Summary: This is the Fifth in a 5 part series on becoming a witness for Christ. This message investigates the idea of developing a global perpective on witnessing. It includes the ideas of home, community, the unwanted, and the world.
You Shall Be My Witnesses
Pt 5 ¡V A Global Perspective
We started this series some weeks ago with this very text. We have been talking about this passage as the beginning and the heart of the newly developed church. Today I want to put the finishing touches on this idea of becoming witnesses for Christ and it comes down to the instructions of Christ. In Acts chapter 1:8 Jesus says to His disciples ¡§you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.¡¨
Jesus establishes here for us Witnessing with a global perspective. I believe that all of us should have a global perspective on witnessing. Jesus gives explicit instructions to show us what a balanced ministry looks like. Each with a challenge, a question, and an action.
1) He starts in Jerusalem ¡V the central and capital city of the nation. It was also home. It was the apostles home and base of operations. For us Jerusalem is home. Witnessing begins at home. There is no greater challenge or joy than establishing a home based on Jesus Christ. But Jerusalem also means more than our immediate family its our local sphere of influence. Work, play, church ¡V these are the starting fields of ministry. These are the beginning points of personal witness.
„« Challenge - Jesus spoke about this part of our ministry call when He challenged His disciples and us to ¡§Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.¡¨ This happens primarily at home in your family, work, church, and social life. Your light shines into the lives of those that you are in close contact with.
„« Question ¡V How brightly is your light shining. As people in your world examine your life are they being led to Christ or into the world?
„« Action ¡V Shine! Jesus says let your light shine. Eugene Peterson in The Message translates the passage from Matthew 5 this way ¡§Here¡¦s another way to put it: You¡¦re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We¡¦re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don¡¦t think I¡¦m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I¡¦m putting you on a light stand. Now that I¡¦ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand¡Xshine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you¡¦ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
2) Judea ¡V Judea was the southern division of the Holy Land of which Jerusalem was the capital city. Judea represents our community. That means the area which we can reasonably reach with our daily message. Some would say that is Hughesville ¡V I think it is much broader than that. We have members here who live far from Hughesville that make this their church home. Several, even one of our elders, travel from Dushore, Laporte and Williamsport here. Our message is bigger than the streets that surround us. We need to expand our reach and our ideas of what community means. We have to break down barriers that stand between towns and counties and realize we have a big message to share with an expanding community.
„« The Challenge ¡V The challenge here is to move. It¡¦s funny, Jesus challenged the disciples to evangelize the world but for almost 8 years they stayed in Jerusalem. Not until persecution came in Jerusalem did they scatter throughout their community. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, ¡§The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.¡¨
„« Question ¡V How are you contributing to a witness that extends outside your sphere of influence?
„« Action ¡V Get involved in something bigger than yourself. Joshua Generation, Youth Outreach, Community work, volunteerism. For me it¡¦s YM work and soccer.
3) Samaria ¡V This is a toughie. This is the challenge to witness to people who are different, who are outcast, and who are sometimes unlovable. Samaria was tough for the apostles ¡V they had to overcome a lifetime of Prejudice and isolation to minister in Samaria. These people were unclean, unwanted and considered dogs.
„« The Challenge ¡V The challenge here is clear. Jesus said ¡§You have heard that it was said, ¡¥YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.¡¦ ¡§But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven;