Summary: Giving a clear testimony of the Gospel is part of being a follower of Christ.
Testimony. What goes through your mind when you hear that word? Maybe a court scene and telling about a crime you witnessed. Or making a statement to the Police. Or standing in front of a large group to share your personal experience with God.
The word “testimony” comes from the word “evidence” and “witness.” When the witness takes the stand he is testifying under oath about what he saw or heard or what he knows firsthand. It means to provide information about a person or an event concerning which the speaker has direct knowledge. I was driving down the highway and I looked to the south and saw a tornado moving directly east toward St. Peter. I call it in and bring warning about the facts of tornado.
Now our text reminds us about the importance of giving this testimony in relation to what you know and have experienced about Jesus Christ.
The disciples were the first witnesses – they witnessed Jesus healing, his teaching, his crucifixion, death, and resurrection. And they told and wrote about all they saw and heard. Now none of us have actually witnessed these events ourselves but if you are a believer – if you trust in what Jesus has done for your Salvation, you have a first-hand experience with God.
If you don’t have a relationship to Jesus – if he isn’t your Lord, you have no testimony to give. It would be a false testimony – just a fake. So that is crucial. But every one of us who DOES know Jesus, we have something to share.
What is crucial about our testimony according to 1 Peter 3:13-16?
First, we are to ALWAYS BE READY to share our testimony.
It may happen on the way home from church as you stop at McDonalds or Dairy Queen. It may happen at the doctor’s office with the person you’re sitting next to. It may happen Monday morning at work. It may happen at a Twins game or at game night.
The deceiving thing is that we often believe that we’ll get another chance. There will be another time to share with this person. There will be time. But that time never comes. The ideal window of opportunity may never come again. Oh, how many people I wish I had testified to that are now out of my reach! And God will hold us accountable to those lost opportunities. Friends, don’t delay!
Second, we are to “KEEP A GOOD CONSCIENCE.”
This refers to our own spiritual life and to any sins that are in our lives! If you are not right with God or if a certain sin is dominating your life, it will be noticed by unbelievers and therefore your witness will be ruined. Instead of receiving it, they mock you! This is serious.
Unbelievers see hypocrisy very clearly and it destroys any chance we may have of witnessing! So it’s crucial that we practice what we preach. If we say we love our enemies and pray for them – do it! There is nothing that unbelievers pick up quicker than hypocrisy – when we point out the faults of others and practice the same in secret.
Third, we are NOT TO BE AFRAID.
“Have no fear of them or be troubled.” This is probably the number one reason why we don’t give testimony of our faith – we are afraid of them. We are afraid of not saying the right thing. We are afraid of being mocked, ridiculed, laughed at, or simply looking like a fool. We are afraid of losing friends, and appearing like a religious freak. You might say, “Giving testimony is the job of the pastor and evangelist but not for me. I’ll support them in prayer and that’s my testimony.” Friends, is that what Jesus said?
“The fear of GOD is the beginning of wisdom” rather than the fear of man. Be afraid that your neighbor is going to hell. Be afraid of the judgment falling. “For God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Tim. 1:7)
The word for witness in the NT is “marturia” from which we get the word “martyr.” Those who gave testimony for their faith did not fear even to the point of death. They assumed they would be rejected. And even in our passage this morning – “even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed.” The early Christians considered it the greatest honor to suffer for their faith. It brought them the greatest joy. What has happened to us? We are not willing to surrender our own comfort to Christ. No one likes to be rejected and so we hold back. Oh, how God needs to break our fears of people and instead to fear the wrath of God that will fall.