BE Witnesses

by Pastor Bob Miller

We have been focusing on this BEING rather than DOING concept of Christianity. The more we realize that Christianity isn’t primarily about “doing” but rather about “being” we begin to see that it fits into every area of our life. It’s not that we as Christians aren’t DOER’S – it’s just that our DOING flows out of CHRIST’S BEING in us! So our “doing” is never ours alone – it is always through CHRIST WHO IS DOING HIS WORK THROUGH US.

Take a look at Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

This verse is teaching a state of being, not a state of doing! Don’t belittle the fact that it says, “BE my witnesses.” We are not to be busy “doing witnessing,” rather when the Holy Spirit comes upon You – you will BE A witness! That is the natural result of CHRIST IN US!

There is a vast difference between the two. “Doing” witnessing has to do with our learning how to witness by memorizing Bible verses and formulas on what to say and how to say it - while “being” a witness is sharing a living love experience.

Doing witnessing builds up our self-esteem and plays to our pride: “I shared the Gospel with five people this week!” Whereas, “being” a witness builds up the image of Christ in the eyes of men. It has more to do with sharing love – rather than the number of times you mentioned Jesus.

If “doing” is the focus of our witnessing then one of the things that keep us from it is not knowing how. “What do I say?” We make witnessing about using a formula of Bible verses and practicing a dialogue that will help us to be effective as we witness.

While I was in seminary – I took a class on Personal Evangelism from Dr. Chic Shaver. One of our assignments was focusing on “friendship evangelism.” I was to be a friend to a prospective convert and then write about it. If I remember correctly, Jude, now my wife, was the subject of more than one of those evangelism papers.

So I want you to understand that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with all of this. In fact, they have been helpful tools to enable us to share Jesus and to lead others into a relationship with Him… But they center on “doing”… and for many people, it becomes discouraging since they try to fit into a pattern that is established by someone else.

We tend to look at how so-and-so does witnessing – and we try to emulate their pattern and practice. We think, "If I could just witness like them!" Or, “I could never be like them!” "If I could just have them come and do this for me!” And this is one of the falsehoods of “doing” witnessing. You do not have to do it like so-and-so does it.

The “doing” witnessing emphasizes a formula to follow. It creates a set pattern that we must fit into. The "being" experience emphasizes that each of us are individual personalities who are filled with the presence of Christ and as a witness, He will shine through my personality making my witness uniquely my own, different from anyone else. My witness comes from relaxing and surrendering to His presence in me.

“Doing” witnessing divides our activities into two sections. We have the religious activity and the non-religious activity.

Of course, the non-religious activities are many. They consist of those daily routine tasks that most of us find ourselves doing in caring for a family: Washing dishes, mowing lawns, doing laundry, sweeping floors, making dinner, changing diapers, going to work, watching TV. All of these things fall into the list of non-religious activities.

Then there are the religious activities that we do which we also label spiritual activities. These would be like: going to church, reading our Bible, prayer, giving our offering, witnessing, teaching Sunday School, listening to religious music.

We tend to measure the level of our spiritual development by how much time we spend in each area of our life. The more time we spend doing religious activities, the more religious we are. The less time we spend, the less spiritual we are. A person going to church every Sunday is obviously a better Christian than one who only makes it twice a month. The more money we drop in the offering, the more righteous we are. The more witnessing we do, the more spiritual we are!

It is most significant that even back in the days of the Reformation, Martin Luther knew better than this. He emphasized the concept of the sacredness of every man’s vocation. The Bible says, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:17)

1 Peter 4:11 says,

“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”

EVERYTHING that we do is done to the glory of God!

Every action is to be the outgrowth of His presence. Ephesians tells us that we are His workmanship.

Our lives, on a 24-hour basis, are to be produced by God, making everything sacred. This means that changing diapers is as sacred an act as singing in the church choir or preaching a sermon.

I am convinced that there is a brand-new experience for many of us in terms of witnessing. Witnessing should not be something we have to do; it should be that which we cannot keep from doing!

It is not a state of DOING; rather it is a state of BEING. It is the indwelling presence of Christ in a person’s life, sharing Himself through that life all the time. It becomes the expression of the total personality. We are a continual witness in all that we do!

When we have made Christ the Lord of our Lives, and He is at home in our heart with the freedom to carry out his will, then Jesus is going to make you a witness in our world.

This was Jesus’ mission – and now He is carrying it out through us. His mission has become our mission!

In fact in John 17:18, Jesus prays, "As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” Jesus’ ministry began after the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. His mission flowed out of being filled with the Spirit of God. Jesus is calling each of us to join Him in being a witness wherever we go, to His glory by the power of His Spirit at work in us.

It is not insignificant that our mission statement includes this last phrase: “We are to share God’s grace, to anyone, at any time in any way THROUGH THE POWER OF GOD’S SPIRIT AT WORK IN US!” Let Him fill you with His Spirit!