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Let's look at the word witness. Jesus said, Ye shall be witnesses unto me.

The Greek word translated here as witness is martus. It is the word from which we get our English word martyr. In fact, the same Greek word is translated martyr or martyrs in several other places in the Bible.

For example, Paul used this Greek word in Acts 22:20 when he declared: "And when the blood of thy martyr (martus) Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death." (See also Rev. 2:13; 17:6).

Stephen was an effective witness; that's actually what Paul was calling him here. In the early church when men first began to give witness of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, it wasn't very popular to be a Christian.

In fact, so many people laid down their lives as a witness of their faith, it gradually became understood that a witness was one who bore witness by his death. That's how the word martyr received the meaning it has for us today.

Actually the word martyr or witness simply denotes one who can vouch for, guarantee, or prove what he has seen or heard or knows. That's what an effective witness is.

"So what has that got to do with us?" Just this: When we go out as an ambassador - a representative, a witness - for Jesus, we go as one who can guarantee, vouch for, or prove what we have seen, heard, or know.

If you are sharing with someone concerning the ministry of reconciliation, you first share with them what the Word has to say about it; then you are called upon to vouch for, or guarantee, or prove what you have seen, heard, or know about reconciliation.

This is where your personal testimony comes in. It is your own personal experience with the Lord which proves God's Word and makes you effective in witnessing to others.

If you are sharing with a person that Jesus will give him peace and deliver him from oppression, then you ought to be able to guarantee it.

And how do you guarantee it? By telling him what the Word says about it, and the Word says that God will confirm it. The guarantee is "Thus saith the Lord." You can be sure of one thing: If God said it, it is so.

God may have done that very thing for you. In that case, your own personal testimony would be a voucher or proof of what Jesus is capable of doing for anyone who will take God's Word for it. Your testimony of what God has done for you would back up what the Word says.

The Word says, "These signs shall follow them that believe...they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover" (Mark 16:17-18). If a person needs healing in his body, then you shouldn't hesitate to lay hands on him expecting God to honor His Word and heal him.

As I have said, many times God has had to heal people first before I could get their attention to deal with their spiritual needs. Healing became the "attention getter."

This happened many times in the ministry of Jesus and in the ministries of those mentioned in the book of Acts. Miracles get people's attention. Many times when Peter, Philip, or one of the other apostles preached, there were great signs, wonders, and miracles.

The Bible says that many of the people wondered and stood amazed. It also says that many of them believed the Word that was preached on those occasions.

The miracle is not designed to make a person believe, but to get his attention. Then what he needs is to hear the Word.

The Word is what causes a person to believe, but many people want to see or feel something before they will believe. And you know, God will "bend over backwards" where the sinner is concerned to get his attention.

Some people came into meetings like those held by Kathryn Kuhlman in days past and, without believing in God, got healed of tuberculosis or ulcers or asthma or some incurable disease.

How can people sometimes experience miracles in meetings like that and never believe anything? God worked a miracle to get their attention. God was helping the sinner by getting his attention.

So an effective witness is one who can vouch for, guarantee, or prove what he has seen or heard or knows.

Source: Sharing Jesus Effectively by Jerry Savelle.
Excerpt permission granted by Jerry Savelle Ministries International

Author Biography

Jerry Savelle
Web site: Jerry Savelle Ministries International
Dr. Jerry Savelle was an average, blue-collar man who was struggling and needed God's help. While he considered himself a "nobody," when he became a believer God told him not to worry about it because He was a master at making champions out of nobodies. God has since taken Dr. Savelle from being a constant quitter to a man who knows how to stand on the Word of God until victory is experienced. Because of the life-changing combination of God's faithfulness and Dr. Savelle's "no quit" attitude, his life is totally different than it was thirty-eight years ago.

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