Summary: [Witnessing] is sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God." (David Durey)

One of the abilities we have been given is the ability to express ourselves in a variety of ways. And usually we have learned to express our feelings consistent with what we are trying to say.

For example, when we are excited about something, we usually express it as follows: (express it enthusiastically) "Guess what! I have great news!" However, what if we said it this way, (in a flat monotone voice) "Guess what. I have good news." We would think something is wrong, right? We would sound like Eyore!

There are a lot of things that get us excite - sports, a date, an accomplishment, but does our Christian faith get us excited? Does it make us shout for joy? Does it make us want to share it with others? Does it make people want to ask us what the joy and hope in our lives is all about?

As we continue our series, Bible Jeopardy, this morning we are going to briefly focus on a much talked about aspect of the Christian life and way. What it is? Let’s find out.

For some people it is the hardest thing to do regarding the Christian faith.

What is witnessing/evangelism/sharing your faith?

In I Peter 3:15 we are asked to give a reason for the hope that you have.

What is witnessing/evangelism/sharing your faith?

It produces more guilt and frustration in a Christian than just about anything else.

What is witnessing/evangelism/sharing your faith?

What is witnessing? What is sharing your faith?

David Durey provides us with what I believe to be an outstanding definition of witnessing. (Overhead)

"It is sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God."

Notice that it involves sharing. And it involves sharing the gospel, the good news of Jesus. Not the good news about the church; or a program; or a preacher. It is sharing the good news of the Jesus Christ.

And what is that good news? It is that we can be forgiven; that we can stop looking over our shoulder and wondering if our past will ever catch up with us; that God wants to help us live in the way we were meant to live. That’s the good news we share.

But how do we share? That is where our text comes in. In verse 16 gives us some hints. We do so in a gentle and respectful way with a clear conscience.

I don’t know about you but I resent a hard sale. I resent someone pushing me to make a decision before I am ready.

But that has been the mode of evangelism for many, many years. Now it may work is some cases, but not in the majority. It turns people off and that is contrary to what Peter says in this passage to believers in other places.

How did you come to faith? May be your back was against the wall. But not because the person who God was using at that moment in your life put you there it was because the Holy Spirit put you there. His conviction is much more powerful that our conviction.

I did not come to faith in Christ under a high-pressure sales tactic. I came to Christ, when all at once, the Holy Spirit made it clear what I needed to do and I did it in response to the gentle but clear working of the Holy Spirit. Which brings us back to the definition of witnessing that we are working with.

Witnessing turns into a sales pitch when we leave the Holy Spirit out of it. Yes, it is God who works through His spirit to make clear the condition of our hearts to each one of us. But, when we start to do the work of the Holy Spirit, we get in trouble.

I remember going to a church that I had contacted for a part-time ministry position during my seminary student days. It was a large church and when we got there Susan and I began to feel uncomfortable. In fact, at the end of the sermon the pastor starting walking up and down the aisle and getting right in people’s faces and putting them on the spot.

Well, I introduced myself, very anxiously I would add, after the service and we were invited over to the fellowship hall and chatted with the pastor for a while. After he left the table, Susan and I looked at one another and said, “Is the coast clear? It was and we belted right out of that building and headed straight for the car!” We never looked back and they never called back!

I believe the Holy Spirit respects us. Yes, He moves in us to do the work of God and we know when He does, don’t we?

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