Study 5 NO EXCUSE FOR NOT WITNESSING
The Shining Pathway
by Francis Dixon
(Key verse: Acts 1:8)
The first business of every Christian should be the winning of souls. It is God’s plan that every Christian should be concerned to make the Saviour known to as many people as possible, and as quickly as possible. God alone can save souls, but He cannot save souls alone, for He has ordained that this work shall be done through human instruments. This places a great responsibility on those of us who know the Saviour, for in a real sense the salvation of souls depends upon our obedience and faithfulness.
In this study we want to suggest seven ways of witnessing. There are many ways of witnessing for the Lord Jesus – which is providential, for we are all different in temperament and gifts, so some will be effective using one method, some using another. Some are able to witness by preaching, but most cannot do that. Yet we are all given the opportunity, and are left without excuse, for there will be at least one way in which we may effectively witness for our Lord and Master. When He uttered the words recorded in Acts 1:8, our Lord was speaking prophetically, and ten days later the prophecy began to be fulfilled. Acts 1:8 is still the Lord’s plan for world evangelisation. What are the marks of a truthful witness who saves lives (Proverbs 14:25)?
- 1. He must know the risen Christ personally (Acts 2:32; 3:15).
- 2. He must witness to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (Acts 1:8 – “my witnesses”).
- 3. He must be no respecter of persons (Acts 26:22).
- 4. He must be willing to suffer (Revelation 20:4).
- 5. He must be spiritually equipped (Acts 1:8; 20:23).
1. The first and most important method of witnessing is that of a consistent Christian life.
No witnessing will ever be successful that does not proceed from a Christ-like life, and no testimony is so powerful as that of a changed life. The greatest proof to the world of the risen Christ is a Christian, one in whom He lives and through whom His life is flowing (John 7:38-39). Every Christian can witness for the Lord in this way – look up Luke 8:35 and 39, and then notice the following three illustrations of the power of a transformed life: Joseph – Genesis 39:2-3; Lazarus – John 12:10-11; the man at the Beautiful Gate – Acts 4:14. In an unostentatious way we must all seek to witness for the Lord, whose we are and whom we serve (Acts 27:23), by what we are, what we do and what we do not do!
2. Every Christian should be ready to witness for the Lord by word of mouth.
Yes, every Christian – Psalm 107:2! If the Lord has saved us we can tell others what He has done for us, and our excuses for not speaking are not only unreasonable but unworthy. In the early church the Christians told all whom they met about their wonderful Lord (Acts 4:20). We should all tell the good news about Jesus in the way that Philip did in Acts 8:35 – and see Acts 5:42. To some may be given the additional privilege of more public witnessing, of preaching to the crowd (Acts 8:5), taking a Sunday School class, conducting services in hospitals, prisons, in the open air…There is great need for more preachers who can witness in this way, and the Lord promises to supply their need – Jeremiah 1:4-9.
3. Every Christian should witness for the Lord by open association with the people of God.
Where it is possible, Christians should join a church or assembly of the Lord’s people. This is not only for their own spiritual welfare (Hebrews 10:24-25), and for the help of other Christians (Galatians 6:2); it is also a definite form of open witness to the Lord Himself (Acts 3:1).
4. Many Christians witness effectively for their Lord by distributing scripture portions or helpful literature.
There are great promises to all who will serve God in this way – see 2 Kings 10:10 (first part); Psalm 126:6; Ecclesiastes 11:1; 11:6; Isaiah 55:10-11; Galatians 6:9. D.L. Moody always distributed tracts when he was on a train journey. Hudson Taylor was converted through reading a tract!
5. Some Christians use letter-writing as a means of witnessing.
Many Christians have found great scope and blessing in this ministry by prayerfully writing to folk who are ill, in trouble, leaving the district, starting a new job…and encouraging them to seek the Lord (Isaiah 55:6).
6. Some Christians have adopted unusual methods of witnessing.
A humble Australian, Frank Jenner, dedicated his life and witness to the Lord’s service by asking people on the streets of Sydney: “If you died tonight, where would you go – heaven or hell?” Very shortly before his death he discovered that scores of people around the world had subsequently found Christ as a result of that one encounter.
7. There are a variety of silent methods of effective witness, many of which Christians should adopt
Our homes should bear testimony that we are the Lord’s. Giving thanks at meal-times testifies that we belong to Him. Kindness to a neighbour in trouble…we can continue the list! No excuse for not witnessing!
Acts 1:8 – Now DO IT! (2 Samuel 3:18).