealthy chief tax collector who lived in the area of Jericho. Many tax collectors had earned their own wealth from their fraudulent request for more taxes than were due.
Zacchaeus had a visit from Jesus Christ in his home and it was a turning point for him as he recognized Jesus as his Lord. In demonstration of his repentance he said, “Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything. I will pay back four times the amount.” (Luke 19:8; Leviticus 6:1-5)
The reaction of Zacchaeus contrasted dramatically with what had happened when Jesus had encountered the “rich young ruler” (Luke 18:18-25) Wealth was a stumbling block and stood between the ruler and his commitment to Jesus as Lord. Jesus had commented, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” (Luke 18:24)
Zacchaeus’ encounter with Jesus brought salvation and revealed a true commitment to the lordship of Christ. Jesus said, “Today Salvation has come to this house.” (Luke 19:10)
Tony Britt wrote about Jacob Koshy who grew up in Singapore with one driving ambition: to be a success in life, to gain all the money and possessions he could. That led him into the world of drugs and gambling, and eventually he became the lord of an international smuggling network. He put many in bondage and took advantage of people’s weaknesses. In 1980, he was arrested and placed in a government drug rehabilitation prison in Singapore.
He was frustrated beyond endurance. All his goals, purposes, dreams, and ambitions were locked up with him in a tiny cell, and his heart was full of a cold emptiness. He was a smoker, and cigarettes weren’t allowed in the center. Instead, he smuggled in tobacco and rolled it in the pages of the Gideon Bible. One day he fell asleep while smoking. He awoke to find that the cigarette had burned out, and all that remained was a scrap of charred paper. He unrolled it and read what was written; “Saul, Saul Why do you persecute me?” Jacob asked for another Gideon Bible and read the entire story of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus.
He suddenly realized that if God could help someone like Saul, God could help him, too. There in his cell he knelt and prayed, asking Christ to come into his life and change him. He began crying and couldn’t stop. The tears of a wasted life washed away his pain, and God redeemed him. He started sharing his story with the other prisoners, and as soon as he was released he became involved in a church. He met a Christian woman, married her, and is now a missionary in the Far East where he tells people far and wide, “Who would have believed that I could find the truth by smoking the Word of God?”
God reconciled Zacchaeus, his possessions and the life of Jacob Koshy and then made them into expert witnesses.
In Acts chapter four we read of a time when Peter and John were in the court of the Sanhedrin. They were cross-examined and asked, “By what power or what name did you do this.” (Acts 4:7) Their answer, “…then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead…” (Acts 4:10)
The Bible says, “When [the Sanhedrin] saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)
The Holy Spirit’s call upon the Lord’s people is to be expert witnesses for Christ. Be seen as followers of Jesus Christ, ambassadors proclaiming God’s truth and preach the message of reconciliation to the courts of the world.
Let us pray!