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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Matt Hagee » Matt Hagee - The Witness

Matt Hagee - The Witness

Matt Hagee - The Witness
Matt Hagee - The Witness
TOPICS: The Witness

This morning, we begin a sermon series entitled "The Witness". And we're familiar with this concept of the witness, because we see it in the world around us on a regular basis. We see it on the news whenever someone is reporting an incident that everyone has an interest in finding out more about. The reporter, in order to validate what has occurred, will often say, "We now have an eyewitness". In legal proceedings, in front of a judge, whenever they're trying to determine who's innocent and who's guilty, and where the fault lies, and what side justice needs to be on, there is nothing that is more powerful, and nothing that can be more incriminating than an eyewitness. Whenever you call the witness, or you ask to hear what they have to say, you don't want to know what they've been told: you want to know what they've experienced. And I believe that, in our world today, if we're going to see any measure of change, if we're going to see any type of return to righteousness, if we're going to see any measure of restoration, the one thing that is going to be required is that of a witness.

This witness comes in the form of your individual decision to fulfill what God and his son, Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit have asked of you from this day forward. The good news is, is that the thing that Christ wants of us is the same thing he wanted of his followers 2,000 years ago. He's the same yesterday, today, and forever. And what he did for them, he'll do for you, if you have the willingness to say, "Yes, Lord. I'll be your witness". Let's read Acts 1:6 together. If you're there, say amen. Therefore, when they had come together, they asked him saying, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel"? And he said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the father has put in his own authority. But you shall receive power", read that line again, "But you shall receive power... When the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth".

Heavenly Father, thank you for your word today. Because the grass may wither and the flower may fade, but your word endures forever. In this generation, let us be your witnesses, that the world that needs to know you would find you. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

You may be seated. Oftentimes, people will ask a question, and although they sound open and willing to whatever the answer may be, they really don't want to do whatever you suggest with the response. How many of you are familiar with what I'm talking about? Let me give you a little example, help you understand in a better context. How many of you had ever asked a friend or a loved one, "Would you like to get something to eat"? And of course they say, "Sure, I'm hungry". And then you say something like, "Where would you like to go"? And then they say, "I don't care. Anything will do". Now, how many of you know what I'm talking about? Whatever you say next, they really don't want to hear. Although they've given you an open, blank check to take them anywhere you want to go. And the second that you suggest anything, what do they say? "Not that".

Whenever we spend time and ask the Lord to give us direction, and we say, "Lord, whatever you want me to do, I'll do it. And whatever you want me to say, I'll say it. And wherever you want me to go, I'll go". And then the first thing that he asks you to do, you say, "Anything but that". And the problem is, as soon as that request gets made, guess who shows up? The flesh. "Don't kill me. We've been friends for a long time". And the problem is, is you cannot accomplish the work of the Lord in your strength, in your will, and in your power, which is why you have to die daily to get the job done. People want to know, "What does Christ want from me"? The first thing that he wants is the same thing he wanted from his disciples when he said, "If any man comes after me, let him deny himself..." Let him deny who? Himself. "...Take up his cross".

Guess what you can do on a cross? One thing: die. Kill your will and follow him. Most of the time, we say we want to know what the Lord wants from us, but if we were really honest, we want something from God. But the truth is, God's not as interested in your restoration as he is your service. He says, "If you'll follow me, if you'll kill your will and you'll follow me, if you'll seek me first, all of these things will be added unto you". So what does Christ want from you? And what does he want from me? Here's what he tells the disciples. They're having a conversation. Christ has resurrected from the grave. This is not the rabbi from Nazareth. This is not the guy who was a disrupter in Jerusalem just a few days ago. This is the one that they saw shackled, and chained, and convicted, and condemned, and crucified, and buried, and now he's alive again.

This is a different conversation. And they stand there, talking to the resurrected Savior, and they ask him a question. "Lord, is this the time? Is this when you're going to do what we want you to do? Is this the time when you're going to take these Roman oppressors and kick them all the way back to Italy? Is this the time that you're going to set up your throne, and were going to rule, and we're going to reign for 1,000 years: and James is going to be at your right side, and John is going to be at your left side, and Peter's going to be the secretary of defense, and Thomas is going to be the director of the treasury? I mean, Lord, this is the time, right? You're going to make Israel great again, iga".

You see, they wanted a personal gratification from the manifested power of God to raise his son from the dead. "Woo, look what Jesus did! Now, let's use him for our purpose". Are we any different? Do we not get to see the power of God on a regular basis, and want to use it for our purpose rather than his? And Jesus answered them with these word. He said, "It's not for you to know. Your desire and your restoration is not nearly as important, because those things are in my father's hands". In verse 7, he says, "It's not for you to know the times and the seasons which the father has put under his own authority". So he brings the father into this equation. He's telling the disciples, "These things are even above my pay grade". He said, "The father, he's the one who has that part figured out". And then he tells the disciples, "But you..."

