How many times do we want to share the LORD with other people and have no clue what to say or how? There are so many different instructional books or recommendations on how to do this (most of them containing very good strategies). I would like to suggest that the Word of God spoken by a redeemed child of God is the best way. Just as the Word of God is found in different languages and versions, your declaration of faith in Biblically described risen LORD is a version that God sends to people. One of the challenges is understanding what part of this precious relationship should be communicated. I’m not sure we should be stressing the benefits of the relationship over the truth of who He is and yet, certainly the benefits are part of the relationship as are the obligations. Since Christ told us to share the gospel, we should know the Word of God’s definition of the gospel.
Do we want what Christ wants and if so do we think we need to repackage it?
As we navigate this topic, we will discover the LORD has provided methodology for witnessing which includes these principles: (1) How to share; (2) What to say; (3) Where to find the content; (4) Why we are accountable to witness; and, (5) When/Timing.
Studying the difference between the actual gospel as per the Scripture versus focusing on the impact the gospel has had on my life has had a significant influence on my perspective. It has convicted me in some areas and has warmed my heart in others bringing encouragement. With the LORD’s help, I will be able to be more fruitful in witnessing, motivated by His unfailing love and grace towards me. It is my prayer that this blog helps someone who is challenged by sharing their faith.
A resource containing Scripture that correlates fulfilled prophecy with the gospel can be located at: https://desiringfruitfulness.ca/choices in addition to a chart with Scripture addresses contained later in this blog. These resources are not exhaustive but can be a great place to start!
How to Share
The “Word of Life” is to be Spoken by God’s Design
Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with reading Scripture silently, we can observe Scripture has an emphasises on speaking the Word and hearing it that is worth exploring for ourselves. This may seem like a strange place to start, yet throughout Scripture, God’s covenant was spoken by Him and His people.
- “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. – John 6:63 NKJV
- How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. – Romans 10:14-17 NKJV
Old Testament Scripture pre-existed the incarnation of Christ and many of the Jewish people were literate. Religious life was significant for the majority of Jews so most of them would have been well educated on Tanakh (Hebrew bible containing the Torah, Prophets and writings) that were compiled between the 8th – 1st centuries B.C. Please notice that although the Scripture laid out facts about the Messiah, no-one came to identify our LORD as the Messiah without the preaching/proclamations of John the Baptist and Jesus (John 1:7, 26, 32-34, 36; John 3:27-28; John 5:36-39).
Even with preaching and miracles, many could not receive Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah; although, they likely could have accepted Him as a prophet. John the Baptist and Jesus both taught that no person could receive the revelation without Divine intervention from heaven.
- “I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ – John 1:33 NKJV
- “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. … “It is written in the prophets, ‘And t-hey shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. – John 6:37, 45 NKJV
- “as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. … “For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. – John 17:2, 8 NKJV
God chose “preaching” the truth of Scripture as the way to reach those He would draw by the Holy Spirit.
- For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. … But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; – 1 Corinthians 1:21, 27 NKJV
We should not feel badly for sharing a gospel tract or some sort of document that presents Jesus because it is seed sown. Sharing literature is good as a tool and God is faithful to His Word; He will send others to water the seed of a gospel tract. That said, the LORD desires His disciples to confess Him boldly out loud to others and to be open about our faith so these tools are not a substitution for the believer’s declaration of the Word of God. I am praying that I will become more bold (Acts 4:13, 29, 31; Acts 13:46) and increasingly intentional regardless of any personal discomfort.
- That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. – 1 John 1:1-3 NKJV
THE How WIND Up: Share boldly (without shame or fear) out loud to others
IS REFRAINING FROM WITNESSING PRIDE OR FEAR?
– OR – IS IT THAT OUR FOCUS MOSTLY ON THE THINGS OF THIS LIFE?
