Witnessing In The Book of Acts
Acts 9:32-41; 4:8-12; 5:29-32
The New Testament church was born out of witnessing and was born to
witness. "They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues [languages] as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4). These 120 believers, now filled with the Holy Spirit, witnessed as God said they should. Then Peter preached, pulled the net, and three thousand lives were transformed that day. The whole book of Acts is characterized by two things: personal and public witnessing. The result? "The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (v. 47).
See them move quickly until "the number of the men was about five thousand" (v.4). This brought such a stir that Peter and John were called on the carpet before the host of religious leaders (v. 5 ff.) where they gave the familiar words, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (v. 12). This strong witnessing caused the leaders to marvel, because the witnesses were such common men (v. 13). Christ gives opportunity for common men to become uncommon men.
After being threatened further because of these incidents, the two apostles went home and reported to their friends what had happened (v. 23). Then they called a meeting and prayed for more "boldness" to witness. They received it (v. 31), "and with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and great grace was upon them all" (v.33).
Stephen, selected as a deacon (6:5), witnessed before the council (7:2-53). In their anger, they stoned him to death (vv.54-60). Saul came on the scene and "there was a great persecution against the church" (8:1). "Therefore, they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word" (8:4) As Joe Ellis said, "the persecution of the early church was like scattering fire brands." They lit fires all over the known world in a few years.
Yes, they trained the new converts, had new preachers going into the ministry, established new churches all over the world--all by keeping witnessing primary. What lessons there are for the church today!