With the experience of Pentecost in Jerusalem, the disciples had entered the official ministry of witnessing. Jesus clearly and seriously laid this assignment on their hearts when He said: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Now the time had arrived. With amazing certainty, they stepped up to the witness stand of faith. In Acts 4:33, we find this confirmed: “And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.”
A witness is a person who has seen and can testify of events that have actually happened. The disciples were to proclaim Christ and the divine activity they had seen and witnessed and to establish faith and knowledge of God among mankind.
It was necessary to testify of facts that had their own deep meaning and that the natural man could readily recognize. The works of God were to be believed, and for this purpose a powerful proclamation was necessary. But this could not be done without the Holy Spirit. Jesus was concerned that His disciples would need a sure footing but that they also would face serious opposition. This explains His instruction to the disciples: “But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49 ESV). With the receiving of the Holy Spirit, an extraordinary divine power was to fill them, placing them in a life of fruitful service.
A testimony given only in human power does not bring about conviction. Spiritual knowledge and conviction are worked by the Holy Spirit and not by men. There was power in the testimony of the disciples, and this power enabled them to reveal Jesus Christ in such a way that even the most learned opponents could not resist them (see Acts 6:10).
Are we standing in the power and fire of the Holy Spirit today? Or why has our witnessing generally become so empty and powerless? Do we witness at all anymore, or have we given up witnessing? Jesus’ commission to witness is for all of God’s children, and Jesus was not just thinking of tireless activity and busyness but of living in the power of His Spirit!
Our time seems to be a time of discussions and critical speaking, but what does it accomplish? Does it testify of what God has done for us and of the saving grace we have experienced? Can people know the truth and be inwardly enlightened and won for God through constant debating?
In view of our witnessing ministry, we must ask ourselves how we relate to the Holy Spirit and how He relates to us! The fruitful ministry of our life depends on our relationship to the Holy Spirit. It was by this standard that the early church sought out godly men to put into service. When men were needed to look after the widows in Jerusalem, the disciples said, “Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business” (Acts 6:3). These men were found without great effort, but how rare are these kind of people today?
A church can do little in its community if it is missing these kinds of people in its circle. Therefore, it is not enough that we testify of the existence of the Holy Spirit, but it is vital that we ourselves are filled with the Spirit. The credibility and impact of our testimony will depend on it.
As in times past, our time also needs witnesses filled with the Holy Spirit. However, the effective witness does not depend on words but on an exemplary, Spirit-filled life.
In this sense, we can all become living witnesses of Jesus Christ. God also wants to use you as a witness of His light and truth. Therefore, let yourself be filled with the Holy Spirit and His power, and allow Him to form and shape you into the image of Jesus so that your life will be a powerful and effective witness.