- Sermon Notes
Walking as Witnesses
This week we are going to continue our study in the book Acts and center our study around walking as witnesses for Jesus Christ. The term “witness,” means to see, hear, or know by personal presence or perception. A witness gives testimony base on what they know. And in Acts 1:8, Jesus tells His disciples that they would be His witnesses in both their local community and throughout the world.
As we opened to Acts 1 we saw in verse 3 that Jesus had spent 40 days with His disciples. They were going to be His witnesses, and it was important they were well informed witnesses.
Acts 1:3, To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of things regarding the kingdom of God.
Jesus, after His resurrection focused His time on bringing convincing proofs to His disciples, appearing to them throughout those forty days while speaking to them about the kingdom of God. And convincing proofs they would need because they were the ones who had been given the commission in Matthew 28:18-20 to go to all the nations, baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and while they would go, they would need to know that lo, He was with them always, even to the end of the age.
These disciples were going to be His witnesses to the world. They would tell the story of Jesus, preach, teach, write about and tell the world who Jesus was, and what His life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension was all about.
He had told His disciples in Matthew 28, that they were going to go to all the nations, but they may have thought, how could this possibly be? They were in a world that had largely rejected Jesus, yet they were to tell of Him. How would this be possible?
Illus. Start with you!
Acts 1:8, But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.
- Be Reliant on the Power of the Spirit
- Last week we studied the verse leading up to verse 8, what they mean, say, and what they mean for us today.
- No doubt, the disciples would have felt they were ready to go and minister, go and make disciples of all the nations.
Acts 1:4-5, Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
- Jesus had walked with and prepared them for 3 years, then after His resurrection an additional 40 days, but here Jesus tells them to wait, because they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
- Last week we studied the Holy Spirit and some truths about the Holy Spirit, and we will recap certain points this morning.
- First, the book of Acts will show the power of the Holy Spirit with, in, and upon believers in many powerful ways.
Illus. Recap from last week on the Holy Spirit.
John 14:25-26, These things I have spoken to you while remaining with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you.
John 15:26-27, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, namely, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you are testifying as well, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
- The word “Helper” written in the Greek, parakletos (par- ahh- klay – toss), which means one who is called alongside to help, to come to one’s aid. The word is translated helper, comforter, counsellor, advocate.
- Some truths regarding the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer:
- Believers are indwelt (He lives in), and sealed by the Holy Spirit…
- Through the Holy Spirit believers are gifted for service and worship.
- Believers will show fruit as they keep in step with Him.
- Believers will have an ongoing filling of the Spirit which could be quite dramatic.
- Last week I noted three specific ways the Holy Spirit works in our lives: He is with you, in you, and comes upon you.
John 14:16-17, I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, so that He may be with you forever; the Helper is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him; but you know Him because He remains with you and will be in you.
- The Holy Spirit “with you” is described as the Holy Spirit’s work to draw a person to salvation.
- John 16:8-11 Says that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgement.
- Sin is the truth about man, righteousness is the truth about God, judgment is the inevitable combination of these two truths.
- The word convict carries the idea of convincing, refuting, exposing.
- The Holy Spirit is working: For Christians, He is a helper, an advocate, and counselor, brings conviction of sin, and leads those who do know Christ to turn from it and receive the righteousness of God in Christ.
- So He is with us, before He is in us.
- Jesus said in John 14:17, the Holy Spirit would be in them, which at that time was going to be in the future.
- Jesus spoke to His disciples about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which appears in Scripture to be a one-time event associated with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, given to all 120 believers in Acts 1 and today, at the point of conversion.
- Baptism, baptizo, means to immerse in.
1 Corinthians 12:13, For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Ephesians 1:13-14, …having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
- For those who have received Christ as Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit in you is present reality!
1 Corinthians 3:16, Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
- In addition to indwelling, the Bible points us to an ongoing filling, or empowerment of the Holy Spirt.
- And as we see in Acts 1:8, Jesus says the Holy Spirit will come upon you.
- This empowerment, or filling of the Holy Spirit is seen in the Scriptures and in our lives and it can be quite powerful.
