Be A Witness

We are called to be witnesses of God's way of life. 

Media Download Options [ Download Media: right-click on link ]
Windows Media Player Video
High WMV
MP3 Audio -


Every inhabited household of this country is a sign to a Jehovah's witness to visit two times a year and in fact they log on an average of 20 to 70 hours per month in witnessing.  They have spread their Watchtower magazine to 13 million people in a 103 different languages.  There are 7 million Jehovah's witnesses worldwide at least, those who claim to be adherents.  They take their name from Isaiah:43:10 where God says:

Isaiah:43:10 “You are to be My witnesses, says the Eternal God,” which is translated Jehovah by them or YHVH.  You are to be My witnesses.

Did you know you are supposed to be a witness too?  Not a Jehovah's witness necessarily, but you and I are called to be witnesses.  We had a wonderful sermonette on God's Holy Spirit.  God's Holy Spirit is not supposed to just be resident within us; God's Holy Spirit is not supposed to be corked up and bottled and kept – now I've got it, but as was said, we have to use it. One major way we use God's Spirit is to witness to this world and I for one probably fall short in doing my part and maybe you do too in being the type of witness that we need to be to a sick and dying world.

You see each one of us affect a lot of people.  Each one of us in our own little spheres of influence affect certain people.  How do we affect them?  Do we affect them with the gospel? Do we affect them with godliness?  Do they see the wonderful fruits of the Holy Spirit as was brought out in the sermonette?  Do they see us as people of sound minds?  Do they see us as people of love?  Do they see us as people of confidence?

You see in Acts:1:8 Jesus Christ had told His disciples to please wait, that they needed to wait in Jerusalem. We find that in Luke 24 .  Let's go to that first and then we will come back to Acts 1.

Luke:24:49 Jesus Christ said this: Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but wait in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

Wait there till I give you the help you need; wait there until I give you the means by which you can go forth and be a witness.  And did you know that the word witness in the New Testament is the word martur ?  And you know what it means?  It means to bear testimony by death, or to bear testimony even to your death.  Hence what do we find out in the book of Revelation? That who is going to be in that first resurrection?  Who is going to be given kingship?  Those who have indeed born witness even unto death.  Now we are not looking for death squads; we are not looking for suicide people; we are not looking for that.  We are looking for people who are dedicated to the cause; who will bear witness to this world of Christianity; who will show the world what the gospel is all about by how they live their lives; by how they treat others; by how they deal with situations; by how they handle life.

And by the way, the Hebrew word is similar.  It is ed and it means to confirm what is said; it means to absolutely validate what is said and what is taught. When the disciples were waiting in Jerusalem we find this statement.

Acts:1:8   But you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.

Now those early disciples went to Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria and to their part of the world.  Did they go to the uttermost part of the world?  Who is left to do that?  God's people upon whom the end of the world will come.  We have a responsibility and a job to do to be witnesses of God's way of life; to be witnesses of the gospel; to be witnesses of the Kingdom to come to this entire world.

On this day of Pentecost on 31 AD it must have been a pretty exciting time. They knew they were supposed to receive a promise from on high but what did that mean to them?  What would it do for them?  What would you have been feeling like had you been in that upper room in Jerusalem waiting and what would you have expected?  What would you have wondered what would happen?  And little did they know that they were going to receive the most precious gift anybody can ever receive.  Little did they know there would be thousands who would hear the motivated message of all of them, and particularly Peter, there after. 

It is interesting when you read Acts 2 , as was brought out by others yesterday, they all assembled. They all gathered together in one place.  I think it is amazing what God's people can do where there is one accord.  It is amazing what people in the world can do when there is oneness and unity.  Remember at the tower of Babel what God said?  He said:  Behold, this people is one and they are all of one language and now there is nothing they cannot do as long as they are together.  Those disciples met on that day of Pentecost and they were all with one accord in one place.  They were together; they had the same view, the same outlook, the same hope, the same drive, the same gospel, the same laws, the same God and Father in Heaven, the same Saviour Jesus Christ, the same Spirit which was going to come to them. They had lots of reasons to be united; lots of reasons to be one.

Acts:2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting .

V 3 - And there appeared to them cloven tongues , - evenly divide tongues that looked like flames of fire coming off the head of them.  I have a picture from the internet where it kind of tries to illustrate how it looks when these flames of fire coming off each of the heads of the disciples and as it came from them they had tongues. 

Each one of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other languages.  They didn't speak in the Hebrew language; they didn't speak in Aramaic; they didn't speak in Greek.  Everybody could have known most of those languages.  They spoke in the language of each one of the people there from all of the different countries who had come to Jerusalem to assemble for the Day of Pentecost, the Feast of Weeks or Feast of Firstfruits, and as they assembled and as they spoke to those who were assembled there, each one of them heard in their own language. 

I tell my class that if I could speak Arabic, which I can't – I know a few words but not much.  If I give you the sermon in Arabic most of you sitting here would not understand me.  It wouldn't do you any good but if you were Arabic and I started speaking and you heard me in Arabic and somebody else is French and they heard me in French and somebody else is German and they heard me speaking in German and somebody else is Dutch and they heard me speaking in the Dutch language and Greek in the Greek language, it would be something awesome.  Hey, that is from back home! They would be hearing in their own languages. The powerful miracle that day was not just in the speaking but was also a miracle of the hearing and that day there were many.  They said: How do we hear everybody speaking in our own langue?  God gave His Holy Spirit to prepare people; to be able to go forth and witness to this world. 

Let's read on in Acts 1 because I think it is rather interesting.

Acts:1:9 Now when He had spoken these words, He told them you stay there.  You are going to be witnesses to Me. Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

So Jesus Christ all of a sudden just gets lifted up in to the air and they watch their Lord and Saviour who had been with them for three-and-a-half years, who did miracle after miracle, who raised the dead, who walked on water, who fed thousands with a few morsels of food and fish, and they saw Him going.  He was going away from them.  He was leaving them.

V.10 - and while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,

V.11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? Didn't you hear what He asked you to do?  He wants you to go and be a witness to this world.  This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

Why are you standing here?  Why are you standing here?  Get ready to receive the Holy Spirit and get ready to be a witness to this world.  You see the commission that we are given is in the form of a prophecy in Matthew 24 and the form of a commission in Matthew 28.

Matthew:24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom – it is a message about the Kingdom of God because we know this world needs God's Kingdom very badly.  “ And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, - we have our part in doing that; we have our part in witnessing it.  From young people to

teenagers, to young adults, to married folk. to those of us who are senior citizens and those who are golden oldies: you have your part in witnessing to this world. ….. and to all the nations, and then the end will come. 

In Matthew 28 He made it a commission.  That was a prophecy and who is going to do that but those who have the gospel which would be His Church but in Matthew:28:18, just before He left this earth again:

Matthew:28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

V. 19 Go ye therefore , - You go. Here is your commission – and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit:

V.20 - Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.    

We have a job to do.  Mark says:  Go preach the gospel to every person.  Every person.  That is a monumental job.  How do we do that?  Television is not going to reach everybody; internet is not going to reach everybody; radio is not going to reach everybody and news magazines and advertisements are not going to reach everybody.  There is a substantial number of people that can only be reached by you and me.  What do they see?  Do they see a witness?  Do they see someone who is so convicted about his or her beliefs that you are willing to die for them?  Do they see people full of zeal, pep, energy because they have the greatest news anybody could ever hear – the good news of the Kingdom of God, that there is coming a better world to rescue people in this world?

Acts:2:38 – It all begins with faith, repentance and baptism and then receiving the Holy Spirit.  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Receiving the Holy Spirit prepares us to be able to do a job of witnessing to a world. 

Act:4:29 The heading in this section of my Bible says:  Christians again filled with the Spirit.   Do you just have the spirit or you are filled with the Spirit?  I have only run out of gasoline twice in well over a million miles of driving.  I don't plan to run out again.  The last time I ran out was on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Buffalo, New York. I don't plan to run out again.  It was real right near our home so we managed to get a little ride down to a service station which was just a little distance away but I ran out - my car went kaput – no more gasoline.  I don't like riding on a tank that is near empty and I sure feel good when I fill up my car. I don't feel good when I pay for it but I do feel good to fill up my car with gasoline and when I look over there and it says “full” I really like that because I know I can go lots of miles and I can do a lot with that tank of gasoline.  Each one of us needs to be running on a full tank of God's Holy Spirit. We need to make sure we keep it filled.  You know how to do that:  Prayer, study, obedience to God, walking in His ways, closeness to Him where you can absorb of His character, absorb of His strength and His power and His might. We need that Holy Spirit in our lives.  Notice:

Acts:4:29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings; - people were threatening them – and grant to your servants, that with all boldness they may speak Your word.   

Yes and there are times you need to speak the word of God; there are times you need to defend the faith.  One person posted on my Facebook something about:  Well, why do you do this?  That is not right – about Trumpets.

I wrote back and I said:  You are wrong.  They did have silver Trumpets.

Well, this was not a trumpet, it was a shofar.

And I said:  You are wrong.  Read Numbers 10 – they were made of silver, too.

She said later on she wasn't trying to be smart.  She was just trying to jab her back at me.  But I felt I need to give an answer and I did.  There are times when we need to give an answer.  There are times when friends ask us a reason of the hope that lies within us and we need to be ready to give it and when we are ready there are times when God's Holy Spirit will give us the strength and let us know what to say.  I'll show you that in a moment but going on:

V.30 – He says: Give us the boldness to speak Your word - By stretching forth Your hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of Your holy child Jesus. – or servant Jesus.

V.31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

If we want to be witnesses, if we want to be able to carry the word of God forth, we need to have the Holy Spirit in our lives richly and that is what happened on that day of Pentecost. 

Ephesians:5:18 – This is all preparation – Don't be drunk with wine, wherein is excess; if you are drunk with wine you not only have a full tank, you are overflowing but he says:  Don't be drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit.

So why you may tank up on wine, some people party and have too much wine, he says: Don't do that but be filled with the Spirit and with that full tank you will be able to go forth.  You will be ready. 

What are the effects of God's Spirit in our lives?  You already heard it expounded in Galatians:5:22-23 .  The fruit of the Holy Spirit:  love, joy, peace, longsuffering, all these beautiful delectable fruits that people love to see in others and sometimes they fail to bear themselves.  We as Christians with the Spirit of God need to be bearing them.  Those fruits need to be evident.  We need to ask ourselves: Which fruit am I not bearing?  What is wrong with my tree here?  Where is the joy?  Where is the patience?  Where is the longsuffering?  Where is the gentleness? Which one are you missing?  Our trees ought to bear all of those fruits with the Spirit of God in our lives.  So Galatians:5:22-23 talk about the fruits we can bear if we have the Holy Spirit.

There are many instances that I could quote, of individuals who knew when there was somebody special around them.  I remember the year 2000.  Some of our students needed jobs and one of them had a job at Staples and they hired about 3 others out of the 24 students we had that first year.  You know what they said afterwards?  They took that store, which was number 97 out of 100 - that is low - to number 4 and they said: What is the reason we could do this?  How were we able to bring – the management?  And they all took it back to those 3 students and the moral that they brought to that store.  You know what the manager said afterwards?  Anybody who applies from ABC – accept them.  So the next year we had 3 of 4 persons but Staples wasn't doing as good business wise, they couldn't accept every student that came.  For those first two of three years they said, anybody who comes from ABC, accept them because they made a difference. 

Do you make a difference where you are? Do you make a difference among the people you frequent in your sphere of life?  Do people know that there is somebody special who comes around them?  Not special because you are favoured, no, although you are favoured by God - You have His Spirit.  But not because you are anybody special as an individual but you are special because God called you.  You are special because God chose to give you His Spirit.  How do you react?  Is the gospel being preached by your witness?  It is a major, major task to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every person.  How do we do that? We will see. 

Romans:5:5 – With the Spirit of God. Let's go to that scripture.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if everybody did everything in life motivated by the love of God?  We can do lots of things on our own and there is our own love, and sometimes I sign a note to somebody and say: We love you.  That is our love.  Other times I say: In Christ's love; but everything we do ought to be motivated by the love of God which is an outgoing concern, not an incoming thought or concern, but outgoing.  Not what do people think of me, but what do I think of them. 

There is always a nervousness when we speak.  If it weren't there you wouldn't have the zeal and enthusiasm to come and speak but when I get lost in the message I don't think about me.  Is my hair out of place; my tie straight; what about my coat flap – is it in my pocket?  I am thinking about you.  I am trying to think about the message I want to give to you.  You know what?  That gives me great confidence because it is not about me. 

It is about you and the love of God in our heart lets whatever we do be about others.  That is our focus.  It is not about you, not about me, and we have that love of God which comes into our heart by the Holy Spirit.

Romans:5:5 And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us.

The primary motivation - because when God is in you, what is in you?  Love, because what is God?  God is love and God is always motivated to do things for the betterment of others. Even sometimes when He destroys them it is for their betterment because He can raise them up.  You and I have that opportunity to spread that love to the world because of the Holy Spirit and it is not, as was said, just a sentimental feeling, although feelings are certainly a part of it but that is not what it is about.  It is about your actions too. 

