porter barrington bible study

Witnessing – Lesson 15

One day as Jesus walked by the sea of Galilee He saw two men, Simon, called Peter and Andrew, his brother. They were fisherman. “And He said to them, ‘Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men’” (Matt. 4:19). Soul winners are made, not born. Therefore, to be an effective witness, you must be taught, trained, and motivated by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus took three years to teach and train His disciples in the art of soul winning. After His resurrection He instructed them to stay in Jerusalem and, “wait for what the Father had promised” (Acts 1:4-8). When the disciples asked Jesus if the time had come for Him to restore the kingdom of Israel, He answered, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses…”

On the day of Pentecost, the hundred and twenty received power to witness; and any believer who will acquire the know-how can be an effective soul winner.

He can know that he and the Holy Spirit are a witnessing team. Peter said, “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him ” (Acts 5:32 32). Therefore, when you witness remember that “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you (1 Cor. 6:19).

1) When you witness, trust the Holy Spirit to do three things:

a) Illuminate  the mind of the unbeliever. All lost souls are in spiritual darkness (2 Cor. 4:3,4).

b) Stir  the heart of the unbeliever. As Peter preached Christ the listeners, “were pierced to the heart” (Acts 2:37).

c) Move  the will of the unbeliever.

The prodigal returned home when he came to his senses and said, “I will get up and go to my father” (Luke 15:18). You may be up-to-date in all modern techniques and technologies of soul winning and able to quote the necessary Scriptures without a flaw; but if you do not evangelize in the power of the Holy Spirit, your soul winning efforts will be ineffective. Approach this last Master Outline Study with an open heart and receptive mind, willing to be made fishers of men.

2) The Importance of Witnessing  (Rom. 10:13-17). 13 ) For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” 14 ) How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 ) And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” 16 ) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 ) So then faith comes  by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

“… for “ Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13). Do not lift this text out of context. There are three questions in verse 14 that must be considered along with verse 13, they are:

a) First question, “How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed?”

i. The answer is, the lost cannot call on the Lord to be saved until they believe:

a) “That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

b) And that He was buried,

c) And that He was raised on the third day according to Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

b) Second question, “And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard?”

i. The answer is, the lost cannot believe in Him until they hear the good news of salvation. question, 

a) The eunuch had to hear to believe (Acts 8:26-39).

b) Paul had to hear to believe (Acts 9:1-18).

c) Cornelius had to hear to believe (Acts 10:1-48).

d) The Philippian jailer had to hear to believe (Acts 16:25-40).

a) Third question, “And how shall they hear without a preacher (witness)?”

ii. The answer is, they cannot hear the good news of salvation without a witness.

a) Three thousand were saved at Pentecost because the 120 witnessed.

b) The eunuch was saved because Philip witnessed.

c) Paul was saved because Stephen witnessed (Acts 7:54-60) and Jesus the Godman witnessed, and Ananias witnessed (Acts 9:1-18).

d) Cornelius and his household were saved because Peter witnessed.

e) The Philippian jailer and his household were saved because Paul and Silas witnessed.

f) You were saved because someone witnessed to you!

According to the word of God, the lost cannot be saved without a witness. They must have a witness to hear, they must hear to believe, they must believe to call, and they must call to be saved. But they cannot call until they believe and they cannot believe until they hear and they cannot hear without a witness. “So faith (saving faith) comes from hearing” (Rom. 10:17). We are not born with saving faith; it comes only when we hear the gospel. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that every born again child of God obey the great commission to evangelize, to go with the gospel.

3) Qualifications of a Witness ( Col. 2:6, 7) 6 ) -As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 ) rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

a) A qualified witness is one who is:

i. Established in the faith. To be established in the faith is to be rooted and grounded in God’s Word. Peter said, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet. 3:15).

ii. The fifteen Master Outline studies in this Bible study were prepared to help establish you in the faith. Study them, carry your Bible with you and take advantage of every opportunity to ponder a portion of one of the great doctrines. They will give you a foundation on which to build a strong faith (2 Tim. 3:16, 17).

iii. Saved and knows it. I know that I am saved because God tells me so in His Word and God cannot lie.

b) We have the:

i. Witness of the Spirit (Rom. 8:16).

ii. The witness of the Word (1 John 5:13).

iii. The witness of faith “The one who believes  in the Son of God has the witness in himself” (1 John 5:9, 10).

c) Separated. Paul said that he was “set apart for the gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1-16).

i. A holy desire to share spiritual gifts (verse 11). 

ii. A holy purpose to bear fruit (verse 13).

iii. A holy obligation to pay a spiritual debt (verse 14).

iv. A holy eagerness to share the gospel (verse 15).

v. A holy boldness to exalt the cross (verse 16).

