The disciples were interested in times and the restoration of Israel. But the Lord’s will was that they be witnesses unto Him as they moved out, or were forced out, into an expanding area of opportunity. It has been suggested that the language of the passage supports the thought of “in their going” or everyday walk. As they moved along in their daily life they were to be witnesses of Him.
So too in our path, wherever that might take us – to foreign fields, to the work place, to the college campus, or to the grocery store – we are to be witnesses of Christ. This does not entail a constant “preaching,” but often it is simply by our actions, reactions, and attitudes that we set forth the presence and priorities of Christ in our lives. Witnessing might even be in the absence of words in situations when the unbelieving world would expect an outburst of complaint or argument. But ultimately it is the spoken message that points people to Christ, as John the Baptist did so well (Jn. 1:29). It may well include the printed and recorded word as we present the gospel through tracts, literature, CDs, and other means.
Much has been taught with regard to methods of witnessing – much of it helpful while some is simply fleshly, or human, wisdom. It is not some slick, “canned” presentation that profits; but a fresh, Spirit-led expression of Christ. Fresh is always better than canned!
There are two areas that are usually part of witnessing. One is conversation. We may talk about the weather, sports, and our aches and pains. The range of topics is endless. While our life is to be a witness in itself, we are not to be silent. Christ spoke to people! This is obvious with the woman at the well in John 4. It was also evident that He did not drive people away, except for the stubbornly self-righteous (Lk. 15:1). He was obviously personable and engaged in conversation.
Second, and the one we find most difficult, is transition. Christ of course did this perfectly with the woman. What started out in the natural realm, ended in the spiritual (Jn. 4:10). Look at these verses to see how a simple statement changed the conversation:
- “A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give Me a drink’” (Jn. 4:7).
- “So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’” (Acts 8:30).
- “Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are very religious’” (Acts 17:22).
Nothing canned here! This requires a sensitive ear, listening for the comment or question that provides the opportunity to transition into a spiritual conversation. Maybe to make the transition we can ask a question,
- “What do you think about life after death?”
- “Do you have any spiritual beliefs?”
- “Do you think the world will come to an end?”
- “What do you think of Christ?”
Another option is to make a statement, such as:
- “I believe in creation.”
- “Do you know that Biblical prophecies are one hundred percent accurate?”
Whether it was the Lord Jesus Christ, Peter, Philip or Paul, they all transitioned the conversation from the natural to the spiritual. Gospel tracts and other media are also excellent ways to do this.
In addition to a listening ear, witnessing requires the genuine desire to present Christ to a lost soul. It is not a contest to see who “leads the most people to Christ.” It is about presenting Christ in truth. That is what a witness to Christ does. How are you doing in this God-given position?
By Steve Hulshizer (Used by permission from Spread The Word, Inc., edited)