What to Say
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” – John 8:58 NKJV
The “Word of Life” Contains All Answers
Sometimes not knowing what to say can create a fear of looking bad or of being shunned by others. Please read 1 Corinthians 15:3-9 (out loud and slowly if you wish). Now let’s observe what the Bible defines as the gospel. Next observe that Scripture is the first evidence for the gospel, and the believers’ experiences bear witness to the Scriptural claim.
There is nothing we can say that will convince someone to accept Jesus Christ their Saviour and LORD. Our own ideas can make someone inquisitive but our words do not draw a person to the LORD and can sometimes misrepresent Him.
As a human being, our Saviour spoke the Eternal Word of God and He did so very purposely and repeatedly by using various words in response to people’s needs. He also declared the Word of God broadly to anyone who would listen. The concepts and principles came from One Truth; He spoke the Words He heard His Father say (John 8:28; John 12:49-50; John 14:10). When Jesus commanded His followers to preach the gospel, He expected(and still expects) them to preach what He preached concerning Himself and His Father. The consistent theme was on eternal life through Him; that He was the great I AM.
- And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. – John 6:35 NKJV
- Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” – John 8:12 NKJV
- “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9
- “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. – John 10: 11 NKJV
- Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. – John 11:25 NKJV
- Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. – John 14:6 NKJV
- “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. … “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. – John 15:1, 5 NKJV
Jesus’ spoke to with intentionality; He purposely invited conversation and then directed the conversation towards discussion about spiritual life. He used concepts and Scripture that were relevant to His audience. For example, gentiles understood His teachings from the natural sense and the Jews understood the meaning from the Mosaic Covenant with the sacrificial system and worship in the Tabernacle. The LORD’s Words were fruitful wherever He intended them to be fruitful throughout the ages. There were times when the LORD spoke in parables to either illuminate or veil the meaning; whenever it was veiled, there was a reason (Matthew 13:10, 13, 34-35; Mark 4:2).
When we are being relevant to a non-believer we cannot conform to their attitudes nor practices. On the contrary. We addressing their situations with responses from Scripture and we explain why we believe the Scripture is the truth. We keep eternity in mind.
Jesus taught that He was at the centre of Worship, the only Way to the Father for eternal life, and the Source of everything needed in this life. When considering the seven “I am” statements in the book of John, we realize how Christ ensured the Jews could see the parallel with the Torah although many did not accept the teaching. As new covenant believers we should understand that all Scripture is God breathed and testify about Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 3:16; John 1:45; John 5:45-46) because Jesus is the declared Word of God made manifest in human form (John 1:1-5).
- I AM the Bread of Life (Tabernacle Table of Shewbread; Pot of Manna)
- I AM the light of the world (Tabernacle Menorah)
- I AM the door (Tabernacle Door)
- I AM the good shepherd (Tabernacle Altar of Sacrifice; Aaron’s Rod that budded)
- I AM the resurrection and the life (Tabernacle Mercy Seat)
- I AM the way, the truth, and the life (Tabernacle Ark of the Covenant)
- I AM the true vine (Tabernacle Laver)
In addition, Jesus’ Words and actions had to fulfill the prophecies about Him as evidence that He was the eternal plan of salvation from God. Scripture is the historical record inspired by the Holy Spirit that reveals what mankind can digest about God’s thoughts and character based on interactions with Him; Scripture also foretells the future of human history.
Just as Jesus quoted from Scripture, we need to be able to know the Scripture well enough to share it in ways that others can understand (paraphrasing when needed) WITHOUT compromising/changing God’s Word. A life well lived may be evidence of the effects of relationship with our LORD, but it is the spoken Word of God that our LORD uses to bring revelation and illumination.
Also, please note that while Jesus did speak in the Synagogues, He witnessed out in the world. We should not have the expectation that church gatherings exist for the purpose of sharing the gospel to the unchurched. Certainly people have given their lives to the LORD in a church setting but the responsibility of preaching the Word to non-believers is one that is shared by all believers. The purpose of church gatherings is to glorify God, to worship corporately as a body, and to strengthen each other so that we can go out into the world and preach the gospel (Mark 16:15).