To be separated unto the gospel is to share the Good News with the lost (see Master Outline #11, Section #3).

d) Filled with the Holy Spirit. “Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). We are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit (see Master Outline #11, Section #4). Evidence of the Spirit-filled life as seen in the early Christians:

i. They spoke the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31).

ii. They witnessed with great power (Acts 4:33).

iii. They witnessed with great grace (Acts 4:33)

iv. They shared their wealth (Acts 4:34-37).

v. They worshiped in unity (Acts 2:42-47).

vi. They suffered persecution (Acts 8:1-4).

vii. They glorified in tribulations (Rom. 5:3).

viii. They sang in prison (Acts 16:25).

ix. They loved and prayed for their executioners (Acts 7:54-60).

x. They rejoiced to suffer shame for His name (Acts 5:41).

They were accused of:

a) Filling Jerusalem with the gospel (Acts 5:28).

b) Upsetting the world (Acts 17:6).

The 120 Spirit-filled Christians witnessed on the day of Pentecost and the people were:

a) Bewildered, that is, they were mentally arrested (Acts 2:6).

b) Amazed, that is, they were mentally frustrated (Acts 2:7).

c) Marveling, that is, they stood in mental awe (Acts 2:7).

d) Mocking, that is, some mentally reacted (Acts 2:13).

e) Inquiring, that is, some mentally acted (Acts 2:37).

The gospel proclaimed in the power of the Holy Spirit will motivate the hearer to act or react. On the day to Pentecost three thousand acted as evidenced by repentance and baptism, while others reacted mocking. No one, but no one, ignored the witness of those Spirit-filled believers!

4) The Approach  (John 1:40-42). 40 ) One of the two who heard John speak , and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 ) He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). 42 ) And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).

There are two ways to approach the prospect.

a) The first is: The direct approach. This approach can be used when witnessing to:

i. A relative. Andrew used the direct approach to bring his brother Simon Peter to Christ (John 1:40-42).

ii. A friend. Phillip the apostle used the direct approach to bring Nathanael to Jesus (John 1:45, 46).

iii. The concerned. Jesus used the direct approach to win Nicodemus (John 3:1-21).

iv. The seeker. Paul and Silas used the direct approach to lead the Philippian jailer to Jesus (Acts 16:19-34).

b) The second is: The indirect approach. This can be used when witnessing to:

i. A stranger. Jesus used the indirect approach to witness to the Samaritan woman (John 4:7-26).

ii. The religious. Phillip the evangelist used the indirect approach to lead the Ethiopian eunuch to Christ (Acts 8:26-39).

The method in either case will vary according to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Whether you use the direct or the indirect approach, be sure to follow through until you have presented God’s plan of salvation and invited them to accept Christ as their personal Savior.

5) The Follow-Through  (Matt. 13:3-8 and 18-23). 3 ) Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 ) “ And as he sowed, some seed  fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5 ) “Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6 ) “But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. 7 ) “And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. 8 ) “But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 18 ) “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 ) “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it , then the wicked one  comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 ) “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21) “yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 ) “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 ) “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it , who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

a) The parable of the sower illustrates the importance of the follow-through. Only one fourth of the soil was ready for the seed, so only one fourth of the seed brought forth fruit. Jesus explains the parable in (Matt. 13:18-23), and we learn that:

i. The sower is the witness.

ii. The seed is the word of God.

iii. The soil is the heart.

b) We also learn that there are four types of hearts. They are:

i. The hard heart; this is the wayside soil, fertile but hard.

ii. The shallow heart; this is the stoney soil, fertile but depthless.

iii. The worldly heart; this is the thorny soil, fertile but possessed.

iv. The understanding heart: this is good soil, fertile and prepared.

The lesson here is a simple one if we expect the seed, the word of God, to bear fruit, the heart must be made ready. The hard heart must be broken; the shallow heart must be given depth; the worldly heart must be taught that the things of this world are temporal (Mark 8:36, 37). This requires time, work, and patience.

