At Cornerstone, we have been learning the value of giving your testimony. The simplest way to share your faith is to tell of your experiences with Jesus. Giving your testimony requires just three parts. If you master these, then you can be great at delivering your story to others:
Recount your life before Christ
Recall how you came to know Christ
Recommend life in Christ.
So let’s start with the first portion: recount. It should be easy to recount your life before Jesus. Before I met Jesus, I thought evil was good. I thought the Bible was some old dusty book no one should care about today. Some of you were saved at a very young age, so you may have a little less to tell here, but that’s okay: whether you were like me and had years of sin and darkness, or whether you were seven years old and lived fairly innocently before you met Christ, one thing is for sure: every person is a sinner, and every person is lost without Jesus. And that’s what you tell about. Your lostness. Your sinful state. That you stood alone. That you were ignorant of spiritual things and unsure about your eternity.
Let’s take a look at Paul’s recounting of his life before Christ: Acts 26:4-11
“I used to oppose the name of Jesus. I locked people up and put people to death for their faith. I punished them, I ridiculed them publicly, and tried to get them to renounce their faith. I had raging fury against the cross.”
This demonstrates that his life was one full of anger, murder, accusation, torture, imprisonment, you name it. Paul recounts his life before Christ and here is the summary of it: “I was lost in sin. I thought right was wrong and wrong was right. I was an enemy of Jesus.”
Then he proceeds to part two: Recall how you came to know Christ. Acts 26:12-18
“I was making my way to Damascus when I had a holy vision. It was the middle of the day but a light brighter than the sun hit me and I heard the voice of God. He told me that my life had purpose and that I was to stop persecuting the church and instead preach, open eyes, and tell people to turn from darkness to the light.”
This is the most important part of your testimony: the story of how you came to know Jesus. It could be a dramatic kind of encounter, like in the case of Paul, or maybe you were in church and felt the call of God and responded. Maybe there was no bright light and voice of God, but you knew when you surrendered your heart to Christ that it was real. True change, transformation occurred. And it took repentance, and faith in Jesus.
Of course, you can’t give a testimony unless you have this part. If you have not encountered the Lord Jesus and given your life to him, you are still stuck in life before Christ. Many people like to play Christian, but being saved is an event. You can point to it. It’s a moment in time. If you don’t know how and where and when you became a Christian, I admonish you to think very hard about that. If you can’t tell somehow how you were saved, are you saved?
Finally, the third part: Recommend life in Christ. Acts 26:19-23
“I’m out here telling everybody: the life worth living is with Jesus. Everyone must repent and turn to God, then perform deeds that are in keeping with repentance. Christianity is a life! I have had the help that comes from God, which is why I’m testifying today. He is risen, and now I proclaim to you the light has come!”
This should be the easy part, if your life is in the Lord. You just tell people that being a Christian is good! Tell them about the joy of knowing Jesus. Tell them about the love without end. Tell them you are reborn. Take them beyond “you ought to go to church and hear my preacher.” Take them straight to the cross. Make sure that person is confronted with the cross, and that they must deal with it.
Sometimes you can give the best possible testimony and the person still won’t accept Christ. That’s okay – it’s not your job to persuade people to Jesus. The Holy Spirit does the persuading, you are just the one who has to deliver the message.