We still discuss the elements of revival this week. The purpose of revival is to replenish our faith, which will then lead to the continued and complete reformation of our lifestyles. So far we have seen the role prayer and Bible study play in reviving us, individually and as a church body.

This week we look at the aspect of witnessing and service, and the crucial part they have in growing our faith. Prayer and Bible study can awaken and strengthen our faith, but witnessing about what we have received from God is the only way for our faith and our churches to grow.

Memory Text: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and  you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NKJV

It’s hard to miss the sequence of events in this statement from Jesus Himself. First, they receive power from the Holy Spirit, and then they become witnesses. Notice also in this particular verse, Jesus isn’t giving an instruction to witness. He simply states that it will happen. He takes for granted that with the infilling of the Spirit, witnessing will occur. True revival demands it.

A transformed life is a sharing, giving life. We want to spread His love to everyone we meet. I liked the way Wednesday’s lesson put it…”Give and grow. Or withhold and wither.” We really have no choice when it comes to witnessing.

Sunday: Christ’s Parting Commission and Promise

Most of us are familiar with Christ’s Great Commission. His parting words in the gospel of Matthew were to go and preach the gospel to all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes though, we forget that this passage also contains a great promise. He promised to be with them always, even to the end of the age. Strong’s suggests that the word “age” here can mean “world”; so this would apply to Christians of all periods, even to the “end of the world”.

When we are saying good-bye to someone we love, isn’t it our practice to promise that they “will be with us in our thoughts and prayers”? Often these are just hollow words, spoken out of politeness, and meant to bring some comfort to each other. But when Jesus says it, we can “bank on it”. He literally has the power to fulfill this promise through the great Comforter, the Holy Spirit.

Jesus doesn’t send us out alone to preach and baptize the world. He accompanies us every step of our journey. There is no such thing as solo witnessing. We always have a Partner at our side. But He doesn’t propel us on our way. We have to put our foot forward and take the plunge. God needs us to accomplish His purpose of reaching the world.

Personal Thought Question: Nobody likes to disappoint their Partner. Right? Am I disappointing Jesus by not being totally available for His mission of sharing the gospel and serving others?

Monday: Receiving the Promise

Even with Jesus’ promise of His continued presence through the Holy Spirit, it must have seemed like an overwhelming task for the disciples to reach all nations. The book of Acts reveals how such a small number of disciples (around 120) could swell to so many in just a couple hundred years.

And the amazing thing was how diverse they were. Pliny (110 A.D.) reports, “Many of every age, of every social class, even of both sexes, are being called to trial and will be called. Not cities alone but villages in even rural areas have been invaded by the infection of this superstition.” (Christianity)

The explanation for this explosion of Christianity can be attributed to the passionate appeals of His followers, along with the availability of the Holy Spirit. The closer we are to Jesus, the more passionate we will be about His message, and the more the Spirit will accompany our efforts. Like in the book of Acts, we can experience the same revival and fulfill all the plans God has for us and His church.

Tuesday: The Power of Personal Testimony

How many times have you wished that a close relative would just start coming to church? Or that there was some way you could pray more often or have more time for Bible study? If we could just get our spouse to come to an evangelistic meeting and get introduced to our doctrines? Or how easier it would be to witness if we were talented enough to begin a music or speaking ministry and travel to other places?

You may be surprised to learn that not one of these things has been able to transform someone’s life. Religious ritual and doctrines are not effective in changing lives. They often leave us spiritually barren, just going through the motions.

The most powerful tool for winning souls is the personal testimony of someone who has had a genuine encounter with Jesus. This results from God’s love overflowing from us to those around us. The Holy Spirit does something to us, and we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us.

“Our confession of His faithfulness is Heaven’s chosen agency for revealing Christ to the world.” The Desire of Ages, p. 347.

Thought Question: How can we share our testimony more effectively? In our neighborhood, community, country, world?

Wednesday: A Witnessing Faith is a Growing Faith

Witnessing, as we’ve discovered, is a great way to grow our faith, just as physical exercise builds our muscles. But don’t overlook another benefit of exercising our bodies: it helps our immune system. In other words, we can more easily fight off disease.

Thought Question: How can witnessing and serving God help us fight off the disease of sin?

Feeding_the_5000008Another illustration that helps us understand the growth of our faith is the miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand (John 6:1-11). Just as Jesus was able to multiply the food for the crowd that day by blessing and sharing it, we can increase our faith by lovingly serving others and prayerfully sharing our testimony.

Thursday: Revival, Witnessing, and Divine Intervention

The New Testament church was a revived church that had miraculous growth. But we notice all through the book of Acts many miracles of divine intervention. The Holy Spirit was poured out in a great measure at the very time it was needed.

Consider the story of Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-38. We have often used this passage to teach the correct form of baptism, but some of us may have overlooked the fact that in v. 39 it tells us that Phillip disappeared–“the Spirit of the Lord caught Phillip away” and the eunuch saw him no more.

We’ve been promised another outpouring of the Spirit, just before Jesus comes again, in order to prepare the world for that great event. There should be no question in our minds that miracles will accompany us as well then, in those harrowing times of earth’s history. Be ready for some great adventures!

Summary: “There are three essential elements in revival, and they are prayer, the study of God’s Word, and witnessing. When God’s people seek Him in earnest, heartfelt intercession, and when they saturate their minds with the truths of His Word, and then they passionately witness of His love and truth to others–God divinely intervenes and opens unusual doors for the proclamation of truth.” ~the Sabbath School quarterly

  • pray earnestly
  • study deeply
  • witness passionately

Your Contribution to the Class:

The lesson quarterly talked extensively about witnessing, but what about serving God in other ways? Should feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and helping those after disasters be included in the church’s mission? What do we have to gain or lose by becoming more active in our local communities by helping the homeless, visiting those in jail, mowing lawns for the elderly, and the many other services we could provide? Please leave your comment below or on Outlook’s Facebook page.