Acts 1:8(a), You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…
- The word used for power in Greek is dynamis is where we get our word dynamite.
- The Holy Spirit comes upon people or groups. This, in addition to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, is seen on the day of Pentecost and throughout the book of Acts (Acts 2, 4:8, 4:31, Acts 9, Acts 13).
- The Bible tells us to “be filled with the Holy Spirit” therefore it is something we should desire.
Ephesians 5:18, Do not get drunk with wine, in which there is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.
- Paul is writing about what has control, or precedence in your life, he wrote, be filled with the Spirit! This filling comes as we yield control in our lives to Him.
- We need to be filled with the Spirit and reliant on His power, because the Spirit will empower and enable us to live out our lives for Christ.
- The Spirit both indwells and fills. And though they may seem similar, I want to highlight the differences in our lives. To best describe the difference between indwelling and filling, I will use the terms residence and precedence.
- Residence is a place where a person lives, a dwelling place. Precedence is when someone or something takes priority and is of primary importance.
You get the Spirit.
The Spirit gets you.
You are converted
You are committed
Prepares you for heaven.
Enables you on earth.
Surrender your soul
Surrender your steps
Experience God’s pardon
Execute God’s plan
- Jesus said they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them. Power for what? He continued, “and you shall be My witnesses… even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Illus. Needed Power.
Zechariah 4:6, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.’”
- Be Willing Witnesses
Acts 1:8(b), …and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.
- The key phrase is in the verse is “be My witnesses.”
- Jesus says that is what His disciples, you, me, and all throughout history who are followers of Jesus are to be.
- Jesus didn’t say, and you shall go out and witness, you shall think about being a witness, rather, He said, you will “be my witnesses.
- Witnessing therefore, is not simply something we do, it is who we are. Interestingly, the word there for “witnesses” is martys, it is where we get our English word martyr.
- The word martyr is defined as a person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce their faith.
- A witness gives testimony based upon what they know. Jesus said that would be His witnesses, so they would tell the world what they know about who they know.
- Second-century theologian Tertullian says that the blood of the early church became their seed. Many were drawn to faith in Christ by observing how calmly and joyously Christians met their deaths.
Matthew 16:24, Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
- Jesus said, “you will be my witnesses.” That is who you are.
Illus. What does that mean practically?
Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
- We are a city, set on a hill, easily seen and here Jesus is telling us what He wants them to see…Our good deeds, so that they will glorify Him.
- Jesus said to the disciples, “you will be my witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.”
- And as the book of Acts unfolds, we will see the expansion of the church, with people empowered by the Holy Spirit, to move throughout the world.
- The way Jesus states it seems to me a ripple effect. Like a rock thrown into the water, and the water ripples of the water spread wider and wider.
Psalm 107:2, Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary.
- They were to start where they were and would be witnesses to the entire world.
John 3:16-17, For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.
We should be overjoyed at the opportunity to be His witnesses…
- Always be Looking to Carry Out Jesus’ Call
- After telling His followers what they were to be, Jesus ascends into heaven in a cloud.
- Jesus had said this would come (John 7:33, 16:28, 20:17, 14:2) and here He goes to the right hand of the Father. Romans 8:34 tells us He is there interceding for us.
- As He went, the disciples were gazing intently into the sky. As they are looking into the sky, two men, angelic messengers, ask, “why do you stand looking into the sky?”
- They remind them that Jesus is going to return, and just as He went to heaven, He will return to earth. In the clouds, in His glorified body on the Mount of Olives (Matthew 24:30, Zech. 14:4, Acts 1:12, Revelation 1:7).
- We do not know the day, or the hour (Mt. 25:13). But we, like the disciples, are called to be Jesus’ witnesses this hour! To the ends of the earth!
2 Corinthians 5:10, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive compensation for his deeds done through the body, in accordance with what he has done, whether good or bad.
Illus. Well done.
G. Campbell Morgan: Probably the vast majority of people are more influenced by what men will say, than by what God almighty thinks.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”