So other gifts are available:  1 Corinthians 12 talks about the various gifts of the Spirit.  The gift of wisdom; the gift of understanding; even the gift of tongues; the gift of healing.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if the Church – if I could just look at somebody that is sick and say, be well, and they are well?  That is a gift of healing.  Wouldn't it be great to just say, be better; be healed.  Wouldn't it be great to take somebody's ear that was chopped off and stick it back on and it starts growing again.  Wouldn't that be great?  Wouldn't it be wonderful to find the leg of Georgia Valour and put it back on and say, your leg is better?  You don't find that anymore I'm sure.  She only has one leg now – down in Florida.  Wouldn't it be great? 

Wouldn't it be great to speak to people in their own language?  I remember in Canada counselling a person for baptism who was Dutch.  I had to take along one of our church members who was Dutch, who could speak English and Dutch.  And so I would say a few words and then he would hear my few words in English and he would say to her the few words in Dutch.  Then she would respond to him in Dutch and he would say that to me in English and that is how I counselled her for baptism, back and forth, that way.  Not a great way to do it.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if God gives us the languages?

What if we had people in China that are converted?  There was a lady in China who contacted me the second year of the Ambassador Bible Centre and wanted to come.  She had a Masters degree and she spoke English.  She wasn't able to get a visa to come to our country. She had been in Worldwide and she knew the truth and she heard about United and wanted to come and study at ABC.  A great way to preach the gospel, but how do you go and reach those people once God starts calling them?  Not everybody can go over there and do that. You have to take a Chinese translator with you.  We can pray for those gifts - that God will give when they are needed and as they are needed and that will be wonderful.  Pray for them – God's gifts, to us as well so we can do the work. 

To be witnesses to this world though, once equipped with the Holy Spirit, each of us has an opportunity to witness by a few categories I am going to share with you: 

Prayers and support:  The first category.

The second category is: Salt and light. 

Prayer and support, salt and light.

Ephesians:6:18 – 19   Was I ever grateful as a minister when I was called out in the wee hours of the morning; when I just rolled out of bed, threw on my clothes and jumped in the car to head over to somebody who had been in an emergency, an accident, and called in the wee hours of the morning.  You know what I was grateful for and what I thought about as I prayed on the way there?  I thought, in Australia, in New Zealand, in the Philippines, there are people who are up and around, praying for me.  What a nice thing to know that when I had to go out there, lay hands on somebody who is deathly ill, that I knew that I wasn't just relying on my own prayers but the prayers of other people all over the world in their particular time zones, praying for me around the clock.  And I say that “me” in general because they pray for God's ministry.

Ephesians:6:18 He says: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, - God's Spirit can help us; God's Spirit can lead us and we can pray to God and ask Him for others, to give us strength, to give us help – and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Do we pray for one another?  Do we ask God to guide and calm and lead and help and comfort and heal and encourage and strengthen?  Each one of us has our own prayer lists.  We know there are general prayer lists, we know that.  Each one of us has our own prayer list too, don't we?  You know those people you are close too.  You know those people we have engaged and talked to and been closed too and been around and we pray for them.  Pray for them fervently; pray for God to give them strength; pray for God to help them; pray for God to call more people because we know we can't go out and build the church.  We can't go out and drag people in.  We don't do that. That is not the way we function because that is not the way the Bible tells us to function.  God has to call people, doesn't He?  Can we pray that God will open the minds of those who hear the broadcast; see the telecasts; read the literature; see our ads; see the internet; that God would inspire those people to come along?  Can we ask God to do that? Can we ask Him to do it fervently?  Can we say:  Father there are lots of people out there who are hurting.  They need Your help; they need Your comfort; they need Your message.  Please open the way for them to be called.  To pray for more to hear, see, read the gospel and respond.  Not just to hear it but to respond.

Paul writes, verse 19:

V.19 And for me, that utterance may be given to me , - pray for me! That I can preach the gospel because he had the job, he had the commission to preach the gospel. 

We are not a church of preachers.  We don't go out and knock on somebody's door – by the way, do you know that they sell these?  They may give them away to hook you but I had a lady in our church in Toronto. For 20 years she sold it.  She bought them for so many cents and she sold them for a few more cents because they said:  The labourer is worthy of his or her hire.  Now it was a nominal amount but she paid less than that to get them and then she sold them.  We give our literature away; we give the gospel away.  Freely you have received it, freely you should give it.  But Paul said:

V.19 - Pray for me, that utterance may be given to me. That I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.

