Empowered to be a
Witness for Christ
Acts 1:1-9

Dr. Venus L. Butler

Sunday, January 30, 2022
1In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. Acts 1:1-9 NIV

Today is Mission Sunday and it is often recognized on the fifth Sunday of the month; however, everyday is a day for believers to be committed and devoted to the mission of Jesus Christ.

The book of Acts is one of the most exciting books in the New Testament. Acts was written as a sequel to the book of Luke, which focused on Jesus’ earthly ministry. The book of Acts continues that ministry by the Holy Spirit through the apostles. Why is the book of Acts such a wonderful book? Because it shows how ordinary men and women were empowered to do the extraordinary works of God and to continue the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ!

On the day of Pentecost, (Acts Chapter 2), the disciples were empowered by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses for Christ. Likewise, upon baptism we are empowered to be effective and powerful witnesses for Christ.

The key focus for this Mission Sunday message is Acts 1:8: But you will receive power when The Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.

Jesus had taught and trained the disciples to continue his works of ministry. This mission has been passed on to us throughout generations in preaching, teaching, sharing the Gospel of Christ and by being the voice, hands and feet of Jesus here on earth. Throughout the book of Acts we discover how the first Christian Church was birthed, (Acts 11:26), and changed the world. We have been empowered to do the same.

Consider your thoughts on the meaning of the statement,
“You have been empowered to continue the mission of Christ.”
Monday, January 31, 2022
8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses… Acts 1:8 NIV

“Witness” is a key word in the Book of Acts and is used twenty-nine times as either a verb or a noun. A witness is somebody who tells what he or she has seen and heard (Acts 4:19–20). When you are on the witness stand in court, the judge is not interested in your ideas or opinions; the judge only wants to hear what you know. While some of God’s people have a calling to evangelism (Eph. 4:11), all of God’s people are expected to be witnesses and tell others about the Savior. Every Christian can bear faithful witness to the Savior. Every believer has a story or a testimony to proclaim. Our primary mission is to be a witness for Christ.
Tell someone about Jesus’ unconditional love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace. Share how without him in your life – you would be lost. Let someone know how your life has been touched, redeemed, set free from bondage, and transformed. Share about the gift of salvation and eternal life. Everyone has a unique story about their encounter with Christ.

Consider how you might share your story with others and
exemplify being a witness for Christ.
Tuesday, February 1, 2022
Some may ponder the question, “What is Mission?” Mission is embedded throughout the following scriptures, Matthew 25:35 – 40: I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.

Here we find other opportunities to be engaged in mission. Churches have been engaged in various ministries based on the needs of the church and community.

Mission is a ministry commissioned by the church, or some other religious organization for the purpose of propagating its faith or carrying on humanitarian work. The Christian Church has always been characterized as a people of mission. Mission holds us together. We know that to be faithful to the Gospel, we must be faithful to our call to Mission. Our sense of Mission given by Christ is the “tie that binds our hearts in Christian love.”

Mission is the unifying, sanctifying, reconciling, and proclaiming activity of Jesus Christ in the world. Mission cannot be something separate from or added to the essence of the church. The essential nature of the local congregation is, in and of itself, mission or else the congregation is not really the church. What the church does internally with no intention of impacting the world outside itself is not mission. But when a local congregation understands that it is, by its nature, a constellation of mission activities, and it intentionally lives its life as a missionary body, then it begins to emerge toward becoming the authentic church of Jesus Christ, (American Baptist Churches USA, publication).

In his Letters and Papers from Prison, Dietrich Bonheoffer said, “The Church is the Church only when it exists for others.” The Church exists for humanity in that it is the spiritual body of Christ, and - like Jesus - it is sent to be a servant. As the Father sent Jesus, so Jesus sends his disciples into the world for the sake of the world. Every Christian is to witness at home, at work, in places of leisure, or wherever we find ourselves. We are all missionaries, on a mission for Jesus Christ.

Consider how you can be a witness in your home, work,
places of leisure and other locations.
Wednesday, February 2, 2022
Acts 1:8 further emphasizes the purpose of Mission: Jesus proclaimed, "You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

The Antioch church, where followers of Christ were first called Christians, lived out the “Acts 1:8 mandate” and set an example for our mission.

The local congregation has always been the fundamental unit of mission. Mission in the local community is our Jerusalem ministry. Mission in the region is our Judean ministry. Local church mission reaches beyond ministry to its own members and its own community into the state or region of the country in which it is located. Mission in our nation is our Judea & Samaria ministry. The call to mission is not completed until the whole world has heard the Good News. Jesus puts no limits on how far the Gospel should go. Mission in other countries is our ministry “to the ends of the earth;” This includes Global or International Ministries, (American Baptist USA, publication).

There are men and women who have been called to leave their native lands to serve and be a witness in a foreign land. We are all on the mission field for Christ. Some churches participate in denominational affiliates to expand their missions.

