The Purpose Of The Holy Spirit (Part III): Empowerment For Witness

Introduction: The last conversation Jesus had with His disciples before He went back to heaven was known as the great commission? In Matthew 28:18-20 the Bible says "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen”. From this scripture, it is clear that the disciples of Jesus and every Christian have a mandate: to teach the word of God to all nations, and to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In other words, the mandate of God for us is to be a witness.

(Acts 1: 1 – 14)

1. Who is a witness? A witness is a person present at some event and is able to give information about it. A witness is a person giving sworn testimony. A witness tells all he has seen. A witness is a person whose existence attests or proves something. A witness has experiential knowledge of something. For example a person who has never gone through the experience of pregnancy and labor can never talk about the experience of child birth. A person who has never eaten an apple can never describe the taste. From these definitions, I see two ways by which one can be a witness: by seeing something or by experiencing something. An effective witness should be both.     
2. The example of the disciples: The disciples were the first to witness all that Jesus did. They had a first-hand experience of the miracles of God. They saw water turned into wine, they saw Lazarus and Jairus’s daughter raised from the dead. They saw the woman with the issue of blood healed from her infirmity. They saw all that Jesus did while He was with them in the world. That was their first level of witnessing.              
The second level of witnessing for the apostles was the experiential knowledge of the power of God. That was what made their witness effective. After spending three and a half years with Jesus, our Lord understood that the only way for the Apostles witness to be effective was to receive the Holy Spirit, so before He went back to heaven, He also told them about the second level of witnessing. In Acts 1:1-14, Jesus told them about the promise and the experience of the Holy Spirit which they must have before their witness could be effective. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down and they had an experiential knowledge of the power of God.  
3. Receiving Empowerment for witness:

a. Through prayer: The Apostles and the other believers were empowered by the Holy Spirit while they were in the upper room praying on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). We must cry out to God to receive empowerment for witnessing because we cannot do it by ourselves.            
b. Through the word: We need to study and understand the word of God in order to be effective witnesses. There are basic scriptures about witnessing that we should be familiar with, for example John 3:16, Romans 3:23, and 6:23.                
c. Through our life’s testimony: Apostle Paul said in II Cor. 3:2 that “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men”. Every child of God is an open letter or book that others are reading. What kind of message we are sending out with our life’s testimony will determine whether others will be attracted to Jesus or not. The Bible says we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We should therefore let our light so shine that others may see our good work and glorify our father in heaven (Matthew 5:13 -16).


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