Believers: Our purpose is to glorify God in all we do and mission is to evangelize. Biblical illiteracy is on the rise. Most people are not aware of the dates of ancient prophecies and Christ’s fulfillment of them. Are you willing to challenge them with rationalizing these mathematical improbabilities in a friendly and respectful conversation?
Agreeing with the identity of Jesus Christ does not necessarily save someone. There are examples in Scripture where demons identified Jesus as the Son of God (Matthew 8:29; Mark 3:11; Luke 4:41; Acts 16:16-18). Scripture says demons believe and they are not saved; they tremble.
To accept God’s gift of eternal life, a person must believe that Jesus, the Son of God died for sin and rose again on the third day and thereby submit to His LORDSHIP by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. We know this but do they understand? Do many think that they say the “majic words” and “be a good person” and all is well? Can someone who is saved disagree with the Word of God?
Sin is that which does not conform with God’s character and it separates us from Holy God. God’s character is expressed in His Word.
The reason the gospel must include the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ unto salvation is because God desires that we believe God who is He says He is and does exactly what He says and wills; that His Word is true. To not believe this is to doubt the character of God which is a great insult. In the garden of Eden, God’s goodness and His declared Word was doubted. What strategy: God used (1) His foreknowledge to demonstrate His eternality, and omnipresence by foretelling His plan of salvation, and then (2) mankind’s history verified His Word to be true. The presentation of fulfilled prophecy presents undeniable truth – and – the human heart will either submit to His Lordship or continue in its own desires for self rule.
God’s Character (in part): Holiness, Eternality, Mercy, Goodness, Omnipotence, Grace, Omnipresence, Omniscience, Immanence, Righteousness, Immutability, Self-Existence, Justice, Sovereignty, Love, Transcendence
Our personal testimonies are a witness to His Word and His influence on us. Our testimonies are to be shared but not replace of the gospel .
- that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9 NKJV
THE What WIND UP: Use everyday life situations as an opportunity to respond with Scripture about the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3-9 & John 3:16-19. Jesus used a request for water at a well to preach to a lady about eternal life and reveal who He was (John 4).
Are we intentional about drawing someone into conversation about Christ?
Where to Find Content
The “Word of Life” is Perpetuated Through Narration of Prophecy
How wonderful it is to have the ancient prophesies that point to this passage in one book, our Holy Bible. It is important to know why these Scriptures are so key. When opposing forces try to cast doubt into our hearts, a quick review of the miraculous fulfillment can quickly silence any debate. It is also vital to our own relationship with the LORD (to believe Him). And finally, these Scriptures help us have meaningful discussions with others. (Scriptural addresses for prophecies supporting 1 Corinthians 15:3-9 are located in chart format at the end of this section for reference or personal study). The disciples referred to Scripture (and sometimes the prophet) although they did not have an indexed cannon as we have. Let’s take a look at 1 Corinthians 15:3-9 again because Scripture states this is the gospel.
- For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. – 1 Corinthians 15:3-9 NKJV
We cannot assume people will put together the fact that Scriptural prophecy spans thousands of years. Another way of saying “according to Scripture” can be:
- just as the Scriptures that were written hundreds and thousands of years earlier had said would happen; or,
- just had God had been saying to people through prophets for thousands of years”.
There are so many prophecies so it we should read them and allow the Holy Spirit to bring them back to our memories when needed. Having ready access to resources/list of Scripture is helpful especially when we use them in discussion.
The word “delivered” in this passage is παραδίδωμι paradídōmi which means “to perpetuate the knowledge of events by narrating them” according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon as seen in Luke 1:2 and 1 Corinthians 11:23.
Christians are to perpetuate the knowledge of Christ’s fulfillment of prophesy by narrating Scripture.
Jesus is our prime example:
- Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. “And you are witnesses of these things. – Luke 24:44-48 NKJV
Once we are aware of the prophecies, witnessing can become exciting because we have compelling evidence that demonstrate the mathematical improbability for a person through his own doing to have matched the prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Consider how Jesus Christ fulfilled prophecy in lineage, birthplace, time, death along with the way He lived His life with documented healings, care for the poor, zeal for the House of the LORD and observance of all Feasts and Laws of the Torah. Could a human being have arranged all of this?
