Summary: What if no one had ever shared the gospel with you? You would be hopeless, lost and unforgiven. This is why God wants us to share our faith. God wants you to give your Christian testimony, and Paul shows us how.
How to Give Your Christian Testimony - Part 1
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - March 26, 2008
(Background Acts 25:11-27)
*What if no one had ever shared the gospel with you?
-Everything would be different! -- No purpose, no meaning, no spiritual help, no foundation in life. You would be hopeless, lost and unforgiven. This is why God wants us to share our faith. God wants you to give your Christian testimony, and Paul shows us how.
1. First: Hunt for opportunities to share.
*You have to be on the lookout for opportunities to share. Paul made the most of every opportunity, even this show trial he found himself in. As we see in vs. 1&2:
1. Then Agrippa said to Paul, "You are permitted to speak for yourself.’’ So Paul stretched out his hand and answered for himself:
2. I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews,
*Remember that Paul, an innocent man, has been falsely imprisoned now for two years. And the only way he could avoid being forced to go back to Jerusalem (and probably be murdered along the way) was to appeal to Caesar. How would Paul respond here? Would he lash out in bitterness at the injustice he suffered? No -- Paul turned this trial into another opportunity to testify for Jesus.
*Are you going through a hard time? Turn it around for good. Your hard time could give you a golden opportunity to share the best thing in your life: your relationship with Jesus Christ.
*May be someone else’s hard time opens the door. Writer (Mrs.) Robbie Castleman heard a physics professor defend Christianity on a university campus a few years ago. He had been nominated for the Nobel Prize more than once, and had become a Christian well into his faculty career.
*After listening to his brilliant presentation of why he found Christianity credible, Robbie asked him what first got him to consider the Christian faith. He told her that his journey to faith began after the death of his child. He noticed that his wife’s grief began to give way to some hope and healing that he could not understand nor experience. When he asked her about it, she confessed that she had been attending a Bible study with friends and had become a Christian. He was surprised, intrigued, and open to anything that would comfort his pain and emptiness. He, too, began to share his grief within his new circle of friends. They opened their hearts as well as their Bibles to this professor and his wife, and he trusted in the Lord. (1)
*Open doors to share your testimony are all around us. Be on the lookout for those opportunities.
2. But you also need to get a happy attitude about sharing.
*Ask God to give you the right attitude to share. Be joyful and thankful for the testimony God has given and for the opportunity to share. I like what Paul said in vs. 2, “I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews...” Paul was happy to share, even before that hostile crowd. And we should be happy too.
*I know that all kinds of negative thoughts and feelings can run through our minds when we see the opportunity to share. We may feel terribly inadequate. Researcher George Barna once asked Christians about their witnessing experiences. He found that 9 out of 10 believers who try to explain their beliefs come away feeling like a failure. (1)
*In Luke 12:8 Jesus said, “Whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God.” That doesn’t sound like failure to me!
*Often we are afraid to share. If you have ever walked up to the home of a stranger trying to share your faith, you have probably prayed (at least a little bit), “Lord, Please don’t let them be at home!” Often we are afraid to share, but do not be afraid. God wants you to share your testimony, and He will surely help you to do it. In Luke 12:11-12 Jesus said, “When they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
*God is going to help you tell your story of faith, so get a happy attitude about sharing.
3. And be hospitable in every situation.
*In this most stressful situation, Paul was gentle, courteous and even respectful. He stretched out his hand in vs. 1, and John Phillips tells us that it could have been a type of salute to show respect to Agrippa’s rank. Paul also spoke courteously to the king. Listen to Paul again in vs. 2&3: “I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which have to do with the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently.”