Lessons for Witnessing

The New Testament Church

Lessons for Witnessing

 

Acts 3:1-5 (ESV) ~ Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them.

 

This is the church’s first recorded miracle. God was now ready to reach another great harvest of souls. It was now time to attract the attention of the people, so He reached down and healed a single man, a man whom everyone knew, and filled the man so full of the Holy Spirit that he just went wild with excitement and joy. Such a miracle and behavior naturally attracted the attention of the public.

 

Note: the miracle was more than just a miracle. It was a sign, a demonstration of two things.

  • Jesus is alive. His power is just as active upon earth today as it was when He walked upon earth.
  • Jesus is now working through His followers. Through them, He is reaching out to save and heal the world. His followers are now His instruments, His emissaries, His ambassadors, His representatives, His messengers, His witnesses to a world lost in suffering and death, sin and shame.

 

In this first recorded miracle of the church, God is demonstrating His power, and bearing witness through His followers. In so doing, He has given us some of the greatest lessons on witnessing to be found anyplace.

Jesus is now working through His disciples. This is one thing Jesus wants people to know. His presence and His power are still at work, still available to men. His great love and concern for the world is still being manifested through the lives of His disciples. In fact, Jesus has…

  • No feed but our feet
  • No hands but our hands
  • No voice but our voice

 

If we do not go and do and speak the work of God, His work does not get done. Note four significant lessons.

  • Jesus works through those who are faithful in prayer
  • Jesus works through those who look and see the desperate need of the suffering, both those who suffer in spirit and body. How many years had this man been sitting there begging? He had been a cripple for over forty years. Imagine! Forty years or more, a cripple from birth, never having walked a single step. Had he been carried and placed at the temple’s entrance to beg…10? 20? 30?
    • He was not even looking up at Peter and John when he asked for alms (Acts 3:4). Years of having people look the other way had taught him he was different and did not fit in. From the first, even as a small child, he had probably grown into a shy, withdrawn, embarrassed person, a person unable to look people in the eye.
    • The point is this: the man was hurting within as well as without. He was a living picture of so many in the world . . .
      • persons who are wounded and suffering so much (both within and without) from the neglect of men—from an unconcerned and selfish and hoarding world—from a world that will not let go and share what it has with those who do not have.
    • But even more critical …
      • persons who are suffering so much from the neglect of God’s people, the very people who profess to know the love and care of God for all, and yet who act just as unconcerned and selfish and hoard just as much as the world.
    • The needs exist and abound. They are all around us. Jesus can work only through the people who see the desperate needs of hurting men.
  • Jesus works through those who fasten their eyes upon the need. It is not enough just to see the desperate needs of the world—just to see a person hurting and suffering. A person must stop and fasten his eyes upon the need. The word for “fastening his eyes” (atenisas) means fixed attention; an earnest, intense gaze, continuous, stedfast attention. It is seeing the need and focusing upon it. It is continuing to focus one’s . . . sight, concern, attention. Peter looked and saw the man in need and would not look away. He could have looked away and just passed by the man. Most people did, but not Peter. He was now indwelt by the Spirit of God, and he was on earth to meet the needs of the world for the Lord. Therefore, he fastened his attention upon the man, being full of concern and compassion.
  • Jesus works through those who reach out to meet the need.
    • It is not enough to see the needs of the world.
    • It is not enough to fasten one’s attention upon the needs of the world.
    • Just seeing and being concerned over the needs of the world does not meet the needs. Peter acted; in fact, he did something dramatic. The need existed; it was there. He knew the Lord cared, and he was the representative of the Lord. It was up to him to show the Lord’s care.
    • The words of Peter demonstrated that…
      • he had a sure confidence that he himself belonged to God; he was God’s representative.
      • he had a plan to help the man.
      • he had an expectancy, a genuine faith that God would help him to meet the need.
      • he had a willingness to act, to reach out by faith and meet the need.

 

John 4:35 (ESV) ~ Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.
 
Pastor Andy Lambert

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