On Apr 19, 2015, pastor John preached sermon from Acts 1:1-11, Witnesses for Christ. Many Christians fear sharing their faith: we don’t know what to say, or we fear we’ll say the wrong thing, or we fear what others will think about us. And then we feel guilty when we don’t witness. But Jesus promised to empower and be with His people as they witness about Him: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses….” We need not fear then because Jesus is with us by His Spirit. Main idea: God empowers us with His Spirit to be witnesses to people everywhere about Jesus
1. The Message of our Witness: “and you will be my witnesses…”
a. What Jesus says in v. 8 is rooted in Isaiah 32:15, Isa 45:22, Isa 43:10. Jesus assigns these things to Himself: He is God and His salvation is going to the ends of the earth.
b. How? Jesus, the 2d person of the Trinity, became fully man without ceasing to be God to die the death of the cross and rise from the dead to save believers. Dig deeper: A simple outline to help you share the Gospel: 1) God: He is the holy creator; 2) Man: created to glorify and enjoy God forever, but sinned against God; 3) Christ: the eternal Son of God died on the cross for sins and rose from the dead to secure salvation for believers; 4) Response: those who repent and trust Christ alone receive forgiveness of sins, Christ’s righteousness, and eternal life.
2. Power to Witness: “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you”
a. We need to be empowered by the Holy Spirit because we’re preaching the offensive message of Christ crucified (1 Cor 1:18-31; Gal 5:11).
b. Jesus says His disciples would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them. This happened on Pentecost (see Acts 2). Dig deeper: Pentecost was a once and for all event in the history of the church that signifies that all who believe have been baptized in the Spirit. If you’re a believer, you have the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39; 1 Cor 12:3; Rom 8:9).
c. The Spirit gives the knowledge of what we are to testify about—He ensures we have the right Gospel. And the Spirit gives us wisdom to show us how to share Gospel.
1) We’re either motivated by guilt, or by grace:
a) When motivated by guilt, we do things because we have to, not because we want to, which is exhausting. Dig deeper: take hold of Jesus’ promise in Matt 11:28.
b) When motivated by grace, I recognize I’m just a sinner saved by grace, and I look at people through the prism of Christ’s love demonstrated on the cross. I can “get real” and empathize with unbelievers.
2) Our method: Not just church programs, but Christians living ordinary lives among neighbors, co-workers, etc., for Christ and His glory. Dig deeper: we establish relationships with people where we love them, walk with them through their struggles, pray for them, and yes—share Christ with them with “gentleness and respect.”(1 Pet 3:15)
3) The other missing piece in our idea of witnessing: the church. The Great Commission is about making disciples—lifelong learners and followers of Jesus, and the primary means God uses to save and transform us is His Word and Sacraments. Dig deeper: invite folks to church. Give people our new cards about the church. We also want to BLESS folks:
* Be in prayer – Pray for all people, and that God send people who need Jesus to you.
* Listen – People need to know that they can open their hearts to you without hearing a sermon.
* Eat with them – have a meal, or cup of coffee/get to know/listen.
* Serve – look for ways that to serve them (cutting grass, meals, etc).
* Share – be ready to share about Jesus, and invite them to church.
3. The Scope of our Witness:“Jerusalem, Judea/Samaria, end of earth.”
a. Jesus’ words in v. 8 serves as an outline for the book of Acts.
b. Our church’s Jerusalem is Phoenixville. We also want to see the Gospel expand throughout our region through church planting, and to see the Gospel extend to the ends of the earth through missions work. Dig deeper: Ask how you BLESS those in your “Jerusalem” and see the Gospel advance throughout the world as part of the church.
Conclusion: May we, motivated by God’s grace and gratitude, love others by what we do, and tell them the greatest good news of how Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead so that we could be forgiven, and have everlasting life. May that Gospel of grace be the air that we breath every waking moment of our lives and the fuel that propels us to reach others for Jesus.