October 16, 2018

Witnessing to others

By a show of hands, how many of you witness to others?

By a show of hands, how many of you know what it means to witness to others?

Ok, well for those of you that do not know and for those that think they know but are not sure… witnessing to others means that you tell your story about how you found your way to Christ and what has happened in your life since.

Another way to witness (and this is the way you all witness every day without knowing) is how you act and deal with each situation you encounter every day.

This witnessing is what others see.

The worst ones that see you are the ones who talk about you. You know what I mean… “You know I saw ??? the other day, you know who I mean the one who calls them self a Christian… well if that is how Christian acts I sure don’t want to be one, they were cussing up a storm, talking about how so n so did them wrong…”

To give you an example, I will share my story.

"Ye Shall Be Witnesses Unto Me" (Acts 1:8)

Isa 43 " You are my witnesses is the utterance of the LORD

The dictionary defines ‘witness’ as having personal knowledge of something and giving testimony to it. Thus, one is an observer of an event and then is able to tell others what one has seen or heard. As Christians, we can witness to the knowledge we have of Jesus Christ and the meaning he has for our lives. Our response to simple questions such as “Do you go to church?” or “Are you a Christian?” is an opening to give witness to our faith. We can share with another what we know.

But, giving witness is even more than sharing what we know. The first Christian historian, Eusebius, defined witness in terms of the way one lived. He called it philosophou biou – a philosophy of life or more accurately, our way of life. We give witness by the way we live. John Wesley emphasized this through what is now known as “Wesley’s Rule”: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.” It is to live out the promise of the familiar song refrain: “They will know we are Christians by our love.”

The third understanding of ‘witness’ goes to the root of the word–literally. The Greek word that we translate for witness is martys from which we also receive the English word, martyr. To give witness, then, is to be willing to give our all for the Cause to which we testify. It is to take risks for the knowledge we have of Jesus Christ. Such witness brings others to the faith. It was Tertullian who first wrote that “the blood of the martyrs is seed.” When something is worth dying for, others want to know what it is.

How can we be witnesses? First, prepare. We need to gain clarity as to what our personal testimony is. How do we answer questions such as, “What does Jesus Christ mean to you?” or “Why do you believe in Jesus Christ?” or “Why do you belong to the church?” To give witness we need to be prepared to answer these kinds of questions. We might write what our answers are on a sheet of paper or compose a lyric to a song or paint a picture that expresses what Christ means to us. Second, practice. We should rehearse our testimony with brothers and sisters in the church. Why not start a meeting of the Administrative Council with one person sharing his or her faith story? Or, start any meeting of the church with someone giving witness to his or her faith in Jesus Christ? Thirdly, perform. Look for opportunities to give witness to your faith in word or action through daily living with the people you come into contact.