Witness – Empowered by the Spirit
Lesson 95

He who grows in the Holy Spirit will witness of Christ. Just before His ascension Jesus said, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8. The power of Jesus promised the disciples were especially for witnessing, and this power was to be personally and continuously communicated to them by the Holy Spirit.

Christ’s victory while on earth was twofold: He conquered death. In fact, only His victory over sin made possible His victory over death. After His victory over sin would have been impossible even for the Son of God without the Holy Spirit.

Christ’s victory over every conceivable temptation settles the question as to whether man aided by the Holy Spirit can obey God. In Christ’s victory, according to Romans 8:3, our Lord “condemned sin in the flesh.”

Did Christ fulfill His promise that the Holy Spirit would come upon the disciples and give them power to witness? In the midst of his sermon on the day of Pentecost Peter declared, “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all witnesses.” Acts 2:32. On that day 120 testified of the resurrected Christ. They had felt within their souls “the power of resurrection” (victory over sin) and could testify to what they had both seen and experienced. (Philippians 3:10.) Luke described the event in these words: “With great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection: … and great grace was upon them all.” Acts 4:33.

“Ye shall be witnesses”! A witness has no secondhand hearsay report to give; he can only tell only what he has actually seen and felt. We must know the resurrection power in our lives. A witness not only has something to say, but he says it.

Some want power and yet have no story to tell. They have a sickly Laodicean experience that cheers no one and discourages many. (Revelation 3:14-20.) To listen to their lifeless testimonies sorely tries even the saints. The shout of victory needs to be heard throughout the camp. Let those who have not had an experience in overcoming sin seek first for overcoming power in their lives before trying to be missionary witnesses.

Several months before Jesus’ death, His disciples upon returning from a missionary tour told Him of their experience in meeting the people. Why, they had even cast out devils! Jesus, however, cautioned that miracles were secondary that a Christian experience was of first importance. Then He made them a promise: “I give unto you power … over all the power of the enemy.” Luke 10:19. Yes, Jesus promised power to His followers-power-over power; more than that, power over all the power of the enemy.

Does Jesus really have this power to give? After His resurrection “Jesus came and spake unto them saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Matthew 28:18. If we have Jesus, we have all the power-all the power we can use to His honor and glory.

Peter said of Jesus, He was “put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18.) Thus Jesus was ‘declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:4.) Christ’s resurrection demonstrated the power of the Spirit over death. Thus, His resurrection makes certain a resurrection for every soul that trusts in Him. The power that operated to bring Jesus from the grave will bring us from the grave.

The same Spirit that put life into our bodies in the beginning will put life unto them in the resurrection. The vision of dry bones recorded in Ezekiel 37 plainly teaches this. The prophet beheld the dead recreated but without life; then “breath came into them, and they lived.” (Verse 10.) Next the Lord spoke, saying, “When I have opened your graves, O my people, … and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it.” Verses 13,14.

The disciples who witnessed to Christ’s resurrection had themselves died to sin and experienced the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit, which enabled them to walk in newness of life. Christ has given us the symbol of baptism to reenact His death, burial, and resurrection. “We are buried with him … into death.” That is, we reckon ourselves dead unto sin, and we are raised up to “walk in newness of life.” That is, to live a new life empowered by the Spirit. (Romans 6:4-6.) Christ calls all His disciples to be witnesses to His resurrection, for in that act of victory Christ demonstrated the full and complete power of the Holy Spirit. And only as we accept that victory as ours can we have power for witnessing.



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