The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus were witnessed by:
- disciples who were willing to die for their belief (including His half-brother who at first did not believe);
- 500 hundred people at once with the majority of them still alive when 1Corinthians 15:6 was written; and
- Paul who earlier sought to suppress Christ followers before he was transformed by His encounter with Christ and later died for his faith.
The following represent just a few of the prophesies that were fulfilled:
THE Where WIND UP: Make/acquire a list of evidentiary old testament Scripture for Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection (be aware of the century of origin and fulfillment).
Do we feel limited in our abilities to communicate the gospel?
Do we understand what God expects us each of us?
Why We Are Accountable
The “Word of Life” is the Fulfillment of Good Tidings
Some might feel that witnessing or sharing the gospel is a call to people who serve in the ministry office of pastor, evangelist, or teacher. This is not the case. Jesus called ordinary people to become disciples and then He added a well educated Pharisee man named Paul His resurrection.
Let’s think about what our LORD and Saviour redeemed us from our desire to transgress the Holiness of God and His declared Word; this desire to rebel against God is the human sin nature that is innate. After Jesus’ ascension, the Holy Spirit was given to us as Divine intervention to overcome the sin nature. The betrayal, arrest, trial, horrific crucifixion, burial, resurrection, and ascension were fulfilled as only God could orchestrate. This was a significant accomplishment.
God so desired relationship with His creation because of His great boundless love, He fulfilled His master plan to resolve sin and create the covenant required:
- a willing sinless Servant (the Messiah) who would be humble enough to be obedient to death on the cross;
- the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of people who hear the Word of Life throughout the ages;
- the evil in the world that was necessary to crucify the perfect Son of God; and,
- the all the character of God to be able to execute it.
We are accountable to share the good tidings of Christ’s finished work on the Cross because this is how we express His covenant with us: by loving Him above all else and loving others as we love ourselves in Word and deed. At communion (the eucharist) we remember His new covenant with us and in witnessing we further demonstrate devotion through obedience to his command to make disciples.
Since our LORD loved and redeemed us with His very life while we were undeserving, and since our LORD chose you and I for His good pleasure – then why wouldn’t we want to be a part of the fulfillment of redemptive plan which includes many other souls for His glory?
- For thus says the LORD: “You have sold yourselves for nothing, And you shall be redeemed without money.” … Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men; So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they shall consider. – Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked—But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. – Isaiah 52:3, 13-15; 53:4-11 NKJV
When Jesus commanded us to share the gospel to the world, He literally meant to preach good tidings of God’s gift to mankind of the risen saviour; He meant to evangelize out in the world. Let’s take a look what the good tidings are as defined in Scripture.
The word for “gospel” in the Greek is euangelizō which means to evangelize.
Glad tidings/the gospel was prophesied in the old covenant/testament Scripture and then announced in the new covenant/testament Scripture.
Greek Word and Transliteration
preach the Gospel, bring glad/good tidings, declare glad tidings
gospel of Christ, gospel of God, gospel of the Kingdom
preach before the gospel
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace…, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom…. – Isaiah 9:6-7 NKJV
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; – Isaiah 61:1 NKJV
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. His delight is in the fear of the LORD, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; … – Isaiah 11:2-5 NKJV
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” – Luke 2:10-14 NKJV
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; – Luke 4:18 NKJV
Our inability to live perfect lives and our personality traits can detract people from the beauty and majesty of our loving LORD. Frequently, our attempts to lead lives that are pleasing to our Saviour appear as either “religious”, “judgemental”, or unintentionally “hypocritical”. Jesus said we were to be salt and light which means we have a role in communicating the Gospel with yielded lives that testify to the change that occurs by the power of the Holy Spirit in us.
