Summary: How Paul used his testimony to reach people for Christ.
A Study of the Book of Acts
Sermon # 37
“The Value of Your Testimony”
We never know when we will be required to speak up for the Lord. Paul had been worshipping in the temple, when he was falsely accused of bringing a Gentile inside the temple (21:27-29). A riot followed (21:30-31). The captain of the Roman guard broke up the riot, and bound Paul with chains (21: 34). Paul asked the captain for an opportunity to speak up (21: 39-40). Paul then gave his personal testimony (22:1-15).
Like Paul the best thing that we have to offer our world is not learned arguments but a personal testimony of what God has done for us. Revival will come to America not by powerful preachers with eloquent arguments, but when church members start telling the story of what Jesus means to them.
Look at the example of advertising on Television, we do not have Ph.D’s explaining the value of the products. You have housewives and children and the guy next door talking about Aim toothpaste, Honda cars, and Hungry Jack biscuits. And what do they say? “It works for me.” We run out and buy the product because we can identify with them. They are ordinary people just like us. This is a powerful reminder of what we should be doing with our witness for the Lord. Someone put it this way, “A Christian should talk to the Lord about his neighbors and then talk to his neighbors about the Lord.”
The story of Paul’s conversion must be important for it is found several times in the New Testament – three times in the book of Acts alone. It is found in the ninth chapter when Luke tells the story from the historical perspective. It is told again here in Acts 22 where Paul defends himself before a Jewish audience. And it is told again in Acts 26 where he defends himself before the Gentile Roman governors, Festus and Felix.
We also find reference to his conversion twice more in Paul’s letters, once in Philippines 3 and again in 1 Timothy 1.
I want us to look this evening at what we can learn about being an effective testimony for Christ.
1. HE ESTABLISHED COMMON GROUND WITH HIS LISTENERS.
Paul began by finding common ground with those with whom he wants to share his testimony. He says in verse one,
“Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you. (2) (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,).”
Paul begins by telling them that he was once just like them. He addresses them as brothers and he speaks to them in their native language.
2. PAUL DID NOT GLORIFY HIS PAST LIFE OF SIN.
Sometimes when you hear a testimony today you do not know if they are testifying to the glory of God or glorying in their past sinfulness. Paul said in verse three, “I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. (4) And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. (5) As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.”
And continuing in verse nineteen he says, “And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: (20) And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.”
Paul tells of his past but he does not glory in it.
3. PAUL DOES NOT PROMISE A LIFE OF EASE TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE
“ It’s Sunday AM and you’re "channel grazing" through the TV channels. Your attention is drawn to a popular "Christian Talk Show." The Host (immaculately dressed, hair perfect) is all smiles--"Today is a special day for the Christian Health & Wealth Show! We’re going to have a very special guest! He has done more for the cause of Christ than any other man! Ladies and gentlemen, would you please welcome ... Saint Paul the Apostle!"
The audience is stunned. There is silence except for a few isolated PTLs & Hallelujahs -- slowly the audience musters a dazed applause. The camera focuses in on a rather small man, dressed in a ragged tunic. Face is sunburnt & wrinkled. Looks like someone who’s spent a lot of time out-of-doors. All eyes follow him as he slowly walks across the set.