Summary: Acts Series: 18th Sermon--Expect Persecution, Proclamation, Protection, and Power!
Witnessing: What You Can Expect
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I believe that all true Christians have a desire to share their faith w/ others. And that is only natural.
If you were to cure cancer, you’d want to share the cure w/ the world. Now, if you’re born again, say amen…you have a knowledge of something far greater than a cure for cancer.
But something keeps us from really witnessing…and the #1 cause is fear. We hear a message like this on witnessing and w/out exception, each one of you will hear your faith say “go” and then your fear say “no”!
We get intimidated, afraid, or we rationalize why not, or why not now, and despite good intentions, we don’t ever seem to get around to it.
Ill.—years ago, before TV, the radio program “the low pressure salesman” was on the air/a comedy show about a shy, timid, backward, door to door salesman/would knock on a door and say immediately, nobody’s home [I hope I hope I hope!]
Unfortunately this describes many of our witnessing endeavors!
Jesus challenges us to be fishers of men, but we seem content to be keepers of the aquarium…we’re bold to talk about Him here, but not out there!
[you catch, Jesus will clean!]
Don’t be afraid!
2Ti 1:7 -
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
A bold witness is no braver than any other Christian…just brave about ten seconds longer! Just say that one sentence to get on the subject, and God will say the rest!
[take that first step into the aisle…]
Part of fear is us not knowing what is going to happen next…not knowing what to expect. So, here’s what to expect if you decide to be a bold witness for Christ:
1. Expect Persecution [talked about last time]
v. 3 There’s many things we can do for the Lord and suffer no persecution: give/sing/go to s.s./come back at night…people will pat you on the back.
But the minute that you open your mouth and begin to speak, you risk being attacked/retaliation/rejection/being judged/criticized/ostracized/be called a fanatic or “holier than thou”. And tho’ it only rarely happens this way, it is a risk to be aware of…but: is Jesus worthy of us taking that risk?
Expect to be persecuted! And remember the good news:
1Jo 4:4 -
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
Jesus promised persecution [jn. 15/lk. 6]
And He told us to rejoice in it as a privilege
[don’t cry or gripe…do the Baptist boogie!]
The apostles did:
Acts 5:40-42 [turn]
Sometimes the gospel is offensive…just make sure that if you offend it’s w/ your position, and not your disposition.
[be kind/genuine…avoid seeming condescending/holier than thou]
Eph 4:15 -
But speaking the truth in love…
Be sincere, have the right motive, show genuine concern, no hidden agenda.
Ill.—Bro. Steve at semo, campus crusade…decided to use reverse psychology, tell them not to come!/put on devil suit/mask, and ran the campus as the devil grabbing people saying in an evil voice, “don’t come to the campus crusade”…and guess what…they didn’t come!
Jesus said to be persecuted for righteousness’ sake…not for stupidity’s sake!
Expect persecution…but it’ll be worth it!
v. 4 it was worth it!
2. Expect Proclamation [opportunity/God to open doors]
v. 1 look who they’re preaching to! The upper crust/leaders!
v. 6 the who’s who of the Jewish faith in those days!
They were the Sanhedrin, and they were corrupt! They passed their religious offices down thru the family regardless of spirituality or qualifications…which is why v. 6 uses the word “kindred”…they had turned the jewish faith into a corrupt family business [godfather]…they were powerful and wealthy/the same crowd that Jesus stood before at His trial.
Here’s these poor, unlearned apostles in the company of the upper crust of the land. Most would have said, “what a court!” but the apostles said, “what a congregation!” Let’s preach! This would be like me getting to preach to Congress or the Supreme Court!
This was an opportunity, an open door for proclamation!
It happened that way for Paul, too, who said, a great door is opened unto me…when he was imprisoned…he spoke to the Praetorian guard [secret service].
Phil 1: 12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; 13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places…
Got to preach in Caesar’s palace [not vegas!] Did it work? Any get saved?
Phil. 4:22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.