Summary: The power of sharing your testimony. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Acts chapter 21 verse 40- chapter 22 verse 30.
Insurance claim forms (Saying it clear)
On 3 separate occasions between Paul’s third missionary journey & his trip to Rome:
• He stood before different audiences and presented Christ to them.
• Often he stood alone.
• The audience that he addressed was made up of unbelievers,
• Many of whom were hostile and rude.
Question: Do you know the method Paul used each time?
Answer: His personal testimony.
Each time he spoke:
• He simply shared how his own life had been changed,
• By the risen, glorified Lord Jesus Christ.
• Not once did he argue or debate with them.
• Not once did he preach a sermon.
Question: Why did he share his testimony?
• Because one of the most convincing,
• Unanswerable arguments on earth regarding Christianity is one’s personal story.
Like the blind man in John chapter 9.
• People might not believe your words,
• But they will have no answer for your changed life or different lifestyle.
• The events surrounding Paul sharing his first testimony,
• Can be divided into four sections.
The first section concerns the presentation itself.
(1). Pauls credentials:
Chapter 21 verse 35 to 39:
• Last week Paul was rescued from a rioting crowd by Roman soldiers,
• Climbing up the stairs that lead into the military barracks:
• The Apostle asks the Roman commander,
• If he can speak to the hostile crowd that is still calling out for his death.
And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the stairs:
• Motioned to the people with his hand; and when there was a great hush,
• He spoke to them in the Hebrew dialect, saying (chapter 21 verse 40):
Having received the commander’s permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them in Aramaic: 22:1“Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.”
The Hebrew dialect Paul used was Aramaic:
• The language of the Jews in Palestine:
• By using their tongue and calling them “brothers and fathers,”
• He was immediately identifying himself with his hearers.
• The first lesson anyone must learn in the art of communicating with to others.
• Trying to win over the crowd so they will listen to his testimony, his message,
• Paul wins them over by giving them his credentials.
• Lecture on ‘Creation vs Evolution’.
• Don’t ask Fred the car park attendent to come and share his thoughts.
• For an audience of non-Christian men, we call in an expert.
• Who starts of by giving his qualifications, his knowledge & research on the subject.
• This simply shows our non-Christian men that this guy is worth listening to.
• He is credible, he knows ‘his onions’, what he is on about.
Chapter 22 verses 3-5 - Pauls credentials:
I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. 4I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, 5as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.
The story of Pauls conversion:
• Is found several times in the New Testament.
• Three times in the book of Acts.
• In Acts chapter 9 it is presented historically.
(2). In this chapter (22):
• We have a Hebrew version, spoken in Aramaic.
• Highlighting the things that would appeal to a Jewish audience.
• Men that he does a physically demanding job. The fact he likes sport, especially squash.
• More mature audience that he is a gardener, talk about the plants.
• Ladies: That he likes knitting & crocheying.
• In Acts chapter 26 Paul is before Roman governors Festus & Felix,
• There it has a Roman slant, it is a Gentile version.
• In Philippians chapter 3, we have the theological version,
• It is not majoring on the facts, but on the changes in Paul’s thinking.
• Then there is a brief version in 1 Timothy chapter 1,
• Here we have the hor-ta-tory version (you what?)
• That means to exhort, to encourage, to build someone up.
• Timothy was being urged on by Paul to make a stand, to be a witness for the truth.
Now Here in Acts chapter 22:
• Paul was speaking to almost exclusively Jewish people,