Now he's telling them what he wants from them. And the good news is, is what he wants from them is the same thing he wants from us. "But you..." Who? You. "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you". See, very quickly how all three members of the Trinity are involved in our ability to work for the kingdom. God the Father is the sovereign planner who has all the times and all the seasons planned out. Jesus Christ, the word made flesh, is the one who is talking to the disciples. And he says that there is a power, there's a source that is coming upon you. And that is the Holy Spirit. He knows every step you're going to take. He knows every move. He knows every place that your foot will fall. And before he sends you, his word has declared his power is going to go with you, so that whatever you need, it's available to you.

Whatever enemies you face, you have a victory coming your way, because you're mighty in Christ, for the pulling down of strongholds and everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ. Whatever problems you've got, he's already working them out on your behalf. Whatever burdens you bear, if you'll trust him and cast them, he'll carry them. Whatever mountains you see, if you speak to them in faith, they'll move in the mighty name of Jesus. Whatever weapons are formed against you, they will not prosper because they have been shattered at a place called Calvary, where Christ gave you the keys over powers and principalities. Child of God, you have nothing to fear. Though in this world we will face trouble, we can be of good cheer because my Savior and your Savior, Jesus Christ, has overcome the world!

This series about "The witness" focuses on the Holy Spirit more than it does any of the other two beings in the Trinity. Why? Because you cannot accomplish God's purpose in your life without the power of the Holy Spirit. The second that you bring that up people go, "Ooh, he's getting into that weird stuff". No, it ain't weird. The Holy Spirit is God. Just as much as God the Father and Christ the Son are God, the Holy Spirit is not a junior varsity deity: he is all God. And he is the God that is on the earth, in your life today. He didn't show up in the Book of Acts. He's been there since the beginning. "In the beginning, God..." God who? God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

You say, "How do you know that"? "In the beginning..." God said, "Let there be light". Now, John 1 says, "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. And there was nothing made that was made without the word". So when God said, "Let there be light," the spoken word is the image of Jesus Christ, who was the word that was made flesh and dwelt among us. And when he said, "Let there be light," who did he say it to? He said it to the Holy Spirit that was hovering over the chaos of the deep. And whatever the Spirit of God heard the voice of God say, that's what was created. Because whenever he says it, it has to become. And therefore, you have God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit bringing order out of chaos from Genesis 1:1.

What does that mean to you today? I don't care how chaotic your life is. I don't care how dark it is. I don't care how out of order it is. If the Holy Spirit is hovering over you, and God is speaking truth to you, whatever God says, that has to be in your life, because he's the God that calls those things that are not, as though they were. If you're walking through an hour of chaos in your family, and God speaks a word of peace, then peace is your portion. If you're walking through an hour of brokenness in your life, and God says, "You're mended," you may not feel mended. But if he says it, that settles it. If you're walking through a time of sickness, and God says, "You're healed," I promise you this, by his stripes you are healed! Give the Lord a handclap of praise!

Jesus told the disciples before he asked them to be witnesses: he said that, "You are going to be baptized in this Holy Spirit". He says, "You're going to be baptized". That word, "Baptism," means immersed. Not dipped, immersed. Now, when we have a baptismal service, we momentarily immerse. Why? Because there's about three and a half minutes between immersion and a funeral. You're not made to breathe down there. So it's a symbol, right? But when you're baptized in the spirit, it means that you are immersed in that spirit. And it's not something that you ever get out of or it gets off of you. You are walking around as an immersed child of God with the Holy Spirit going before you, and behind you, to your right, to your left, above you, beneath you. You cannot escape it.

So what God has for you to do, you're going to have to do through the power of the Holy Spirit, by the Word of God, which is Jesus Christ, according to the plan of the father. And what he wants you to do is one word, "Witness". Be a witness. Don't tell people what you've heard about him. Tell people what you know about him. You see, the reason why we hesitate to witness is because the devil, he gets frustrated when we get together at church. He actually gets a little concerned. Because the Bible says that whenever two or three of us gather and ask in faith, whatever we ask in the name of Jesus, God will do it. So when we get together, he kind of gets a little anxious. But he really doesn't mind how much time we spend together inside these four walls, so long as when we leave this place, we don't mention it to anybody else. He doesn't mind how much time we spend together, encouraging one another on Sunday, just as long as we mute our faith on Monday.

As long as we see people on Tuesday who need to know Jesus, and we remain silent, that's just fine with him. Because the one thing that he cannot overcome is when a child of God witnesses to someone else about the power of Christ in their life under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. He can't do anything about it! You say, "Well, how do you know that"? What did Jesus say in Matthew 28? He was resurrected from the grave and he told the disciples, "All authority in heaven and on earth belongs to me". He was letting his disciples know, "There's nothing that the devil can do to stop you. I have already defeated him".

