This is the audio from the February 23, 2020 sermon, “A SIMPLE Witness”, shared by Tom Lemler at the Three Oaks Church of Christ.
Text: Acts 1:8
When Jesus was about to ascend into heaven, His final instructions to His followers was that they were to be His witnesses where they were and everywhere they would go. I believe that command is not just for those who were present that day, but to all of us who live as children of God. Since we have a tendency to complicate things and even act as if being a witness is the job of ministry professionals and missionaries, I used the word “SIMPLE” to outline how each of us ought to live as witnesses for Christ. The simplicity is more in the ability to understand rather than in the actual doing as most of these character traits require effort on our part and the work of God’s Spirit in us to accomplish them with effectiveness.
So, let’s take a look at what it takes to be a SIMPLE witness:
- A Serving Witness:
- 1 Peter 4:10, Mark 10:45 — In a world where people fight their way to the top so that others will serve them, our witness for Christ shines brightly when we learn to serve like Jesus. Jesus made it clear that His purpose on earth was to serve mankind in a way that brought salvation to all who would accept it. His teaching calls each of us to serve one another just as He humbled Himself and became a servant to all.
- An Including Witness:
- James 2:1, Romans 15:7 — If you’ve begun to make a list of who you will serve, you can go ahead and stop doing that. To be a witness for Jesus will require us to include everyone without partiality or favoritism when it comes to our willingness to accept and serve. Our acceptance of one another is not based on anyone’s goodness, other than the goodness of God, just as His acceptance of us is based solely on our choosing to be in Christ.
- A Motivated Witness:
- Hebrews 10:24, John 9:4 — One of the greatest tools of distraction when it comes to being a witness for Christ is the consistent lies of the enemy that it isn’t that important and now isn’t a good time. Most of us need a good “spur” appropriately placed in our life to motivate us to do what we ought. While we like to think “there is always tomorrow”, Jesus makes it clear that a time is coming when our opportunities to do His work will come to an end.
- A Praying Witness:
- Philemon 1:6, Daniel 6:5 — Being a witness for Christ is most effective when we live in communication with our Father. Our prayer life helps us to be prepared to share with others about all Christ has done in transforming us more and more into His likeness. When our communication with God is a natural part of our growing relationship with Him, prayer isn’t something we do to be noticed but a vibrant prayer life will often cause God to be noticed in us.
- A Loving Witness:
- Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27-28 — All of our efforts to be a witness for Christ will generally fall on deaf ears if we haven’t chosen to love people like Jesus does. When Jesus taught the need to love our enemies and pray for those who mistreat us, He tells us that doing so is an attribute of being a child of our Father in heaven. Loving people the Jesus way doesn’t mean we agree, like, or even accept everything they do but it does mean we want and work for that which is best for them.
- An Encouraging Witness:
- Hebrews 3:13, Philippians 1:14 — If you haven’t noticed, we live in a time that can be very discouraging. The statistics for hopelessness, despair, depression, and such emptiness can be quite alarming. I find it fascinating that the instruction to encourage one another is given with the stipulation that we do so “as long as it is called Today.” Since we are not able to live in the past or the future, it is always today! Not only is it always the right time for encouragement, it is always right to encourage others no matter who they are.
Being a witness for Jesus may not be all that simple, but we can be more effective by learning to be a SIMPLE witness!
It is my prayer that you would learn and practice the acts of being a Serving, Including, Motivated, Praying, Loving, and Encouraging witness as you live for Christ out loud for all the world to see and hear.