Now that we know what a witness is (see last post), let’s look at how witnessing works.
Acts 2 recounts how the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples, and how they began speaking in other tongues. Here, in this instance, the tongues the disciples were speaking were other earthly tongues. Jews from around the world were in Jerusalem at the time and marveled at hearing these Galileans speak their native tongue (Acts 2:5-12). Others simply thought the disciples to be drunk.
In order to allay the confusion, Peter stood up and gave a sermon; Peter witnessed to the crowd.
In Peter’s sermon (Acts 2), we find that what the disciples were witnessing in deed also need to be witnessed with word. The disciple’s acts were speaking in tongues, but that alone drew confusion. So Peter stood up and explained what was happening. Peter first quoted Joel 28-32 and then began explaining how Jesus’s death on the cross and resurrection was for all in attendance. Peter went further in proclaiming that what everyone was seeing was a fulfilled promise of Christ’s that the Holy Spirit would come upon the believers. He was witnessing to Christ’s authenticity.
As a result, many believed in Christ and we see a great multicultural gathering of worshippers in Acts 2:37-47. The unity was so great among the believers that they continually devoted themselves to fellowship and worship (v. 42) and shared all things in common (v. 44). Everyone in this new fellowship, this new church, worshipped together “with gladness and sincerity of heart” (v. 46). What a beautiful multicultural worship environment brought about by witnessing!
But note that this unity wouldn’t have happened if Peter didn’t stand up to speak. If the disciples left their deed of speaking in tongues to be the sole witness, very few would have likely believed in Christ. Most onlookers would have left confused and placed a stigma on these early Christians. Yet, when Peter explained everything people were more ready to believe. They had a witness account to explain what they were witnessing.
Never forsake witnessing with words. It’s great to witness in deed and in some instances, that’s all we can do. However, what greater harvest will come when we witness in both word and deed? Let us know your thoughts below.