We're studying this week two approaches to witnessing. Sometimes we may not intend to bash someone over the head with our testimony, but it can still happen. Or we can be afraid that we will be seen this way, and pull back -- not even offer our witness. One way to take care of this problem is what I'm calling the "Cookies and Milk" approach. (Grin)
Let's look at our story again, and hopefully I can clarify what I mean!
Look at the chapter in Acts again:
After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left. (Acts 16:40)
This is after Paul and Silas had been imprisoned for preaching about Jesus. When they were released, where did they go?
Their first destination was Lydia's house.
Who met them there? The men of the new church!
Wow! It wasn't that long ago that Lydia was the lone convert from Paul's efforts!
Well, what did Paul say to Lydia that won her to Christ? We don't know; it's not recorded in the Word, and perhaps that is for this reason: it wasn't what Paul said. It was because the Lord opened her heart!
Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would work in this way:
We can see that witnessing to someone about Jesus is not something that we can treat like a "sales spiel." Learning techniques and how to "close the deal" doesn't work nearly as well as a quiet, calm, sincere talk with someone. If we learn the techniques and then try to "close the deal," we are relying on ourselves. We are trying to do the Spirit's job, by convicting them of the sin. That's not our job! We must rely on God to lay the groundwork, just as He prepared Lydia's heart for Paul's message. He laid the groundwork, too, by guiding them to Philippi, instead of other areas of the region.
Am I saying that we should not prepare for our efforts to witness for the Lord?
It is vitally important that we spend time in His Word, and memorize Scriptures, to be "ready to give answer" for our Hope. It is also not a bad idea to role play with another Christian, and practice giving our testimony.
Here is the difference. The Bible says we are to be God's witnesses.
Not that we are called to judge. Nor to convict people of their sins.
Ever been in a courtroom? We've all seen them on television. Who's there? The judge, the prosecutor, and the witnesses.
The judge's job is to pass judgment, right?
The prosecutor's job is to convict people of their wrong deeds.
The witnesses are supposed to witness, or testify, about what they know. What they saw. What they have experienced.
So, our job is to tell people what we know about Jesus. And if we do our job, God will do His.
I heard an old preacher say it this way: Jesus called all of us to be fishers of men. He expects us to do the fishing, and the Spirit baits the hook!
One of the biggest problems with relying on ourselves to "do it all" and bring others to Christ, is that often people want to argue. Who can make the best points. Who can have the last word.
But I bet that Paul and Silas didn't do it that way, when they joined that prayer meeting at the river.
Arguing just doesn't get us anywhere.
We'll talk more about this tomorrow . . .