Thursday, September 1, 2016

Witnessing Simplified

~ 7 Open Doors For Witnessing ~

Basic Preparation  ~  1.  Pray regularly for others.  A spirit of thankfulness in advance for what God is going to do will increase your sensitivity to witnessing opportunities.  Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2a). 
2.  Pray specifically that God would open doors, that is create opportunities, to witness about what Jesus Christ means to you.  “Praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ” (Colossians 4:3a). 

Consider four common opportunities for witnessing. 

The Spectator Signal Of Interest  ~  Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.  Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich.  And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature.  So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.  And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house’” (Luke 19:1-5). 

The Questioner Signal Of Interest  ~  “But sanctify [set apart] the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). 

The Researcher Signal Of Interest  ~  Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, ‘Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’  This is desert.  So he arose and went.  And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning.  And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet.  Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go near and overtake this chariot.’  So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?  And he said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me? And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him’” (Acts 8:26-31).

The Testimony Signal Of Interest  ~  The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, ‘Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did.  Could this be the Christ?’” (John 4:28-29)

Next, consider three special opportunities for witnessing. 

The Defensive Signal Of Caution  ~  “They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes.  And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains.  And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.  And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.  When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.  And he cried out with a loud voice and said, ‘What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?  I implore You by God that You do not torment me’” (Mark 5:1-7).

The Uncertain Signal Of Openness  ~  Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:  TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.  Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you” (Acts 17:22-23). 

The Ready To Respond Signal  ~  “At midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.  Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed.  And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.  But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, ‘Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.’  Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.  And he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.  And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes.  And immediately he and all his family were baptized.  Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household” (Acts 16:25-34). 

Summary  ~  Having done the Basic Preparedness (Colossians 4:2-3 in the first paragraph above) we should continue in prayer and alertness for opportunities (answers to your prayers) and be ready to speak the truth in love.  We see this many places in Scripture including in the continuation of Colossians 4, “That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak” (Colossians 4:4).    

~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW

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