“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.” -Acts 1.8
The reception of Holy Spirit power is a total necessity to the life of true faith. Without receiving power from on high, you have nothing but a mental idea of religion, however accurate it may be. Without receiving power from on high, you have not believed the Gospel in the manner that Jesus had in mind when He went to the cross.
The joy set before Him was the promise that a “nation of priests” would be raised up, not by merely agreeing with the doctrinal truth of the cross, but by receiving His own Spirit in a manner so real and tangible that they would be made to live as witnesses “to the ends of the earth.”
Our concept of “witnessing” falls short of the NT consciousness. We have often reduced it to the act of handing out tracts or presenting the “Romans Road” to salvation in a mechanical manner. Hence, our “converts” have often come into a mental faith only, and have failed to be born from above by the power of God’s indestructible life.
It is as Leonard Ravenhill once wrote:
A sermon from the head reaches the head. A sermon from the heart reaches the heart.
That is not to say that only an emotionally charged act of witness will suffice, but rather to say that unless our own conscience has been seared by the fire of God, and unless we are speaking by the power of His Spirit, we are not introducing men to the faith that the apostles have handed down to us.
You shall “be” witnesses. This is not merely handing out tracts, nor is it simply sitting around and trying to “be” something as opposed to “doing” something. To be a witness of something, you have to have seen it. Many of us were witnesses of the fire, smoke, and ash of that terrible day on 9/11. You may have witnessed some catastrophic event, or perhaps some wonderful historical happening. Maybe you were a witness of the tearing down of the Berlin wall, or some other memorable thing. You are not a witness because you went around handing out tracts about the Berlin wall, but because you saw it, even if it was over a TV screen.
The folk in Cleveland, having seen the talent of All-Star basketball player Lebron James, can often be found wearing the T-Shirt which declares, “We Are All Witnesses.” I think they have a better concept of the NT idea of “witness” than most believers, though their subject doesn’t hold a candle to the Man Christ Jesus.
Have you received His Spirit in power? Only by receiving His Spirit are we made into witnesses, those who can say, “We are all witnesses who can testify to the reality: Jesus Christ was crucified, He is risen and enthroned, and He is coming to Judge the nations and establish righteousness and peace forever.”
Only by the Spirit can we make such a claim, and only by the Spirit will men receive the Gospel of the Kingdom through us. So, dear Christian, are you a witness?