Acts 1:21-22, "Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection."
This morning, there are many that throw around terms in their vernacular without really thinking about what they are saying. They use words without understanding the definition, and many little lambs are mis-guided by it. One of the terms used is "being a witness of/for Christ." This statement is one that not a single living member can use today. Nobody alive today has seen the resurrected Christ. No one at present has been personally acquainted with His bodily presence. So, are we witnesses? The answer depends on what is under consideration. We are witnesses of faith, for that is something that we see in the faces of the dear saints gathered together in His house with the revelation of the righteousness of God flowing from faith to faith.
Here, the apostles were undergoing a decision to choose someone to take the bishoprick of Judas Iscariot. They lay out the requirements for their decision. The one chosen must be a witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. They all stood gazing while a cloud received Him out of their sight. They all heard the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth when He declared that they would be endued with power from on high. They all heard the declaration of the angels that stated that He would return in the manner that He left. Therefore, one of the requirements of an apostle is to have witnessed the resurrected Christ.
So, one might ask, "Paul was not there. How does he qualify?" This question is answered in I Corinthians 15. Paul said that he also beheld Christ as one born out of due time. He was a witness to His resurrection, even though he was not present on this occasion. So, what is the importance of this? The first element of importance is that this clearly shows that the officework of an apostle is no longer here on the earth. When those men passed away in death, their officework passed away as well. No man today can claim to be an apostle, or else the Scriptures are invalid or he is extremely old (approximately 2000 years). Each of these scenarios is obviously ludicrous to consider.
The second element of importance is that we are not witnesses of/for Christ. Our witness is of faith given by the One (Holy Ghost) that is Christ's witness. He promised to send the Holy Ghost to comfort us, and the Holy Ghost bears witness of Jesus Christ. As an aside, folks that claim to do far-fetched things because the Holy Spirit filled them and told them to do it cannot answer how they knew that it was the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost does not bear witness of Himself, but rather, He bears witness of Christ. So, how do they know it is Him? Therefore, let us testify of those things which we have seen. Let us be found witnessing of the goodness of the Lord in our lives.
May we ever lift Him up in praise with the faith that is within us. And, finally, if someone ever claims to be a witness of Christ, ask them, "What does He look like?" The word witness means to see or behold. We see the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for and the EVIDENCE of things not seen. We see the Lord's work around us. We have not yet beheld Christ with our eyes. One day we hope to behold Him with our eyes, and then there will be no need to "witness" for Him for all will know Him from the least to the greatest.