Summary: Shows from Paul’s testimony that we all have a testimony to share; uses congregational participation.
“Brother, I Have Found the Messiah.”
Galatians 1: 11-24
January 20th, 2002
Galatians 1: 11-24
I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus. Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles– only James, the Lord’s brother. I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. Later I went to Syria and Cilicia. I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they praised God because of me.
A lot of people say that they can not witness of their faith to others. They want to evangelize to others and tell them the Good News that Jesus Christ came not to condemn the world but to save it. They sincerely want to see people get saved and experience the joy of salvation and life in Christ. They want others to know the joy and forgiveness that they enjoy. They want to share some of the sweet deliverance that they know. They want to feed the spiritual hunger in others that they once had. It’s been said that witnessing to others is like one beggar showing another beggar where to find bread. But somehow, most people say that they can not witness.
They say that they just don’t know what to say. They don’t know the bible well enough to lay out all the arguments to convince the skeptical that the Bible is the true word of God. They can’t speak well enough to persuade others to make that leap of faith. They are afraid that they will turn their friends off and alienate people with their faith. They are simply fearful that they can not present the gospel truth to those who lost in such a way that they will lead them to Christ. A lot of people feel that witnessing is like handling dynamite: one wrong move and the whole thing will explode in their face.
But the thing is, this is simply not true. All of us who know Christ are able to lead other people to Christ. Proclaiming the gospel is not something reserved only for preachers and missionaries. You don’t have to have a seminary education to accurately proclaim the Good News. You don’t have to have an ability to craft clever arguments and quote Greek to let people know about the cross of Jesus. All you have to have is a testimony about what Jesus did for you. If you know Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can witness.
In fact, most of us are Christians not because of a well-written sermon or a book on theology, we are Christians because some normal, average person told us about what Jesus did for them. One of my favorite people in the bible is the Apostle Andrew. What do you know about Andrew? Probably not a lot. He was not one of the inner circle like Peter, James and John. He didn’t do anything that makes him stand out like Thomas or Jude. He didn’t write any books of the bible like Matthew or Peter. Most of the times that he is mentioned in the bible he is doing the work of a servant: gathering loaves and fishes, passing messages on to Jesus, or doing work in the background. He is one of those people who are content to do work without any notice: he’s not the kind who get up in front of people or assume jobs in leadership. But, the story of the church would not be the same if it were not for this quiet, unassuming apostle because of what he did for his brother. He was there when John announced that Jesus was the Messiah, and so he was one of the first people to follow Jesus. Then, John 1:40-42 tells the incredible thing he did next: Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). Then he brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).