Ye Shall Be a Witness

From the desk of the Presiding Bishop Jesse Yañez

 

Ye Shall be a Witness!

Acts 1- On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” NIV (2011)

There is no doubt that this promise by Jesus to send The Holy Spirit happened exactly as He said it would.  The very next chapter of Acts details it very clearly and shows the fulfillment of the Joel Chapter 2 prophecy as well.  As that empowerment occurred, it was a catalyst of sorts to the early churches phenomenal growth and pattern of outreach they did in the area as Jesus had prophesied.  That pattern of growth has not ceased, it started with 120 in the upper room and then within a couple of days grew to over 3,000 and many continued to be “added to the church, daily such as should be saved.”  

 “This growth has escalated to be the 2nd largest group among Christendom, only next to the Catholic Church.  This Pentecostal/Charismatic renewal has grown to 614,010,000 members, with 36,000 individuals added on an average day.” 

Our own denomination, The Church of God of Prophecy, with Headquarters in Cleveland Tennessee, shows a growth pattern of 500 individuals daily being added to the body of Christ, and 2 new congregations coming in to our fold every 24 hours!  

One of the key elements in the phenomenal growth pattern of the early church was the following of the instructions Jesus gave in the verses I listed above.  

Witnesses!  

If there is anything that is going to help a church grow like it did in those days and still does, it is the act of witnessing.  Witnessing is sharing the gospel (good news) of our Lord Jesus Christ; it is living a life that reflects that Jesus has truly made a difference in our daily lifestyle in every aspect of our being.

Witnessing could be a taught practice, which when a new christian is saved, he or she is immediately to be taught how to be a witness of what they have experienced.  (read John 9)

As we begin to share our experience with our friends, loved ones and associates, the local church where those witnessing attend will begin to have seekers coming in to see what is going on that changed their friend, loved one or associates life.  

After all, we are not just Pentecostal, although many think we are, but we are primarily a Holiness Movement that believes in the fulfillment of the day of Pentecost, with speaking in other tongues as the spirit gives utterance, but we are more than just believers in the “glossolalia” part of the spirit.  

One of our Biblical Principle teachings read, “We believe in the Full restoration of the Gifts of the Spirit that operated in the days of the Apostles in our day as well”. 

We are believers in the term “Pentecostalism!

Pentecostalism is a descriptive term of the practices that Spirit filled churches and people participate in.

Pentecostalism is present “whenever spiritual gifting (Christian prophecy, healing, glossolalia, or any of the other spiritual gifts described in the Bible).”

When we begin to search out His spirit in earnest and fervent prayer, He will oblige our efforts and allow His mighty Holy Spirit to fill us to overflow!

We can together say “Come Holy Spirit!”

Sources:
Christian Peoples of the Spirit. Stanley Burgess Ed. 2001