In my final message in the series Thoroughly Equipped to be a Witness of Christ, I covered these key points about the apostle Paul as a witness of Christ. Although there is much more to learn about Paul as a witness that is important, these eight points cover many of the key things that Acts teaches us about this vital dimension of his life.
1. Paul began to be a witness of Christ (Acts 9:20) shortly after he was saved and baptized (Acts 9:18). Every believer must be baptized after he is saved, and then he should witness of Christ regularly (cf. Acts 9:20, 22, 27, 29).
2. Paul began to be a witness of Christ (Acts 9:20) in the place where he was after he was saved (Acts 9:19). If possible, we need to be witnesses of Christ wherever we are after we are saved.
3. Acts 9:20 does not tell us what Paul did not say to these people in the synagogues in Damascus when he witnessed to them. We must not misinterpret this one-verse summary of his message by saying that it teaches us something that it does not.
a. Acts 9:20 does not show that Paul did not preach about the resurrection of Christ to the people in the synagogues.
b. Acts 9:20 does not show us that Paul did not tell them to repent.
c. In fact, Acts 26:20-23 proves that he testified to both of these truths in Damascus when he first was a witness of Christ!
From Damascus, Paul went to Jerusalem and was a witness to Christ there (Acts 9:29). Then he was sent to Caesarea on his way to Tarsus, where he was born (Acts 9:30). Knowing Paul, he undoubtedly was a fervent witness in Tarsus.
After I was saved, I made a trip to city where I grew up to witness to everyone I grew up with. As God allows and directs, every believer should try to do likewise.
4. Paul served in the church at Antioch for some time before the Holy Spirit called him and Barnabas to go on a missions trip (Acts 13:1-4). God calls missionaries from local churches and sends them out from them.
Local churches must be faithful to prepare their people for the possibility of God’s calling them to missions. Local churches are where you should be trained to be a witness of Christ. Local churches are to be faithful in sending out and supporting those they send out as missionaries.
Acts 13:32-33 is an important passage because it shows that Psalm 2 was a key text that Paul used to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. We can preach the gospel to any lost person by taking them through Psalm 2!
5. Acts 16:31 does not show us that the jailor was saved by hearing a one-sentence gospel message. Note that Acts 16:32 says that Paul and Silas gave him more testimony than just what Acts 16:31 records.
Also, note what the jailor’s response was to the witness that they gave him: he was baptized (Acts 16:33) because Paul and Silas obviously told him that he needed to be baptized, which is not recorded in Acts 16:31.
6. Acts 17:17-18 is a key text about Paul as a witness because it shows that his content was the same with various groups that he evangelized in various ways. To all the people that he encountered in Athens, he preached the same essential content—Jesus and the resurrection. We must do likewise.
Acts 17:29-31 then teaches us vital truth that we should give to every person we witness to about Christ. We must explain to them that God has proven to them through His raising Jesus from the dead that He has fixed a day in which He will judge them through Jesus as the Judge that He has appointed. Because God has proven this to all men everywhere, we must tell them that God commands them to repent in view of these realities.
7. Acts 26:16-29 is perhaps the most important passage in at least the book of Acts for understanding Paul as a witness of Christ (Acts 26:16). It teaches us about his witnessing in four vital ways:
a. Geographical comprehensiveness – Paul began to be a witness where he was saved (Damascus). Then he witnessed of Christ in Jerusalem, throughout all the coasts of Judea, and to the Gentiles. Paul’s life of witnessing (Acts 26:20) was fully in line with what Christ directed His apostles to do (Acts 1:8).
b. Chronological comprehensiveness – Paul was a witness first in Damascus (Acts 26:20) and continued to be one unto the very day that he defended himself before King Agrippa and others (Acts 26:22). Paul’s entire life included his being a witness of Christ and so should ours.
c. Comprehensiveness about the people whom Paul witnessed to and about the people whom he desired to be saved – Paul witnessed to Jews and Gentiles (Acts 26:20), to the small and the great (Acts 26:22), and to the king (Acts 26:29), governor (Acts 26:30), and many others who were present at his defense (Bernice, chief captains, and principal men of the city [Acts 25:23]). Moreover, Paul wanted all of them to be saved (Acts 26:29)!
d. Content that Paul testified to every person – Paul told everyone everywhere from Damascus to the Gentiles that they had to repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance (Acts 26:20). He also testified to all people that Christ should suffer, be the first to rise from the dead, and show light to the people and the Gentiles (Acts 26:23)—all of which was exactly what Moses and the prophets did say should come (Acts 26:22).
8. Acts 28:23 and 28:30-31 show that Paul witnessed of Christ by testifying to everyone that he could for two entire years about both the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, just as Peter (Acts 2) and Philip did (Acts 8). We must likewise evangelize all people with the gospel of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:12).