You know some Sabbaths, as a minister in the field, you had a rough Friday evening.  Perhaps you were out maybe a difficult visit or somebody was having problems and you stayed up late with them and you came back and you really didn't have a lot of time to prepare a sermon and so you knew the next day you are going to be bushed, and you knew the next day it wasn't going to be as great as you would like it, but you know what always gave me encouragement was to know that there were people out there praying for me.  That I might open my mouth boldly and proclaim God's message. 

We have a job to do and one way we can help with being a witness, is pray.  We can pray for the leadership; we can pray for the ministry as Paul said in:

Philippians 1:19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

He just prayed to give the ministry more strength and more power in addition to the membership.  I am not saying just the ministry, but they have a job to do.  They are kind of on the frontline, aren't they, in proclaiming the message verbally.  Pray for the ministry to fulfill their rolls; pray for the council of elders; pray for the administration; pray for the pastors who drive millions of miles.  I know I have logged over a million.  I haven't been pastoring for a while – I logged over a million.  I figured three years of twenty-four-hours, in the car, I have sat serving God's people.  I think of Herb Teitgen in the winter time who goes from North Dakota up to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  Not exactly an easy drive in the winter time.  The ministry who serve in some of the northern climates risk their lives every time they jump in the car.  I know, when I served Toronto, Buffalo, I prayed and prayed hard that the Sabbath would not be so bad for me and some days there was snowfall and the roads were clear.  I have driven home late at night, one o-clock in the morning, when the snow was just falling; they did not have a chance to clear, and it was very dangerous.  Pray for God's ministry who risk their lives for you much like in Philippians 2, we read:

Philippians 2:25 Pray for the ministry; pray for the broadcasters; pray for the writers; pray for the elders who are the backbone of the church who are there to carry on after Pastors come and go – the elders are still there to give you a solid base of confidence.

V.25 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger – I am going to send him back to you – and he that ministered to my wants.

Epaphroditus came and delivered the goods from the church as they sent to support the apostle Paul in prison.  It says: 

V.26 For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that you had heard that he had been sick. 

He felt bad that the church heard that he was sick.  He didn't want them to worry about him.  He felt bad.

V.27 For indeed he was sick near unto death : - he almost died – but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also , - because he is a buddy.  He came here to serve me and now he dies because he came to serve me – lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.

V.28 I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when you see him again, you may rejoice, - I sent him back and told him take it easy on your return trip – that I may be the less sorrowful.

V.29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:

V.30 Because for the work of Christ he was near unto death ,

Many of us pastors and ministers started out as young men, young thin men, but we sat in the cars and we ate too many MacDonald's and fast food in order to serve as many people as we possibly could.  We minimized our exercise time because we didn't have time for it; we travelled mile after mile to serve God's people; we risked our lives; many died young, younger, than they should have.  I think of Dean Blackwell and some of these others who are in the saddle, far worse than I had it.  I think of Greg Sargent over in New Mexico; He had like 225 miles between churches on the Sabbath.

I think of going from St. Louis to Bloomington, Illinois , 175 miles.  We started the day at 9:30 and we left the St. Louis church at about twelve, twelve-thirty, and we drove straight through and we would get to Bloomington just in time for services at 4 pm and in the winter time we barely started church and the sun set was already there.  We ended services on Sunday, on the first day of the week.  We preached into Sunday.  It wasn't hard to do; we only had half and hour, starting at 4 o-clock and after the services, whatever we had, we had to make our way home again, usually getting home at about one-o-clock in the morning.  God's ministry serve God's people. They need our prayers, fervent prayers, ecclesiastic prayers, meaningful prayers so we may all do the work and get the job done.

Pray for them.  Some risk their lives doing the work. Some risk their lives in difficult areas of the world.  I think of some of our international ministers who travel to Africa; who travel to France and French-speaking areas of the world and not an easy time. Philippines - not an easy time. When my wife and I visited the Philippines in 1991 they would never let us be alone.  The Pilipino ministry was with us; they would pick us up in the morning and made sure they would shadow us when we got there.  They didn't want anybody to kidnap us.  Gene Hogberg, the year before, was almost kidnapped down in the island of Mindanao.  Some areas are not easy to go through.  Peter Eddington had a tropical, horrible disease: Dengue fever – almost died of that – by shooting film down in Africa for a Feast of Tabernacles film.  Pray for God's servants. Pray for God's ministry all over the world. 

