Final WitnessPosted: June 10, 2012
THIS WAS MY FINAL LESSON TEACHING THE “KERGYMA” YOUNG ADULTS CLASS!
Two weeks ago, I asked you a cosmic question, “Who is worthy to rule the universe?” ANSWER: The best leader – Jesus Christ! Last week, I challenged you to be Good News to people – “to live a life worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:27) This being my final day of teaching you, I want to leave you with a question: Are you a witness of Christ?
For the last number of years, we have tried to teach you the spiritual disciplines, wisdom from Ecclesiastes and Proverbs (remember, sin makes you stupid!), how to live pure in an impure world, who you are in Christ and most recently the life-changing Gospel and Kingdom of Christ through the Book of Luke. Luke wrote another book entitled ‘The Book of Acts.” If the Gospel of Luke emphasized the Acts of Jesus then the Book of Acts emphasizes not only the Acts of the Apostles but the acts of the Holy Spirit. Are you a witness of the Holy Spirit?
Luke was a witness of the Holy Spirit. Here is what he writes in Acts 1:1-8. “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach.” Notice that Luke writes to Theophilus. Theophilus means God-lover. Maybe you are interested in or new to loving God? If so, Luke wants to remind you that his gospel was only the BEGINNING of what Jesus did and taught. In other words, Jesus is still doing and teaching us things through His Spirit. Do you believe that?
If you don’t believe, what proofs do you need? Acts 1:3 declares, “After His suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.” Do you believe that Jesus rose from the grave? I not only believe that Jesus rose from the grave because the Bible declares it so and the apostles were willing to die for that truth (Acts 4:8-13), but I believe that Jesus rose from the grave because of change Jesus has made in life. I used to be so self-focused but as I surrendered my life to Christ, I see that selfishness dying in my life. The Kingdom of God has come to bear in my life. Jesus is my king.
However, Jesus being my king means He must lead and I must follow. We must wait for the Holy Spirit to lead us. This is one of our greatest tasks in life – waiting! I don’t like to wait. I like to go. Even the process of purchasing a new house reminds me that I am impatient. I want this deal done. However, often we find doors that were just open now are closed. Waiting produces watching for the Lord to act. Without waiting, we would think that we can live life without God. That God does not need to be relied upon each day. Waiting brings our true agendas to the surface. We get frustrated and disappointed. We wonder: when am I going to find my guy or girl let alone get married? When am I going to get that job or promotion? But it is in the waiting that we learn what is really going on in our hearts. If we will take the time and ask the Lord, why am I so angry for losing out on this desire? Why am I frustrated? Why am I disappointed? What goal did I really have, even though I rationalized my pursuit was God’s will?
The disciples were exposed when they asked Jesus the question, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom of Israel?” (Acts 1:6) Why would they ask that? “The question in verse 6 appears to have been the last flicker of their former burning expectation of an imminent, political theocracy with themselves as its chief executives.” They thought that by being the 12 chosen ones that they would be heads over the tribes of Israel. We might start to think that the disciples were power-hungry but our hearts mimic theirs. Don’t you wish that someone would give you the position and power to right wrongs in the world (especially those done to you and your peeps) and that you would be king or queen of the hill?
Jesus tells the disciples that they should not be concerned about the times or seasons but instead we should be His witnesses. I want to correct your thinking today if you are waiting for God to restore something in your life and are just taking it easy. God is not looking for His people to be in the witness protection program. God is not on stage saying, “Can I get a witness?” He’s not asking a question at all! God looking for is not looking for volunteers. Why? Volunteers tend to “unvolunteer” as quickly as they volunteer. In contrast, those who are called stay when it gets tough. He is proclaiming, YOU WILL BE MY WITNESSES! This is why Jesus uses the middle voice in His declaration. Jesus is promising that He Himself will make His disciples be His witnesses. It is HIS work! Nothing helps me more to know through the trials that Jesus called me and if He called me, He will be with me. And if He is with me then He will get through whatever trial I face.
These trials create witnesses! You were a bystander (though not an innocent one) of a divine-human collision. This collision was at the Cross where grace ran head long into the rebellion of the human heart. It was meant to draw you and now you are not merely a spectator but a recipient of God’s grace. To use another analogy, you are like a fan watching a Blue Jays game at Rogers Centre in Toronto, when all of sudden you go from watching (witnessing) the game to participating as a foul ball comes your way. What are you going to do duck, scatter or reach up and catch the ball. If you receive the ball coming at you, something you did not initiate yourself, and then catch it, all eyes will be momentarily on you. Other fans will cheer. Maybe you will even get a Jumbotron shot or TV cameo? It is the same with God’s grace, you didn’t initiate it. You just received it when others ran away. And for that moment (the Bible calls this your life which is like a vapour), all eyes in heaven and on earth on you. Will catch the ball? Will catch grace? Even better, will pass the ball to others like the fan who gives the ball to the kid next to them?
So I ask you, ARE YOU A WITNESS OF CHRIST? What are witnesses? Witnesses testify to the truth of their experiences! Have you experienced Jesus? If you have, you are required by Jesus to come forward and testify to what Jesus has done. “Salvation is given to be shared.” But who wouldn’t want to testify to what Jesus has done for them? Let’s do that now! We prepared you three weeks ago with the question, what do you want Jesus to do for you? Do you know the answer to that question? Maybe Jesus has already begun to do it for you? Let’s testify and be Christ’s witness now and until He comes back!
 F.F. Bruce, The Book of Acts – The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1974), 38.
 John R.W. Stott, The Message of Acts (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 39.