When was the last time you shared your story of how you became a Christian with an unbeliever? If you can’t remember the last time that happened then perhaps it’s time to do that again with some people that are in your circle of influence. Perhaps you don’t feel confident yet in doing that. Let me give you some helpful tips taken from the life of the apostle Paul. In Acts chapter 22, 24 & 26 the Apostle Paul shared his testimony before influential leaders. Luke must have considered this important since he recorded three occasions of Paul sharing his story. Jesus had said to his disciples that they “will be brought before kings and governors for my [His] name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness (Luke 21:12-13 ESV). Paul used these opportunities to share the gospel story and how it intersected with his story. In Acts chapter 26 his structure for sharing his story was simple:
Before his conversion– Acts 26:4-11
His conversion– Acts 26:12-18
After conversion– Acts 26:19-23
First, Paul described what his life was life before he met Jesus. He described himself as a religious Pharisee and a persecutor of the church. Here of some of his specific descriptions in verse 4-11:
“I have lived as a Pharisee”
“opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth”
“locked up many of the saints in prison”
“when they were put to death I cast my vote against them”
“I punished them often in all the synagogues”
“tried to make them blaspheme”
“in raging fury against them I persecuted”
Paul was a religious sinner who needed saving. He thought he was pleasing God but he was ignorant before he came to Christ. He was under the “domain of darkness”. Paul’s story was very dramatic. He was essentially a terrorist who became a missionary.
What were you like before you came to Christ and trusted in Him for eternal salvation?
Were you religious, rebellious, immoral, proud, deceitful, greedy, angry, fearful, depressed, addicted, etc… Now you don’t have to have criminal record or past of addiction and immorality to have a powerful testimony. You may simply share how Christ protected you and drew you to himself at a young age through the witness of your parents.
Secondly, Paul described how he came to Christ using these descriptions of his experience:
“I saw on the way a light from heaven” Acts 26:13
“I heard a voice saying to me… why are you persecuting me” Acts 26:14
Paul met the resurrected Christ and it changed the entire trajectory of his life.
How did you come to Christ? Who did God instrumentally use to pray for you, speak to you, love on you to bring you to Christ? What circumstances did God use in your life to bring you to Himself? What mental barriers had to be overcome for you to trust in Christ and how did the Spirit prevail in your heart & mind? How did you respond when you began to understand and believe the gospel?
These are questions to consider as you seek to develop and articulate your story and how the gospel story impacted your life.
Thirdly, Paul shared what happen after he came to Christ. Paul became a preacher.
“I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision” -Acts 26:26
“I have had the help that comes from God” – Acts 26:22
“I stand here testifying both to small and great” – Acts 26:22
How has your life changes since you became a Christian?
From Darkness to Light
Paul wrote the Colossians and told them that [God] He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14 ESV).
Living under the “domain of darkness” is a life of bondage and Christ has redeemed & rescued us from that. No longer are we enslaved to sinful patterns, there is new freedom, there new life & a new trajectory for our lives. Instead of torment there is peace and rest in Christ. Instead of despair and depression there is joy, hope and purpose in Christ. Instead of hatred and violence there is love and acceptance in Christ. And we who belong to Christ will spend eternity in a world of perfect love where there is no more sickness, sorrow, war, death or injustice. We have something to talk about! We have a powerful message of hope to share with the lost world.
Tips From Paul
Here are some tips to take note of and implement from Paul’s example as you seek to effectively share your story with others:
Paul shared his story with Readiness– V1-2
Paul shared his story with Respect– V2, 25 (most excellent Festus)
Paul shared his story with Reason– V25 (I am speaking true and rational words)
Paul shared his story with Relevance– V6-7, 27 (King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe)
Paul shared his story with Boldness-V26 (the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly.)
Paul shared his story with Purpose to share the gospel- V24
As you share your story with others do so with the aim of sharing the good news of Jesus. It’s the gospel story that people need to hear and believe to be saved (Romans 10:13-17). So interweave the gospel in your story. Share how the gospel story intersected in the history of your life in hopes that God would do the same in those to whom you speak. The gospel is powerful and believing it leads to eternal salvation (Romans 1:16).
Write It Out
So it’s time to get prepared. The Apostle Peter wrote Christians exhorting them to:
…always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15 ESV).
If you haven’t written out your testimony that I encourage you to do so. This will help you think through and clarify what you will want to communicate to others. Then find someone that you can share your story with. Ask a coworker, classmate or neighbor if you can share with them your story of rescue. You may want to start by asking them about their spiritual life. Perhaps you will be instrumental in them coming to Christ!