Bible Verse: “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-2)
Scripture Reading: Acts 26:1-32
When Jesus told his first followers that they would be witnesses, what were they supposed to say about him in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth? What is the substance of the content that we are called to share with those who do not know Christ?
When we witness we begin with the person of Jesus. As God he has existed from all eternity, having no beginning and no ending. But Jesus, in some mysterious way that we humans cannot fathom, left for a time his place with the Father in heaven and came to earth to take on human nature. Over and over again Jesus is clearly presented as divine (John 1:1, Hebrews 1:1-4, Romans 9:5, Colossians 2:9). The remarkable miracles of healing and casting out demons… demonstrated his credentials as the promised Messiah whom the Jewish people had been awaiting for centuries.
Nevertheless, the Jews rejected Jesus and delivered him to the Romans to be crucified. After his death, his friends came and buried him in a garden tomb. On the third day after his death, he rose from the dead, to the amazement of his followers and the consternation of his enemies. After that he ascended into the heavens, where he now sits at the right hand of God the Father.
When we witness for Jesus we… need to point to the substitutionary nature of Jesus’ death, that his death was not in payment for his own sins (he had no sin), but rather that he died to pay for the sins of others. Then we need to teach that those who believe in Jesus as Saviour and Lord receive the amazing gift of an ongoing relationship with the Father whose love has been poured out upon them.
It is hard to overstate the importance of the resurrection of Jesus. Since Jesus had predicted it would come to pass, it proves that his words can be trusted. The resurrection also demonstrates that our own resurrection as believers is highly plausible.
The themes of faith and repentance, which are woven throughout the pages of the New Testament, are hugely important teachings we must not overlook as we share the Good News with lost people. From beginning to end, the New Testament teaches the crucial role of faith. Faith is simply reaching out to God to receive from him the salvation that he has made available in Jesus. By faith, we personally put trust in Jesus alone as the one who saves us from the guilt and condemnation of our sin.
Paul modelled in his preaching that repentance is [also] part of the Good News. For instance, when he was speaking to the Ephesians he said, “God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent” (Acts 17:30 NASB). Clearly Paul preached repentance as well as faith, and to turn from one’s sin was considered to be an integral part of the Good News.
— Royal Hamel in Unmuzzle Your Inner Sheep: Liberating Believers to Share Jesus ©2013. Used by permission.
Copyright © 2018 Promise Keepers Canada. All rights reserved.