Recently I watched a humorous YouTube video entitled Bubble Creek Canyon. It showed what life would be like in a totally Christian community. Of course this humorous video is far fetched. We don’t live in a bubble. Every day we Christians encounter people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s why we have been commanded to be his witnesses to all the world.
Once when he (Jesus) was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4-5
We read about instances in the Old Testament where the Holy Spirit would come upon people at certain times for specific events. But after Jesus ascended into heaven the Holy Spirit would come permanently upon all Christians.
Notice what Jesus says next,"... you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere, to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8
Jesus told his disciples you will receive the Holy Spirit and you will be my witnesses. He would give them spiritual power and the result is they would be His witnesses. This was an imperative and not something optional.
Why did they receive this power? They received power to be His witnesses. What does it mean to be a witness? A witness is one who can give a firsthand account of something seen, heard, or experienced … to testify of your personal knowledge.
Jesus specifies where they are to witness. First He tells them to go to the Jews - in Jerusalem - the capital of their own country, the very place where Jesus was crucified. Then they were to go throughout Judea where they rejected His ministry. Then they were to be His witnesses in Samaria. The Jews considered Samaria to be a wasteland of impure half breeds. And then Jesus said they were to spread the gospel message to the ends of the earth. That means they even had to witness to the Gentiles, the people who the Jews considered to be just fuel for the fire of hell.
Things happened just as Jesus prophesied when the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. The disciples had the supernatural ability to share the gospel in other languages and the ability to preach with power. On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached and 3000 people were saved that day. Most of the disciples remained in Jerusalem until the persecution arose after the death of Stephen.
“A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria.” Acts 8:1
Persecution caused the spread of the disciples who carried the gospel message with them. If they had not obeyed Jesus command we would not have the gospel today. These people were the original witnesses of Jesus. They had observed his life, death and resurrection, and they saw Him ascend into heaven and they were qualified to bear witness of Him to the ends of the earth.
Within 30 years after the death of Christ, the gospel had been carried to all parts of the known world. Churches were started in Jerusalem, Antioch, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, and Rome. The gospel had spread in Arabia, Asia Minor, Greece, Macedonia, Italy, and Africa. All this accomplished by men who were mostly fishermen. They didn’t have wealth, armies or allies. With the exception of a few, they were uneducated men. They were taught by the Holy Spirit, armed with the power of God. That’s why they were able to spread the gospel, even in the face of deadly persecution. All of the disciples were martyrs (except John who was exiled on the Isle of Patmos). They were willing to give their lives to share the message of Christ.
So how do you share the message? Begin with prayer. Pray for your neighbors, your family, pray for the people you work with, pray that God gives you opportunities to share your faith. Before you try to introduce someone to the Gospel, get to know them! Do stuff together, invite them over for dinner or have coffee. Share your interests. Go to the movies. Go hunting, fishing or camping together. Play golf or go shopping together. Invite them to church.
Jesus spent more time building relationships - eating and drinking with people than anything else! Follow his lead! You may be able to only work with a few at a time. Jesus concentrated on 12 disciples, and three were his inner circle, and then only John is described as the disciple who he loved.
Remember a witness is one who can give a firsthand account of something seen, heard or experienced. If you really have a relationship with Jesus, you have something to share. Simply share what your life was like before you met Christ, tell how you came to realize your need for Christ, explain how you accepted Christ and what happened, and then mention what Christ has done and is currently doing in your life.
If you are a Christian, then you're living proof that evangelism works. Here's what God has to say about the effectiveness of His Word.
The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. Isaiah 55:10-11