ON BEING A WITNESS
By W. G. Guy
This article is about being a witness of and for the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, our personal savior and what He did for mankind as paying the penalty for our sins on the cross followed by His resurrection.
Acts 1:8 – But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
What does it mean to be a witness? What is involved in being a witness? Are there any benefits and rewards to being a witness? Are there any risks involved with being a witness? These questions are answered in the following paragraphs.
First we should understand what a witness is and what is involved in being a witness. A witness is one who testifies about what he knows as a fact or truth. A testimony is proof or evidence of an account, action, person or events stating facts, often under oath as in giving a sworn statement. We know that there are false witnesses, but they face serious penalties for giving false testimonies and none of us want any part of that.
In the verse quoted above, we see this is about the power believers can receive after being baptized with the Holy Spirit which results in being equipped of God to be a witness for and about Jesus Christ. This is a personal experience that is available to all who believe on Him and His promise as explained in Acts Chapter 2.
Acts 2:39 – For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
This experience with the Holy Spirit gives us ability to testify of Jesus and His works up until He returns as promised.
1 Corinthians 1:5-7 – that in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Now consider the benefits and rewards that are reserved for those who have been faithful witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus, Himself spoke of such rewards for being faithful to be His representatives in the summary given in the following illustration recorded in Matthew 25.
Matthew 25:23 – His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Please understand that rewards are earned for being a faithful and obedient follower and witness of Christ.
Matthew 16:27 – For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
2 Timothy 4:8 – henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Now we get into a more intense understanding of what it means to be a true witness of Jesus Christ; know that there are risks involved? The following is what Jesus told His disciples. (Please consider that this applies to all His witnesses depending on the political and religious environment where they testify of Him.)
Matthew 10:16-28 – Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Could imprisonment, beatings or even death be a result of witnessing for Jesus Christ. History bears this out, especially if you have read Foxes Book of Martyrs. Just consider what happened to John the Baptist, Stephen, and the apostle Paul.
This vile and perverse world is full of sinners that we need to witness to of the Grace and Love of God through Jesus Christ. We, as witness, are to bring the true light unto them that are in darkness (evil).
Matthew 24:9-14 – Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Does being a witness mean that you could be killed for your faith and testimony – ABSOLUTELY! Consider that the word translated witness in several scriptures in the New Testament is the Greek word martus which means martyr. This refers to those who have proved the strength and genuineness of their faith and testimony by undergoing a violent death for their witness. This word is used for “witness” in Acts 1:22; Acts 22:15; Acts 26:16; and 1 Peter 5:1.
Many Christians over the centuries have been martyred for their faith and testimony. They lived in areas where there are hostile religions and hostile governments – just as it is today! Consider that Islam has a creed that all non-Muslims are to be be-headed; they particularly target Christians and Jews who they call “people of the book” and “kafars”.
2 Timothy 2:12 – if we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
2 Timothy 3:12 – Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Revelation 12:11 – And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Does the possibility of being killed for your testimony prevent you from being a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you fear dying? Why? It happens to everybody! We all die, sooner or later. Are you going to die for something or are you going to die for nothing?
Hebrews 9:27 – And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Your concern should not be so much about dying, but what happens to you after you die! All believers will appear before the Lord Jesus Christ as the Just and Righteous Judge to give an account on how you lived your life and your witness of Him.
2 Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
The greater experience and benefit is waiting is for those who are faithful and true witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ for being a living testimony of Him and God’s Love and Grace that He has shown to you. Both Jesus and God our Father are counting on you to be a witness and to testify of Him and His Love for others.