Friday, October 24, 2008


The New Testament repeatedly commands us to be "witnesses" for Jesus and the Gospel. Perhaps the best-known passage on this matter is Acts 1:8b, where the risen Christ tells His disciples, "you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (NIV).

It's been noted that there is a difference between witnesses and lawyers! Lawyers are the subject of many bad jokes because too many of them rush into court on the slightest excuse; hamper direct communication between the parties most involved; paint opponents in the worst possible colors; try to goad people into looking stupid; and overall seem to thrive on picking fights. Some so-called Christian evangelists behave similarly--and likewise draw down ridicule by association on more humble and compassionate preachers.

When called to court as a witness, how is the average citizen advised to behave? Go in looking respectable and intelligent; be polite even to people who try to annoy or confuse you; never lose your temper; answer all questions truthfully and concisely; and tell only what you know, without making unwarranted assumptions, volunteering irrelevant information, or pretending expertise you don't have. Those aren't bad principles for the Christian witness to follow in everyday evangelism.

Remember the healed blind man in John 9? Faced with a hostile crowd demanding to know what he thought of Jesus--about Whom he really knew relatively little--he didn't hurl insults back at them. He didn't knuckle under to their pressure. He didn't pretend he was capable of arguing complicated theological points. He simply held firmly to what he knew--and that was enough to enable him to bear up under any abuse:

"One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!" (v. 25).

We all of us are witnesses
To what our hearts believe;
It shows in all we do and say
And pass out and receive.
We all of us are witnesses
Through all our earthly days,
And everyone whose life we touch
Soon knows what "god" we praise.

Our tongues can serve as witnesses,
But even more our deeds;
For how we act when pressure strikes
Speaks louder than our creeds.
Our actions are our witnesses
To all our thoughts within;
They show the world our inner hearts
And bring out secret sin.

We, called to be Christ's witnesses,
Must walk along His way,
And trust His Word to be our Guide
For all we do and say.
His Spirit leads His witnesses
And strengthens them to be
Ambassadors of Kingdom love
For His eternity!

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