Romans:16:1-5 :  Isn't it wonderful to have support?  I remember in Toronto we were trying to figure out how to get the gospel out more fervently and we said:  Why don't we see if we can do Good News stands?  Some people said: I have managed this property - lots of traffic here.  If you have a newsstand we can do it but we didn't have newsstands.  We didn't have any material; we didn't have any stands to put the Good News on.  You know one lady came up to me – she was an elderly lady – and she said:  I know I can't do much physically.  You tell me what you need and I will write you a cheque right now. I said, well, the newsstands cost like $300 each, or whatever it was. She filled out a cheque for $1200 for 4 newsstands, or whatever it was, and we were able to have newsstands in several different areas.  I can't do much, she said, but I can do this.

Romans:16:1-5 Paul writes to a whole list of people.  He says:

V.1 – I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:

V. 2 That you receive her in the Lord, as become saints, and that you assist her in whatsoever business she has need of you:  for she has been a succourer (a comforter) of many, and of myself also.

V.3 – Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:

V.4 – Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.

V.5 – Likewise greet the church that is in their house.  Salute my well beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ .

And he goes on and on and names a whole list of people who were support.  We all need your support.  I was thinking coming over here: I remember the days when I had to canvas all types of areas to try and find a facility to hold our feast days, and it wasn't easy.  I knew somebody had to look around to find this facility.  I know somebody has to look around to find facilities regularly in your church areas.  What a blessing to have people that are willing to be a support.  We can all be supportive. 

We can all be supportive by notes of appreciation, by encouragement to each other, by encouraging and uplifting each other, by words of kindness, by notes of appreciation, by helping out where we can.

2 Thessalonians:3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:

Pray, ask God's help.  Do what you can to give encouragement. Notes of appreciation; notes of thanks; helping where we can.

1 Thessalonians:5:25 – I won't turn there but it is a very simply verse.  Paul says: Pray for us. Pray for us. 

So one way we can be witnesses is by prayer and support. 

Secondly we can be witnesses is by salt and light; salt and light. 

We are called to be the salt of the world; we are called to be tasteful; we are called to make a difference and we are not very many. Just like the salt you may put on the salad or salt you may sprinkle on your vegetables – you don't take the lid off and dump the whole… Sometimes people play a game and unloosen the lid and you dump it and you get the whole thing but normally you just sprinkle it on, don't you?  And it does add flavour.  We are to be the salt of the world.

We are to be the lights of world. Notice at some examples that are spoken of in Matthew:5:13-15 .  This is Jesus Christ's instruction in the Sermon on the Mount – heart and core of Christianity and how we can be witnesses by being salt and light. 

Matthew:5:13 You are the salt of the earth : You are precious and salt was precious.  Have you ever toured London and looked at the Tower of London and seen some of these containers where they used to keep salt, gold containers.  Salt was precious.  He (Christ) made you precious; He made you tasteful. 

V.13 You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost its savour – and it only loses its savour when it is mixed with other elements.  So if you mix too much with the world you are not going to be a very good salt. If you become too much like the world you are not going to be very flavourful.  – wherewith shall it be salted?  It is therefore good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 

So God says we are supposed to be salt. We are supposed to have that decorum, that grace.  We are supposed to add that flavour to the world that is positive and good and uplifting.

V.14 - You are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

I used to drive from Big Sandy, Texas, to Dallas to see our daughter. There is one place there just up the east end of Dallas on Highway 20 and just as you come up over this – just a little maze there, a little rise – you come up over this rise and all of a sudden you see all these lights that come up in front of you.  It is so beautiful.  It is a city that couldn't be hid.

Are you like a city that can't be hid?  Do people see your works?  Do people see you different?  Not different bad, different.  You know we don't have everybody shave their head except for those little locks so you can - you know like Hare Krishna's - they can pull you off into heaven or whatever . God Krishna can take you away.  We don't try to do that.  We don't try to wear some outfit so people think: Well, I know who he is.  He belongs to that group.  We don't do that but I hope they know you are a Christian by how you act, by what you do, by how tasteful you are and by your light that shines.

V.15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house. 

Wherever you go do you bring light to others?  Are you brightness in their life or dimness?  When you come by: Oh, was he ever dull.  Are you bright?  You see if people have purpose there is fire in their eyes, there is a glow, because they have something that they are living for and it is more than this world has.  It is something that drives them and impels them because they want to see God's message go forth to every last human being and everybody you touch, every person you come in contact with, you have a chance to witness to them of the gospel of the kingdom of God because that is what you are trying to live now.

