Last week I spoke about the importance of your testimony and how the power of the Holy Spirit can use it to transform lives. To some degree everyone has a story to share of their life before they came to know Jesus, as followers of Jesus we can share how we became a Christian. Just as important we need to be able to share how Jesus has impacted our life and how we are living today. Most of us have stories of sharing our faith both good and bad. My hope this morning is to give us some pointers that will help us to make it a positive experience.
Have you ever locked your keys in the car?
Keys are very important. Without them you can find yourself in some very frustrating situations. One time I locked my keys in our van. I was so frustrated; Becky was not around so I had to call for Roadside Assistance. After what seemed like hours the guy showed up and I watched him do his work and within two minutes the van was opened. In this case, keys open what is locked and start the engine. The same is true spiritually.
With regards to sharing one's faith there are vital points to consider. In one sense, there are the positive things we do when sharing a testimony of God’s love and power. On the hand, there is stuff to avoid. The following thoughts are from years of sharing my faith in Jesus and various testimonies of his grace and mercy in my life. These practices are personal to my life and have some biblical support, and at the same time involve common sense as a follower of Jesus Christ.
One of the areas I have had to overcome in my Christian walk is that of fear; fear of rejection, fear of speaking in public, fear of the unknown or future. This has not been helpful when it comes to speaking of Jesus Christ.
In this light, I have consistently sought the Lord for his courage. This involves prayer, confessing my weakness and coming into the fullness of the Scriptures.
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline 2 Ti 1:7. Joshua reminds us to be strong and courageous, very courageous (Josh 1:6-9,18).
Courage and bravery are keys themes of books and movies in the natural. So much so in the spiritual realm where stories will be told for eternity of a person’s courage to share their faith about Jesus.
· A healthy Christian lifestyle
What do I mean by a healthy Christian lifestyle? There is something advantageous to living in righteousness and holiness that adds confidence when sharing about Jesus Christ. Last week I spoke of before Christ, how we came to Christ and how we are living now. We know that Christians have their sins forgiven. How much more powerful to have the Holy Spirit enablement to live right.
The enemy of our souls (the devil) is looking for ways to disqualify God’s people. Living righteously silences the accusations he brings against us and empowers our testimony.
The Scriptures exhort us to “put on” Jesus and his character and to “put off” the sins that surround us (Col 3). We are also told to be alert, be sober, be watchful, against the attacks of the enemy and to submit ourselves to God and resist the enemy (1 Peter 5;8-9; James 4:7).
· Surround yourself with encouragement
The world can be a hostile place especially when sharing about Jesus Christ. There is an “anti-Christ” spirit within society and sometimes this comes out against us when we share our testimony. Therefore, we need to be part of an ekklesia that puts encouragement into action.
To some degree, encouragement and courage go hand in hand. I see encouragement as brining reassurance and inspiration to help one as they share their faith in a dark world.
Barnabas was the Son of Encouragement (Acts 4:36-37).
1 Thess 5:11 - Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Hebrews 10:23-25 - Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
· Knowledge of Scripture
Another key to effectively sharing your faith is the knowledge of Scripture. However, this knowledge is never to bash someone with the Bible. Biblical information is important to understand as it helps us to clearly present the Good News of Jesus; repentance and faith, baptisms, laying on of hands, the resurrection and eternal judgement (Hebrews 6:1-2). I approach Bible Study is this way - The historical-grammatical method strives to discover the Biblical authors' original intended meaning in the text to the readers while understanding the importance of various types of literature presented in the Scriptures.
Our knowledge of Scripture must not be legalistic or liberal when it comes to sharing our faith; Jesus condemns both as error.
· Share stories of God’s power
One of my favourite ways of sharing my love and faith in Jesus is testifying to his acts of power in my current context. Miracles and healings inspire faith and saving faith is a gift from God (Eph 2:8-9). The disciples shared stories of God’s power and demonstrated God’s power by praying for the sick etc and seeing them healed.
If you want to see more of God’s power the church must see an increase in prayer. Prayer and power go hand in hand. Acts 4-31 - 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
· Be a friend
One of the best ways of sharing your testimony is by being a friend. Friendliness goes a long way when having a conversation. Jesus was a friend of sinners and yet without sin; this is a good thing. We, too, have the ability to be friends with sinners while not sinning or even agreeing with their sin.
The Scripture tells us that we are no longer simply servants but are friends of God (John 15:15). Friendliness is defined by these following words; openness, sociability, outgoing, approachable, kindness, responsiveness.
These few pointers that I have shared today can help each of us become effective in sharing our faith in Jesus Christ. They can put the adventure back into our testimonies concerning God. I am reminded of the Parable of the Sower in closing. We must be committed to sharing our faith (planting seeds). There are all different kinds of people (different soils) who are in various situations of life (birds of the air, thorns and thistles). There is so much a play when sharing our faith, both practically and spiritually.
I pray that we can remain faithful when it comes to sharing about Jesus Christ.
I pray that we give a bold and power-filled testimony.
I pray that we live as righteous friends of sinners.