6) How to Share God’s Plan of Salvation  (Acts 4:12). 12 ) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

a) There are seven simple steps to take in sharing God’s plan of salvation:

i. Share your personal experience of salvation. Don’t give your life story. It should not take more that a few minutes to tell how the Lord saved you. As you come to the close of your testimony, bring out your Bible and say, “May I share with you God’s plan of salvation that changed my life?”

ii. Now share fact number one, “It is a fact that God loves you.” Read (John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.) and the study notes with them. When you come to the close of the study notes, say something like this: “Will you now admit that God loves you?” Lead them to admit it, if you can. This will get them involved in the plan of salvation.

iii. Now share fact number two, “It is a fact that you are a sinner.” Read (Rom. 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,) and the study notes with them. When you come to the close of the study notes, ask them to admit that they are a lost sinner. When they admit that they are a lost sinner, say something like this, “Isn’t it wonderful? God loves you even though you are a sinner!”

iv. Now share fact number three, “It is a fact that you are now dead in sin.” Read (Rom. 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.) and the study notes with them. When you come to the close of the study notes, ask them to admit that they are dead in sin. When they admit that they are dead in sin, say something like this, “Isn’t it great? Even though you are a lost sinner, dead in sin, God loves you!”

v. Now share fact number four, “It is a fact that Christ died for you.” Read (Rom. 5:6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.) and the study notes with them. When you come to the close of the study notes, ask them to admit that Christ died on Calvary for them. When they admit that Christ died for them, say something like this, “Isn’t it wonderful? Isn’t it great that God loves you so much that He died on Calvary bearing your sins?”

vi. Now share fact number five, “It is a fact that you can be saved by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Read (Acts 16:30, 31 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”) and the study notes with them.

vii. Now share fact number six. Lead them to call upon the name of the Lord in prayer: for “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved!” Read (Rom. 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”).

viii. When you come to the close of the study notes, be ready to ask them to accept, by faith, Christ as their personal Savior!

ix. How to Give the Invitation (Rev. 22:17) 17) And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires let him take the water of life freely.

b) To give the invitation is to invite the person witnessed to, to, by faith, accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. After reading the above verse (Rev. 22:17) you can simply say something like this:

i. “Will you kneel with me in prayer as I ask the Lord to save you, right here and now?” (Don’t wait for them to get on their knees; you lead the way. If they will not kneel with you, don’t force it. Pray a short prayer that the Lord will convict them of sin and bring them to repentance. Get up and make an appointment to return for another witness session).

ii. If they kneel with you, ask them to accept Him now, by faith, by praying with you (repeating after you) the following prayer: “Lord Jesus, I know You love me, because You died on the cross bearing my sins. Thank You, Lord, for revealing to me my lost, sinful condition. I confess that I am a sinner, dead in sin, and cannot save myself. I do now, by faith, gladly accept You as my personal Savior, and thank You, Lord, for eternal salvation. Amen!”

iii. When you have finished leading them in the prayer, stand up, shake their hand, or preferably give them a hug (Christians are big on hugging!) and say something like this, “Welcome aboard! Upon the authority of God’s Word you are now a child of God!”

7) How to Follow Up  (Read: Acts 2:41-47) 41 ) Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them . 42 ) ¶ And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 ) Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 ) Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 ) and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46 ) So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 ) praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

a) When you have led a soul to Christ your responsibility does not end. You have a spiritual baby, and that baby needs help if it is to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are some things that you can do to help the new Christian to grow spiritually.

b) If they don’t already have one, give them an “Open Bible” (we prefer the New American Standard “Open” Bible) which is simply a Bible that contains a good study guide (like the one that this entire study has come out of), a Biblical Cyclopedia, a Concordance and a lot of other very useful and fascinating study aids. Thomas Nelson also publishes “The Christian Life New Testament” which contains this bible study. This is a small new testament that you can carry in your pocket.

c) Lead them to a New Testament church. (Invite them to yours!)

i. Take them to church and sit with them.

ii. When the invitation is given by your Pastor, ask them to go with you to make their public profession of faith in Christ (Matt. 10:32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.).

iii. Arrange with your Pastor to get them baptized as soon as possible.

iv. Start them out right:

v. Point out that we have a “Now Salvation”.

vi. Stress the fact that they need to obey the Lord in all things.

vii. Teach them how to pray effectively on a daily basis.

viii. Teach them to read and study their Bible on a daily basis.

8) Explain the Master Outline system of study that we have been using.

a) Show them how the Outlines work.

b) Be sure to show them how to look up each Scripture reference when they are studying.

c) Help them through the Master Study Outlines. By the time that they have reached Outline #15, they should be in a church, and have a solid doctrinal foundation on which to continue to grow spiritually.

9) Encourage them to evangelize and to witness. “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so” (Ps. 107:2 OT).

At this juncture, the new Christian should be fully prepared to “go with the gospel!” You have accomplished a great thing! Now, don’t rest on your laurels, go find another lost soul!