The Doctrine of Witnessing
January 8, 2017
BEFORE we begin, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, take a moment to name your sins to God the Father. This will allow you to be filled with the power of The Holy Spirit as you read this booklet (EPH 5:18 & 1JO 1:9). IF YOU HAVE never believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have that opportunity right now. Simply tell God the Father that you are believing on His Son Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you make that decision, you are now a believer and will always be a child of God! When you die, you will spend eternity with Him forever in heaven! (JOH 3:16 & ACT 16:31).
In last week’s Tree of Life, we learned that God The Holy Spirit takes the unbeliever’s faith in Christ and makes it effective for Salvation. We also learned that it’s all the Work of God! The person who witnesses simply presents the information and the listener only needs to respond. The Power comes from God The Holy Spirit. This is because because mankind is born spiritually dead and can do nothing to bring himself to God. In spiritual death, every person physically born is totally depraved; this is because of man’s attraction to moral or immoral degeneracy.
Immoral degeneracy is basically sin. Morality is a part of the spiritual life but in and of itself is NOT the spiritual life. Believers who believe that being moral is the Christian way of life, do not understand what true spirituality is and so, they fail to execute the Plan of God for their lives. When morality becomes more important to you than spirituality, legalism and evil are the result.
Because, we are born spiritually dead, we are totally separated from God. We are totally helpless to establish a relationship with Him. We can do nothing about our depraved state except through belief in Jesus Christ: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”ACTS 4:12 Our Lord teaches this in JOH 14:6: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
We are all born with a body and a soul but with no spirit; so, we are in need of a spiritual birth: “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” (JOH 3:7) So, the work of Salvation is strictly the Work of God The Holy Spirit as Paul tells us in EPH 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. This verse teaches us that the spiritually dead believer cannot do a thing to be saved. This means any attempt at human works in the realm of Salvation and in the realm of one’s spiritual life will not save you!
There are two non-meritorious volitional decisions man can make from his position of spiritual death: the decision to hear the Gospel (which is the result of being witnessed to) and the decision to believe in Jesus Christ. In both cases it is God The Holy Spirit who steps in, first in making the Gospel understandable and then in making man’s faith effective. So, we can claim no credit and offer no works with respect to Salvation. In fact, man’s good deeds could very well be his ticket to the eternal lake of fire since in working for Salvation, man puts his trust in his works rather than in Christ! The works of the spiritually dead cannot save: He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit… (TIT 3:5)
Salvation is accomplished by faith alone in Christ alone! And that should always be the major point when you witness to someone. That’s all you need to say! Salvation has nothing to do with the giving up of any bad habits or sins and it has nothing to do with the taking up of any ritual.When you try to “work” for Salvation, you will only fall deeper into spiritual debt where your relationship with God is concerned: Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. (ROM 4:4)
The only system of credit God accepts in Salvation, and in the execution of a believer’s spiritual life, is faith in The Person of Christ. After that, it’s faith in the Word of God (also called The Mind of Christ) for the execution of God’s Plan. And, both are available to us because of The Perfect Righteousness of One Man – Jesus Christ. And these are the facts you need to share when you witness!
In witnessing there are at least 8 basic systems of false salvation that must be avoided since they are all the complete opposite of faith – faith being a Gift from God apart from any human works.
The first basic system of false salvation is commitment salvation which says that you must believe in Christ AND commit your life to Him. WRONG! No need to commit anything! The second one is lordship salvation which says that you must believe in Christ AND make Him the Lord of your life. NOT true.
The third false salvation is morality salvation which says you must believe AND live morally in order to be saved. That is pure legalism! The fourth false salvation is ritual salvation which says you must believe AND perform certain religious ritual works to be saved such as water baptism. Nothing could be further from the truth!
The fifth false salvation is emotional salvation which says you are not saved unless you feel saved or if you have some type of emotional experience. Again, this has nothing to do with Salvation.
Psychological salvation is another false teaching which says you must believe AND perform some sort of physical act such as raising your hand, walking an aisle, weeping at the altar, etc. The seventh false salvation is salvation by works, which doesn’t even mention faith in Christ as being necessary for Salvation, but only the works of man!
The last false salvation involves inviting Christ into your heart or your life. This is a distortion of REV 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” This verse is an invitation for believers to rebound! It is not an invitation for unbelievers to invite Christ into your life!!! The request for Christ to come into your heart bypasses faith. JER 17:9 states: “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” So why would Christ want to go into your heart???! We go to Him, He does not come to us!
All of these points are important to know because they have to be considered when you are witnessing to others. Here are important points which we need to be aware of when witnessing (and in our walk with God). These false issues are related to the Gospel and act against God the Holy Spirit as Sovereign Executive in witnessing.
The first false issue states that sin is not an issue in salvation. NOT!!! Christ The Son is the issue: …having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (COL 2:14) We owed God perfect righteousness, a debt we could never pay, and Jesus Christ paid off our debt and reconciled us to God. So it is only through belief in Jesus Christ that we are we eternally saved.
Another important thing to remember: do not argue; do not beg or persuade anyone to believe. And avoid false issues such as salvation by works, observing taboos (do’s and don’ts), or any other legalistic standard. Stick to the essentials. Avoid gimmicks such as emotionalism and public invitations and remember to respect the person’s free will.
Whether or not the Bible is the Word of God is not the issue in presenting the Gospel. The issue is Jesus Christ. Such matters can be discussed if so desired at a future date. Works are not to be the issue in witnessing since anything added to faith is dead works and nullifies the faith.
The presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a personal matter and you should remain flexible and relaxed. You present the accurate information. That is your role. The rest belongs to the three members of the Trinity:
1) God The Father as the Author of the Plan (“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” JOH 3:16); God The Son as the Executer of the Plan by becoming Our Savior; and
God The Holy Spirit who empowers our faith, making God’s Plan effective in our lives.
All the listener has to do is respond. Your job in witnessing ends after presenting the information. You do not even need to know the outcome and shouldn’t be concerned about the numbers you recruit. It’s up to God to bring the listeners to you and it’s up to you to study to show yourself approved as a workman that needs not be ashamed: Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. (2TI 2:14)