Summary: Tonight I want you to think about 5 minutes that can change forever. That’s what your Christian testimony can do.
How to Give Your Christian Testimony - Part 2
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - April 16, 2008
*Tonight I want you to think about 5 minutes that can change forever. That’s what your Christian testimony can do. A few minutes and a few sentences from you can change someone’s eternal destiny. So we must learn how to give our Christian testimony. In these verses Paul stands before King Agrippa and the new Roman governor Festus. Paul was on trial for his life, but he gladly used this crisis as an opportunity to share his Christian testimony. And he shows us what to do.
1. First: Explain your life before you met the Lord. Tell a little of your life story before you got saved.
*Paul began to share his life story in vs. 4&5, where he said:
4. My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know.
5. They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
*Then in vs. 9-11, Paul admitted how messed-up and misguided he had been. Listen to his words:
9. I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
10. This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.
11. And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
*God reminds us here that it is important for us to admit we are sinners. We don’t have to go into all the gory details. But we don’t want to give off a holier-than-thou attitude, or make people think that we somehow deserved our salvation.
*Of course, we all have different stories, but it’s a lot better to get saved at 7 than 27. If you got saved as a kid in Vacation Bible School, hopefully you avoided a lot of the junk some of us stumbled into. But all of us are sinners. We were all born with a sinful nature because of Adam and Eve’s fall in the Garden.
*Professor Carlyle Marney told a story that gives us great insight about our sin nature. One day a student asked, “Dr. Marney, where was the Garden of Eden?”
-The wise old professor put down his pen, turned to the college freshman and replied, “I can tell you exactly -- in Tennessee -- 215 South Elm St. in Knoxville, Tennessee.”
-Ah, c’mon, you’re kidding me,” said the student. “It’s supposed to be somewhere in the Middle East, isn’t it?”
“Well, you couldn’t prove it by me,” Marney replied. “For it was there on Elm Street, when I was a boy, that I stole a quarter out of Mama’s purse. I ran to the store and bought a bag of peanuts clusters and ate it as fast as I could. Afterward, I was so ashamed that I came back home to 215 Elm St. and hid in the closet. Mama found me and asked, “Why are you hiding? What have you done?”
*Preacher Wesley Tracy later said, “Need any help locating your own Eden? It’s the place where you first betrayed the noble, the good and God. Your Eden was that situation in which you discovered that you suffered from a curvature of the soul: Sin, original sin. (1)
*We all have a story about our sin. You may have been raised up in the most spiritual home in town, but we are all sinners who needed to be saved by the amazing grace of God. So when you give your testimony, explain your life before you met the Lord.
2. And address how God got your attention.
*The Lord certainly got Paul’s attention in an amazing way. We see this in vs. 12-14, where Paul said:
12. While thus occupied (while I was going to persecute and punish Christians), as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,
13. At midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me.
14. And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
*I used to wish something like that would have happened to me. Maybe you have wished that too. But I have changed my mind on that. The truth is that there are a lot of less traumatic and painful ways for the Lord to get our attention. I hope I don’t have to get knocked to the ground and struck blind for the Lord to get my attention! There are some easier ways: How about through an inspirational song I hear at church? -- Or by seeing someone else’s life turned around by the Lord? Maybe the Lord could get your attention by bringing a special blessing into your life: a new mate or a new baby.