Summary: This is the second in a 5 part series on becoming a witness for Christ. This sermon investigates the keys to getting started - knowing who you are and knowing who God is.
You Shall Be My Witnesses
Pt 2 ¡V Getting Started
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.¡¨ Those words mark the beginning of the Christian Church. They mark the heart of the church. They represent the calling, purpose, and potential of the church. As I said last week they also mark the greatest shortcoming in the church today. In a day where only 1/3rd of all believers say they have a responsibility to share their faith, how do we become what God has called us to be ¡V His Witnesses?
Last week we began our look at this idea by addressing the idea of desire. The desire to be Christ¡¦s witnesses in the world ¡V implanted, inspired, and invited in us. This week I want to begin to put desire into action. First of all let me ask you how many of you would like to become witnesses for Christ in the world around you?
Many would say here today that the problem is not want to It¡¦s how to. Well that is a problem I want to address today. Getting started really only requires 2 things:
Knowing who you are and knowing who God is.
1) Knowing who you are ¡V Look at verse 5 of this chapter ¡V Paul reminds Timothy of who he is. Don¡¦t be afraid Timothy, to do what I have instructed you to do ¡V remember who you are. Looking through this chapter knowing who you are carries some really important idea¡¦s. To get started as a witness I believe you need to know 3 things about yourself.
ƒß You need to know who you were ¡V Paul said of our former life ¡§we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ¡K¡¨. Knowing who we were keeps us sensitive to the needs of the lost around us and keeps us from the self-righteous judgments we often make on others. The world doesn¡¦t need more Pharisees it needs more genuine disciples.
ƒß You need to know who you are ¡V in Christ ¡V The most deadly lie of the enemy is one that convinces you that you are something other than what you truly are. The enemy uses what we were to keep us from being who we are. Here is what God says about you ¡V ¡§you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God¡¦s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.¡¨
ƒß You need to know who God made you ¡V Paul encourages Timothy to stir up the gift that is in him. Paul doesn¡¦t encourage Timothy to be another Paul ¡V just to be the Timothy that God made him. God has given you spiritual gifts, talents and abilities and all you need to do is be yourself. God isn¡¦t calling you to witness like I witness or like Billy Graham ¡V just do what He has given you to do. If you gift is teaching teach, if it¡¦s hospitality do it. Paul says to the Romans ¡§Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.¡¨
2) You need to know who God is ¡V v9 ¡V He who has saved us. Several things are important here that will help you get started.
ƒß Salvation, conviction, and change are God¡¦s job not yours ¡V God is not calling us to save the world ¡V convict the world of sin ¡V or change the lives of people. That¡¦s his job. He is calling us to be His witnesses. That means our role in this partnership is limited. The action of witnessing is our responsibility ¡V the results are His responsibility.
ƒß God is always there first ¡V Dennis Kinlaw one of the greatest theologians I have ever personally met relates in one of his books an unfailing law of witnessing. It is called the law of the second witness. I paraphrase, ¡§the one who shares is never the first witness in a hearer¡¦s life; God Himself is already there before the preacher. The Holy Spirit has been at work in every persons life in numerous ways long before you speak the word of truth to him. So you never approach someone cold; you can be sure that the Spirit of God is already at work before you utter the first word of your testimony.¡¨ (Preaching in the Spirit, Kinlaw Pg 81)