Introduction: My wife teaches children to read. Simple
reading, however is not her goal. She wants them to read
with “expression!” Have you ever thought about witnessing to
others with “expression!” Our lesson this week presents the
“action” words of witnessing: Testify! Teach! Prove!
Proclaim! Persuade! Let’s get into the action by jumping
into our study!

  1. Testify!

    1. When I say the word “testify,” what immediately
      comes to mind? (Courtrooms and witnesses.)

      1. What is the “downside” to testifying? (You are
        tested on whether you are telling the truth.)

      2. Would testifying make you nervous? (It does
        for most people.)

    2. Let’s look at some texts in Acts about this. Read
      Acts 4:23-27. This is the prayer of Peter and John
      just after they were released from prison. Do you
      see any testimony in this? Let’s list the
      subjects of testimony that you find on the

      1. Is part of their testimony that you can expect
        opposition? (Yes, verses 26-27.)

      2. Do you think Peter and John thought their
        lives were in peril because of their
        testimony? (Yes!)

    3. Let’s read on: Acts 4:29-31, 33. When the
      disciples asked the Lord to (v.29) “consider their
      threats,” for what were they asking?

      1. What did they get in response? (They were
        asking for help with dangerous conditions. The
        help given them was a demonstration of the
        power of the Holy Spirit. The result was
        (v.31) boldness.)

      2. What do you think is meant in verse 33 when it
        says the disciples testified “with great

        1. Would you like that in your life?

        2. Would you like to testify with boldness?

        3. Would you like “much grace” in your life?
          What do you think that means?

    4. What do people normally testify about? (A rule of
      evidence is that you generally must only testify
      about “first hand” evidence: what you have
      personally seen and heard.)

      1. Is that also true with your gospel witness?

        1. If so, are you “equipped” to testify? Do
          you have knowledge of what you are
          testifying about and are your words
          driven by the Holy Spirit?

        2. If not, what should you do? (Study and

  2. Teach!

    1. Is there a difference between teaching and
      preaching? If so, what is it?

    2. Read Matthew 28:19-20. Teaching is mentioned after
      baptism in this text. Is teaching something we do
      only after a person is converted by hearing
      someone preach? Or is teaching part of the
      conversion process?

      1. Is teaching part of our witness?

    3. Our lesson (Monday) says there “should be less
      preaching and more teaching.” Do you agree?

      1. Is teaching a superior way of transmitting

        1. If you say “yes,” why? (Teaching is
          interactive. Instead of a “one way”
          conversation (as in preaching), you have
          a “two way” conversation with a person.
          They are actively involved. If they are
          in an interactive class they have to
          think to avoid being embarrassed.)

      1. We surveyed the church a couple of months ago
        about whether they liked our use of a computer
        projected slide show for teaching the lesson.
        We also asked whether people liked it being
        used for preaching the sermon. Since I
        generally make a “slide show” for my sermons I
        was interested in what people thought about
        it. The response was overwhelmingly positive,
        but one negative response said “We’re not in
        school.” Is that true?

        1. If we are “not in school” during
          preaching, should we be?

    1. Read Acts 20:20. Paul says that he taught
      “publicly” and “from house to house.” Is public
      teaching important? What, exactly, is public

      1. If you say public teaching is, “the church,”
        are you sure? Isn’t your church “private
        property?” Isn’t it like teaching in a home,
        except bigger?

      2. If “church teaching” is not “public teaching,”
        how can we teach in public?

        1. Should we be standing on street corners?
          (We could, but that is a pretty
          ineffective way to reach the public.)

        2. What is the best way to reach the public?
          (Television, radio, Internet.)

  1. Prove! or Proclaim!

    1. Read Acts 17:1-4. When the text tells us that
      Paul “reasoned with them from the Scriptures,”
      what “Scripture” are we talking about? (Old

      1. Was it “new news” that the Messiah had to
        suffer and die? (They expected a triumphant

      2. How do you think Paul proved this to those in
        the synagogue? (By the messianic prophecies of
        the Old Testament.)

        1. Do you know those prophecies? Can you do
          what Paul did?

    2. Do you have in hand (or in mind) the Bible texts
      to “prove” basic Christianity? How about being
      able to prove any doctrine that you believe?

      1. Is this knowledge essential to being a proper

    3. Right after our lesson (Tuesday) argues that we
      should “prove” our beliefs, it says (Wednesday)
      “the purpose of preaching is not to demonstrate or
      to prove a truth.” Aside from “proving” that the
      lesson authors may not have been paying too close
      attention to their final product, what do you
      think is the truth here?

      1. Should we be in “proof” mode when we witness?

      2. If you look at Wednesday’s lesson carefully,
        it seems to say that proclaiming Christ is
        more effective than arguing (proving)
        doctrines. Do you agree?

      3. This week I spoke with a lady who, after 53
        years of being in a “doctrine intensive”
        church (Seventh-day Adventist), had changed
        her membership to a “sparse doctrine” church
        (Vineyard). When I asked her why she changed
        after 53 years, she told me “no one was ever
        converted by doctrines,” instead, “they were
        converted by fellowship.”

        1. Do you agree?

        2. If you do, doesn’t this leave doctrine in
          the dust?

        3. If you agree, how do you reconcile this
          with Paul “reasoning” “explaining” and
          “proving” in our text ( Acts 17:2-3)?

  2. Persuade!

    1. Is “persuade” the answer to this issue? Does
      “persuade” lie between “proof” and simple
      “proclamation?” Or is “persuade” the result of

    2. Read 2 Corinthians 5:11. Could someone show you
      “proof,” but not persuade you? Why would some
      proof not persuade?

    3. Let’s look again at Acts 17:2-4 again. Do you see
      that Paul “proved” his points to all, but only
      “some” were persuaded. How do you think some were
      moved from proof to being persuaded?

      1. Should we worry only about the proof part and
        leave the persuading part to the Holy Spirit?

    1. Practicing law for about 25 years has convinced me
      that just being “right” is not good enough to win
      a case. More important, you have to show your
      argument is “just.” That is the difference
      between “proof” and “persuading.” Proof is
      stringing the Bible texts together that show you
      are right. Persuading making a person want to
      believe you are right. Our texts in 2 Corinthians
      and Acts 17 show the goal is to persuade others,
      not just be able to prove our argument. We need
      to carefully consider not only how to “prove” but
      also how to “persuade.”

    2. Friend, God has called us to witness for Him. Will
      you answer this call to action with enthusiasm?

  1. Next week: Models for Witnessing.