Skip to main content

5 Tips for Effective Witness

5 Tips for Effective Witness

We may not all share Jesus with an Ethiopian eunuch. We can all learn a few things from Philip's ministry.

We will see Philip again in Acts 21:8. Here are five things we can learn about his effective witness in Acts 8.

1. Preparation. Philip's effective witness in Acts 8 began before. Philip was recognized earlier by the congregation in Jerusalem. He is described as a man of good reputation and full of the Spirit and of wisdom (Acts 6:3-5).

But Philip's preparation began even before Acts 6. Philip devoted himself to the apostolic teaching and to the fellowship when he was converted. His dedication was evident. He was one of the first leaders appointed by the early church. He didn't demonstrate himself as a leader. He demonstrated himself before becoming a leader.

Philip's effective witness began before he opened his mouth to preach. It began with dedicating himself to the apostles' teaching and serving the body. This dedication to preparation made him ready when each opportunity came.

2. The Holy Spirit. Philip was a man recognized as being "full of the Spirit and of wisdom" (Acts 6:3-5). In Acts 8:29 the Spirit told Philip to join a specific chariot. When he obeyed he found a person who was prepared to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.

The leading of the Spirit is critical. Some think it is unnecessary. They may argue that the power of God for salvation is in the gospel message. That's true. They may also argue that we have been commanded to proclaim the gospel to every creature. That's also true.

But no individual can share the gospel with everyone. The whole church working together will accomplish this task. Our individual part should be led by the Spirit.

To make effective use of the gospel's power we must first know the gospel. Additionally the Spirit can lead to individuals who are prepared to hear. This was the case with the Ethiopian eunuch.

Philip had nothing to do with the Ethiopian reading the scroll of Isaiah. Philip had nothing to do with the questions the Ethiopian was wrestling with. The Spirit brought someone prepared to preach to someone prepared to hear. The result was an effective witness and sound salvation.

The Holy Spirit is able and willing to lead today. Are we willing to listen and obey? When we are led to prepared people we understand what Jesus said:  "For in this instance the saying is true, 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap what you did not work for; others have labored and you have entered into their labor" (John 4:37-38 NET).

3. Preaching Where Present. Following the lead of the Holy Spirit doesn't mean don't witness until the Holy Spirit speaks to you. The Holy Spirit inspired the Word of God which commands Christians to proclaim Christ. This general instruction applies at all times. When specific instruction is given we should obey. Specific obedience is in keeping with the general instruction to evangelize every creature.

Philip preached Christ where he was. When he scattered he found himself in Samaria. He preached Christ to the people there (Acts 8:5). When he continued on his way to Caesarea he preached the gospel to all the cities along the way (Acts 8:40). When we see him again in Caesarea (about twenty years later in Acts 21:8) he is known as the evangelist. He is still preaching where he is.

When Philip heard specific instruction on who to preach Christ to he obeyed. When specific direction was lacking he preached Christ where he was to everyone he could.

4. Person Focused. There are many one-size-fits-all methods of evangelism. They are easy to memorize. They make dedication to preparation much easier. When the method doesn't fit the context some try and force the situation and have an ineffective witness. Or they don't witness because they didn't have an "open door."

Some methods are better than others at fitting into different contexts. No method can ever account for every situation. Every witnessing situation will contain at least one person. If we focus on method we will miss opportunities. If we focus on people we don't have to miss any opportunity.

Philip was fully prepared to meet the Ethiopian where he was. He used the situation to create a natural opportunity to proclaim Christ. Philip didn't begin where his "method" told him to begin. He began where the Ethiopian was. Not everyone will be reading messianic prophesies when we meet them. However, every person is worth taking the time to diagnose their present situation and then effectively, faithfully, and lovingly share the gospel with them.

The ambassador for Christ must always remember that we are not simply preaching Christ. We are preaching Christ to people. Effective witness is person focused.