This is confirmed in the book of Colossians 2, where Paul said that, "At the cross, Christ made a public spectacle of powers and principalities when he triumphed over them". "He triumphed over them". The enemy is already defeated. But we surrender ground to a defeated foe when we refuse to do what Christ asked us to do, which is witness. People say, "Well, I don't understand how to witness". Yes, you do. You witness about all kinds of things all of the time. You witness about the products that you use on your skin. You witness about the clothes you wear. You witness about the places you go eat. But when it comes to witnessing about Jesus Christ and who he is, and what he's done, we act like it's difficult. It's not difficult. It's just a decision.

And it's a decision that begins with you taking your will to the cross, and you crucifying your will, just like Christ crucified himself so that you might have everlasting life. It's just a decision. And it's one that we need to make in this day and age, right now, more than ever. Why? Because the darker this world gets, the brighter the church should shine. We talk about a return to righteousness. We talk about a righteous revolution. We talk about getting America back to God. That's not going to come from a political platform. That's not going to come from a party affiliation. That's going to come from when you and I decide to be witnesses to him everywhere we go, in everything that we do, in everything that we say, so that the world would know who Jesus is, and what he has done.

People say, "Well, I don't know if I can do that". Sure, you can. Not in your strength, but when the power of the Holy Spirit has come upon you. Oftentimes, we ask ourselves, "Lord, when are you"? That's what the disciples wanted to know. "Lord, will you... Lord, will you... Lord, will you..." And we want him to turn things around, and we want him to help us accomplish, and we want him to do great things for us. And what Christ is in heaven saying to us today is, "It's not up to me, it's up to you. I've done my part. I hung on the cross. I defeated the enemy. I conquered the grave. I'm preparing a place for you. Now, you work until we get here".

Witnessing has to be something that's done with conviction. And people oftentimes, get uncomfortable with that issue of conviction. But I promise you this, you know a lot of people who are so convicted they don't care what other people think. But you don't have to look hard to find out what people are in favor of. They don't have a problem telling you, until it comes to telling you how much they feel about Jesus Christ. Ask yourself this question: if the body of Christ was dependent upon your witness to grow, how big would it be? If the quality of the witness was based on you, how many people would be at church today? I think one of the greatest tragedies of our time is when people are surprised to find out we're Christians.

You know, growing up in San Antonio, my mom is Mexicana. Soy Mexicano. So whenever I would walk into some place and understand Spanish, or be able to speak in Spanish, or even order the right plate in the right dialect, quiero menudo y machacado también, por favor. (I want menudo soup and machaca beef, please.) it wasn't a strange thing for me to be immersed in this culture. And people weren't surprised when they found out that, yes, part of my heritage comes from the Mexican culture. However, when I went off to college in another state, in another region, at one point or another, it would become apparent to them that I was a little different. You know, that I preferred tortillas instead of toast. Or that I asked at a breakfast place, "Do you have frijoles (beans?)" or that I put salsa on everything. And complained that it wasn't hot enough, because mi Abuelita hecho puro chile. (my grandmother made pure chili Pepper.)

And although I use this example as satire, how many people in your life who've known you for a number of years, how many people in your life could you list that if by some way they found out, "Wait, you're a Christian? You go to church? You believe in that Jesus stuff"? You see, it should never be that way. It should be in our life that we live in such a way, that there is never any form of misconception who we are with and what we're in favor of. That they should know that we love him who first loved us, and we are not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They should know that we are willing to testify that he was wounded for our transgressions, and he was bruised for our iniquities, and the chastisement of our peace was upon him.

And yes, by his stripes I am healed. Child of God, what does he want from you? He wants you to tell everybody. When does he want you to tell them? Just as soon as you can. Why? Because there is coming a day when this kingdom shall be restored. There's coming a day when this salvation is going to be for no one else. And whenever that day comes, who you have witnessed to is going to meet him face-to-face. And so shall we be forever with the Lord in the air. Don't let the enemy win this day. Don't let him win this generation. But conquer him, and every power and principality by letting the world know who Jesus is! Give the Lord a handclap of praise!

I want to ask you to stand to your feet. People often want to know, "Pastor, what does the Lord want from me"? He wants you to witness. He wants you to tell everybody you can that Jesus Christ is your Lord and he's your Savior. He wants you to do it in such a convincing manner that they'd never wonder who you were with and where you came from. I want to encourage you to live out loud for Christ. Don't let the enemy push you into a closet of shame and guilt, wondering if you are qualified. Christ qualified you when he shed his blood to redeem you. And now it's your responsibility to tell the world who Jesus is. Every person you come in contact with, make sure they know. Because I promise you this, when we stand before him face-to-face, the only measurement of our work that he's going to be concerned with is, "Who did you tell about my son and your Savior"? I want you to repeat this prayer with me.

Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus Christ. Thank you for what he has done. Lord, let me live my life in such a way that I show you and your love to everyone who needs to know. Let your light shine in me. And with conviction, and confidence, and boldness, let this be a year that I fulfill your will and not my own. Wherever I go, whatever I do, let it be done for your glory. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

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