Introduction: Have you ever asked, “What is in it for me?” This is
the most basic approach to converting others to Christianity – we
tell them how it will make their life better. God uses that
approach. Consider Deuteronomy 28 where God says obey and be blessed,
disobey and be cursed. Tithing promises tangible benefits (Malachi
3:10-12). Heaven is promised to have gold even in its streets!
( Revelation 21:21) This approach creates a tendency to remain focused
on self even after we are converted. Our lesson this week challenges
us to look outward. Let’s dive into the Bible and find out more!
- Read Acts 1:8 and Luke 24:46-49. What work is assigned to
the disciples? (Witnessing about Jesus.)
- What is essential to performing that work? (The power
of the Holy Spirit.)
- Read Matthew 28:16-20. What is the goal of witnessing? (To
make disciples of others by baptizing them and teaching
them to obey God.)
- Was this command to witness given only to those
disciples? (Notice the text says that new converts
should be taught “to obey everything I have commanded
you.” Thus, if Jesus told the original disciples to
witness, He has told us to witness.)
- Read Mark 16:15-18. Where do demons, tongues, healings,
snakes and poison fit into witnessing? (If you were being
sent out in Jesus’ day, what problems would you face?
(Opposition from Satan’s minions, language difficulties,
snakes might bite you as you walked along, and bad food
might poison you. You might come across people so ill that
they are distracted from hearing the gospel.)
- Is there any modern parallel to the promise in Mark
16? (When we traveled by motorhome, I packed
emergency equipment. Jesus promises to send with His
witnesses an emergency package.)
- Read John 16:7-11. We decided earlier that the power of
the Holy Spirit is essential to witnessing. Why? (It is
the Holy Spirit who brings conviction of sin and truth.)
- Read John 16:12-13. In what other ways does the Holy
Spirit help us with witnessing? (He helps us to have
truth. We would not want to witness to something that is
- Think about the texts that we just read. What is the first
step to witnessing? (Receiving the power of the Holy
Spirit! The Holy Spirit leads us into truth, is our
“emergency pack,” and convicts those to whom we witness of
truth. In sum, the Holy Spirit gives us the power to do
what God commands.)
- Read Acts 8:4-8. Philip was one of the seven men chosen by
the early church to be a deacon ( Acts 6:5). Is Philip
obeying the call to witness?
- Does this sound like Mark 16:15-18 is being
fulfilled? (All except the snakes!)
- Read Acts 8:26. Imagine that you get up in the morning and
an angel gives you specific instructions on where to go.
Would you like to live a life like that?
- Is that possible?
- Let’s start with a test. Assume an angel told you to
go someplace this morning, would you be able to do
it, or do you have other obligations? Would you need
- Read Acts 8:27-29. We see that Philip obeys immediately.
Have you ever debated about whether you should witness to
someone? Have you felt guilty about not witnessing to
- If you have the Holy Spirit in your life, will He
direct you to people who are open to the gospel?
- Read Matthew 13:3-9. Jesus tells the crowd a story about a
farmer sowing seed. Read Matthew 13:10. How would you
translate the disciples’ question? (What are you talking
about? We don’t understand why a discussion about farming
has anything to do with us.)
- Read Matthew 13:18-23. Jesus tells us what the farmer’s
story means. Does it have any relevance to witnessing?
- If you say, “yes,” these are two different methods of
witnessing, is one superior to the other?
- If the Holy Spirit would guide each of us to
someone open to the gospel, it would save a lot
of time and money, right?
- Why do we engage in mass evangelism? Why not
pray for the Holy Spirit to work in us just
like He did with Philip, and lead us to those
who are open to the gospel?
- Read Acts 2:14-16. Here is an example of mass evangelism.
You know the context, what is the advantage? (Peter spoke
to many, not just one. Mass evangelism is more time
efficient than speaking one on one.)
- Let’s get back to Philip. Read Acts 8:30-31. Notice that
the Holy Spirit in Acts 8:29 merely told Philip to “go to
that chariot and stay near it.” The Holy Spirit said
nothing about engaging the Ethiopian in a conversation.
What do we learn from this? (Witnessing is a partnership
with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not need to
direct us on every detail.)
- Read Acts 8:32-34. Can you imagine a more perfect
Scripture to introduce the gospel to someone?
- Imagine the Ethiopian is asking you this question.
What is the most important thing at this moment?
(This goes back to last week’s lesson: Philip needed
to know the Bible and specifically this prophecy. How
can you be a witness if you do not know God’s word?)
- Read Acts 8:35. How hard is Philip’s witnessing work? Do
you think that you could do this? (If you know the gospel,
if you know your Bible, the “hard” part is following the
direction of the Holy Spirit!)
- Read Acts 8:36. This week I was in a store where my wife
and I were considering a major purchase. We were having a
hard time deciding, when the salesman gave us a sharp
nudge by starting to write up the sale. It was obvious
that this was a “trick” to “close” the sale, and I
considered resisting because the tactic was so obvious.
What does Philip do to “close the sale of the gospel” with
the Ethiopian? (Nothing! The Ethiopian suggested that he
should be baptized.)
- What does this teach us about witnessing? (We don’t
have to “close.” Conviction is the work of the Holy
Spirit ( John 16:8-10). Witnessing seems so easy when
we review this story.)
- Read Acts 8:38-40. What happens to Philip? (The Holy
Spirit takes him to another appointment.)
- Can you imagine a life like that of Philip?
- Is it because we are not like Philip that others have
to use mass evangelism techniques?
- Recall that earlier in Acts 8 we read about Philip
witnessing in Samaria. Let’s pick that up again by
reading Acts 8:13. Is the Holy Spirit working through
Philip? (It certainly seems like it when we read of “great
signs and miracles.”)
- Read Acts 8:14-17. This is a most curious story. Philip is
in an incredible witnessing partnership with the Holy
Spirit, yet he baptizes converts only “in the name of the
Lord Jesus” and fails to baptize them in the Holy Spirit.
How do you explain this? (I cannot.)
- What hope does this give us about our witnessing?
(This shows us that Philip did not have it “all
together,” yet the Holy Spirit used him in a powerful
way. That gives us hope for our witnessing.)
- Read 1 John 1:1-4. What approach does this suggest to
witnessing that we have not discussed so far? (The most
effective witness is to talk about what Jesus has done in
our life. We can personally testify to what God has done
- Friend, will you pray daily that the Holy Spirit will lead
you to someone who is open to the gospel? Will you be
willing to follow the direction of the Holy Spirit in
bringing others to Jesus?
- Next week: Obedience: The Fruit of Revival.