In the gospels God reveals himself through His son who is not only sent, but also sends His followers with a renewed commission. The commission is clear, so clear that all four gospel writers recorded it in one form or another:
Luke in Acts 1:8 & Matt. 28:19: Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations.
Mark 16:15: Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
Luke 24:47: Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations.
John 20:21: As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.

Acts begins with a reiteration of Jesus’ commission, only it refers to the power of the witness as well as the location of the witness. Acts 1:8 identifies the Holy Spirit as the sending force behind the apostles as they go out into their own community (Jerusalem), their region (all Judea), the region that was socially and ethnically different from their own (Samaria), and the world beyond their knowledge (the ends of the earth).

Consider how the mission of Jesus has been fulfilled by faithful witnesses from the New Testament era to the present day.
Thursday, February 3, 2022
8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses… Acts 1:8 NIV

During this time of a global pandemic, we are still called to be witnesses for Christ! The mission of the church doesn’t stop; it continues and there is a greater need in the midst of COVID-19, governmental crisis, natural disasters and deaths across our nation. We must continue to envision new ways of fulfilling this mandate for mission. During mission Sunday, there is generally a mission and/or benevolence offering given to the church to assist the needs of the church and the community.
God’s love is our motivation for mission and it’s the love of God that keeps us going.

Ephesian 5:2 states, “and we walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

We have the opportunity to reach more people through the use of technology than any other time in our church history. We must continue to pray without ceasing and connect prayer with action. Although we must remain cautious as we are still in a pandemic, we must continue to find ways to promote and continue the mission given to us by Jesus Christ.

Every church must consider the following question: How have we been able to continue the mission of Christ over the past 22 months? Every believer must consider the questions: How have I continued the mission of Christ in the midst of this pandemic? Have I extended a helping hand in ways that have been possible with social distancing, while wearing a mask? Although visitations have been restricted, Have I made a phone call to someone just to say hello, I've been thinking about you, or to offer a word of prayer at any given moment? Have you taken advantage of opportunities sponsored by your church or within your community? God has provided many ways to keep us engaged throughout COVID-19 and we are grateful!

One of our mission’s today is to do everything we can to remain safe, well, and healthy by getting vaccinated and ordering your free COVID-19 test kits at covidtests.gov; each household will receive four tests.

Consider how you have continued the mission of
Christ throughout the Pandemic.
Friday, February 4, 2022
8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses… Acts 1:8 NIV

In the presence of Jesus, healing was evidenced, people were fed with the word of God and given physical food; people were set free from whatever held them captive – mentally, physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. People were given hope that there was more to life than what they were experiencing. Jesus spoke “words of life” and was able to lift someone’s spirit who was suffering. He calmed the storm,
He stood up against governmental rulers and structures of the day. He gave the people another perspective that had never been heard before within biblical times. He spoke words of justice, liberation and freedom! Jesus gave us the example of “how to be about God’s business.
When you are doing the work of the Lord it brings about a sense of joy and satisfaction. We continue to fulfill the work, ministry, and mission of Christ. What a privilege to serve the Lord with gladness, to come into His presence with thanksgiving and praise!

We should make ourselves available to be used by God as an instrument of hope, healing, and liberation. We must continue to be the voice crying in the wilderness. We must be the voice to tell someone there is a God, who is still on the throne, in the midst of these challenging times.

There is a God who is all knowing, always present, and who is almighty! There is a God who provides a Balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole. There is a God who is able to give sight and insight when we can’t see clearly! There is a God who can make right out of wrong, who brings light in the midst of darkness. There is a God, who empowers us to keep the faith, to hope for a new day, and who is able to do the impossible. We must be willing and available to do our part as agents of transformation.

Consider the areas of mission that you desire to fulfill in your church and/or community.
Saturday, February 5, 2022
8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses… Acts 1:8 NIV

We gather from this message that the believers, those followers of Christ, believed the promise. They believed the promise revealed in God’s word. They had the expectation and anticipation that the promise would be fulfilled and they would be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses for Christ.

It has been stated that this empowerment by the Spirit was the beginning of the church of Jesus Christ. Jesus knew the believers would need that extra dose of power, that extra dose of strength, in order to organize or plant the Christian church, and in order to be witnesses for Christ to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus knew there would be great opposition, massive persecutions, martyrdom, imprisonment, constant ridicule, and other unforeseen circumstances in attempts to stunt the growth of the Christian movement.

The believers would need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to continue to proclaim that we serve a living God in the presence of the Holy Spirit as a result of the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. The reason that the power was given: The power was given to enable the disciples to be witnesses for Christ and the power has been given to enable us to be witnesses for Christ today!

Consider how the promises of God’s word give you hope
and increase your faith.

Standing on the promises of Christ my King
Through eternal ages let His praises ring
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises that cannot fail
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail
By the living Word of God I shall prevail
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord
Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord
Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises I shall not fall
List’ning every moment to the Spirit’s call
Resting in my Savior as my All in all
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing, standing/Standing on the promises of God my Savior
Standing, standing/ I’m standing on the promises of God.

The Mission
Steve Green
2412 Griffith Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90011 
Phone: (213) 748-0318