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Lesson 4: Witness and Service: The Fruit of Revival *

Introduction: Have you ever asked, "What is in it for me?" This is the most basic approach to converting others to Christianity - we tell them how it will make their life better. God uses that approach. Consider Deuteronomy 28 where God says obey and be blessed, disobey and be cursed. Tithing promises tangible benefits (Malachi 3:10-12). Heaven is promised to have gold even in its streets! ( Revelation 21:21) This approach creates a tendency to remain focused on self even after we are converted. Our lesson this week challenges us to look outward. Let's dive into the Bible and find out more!

  1. Enabled


    1. Read Acts 1:8 and Luke 24:46-49. What work is assigned to the disciples? (Witnessing about Jesus.)


      1. What is essential to performing that work? (The power of the Holy Spirit.)


    2. Read Matthew 28:16-20. What is the goal of witnessing? (To make disciples of others by baptizing them and teaching them to obey God.)


      1. Was this command to witness given only to those disciples? (Notice the text says that new converts should be taught "to obey everything I have commanded you." Thus, if Jesus told the original disciples to witness, He has told us to witness.)


    3. Read Mark 16:15-18. Where do demons, tongues, healings, snakes and poison fit into witnessing? (If you were being sent out in Jesus' day, what problems would you face? (Opposition from Satan's minions, language difficulties, snakes might bite you as you walked along, and bad food might poison you. You might come across people so ill that they are distracted from hearing the gospel.)


      1. Is there any modern parallel to the promise in Mark 16? (When we traveled by motorhome, I packed emergency equipment. Jesus promises to send with His witnesses an emergency package.)


    4. Read John 16:7-11. We decided earlier that the power of the Holy Spirit is essential to witnessing. Why? (It is the Holy Spirit who brings conviction of sin and truth.)


    5. Read John 16:12-13. In what other ways does the Holy Spirit help us with witnessing? (He helps us to have truth. We would not want to witness to something that is wrong.)


    6. Think about the texts that we just read. What is the first step to witnessing? (Receiving the power of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit leads us into truth, is our "emergency pack," and convicts those to whom we witness of truth. In sum, the Holy Spirit gives us the power to do what God commands.)


  2. Examples


    1. Read Acts 8:4-8. Philip was one of the seven men chosen by the early church to be a deacon ( Acts 6:5). Is Philip obeying the call to witness?


      1. Does this sound like Mark 16:15-18 is being fulfilled? (All except the snakes!)


    2. Read Acts 8:26. Imagine that you get up in the morning and an angel gives you specific instructions on where to go. Would you like to live a life like that?


      1. Is that possible?


      2. Let's start with a test. Assume an angel told you to go someplace this morning, would you be able to do it, or do you have other obligations? Would you need to reschedule?


    3. Read Acts 8:27-29. We see that Philip obeys immediately. Have you ever debated about whether you should witness to someone? Have you felt guilty about not witnessing to more people?


      1. If you have the Holy Spirit in your life, will He direct you to people who are open to the gospel?


    4. Read Matthew 13:3-9. Jesus tells the crowd a story about a farmer sowing seed. Read Matthew 13:10. How would you translate the disciples' question? (What are you talking about? We don't understand why a discussion about farming has anything to do with us.)


    5. Read Matthew 13:18-23. Jesus tells us what the farmer's story means. Does it have any relevance to witnessing?


      1. If you say, "yes," these are two different methods of witnessing, is one superior to the other?


        1. If the Holy Spirit would guide each of us to someone open to the gospel, it would save a lot of time and money, right?


        2. Why do we engage in mass evangelism? Why not pray for the Holy Spirit to work in us just like He did with Philip, and lead us to those who are open to the gospel?


    6. Read Acts 2:14-16. Here is an example of mass evangelism. You know the context, what is the advantage? (Peter spoke to many, not just one. Mass evangelism is more time efficient than speaking one on one.)


    7. Let's get back to Philip. Read Acts 8:30-31. Notice that the Holy Spirit in Acts 8:29 merely told Philip to "go to that chariot and stay near it." The Holy Spirit said nothing about engaging the Ethiopian in a conversation. What do we learn from this? (Witnessing is a partnership with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not need to direct us on every detail.)


    8. Read Acts 8:32-34. Can you imagine a more perfect Scripture to introduce the gospel to someone?


      1. Imagine the Ethiopian is asking you this question. What is the most important thing at this moment? (This goes back to last week's lesson: Philip needed to know the Bible and specifically this prophecy. How can you be a witness if you do not know God's word?)


    9. Read Acts 8:35. How hard is Philip's witnessing work? Do you think that you could do this? (If you know the gospel, if you know your Bible, the "hard" part is following the direction of the Holy Spirit!)


    10. Read Acts 8:36. This week I was in a store where my wife and I were considering a major purchase. We were having a hard time deciding, when the salesman gave us a sharp nudge by starting to write up the sale. It was obvious that this was a "trick" to "close" the sale, and I considered resisting because the tactic was so obvious. What does Philip do to "close the sale of the gospel" with the Ethiopian? (Nothing! The Ethiopian suggested that he should be baptized.)


      1. What does this teach us about witnessing? (We don't have to "close." Conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit ( John 16:8-10). Witnessing seems so easy when we review this story.)


    11. Read Acts 8:38-40. What happens to Philip? (The Holy Spirit takes him to another appointment.)


      1. Can you imagine a life like that of Philip?


      2. Is it because we are not like Philip that others have to use mass evangelism techniques?


    12. Recall that earlier in Acts 8 we read about Philip witnessing in Samaria. Let's pick that up again by reading Acts 8:13. Is the Holy Spirit working through Philip? (It certainly seems like it when we read of "great signs and miracles.")


    13. Read Acts 8:14-17. This is a most curious story. Philip is in an incredible witnessing partnership with the Holy Spirit, yet he baptizes converts only "in the name of the Lord Jesus" and fails to baptize them in the Holy Spirit. How do you explain this? (I cannot.)


      1. What hope does this give us about our witnessing? (This shows us that Philip did not have it "all together," yet the Holy Spirit used him in a powerful way. That gives us hope for our witnessing.)


    14. Read 1 John 1:1-4. What approach does this suggest to witnessing that we have not discussed so far? (The most effective witness is to talk about what Jesus has done in our life. We can personally testify to what God has done for us.)


    15. Friend, will you pray daily that the Holy Spirit will lead you to someone who is open to the gospel? Will you be willing to follow the direction of the Holy Spirit in bringing others to Jesus?


  3. Next week: Obedience: The Fruit of Revival.
* Copr. 2013, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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