Overcoming Fear in Witnessing

John 7:10-13

Our life should be a living witness…but we haven’t FULLY COMPLETED our witness until we open our mouth and speak. That is hard, but necessary, as we are called to share “the actual WORDS of the gospel.” 

Romans 10:14 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 (witness)?

People need to do more than see a believer live according to the Bible – they need to hear the actual words of the Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus came to preach.

A survey was given to those attending training sessions for a Billy Graham Crusade in Detroit. One question asked, “What is your greatest hindrance to witnessing?” Nine percent said they were too busy to remember to do it. Twenty-eight percent felt the lack of real information to share. None said they didn’t really care. Twelve percent said their own lives were not speaking as they should. But by far the largest group were the 51 percent whose biggest problem was the fear of how the other person would react!

Sharing your faith with words so that others will hear is a hard step to take because of fear—it is a realistic fear, and it is difficult to overcome. Fear is a reality for everyone who makes the decision to go out and share the Gospel as Jesus commanded us to do (Matthew 28:18). You are neither the exception to the rule walking without fear and neither are you the only one who experiences fear when thinking of witnessing.

Speaking up regarding your faith and your personal relationship with Jesus is a hard step to take because of fear. Fear of rejection; fear of embarrassment; fear of being labelled as a fanatic; fear of being considered weird and thought of as differently; fear of being without friends because they no longer like you; fear of making a mistake when presenting the Gospel.

You aren’t the first to be afraid and you’re not a spiritual sissy. Fear is realistic. It is real. It is, at times, difficult to overcome. It has been common to man since the 1st Century in our text!

Someone once said, “A witness is no braver than anyone else, just brave for about 10 seconds longer!

That may be true but in my personal experience many do not get through those 10 seconds before backing out and therefore not sharing. However, there are some very practical yet Biblical suggestions to help you overcome the fear issue when it comes to witnessing with your words… especially when witnessing to a relative, a co-worker, a friend, a family member, or a neighbor.

 1. Ask God for the filling of the Holy Spirit

Peter was filled with fear after they arrested Jesus in the Garden; he knew that this was a life or death situation – his life was in the balance because he was a follower of Jesus. He was literally hiding his identity and following Jesus at a distance so as to remain free.  He followed the procession as far as the house of the high priest, but stopped short of identifying himself as a disciple. He warmed himself at the fire in the yard of the house where Jesus was facing the religious ruler of His day. There a young lady recognized him and tried to point him out, and he denied Jesus 3 times, with curse words for emphasis!

In the early days of the Church they were hiding behind locked doors for fear of the Jewish religious authorities. (John 20:26) But in Acts 4:13 the Bible says Peter spoke boldly before these same authorities which is very interesting because by then the persecution has intensified and people were dying for this faith that he preached openly and defended before the same religious rulers. What made the difference by Acts, Chapter four? What happened?

The experience of Pentecost happened. Acts, Chapter two happened!  The Holy Spirit came down upon each one of them and they were filled with the Spirit. We call this second experience after salvation the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:1-5)

“How can you be filled?”  It is really not complicated. We need to understand that when we are born again the Holy Spirit comes to live inside our spirit. This is being “indwelt” by the Spirit of God.  This second encounter with the Holy Spirit – being filled with the Spirit or having the Holy Spirit upon you” – is important in overcoming fear in witnessing. Jesus said that the purpose of the Baptism was to empower us to witness about Him.

Acts 1:8a but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses…

Again, this is different than being indwelled which happens at the time of your salvation experience. Being filled means being controlled by the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit

This means we walk in the same anointing that Jesus walked in and can move in supernatural power and the gifts of the Holy Spirit as listed in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. This means we can flow in the gifts of the Spirit and this gives to use a cutting edge with which to get a person’s attention. Then we can present the Gospel with words because we will have already moved supernaturally in power and show them the “good works” Jesus called us to do.

Paul the apostle knew this truth and so he was able to state:

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.  For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.  I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling,  and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,  so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.  

The word “demonstration” means to exhibit, to put God on public display, to manifest, to release  God to make a public appearance through our actions and then, once we have their attention, through words.

Paul stated in the book of Romans, For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed,  in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.  (Romans 15:18-19)

To fully proclaim the Gospel we need words and deed, miracles, signs and wonders done through the power of the Holy Spirit that we received when we were baptized in the Holy Spirit and received power to witness.

So, if you are born again, ask God to baptize you in the Holy Spirit. Ask and you will receive the Bible states.

Luke 11:13 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” 

When you ask He will give you the Holy Spirit and He will then help you to overcome fear as he will then be in control. And, He will accomplish miracles, signs and wonders through you.


2. Pray earnestly and seek the Lord about the issue of fear in your life

Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

As we seek the Lord daily and delight in Him He will work in our lives encouraging us and strengthening us to witness. He will allow us to see that there is truly nothing to fear and that we are simply working with Him – partnering with the Holy Spirit – to seek and save the lost as He commanded us to do.

As we walk with the Lord daily and seek His face He will literally fulfill His promise made to all who declare they are His disciples. He stated, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)

As we continue to love Him with our whole heart He will teach us and show us that we do not walk in a spirit of fear but rather in power, His love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).

3. Know God’s presence as you go

Jesus promised that as we obeyed His command to go into all the world that He would be right there with us. In other words, we would know more than His power and authority – we would also know His presence with us.

 Matthew 28:20b “…And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  

We don’t need to ask for His presence to be with us – He promised that He would personally go with each and every believer who upon receiving His authority and power would step out in faith and not let fear stop them from being a witness in word and in deed. When I am out there witnessing I’m not alone. He is with me – in fact, He’s never more with me than when I make His last command my first concern!

He left us here; He didn’t take us on to heaven when we were forgiven and born again; He empowers us for a reason –  so we can bring others to Him and into the Kingdom. He plants us in specific places for this purpose. We are uniquely qualified to reach out to a circle of people that no one else can!

Each of us has a F.R.A.N. that we need to reach…

Friends

Relatives

Associates

Neighbors

What’s God’s purpose for your job?

It is not to sell insurance, but to support you in your real job, soul winning! It is really not just doing that maintenance, working in that office, driving that vehicle, making those phone calls, running that machine, digging that ditch, crunching those numbers, negotiating that deal, installing that part, stocking those shelves, serving that meal, running that errand!

We are sent to the people that we work with and relate to – send as a “witness” who is empowered. That makes going to work all the more worthwhile!

4. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes

The biggest mistake is not witnessing because of our fear. The greatest mistake is to say nothing because you fear you will make a mistake. Here is something you need to hear: God will still use your witness even if you make a mistake. He blesses your obedience and the fact that you tried.

Remember, it is not your job to convict that person of their sin. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job. It is not your job to get them saved – only Jesus can do that. It is just your task to speak the words that He gives you and tell others about Him – being a witness for Him.

A good example of witnessing and walking in the limited abilities you may have at this point in time is found in John 1:45-49

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”  Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”  Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”  Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”  Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” 

Philip simply told his friend about Jesus – even the small amount that He really knew at this point in his life. And, he suggested, in spite of his friends comments, that he come and have a look for himself. He did. And Nathanael that day met Jesus and recognized Him for who He really was.

So, to be a good witness and have a great testimony for the Lord there are four things you need to do:

Ask God to baptise you in the Holy Spirit with power so you can be an effective and supernatural witness

Pray and seek the Lord and He will overcome the fear you feel

Know and experience God’s presence as you move out to witness to others

Don’t ever be afraid to make mistakes

Above all else – take the command to go into all the world very seriously but don’t take yourself too seriously – enjoy the experience.

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