Thesis: There is tremendous power in simply telling the truth about how we came to the Lord.
1. It's Sunday AM and you're "channel grazing" through the TV channels.
a. Your attention is drawn to a popular "Christian Talk Show."
1) 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!"
2) The audience is stunned. There is silence except for a few isolated PTLs & Hallelujahs -- slowly the audience musters a dazed applause.
3) 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.
1) HOST: "It's a real thrill to have you on the show, Paul; or should I call you Saint or Apostle? Which do you prefer?"
2) PAUL: "Just Paul would be fine."
3) HOST: "Very well, Paul. We're all eager to hear what you, a great servant of the Lord, might have to say to us! Tell us about the wonderful things that happened to you when you invited the Lord Jesus into your life!"
4) PAUL: "Well, let's see. First I was struck blind. I got over that but then somebody tried to kill me and I had to escape in a basket. Then they stoned me, threw me in jail, beat me with rods ..."
5) HOST: "Uh, Paul, heh, heh, I think you misunderstood. Tell us, what has the Lord done for you?"
6) PAUL: "That's what I was doing! Then the Romans arrested me, I was shipwrecked--a night and a day I spent in the deep ..."
7) HOST: "Uh, excuse us folks. It's time for our first commercial break."
2. How many "What the Lord has done for me" type stories have you heard that went like that? < Probably not too many! >
a. Doesn't play too well on 700 Club or read well in Guideposts.
1) "I was miserable. Then I found Jesus. Now my life is fulfilled and I'm happy!"
2) PAUL: "Things have been going great for me since I became a Christian. All my problems have gone away. The Lord has blessed me materially. My tent-making business has prospered as never before. Things are great and I expect them to get
b. Not the sort of testimony Paul offered about himself.
I. PAUL BEFORE KING AGRIPPA (Acts 26).
A. Paul's Circumstance:
1. Arrested in Jerusalem (Acts 21).
2. Tried before Felix, imprisoned for 2 years (Acts 24).
3. Tried before Festus, appealed to Caesar (Acts 25).
4. Agrippa visits Festus; Paul speaks to him (Acts 26).
B. Read Acts 26:1-18.
II. PAUL'S TESTIMONY COMPARED TO MODERN ONES.
A. Nowhere does Paul say he was miserable before conversion.
1. Doing O.K. (Phil. 3:4-6).
2. Religious people tend to feel one has to be miserable before coming to Christ.
a. Pattern: "I was miserable ... I found Jesus ... Life is great!"
b. Paul's life (and many of ours) has not followed that pattern.
B. Paul wasn't looking for Jesus; Jesus found Paul!
1. Modern people say:
a. "I found Jesus!" ("I found it!" bumper stickers).
b. "I took Jesus into my life!"; "I gave my life to Christ."
2. Note the language of Scripture:
a. "Jesus found me!" (Lord takes initiative).
b. Phil. 3:12-14.
c. For Paul the bottom line was this: "I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision" (26:19).
C. Paul's meeting Jesus did not solve all his problems!
1. Sure, he had salvation, but he was also beaten, stoned, and imprisoned! (Read 2 Cor. 11).
2. Meeting Jesus caused problems he otherwise would have avoided.
3. One could easily document from Scripture that Paul had more problems after becoming a Christian!
III. WHAT SHOULD OUR `WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE FOR ME' TYPE STORIES SOUND LIKE?
A. We should all be able to tell such stories.
1. 1 Pet. 3:15--"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that is in you."
2. Luke 8:39--"Return home and tell how much the Lord has done for you. So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him."
B. What should our "testimonies" include?
1. Certain facts should be known.
a. Christianity ultimately is not about feelings (result).
b. Christianity is about the fact of the risen Lord.
2. Personal experience should be related.
a. Faith in the facts of X'ty are validated in experience.