5. Crosses Barriers. The modern reader may not immediately see the barriers that were crossed with the Ethiopian eunuch. Suffice to say they were many. These two men were about as unalike as could be. Philip crossed this barrier after crossing another by preaching to Samaritans. Philip was willing to do what only few were (e.g., Acts 11:19-20).

There is great opportunity for effective witness to be done among your peers. We miss opportunity when we think the Spirit is restrained by our own barriers. Jesus is Lord of all. The gospel is for everyone. Don't quench the Spirit by disqualifying yourself from witnessing across barriers.

Comments

Popular Posts

Prayer vs. Petition

Q: What's the difference between prayer and petition? Phil 4:6 for example.

A: An excellent word study question! When attempting to study words from the text it is necessary to analyze the word being studied in the original language (in this case Greek) as attempting to look up the words in English will often produce erroneous results.

For example, in English the word petition has within its range of meanings things that are certainly not within the scope of meanings for the Greek word (i.e. “a sheet that is signed to demonstrate agreement with some principle or desire for some social action to be taken” is part of the range of “petition” but not of the Greek deesis from which “petition” is translated).

The word most commonly translated as “prayer” in our English Bibles is proseuche, which appears 36 times in the New Testament (NT) in one form or another (for the purposes of this study, we are only examining the usage of these words as nouns – the verbal forms will not be included…

10 Things An Evangelist Is Not

You've probably heard the term Evangelist before.Most people have. The term most likely brings something to mind. Sometimes positive. Often negative.

Does your idea match what other people think of when they hear the term evangelist?

More importantly, do any of these ideas match what the Bible tells us an evangelist is?

The truth is that most of the popular ideas about what an evangelist is and does are based on the culture, not the Bible.This is a problem.

The cultural idea of an evangelist is so popular that it is beginning to be used by companies. If you go to popular job sites and put the term evangelist into the search bar you will find many non-church jobs looking for evangelists. Many of these positions include the duties of spreading knowledge about a particular company, product, service, or idea.

The Bible tells us that Jesus gave some Evangelists for His church.And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers (Ephe…

5 Keys To Effective Witness

Content is important. But it's not the only thing. Some evangelistic methods are presented as if they are the perfect witnessing method. Some think memorizing a method and mechanically delivering the content means you have effectively witnessed.

Witness throughout the New Testament demonstrates this is not accurate. There is not a cookie-cutter approach that is applied the same way every time.
Content is extremely important. Without the right content our witness cannot be effective. Messing with the content of the gospel voids its power. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. (1 Corinthians 1:17) Focusing only on content fails to recognize that we are not preaching to the air. We are preaching to persons.
To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel,…

Lift Up The Son, Part 2

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
(Romans 15:4)


(If you missed Part 1, you can read it here.)

The Apostle Paul quoted a verse from Psalm 69 before making his comment in Romans 15:4. When he speaks of whatever was written before he means what we have recorded in the Old Testament. He simply called them the Scriptures.

God inspired the Hebrew Scriptures, our Old Testament. Paul said they were written for the instruction of New Testament believers. Through perseverance and encouragement in the Scriptures we can have hope. The Old Testament is not supposed to be ignored by Christians.

As we apply this to our task of lifting up the Son, that in and through Christ our Father may be glorified, we encounter a word of caution.

It is easy to agree on the surface that the church ought to talk about Jesus. That's a given. But are we aware that not everyone means th…

Fullness By Design

My wife and I are expecting our 8th child this year. I want my children to grow to full maturity. That's not to say that I want to skip the fun things that accompany young kids. I don't want to skip any of it. As each day passes I realize how quickly these moments are gone.

The march toward adulthood is inevitable. Every day, we all get older. I must be aware that my children are growing up, whether I like it or not.

But maturity is not the same as age. It is possible to get older while never really growing up.

When I say that I want my children to grow to full maturity what I mean is: I desire my children to realize their potential. I want them to grow into responsible adults.

I don't want my three sons to live in my house indefinitely. They shouldn't be expecting their mother to cook and clean for them into their thirties. Part of my responsibility as a father is to steward the children God has so graciously given us. We are to raise them so that they can be delivere…