(Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog)
We may have heard the phrase “witness for Christ.” But what does it mean? Witnessing simply means telling others what we’ve personally experienced of the Lord Jesus.
For instance, when we received Jesus as our Saviour, maybe we told our friends or family about our salvation experience and how wonderful it was. That was our witnessing to them.
Numerous verses in the New Testament tell us we should witness for our Lord and Saviour so sinners can be brought to salvation. Let’s get into some of the reasons why we must witness.
The resurrected Lord commissioned us
In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, the Lord’s indisputable command to His believers is recorded. Matthew 28:19 says:
“Go therefore and disciple all the nations.”
And Mark 16:15 says:
“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to all the creation.”
Before the resurrected Jesus ascended to heaven, He gave His believers one commandment: to go and preach the gospel. This was His commission to His church, which means it includes all of us who have been redeemed and born again.
Each one of us has been commissioned by the Lord to proclaim the good news of His salvation. The Lord Jesus commanded us to go forth with His precious gospel to all the creation, meaning everywhere, and to all the nations, meaning all people of every race.
So we must proclaim the gospel because our Lord, the One who died for us and rose from the dead, commanded us to do so. He has given us the responsibility to preach the gospel to sinners all around us, and even to the whole earth.
We are branches in the vine to bear fruit
The Lord Jesus said in John 15:5:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Then in verse 16, He said:
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and I set you that you should go forth and bear fruit.”
The picture of branches in the vine shows us our relationship with the Lord. By staying attached to the vine, the branches enjoy the life of the vine and flourish. But the goal of this enjoyment is that the branches would bear fruit.
Fruit in John 15 refers to people who are saved through us. So we all must “go forth” to tell others about the Lord Jesus that many more can be saved.
The unbelievers need to hear the gospel
No matter who they are or what they have or haven’t accomplished, all human beings have a desperate spiritual need. Paul’s words in Romans 1:14 show us our responsibility toward them:
“I am debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to foolish.”
Every one of us believers is a debtor. We owe a great debt to the people around us who aren’t yet saved. Those who haven’t believed in the Son of God will perish eternally in the lake of fire. We owe it to our relatives, friends, co-workers, neighbours, and others to tell them about the Saviour so they can believe in Him and receive eternal life.
Where would we be today if someone hadn’t told us about Jesus? Romans 10:14 says:
“How then shall they call upon Him into whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe into Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without one who proclaims Him?”
If people never have the opportunity to hear the gospel, how can they believe? This is why we must proclaim the Lord and His salvation to others.
Satan’s kingdom suffers loss
Satan wants to keep people under his evil authority. But when people believe in the Lord Jesus, they’re delivered from Satan’s tyranny over them. In Acts 26:18, Paul described the Lord’s commission to him in this way:
“To open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.”
When we speak to people about Jesus and they receive Him as their Saviour, they’re turned from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God. They receive forgiveness of their sins and obtain a rich spiritual inheritance. More captives of Satan are released and Satan’s kingdom suffers loss!
How do we witness for Christ?
Now let’s discuss a few practical points about how to witness.
1. Consecrate to the Lord
Giving ourselves to the Lord by consecrating specific areas of our life to Him, such as our job, our family, our time, and so on, gives the Lord the way to grow in us in those areas. We can also consecrate ourselves to the Lord to be witnesses for Him and pray a simple prayer like this:
“Lord, I give myself to You in this matter. Help me witness for You to the people You’ve put into my life.”
2. Pray for people
It’s very important for us to pray for people. Our Lord wants people to be saved, and He surely hears our prayers for them. We can pray something like:
“Lord, I pray for my cousin. He’s still not saved. Show me what to say to him. Lord, please give him an open heart to hear what I say about You. Lord Jesus, save him!”
It’s helpful to make a list of our unsaved family members, friends, neighbours, classmates, and co-workers so we can pray regularly for them.
We can ask the Lord specifically who to speak to, what we should say, and when. We can even ask the Lord to give us opportunities to speak to people.
3. Be assured that being saved is the only qualification needed
Attending seminary or receiving special training isn’t a requirement to witness for the Lord. Believing in and receiving Jesus as our Saviour is the only qualification we need.
This is proven by accounts in the New Testament of newly saved people immediately speaking about Christ and what He had done for them. For instance, in John 4 the Samaritan woman met Jesus at the well, and then right away told everyone in her city about Him.
4. Speak about what you’ve experienced of Jesus Christ
To witness to people, we don’t need to compose a sermon. We also don’t need to have all the answers to questions about God they might ask us. The apostle John said in 1 John 1:3:
“That which we have seen and heard we report also to you.”
John simply wrote about what he had seen and heard. In the same way, we can speak about what we’ve seen and heard of Jesus Christ, meaning, what we’ve experienced and enjoyed of the Lord.
For example, we can tell people how burdened down with sin and guilt we were, how Jesus died for us, and how He saved us. Or we can tell them that Jesus now lives in us and is with us all the time. Even if we’re newly saved, we can say, “I was empty and alone, but now Jesus lives in me!”
We can speak of what Jesus did for us. We can speak of His love for us, and of His care for us. If we stop to think about it, we actually have a lot to say about our dear Lord!
5. Practice speaking to people
We can’t expect to play the piano well if we never practice. Speaking to people about the Lord also requires practice. It may be helpful to set a goal of speaking to one person every week or every two weeks, for example. Otherwise, it would be easy to put off practicing and never start.
The more we practice, the more we’ll learn how to reach different kinds of people and be effective in leading them to salvation.
6. Tell people about Jesus in different ways
There are many ways and many opportunities to witness to those around us. The book of Acts is full of accounts of people being saved through different believers.
For instance, we can write a letter or email to someone we know to share the Lord Jesus with them. We can write about our experience of salvation, or how the Lord has worked in our lives.
We should also be prepared to speak about the Lord to our friends, relatives, or colleagues when opportunities present themselves. We can say something about how real the Lord is to us, and how we want them to be able to experience that for themselves also.
Giving away gospel tracts is another great way to share something about Jesus, especially if there isn’t much time to speak at length. For example, we can give tracts to people while we’re at the store, taking public transportation, or running errands. We can say a few words to them about the Lord based on a tract as we give it to them. Then the tract can speak to them even when we’re not with them.
We Christians have the gift of eternal life and can share that gift with our relatives, our friends, and our neighbours. May the Lord Jesus fill us with His great love as we pray for people and witness to them about our wonderful Lord and Saviour.
If you live in Australia, we also encourage you to order a free copy of the New Testament Recovery Version, which is full of enlightening commentary and other helpful features. You can place your order here.