Being Faithful in Bearing Witness

The eighth footprint of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts has to do with how the Holy Spirit can work the message of the Gospel deep into the hearts of sinners.

In response to the Apostle Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2, we read in verse 37 “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart.” And because of the Holy Spirit’s work to bring conviction those who were cut to the heart then asked, “What shall we do?”

And Peter’s response was, “Repent and be baptized … for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the Holy Spirit.” It is certainly not a comfortable thing to come under conviction and have a troubled heart. But as we discussed with the sixth footprint, being cut to the heart has a salutary effect. It predisposes us to seek relief. And the only true relief available is that of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Before I say more, it will be well to review the prior footprints. The first is about God’s promise to send the Spirit. The second is waiting upon (asking in prayer for) the gift. The third is recognizing that the gift is poured out on the community before filling each individual. The fourth is the aid of the Spirit in overcoming communication barriers. The fifth is the boldness the Holy Spirit enables in our witness. The sixth is clarity in pointing to Christ’s crucifixion. And the seventh is the constant and repeated witness to the Cross.

Truly much patience and trust are needed as we bear witness to the Gospel. We will certainly try to be as persuasive and winsome as possible, but the work of conversion is dependent on God’s Word and the work of the Holy Spirit. It is a mystery on when and how the Holy Spirit works in the hearer’s heart. Our concentration must be in being faithful in bearing witness.

Since You Asked…

What is the significance of All Saints’ Day?

The significance is expressed in the hymn The Church’s One Foundation, the fifth stanza: “And mystic sweet communion / With those whose rest is won.” We certainly mourn in death the physical separation with our loved ones, but the Church affirms that the dead in Christ are very much alive and are present with our Lord. We further believe in the Resurrection of the dead on the last day, and our joyful reunion with the saints of all the ages in the eternal kingdom of our Lord. Therefore we can speak of our dearly departed as being a part of the Church Triumphant while we remain the Church Militant. On the festival of All Saints we direct our attention to the richness of Christian history, and the manifold workings of God’s grace through the lives of believers who have gone before us. It is also an appropriate time to honor the memory of those members of our congregation who have died.