Empowered to Witness – Numbers 11:16-30

And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them…” (Numbers 11:17, ESV).

During their wilderness wanderings God told Moses to select seventy elders to help him judge and lead the people of Israel.  Moses gathered the elders and placed them around the circumference of the tabernacle. Then, God poured out His Spirit on them as they were gathered around the tabernacle and they prophesied.

Two of the elders were not present at the tabernacle when the Spirit was poured out. Yet, these two also received the Spirit and prophesied while they were still in the camp.

A young man saw the two elders prophesying in the camp and told Joshua, Moses’ assistant. Joshua asked Moses to make them stop prophesying because they were not with the others at the tabernacle at the time they received the Spirit.

Moses responded to Joshua, “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them” (Numbers 11:29).

Moses’ exclamation was itself prophetic. And, God has done the very thing that Moses declared!

Today, God pours out His Spirit on all His people and empowers them to proclaim His gospel of Christ wherever they are–at the tabernacle or in the camp.

Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.” (Acts 2:14-18, ESV)

A Living Example – 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9

setting-the-example“For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example” (2 Thessalonians 3:7-9, NASB).

What greater way to teach than to model or be an example of the lesson you are teaching! But, when you set yourself up an example, it requires an extremely high level of accountability and responsibility.

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The Power of a Good Reputation – Daniel 6:4

Daniel-in-Lions-Den“But they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him” (Daniel 6:4, ESV).

Daniel served the Babylonian empire faithfully for almost 70 years and then continued to serve the new Medo-Persian administration of King Darius.

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Paul’s John 3:16 – 1 Timothy 2:3-6

John316_Tim_Tebow“God our Savior…wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, Himself human, who gave Himself–a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time.” (1 Timothy 2:3-6, NLT).

If you are one of those laconic people who likes things stated simply, concisely, and succinctly, then you definitely like this summation of the gospel written by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to Timothy.

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Escaping Your Comfort Zone – Acts 8:4-8

“So those who were scattered went on their way preaching the message of good news. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. The crowds paid attention with one mind to what Philip said, as they heard and saw the signs he was performing. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed, and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city”  (Acts 8:4-8, HCSB).

Because of the persecution of the church in Jerusalem, the believers were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

Among those who were scattered was Philip, who went to a city in Samaria. Philip proclaimed to the people in that city that Jesus was the Messiah and performed many miracles among them and many people believed his message and were baptized.

The church in Jerusalem had become a megachurch and was adding new members faster than they could count. It seemed that just when things were going great and church growth was exploding, a great wave of persecution targeting these Jewish Christians caused them to scatter throughout the region.

What seemed to be a great success story had now become a tome of tragedy!

But, had this extensive persecution never been perpetrated against the Jerusalem Christians, who knows when they would have got around to fulfilling Jesus’s great commission to “be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (vs. 1:8).

God sends each of us on a mission for Him. But sometimes where God is sending us and what He wants us to do when we get there is, perhaps, beyond the boundaries of our respective comfort zones.

God’s plans and will for us may be located outside the box…of our own plans and wills.

Sometimes it becomes necessary for God to nudge, push, or even shove us out of our comfort zones through bad circumstances. Then, our discomfort helps us escape from our own zone of comfort!

In driving us from our comfort zone, it may be that God is sending us to do something quite different than what we planned to do, or even thought we were capable of doing.

That was certainly the case with Philip. Philip was appointed to help administer the daily food distribution in the church in Jerusalem. But in Samaria Philip was conducting a full-blown preaching-healing-deliverance ministry!

God advanced Philip from a behind-the-scenes administrative role to front-line ministry!

So, what is God sending you to do?

Accept His call, even if it requires you to escape from the comfort zone of your everyday existence.

“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace to you! As the Father has sent me, I also send you'” (John 20:21, HCSB).

Bold! – Acts 4:31

“When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness” (Acts 4:31, HCSB).

Because Peter and John had healed a man who was lame from birth by the power of God and “were teaching the people and proclaiming the resurrection from the dead, using Jesus as the example” (vs. 2), the Sadducees became provoked.

These religious authorities did not believe in resurrection because they did not think it was taught in the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament, which was the only portion of Scripture they believed authoritative.

So they had Peter and John arrested!

When Peter and John appeared before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish religious tribunal, Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and boldly, passionately and persuasively proclaimed the gospel of Jesus to save and heal to these religious leaders.

The members of the Sanhedrin were amazed by the boldness of Peter and John, knowing they were not formally educated in the Jewish law. So, the Sanhedrin turned them loose but forbid them to preach and teach in the name of Jesus.

Peter and John answered that they could not stop telling the story of Jesus.

The boldness of Peter in this situation stands in contrast to his denial of Christ on the night of His arrest before He was crucified.

Boldness is referenced three times in Acts 4:1-31 (vs. 13, 29, 31):

  1. The boldness of Peter and John was observed by the Jewish religious leaders (vs. 13);
  2. the Church in Jerusalem prayed for boldness to proclaim the gospel (vs. 29); and
  3. the Church was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness (vs. 31).

Being bold is both a desired and essential behavior for Christians. Boldness was needed by the disciples in the early Church. Boldness is needed in the Church today!

Besides helping us speak the right words at the right time, boldness helps us persuade people about the truth of the gospel because they can see that we actually believe what we say they should believe.

We should pray and ask God for boldness and then expect God to empower us with boldness to speak and live righteously as a convincing witness and testimony to the gospel of Jesus in our lives.

“Therefore, having such a hope, we use great boldness.” (2 Corinthians 3:12, HCSB)