The Testifying Ministry of the Holy Spirit
By Rick Renner
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.
— John 15:26
When I was growing up, our church had regular visitation nights when we paid a visit to people who had recently attended our church or we visited the homes of unsaved people so we could present Christ to them. I literally hated those evenings of visitation and witnessing. The word “hate” is not too strong of a word, because this is precisely what I felt at the time. I hated it.
I loved Jesus with all of my heart, but getting into the car to go knock on doors to talk to people I’d never met in my life and read them a tract that they weren’t interested in hearing wasn’t my idea of having a good time. Other Christians had the same problem too. I know, because our pastor constantly had to coax our congregation to come to Sunday school visitation and nights of witnessing.
Nevertheless, I knew I was supposed to be a witness for Jesus. I can remember piling into my Sunday school teacher’s car, looking at the list of names we were to visit, and then going to knock on all those doors. I felt powerless, defeated, and joyless as we went, and although many believers would never want to admit it, they feel the same way about witnessing that I did.
The truth is, there is no true witnessing without the work of the Holy Spirit. We must have the Holy Spirit’s help as we testify. However, the good news is that Jesus said, “He [the Holy Spirit] shall testify of me.”
You see, the Holy Spirit loves to testify of Jesus. As a result of His deep love, adoration, and affection for Jesus, He loves to talk on and on about Him. So when you partner with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to work through you, testifying becomes natural and
simple instead of forced and difficult. It becomes an overflow of your relationship with the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus told the disciples to stay in Jerusalem to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit, He said, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Notice He said that the disciples would be witnesses “after” the Holy Spirit came upon them. To witness and testify powerfully about the resurrected Christ, supernatural power is required. Hence, without the Holy Spirit’s assistance, it is almost impossi- ble to testify with confidence about Jesus Christ.
Before the Day of Pentecost, the disciples were similar to many Christians today. Rather than advancing upon the lost world with the message of Christ, they were hiding behind closed doors (see John 20:19). Unlike the great spiritual army they were supposed to be, they were simply “holding out” in a room, hiding for fear of the Jews.
Yet Jesus said the Holy Spirit would “testify” of Him, not make us fear-filled cowards! That word translated “testify” comes from the Greek word martureo, which means to witness or to give a good report. It’s where we get the word martyr, referring to someone who obtains a righteous testimony as a result of his willingness to accept suffering or death rather than renounce his faith in Jesus. That kind of courage comes only from the supernatural ability of the Holy Spirit, empowering the believer to testify of Jesus, regardless of any pressure or opposition, no matter how severe.
It was not until Acts 2 that the disciples comprehended the greatness of the Holy Spir- it’s ability to empower believers to testify. The witness of Jesus Christ literally blasted out of their mouths as they hit the streets of Jerusalem, fully yielded to the Holy Spirit. In addition to supernaturally declaring “the wonderful works of God” in other languages (see Acts 2:11), they proclaimed the Word of God intelligently in their own language to a people they had been afraid of the day before!
A good example is seen in the story of the apostle Peter. After he received the infilling of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, he was transformed! Standing before an enraptured crowd, Peter boldly proclaimed, “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you…ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified…whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death…therefore being by the right hand of God exalted” (Acts 2:22,23,33). This was supernatural witnessing! This was supernatural proclamation!
Certainly there is nothing wrong with preplanned evangelism, door-to-door visitation, or evangelism programs that teach you the basics of witnessing. But when those programs are carried out without the power of the Holy Spirit, they are often dry, dead, and unsatisfying. Real witnessing or testifying of Jesus Christ can only be done by the power of the Holy Spirit!
Why lean on your own understanding when it comes to witnessing? Why reduce this power- ful moment to a mere program? The Holy Spirit was sent to testify of Jesus! No one knows how to testify better than He does.
If you are afraid to witness, as I was when I was younger, I urge you to open your heart to the Holy Spirit and let Him release His power through you to become a witness for Christ. As you surrender your heart and mind to the Holy Spirit’s control, witnessing will turn from stressful drudgery into a joyful, rewarding, and exciting adventure!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, I admit that I am one of those who has been uneasy and fearful about witnessing in the past. I’ve felt so uncomfortable — afraid that I’ll say the wrong thing or that someone will ask a question I can’t answer. I’ve been controlled by fear and dread when it comes to sharing my faith with others. In fact, I’ve even tried to avoid it, even though I know that I am commanded to be a witness for Jesus. I realize now that all that fear, frustration, and anxiety was the result of my attempt to do Your will in my own strength without the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. Starting right now, I want to do my best to surrender to the Holy Spirit — and let Him release His testifying ability through me. Holy Spirit, You love to talk about Jesus, and You know precisely the words to speak because You hold the key to every person’s heart, so speak through me to others and touch the part of their hearts that is ready to hear and receive the truth of the Gospel. I thank You, Holy Spirit, for making me an effective fisher of men!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I am NOT afraid to witness for Jesus Christ. My testimony is powerful. People want to hear it. Because the Holy Spirit is my Partner, He knows exactly how to start every conversation, how to touch each heart, and how to win each person to Jesus Christ. I do not do this on my own, but I do it in partnership with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is jubilant when it comes to the subject of Jesus, and He releases that joy-filled attitude victoriously through me as I open up and testify of Jesus to others! I receive the power of God that makes me an effective witness for Him!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Have you been afraid to witness? Have you ever thought about why this is such a fearful thing for you to do? Maybe it would be good for you to think through this question and come up with a conclusion you can pray about.
- There is special supernatural power available to help you share Christ with others. Have you ever experienced that supernatural power in a specific situation? What was that situation?
- Who do you know that is unsaved and needs to hear the message of Jesus right now? Is it a friend, relative, coworker, or an acquaintance? Don’t you want that person to know Christ as you know Him? Why not yield to the Holy Spirit and let Him testify through you to that person? He’ll show you when and how to do it!