From the book of Acts we read,
- “And He said to them . . . you shall receive 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.” (Acts 1:7-8 – NKJV)
The apostles, Peter, John, Andrew . . . “witnesses” for Christ, receiving “power” as the Holy Spirit came “upon” them, indwelt them and enabled them. By God’s sovereign hand, He moved in the lives of these men to take His message of salvation to “Jerusalem,” to “all Judea and Samaria,” and “to the end of the earth.”
This past week I have written of great men and women who, in more recent times, have served as “witnesses” for Christ. They serve to us as great examples of people who, empowered by “the Holy Spirit,” have gone to “to the ends of the earth” with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- David Livingstone (Africa) . . . Gladys Alyward (China) . . . C. T. Studd (China, India, Africa) . . . Mary Slessor (Africa) . . . so great a cloud of witnesses! And there have been, and are, many others.
- Eric Liddell, the great Olympic champion who ran his greatest race as a missionary in China.
- Jim Elliot, who, touted as a potential actor, instead went and ministered the gospel in Ecuador, and was killed while attempting to reach the Quechua people.
- Elisabeth Elliot, who should have returned home after the death of her husband, but instead went amongst the very people who killed her husband and was used mightily of God to see many of them come to Christ. (NOTE: Still alive today at age 88)
- George Whitefield, the preacher/evangelist, who, as a young lad in England, had a passion for the theatre, but went on to the Americas and became a main part of the Great Awakening in the early colonies.
Oh they are “so great a cloud of witnesses” for Jesus, are they not? Their testimonies of the work God did in their lives should never be forgotten, for it serves the body of Christ as a reminder of what can be accomplished when we step out and put our lives in the hands of the living God.
Today, in this very day in which you and I live, there are many who have responded to God’s calling as “witnesses” for Christ. Their names are probably foreign to you but nevertheless, they have given themselves over to go and proclaim the gospel of God.
- Jerry and Joyce McDaniel, New Tribes missionaries, who left family and home to live in the village of Morti and bring the gospel of Christ to a people who had never heard. The Kuna Indians now have a church in Morti where there once was no church.
- Aaron and Jonelle Johnson, who minister in a foreign land, in the midst of great opposition, seeking to bring the saving message of Christ to a people lost in religious deception.
- Ron Koyman, who left his home and moved to Chicago, where he has ministered for years to the people in the inner city, currently working through a church he took over in Cicero.
Oh brethren, I could go on and on about this great cloud of witnesses, but let me end this remembrance, this tribute, with the words left to us by Jim Elliot,
- “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose”
Have a good day brethren . . . and recall to mind that if you are in Christ, then you also have received power and thus you also are one of Christ’s witnesses. I guess then that the question to you and me is obvious, “What are we doing with that?”
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