Last Sunday we kicked off our missions conference and I spoke from Acts 26 and showed that we are saved to share. This chapter records for us the third time that Paul gives us his personal testimony in the book of Acts.

Someone has observed that there are only two kinds of Christians in this world:

1. Those who talk ABOUT the lost.

2. Those who talk TO the lost. Which one are you?

You have not been saved just to sit in church, or to soak up truth, or to sing in a choir, or even to send missionaries around the world. You have been saved to Share.

Do you know what God’s greatest tool is to reach other people for Jesus Christ? Well, the answer is YOU!

A survey from the Institute of American Church Growth showed that 75 to 90% of new believers come to Christ through a friend or acquaintance who explains the Good News on a one-to-one basis. Only 17% of all conversions come through what is called an “event” such as a pastor preaching a Sunday morning message, a crusade, or some other church activity.

Every true Christian has in his heart perhaps the single most powerful tool available to be an effective witness for Christ his personal testimony. That is all Paul had as he stood before a king in Acts 26 and it was all he needed. In this chapter we see the simple things Paul did that every Christian can begin to do today to be an effective witness for Christ.

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have.” I Peter 3:15

One of the most effective tools you have for sharing your faith is your testimony – the story of how Jesus Christ transformed your life.

When the Apostle Paul stood before King Agrippa (Acts 26), he spoke simply, logically, and clearly about his life before salvation, how he met Christ, and what his life was like after conversion. Paul’s testimony takes three or four minutes to read aloud.

Learning how to tell others your story in the same manner will be important on your mission trip. The choice of the right words, the flow of your story, and knowing how to begin and end are important.

The purpose of preparing a testimony is not to memorize it and say it verbatim, but to help you put into words some of the important and interesting details of your own conversion experience. A testimony serves primarily as a “door opener,” not a “convincing tool.” Many people are not ready to be convinced they need Christ, but can often be led to talk about the gospel after hearing a personal testimony.

Paul’s Model

Paul’s testimony in Acts 26 is a biblical model you can follow in writing your own personal testimony.

LEAD IN VERSES 2-3

BEFORE VERSES 4-11

HOW VERSES 12-20

AFTER VERSES 21-23

CLOSE VERSES 24-29

Here are some suggestion for developing the Before, How, and After sections of your personal testimony.

BEFORE

Many people’s actions spring out of their unsatisfied deep inner needs. What were one or two of your unsatisfied, deep inner needs before you came to know Jesus Christ? Some examples of inner needs are:

Lack of peace Lack of security

Fear of death Lack of purpose

Something missing Lack of Significance

No meaning to life No real friends

Desire to be in control No motivation

Loneliness

Non-Christians are usually trying to satisfy their deep inner needs through unsatisfactory solutions. In the past, what unsatisfactory solutions did you use to attempt to meet those deep inner needs? As you develop your testimony, list positive, as well as negative solutions you may have tried.

Some examples are:

Marriage/family Education

Work Hobbies/entertainment

Drugs/alcohol Sex

Sports/fitness Wrong friends

HOW

1. Describe the circumstances that caused you to consider Christ as the solution to your deep inner needs. Identify the events that led to your conversion. In some cases this may have taken place over a period of time.

2. State specifically the steps you took to become a Christian. If there is a particular passage of Scripture that applied here, you may want to use it. Usually, you will simply paraphrase it.

3. Include the gospel clearly and briefly. The gospel includes: All have sinned; Sin’s penalty; Christ paid the penalty; You must receive Christ.

AFTER

Share how Christ met or is meeting your deep inner needs. In the BEFORE you expressed your needs and how you tried unsuccessfully to meet them. You now want to firefly show the difference that Christ has made in your life.

Conclude with a statement like this: “But the greatest benefit is that I know for certain I have eternal life.” The person you are talking with will tend to comment on the last thing you say. Often it is natural to move from the testimony into a clear presentation of the gospel.

HOW

1. Describe the circumstances that caused you to consider Christ as the solution to your deep inner needs. Identify the events that led to your conversion. In some cases this may have taken place over a period of time.

2. State specifically the steps you took to become a Christian. If there is a particular passage of Scripture that applied here, you may want to use it. Usually, you will simply paraphrase it.

3. Include the gospel clearly and briefly. The gospel includes: All have sinned; Sin’s penalty; Christ paid the penalty; You must receive Christ.

AFTER

Share how Christ met or is meeting your deep inner needs. In the BEFORE you expressed your needs and how you tried unsuccessfully to meet them. You now want to firefly show the difference that Christ has made in your life.

Conclude with a statement like this: “But the greatest benefit is that I know for certain I have eternal life.” The person you are talking with will tend to comment on the last thing you say. Often it is natural to move from the testimony into a clear presentation of the gospel.

it’s YOUR story. You will help others see that Christ can make a difference in their lives, just like he has made a difference in yours!

At first blush, it appears as if Paul was unsuccessful. “Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” (v.28) You would think that it was all for naught because Agrippa did not come to Christ. But listen carefully. Paul was succesful because he was faithful. He was indeed “obedient to the heavenly vision.” Any witness is successful when he or she simply testifies to the truth of Jesus Christ, shares the story of their own conversion, and leaves the results to God. Because that is all God has called us to do, is to simply tell the truth about Jesus.

If you do not have a testimony or you are not sharing your testimony, you need to examine yourself as to whether or not you have truly met Jesus Christ. Has there been a time in your life when you repented? When you truly turned to God? Are you now doing works befitting repentance? If you do not have a testimony, today you can.

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