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, NIV)
We can all be shaped to become witnesses of Christ who lives and is used
by God. When William Carey wanted to leave for India to preach the gospel
to that country, a writer who was a loyal friend of his said: Sit
down, young people; If God wants to convert unbelievers, He will do it
without your help or mine." Even so, William Carey had a vision and
knowledge of God's word that did not let him rest easy where he was at
that time. Leaving for India William Carey also met resistance from his
own family. In 1793 he sailed to India with his wife, four children and
two other people who accompanied him. His wife had a mental breakdown,
faced various kinds of illnesses, and burned all of his writings which
he had prepared to translate the Bible into the local language or dialect:
"Attempt great things for God, and expect great things from God"
(Try great things for God and expect great things from God"). In
being a witness of Christ as he was in India, he got great success. Many
people eventually heard and accepted the gospel in India. He succeeded
in translating the Bible into 35 languages and dialects. Not only that,
he even earned the nickname "Father of Modern Missionaries."
As members of the body of Christ, we should respond to challenges like
William Carey to reach out to those who do not yet know Christ around
us. The task of preaching the Gospel is actually our shared responsibility.
As witnesses of Christ we can be shaped to become living witnesses of
Christ if we want to be filled and led by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) Through
the testimony of His Word, we can be shaped to become living witnesses
of Christ, namely by:
1. Have a great desire to save lost souls. Chapter 8 of Acts tells about Philip, one of the seven chosen deacons who went to a city in Samaria and preached the gospel to the people there (verse 5). Philip was willing to do this task because he had a deep love for souls. Philip's life was filled with a deep desire to save those who were lost.
2. Be sensitive to God's call. Philip received a calling to go somewhere. In Acts 8:26 the angel of the Lord said to Philip: "Get up and go south, according to the road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza." Philip was sensitive to listen and did not bargain in responding to the call. He immediately departed and it turned out that God used him as a blessing so that the Eunuch from Ethiopia was able to repent after Philip preached the Gospel of Jesus to him and was finally baptized (Acts 8:29-38).The essence of these verses says that His followers can be His witnesses to the ends of the earth (Matt. 28:19-20; Matt. 24:14).
3. Being led by the Holy Spirit. Philip was a man filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit took full control of Philip's life. And it is this kind of condition that will make a person successful in being His witness (Acts 8:39-40).
Just like Philip, let's be His witnesses who are filled and led by the Holy Spirit. Zechariah 4:6 says, "Not by might and not by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts." Amen!
By Pastor Silwanus Obadja M.Th.