What Does It Mean to Witness for Christ? (Y1.T1.D15)
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The idea of approaching a stranger to tell him about salvation, also known as "evangelism", can be scary, and for some feel unnatural and a bit arrogant. I must assume the person doesn’t know God and then hope an unsolicited conversation fits their personal needs.
No one likes being approached in this way. And I should know. I’ve been guilty of letting my zeal for Jesus annoy and distance me from friends and family.
So how can I lovingly witness to the world about the God who changed my life?
Bob Goff has the answer. In his book Live in Grace, Walk in Love: a 365 Day Journey, he provides a better method of sharing our faith.
In certain circles, “witnessing” means approaching total strangers and asking them very personal questions about what they thought would happen when they died. Maybe you’ve been approached by someone doing this, and it threw you on your heels for a second. Even if you follow Jesus, it can feel a little strange to be accosted by a stranger with an agenda no matter what they’re selling, even if it’s eternal life.
Once I became a lawyer, I found out what witnesses actually do. Witnesses are called to the stand to tell people what they saw and heard and experienced. They give details about how they experienced what was being testified to. They don’t take the stand to say what it all means. This is left to the experts. I started to wonder if that’s what Jesus meant when He told us to bear witness of Him by simply telling people what we’ve seen and heard.
I don’t know about you, but these two paragraphs set me free. God has called some to testify like John the Baptist with loud evangelism, but not all of us need to do that.
Everyone who knows me knows my faith. I give them permission to challenge me when my behavior doesn’t match my beliefs. When I invite them to church, I don’t do it with an ultimatum but to express how much joy I find by being the hands and feet of Jesus. And when someone dares ask me about my beliefs, I provide them with my testimony and allow the Holy Spirit’s expertise to do the rest.
John's Witness Statement
6 There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came as a witness, that he might testify about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but was sent that he might testify about the light. 9 The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world. (John 1:6–9)
4 In him [Jesus] was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn’t overcome it. (John 1:4–5)
1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. (Luke 3:1–2)
7 He preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and loosen. 8 I baptized you in[a] water, but he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:7–8)
15 As the people were in expectation, and all men reasoned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he was the Christ, (Luke 3:15)
19 This is John’s testimony, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
20 He declared, and didn’t deny, but he declared, “I am not the Christ.” (John 1:19–20)
1 “Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God. 2 “Speak comfortably to Jerusalem; and call out to her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received of Yahweh’s hand double for all her sins.” (Isaiah 40:1–2)
1 In those days, John the Baptizer came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, 2 “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:1–2)
3 He came into all the region around the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for remission of sins. (Luke 3:3)
21 They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
22 They said therefore to him, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” (John 1:21–22)
5 Every valley will be filled.
Every mountain and hill will be brought low.
The crooked will become straight,
and the rough ways smooth.
6 All flesh will see God’s salvation.’” (Luke 3:5–6)
24 “‘“For I will take you from among the nations and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your filthiness, and from all your idols. 26 I will also give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes. You will keep my ordinances and do them. 28 You will dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers. You will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain, and will multiply it, and lay no famine on you. 30 I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field, that you may receive no more the reproach of famine among the nations.
31 “‘“Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. 32 I don’t do this for your sake,” says the Lord Yahweh. “Let it be known to you: be ashamed and confounded for your ways, house of Israel.”
33 “‘The Lord Yahweh says: “In the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited and the waste places will be built. 34 The land that was desolate will be tilled instead of being a desolation in the sight of all who passed by. 35 They will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden. The waste, desolate, and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’ 36 Then the nations that are left around you will know that I, Yahweh, have built the ruined places, and planted that which was desolate. I, Yahweh, have spoken it, and I will do it.”
37 “‘The Lord Yahweh says: “For this, moreover, I will be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them: I will increase them with men like a flock. 38 As the flock for sacrifice, as the flock of Jerusalem in her appointed feasts, so the waste cities will be filled with flocks of men. Then they will know that I am Yahweh.’” (Ezekiel 36:24–38)
I am a witness to Your light. You have given me a new heart and a new spirit within me (Ezekiel 36:26). I want the world to know how wonderful You are. Show me when and where and how to testify about what You’ve done for me (Psalm 66:16). And when I am around others, help me be as wise as a snake but as innocent as a dove (Matthew 10:16). My greatest desire is to please You.
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