Summary: Being a light in the world involves worship, welcome, work and witness
CALLED TO BE SENT
A few years ago a guy named Ron Schatz went into a bank and filled out a withdrawal slip. He took the slip up to the teller and gave it to her, but noticed the teller was acting very strangely and seemed to be taking a long time getting his money. Suddenly the police burst in and ordered him on to the ground at gunpoint. He waited in handcuffs while the police tried to straighten out the story. The teller had pressed the silent alarm button after turning the withdrawal slip over and seeing the words, "This is a hold-up." As it turned out, someone as a joke had written "This is a hold-up" on the back of every withdrawal slip sitting on the counter.
Amazing that just a few words written on a piece of paper caused such a terribly embarrassing chain of events to take place. Today I want to look at just a few words that were written down, not on the back of a withdrawal slip but in the book of Acts that have also changed the lives of so many people around the world today. These words record the last thing that Jesus said before He left His Disciples;
Acts 1:8 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 is our calling? Today we are concluding our series we have been in of last 5 weeks. God calls us to worship, he calls us to be in community, he calls us to serve others and lastly we are called to share the faith we have with others. We are called to be witnesses of what we have seen and heard and experienced. What is a witness?
Our English word witness comes from an Old English word we do no use very much anymore but we used it in Elizabethan times and afterwards. It is the word wit. ‘To wit’ means ‘to know’ A ‘wit’ is ‘a knowledgeable person.’ So a ‘witness’ of some who knows something and testifies to it.
We are called to tell other people about the love and goodness of God that we have experienced in our lives. So how do we do that? Let me suggest to you today that being a witness involves at least 4 things that we read from the first couple of chapters in the book of Acts;
To be a witness of Jesus means that we need, as followers of Jesus, to pray and worship like never before. Jesus had told his disciples to go into all the world.
Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”
If they were told to go, why were they sitting in an upper room all together? They were waiting. They were waiting for the Holy Spirit which Jesus had promised. They could not fulfill the task Jesus had given them without the power that Jesus had promised them.
The starting point for telling others about Jesus is worship. It is answering the question we began this series with, that Jesus asked Peter on the beach that day “Do you love me?” Our calling starts there. We cannot share with others what we have not personally received. Eventually the disciples received what they were waiting for.
It says in the beginning Acts 2;
Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Likewise, being a witness starts with a personal relationship with Jesus. You cannot be an effective witness for Jesus without first being a passionate worshipper of Jesus.
In 1995 Naomi and I visited Kuwait for the first time while we were on the Doulos. One of the first things we were told was that no Kuwaiti Muslim had ever become a Christian, even though the church had been there in the country for more than 60 years. We found out that the church in Kuwait was looking for a pastor. At first I was not really interested. We were wanting to go back to the gulf as missionaries (tentmakers), but I was unsure as to what kind of a job I could get. We had just figured that pastoral ministry was out of the question. At that time I remember someone saying to me “why take the job as a pastor, God is calling you to be a fisher of men, not a keeper of the aquarium.” God spoke with me about that. God reminded me that a strong church is a strong witness, so I took the position. The church began a time of focused prayer for the Kuwaiti people and an emphasis on worship. Within 6 months the first Muslim Kuwaiti came to Christ.