Summary: This is the third in a 5 part series on becoming a witness for Christ. This message investigates the idea of getting intentional about our witness in the world.
You Shall Be My Witnesses
Pt 3 – The Next Step – Getting Intentional
Acts 1:8; 3 - 4:4
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 – His Witnesses?
Over the last two weeks we have talked about developing a desire and getting started. Last week we learned that getting started as a witness really only requires two things: Knowing who you are and knowing who God is.
Today I want to take you a step further on this road. The next step takes us to an idea of getting intentional about witnessing.
Let’s look together at Peter and John in this 3rd chapter of Acts. These men have now been filled with the Holy Spirit and power and they are becoming the witnesses that Jesus talked about.
Acts 3:1 – 4:4
I just want to share with you quickly 2 things of importance about getting intentional.
Getting Intentional means…
1) Looking for opportunities – It’s 3 in the afternoon. A sea of people surrounds Peter and John as they enter the Temple for afternoon prayer. One man catches their eye – not the rich young ruler who can fund their cause, not the self-righteous Pharisee who dresses up a cold heart in fancy clothes, not the wicked tax collector seeking to appease his guilty conscience, - this man is a beggar – a man lame from his mother’s womb. This man had nothing to offer – he was ignored – insignificant – unwanted – and uncared for by the sea of people surrounding Peter and John. Yet out of all the people here – in the opulence of the Temple gate – this man stands out. Why? One word – Need. This man was in need and Peter had what he needed. He needed healing and Peter had Jehovah Rapha the God who heals us in his heart. Life in Christ is about matching needs with resources. Here is a truth about the lost world around us – it’s difficult to teach a hungry man about Jesus. He will always be more focused on his empty stomach than his need for spiritual health. But give a hungry man food to eat – and you have gained an attentive ear. This is not the manipulation of the pharisee it’s the love of God demonstrated in the world. 1 John 3:17 “whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” What we need to understand is that the world is full of opportunity to meet needs, speak truth, and love our neighbor – and when we do that we gain a voice to witness for the God who loves them. We need to become intentional about looking for opportunities to meet needs and be witnesses.
2) Stay the course – don’t give up. – This man looked at Peter and John and he wasn’t interested in theology – he wanted money. Theology wasn’t going to put food in his belly. A lecture on sin and it’s consequences wasn’t going to give him shelter for the night. He simply wasn’t there to buy what they were selling. I love Peter – he isn’t deterred by the mans obvious desire – I don’t have any money he says but what I do have I want to give you. Often in life the message of the gospel is the last thing people want to hear. They want needs met, they want time off, they want to be left alone to do as they please. Some of you are parents of lost children, some husbands and wives of lost mates – I want to encourage you today to stay the course – never give up. Even when it looks hopeless and like a complete waste of time – let your light shine, let your service count, and keep telling the story of what God is doing in your life. I can’t promise it will make a difference (we still have free will) but I can promise that it might make a difference. Just a few months ago within our own church one wife’s life long prayer and witness finally had eternal results in the life of her husband. Don’t give up – stay the course – keep looking for opportunities and give them what you have – Jesus.