You Will be my Witness
Acts 1:4-11 (Pastor Heo)
1:4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
- In the 4 gospels, we see Jesus’ ministry, death, burial, and resurrection.
- In Acts, we see Jesus’ ministry from heaven – through his church.
This book shows the spread of the church from predominantly Jewish to predominantly Gentile. It shows the spread of the gospel – beginning in Jerusalem and spreading throughout the Roman Empire.
Key verse: 1:8
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
- Jerusalem = city evangelization
- Judea and Samaria = home missions
- The ends of the earth = world missions
Every Christian has 2 jobs:
- What is your ministry?
- What is your mission?
- What is “ministry”?
- What is “mission”?
As a born again Christian, ask yourselves:
- What is MY ministry? 사역
- What is MY mission? 사명
Let’s make it clear what is ministry and what is mission. Let’s compare and contrast: what’s the same / what’s different?
- Ministry: We can be different in ministry just as our body parts are all different and each part of the body has its own function.
- Mission: ONE (Eph “There is one hope, one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one God – one MISSION”)
We can enjoy variety in our various ministries, but we must keep unity in our collective mission.
Not everyone is called to be a pastor, choir member, Sunday school teacher, etc.
- Ministry = service for members INSIDE the church
- Mission = service for the lost OUTSIDE the church so that they may come in to worship together and confess Jesus as Lord together.
1:8 – This is the final written statement of Christ before his ascension.
“You will be my witnesses.” – this is our mission.
Are you really Jesus’ witnesses in this world? This is our mission.
In this sentence, Jesus doesn’t say, “You will be evangelists, you will be gospel preachers.” Rather, to be a witness = evangelist + something more. This is gospel preaching + something more. This is more than just evangelizing, more than gospel preaching, more than soul winning. WHY?
What is “witnessing” like?
1:8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
5 Characteristics of Witnessing
#1 WHO can be a witness?
Only the one who personally saw, heard, or experienced. This is one who can say, “I KNOW this is true.” This is not one who says his own feelings or guessing or thinking. He doesn’t say, “maybe, probably, perhaps, hopefully”
No, he says, from his own personal experience, “This is true.”
A witness in court does not give a witness a carried word. The message of a witness is a marvel of simplicity. This is the key message of Christ in this world.
“Jesus is God come in the flesh. He died to pay for our sins. He was resurrected. He lives now in heaven. He calls us to call him Savior and Lord and so receive the forgiveness of sin.”
There is nothing to gain, no system to climb, just a person to accept to receive eternal life.
Do you have this message?
Yes, we witness through our mouths.
#2 Not only WORD, but also DEED
The witness of a witness’ life is irresistible. Our witness should be supported by our subjective testimony. But this witness should also be lived out in our lives: our characteristics, actions, deeds, interactions with others, etc.
Sometimes we can see “before / after” pictures in magazines. Do you have this?
Before Christ / After Christ?
Our testimony of our mouth must be characterized by our lives. It must be satisfied and edified by the Holy Spirit – not only through word but also our deeds. Even though this witness, message, is very simple, it requires a costly commitment from its carriers.
Yes, not only we must witness through our worth, but we must also attract a magnificent compliment. We must be praised by God AND men – in our character, especially as Christians.
#3 The tongue
Legal, court tongue.
Yes, witness = sharing the gospel of Christ – the communication of the gospel message to our neighbors and family members and co-workers. Yes, that is good – we should do it. But, remember, the key word of this book is “witness” – repeated in this book 29 times. The reference to “witness” and “witnessing” are almost ALL in a PUBLIC setting.
This shows a public display.
- Stephen witnessed before the Sanhedrin.
- Peter before the people in Jerusalem
- Paul before the government officials and kings in court
Are you really ready to be a witness for Christ in an open and public place? Yes, they witnessed in a public square. Are you ready to witness in public to your co-workers? Even the President in the blue/white house?
The tongue – the word witness – is basically set in a PUBLIC setting (not private).
#4 Paradox of Shame and Honor
When you witness for Christ, do you feel shamed or honored? (It depends)
What we witness for Christ in this world is not a matter of material / earthly / worldly things. What we witness is a matter of heavenly / spiritual things. So, what we witness for Christ can be rejected, misunderstood, shamed, persecuted.
Yes, Christ willingly took the cross upon him. This was the symbol of the greatest shame. He took this dishonor to give us honor. He took shame and insults to give us grace. He took death to give us life.
So our witnessing can be a shame to us, but our receipt of shame may bring glory to God. Yes, in our own experience of witnessing to the lost of this world, we know it can be very shameful – but in heaven, this is very honorable. It can be stressful, but also exciting.
