August 23, 2017 (H2BEC: Evangelism 2- Testimony)

What is a testimony?

Greek: μαρτυρέω (martyreo)—bear witness, testify

We get the English word Martyr from this.

·         Courtroom- brought under oath to tell, attest to, or give witness to his or her personal knowledge or experience with reference to the case that is being heard.

Christian testimony- (Gotquestions.org/Christian-testimony.html)

·         When Christians relate how we came to know the God of the Bible through the moving of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Most commonly, we are sharing how we became Christians by God’s miraculous intervention and work in our lives through specific events. Often we can only see that in hindsight, but sharing that experience is vital. Also, when giving this testimony, a sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is always a necessity. Though we can include specific information about how we came to accept Christ as Savior, those details should not be the focus of the testimony. The focus should be about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. 

A Christian testimony should not end with the conversion experience, but should also include the ways in which the Lord has worked in our lives to sanctify us for His service. As an example, a testimony could include how He brought us through a difficult time in our life (such as a loss or some sort or a severe illness) and built our faith in Him through that experience. We should also be able to describe the continual process by which the Spirit who now indwells us leads, guides, molds and shapes us into mature Christians. Again, the focus should be on the Lord and His faithfulness, and should include at least one verse that speaks of that faithfulness 

Acts 22:

Setting:

Paul had just left Greece and planned to go to Syria but the Jews had plotted to kill him on the way there. Instead he headed to Macedonia and then to Miletus. After he met with the elders of the Ephesian church, regardless of the impending danger, he went to Jerusalem.

He participated in a ritual cleansing ceremony with 4 other Jewish Christians. Although he taught that salvation comes through Christ alone and not ritual, he did not argue against cultural Jews (but believers) from practicing such rituals.

This was the chance that the Jews waited for. As he was there performing the ceremony, Jews grabbed him and came up with 3 false accusations against him.

The crowd was riled up and almost beat Paul to death but a report was given to the commander of the Roman cohorts (1k men). He was the highest authority in Jerusalem. Instead of being taken to safety, Paul asked the commander to let him speak to the mob.

 

Chapter 22:1-21

Paul is addressing the Jewish mob

“Hear my defense which I offer to you”

ἀπολογία- properly, a well-reasoned reply; a thought-out response to adequately address the issue(s) that is raised.

How Paul structured his testimony:

1.      Before Christ:
Acts 22:3-5; Acts 9: 1-3, Phil 3:4-6

·         He was born in Tarsus (a very prominent city in the Roman empire)

o   He was a Roman citizen

·         Educated under the most renowned first century Rabbi (Gamaliel)

o   Knew the law as well as anyone in his day

o   Because of his opportunity to study under Gamaliel, we can assume that he was an intelligent man.

·         Persecuted and killed Christians

o   He was a Pharisee. He had the support of the synagogue leaders to capture “followers of the Way” and take them to be tried for blasphemy in Jerusalem.

·         Who were you before you followed Christ?


2.      Conversion
Acts 22:6-10; Acts 9:4-9; Phil 3:7-9

·         Around noontime a bright light flashed from heaven all around him

o   The sun is at its highest point at noon which means it is the brightest. The light of Christ shown brighter than this.

o   Only Paul could see the light, but others could hear the voice but not understand it.

o   Paul went blind…staring at the sun for a short time can cause you to go blind. As we see, this light that came from heaven caused Paul to go blind.

o   During this time, Christ charged Paul with his sins. Even though he was a zealous Jew, upholding the law, his works were not sufficient to Christ.

§  Only by submitting to Christ, was Paul justified in the eyes of Christ.

o  



3.      Through Christ
Acts 22:11- 16; Phil 3:10-11

·         Paul was blinded and so he had to depend on someone else.

o   When we are Christians, we should no longer depend on ourselves but on Christ.

·         Paul was given the call by Christ through Ananias.

o   You will be a witness for Him to all men

·         His conversion was not only physical, but spiritual as well. (Phil 3:7-12)

o   Even though he had done many things before Christ that the world would have been impressed by, he counted them all rubbish.

·         We see through scripture what Paul did as a follower of Christ.

o   Wrote most of the New Testament.

o   Took the Gospel to the Gentiles

o   Was martyred

Looking at 3 different accounts of Paul’s story, we see that he adjusted things for different types of audiences. For those that were of Jewish descent he focused on the Law and our inability to keep it, for the gentiles, he focused on their own teachings and showed them the truth of God (Acts 17).

When we begin to think about and write our testimony, we need to try to make it applicable to the person that we are speaking to. The core structure remains the same:

before Christ
the work of Christ in our conversion
 what Christ has done through us after conversion.

So, what is your testimony? Who were you before Christ, what has Christ done for you, and what is Christ doing through you?

 

 

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