Summary: We all have our stories. Let's look at Saul's story to learn how to better tell our own for the sake of the gospel.
The compilation “One Thousand and One Nights” tells the story of a Persian King who caught his wife caught wife being unfaithful. He had her executed then proceeded to go through a number of “wives”, executing them after spending a night together. The Vizier’s daughter hatches a plan to put an end to this and volunteers to be the next wife. Each night she’d begin a new story and stop at a cliff hanger, leaving the king to wonder what would happen next, resulting in her execution being delayed. Eventually, the king pardons the woman completely and we are left with the “Arabian Nights.”
Storytelling can be very important- here we see it saved a queen’s life. In today’s society, it seems that the story is more important than the truth. We have the most important story of them all to share- the good news of Jesus Christ.
The institute for American church growth asked over 10,000 people this question: "What was responsible for your coming to this church?" This is how they replied:
I had a special need 2%
I just walked in 3%
I liked the Pastor 6%
I visited there 1%
I liked the Sunday School 1%
I liked the programs 3%
A friend or relative invited me 79%
Luke also saw storytelling as important. In fact, he shares Saul’s conversion 3 times. Probably one of the most important evangelism tools Saul had was his story of conversion. We can learn how to share our own stories by following the example of Saul. Read Acts 9:1-31.
Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Let’s break down Saul’s story and consider how we might share our own.
Saul’s story begins as a Pharisee. He was very zealous for God, but rejected this Jesus the Christians spoke of. He was there to approve the stoning of Stephen and is willing to travel in his efforts to put an end to Christianity.
Some of you have just as dramatic a beginning. You lived a life that the world would embrace but not so much by God. There was no doubt that you were living in rebellion against God or maybe completely denied His existence. These stories, like Saul’s can be very dramatic and make a big impact on others who have found themselves caught up in similar life choices.
Some of you may be concerned at this point because you don’t have such a dramatic story to tell, but let me assure you, your story is equally important. In a world filled with role models and leaders who epically fail, it is good to hear the stories of those who found God early on and have stayed the course through trials and temptations. Don’t let the absence of a climactic change stop you from sharing how God has been faithful!
The middle of Saul’s story takes place on the Damascus Road. Saul sees a bright light, then hears the voice of Christ call out to him. He’s blinded by the light and sent to pray. When Ananias finds him on Straight Street, he instructs Saul to repent and wash away his sins through baptism. When he does, his sight is restored.
How did you come to Christ? What convinced you that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God? Tell people what happened. It may have been as simple as year after year of lessons building up until you reached the day you knew you had to make a decision. It might be that God snatched you from the clutches of death and you realized you needed to live for Him. Your experience will resonate with the people you share.
Saul’s story concludes with some amazing things happening. He traveled throughout the Roman empire, spreading the gospel and organizing churches. He wrote 2/3 of the New Testament that we use to direct our lives in Christ today. God was able to use a man who once tried to snuff out Christianity to ensure its global spread and lasting impact.
Your story continues today. What is God doing in your life? Where have you seen Him at work? These are also important things to share. One of the strongest pieces of evidence that God exists is the impact He has on His children’s lives. Share your story, God will use it.
Here’s how my story is summarized. I was fortunate enough to be born into a family where my parents were already believers. I grew up going to church every week, but it wasn’t until I was nearly 12 when my faith truly became my own and I was baptized into Christ. During high school, I went through a time where I had to learn that symbols really meant something and simply saying I don’t buy into the meaning doesn’t negate it. I also found my calling to ministry through a series of events at camps between my sophomore and junior years of high school. In the years that followed, I have found God to be faithful to see me through the good and the lean times and my faith and trust in Him has grown through a number of life experiences.