Witnessing for Christ is a great privilege but also a great responsibility.
The apostles, after witnessing before the Sanhedrin, left rejoicing. Why? Did they receive praise from men? No, they received shame from men for the glory of Christ.
Can you also receive shame in this world for the glory of Christ? If you are a true Christian, you can, but not of your power. You need the Holy Spirit.
#5 (Conclusion) Be ready to die
Witness (in English) = from Greek “martus”
From this word, we also have the word “martyr” 순교자
In this sense, “witness” and “martyr” are the same in the root of the language.
Witnesses should be ready to DIE – to be killed for Christ. If we are not ready to be killed for Christ, then we are not witnesses.
In court, if I give a false witness, they may kill me (or jail). Even though I give a right witness in court, if they THINK it’s wrong, they still may kill me (or jail).
We know one day, we ALL must die. There is no exception.
“Once a man is destined to die, and after that to face the judgment.” (Bible)
We all must die one day. So, think of this matter wisely. _IF_ we are to die _once_ – is being a martyr a blessing or a curse? We will _all_ die one day.
- Starting well is important.
- Finishing well is _more_ important.
- Well-being is important.
- Well-dying is _more_ important.
What is a better way to die?
By a car accident, gun man, cancer, natural disaster, suicide, old age, or as a martyr?
Martyr (from the light of eternity) – finishing our lives as a martyr is the best blessing and privilege we can enjoy.
But don’t worry, if we cannot endure this, God does not allow us to become one. But if this will happen, God will provide a super power at that time to die as a martyr. (I also want at the age of 92 – because I need time to support my wife.)
God bless you. Witness is like that.
That’s why I said, “witness is more than evangelizing, more than gospel preaching, more than soul winning.” Because witnessing is like that, we need MORE than human power – the power of the Holy Spirit.
1:8 “You will receive *power* when the Holy Spirit comes on you…”
The key mission of the Holy Spirit:
- Witnessing for Christ
- Testifying about Christ
John 15:26 “When the Counselor comes, he will testify about me.”
1 Cor 12:3 “Nobody can confess ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.”
Yes, we need power of the Holy Spirit – this includes wisdom, courage, fearlessness, patience, kindness, miracles if need be. It means, we must pray.
“Praying and witnessing go together.”
v. 4 says “Do not leave Jerusalem. Wait for the gift my Father promised.”
- Witness without prayer has no power.
- Prayer without witness has no purpose.
Why did Jesus not say, “Leave immediately for the world mission movement”? Rather, he said, “Do not leave. Wait.” WHY?
If we look at this carefully, this is a very big challenge to them.
In v. 11, the angel called them “Men of Galilee” – this means they were not from Jerusalem – they were from Galilee. They were countrymen. But Jerusalem was the capital city for Jews. They were low-class, uneducated. But the most elite Jews lived in Jerusalem.
Humanly speaking, they were not comfortable in Jerusalem. It was the most dangerous place for them in the early church.
v. 8 “Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, the ends of the earth” – this is NOT in order of events, but rather simultaneous movements.
Missionary movements should happen at the same time on earth, all over the earth.
One more thing we should make clear. Sometimes we thing: start at home (easy places) and going to far places (hard places) – no this is not true. Actually for them, Jerusalem (their own back yard) was the most dangerous and the most difficult place to evangelize for them.
- Jerusalem: Jesus had been crucified in that city and buried. Most people would know this and that he’d been buried very recently. Also, Jerusalem was very strong in their own religion. They thought Christianity was the FIRST enemy against Judaism.
- Samaria? It was soaked with half Judaism and half paganism.
- The ends of the earth? They had no idea even where this was. They thought the earth was flat. They had never traveled anywhere even by car.
In their situation, EVERY place was very, very difficult. Also for us today, EVERY place is very, very difficult.
“The god of this age, Satan, has blinded the mind of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the glory of the gospel of Christ.”
Remember, even today, there is NO easy place to witness for Christ. But, WE CAN, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- There is nothing impossible with God.
- Much is impossible with man, but nothing is impossible with God.
“9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Yes, Christ will come soon – someday – to fulfill his full redemption and to remain in a personal bodily, tangible form in a specific place in this world, for all people to see. But what is to fill the gap before he comes? World-wide mission and evangelism of the church.
What is the “body of Christ”? It is multi-national, international community for witnessing for Christ.
Remember, this is the last sentence. This is a comfort, but also a challenge.
Individual Christians and local churches who are NOT committed to world evangelization, are CONTRARY to their identity and purpose as Christians – as witnesses of Christ.
“I’m a witness of Christ.”
“I’m a witness for Christ.”
“I’m a witness by Christ.”