Christian Witness

Study 9. Whom Should I Tell?

(A LOOK BACK)

1) According to Philippians 4:6 what should the believer do, when he is anxious and worried?

2) Why do some Christians fail to receive help from the Lord (James 4:2b)?

INSIGHT: Christ called upon His followers to tell others what they had seen and heard while they were with Him--especially concerning His death and resurrection (Luke 24:46-48). This they did faithfully (Acts 2:32; 4:33).

Today Christians are to be witnesses for Christ in a slightly different way. None of us was there to walk and talk with Jesus while He was on earth. But we do have vital information to share.

3) The Apostle Paul was not likely converted until a couple of years after Christ's ascension. But what did God call him to testify to (Acts 22:15)?

INSIGHT: A witness is one who has personally seen or heard something, and is called to testify about it before others. It is a person who can give a first-hand account of something that happened to him. If you have personally trusted in Christ as your personal Saviour, you have a message to share with others.

4) What did Jesus tell a man one day that might be applied to each believer (Mark 5:19)?

INSIGHT: Talking with others about the Lord and His blessings in our lives is a witness to His goodness and grace.

5) What is the most basic blessing each child of God can tell about (Psalm 96:2b; 107:2)?

INSIGHT: The word "gospel" means good news. In a day of constant bad news, the Christian has the best news of all to share: how it is possible to have one's sins forgiven and to come into a personal relationship with God.

6) How did Paul feel about sharing this kind of information (I Corinthians 9:16)?

INSIGHT: A pond that has water flowing into it, but no water flowing out, will soon become stagnant. And believers who experience God's blessings, and never tell others about the Lord and how He is working in their lives, can become stagnant Christians.

INSIGHT: The Lord Jesus called upon His followers to be both "salt" and "light" in the world (Matthew 5:13-14). We are light-bearers when we share the good news of God's plan of salvation, or when we allow others to see something of what God is like through our life and behaviour.

7) By its very nature, what is a light is designed to do (Matthew 5:15)? And what should not be done with a light?

INSIGHT: Salt is often used as a preservative. We become "salt" when we take a stand for moral principles and speak out against injustice and wrong. This too is a part of the Christian's "witness."

8) What else can be an aspect of his witness (Matthew 5:16; or see John 13:35)?

INSIGHT: Sometimes the believer's witness is compared to gardening or farming in the Scriptures.

9) What lessons are there for us in this comparison, as suggested by the following verses (I Corinthians 3:5-6; and Mark 4:14)?

INSIGHT: Though Christians need to share what the Lord has done for them personally, it is not their experience that should be the focus. We are not to glorify ourselves. Nor are the events in our lives what gives a testimony its authority. What happened to us is simply a means of pointing others to the promises of God in His Word. As Paul tells the Philippians, we are to "shine as lights in the world, holding fast the Word of Life" (Philippians 2:15-16).

10) What was David determined to boast about (Psalm 34:2)?

INSIGHT: In the Hebrew language, the word for "boast" is hallel. Our English word "Hallelujah!" comes from it--an expression of joyful praise to God. That is the kind of "boasting" that pleases God and helps others most.

11) Not only is the word "witness" used of how the Christian is to represent Christ. What other word is used of him (II Corinthians 5:20)?

12) Such a person does not speak and act in his own interests. Whom does he represent? And how is this a picture of the Christian?

INSIGHT: There will always be those who disagree with our witness. Some because they mistakenly follow an erroneous set of beliefs. Others because they believe that, as the saying goes, "all roads lead to Rome"--that it doesn't really matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere. This may be a comforting thought, but it is not what the Bible teaches.

13) What does Jesus say about the idea of there being many ways to God (John 14:6; compare I John 5:11-12, or Acts 4:12)?

INSIGHT: One day, Christ healed a blind man (John 9:6-7). The Jewish leaders (the Pharisees) later questioned the man. They opposed Jesus and wanted to find something they could hold against Him.

14) What accusation did the Pharisees make against the Lord Jesus (John 9:24)?

15) What was the response of the formerly blind man (verse 25)?

INSIGHT: It is clear the healed man knew little about Christ. He later learned more (John 9:35-38). But his words are an encouragement to those of us who hesitate to witness for Christ because we don't know enough. He simply testified to what he did know!