Every single person – whether it is the grocery store clerk, whether it is the mailman, whoever it may be, you and I have the wonderful opportunity to witness to them of the way of God.  God gave us His Spirit not just to keep, or cork up, but to use.  He says:

V.16 - Let you light so shine before men that they may see your good works .  And by seeing your good works do they glorify you and say, Oh, what a nice guy he is.  No, they say: How come he is that way?  What makes him so special?  Why is she so honourable, hardworking, faithful?  Why is she so modest?  Because she is a godly person and they glorify your God which is in heaven.  We have a big responsibility and you know what, if you need to speak, don't worry.

Matthew 10 - I am not going to go there though - verses 17 – 20 .  You can write it.  He said: You know what?  If you are brought before courts, if you are brought before councils, if you are brought before judges, don't sit down …. Well, let me prepare what I am going to say here.  We are not to do that.  God is going to give you what to say. His Spirit will give you what to say if you need to say it.  Most of the time we are just salt and lights but if you need to speak God will give you what to say and I have experienced it.  Sometimes when I had been confronted I didn't know what I was going to say.  Sometimes an interview from a reporter and I do not know what I am going to say.  I wasn't given a list of questions and I know it turned out all right because God gave me the strength to know what to say.  He will give you the strength to know what to do.

There is a difference in us. 

Ephesians:4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called,

Please realize how precious your calling is.

V.2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

V.3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

There is a difference in you.  The Spirit of God helps us to congeal, not separate. Helps us to draw together, not pull apart.  God's Spirit is there to help us and strengthen us so that we can all, the whole family, can do the job and in fact there was a whole family that did the job – 1 Corinthians:16:15.

Isn't it wonderful to have a whole family that is witnessing to this world?  Al Beard used to tell the story of a woman who had about seven or eight kids - she was a widow - and when she took them to this restaurant to eat, waitresses and waiters came over and commended her personally because her children behaved so well. That they weren't throwing spaghetti at each other and they weren't having pepper fights and they were not causing a raucous and disturbing everybody else in the restaurant - came over and actually said to her: I just want to tell you, your kids are amazing.  The lady said with seven or eight kids you cannot let them get out of line.  The kids were so well behaved.  They all sat there and enjoyed their meal and they played and had fun but they weren't a mess in the restaurant.  I have been in other restaurants where kids were throwing things and things were all over the floor and by the time they are done it is a waiter's nightmare to have to clean up after them.  What type of impression is left there?

1 Corinthians:16:15 I beseech you, brethren, (you know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and they have addicted themselves – not just the parents. The whole household – have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)

These people just want to buoy up the brethren.  They just want to encourage them.  You know the scripture that says:  By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.  When you encourage each other you give each other the strength to be able to go forth and witness to this world because you are on their side. 

I don't know about you but I've been hurt a lot more by people in the church than people outside the church.  I find that a shame that those who are supposed to be on my side are actually booing me when I stand up to bat; are actually putting me down when I am trying to help the team.  I find that very difficult to comprehend.  Brethren, we are all on the same team.  We serve the living God.  He is our Father.  When I kneel down and pray, I pray: Our Father, just like you pray to your Father in Heaven.  We are praying to the same One.  He is my Father and He is your Father. Why would we boo each other?

I have had more persecution from people in the church than outside.  Right now I know the worst is coming from the outside. But isn't that a shame?  Shouldn't we be rooting for each other?  By this shall all men know you are My disciples because of the love you have for one another and when we encourage each other, think of how much work we can all do together. Be a witness to the world.  Go forth.  Let the world know that you are living the gospel by your actions, by how you are, not necessarily by what you are but how you are as a person. 

1 Peter 3: 1   Those of you who have unconverted mates, mates who are not yet baptized, we read this;  Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won – w-o-n. Maybe won by the conduct of the wives. 

What a wonderful example.  A witness; their only witness perhaps is you. Their closest witness is you.  Witness to them God's way of life and in God's time He may call them. 

