Bible Verse: “So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” (2 Timothy 1:8)
Scripture Reading: Acts 5:17-42
For the Christian church of our time, witnessing has almost become a dirty word. Just hearing the word makes many believers want to hide. Since the Bible and the tradition passed down to us are so clear [that all followers of Jesus would be his witnesses], we might well wonder what has caused witnessing to have such a negative reputation.
Many Christians have faulty ideas about witnessing. The danger of such ideas lies in their power to deflect us from carrying out our mission.
Misconception 1: Witnessing Is Like Sales
Many people think of witnessing as akin to making a sale. Upon mastering a basic idea of your product (salvation), you seek our strangers, family members, or friends and perform a fast, one-sided presentation of truth, and then push for commitment. At a gut level we know how the average person feels about this type of pushiness, for we know how it makes us feel. There is good news for all of us – there are better ways of sharing the “Good News” of Jesus.
Misconception 2: Witnessing does Not Require Words
More than a few Christians today believe they can be “silent Christians for Christ.” They believe that people who see a genuine faith in action will ask questions, and then they can talk about their beliefs. People who think like this are stressing a vital truth. It is crucial that we who believe in Christ and the truth of his words should demonstrate that truth by our actions. Actions alone, however, will never be enough. The two concepts of a “lived out faith” and a “spoken faith” should never be put in opposition to one other.
Misconception 3: Witnessing Is Not Cool, So We Should Cool It
Many in the public square do not welcome Christianity. So should we Christians take note and stop talking about faith, since it is not culturally chic to do so? Some people rejected the gospel in the time of Christ. Others have done so in every generation since then. But just because sharing openly is not cool is no reason at all to back away from our obedience to Christ.
Misconception 4: Witnesses Are Never Afraid
Feeling some fear is normal in witnessing. When we feel fearful on the witnessing journey we may wonder what’s wrong with us or question why the help of the Holy Spirit did not materialize. However, if we see fear as normal, we are prepared to spiritually fight it and not be derailed from fulfilling our mission.
Misconception 5: Witnessing Can Be Avoided in Hostile Circumstances
Scripture teaches that those who believe in Jesus will speak openly about that relationship. [Jesus] prophesied that people would hate the apostles even as they hated him. And he predicted their coming persecution. Then right after this word of warning he unapologetically commanded them to witness to him. Suffering is to be expected. Its presence should be anticipated as part of the journey of obedience (2 Timothy 1:8).
— Royal Hamel in Unmuzzle Your Inner Sheep: Liberating Believers to Share Jesus ©2013. Used by permission.
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