- “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:13-20 NKJV
This makes all followers of Jesus Christ responsible for being light to the world; a city sent on a hill for all to see and that cannot be hidden. Scripture tells us that our good works that cause people to glorify God is how we are to let our lights shine. There are plenty of non-believers who do charitable work and their motivation is not to glorify God. They may do it because: it makes them feel good; it’s the right thing to do; it helps to gain approval or advantage from others; or, there is tax credit/benefit. The reason believers are to do good works is so that God is glorified.
- Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV
- And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. … And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, – Colossians 3:17, 23 NKJV
- If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 4:11 NKJV
This means that people need to understand the motivation for our good deeds; that our light is from God and is not hidden. Without understanding our motivation, they are unable to give God glory for the good works. If our works are not pointing to God, then we are no better than the Pharisees that Christ called “hypocrites” and “whitewashed tombs”.
- “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. – Matthew 23:27 NKJV
- “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. “Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. – Matthew 6:1-2 NKJV
Have we considered how serious our testimony is? Both our oral and observed testimony is to match the confession of our faith. Our faith is to be equivalent to the sum of all Scripture because Jesus said that Scripture testifies of Him. He also said that the Holy Spirit testifies of Him. Scripture and the Holy Spirit are in complete unity testifying of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. – John 5:39 NKJV
- “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. – John 15:26 NKJV
- And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” – Revelation 19:10 NKJV
- for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. – 2 Peter 1:21 NKJV
There are 2 Hebrew words used in the Old Testament for the word testimony and 3 Greek words in the New Testament. The word “testament” from Strong’s G1242 is translated as covenant (20xs) and testament (13xs) and are used in the following verses:
- “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. – Matthew 26:28 NKJV
- And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many. – Mark 14:24 NKJV
- Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. – Luke 22:20 NKJV
Using secular tools: (1) Oxford’s English dictionary says a testament is something that serves as a sign or evidence of a specified fact, event, or quality. (2) Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines testament as tangible proof or tribute or an expression of conviction.
In the Old Testament, the word for “testimony” often correlated with the declared Word of God, the Law, or covenant.
Strong’s Definition for G3140 means to be a witness, i.e. testify, give (evidence), bear record, have (obtain, of) good (honest) report, be well reported of, testify, give (have) testimony, (be, bear, give, obtain) witness.
- This has a close association with Strong’s G3144: μάρτυς mártys, a witness literally judicially or figuratively; a “martyr”:—martyr, record, witness.
- Martyrs in the New Testament were those who testified with true sincerity; and, while we know there were many “martyrs” for Christ, only 2 times (Acts 22:20; Revelation 2:13) did Scripture use this word to refer to those who endured a violent death as their testimony proving the genuineness of their faith in Christ.
Our testimony is about who Jesus Christ is, the Scripture is the evidence that is true, and the things that have happened in our lives is an encouraging manifestation of the truth. What we testify is to affirm what we have seen, heard and experienced as a result of Divine revelation or inspiration of Scripture. The following are a few Scriptures where G3140/testify/bear witness is used:
- But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.” – Acts 23:11 NKJV
- “Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come— – Acts 26:22 NKJV
- the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— – 1 John 1:2 NKJV
- And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. – 1 John 4:14 NKJV
- who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. – Revelation 1:2 NKJV
As believer we must make declarations by that Jesus Christ is the resurrected LORD using Scripture and allowing our fruit to bear witness to our testimony. Our testimony is the covenant of Jesus Christ’s shed for our redemption.
It is personal and not everyone can lay claim to this covenant; the “Word of Life” from our mouths confirms our covenant.
- “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. … “But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; “for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. … “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. … “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. … “Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. … “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. … “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. – Matthew 10:16, 19-20, 22, 24, 26, 28-33, 38-39 NKJV
These truly impacting Words of the LORD Jesus Christ are serious. The testimony we have is our covenant with Him. We need to honour it as sacred and fulfill it; we must not treat it as common or casual. We also know that Jesus tells us not to be rehearse what to say because His Spirit will guide us for each circumstance. We do not need an “elevator speech” to rhyme off; we need a relationship with our LORD, with His Scripture, with His Spirit. His presence will provide the words that bears witness of the Saviour. We need to ensure we understand what we believe and why so that we can communicate Christ’s covenant which was established by His death, burial and resurrection.
