Lesson 1

Witnessing: A Christian Fundamental

(Acts 1 & 5, Matthew 28)
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Introduction: This week we begin our study about witnessing. Although this quarter is not a systematic study of the book of Acts (I wish it were!), our study of witnessing centers on Acts.

Have you ever wished you knew how to be a better witness? Do you fee shy? Embarrassed? Uncertain about what you should do or say? Let's launch into our study that should, by the time we finish the quarter, give us a clearer idea on how we can effectively witness.

  1. METHODS OF WITNESSING


    1. Read Acts 1:1-2. Luke is the writer of Acts. He explains to Theophilus (see Luke 1:3) his thinking in writing the gospel of Luke, his "former book." What is his reason for writing? What was he trying to do?


      1. Read Luke 1:1-4 for comparison. Were there other accounts of Jesus' life available when Luke began to write his gospel? (Yes)


        1. What additional reasons do you find here for Luke writing his gospel?


        2. Is Luke an eyewitness? (Apparently not.)


      2. As you consider these texts, would you call Luke a witness?


        1. If you say, "yes," what kind of witness is Luke? What is his specialty, his "method" of witnessing? (He investigated, organized and wrote out the information about Jesus and Jesus' teachings so that people could believe and understand Jesus' message.)


        2. Do we have these kinds of witnesses today? Who are they? Are you one if you teach the lesson?


    2. Read Acts 1:3. How would you describe what Jesus is doing in this verse? (He is witnessing.)


      1. How is Jesus witnessing in these verses? (The verses say that Jesus gave "convincing proofs" by showing He was alive (and therefore resurrected) and by teaching about the "Kingdom of God.")


        1. What do you think Jesus was saying about the "Kingdom of God?"


        2. Do we have these kinds of witnesses today - those that give convincing proofs that Jesus is alive? If so, who are they?


    3. Do Luke and Jesus differ in their methods of witnessing (described in the verses we have read)? If so, how? (Jesus is an example of the "living evangelism" and Luke is an example of the "teaching evangelism.")


      1. As a Christian, must we have both in our life? Will one work without the other?


        1. What about a person who "majors" in one method as opposed to another? Is that OK?


    4. Are there any other approaches to evangelism?


      1. What about hiring others to evangelize? Is that a different and OK approach? Or is that just a combination of "living evangelism" (the use of your money is part of the way you live) with "teaching evangelism" (you hire someone else to teach)?


    5. We have identified the two main ways in which we can evangelize. What is it we are to be living and saying? We turn to that next.


  2. THE GOAL AND ELEMENTS OF WITNESSING


    1. Read Acts 1:8. What is the job that Jesus has given to the disciples? (To be witnesses!)


      1. Does this instruction apply to you too?


      2. What are we to "witness?"


    2. Read Matthew 28:18-20. How does this text relate to Acts 1:8?


      1. Does Matthew 28 also apply to you?


      2. As you consider Matthew 28:18-20, what are the elements and what is the goal of being a "witness?" Let's list them on the blackboard. (The goal is to make disciples. The elements of making a disciple seem to be convincing people of the authority of Jesus so that they will submit to His authority through baptism and then teaching them how to live in harmony with His commands.)


        1. Why does Jesus end these verses with the statement that He is always with us?


        2. How is baptism an acknowledgment of God's authority? Or do you disagree with the idea that baptism has anything to do with submitting to authority? (Read Romans 6:3-4, 6-7. Baptism is death to our old way of life. It is an acknowledgment that sin causes death and an acceptance of Jesus' death in our place. It takes away the authority of sin and replaces it with submission to God.)


        3. What is the purpose of the second element of our witness -- teaching obedience to Jesus? (After you teach people about the authority of God and the importance of submitting to Him, you have to show them what this means as a practical, day to day, matter.)


    3. Do you remember the different witnessing methods that we discussed used by Jesus (after His resurrection) and by Luke? How do Jesus' "living" and Luke's "teaching" witnessing fit into the goals of Matthew 28:18-20?


      1. Can you show people the authority of God and the importance of obeying through your life?


      2. Can you show people the authority of God and the importance of obeying through your teaching?


      3. Examine your life. Is your life teaching the right message? Or are you a different kind of witness?


    4. Let's read Acts 5:17-21. The apostles were jailed because they were preaching and healing. For what purpose did the angel release them? (To witness.)


      1. Why do you think the angel told them to witness in the temple?


        1. Couldn't they witness somewhere less conspicuous?


        2. The temple is a place where people would come to receive religious training and instruction. Is that where we should witness - in places designated for discussing God? Places where people come to us?


          1. What about tackling people on street corners and in airports -- as opposed to teaching only those who ask?


      2. What message did the angel tell the apostles to give?


        1. What does this mean?


        2. Read Acts 5:28-32. Is this the (v. 20) "full message of this new life?"


        3. Was this a living or teaching witness? (This is a teaching witness, but earlier ( Acts 5:15) we have a living witness.)


        4. In Acts 5:29 Peter says he must obey God rather than man. Is witnessing a matter of obedience to God for us?


    5. Friend, God calls on us to be His witnesses. Sometime we think of witnessing as going door to door to strangers. But the witnessing we have learned about this week goes far beyond that. It involves living a life that is a witness to Christ. It involves teaching those who want to learn about Jesus' life and death. Are you the witness God calls you to be?


  3. Next Week: The Power and Joy of Witnessing.


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Lessons on Witnessing

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