Robert Morris - Authentic Witnesses
So we are in a series called, "R.E.A.L.". R.E.A.L. is an acronym for Relevant Engaging Authentic Life. If you wanna turn to Acts 1, we'll begin there in a moment. This week is called, "Authentic Witnesses", so this is the third week. We talked about relevant fishermen, we talked about engaging influences. This week, "Authentic Witnesses". In this message, I'm simply trying to get you to tell the truth about what's already happened in your life. And that is you've met Christ, I just want you to tell someone.
So we're gonna talk about being authentic witnesses, alright? Acts 1, look at Acts 1:4. "And being assembled together with them..". I should've explained a little bit. This is right before Jesus ascends. This is the 40 days after His resurrection. This is the 40th day. And He ascends, and then for ten days, they're praying. And then, the Holy Spirit came. So, on the 40th day, so: "Being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father..". — again, that's the coming of the Holy Spirit: "'Which,' He said, 'You've heard from Me. For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.'"
Then, still, they got off-track a little bit. "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,'" — now, that's a pretty amazing thing, that still goes for today, by the way. "'It's not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But,'" here's what I'm trying to tell you is what He says to 'em: "'You shall receive power,'" I want you to notice those words, underline them. You shall, not you might, but you shall. You're gonna get it. You will: "'Get power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. And you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.'"
Okay, so what He's saying is, listen, when I'm telling you there's no doubt about it. When the Holy Spirit comes you, when you're baptized in the Holy Spirit, you will receive power. Not some will and some won't. You will receive. Dunamis is the word here, where we get our word dynamite. You will receive explosive power, but notice what He says: "And you will be witnesses..". — please see the word BE. You will be witnesses. He didn't say, "You will do witnessing". You will be a witness to Me.
Now, the question is, are you a witness that talks or not? Because you are a witness. If you've met Jesus, something's happened, you're a witness. But can we get you to tell anybody about it? Or are you gonna take the fifth? But you are a witness. Okay, so since I'm telling you, you are a witness, 'cause Jesus said, "You shall be witnesses". You will be. So, here's point number one. What is a witness? What is a witness? Since you are one, what is one? Alright? Here's my definition: A witness is someone who has seen and heard something, and communicates his experience accurately. A witness is someone who has seen and heard something, and communicates his experience accurately.
Now, this seen and heard, you're not even gonna believe how many times it's in the Bible, and I don't have time to show 'em, all to you. But I wanna show you a few, and I want you to see some amazing people in the Bible who were just witnesses. This first one's gonna shock you. The Son of God Himself, when He came to this earth, was a witness of what He had seen the Father do, and what He'd heard the Father say. In John 3:31-32: "He who comes from above..". That's Jesus, John the Baptist is talking about Jesus: "Is above all, he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies".
I just wanna show you how powerful a witness is. Jesus is a witness, and He came and testified, He told people what He'd seen and heard, and it changed the world. The shepherds were witnesses at Jesus' birth. Luke 2:20. "Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen..". — the disciples of John were witnesses, they came and they said, "John wants to know, are you the One"? Jesus said to 'em, Luke 7:22: "Then Jesus answered and said to them, 'Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard.'"
The disciples of Jesus were witnesses. After the resurrection, they — Peter and John heals a man at the temple, at gate Beautiful, and then they beat 'em, and then they tell 'em, "You stop testifying". Think about the word testify, when you go to court. Testify. Y'all stop testifying. This was their answer. Acts 4:20. "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard". I wish every Christian felt that way. I have to talk about what I've experienced. The greatest apostle who ever lived, Paul, was just a witness. When he's conveying how he got saved, this is what he says. He says that the angel said to Ananias, who said to him then, Acts 22:15: "For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard".
And then, John, who's writing later in life, in 1 John, the other apostle had already died, and he writes this to kind of set the record straight, because what had happened was they were beginning to say things like, "Well, Jesus didn't actually come in the flesh, but this and this and this," and I don't have time to go into all the Gnosticism that was going on at the time, but this how he starts 1 John. 1 John 1:1-3. "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and our hands have handled, concerning the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness". We're witnesses 'cause we saw it: "And declare to you that eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us — that which we have seen and heard, we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us. And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ".
Okay, their witness was so strong, because they were saying, "Guys, we saw Him. We heard Him". Now, what you might be thinking is, "Well, I wasn't alive at that time". But listen to me, I was in a motel room when I was 19-years-old. I had been addicted to drugs, and I'm telling you, I saw Him, and I heard Him, but not in the natural. But my life was changed. So I'm a witness, because I had met Him. And you've met Him too, if you're saved, and you've talked to Him; you've heard Him. You've seen His glory, you've seen what He's done.