It is not necessary to know the answer to every difficult Bible question in order to speak a word for the Lord. (Sometimes, we can agree to do some research, and give an answer later.) In any event, it is not usually helpful or productive to argue over minor points on which good Christian people differ (Romans 14:1). We should focus on what we know of Christ, and the central truths of God's Word.

16) What is the reason some do not speak up about what the Lord has done for them (John 12:42-43)?

17) What is the danger when we try to please everyone, and not say anything others would find disagreeable (Luke 6:26; Galatians 1:9-10)?

18) What is one thing the Christian can do if he is nervous and fearful about speaking to someone about the Lord (Acts 4:29; or see Ephesians 6:18-19)?

19) What encouragement has the Lord Jesus given us (Matthew 28:20b)?

20) Why was the Apostle Paul not ashamed of the gospel (Romans 1:16)?

INSIGHT: Sometimes unbelievers will see evidence of our faith in God in our conduct, or realize that somehow our approach to life is different. They may be curious to know why, and this can provide an opportunity to share.

21) What should the Christian be prepared to do (I Peter 3:15)?

INSIGHT: To "sanctify the Lord God [or sanctify Christ as Lord]" in one's heart means to give Him His rightful place in our lives, by living in obedience to His Word. Peter recognizes that sometimes Christians will be ridiculed or persecuted for their faith in Christ. In such a case, they are not to retaliate or try to get revenge (I Peter 2:21-23). And they are make sure that the criticism is not due to actual wrong-doing I Peter 4:14-16).

22) What attitude should the Christian have toward criticism and harassment that comes simply because of his faith in Christ (I Peter 4:12-13)?

INSIGHT: Sometimes a person's witness is rejected because he has a wrong attitude, or uses a poor approach. Such things as spiritual pride, rudeness, or harsh criticism of others, can turn people off. Christians need to speak with humility, and a gracious loving spirit.

In John Chapter 4 an incident is recorded that can be helpful in this regard. There Jesus speaks graciously with a worldly woman about how she can have eternal life.

23) How does the Lord Jesus make contact with a Samaritan woman (John 4:5-7)? And what lesson is there in this concerning Christian witness?

24) Why did Jesus' words surprise the woman (John 4:9)? And is there a lesson here relating to Christian witness?

25) How does Jesus make use of the situation and the interests of the woman to direct her attention to spiritual things (John 4:10)? And once again, is there a lesson here for us?

26) Did the woman understand what Jesus meant by this (John 4:11)? What assumption did she make?

INSIGHT: The Old Testament speaks of drawing water from "the wells of salvation" (Isaiah 12:3). In that hot, dry climate, water was precious. Its presence sustained life. For this reason, it made a helpful symbol of the life-giving work of the Spirit in bringing salvation to the heart (John 7:37-39). However, it is unlikely the woman knew of Isaiah's words. Nor did she completely understand, even after Christ explained further (John 4:13-15). But His words impressed her, and awakened a desire to learn more. She hurried to call others to come and hear the message (John 4:28-30).

27) What was the result of this (John 4:40-42)? What final encouragement do you draw from this?

INSIGHT: Even the great Apostle Paul did not rely on his speaking ability to win converts to Christ. He admitted to being subject to "weakness, fear, and...much trembling." But in spite of this he presented a basic gospel witness concerning, "Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (I Corinthians 2:2-3).

28) If Paul was weak and fearful, how did his message come to have such a powerful impact (I Corinthians 2:4-5)?


HELP IN SHARING CHRIST

It is possible to explain the plan of salvation to others using mainly verses from the book of Romans. This is sometimes called "The Romans Road." It might be worthwhile to highlight or mark these verses in your Bible, so you can find them more easily. Here are four basic truths concerning the plan of salvation that can be found on the Romans Road.

1) Man's Condition: all are sinners (Romans 3:23);

2) Sin's Penalty: the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23a);

3) God's Provision: Christ has paid the penalty of sin for us (Romans 6:23b; compare 5:8);

4) The Needed Response: the one who calls on the Lord in faith will be saved (Romans 10:9, 13).

Beyond Romans, the fact that Christ died for our sins is emphasized in other passages (see I Corinthians 15:3; I Peter 3:18). The need for personal faith in Christ as Saviour is clearly taught in other passages as well (see John 1:12; 3:16, 18, 36; compare 14:6; I John 5:11-12).