Call to Witness
We may be familiar with the phrase “witnessing for Christ,” but do we know why we should witness for the Lord and how we should do it?
Witnessing for Christ means simply telling others what we have personally seen and experienced of the Lord Jesus.
When we received Him as our Savior, our first reaction might have been to tell our best friend all about our salvation, that is, to witness to them of Christ. This is what Philip did in John 1:45. Immediately after he met the Lord, he found Nathaniel and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote, Jesus, the son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” To tell others about Christ in this way is to witness for Him.
Let’s look at why we should witness for Christ. We’ll also discuss some practical points on how to do it.
Why do I need to witness?
In the New Testament we find numerous verses that tell us we are to witness for our Lord and Savior throughout our lives on this earth. Why do we need to do this? The answer is fourfold, as seen from the sides of four parties: God, the believers, the unbelievers, and Satan.
From God’s side—He commanded us
The Lord Jesus died on the cross to accomplish redemption and then victoriously resurrected from the dead. Right after this, He told His disciples,
“Go therefore and disciple all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)
The Lord Jesus didn’t suggest or recommend; He commanded them to do this. He commissioned us to go out and preach Him, to spread the news about Him to all the people of this world.
Whether or not we feel like speaking for Christ, God’s will and commission to us is for us to witness for Him to everyone. In this, our preference or opinion has no place. His Word clearly charges us to go and disciple all the nations.
From the believers’ side—we are chosen branches set in the vine to bear fruit
The Lord tells us in John 15:16:
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and I set you that you should go forth and bear fruit.”
The Lord chose us and set us as branches in Him, the true vine. The picture of branches in the vine shows us that our relationship with the Lord is one in His divine life. Branches cannot live unless they are attached to and share the life of the vine. We now share Christ’s life! How wonderful! But this isn’t the whole story.
The Lord has an intention and purpose for our being branches in Him. His Word clearly tells us that He chose us and set us in Himself as His branches so that we would bear fruit. The Lord wants each of us branches to bear fruit.
The fruit in this verse doesn’t refer to a believer’s virtues, which are mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament. The fruit here is other believers, produced by the ones abiding as branches in Christ, as explained in Note 2 on this verse in the New Testament Recovery Version. We encourage you to read that note to understand what fruit means in this verse.
We did not choose the Lord. He chose each one of us, and He set us as branches in Himself, the vine. And what is His desire and intention for setting us as branches in Him, sharing His life? It is that we would go forth and be fruitful, speaking to others so that they would become those who share this life also. He never intended that the life He imparted into us would stop with us.
From the unbelievers’ side—they need to hear to believe
Mankind has a desperate spiritual need. What is our responsibility toward our fellow human beings? We can see it in Paul’s words in Romans 1:14:
“I am debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to foolish.”
Every one of us believers is a debtor. Without salvation, those who have not believed into the Son of God will perish eternally in the lake of fire. We may be saved, but what about others? We who have received the Lord Jesus are the only ones who have what these perishing ones need. We owe it to the people around us—to our relatives, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and others—to speak the gospel of Jesus Christ to them so that they would not perish, but would believe in Him and receive eternal life.
If we don’t speak to people about Christ, who will? How will they know about Him? How can they be saved? Romans 10:14 compels us to share the good news with others:
“How then shall they call upon Him into whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe into Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without one who proclaims Him?”
If someone had not spoken to us about the Lord Jesus, where would we be today? In the same way, we must witness to others about our Savior. People can’t call upon the Lord to receive His salvation if they don’t hear about it. This is why Romans 10:15 says,
“How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the news of good things!”
From Satan’s side—his kingdom will suffer loss
Witnessing for Christ also defeats Satan’s strategy of keeping people under his authority. The Lord Jesus needs us to speak the gospel to people, as the following verses say,
“To open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:18)
When we speak to others and they confess the Lord as their Savior, as Colossians 1:13 tells us, they are delivered out of the authority of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of the Son.
Every time a person receives the gift of salvation, another captive of Satan is released. No wonder we sometimes struggle to open our mouths for Christ; Satan, God’s enemy, opposes our speaking because when people believe in Christ, Satan’s kingdom suffers loss!
How do we witness for Christ?
Now that we’ve seen why we should witness, how do we do it? Here are just a few practical points on how to witness for Christ.
1. The first and most important thing for us to do is pray.
We can pray, “Lord, you’ve commanded me to witness for You. And I am a branch in You, sharing Your life to bear fruit. Lord, help me witness to the ones in my life who are unsaved so they can know You.” We should consider all the people in our lives that are not yet saved. We can make a list of our unsaved family members, friends, neighbors, classmates, and co-workers and pray regularly for each of them. We can ask the Lord who specifically to speak to, how we should speak to them, and when. We can even ask Him for opportunities to speak to those around us. The more we look to the Lord and allow Him to direct us, the more He will be able to flow out of us to them in our speaking.
2. We must realize that being saved qualifies us to witness for the Lord.
Witnessing for Christ does not require that we attend seminary or receive special training. Believing in and receiving Christ qualifies us to be His witnesses. This is evidenced by all the different cases in the New Testament of newly saved people going out immediately to speak about Christ and what He had done for them. We are not required to compose long messages or to speak eloquently of all the things in the Bible in order to witness to people. How daunting if this were the case! All that is required of us is to look to the One in us and speak of our experience of Christ. Even if we are newly saved, we can testify, “I was empty and alone, but now Christ lives in me!”
3. We can speak about what we’ve personally experienced of Christ.
When we open our mouths to speak for the Lord, we don’t need to have all the answers to questions people may ask us. We only need to talk about what we know. First John 1:3 says,
“That which we have seen and heard we report also to you.”
We can tell people about what we have seen and heard concerning the Word of life, Christ. This means we can tell them about what we’ve experienced. For instance, we can tell them of how burdened down with sin and guilt we were, and of how we received Christ and were forgiven and cleansed by Him. We can tell them that Christ now lives in us and is now with us each day. It’s so normal for us to talk about our own experiences of things in daily life. With witnessing, we are simply sharing our experience of Christ. We may not yet know a lot of the Word, but we know the One Who has touched our heart and has opened our eyes. We can speak of what He did for us. If we stop to think about it, we actually have a lot to say concerning our dear Lord!
4. It’s never too late to start witnessing for Christ.
The best time to speak to others about Christ is immediately after we’re born again, when our experience is fresh. But even if we’ve believed for a while and we haven’t developed a habit of witnessing, it’s never too late to start. We can consecrate ourselves anew and begin to speak now for Christ. Our spirit will be revived and our faith will be strengthened as we “go forth” to tell others.
5. We can start by speaking to one person a week.
With many endeavors, practicing is important. For example, we can’t expect to play piano well if we never practice. In the same way, we need to practice speaking. It helps us to make a definite goal of speaking to a certain number of people within a given time. Otherwise it will be easy for us put off our “practice” again and again, and we never even start. We can start out by practicing to speak to one person a week about Christ. As we practice, we will learn how to reach different kinds of people, and our speaking will become more effective.
6. We can use gospel tracts to share about Jesus Christ with others.
Giving someone a gospel tract is a great way to share about Christ. We can simply say a few words to them about the Lord based on the contents of the tract as we hand it to them. When people have a tract to read, the tract will continue to speak to them even if we’re not there with them. Bibles for America has a series of short gospel tracts to help people share with others about the Lord Jesus. You can print them out and give them to people in person, or you can even send them to someone electronically.
We Christians have the gift of eternal life to share with our relatives, our friends, and our acquaintances. May the Lord Jesus fill us with His great love for people as we pray for others and begin to witness for Him today.