We may not get it all done ourselves doing the witnessing but you know in the end there are going to come two witnesses. Revelation 11 – Two witnesses.  They are called prophets and these two men – I call them men because He calls them prophets – whoever they may be.  Feinberg in his book on the Minor Prophets says:  Well, they could be Moses and Elijah.  It is possible.  God could raise them from the dead. They will do these miracles and they will say I am Moses and I am Elijah and the people say, Yeah, right. You don't recognize them.  It is likely somebody who will be recognized from this day and age but it could be – God could do anything He wants.  He could raise up Peter and Paul.  He can raise up the apostle John, if He wants, but we do know this:  In Revelation He says there will be two witnesses who after the work is shut down will go forth and witness to the world; will preach God's word to this world and everybody will know about it and nobody will be able to touch them for three-and-a-half years to do their job. Then they will be killed; their bodies will lie in the streets for three-and-a-half days and then God will resurrect them when He comes back to bring this world peace.

We are called to be witnesses and I have met many of the two witnesses, by the way. So don't come up afterwards and say you are one of them because I have already met many of them.  Whoever they are, they are going to do an awesome job at the end.

1 Peter:2:9 – 17 : I am going to close with this scripture

V.9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

V.10 Which in time past were not a people , - you know we are a motley group of people.  We come from all different backgrounds.  .. but now are the people of God:  which had not obtained mercy, but no have obtained mercy.

V.11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

V.12 Having your conduct honest among the Gentiles: Be known for your honesty, truthfulness, sincerity – that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers , - you know these people here, they don't keep Christmas.  They won't even eat any pork.  What is wrong with those people?  They won't even colour any Easter eggs – what is wrong with them? Don't they believe in Christ?  They will speak against you as evildoers.  Notice though: whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works – as you witness to them the way of God,  - which they shall behold , - oh yes, they will see a difference.  They may not like what your beliefs are but they will see you and the Godliness that is created in you through the Holy Spirit of God, which they shall behold

glorify God in the day of visitation. 

I will stop at verse 12. 

You see the pay-off is, a lot of what you do now you may never see your friends or relatives or strangers or acquaintances ever come to the body of Christ now, but there is coming a day of visitation when God does decide to call them and draw them.  Whether it is in the second resurrection or whether it is after the tribulation or in the tribulation and they will remember.  Yeah, those people kept the Sabbath.  Yeah, they were so kind.  They never infringed on my property.  They never took advantage of me.  That is what I am being taught now. I was in the presence of Christians.  I saw what they were like.  I know what that way is now, as you are a witness to them.

Verse 12 is the key: in the day of visitation . Daniel:12:3 says he who turns many to righteousness will shine.

We have a job to do. We have a witness to show to this world through the broadcasts, telecasts, internet, literature as well as our personal examples.  We can be salt and light.

We can give prayers of support, and support (the work).  We have a job to do and the payoff: in their day of visitation they will know that the kingdom of God has been among them because one of its representatives was there:  You.

Acts:1:11 - What was told them, I will say to you.  The disciples as they were awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit – I will say to you who already have the Holy Spirit. 

V.11 - Which said – the two angels said – You men of Galilee , - you men of Cincinnati, Dayton, Cincinnati North, East, am and pm – why are you standing here looking up into heaven?  This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven. 

So why are you standing here?  Let's all leave here determined to be a witness of God's great way of life. 


Jim's picture

Gary - Thank you for you kind presentation. You mention a number of times sharing the Gospel with others. What exactly is the Gospel. I know it means Good News, but what is the Good News?
Thanks you,

Lily Leppky

Lily Leppky's picture

To answer your question,What is the Good News... listen to "Monumental Battle for Control of the Whole World" by Peter Eddington.
That is a very good sermon and the last paragraph is summing it all up and reminding us all what the good news is.
Wonderful sermon, thanks a mint!


Jim's picture

"The only good news in all of this is that shortly after these future battles we will see God's kingdom finally being established on earth. Keep watching, live a holy and godly life as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming!"
- Peter Eddington

I note that the Brother Eddington makes no comment about believing and trusting in Christ for redemption. Isn't the Good News that Christ died for our sins and that we need to trust Him completely by faith for Salvation. Paul writes, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph 2:8-9) Salvation is a GIFT from God according to Paul. I struggle trying to live a godly life. I live my life so as to bring honor and glory to Christ - but I still stumble and I still fall and make mistakes. I think we all do. Even Paul wrote, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"(Rom:7:24). Paul's question, "Who shall deliver me..." Paul realized the importance of Christ's death on the cross when he added, "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom 7:25a)
I think the Good News is simply John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth upon Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) Very simple message!
Thanks so much for your time!
In Christ Jesus,
Jim Bogle

Login/Register to post comments
© 1995-2015 United Church of God, an International Association | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. All correspondence and questions should be sent to Send inquiries regarding the operation of this Web site to

You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.