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Summary: How we can learn, from Paul’s testimony, to give our testimony and share our faith better

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Giving your testimony Acts 26:12-32 WBC 17/11/02 pm

Drama:

1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

The Bible tells us that we should always be able to talk and tell about our faith. But how should we do it? How should you give your testimony

- church… to friends

Well- note what Paul does. Note how he gives his testimony, and how he tells what Jesus has done for him (3rd occasion in Acts!)

1 “I am Jesus” (v15)

I’m kind of cautious how soon I get to the nitty-gritty of my testimony

- don’t want to scare people off.

o let them get to know me, first. Know I’m human… likeable (I hope!)

o launch straight in with ‘are you washed in the blood’

 you’ve lost them! let wisdom control your enthusiasm!

o actually- even mentioning ‘Jesus’ too early can make them think you’re off your trolley (in OUR culture)

BUT- I never avoid anything spiritual, or ‘what I do, or did on Sunday’

- but bring it in gently. Naturally. It’s part of you! Not ashamed?!

- it’s okay to talk about these things, today. God… even church

- (they just see them as boring, innocuous!?)

Then: how I’ve been helped. No one can contradict you STORY. TESTIMONY (what Paul does here ‘I have appeared to you’)

- story, testimony… not theology!

But note: sooner or later, for them and you… it must boil down to

- Jesus

- and whether he is Lord or not. “Who are you, Lord?” “I am Jesus”

You can talk about God. (But so does everyone). You can talk about church. You can say ‘I am a Christian’…. and to many it will mean nothing

- they will just think

- 1) You’re a do-gooder.. nice person 2) You’ve ‘prayed the prayer’ (as though that’s the end of it!)

But in the end they and WE need to understand it’s about Jesus being LORD, and us trying to FOLLOW Him

- Say “I’m trying to follow Jesus… be a disciple of His”- and it’s a real show/conversation stopper

What does “Lord, mean”

- sir. Master. Boss. God. YHWH “I AM Jesus” (note- it makes a point of saying it was Aramaic, so very like YHWH Jesus”

Bring it ‘round to Him: What he means to you. How HE has helped you find God. How you’ve found Him THE WAY.

2. “I have appeared to you” (v16)

Interesting, here. Did Paul see Jesus?

- not as far as I can tell from any of his 4 accounts (3 Acts, 1 Gal)

- he saw a blinding LIGHT and HEARD Him speak.

- we often say ‘the Lord told me… appeared to me”

o but we need to EXPLAIN it for them (I didn’t hear a voice)

The point he’s making is – Jesus revealed Himself to HIM

You know- our testimonies are so often:

- I was really miserable…. I found Jesus… now I’m really happy

o sometimes true… but often = ‘spin!”

Actually… so often… and for Paul, here… it’s not so much ‘I found Jesus’ – but Jesus found me!

- “I have appeared to YOU”

- God went and hunted him out… down.

- IT felt like that for me. True: I received Him… but he ‘appeared to me’

o Cf Tracey Bishop. Couldn’t breathe! “It’s time, Tracey”

o some of you- have come through recently: but I’ve seen God at work in your lives for MONTHS! I’ve been confident because- God was there first!

 I do believe in God’s sovereign choice and workings!

• cf we’ve reached out recently, God has responded

The other thing is “I WAS miserable, NOW I’m not”:

Nowhere does Paul imply he was really miserable before he found Jesus! You don’t have to be to find faith!

- had a LOT going for him. Secure in legalism and zeal!

o it is not true that people can’t be happy without Jesus

 if you say it is- they know you’re isolated/lying!

o God has made a wonderful world… full of many good things… and causes His good gifts of joy, happiness etc to be lavished on both believer and unbeliever alike

 but unbelievers don’t recognise the

• source

• need for a saviour. SO it all ends when their life does!

Also- Paul does not imply that his problems stopped when he became a believer

- did they, do you think?

o read 2 Cor! 2CO 1:8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death

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