To Give a Testimony

 

Where do you stand?  Do you believe that Jesus is our Savior or do you deny that he came to earth to save sinners?  In a nutshell are you a Christian and if so, why?

 

It is important to take a few minutes here to think about the aforementioned questions.  Because if you are going to make a strong statement that you are a Christian then you need to stand behind your testimony as how you came to Christ.

 

Before you answer that ask yourself first what is a testimony?  Our testimony is our statement we make (whether it be verbal or written), our proof-evidence to support that statement, a recounting one might say of how we had a religious conversion and whether we saw or heard the word to convict us of the truth.

 

Our testimony is very important.  It tells who we were before we came to Christ and how we found him and asked him to come into our life.  Our testimony tells others about the joy of Christ, our past, our desire to be redeemed and how we sacrificed the sins of the flesh/our desires and chose to follow Christ.

 

Why is our testimony so important?  Our testimony is power given to us through the Holy Spirit so we can express how we have been affected by the word.  It is our evidence of God.  It proves that miracles can and do happen and that prayer – fervent prayer works.  When we hear the word and it moves us, it inspires us to tell others about Christ (in fact we are to tell/spread the good news as per Mark16:15 “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”) and when we act on that instruction it can result in others being moved and the desire for them to also seek God.

 

In Matthew 7: 7-8 we learn the following:  “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

 

When we seek God and find him we then can build a relationship with Him.  A relationship built on obedience and the desire to follow His path.  He leads us and blesses us, He protects us and guides us, He refines us and we now are able to do His works and give all of the glory to Him alone.

 

Once we have been changed by His word then we need to ask ourselves how do I spread this good news and what is the proper construction of a testimony?

 

First of all, our testimony is to be direct and honest.  It is our tribute to God and demonstrates our love for him and our thankfulness for his opening our eyes.  How can we stand as a Christian if we cannot tell the whole truth about our needing a savior and our change once we found him?  We need to expound on how we found Christ and how He led us to repent of our past actions.  Our testimony backs up whatever we say as how we heard about Christ and how we encountered this change within, so it is important to make a statement about this, but to be honest, avoid any deceit, and do not exaggerate.  Our testimony is meant to stand up over time and any lie or exaggeration can harm that testimony.

 

In Acts 22:1-21 Paul tells us his testimony:  “Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.”When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished. “About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’“‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. “ ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me .10 “‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked. “ ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’ 11 My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me. 12 “A man named Ananias came to see me.  He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.  14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’ 17 “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr[a] Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him. 21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”

 

Here he was persecuting the Jews and then he is confronted by Jesus and it changed from that moment on.  He carefully tells what happened and how he was changed.  He faithfully obeyed Jesus and was set on the path to telling the gospel to the Gentiles.  He spoke the truth, received the Holy Spirit and obeyed the instructions given.  He knew deep down that in order to fulfill all that Jesus had planned for him, he needed to be honest, forthright and willing to make a sacrifice.  He knew this would not be easy and that many would resist him, but he knew that he had to follow his heart for he was changed from this experience.

 

In Acts 26:1-29 Paul states who he was before he met Christ and how he has changed after meeting Christ: “Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently. “The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee. And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead? “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities. 12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,[a] ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ “ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ 19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” 24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.” 25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.” 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” 29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

 

He understands that once you hear the word and accept it, you then have to make a choice:  One, if you believe what you have heard about the word and are moved, a change occurs within you or two, if upon hearing the word, you are not moved and do not believe, you have then rejected the word.  The word, if accepted, will fill you with joy and the desire to follow Christ.

 

In summary, we are asked once we have heard the word and received the spirit, to proclaim this good news by telling our testimony to others.  Our testimony is not based on the eloquence of our words or the length of our message.  It is based on the joy we have received and our desire to share it with others and hopefully lead them to God.  It is to be honest, to the point, and the foundation that we as Christians stand upon.  Our testimony was built upon the word and grows or subtracts daily depending on if we are living the life we are attesting to believe in.  It is more than our words, it is also our actions we make because of what we believe.

 

Spread the joy, tell others about Christ and stand on your beliefs.  One day He will ask you to account for your actions and if you have obeyed Him and did as He asked, then you will hear the sweetest words:  Well done!  God bless everyone and do not be afraid to share your story.  It is meant to be heard by someone.

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