See, I think sometimes that the world is throwing out our witness, because we're not testifying about what we personally have seen and heard. You know, if you do that in court, it's called hearsay. It's also called inadmissible evidence. How many Christians are going around, testifying about what others have seen and heard, instead of what you have seen and heard? Think about, again, we're talking about being a witness. Okay, so let's say today, after the service, you go out to eat with your family or friends, and you come out of the restaurant, and you're standing there, and everyone's talking — you just happen to look, and you notice the light changes, you see that the red light changes at the intersection, and a car comes through, and hits another car. And you see it, and you saw what color the light was.
And then, the policeman actually comes and he y'all are there, like, trying to "Well, is everyone okay"? And the ambulance comes, okay. Everyone's okay. But you stick around, 'cause you wanna make sure — and then the policeman comes over and says, "Did anybody see what happened"? And you say, "I did". "Well, I'm gonna need you to be a..". — okay, so if you have to go court, 'cause one says the light wasn't red, and the other one says it was — okay, if you have to go to court, let me just ask you a question. You're gonna be a witness now in court. Are you gonna have to go to automotive school? So you can testify about cars and brakes and — are you gonna have to — is that what they want you to tell? Are you gonna have to go to red light school? What do they want you to do? They just want you to tell, that's right, what you saw and what you heard.
Now, we can get better at it, we can learn, but what I'm trying to tell you is there's a story that you could share five minutes after you get saved. And no one would even have to tell you to tell it. I have a friend who's a pastor now who got saved trying to commit suicide. He was going to put his head in an oven. Now, here's the part of the story you need to know. He was stoned at the time, and it was an electric oven. But he stuck his, he turned the oven on, put his head in the oven, it got hot, he started thinking about how he didn't wanna go to hell, and he gave his life to Jesus. Some people had been telling him about Jesus, and so, he got saved. Instantly, he wasn't stoned anymore.
He got so excited, and that night, his friend comes over to party, and he says to 'em, "I'm not partying anymore; I got saved". And the guy says, "Well, how did you get saved"? He says, "I'd like to get saved, too". True story: this guy says, "Come here; put your head in the oven". He turned the oven on. "Feel how hot that's getting? You wanna go to hell? Alright, pray this prayer. Jesus, come into my heart". He led the guy to the Lord, never been to seminary. Because he told what personally happened to him. It's the most powerful story you have, what personally happened to you. You can be a witness.
Here's number two. A witness doesn't argue. Now, this is really important. You don't have to argue with people when you're a witness. You just tell 'em what happened to you. My story, you know, my story, I was, drugs, you know? Debbie and I went back to our high school reunions. I don't remember if it was our ten or 20th one, but this lady came up, and she'd been drinking, And she's like, "What have you been doing"? And you know, she's just... you know, so I said to her, "I'm a minister". She — "You don't mean like a minister in church, do you"? I said, "Yes". "You're a minister"? I said, "Yes". She said, "Weren't you a drug dealer in high school"?
I just shared my story; here's what I'm telling you: I don't have to argue. As a matter of fact, you can't argue with my testimony. You can't argue with it. You can go to my hometown and talk to people who knew me before, it's verifiable. You could go to the police station, and there's a record of it. Now, listen to me carefully on this, alright? We get so hung up on the person's actions, or the person's beliefs. We argue with 'em about politics, we argue with 'em about whatever drinking or they're, you know, married or not, or living together, or this or that. We argue about all these things, when Jesus died for that person. And the most important thing to tell 'em is that Jesus loves 'em, and wants to change their life. Don't get caught up, you follow me?
So I'm gonna give you some real wisdom here, I want you to remember this. In other words, I am not shocked when people sin. That does not shock me. If you notice, it never shocked Jesus. He wasn't shocked when the woman was caught in adultery, like, "You mean humans do that"? It didn't shock Him. It didn't shock Him when the woman had five husbands. None of this shocked Jesus. The reason is because God understands that, He knows we sin, that's why He sent Jesus to die for our sins.
So you might even write this down, just never forget what I'm about to tell you, okay? This is why you shouldn't get shocked when a sinner sins, okay? Dogs bark, cats meow, sinners sin. That's why they're called sinners. Okay, let me make it even more plain. Hunters hunt, liars... golfers... yeah, I said that one time. Yeah, did you say — I said lie. That's true, but it's not the word I was looking for, okay? Hunters hunt, golfers golf, sinners sin. Somehow, we expect them to know the rules, but we didn't know the rules.
I remember the first time I went overseas, and some places overseas are not like this, some are still like this, to this day. The Philippines is still like this to this day, we were there a year or so ago, Debbie and I. And you pull up to an intersection, and there's like four lanes, but there's six cars, and four mopeds. Right? And you'd think, why do you even have lines? That people don't stay in the lines, they go all over the place. Well, the first time I was in another country where they did this, I was just — people just whizzing by and just like six cars in four lanes, going down the road.
They weren't staying in their lanes at all, and I remember saying to the missionary, "I bet you have a lot of car wrecks over here". He said, "We don't have very many car wrecks at all". And then, he said, "Do you know which country is number one in car wrecks"? America. And I got thinking about it, you know why? Because we expect you to stay in your line. Right? In other countries, they don't expect you to stay in the line. They know you're not gonna stay in the line, so they're watching for you. If someone comes in our lane, we're just shocked. And we're offended if they get close to the lane. Stay in your lane, stay in your lane, stay in your lane. You were coming into my lane, I saw you. And then, when we go by, we give 'em the look, right?
