Our Men’s Fellowship has been discussing The Acts of the Apostles this past year. As I stated in my Pentecost sermon, this book should really be titled “The Acts of the Holy Spirit” as the amazing growth of the Church was really a result of the presence and work of the Spirit in the lives of the apostles. Still, the apostles had to follow the leading of the Spirit as they fulfilled our Lord’s command to be his witnesses. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NRSV)
If the growth of the Church was not only the result of the work of the Spirit but also the power of the apostles’ testimony, then it is good for us to consider the importance of being a witness.
Have you ever sat on a jury? I did when we lived in Wyoming and it was a very eye opening experience. The trial was a civil lawsuit, but with very little physical evidence, all we really had to go on was the power of the testimony given by the witnesses.
If we are not present when something important takes place, the only way we may know about it is if someone tells us. Often whether we believe such an eyewitness or not is influenced by what we know about the rest of that person's life. Is his or her testimony borne out by the evidence in his/her life? This is true, not only in the courtroom, but also for all of life.
On the day of Pentecost, some excited disciples burst forth from an upper room to tell all who would hear what God had done through Jesus (Acts 2).
From that day until today, people have come to believe the good news and know Jesus because other people have been willing to testify about what they have seen and heard and experienced in their own lives. Whether the Christian faith will continue to touch new lives, or decline in influence and relevancy, depends in part on whether we are willing to share the good news and be witnesses for God to the people around us.
The book of Acts and the experience of being on a jury remind us how important being a good witness is. Who have you told about Jesus in the past month? Have you invited someone to worship? Have you been a witness to the love of God present in your life? It is extremely important that what we do and how we live gives credibility to what we say.
As we continue from our celebration of Pentecost through the summer, I would encourage you to think about a question our Senior High Youth were asked several years ago, "If being a Christian was illegal, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"
Our Lord Jesus has called us to testify on his behalf. “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33 NRSV) Are we faithful witnesses?