Summary: The call for the disciples to be witnesses in Jerusalem was the call for them to go fishing in their own pond. It remains the call for us to fish our own ponds, to be a witness within the network of relationships God has placed us, to capture the hearts a
Fishing In Your Own Pond
The call to be witnesses was a call to go fishing in our own ponds, to be a witness within the network of relationships God has placed us, to capture the hearts and souls of family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and acquaintances, and spiritually reel them in.
Principle #1: ____________ like never before.
Principle #2: Show _________ to the church family.
Principle #3: ____________ those outside of God’s family.
Principle #4: Live a ______________ life.
Principle #5: ________ the truth.
Fishing In Your Own Pond
What is your life worth? Do you understand that your life is worth an eternity to someone? Did you know that the way you live your life, and relate to others, is an issue of life-or-death?
Just before Jesus ascended to heaven, he told his disciples, “You will be my witnesses …” Applying the rules of simple grammar to this statement we see that being a witness is not a choice. It is your identity. It is not an option. It is an assumption.
It is the same assumption that Jesus has in Matthew 28:19, when, contrary to the imperative command “Go”, the way most English translations render it, Jesus says, “As you are going, while you are going, or since you are going anyway, make disciples.” Jesus took for granted that we would be on the move to make disciples.
The question raised is not will you be a witness. It is what kind of witness are you going to be.
In the courts witnesses are categorized in several ways:
Lay witness – someone who observed events pertinent to the case. This is the average Joe who simple shares what he saw.
Independent expert witness – a doctor, lawyer, or other professional who was directly involved in events surrounding the case, who because of their involvement have professional insights to share.
Controlled expert witness – a professional who is paid to give expert testimony. These are the hired guns.
Hostile witness – a witness who is expected to be contrary to questioning by either side. These are the one who whether they like it or not are called to be witnesses.
We often convince ourselves that we have a choice to witness or not. But the awkward truth is that those who have chosen to not be a witness have actually chosen to be a poor witness, a negligible witness, or worse yet a witness for the wrong side because like it or not the world is watching our lives for evidence of Christ.
The call for the disciples to be witnesses in Jerusalem was the call for them to go fishing in their own pond. It remains the call for us to fish our own ponds, to be a witness within the network of relationships God has placed us, to capture the hearts and souls of family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and acquaintances, and spiritually reel them in.
Each of us has our own pond of relationships, the network of people that God has strategically placed us among to be a witness. Our ponds are all stocked, some more than others, but all have something to catch. It may be a family member who has never accepted Christ. It may be a neighbor who has abandoned their childhood faith. It may be someone who is actively involved in their home church, but has never really stepped across the line of faith, accepting Christ as their personal Savior. It may be a spiritual seeker sitting in the pew near you.
In the first several chapters of Acts, we observe what made the disciples effective fishermen for the souls of men. These principles become the standard for fishing in our own pond.
1. Pray like never before (Acts 1:12-14; 4:23ff)
I think we often study the book of Acts like an action novel. I’ve noticed that Bible studies of Acts, particularly for children, but essentially true for adults as well, give emphasis to those sections with lots of action. We glimpse at the ascension. We jump to Pentacost. We pause at the healing of the lame man. We drop our jaws at the story of Ananias and Sapphira. But there is a whole lot of material between those events that we do only a cursory skim of, and those events set the stage for the action scenes.
Let me point of three verses in particular:
Acts 1:14 – “They all joined together constantly in prayer…”
Acts 2:42 – “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to payer.”
Acts 4:23 – (After Peter and John were threatened by the religious leaders if they ever spoke of Christ again, it says) “On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God.”