The power of modeling or setting an example is replete throughout life! As a young tennis player, my idol was American John McEnroe. Johnny ‘Mac’ was the one of the best players in the world in the mid-1980’s and even to this day, is my all-time favorite. My friends and I would try to hit certain shots just like McEnroe, for he was artistic in the way he played the game. His touch and ball control were impeccable – he was poetry in motion. I was inspired to try to play like him – so much so that I used to drive my coach nuts when attempting to hit certain shots just like McEnroe…and miss!
Whatever your passions or interests in life, there are role models who set the standard – people who exemplify how it’s done!
As we think about growing in our witness for Jesus, the book of Acts provides the powerful model of the early church in the evangelistic endeavor. For it is in the book of Acts that the church is born. And it is here in the book of Acts that God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways to dramatically grow the church. The believers in the early church exemplify powerful and effective witnessing.
Acts records the initial response of believers to the Great Commission and provides information on the first three decades of the church. So there is much to be gleaned from this foundational work, including many lessons that will both inspire and inform our witness.
From beginning to end, this remarkable book is instructive.
For example, in Acts 1:8, the Lord instructs the disciples just before His ascension:
“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 end of the earth.”
Here we learn that the power to witness comes not from technique or method, but from the Holy Spirit. We’ll say more about that in our next lesson.
And in the last verses of the last chapter (Acts 28:30-31), the book of Acts concludes with the primacy of Paul’s ministry – preaching the Kingdom of God and teaching about Jesus:
“Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.”
Paul’s example of keeping the main thing the main thing in ministry is a good lesson for us – our witness should focus on the Kingdom of God and the person of Christ!
There are a number of other general themes we’ll touch upon during this series as it relates to our witness – including:
– walking by faith
– dealing with persecution
– overcoming fear and aspiring to boldness and courage
– teamwork and the gospel endeavor
– contextualizing without compromising the gospel
– engaging people different than ourselves
– understanding open and closed doors in our witness
– witnessing on the way
– blooming where you’re planted
I would encourage you to read the book of Acts from beginning to end, either this week or ensuing weeks during this series. It’s an exciting read to be sure, for their is never a dull moment in this action-packed adventure chronicling the birth, growth, and expansion of the early Church.
May their example instruct and inspire us to powerfully and boldly live out the Christian life, being salt and light among those who’ve not yet met the Lord.
Lord Jesus, as we begin learning lessons from Acts, grow our witness for Your glory and for the building of Your Kingdom. Amen!