A “witness” is someone who attests to a fact, so in order to be an effective witness for Christ, one must have firsthand knowledge of Him. John the Apostle speaks of this in 1 John 1:1-3, when he says, “That . . . which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at, and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life.” Today, we who have experienced new life in Christ give an account of His love and forgiveness, both verbally and in the way we live our lives. This is witnessing. To be effective in our witness, we should remember several basic things:
1) the THEME of our witness is Jesus Christ. Paul defined the gospel as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). If we aren’t explaining the sacrifice of Christ, then we’re not really sharing the gospel. (See also 1 Corinthians 2:2 and Romans 10:9-10.) An important part of this theme is the fact that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, not just one of many ways. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
2) the POWER of our witness is the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who transforms a life (Titus 3:5), and a transformed life is evident to all. As we witness, we should spend much time in prayer, appropriating the Spirit’s power so that we are enabled to let our light shine in such a way that others will recognize the power of God in us (Matthew 5:16).
3) the VALIDITY of our witness will be shown in how we live our lives. Philippians 2:15 sets this goal for us: “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” The effective Christian witness will live his/her life above reproach in the power of the Holy Spirit, whose fruit we exhibit when we remain in Christ (John 15:1-8; Galatians 5:22-23).
Perhaps most importantly, we must be familiar enough with the Scriptures to be able to accurately and coherently present the gospel to others. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). Always being prepared means diligent Bible study, memorizing Scripture, and praying for God-given opportunities to share with those whose hearts have been prepared by the Lord to hear His message of salvation.