- “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. – John 14:19 NKJV
- “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. – John 6:57 NKJV
Also, please take note that like the sparrows: not a single Christian can die apart from the will of the Father. Therefore, if we are to suffer as a result of our testimony, the LORD will give us the grace to endure it. There can be different types of suffering we may need to endure from emotional to physical – and it is not in vain.
We have this blessed hope of eternal life because Jesus Christ accomplished prophesy and rose triumphantly over death to live eternally.
- But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NKJV
THE WHY WIND UP: We share the gospel because it is the confession of our covenant with the LORD which is expressed out of love and obedience. We are also to love others.
Is there ever a “right” or “good” time to witness to someone?
When or Timing
The “Word of Life” Creates the Proximity and Opportunity
The LORD draws people and prepares their hearts using a variety or circumstances, dreams, and people. And He requires His disciples to witness to those in the world (Mark 16:15; Acts 1:7-8). He does not require us to judge or determine whether they are predestined, whether they are ready, or whether they will laugh and scorn at the message. We are not responsible for saving people nor for their reaction to the message.
- “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, “so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; … “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, “because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” – Acts 17:26-27, 30-32 NKJV
We are responsible for be obedient to His Word and His Spirit. The following Scriptures provided examples of the Spirit directing to or away from people/places: (Acts 8:1-29; Acts 10:19; Acts 11:12; Acts 13:2-4; Acts 16:6-7; Acts 20:22-23; Isaiah 65:24; Hosea 6:3; 1 Corinthians 12:11; 1 Timothy 4:1).
A great example in of the LORD orchestrating the salvation is the account of Ethiopian eunuch and Philip (the deacon selected to be a leader in the church after Christ had ascended – not the apostle. Acts 6:2-7 ). Note that when Philip obeyed the Spirit of LORD, he did not have any details about his adventure nor about the eunuch. Wow!
- Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. The place in the Scripture which he read was this: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.” So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” – Acts 8:26-37 NKJV
When God saves us, He places us into an appointed a ministry with the appropriate gifts to accomplish the call. The call may be to local neighborhood, a place of employment, a special assignment to a set of people or geography, or within the local church. Anywhere we are is our mission field and we must be faithful in the moment to share Scripture about God’s plan of redemption and who the LORD is. We are to be intentionally strategic and we are to cease opportunities. This means we are praying for the LORD to send us individuals to witness to and to prompt us when we are to share. When opportunities arise to serve His Kingdom and the Holy Spirit prompts us to proceed, we are to heed the call. The main idea is that sharing the gospel should be present in our minds as we go about our daily activities. We should not let the urgent demands of the day deny or delay the eternal. This might mean completing the urgent while sharing the eternal or choosing the eternal over the urgent.
- But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; … For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, – 1 Peter 3:15, 18 NKJV
- Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. – Ephesians 4:15-16 NLT
THE WHEN WIND UP: We share the gospel whenever we can as led by the Holy Spirit.
Praise our Triune God took His Word seriously enough to save us!
Closing Remarks of Encouragement
The “Word of Life” is gospel of our salvation
Family of God, none of us are perfect. Even people in full-time vocational ministry miss the mark and miss opportunities. Following the Holy Spirit can be difficult when we are confronted by constraints and human limitations. I too am praying that the LORD further develops boldness in me with faithfulness to His priorities. I am praying that I yield to the Holy Spirit through His sanctifying work. The comfort I have is that if the LORD has called us to something or someone, He is more than capable of seeing that we accomplish His work. Faith and confidence should arise when we consider how our LORD fulfilled the thousands of years of prophesy despite the enemy’s attempts to thwart the purposes of God. This mighty God we serve used all things to bring out His will and He still does!
- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, … In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth–in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. – Ephesians 1:3-4, 7-14 NKJV
Praise the LORD!