“And God said…” (Gen. 1:3)
“And Jesus answering said…” (Matt. 3:15)
“…the Holy Ghost said…” (Acts 13:2)
“For we cannot but speak…” (Acts 4:20)
“…and a time to speak…” (Eccl. 3:7)
In some circles there is a very strong focus on witnessing. The emphasis is so strong that any text of Scripture can be wrested into the believer’s responsibility to witness. But the truth is that there is nothing in Scripture to warrant their type of rehearsed witnessing. Those that are of that school of thought will at once point to Acts 20:20. In that passage Paul says, “[I] have taught you publicky, and from house to house.” Paul was not going door to door throwing his pearl to the swine. “House to house” means house church to house church. Paul was establishing Christian house churches. In fact, our Lord forbids the door to door method; “Go not from house to house.” (Luke 10:7)
The Word does not know of “witnessing” but of being a witness. As a matter of fact, our word for witness is translated from the word martyr. Martyr as in “dying daily to self”; “I am crucified with Christ”; “he that is dead to sin is freed from sin.”; “Likewise reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Being a witness is dying unto sin and self, and living unto God through our Lord Jesus.
Am I suggesting that we should not speak of the Gospel to the lost? God forbid. However, I am suggesting that the prepared and rehearsed method of “witnessing” be put down. When a believer stands in front of an unbeliever and delivers his lines, it comes across as practiced and dare I say- a sales pitch?
In speaking to the lost one must be fluid and organic. “Witnessing” cannot not be taught in a (3) three hour class or a step-by-step book. Speaking to the lost must be Spirit-taught and Spirit-led.
Before you begin speaking to the lost you must ask yourself a question. The question is this- Why am I speaking to this person about their sin and of the One and Only Saviour, the Lord Jesus? Is it because it’s Thursday and that is outreach day? Is it to meet a quota? Is it to grow the number of members in my church? Am I speaking to the lost because I am insecure in my own faith and in order to affirm my faith I try to get others to believe like me? Or is it for the right reason? What is the right reason? We speak to the lost not for the lost’s sake, but we speak to the lost to bring glory to the Lord Jesus. We speak to the lost with the aim being a body of new creatures giving Him the praise that He is due.
Many believers do not speak of their Lord because they do not think they can present the rehearsed spiel that they have heard others give. This is unfortunate.
Let us look at the passage that preachers use to teach this type of “witnessing.” Matthew 28:19 – “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Ghost…” The question we must ask is this; Is this commission meant for all believers? We will answer that question with a question. Do you, beloved, have the authority to baptize? If you answer, “no” then the commission is not meant for all believers. Many believers feel a weight of guilt because they are not “witnessing” as the preacher would like. Beloved, the Truth shall make you free. The salvation of your family and neighbor is not your responsibility, for Salvation is of the LORD. It is God Who seeks and saves that which was lost.
Having said all that I would encourage thee to speak often, to speak freely, and to speak loudly of your Lord Jesus and His Gospel because we, like brother Paul, are not ashamed of the Gospel.