That happened to me one time. I give this guy the look, and then a little while, my cell phone rings. This guy said, "Pastor Robert, did I do something wrong"? Not supposed to give church members the look. Here's the reason I'm not gonna argue with a sinner about politics. Because that's not what matters right now. What matters is did you know what Jesus did for you? You follow me?
I was getting my haircut one time, and this was years ago, and there was this young lady cutting my hair, it was in January, and she started talking about her boyfriend, and she was telling me that they'd live together. I didn't go — you know, you're not married? You live together? Do you know that's adultery? You know, I didn't, because she doesn't know. Paul said, "I would not have known not to covet if the law hadn't told me not to covet". I wouldn't have known. So that's not the issue.
So I didn't say a word. She's talking about that they live together, and then she talked about how they got really drunk on New Year's Eve. And she said, "And then the next day we started talking about we didn't want to live that way, we didn't wanna get drunk like that anymore". So she said, "So we started going to church". And she said, "We've been coming to your church for a couple of weeks now, and we really like, you know, your preaching". And I said, "Well, that's great".
We kept on talking, and then I said to her, "Has anyone ever told you how you can be saved"? We're just talking, and she said, "No". She said, "I thought you got saved by going to church". I said, "No, that's not it at all. It's good to go to church," and then I just explained it to her, in about five minutes, the gospel. Tears started welling up in her eyes. And I said, "You can be saved right now". And she said, "I want to". So I led her to the Lord, right there in the salon. Then, her boyfriend got saved. Then, they got baptized. But I didn't say one thing to her about them living together and getting drunk. That's not the issue. Are you following me? That's what Jesus died for. He'll take care of all those things.
So I just want you to know that a witness is someone who's seen and heard something, and experienced something, and he accurately tells us about it, and a witness doesn't argue, he just tells his story.
And here's the third thing I wanna tell you, witnessing is fun. It's just fun. It is a lot of fun to just share with people what God's done. And just be open, and whenever God says to do something, you know? I remember one time, I was standing in line at the restaurant, and it was one of those where you didn't give your credit card to the server, it's where you took your ticket, and you went up, and you paid at a cash register, you know, to go out. And I was just standing there, waiting to pay, and there were three or four people in front of me, three or four people behind me, and I'd step up, and they stepped up, and then when I handed the guy my bill, and the credit card, when I handed it to him, I just had this thought come to my mind.
And he wasn't even looking at me, he just kinda took it like this. Just took it. And I just said to him, "Would you like someone to tell you how to be saved"? Now, I normally don't start with that when I'm witnessing. But it just came to my mind, and I said, "Would you like someone to tell you how to be saved"? He went like this. "Yes, I've been reading the Bible for three months trying to figure out how to be saved". And I said, "I know, I know how to be saved". And I shared with him, he called someone else to take the register. I found out later he was the owner of the restaurant. We stepped over to the side. He calls his wife over then, I share with both of 'em. Both of 'em accepted Christ. Just like that; that's fun. That's fun.
So I'm telling you, you are a witness, because you have seen and heard something. If you've accepted Christ, you've experienced something. You're a witness. I'm just trying to get you not to take the fifth. I'm just trying to get you to tell people your story. And if you tell 'em your story, you never know what's gonna happen. So I brought everyone at every campus, I brought you a gift today to remind you to tell people your story, but it has a little twist to it, so those of you that are ready to pass 'em out, every campus, start passing 'em out right now, so we're gonna do it as quickly as we can. What you're gonna do is probably get a little cup. In that cup, you'll get it at the end of the aisle if you're on the end-aisle, is a lead fishing weight, alright?
So I want you to take out one lead fishing weight, one for you, alright? And then, pass it down to the next person. Alright. So probably everyone's gotten their lead fishing weight. If you haven't gotten it, it'll still come around. But I wanna tell you why I'm giving this to you, okay? Many of you are thinking, well, he preached a message a few weeks ago about fishing. This is to remind me to be a fisher of men. That's not why I'm giving it to you, alright? It is a lead fishing weight, alright? The reason that I gave this to you is because many people have told me that they don't witness unless they feel led. So I want you to put this in your pocket, or your purse, and the next time you think about witnessing to someone, I want you to reach into your pocket, feel lead, and then go ahead and witness.
I'd love for you to get one of those little lead fishing weights, put it in your pocket or your purse. I know it's a play on words, but every time you think about whether you should witness or not, just reach in your pocket or your purse, feel lead, and go ahead and witness. Here's the reason why. We don't have to lead people to Jesus. We just simply witness. We tell people what we have personally seen and heard, and the more we witness, the more people come to Christ. Pray about it. This week, will you be a witness to someone?