Summary: They were not to preach it in their own strength but were to wait on God for his empowering. They were God’s witnesses, in his timing and with his power.
Testify of the Coming Christ HHM Pastor Jim Parisi March 9, 2003
Rev. 12: 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
Rev 12:11 NLT And they have defeated him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of their testimony. And they were not afraid to die.
Story: A man was arraigned for murder in Los Angeles about 70 years ago. The case against him looked pretty good, but his lawyer thought of an ingenious ploy.
In his summing up speech, he said: "Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, you must find my client not guilty of murder if there is the slightest doubt in your minds that he is the murderer.
And now I have one final witness. The true murderer is about to walk through the door."
All eyes swung towards the door but no one came in.
"You see" the lawyer continued: "there is doubt in your minds about my client’s guilt; otherwise you would not have looked towards the door."
The jury retired to deliberate and came back after one half hour with a "Guilty" verdict. The lawyer was beside himself.
Before the judge could pass sentence, the lawyer sprang up and said
"But I proved beyond doubt - that you had a doubt about my client’s guilt.
A shrewd old man in the jury stood up and replied:
"As everyone looked towards the door, I watched your client’s eyes.
He didn’t look towards the door because he knew no one was coming through. Why? Because he was the guilty one."
I want to look at the subject of witnesses - but unlike in that Los Angeles courtroom,
I want to look at how to become an effective witnesses.
The Book of Acts tells the story of how Christianity spread from Jerusalem - an obscure outpost of the Roman Empire to Rome to the very capital itself.
The Heart of the known world of that time
When Jesus died on Good Friday almost two thousand years ago,
Conventional wisdom said that this was not a great way to start a world religion.
How can you start a movement, how can you get this idea off the ground if you can’t even keep the leader alive?
What power will save me the people of that must have been thinking would it have for them if this Jesus’
The leader was dead lying in a tomb?
So how did an obscure carpenter from Nazareth, who never wrote a book, never held high office,
Never led an army and died an ignoble death on a Cross.
Become the man to have affected civilization more profoundly than any other?
More then any other being to walk this earth.
Through His Death and Resurrection.
One reason for the spread of Christianity lies in the fact that after Jesus died, yes they put him in the tomb.
But when they went there 3 days later to check.
There was no body to be found.
No corpus rotting on that slab.
The tomb was sealed when they left
No body so they knew at that point
He rose again from the dead. Just like he said he would
In our reading from Acts 1, Luke records that Jesus "showed himself to the apostles and gave them many convincing proofs that he was alive."
(Acts 1:3) to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
Talking to them after His death…
This is the power of our God
The Power of His Holy Spirit.
Another reason for the spread of Christianity lies in the fact that the Power of the Holy Spirit
came down on the disciples at Pentecost
(as recorded in
Acts 2 1-2) 1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord* in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
The power of the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost –
to enable the disciples to share their experience of Jesus with the world.
That’s right for you and me
We have this in creditable power within us
In other words, to be His WITNESSES. His witness in the this earth
Jesus’ final words to his disciples - that were read to us earlier from Acts Chapter 1:8.
Acts 1:8 "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."