A testimony is one of the most valuable tools that we have to show Jesus to people. A testimony is to present evidence or to serve as proof. Our changed lives certainly do that. Your personal testimony is the most valuable possession that you have. In this lesson we hope to fine tune your testimony. We are going to study three areas. I. What your testimony should do. II. What your testimony should consist of. III. How to use your testimony.
1 Pet 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Your testimony should give motives for receiving eternal life. People usually do things when they have a motive to do it. One motive for getting saved is so that you can live forever in heaven. Another motive for accepting Jesus as saviour is the joy that Christ brings into a person's life. The peace that comes from knowing where you are going when this life is over is another good motive. The fellowship that you will have with the Lord when you know him as saviour. No doubt the list of motives for being saved could go on and on. This idea is to include some of these in your personal testimony.
Secondly, your testimony should be salty. There is an old saying that you can led a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. This may be true. What would happen if you put salt on the tongue of the horse. Do you get the picture? Our testimony can make them thirsty for eternal life. We do this by talking about common desires that people have. Some of this common desire may be, feeling like something is missing in life -- that there has to be more to life that this -- being with people yet feeling alone or worrying about death. God has placed these desires within us, and uses them during the conviction process.
The third thing that your testimony should do is be cautious. There are some things we want to avoid with our testimony. Avoid unclear descriptions of salvation. Tell how the joy, peace, and happiness feel. Avoid tension build up. Use humor to ease the situation. Avoid being opposite of the prospect. You may have stolen, cheated people, been a drunkard, or even been in prison before you accepted Christ. If you are talking to a good moral person, they may conclude that you needed Jesus, but they don't. Try to identify with the prospect. There will be many areas that are similar. If you are giving your testimony before a gospel presentation, don't give them the answers to the vital questions.
We find that there were four parts in Paul's testimony in Acts 26:1-29. Paul knew how to give his testimony. A good way to learn how to do something is to learn from an expert. Paul will be our expert and we will examine his testimony.
1. Paul tells what his life was like before Christ. Acts 26:9-11 I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
In our personal testimony we need to give a brief description of what our life was like before Christ. May tell how you felt empty. How you thought church was for others, but not for you. If there is something in your life that your prospect could relate to, use that.
2. Paul tells how he became aware that the Lord was dealing with him. Acts 26:13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
For you, this may have occurred when you felt like you were the only one that the preacher was preaching to. It may have been when a friend died and you couldn't get it off of your mind. You had a child and knew that you should take that child to church. What caused you to realize that God was dealing with you?
3. Paul then tells how he became a Christian. Acts 26:19-20 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. Paul gives a better description of this part in Acts 8:6-18.
In this part you need to be specific. Was it at your home or in church? What day was it on? What did you ask God? Did someone read scripture to you? Tell all about what happened. This will excite you, and the spirit will use this.
4. Paul then tells what life is like after receiving Christ. Acts 26:22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: Notice the change that Paul was telling about. In verse nine, he was contrary to Christ and now he is witnessing for Christ.
Tell how much better life is now that you have come to Jesus. This is one of those areas where we can sprinkle the salt. Talk about the peace and joy you now have. There are many things in your life that are different and better now. Build upon these things, this is an important part of your testimony.
Pray for opportunities to give your testimony. Give your testimony in church, on your job, and to your neighbors and friends. Giving your testimony will help you to overcome Satan (Rev. 12:11), and bring more victory to your life. Don't be afraid. Remember that God will provide the power (Acts1:8). What God has done for you is one of the most valuable things in your life, share it with others.