Personal preparation is the key to becoming a successful witness.
The first step is to be sure that you yourself are a Christian. Commit your entire person - your intellect, your emotions, your will - to Him and receive the gift of God's love and forgiveness through the Lord Jesus Christ.
The second step is to be sure there is no unconfessed sin in your life. If some sinful attitude or action is hindering your fellowship with God, He cannot live through you, and you will not be a joyful Christian or a fruitful witness for Christ.
The third step is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. To be fruitful in your witness for Christ, you must appropriate by faith the fullness of God's Spirit. Invite the Holy Spirit to control and empower you - to enable you to live a holy, godly life by faith and to make you a fruitful witness for Him.
The fourth step is to be prepared to communicate your faith in Christ. Keeping Christ on the throne of your life as the Lord of your heart is the best preparation for communicating your faith.
Carefully study the eighth chapter of Acts. List the qualifications for witnessing. Ask the Holy Spirit to make these qualities real in your own life.
Read Acts 8:26-40. According to verses 26 and 27, why do you think God called Philip for this particular assignment?
To whom did Philip witness in verse 27?
Who told Philip to join the chariot? Does the Holy Spirit lead us in the same way today? Describe and example from your life.
How did Philip respond? How did he approach the man? (verse 30)
Was the man ready? Why? What was his response?
What Old Testament passage was the Ethiopian reading? (verses 28, 32, 33) To whom did they refer?
What was Philip's message?
Philip demonstrated at least eight qualities that contributed to his effectiveness for Christ. Notice these qualities:
Reflect on each of these qualities. How are they at work in your life?
Which ones do you have difficulty with? List ways you can strengthen these areas.
Possible Hindrances to Our Witnessing
After each of the following hindrances, describe how it affects your witnessing:
Spiritual Lethargy. If you are not excited about something, chances are you won't tell many people about it. For many Christians, the excitement of the Christian walk has been dulled by everyday distractions, materialistic pursuits, and unconfessed sin. Like the believers in Ephesus, these men and women have left their first love. How does it affect your witnessing?
Lack of Preparation. Personal dedication to Christ and understanding how to witness and what to say are imperative. Preparing your heart through prayer gives you the right attitude and opens yourself to the power of the Holy Spirit.
How does it affect your witnessing?
Fear of Man. We possibly will be persecuted by unbelievers, as well as believers, but the fear of man will prove to be a snare (Proverbs 29:25). Christ said of those who feared to confess His name, "They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." How does it affect your witnessing?
Fear of Failure. "They won't believe; they won't accept such simple truth." Certainly some will reject or neglect the gospel, but you should never believe the lie of Satan that people are not interested. Christ said, "Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are (present tense... 'now') ripe for harvest" (John 4:35). Jesus said, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord...to send out workers into his harvest field" (Matthew 9:37,38). How does it affect your witnessing?
Fear that the new Christian will not go on to grow in the Lord. Review the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23). Every seed of the Word of God will fall on one of these types of soil: path, rocky, thorny, or good. Some new Christians will become disciples. Keep up the faithful search for these disciples. How does it affect your witnessing?
Lack of practical know-how. As a result of thousands of surveys, we have found that the vast majority of Christians today not only believe they should share their faith, but they also really want to. However, they don't receive the practical hands-on training that will ease their fears and help them witness effectively. The result is a guilt trip: They know they should, but they hesitate because they don't know how. How does it affect your witnessing?
Which hindrance is the greatest problem for you and why? What steps will you take to overcome it?
Have you let distractions, lethargy, materialism, or unconfessed sin rob you of your excitement in Christ? In what ways?
In a time of prayer, ask God to reveal any unconfessed sin in your life. After reading I John 1:9, confess any such sin, and ask for God's cleansing and forgiveness.
Look back through the list of qualities in Philip's life and identify the ones you would like to have God develop in your life.
Spend some time in prayer, asking God for those characteristics to be developed in your life and witness.