About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Do I Need The Holy Spirit To Tell Me To Witness
Many times people suggest that they should only witness about Jesus when prompted by the Holy Spirit. Others say that Jesus has already given us the Great Commission and that is sufficient prompting in itself. They say that we don't need the Holy Spirit to tell us not to lie because the Bible already tells us not to lie. The same with witnessing. Why should we need a special word from the Spirit when the Bible already tells us to witness.
There is definite examples where the Holy Spirit told someone to witness. Philip in Acts 8 is one clear example. So we can safely say, that at times, the Holy Spirit can and does tell us to speak Jesus to someone.
Yet I believe at the same time, we are not to sit back and wait until we hear the voice of the Lord. If so, we need to deal with the meaning of the Great Commission. Some say that this commission was only spoken to the disciples, and therefore does not apply to us. This would be a matter of Biblical interpretation.
Peter, in 1 Peter 3:15 tells us that we need to be always ready to give an answer for the hope we have. Simply put, we need to be ready to share the gospel when asked. So if we are asked, do we first need to ask the Holy Spirit for permission to answer? I don't think so. We just speak the words and pray Jesus will use them.
Acts 8:4 tells us that many Christians fled persecution in Jerusalem, and wherever they went they preached the gospel. This suggests to me that preaching the gospel was not something that was done only when prompted by the Spirit. I believe that Jesus was so much a part of these people's lives that witnessing was only natural and commonplace with them. I don't think these people kept their new life in Jesus a secret, waiting for the prompting of the Spirit.
This is my thinking. I do believe at times the Holy Spirit can tell us to say something to a particular person. At the same time, I don't believe we should wait for Him to tell us to witness. Really, if we did a better job at hearing Jesus, He may speak to us more often than He does now. If we are indeed in love with Jesus, we will naturally share Him with others. As Jesus said, "what the heart is full of, the mouth will speak".
Some are called to be full time evangelists, but for the rest us, sharing Jesus with others is something we should be doing.
Jesus, in Acts 1:8 gave a prophecy. He said that when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you would be witnesses. So in my thinking, the natural consequence of receiving the Spirit is giving witness to Jesus. If you look closely in Acts you will notice that people were filled with the Spirit for only one reason, and that was to be a witness both in word and in action, but especially in word.
I have heard said, "live the Word, and if necessary say it". This may sound nice but it is not New Testament thinking. Paul would be disgusted at this statement. Living the Word should be obvious. Paul put a great emphasis on preaching the gospel, as can be seen in Romans 10. Speaking the gospel is not only important, it is the only way in which one can hear the gospel.
You will notice in Acts 9 that Saul (Paul) was confronted in dramatic fashion by Jesus, yet Jesus Himself did not preach the gospel to Paul. He left that for Annanias to do. How interesting. Jesus left the witnessing to a man to do.
It is our job to preach, to witness, to share the good news of Jesus, whatever way you want to say it. The last verse in the book of Mark tells us that the disciples went out and preach the gospel, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed their words with miraculous signs. Man's job is to preach. Jesus job is to provide the spiritual ability and power. This was clearly the case in the conversion of Paul.
Do we need to wait for a Word from the Lord to share the good news? I don't think so. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We will then naturaly give witness to Jesus.