4 June 2023 AM – Hebrews 4:12-13 – Witnessing – Scott Childs
Introduction: Gaylord Kambarami, the General Secretary of the Bible Society in Zimbabwe, tried to give a New Testament to a very belligerent man. The man insisted he would roll the pages and use them to make cigarettes. Mr. Kambarami said, “I understand that, but at least promise to read the page of the New Testament before you smoke it.” The man agreed, and the two went their separate ways.
Fifteen years later, the two men met at a convention in Zimbabwe. The Scripture-smoking pagan had been saved and was now a full-time evangelist. He told the audience, “I smoked Matthew, and I smoked Mark, and I smoked Luke. But when I got to John 3:16, I couldn’t smoke anymore. My life was changed from that moment.” American Bible Society Record, March 1990. Read Hebrews 4:12-13.
Transition: Why should we use the Word of God in our witness? I believe there are two main reasons for using the Bible as we witness.
1. We must use the Word in our witness because of its divine abilities.
a. God uses it to convict humans of sin (Heb 4:12-13)
1) It is quick or living (Christ is the living word, v.13). (John 1:1) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It gives life. (1 Peter 1:23) “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.“
2) It is powerful, efficient or energetic. This word is “effectual” in 1 Corinthians 16:9. “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” (Jeremiah 23:29) “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” The Word is energetic in its conviction.
3) It is sharper than a twoedged sword. (Ephesians 6:17) “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” It is the sword of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, (John 16:7-13) “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.“
4) It pierces the soul (our living being) and the spirit (our spiritual being). (Psalms 119:130) “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.“
5) It pierces our inmost parts (joints and marrow, both hidden deep within us). The emphasis here is not on the literal body parts, but on the fact that God sees all that is hidden deep inside us.
6) It discerns or judges the thoughts (mental reflections) and intents (notions, plans) of our heart. Jesus said in (John 12:48), “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.“
7) No creature can escape His (Christ’s) sight (v.13).
8) We can hide nothing from the eyes of God.
b. God uses it when a person hears or reads it.
1) It is hearing the Word of God that builds faith in the heart. (Romans 10:17) “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.“
2) Being able to read and restate God’s Word improves understanding. (Luke 10:26) “He [Jesus] said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?“
Friends, the Bible is an amazing book. It is powerful because it is the Word of God. When you are witnessing, your words, whether polished or clumsy, are not the part that will bring a sinner to repentant faith in Christ. That is the work of the Word of God used by the Spirit of God. When Jesus faced Satan’s temptations, He repeatedly said, “It is written” and used the Word of God to defeat him.
2. We must use the Word in our witness because God told us to use it.
a. Here are three Bible examples.
1) Jesus left us with this duty. (Mark 16:15) “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.“
2) The 1st Century believers obeyed that command even during persecution. (Acts 8:4) “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.“
3) Paul told preacher Timothy, (2 Timothy 4:2) “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.“
2) We will use the same approach that we used last week with the Gospel Hand, with one main change. We will have the person we are talking to read the verses from the Bible out loud. We will call this the Open Bible approach.
3) The Opening Questions are the same.
a) Do you have any kind of spiritual beliefs?
b) Do you think there is a heaven or hell?
c) If you were to die today, where would you go? “Why would God let you into heaven?”
d) If what you believe were not true, would you want to know the truth? If they say, “Yes”, you say, “Could I share with you what the Bible says about these things?”
4) The verses we will use are the same.
a) John 3:16; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; Romans 5:8; Acts 3:19; John 14:6; John 1:12; Romans 10:9.
b) Unless you are in private, it is best to use a small Bible. Big Bibles are more likely to scare or embarrass the person.
c) Highlight the verses used.
d) You may use your phone Bible app if you can navigate it well and can highlight the verses.
e) ANOTHER option is to use a Gospel Tract and have the person read the verses. God’s Simple Plan of Salvation is one of the best tracts for this. The illustrated, How to Get to HEAVEN tract is an option for young people.
f) Start with John 3:16. Ask the person to read it aloud. Then ask him, “What does that mean to you?” If he gives you a clear answer, move to the next verse. If not, ask him to read it aloud again. (Repeat this until he is clear).
g) NEVER forget, it is the Word of God that has power. Let God use it in the heart of the listener.
h) At the top or bottom margin of your small Bible, write the next reference (Romans 3:23, etc.). This helps you remember.
i) Each time, after he reads and says what it means, you may want to add clarity comments like those we learned when using the Gospel Hand.
j) All the while you are witnessing, be praying in your heart for the person.
5) Closing Questions are the same.
a) Do you believe that God loves you, and came to earth to pay for your sin?
b) Do you agree with God that you are a sinner condemned to hell?
c) Do you believe Jesus died on a cross and rose again to pay for your sin?
d) Are you willing to surrender to Jesus by repenting of your sin (desiring to turn from your sin and sinful life), being converted (turning to God to forgive you and to change your life), and believing that He is the only way to heaven?
e) Are you ready to pray to receive Jesus’ gift and to trust Him to save your soul from hell? (Wait silently for him or her to think and respond).
6) If he says, “Yes” show him how to pray to receive Jesus.
Conclusion: If you are not actively seeking witnessing opportunities every day, I urge you to use one of the approaches we have detailed and begin today. You CAN do it. God will use His Word to convict and to save. Your part is sharing the Gospel Hand or the Open Bible. If you open your mouth and share, you cannot fail because God does the saving, not you.