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Witnessing

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Index No.                    TBFC

Date                            24 May 2002

Text                           

Title                            Witnessing

A definition of witnessing.

1 : attestation of a fact or event : testimony

2 : one that gives evidence; specifically : one who testifies in a cause or before a judicial tribunal

3 : one asked to be present at a transaction so as to be able to testify to its having taken place

4 : one who has personal knowledge of something [1]

Who is to witness?

Isaiah 43:10 (NIV)

10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.

Luke 24:48-49 (NIV)

48 You are witnesses of these things.
49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

What are we to witness to?

To Christ – the person

John 1:7 (NIV)

7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.

John 1:34 (NIV)

34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”

To the events of his life and death.

Acts 1:22 (NIV)

22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”

To the Gospel

Matthew 24:14 (NIV)

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Acts 15:7 (NIV)

7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe.

Does it matter if we witness?

Ezekiel 33:1-7 (NIV)

1 The word of the Lord came to me:
2 “Son of man, speak to your countrymen and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman,
3 and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people,
4 then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword comes and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head.
5 Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had taken warning, he would have saved himself.
6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.’
7 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.

Romans 10:14-15 (NIV)

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

YES both to us and to those to whom we witness

How can we witness with power?

Personal knowledge

John 3:11 (NIV)

11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.

1 John 1:2 (NIV)

2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.

1 John 4:13-16 (NIV)

13 We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.
16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

From Scripture

John 5:39 (NIV)

39 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,

Acts 10:42-43 (NIV)

42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.
43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

With boldness

Isaiah 44:8 (NIV)

8 Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

2 Timothy 1:8 (NIV)

8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,

Acts 5:30-33 (NIV)

30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.
31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Saviour that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.
32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death.

In the power of the Spirit

John 15:26-27 (NIV)

26 “When the Counsellor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.
27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

Luke 24:48-49 (NIV)

48 You are witnesses of these things.
49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Acts 1:8 (NIV)

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

What others have said about witnessing.

Dr. Horatius Bonar said concerning the spiritual history of 253 converts with whom he was familiar. “Saved under 20 years of age, 138; between 20 and 30 years, 85; between 30 and 40 years, 22; between 40 and 50 years, 4; between 50 and 60, 3; between 60 and 70 years, 1; over seventy, NOT ONE!”

 

That land is henceforth my country which most needs the gospel.

—Count Zinzendorf

•     Every church should support two pastors—one for the thousands at home, the other for the millions abroad.

—Jacob Chamberlain

•     The only one among the twelve apostles who did not become a missionary became a traitor.

- Anon

•     On one of the New Hebrides, in the South Pacific, is the lonely grave of a Presbyterian missionary, the Rev. John Geddie. A marble slab bears the following inscription:

“When he came here,

There were no Christians;

When he went away,

There were no heathen.”

—James E. Denton

•     The monument I want after I am dead is a monument with two legs going around the world—a saved sinner telling about the salvation of Jesus Christ.

—D. L. Moody

When the will of Henry J. Heinz, wealthy distributor of the famous “57 Varieties” line, was read it was found to contain the following confession:

“Looking forward to the time when my earthly career will end, I desire to set forth at the very beginning of this will, as the most important item in it, a confession of my faith in Jesus Christ as my Saviour. I also desire to bear witness to the fact that throughout my life, in which there were unusual joys and sorrows, I have been wonderfully sustained by my faith in God through Jesus Christ. This legacy was left me by my consecrated mother, a woman of strong faith, and to it I attribute any success I have attained.”


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[1]Merriam-Webster, I. (1996, c1993). Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary.

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