Summary: Let's think about Paul's personal testimony and how it relates to our lives. (two positives and a negative) 1- He did not preach a made-up gospel 2- He did persecute believers in the past 3- He did receive a call from God
INTRO.- Do you have a testimony? Yes, whether you realize it or not. Every human has a testimony or is a living testimony.
ILL.- For example, let me name some people and you say the word or words that immediately come to your mind that reminds you of these people: Babe Ruth, Lance Armstrong, Lionel Richey, Oprah Winfrey, Mike Tyson, Sam Walton, Billy Graham, George Carlin, Abe Lincoln, Sonia Sotomayor, etc.
It's been said that what we do speaks so loudly that people can't hear what we're saying. True for me, true for you.
We all have a testimony. It can be both lived and spoken. And our living should match our speaking. If we say that we believe in Jesus Christ and worship Him, then it should be obvious from the way we live. But obviously, we don't always "walk the talk," as they say. Our actions speak louder than our words.
ILL.- A former schoolmate of Robert Ingersoll (agnostic) entered the legal profession. He married a lovely woman and was the father of two children. Then he began to drink. He sank to the lowest depths and lost everything.
One night a Christian worker found him lying drunk in an alley. He brought him to a mission. There Christ saved him. (we assume so) He was utterly transformed. He rebuilt his home.
One day he learned that Ingersoll was to give a lecture against God and the Bible. The converted alcoholic wrote to him, saying, “Old friend, would you tell the people that you are against the religion that came down to the lowest depths of hell and found me? Would you speak against the Saviour who stooped and lifted me, rebuilt my home and brought joy to my wife and children?”
Ingersoll read the letter that night before a large audience and then said, “I have nothing to say against a religion that will do this for a man. I am here to talk about a religion that is being preached, but not practiced by so many. You can find fault with the church, but there stands One supreme! No man can point his finger at Christ and find any fault with Him!”
This has always been the problem with Christianity: finding fault with the church or the people who make up the church! If we don't live like followers of Christ we will bring dishonor to the name of Christ. And we will keep people from coming to Christ.
Obviously, no Christian is perfect or will live the perfect Christian life, but we all must strive at walking in His steps as best we can! And this may mean giving up some things or some practices in order not to be a stumbling block to others.
What things do you do that could be a stumbling block to keep others from coming to Christ?
ILL.- I knew a Christian minister one time back in Iowa who smoked cigars. He did not apologize for smoking cigars because he liked them, however, he did not recognize that smoking was not a good Christian example in the world. WHAT SHOULD HE HAVE DONE?
PROP.- Let's think about Paul's personal testimony and how it relates to our lives. (two positives and a negative)
1- He did not preach a made-up gospel
2- He did persecute believers in the past
3- He did receive a call from God
I. HE DID NOT PREACH A MADE-UP GOSPEL
11 I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
ILL.- Fact or Fiction: Do Deer Whistles Work? Every year, somewhere between a million and two million drivers collide with large animals on our roads, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Around two hundred of these collisions are fatal. (That is, they are fatal to occupants of the vehicles. The fatality rate for the unfortunate wildlife is obviously much higher.)
If you live in the country, then you have probably heard about deer whistles or “deer horns." You may even have a pair of them stuck to your front bumper already. Deer horns channel air passing by a car through whistles that supposedly deliver a piercing sound to deer and scare them away. But, do deer whistles really work?
No, they do not. A research study of air-fed whistles was published in 2003. Basically, many deer horns make sound that falls outside of the audible range of deer. Even the whistles that do blow within the correct range of hearing may not sound much louder to deer than the oncoming vehicles themselves or the sound of a brisk wind.
What's the conclusion? Obviously, some things that are advertised don't deliver the goods!