Summary: Evangelism isn't easy for all; but all have a story to tell. This message emphasizes the need to not only tell your story but to live your testimony because the strength of your testimony is how you live your life.
Text: Acts 22:1 – 16
The call of the Lord is that every Christian be a missionary. To carry out the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19-20 where Jesus said, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
That’s our mission, our purpose. Well someone here today may be thinking or saying to themselves, “I’m not equipped, not trained to evangelize. I’m not a preacher or teacher.”
But I want you to know that your role or title doesn’t matter when it comes to mission work. If you have been saved, if the Lord has done something for you, the best thing you have to offer is your personal testimony. All you have to do is put your life where your mouth is.
Consider how products are sold on TV. Rarely do we see experts, scientists or professionals used to sell things to us. The most effective commercials are those that use ordinary men and women who say one thing, “I tried it and it worked for me.” 9 times out of 10, we see and hear their story and run to the store and buy whatever they were selling. Somebody here has some diet pills, some joint medicine, maybe even a prayer cloth in their cabinet because someone told a story about what it did for them. Amen?
So how do we make disciples? Jesus said if I be lifted up, I’ll draw all men unto me. And to lift Jesus up, all you have to do is to tell your story. Well in our text, Paul tells how to do just that.
The first thing we see is that we have to make a connection to whomever we’re talking to.
In verses 1 – 5, Paul beings telling his story by telling his brethren just how much he has in common with them.
• Same home town
• Went to the same schools
• First job
• Things in life that he did, was ashamed of and maybe his audience is still doing.
There is something about being able to relate to people by talking about what you have in common. Amen?
Well we have to realize that as Paul talked about what he had done in the old days, he’s not glorying what he did back then. He doesn’t make a big deal out of his past sinful ways. He just states the facts – I persecuted, I arrested, I threw them in prison.
Likewise we don’t need to talk about how much we used to drink, smoke, even how sick we were. Go to an AA or CA meeting, individuals simply stand and state, “My name is xxx and I’m an alcoholic.” So as you tell your story, don’t spend all your time talking about how bad you were, how sinful you were, not even how broke, sick or homeless you were.
Just as Paul’s brethren could relate to who he used to be and what he used to do, when we state the facts, those who hear us will also be able to relate to our story. Somebody knows what it means to be sick, on their death bed, homeless, penniless, dependent on drugs or alcohol, in a failing relationship, to have wayward children, to be without a job. Amen?
Well Paul goes on to tell us that our testimony can’t just talk about what our troubles were or what we used to be. Our testimony has to have two chapters, a BC and AC - Before Christ and an After Christ.
So in verses 6 – 13 Paul tells them that he once was blind to the truth. All that he did that was wrong, simply demonstrated how blind he was to the love of Jesus. But something happened. He was changed. He was no longer the person he used to be.
Likewise our testimony has to tell how God has changed us. I don’t have the same friends; I don’t go where I used to go. I am a new creature, old things have passed away.
“What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought Since Jesus came into my heart;
I have ceased from my wand’ring and going astray, And my sins which were many are all washed away, Since Jesus came into my heart. “ Amen?
The Bible is filled with people telling their story about the goodness of the Lord . . .
• Jesus healed a blind man, told him to say nothing but people spread the news.
• Healed a deaf and mute man, told him to say nothing but people spread the news.
• Jesus healed the woman who had been crippled for 18 years, immediately straightened up and praised God.