Monday, June 28, 2010

07 The Power for Witnessing - the Holy Spirit

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(Acts 1:8)

This seventh lesson covers a most important aspect of witnessing. It concerns the Power for witnessing - the Holy Spirit Himself. The Biblical basis for this is Acts 1:8: "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

Here we have both the promise of power and the assurance that on receiving that power we shall be witnesses unto the Lord Jesus Christ.

We need only think of Peter to realize the need for the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Remember how Peter denied the Lord three times, how he was changeable and at times fearful, then something happened. He was filled with the Holy Spirit according to the record in Acts. He fearlessly preached the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and declared emphatically that there is "none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). In response to his message recorded in Acts 2 three thousand people were added to the church.

In Acts chapter four, we read of the rise of persecution against the apostles in those early days. They came together for a prayer meeting and Acts 4:29 tells how they prayed: "And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word." The thirty-first verse gives the result: "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with Boldness."


We must remember that personal witnessing - witnessing to another individual for Christ, or for that matter, any kind of evangelism, is a spiritual ministry. It is a spiritual warfare, a spiritual battle.

In Ephesians 6:12, God reminds us through the pen of the apostle Paul: "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." According to this same Book of Ephesians, every person who does not know Christ as Saviour is dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). A person outside of Christ is spiritually dead. He is not like a broken watch which simply needs to be repaired. He is spiritually dead and must be born again. This can be accomplished only by the power of the Spirit of God. It is clear, then, that personal witnessing is a spiritual ministry, and includes spiritual warfare.

Furthermore we learn from II Corinthians that ever person outside of Christ is blinded by Satan. The record is, "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (II Cor. 4:4). A person may be ever so brilliant in business and in the intellectual field, and yet be absolutely blind concerning the gospel of the Lord Jesus.


Man, by wisdom, cannot find God. Man reaches that goal only by special revelation of the Holy Spirit; therefore, you and I are utterly dependent upon the Spirit of God to work a miracle if our personal witnessing is to be successful and fruitful.

None of us are qualified in ourselves for such work. No person who has been successful in winning others to Christ can help but feel his insufficiency, inability, and inadequacy. This is, of course, as it ought to be, for we must learn to rely upon the Holy Spirit. Remember this, however, that God needs a spokesman. He could spread the gospel by angels if He so chose, but He has not. He has chosen you and me. We who know Christ as Saviour are His spokesman, His ambassadors, His representatives, His witnesses to individuals whom He brings within our daily sphere of influence. We need, therefore, to be filled with the Spirit. In fact the Bible commands that very thing: "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18).

The Lord Jesus pointed out that we are co-laborers with the Holy Spirit in witnessing. This is what our Lord said, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning" (John 15:26,27). The Spirit of truth testifies of the Lord Jesus, and we also bear witness. It is easy to see from this that if we are to be successful, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit.


What is involved in being filled with the Spirit? There are a number of conditions involved, and one of them is the confession of all our sins. The Psalmist said: "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (Ps. 66:18). We can fast, we can stay up all night in prayer, but if we regard any iniquity in our heart, if there is sin there unconfessed, God will not hear us.

One of the memory verses we should know from the chapter "Beginning with Christ" is I John 1:9. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." What does it mean to confess our sins? It means to acknowledge them and to call them what God calls them. This is more than a Christian getting on his knees when he goes to bed and saying, "Lord, forgive me for all my sins of today, both of commission and omission." When we confess in the true sense of that word, He promises to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Then we will have what Paul calls "a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men."

Let us ask ourselves this very moment. Do we have a conscience void of offense toward God and man? Is there some known sin in our lives unconfessed and unforsaken? If so, let us stop right now and confess and acknowledge it to Him. That is one of the great secrets of being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Next is the complete surrender of the will to follow Christ. You recall that in our first lesson we referred to Matthew 4:19 where the Lord Jesus said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." The command is for us to follow Him, then He will make us fishers of men. It is our responsibility to do the following, and His to teach us to be fishers of men. To follow Him involves a surrender of our own wills; for if any man will come after Him, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Him. To deny self means to say No to ourselves, and Yes to Him.

Would a young woman who was about to be married please her prospective husband if she did not want to leave home or wished to retain her own name or wanted to bring her family along to live with her? Of course she would not! A young man wants a complete surrender to him. Or, suppose a young man is called into the Army, but wants to retain his employment, would that be satisfactory to his government? No, he must give himself completely to his country. This same principle is operative in the service of Jesus Christ, only more so. There must be a complete surrender of the will to follow Him regardless of what it costs. That is the second condition involved in the basis for power in witnessing - being filled with the Holy Spirit.

The third condition is that we by faith depend upon the person of the Holy Spirit, which means that we step out on the promises, trusting Him implicitly. We take the step out of obedience, believing that the Spirit of God will do for us what He has promised, that is, to guide us to the person who needs our help. This He assuredly will do.

During the Billy Graham Crusade in London a few years ago, there was an average of 350 persons who responded to the invitation each night. Among the approximately 2,000 personal workers helping us was Mr. Mendenhall, a former alcoholic. Of the 12 alcoholics who came forward during those meetings, without any prearrangement on our part, the Spirit of God so led that 11 of them were dealt with by Mr. Mendenhall.

The Holy Spirit will also guide us in choosing the right Scripture in each situation. It is both amazing and thrilling to have Him bring to our remembrance the portion suitable to meet a particular need. It is only through Him that the gospel message will go forth through us in real power. This fact is brought before us in I Thessalonians 1:5 where Paul says, "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance." We rely on the Spirit of God to do this.

Finally we trust the Holy Spirit to glorify Christ as we seek to point a needy soul to the Lord Jesus. In witnessing, you and I can only go so far, then we must step back, as it were, and let the person to whom we are talking go alone with the Holy Spirit so that He can do His work in that one's heart.

Let us examine ourselves. Do we have any known sin unconfessed? Are our wills surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ? Are we willing to step out in faith depending upon the Holy Spirit to guide us, and give us the power to witness concerning the saving grace of Christ?


1. Memorize John 13:34,35.

2. Review daily all the verses you have learned thus far and quote them to someone word for word.

3. List three main reasons why the personal worker must be led by the Holy Spirit.

4. What must be true in a person's life if he is to be Spirit directed?

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