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10/2/19

Rhythms of Grace: Witness

In the early pages of the book of Acts, Jesus tells us that we will be his witnesses. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). What exactly is a witness? It is defined as someone to testify, to bear witness; to give or afford evidence. In the Christian life, it’s someone who proclaims Christ, someone that gives a report about what Jesus has done in their life. It’s someone who tells the truth about the realities of the gospel. I think a lot of people don’t share the beautiful message of the good news of Jesus Christ because we are fearful. Possibly not-so-deep down, we don’t want to be rejected. But surprisingly, lost people are more amazed at our silence than offended by our message.

I believe God wants you to be you and that you are the only you on Earth. We shouldn’t try to be someone we are not. Therefore, you should witness out of your own personal experience and what Christ has done in and through you. The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 4:5, “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” These words tell us God has an expectation that we all should do the work of an evangelist but knowing not everybody has the spiritual gift of evangelism.

In Luke 14, Jesus gives us the Parable of the Great Banquet. In this story, the master tells the servant go to the countryside, to go everywhere. “And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled’” (Luke 14:23). That little word “go” really should be translated “as you go” or “as you go about life” share Christ with everyone, because everyone is welcomed into God’s house and all should be invited. We can and should develop sharing Christ with everyone into a daily rhythm of life.

It’s important to remember that 79% of unchurched people would engage in spiritual conversations, if we would just talk to them about what Jesus is doing in our life and in the lives of our fellow believers[1]. It’s also true that 90% of Christians don’t even engage with any unchurched people. We have a whole mission field before us in our communities that may be at least open to spiritual conversations.

Start with good questions that unchurched people may have. Ask them, then listen very closely to what they are saying. Share out of the joy of knowing Jesus, not out of fear of failing him. Always begin with prayer for the person you are sharing with and have a relationship with. Witnessing does take practice and time.

I am always encouraged when God opens a door for spiritual conversations in my life. I try to listen to the prompts from the Holy Spirit to talk about what Jesus has done in my life and what it means to be a follower of Jesus. With a little willingness and practice, you too can live in a daily rhythm of participating in the spiritual practice of witnessing, as Acts 1:8 has called us to do.

[1] Source: Ed Stetzer from the Billy Graham Center

Glenn Herschberger

Executive Director of Church Planting for Converge Great Lakes

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