One of the main tasks of leadership within the church is to “prepare God’s people for works of service” (Eph 4:12). In other words, one of my responsibilities is to make you complete or sufficient for the works and responsibilities that God has placed before you. The Scriptures tell us that God does not provide tasks for believers without also providing the gifts which are needed to equip believers for those tasks. In a natural sense, the Scripture provides illustrations of situations in which people are equipped to carry out physical actions; workers are given the tools to get the job done; musicians are equipped to play, travellers are provided for their journeys, equipping for burial, and soldiers are equipped for battle.
Scripture also provides examples of individuals who have been equipped to carry out tasks or responsibilities of a spiritual nature. With this in mind, there are individuals who are fitted with what they needed to carry out God’s plan supernaturally; Moses, Gideon, and Sampson to name a few. A significant passage of Scripture is where we see Jesus being equipped for service in Luke 4:18-19 – “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Jesus equipping was the anointing of the Holy Spirit. There are two main ways that believers are equipped for service; the Word of God, the Gifts of the Spirit.
In Paul’s time, the Roman Empire was large and in charge. One of their strengths was the equipping of their armies. Paul understood this principle and endeavored to make sure followers of Jesus were equipped for the call of God on their lives.
This is Mission’s Sunday and I want to give us three principles of sharing our testimony of faith in Jesus. This equipping of the saints presents a past, present and future aspect of our salvation encounter with Jesus Christ.
How to share sour Testimony
The Bible tells us “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). One of the most effective ways of being a “missionary” or an “evangelist” is the story of how Jesus Christ gave you eternal life and how he has enriched your life. In Youth with a Mission one of the points of training was how to share your testimony in five minutes. We would listen to student after student share their story of life, their spiritual journey, conversion and life today. The purpose of these students preparing a testimony was not to memorize it and give it word-perfect, but to help them put into words some of the important and interesting details of their conversion. A testimony serves primarily as a “door opener” to an ongoing conversation that can be used by the Holy Spirit to bring revelation to someone’s heart talk about the gospel – the Good News of Jesus Christ.
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.
Your Life Before Christ
Let’s turn to Eph 2:1-10 to discover these truths. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath” (Eph 2:1–3).
In order to share one’s testimony well, there must be a clear explanation of one’s life before salvation. Each of us here have very different lives and experiences especially before we were Christians. Some of us struggled with fears of various sorts; fear of death, rejection, people, and so on. Others of us had unsatisfied needs; no meaning to life, loneliness, no real friends or purpose to life. Maybe someone struggled with addictions. One of your pursuits may have been spirituality and seeking for a deeper meaning to life or education to gain a better lifestyle in the future. For sure there are some here who grew up in a Christian home which is a positive message that people need to hear. We must remember that in sharing our testimony we are sharing our story, the good and the bad, so that people can hear our reality.
Pre-Christians are usually trying to satisfy their own deep inner needs through unsatisfactory solutions; maybe just as we did. Someone once said that everyone has a “God-shaped-hole” in their heart and are trying to fill it with all kinds of solutions, some good and some bad. The list could go on and on but here are a few ways people try to meet their inner needs; marriage and family, education and work, hobbies or friends to name a few good ones. Negatively, maybe drugs or alcohol or sex or the wrong friends are the pursuit of Pre-Christians.
It is important to take the time to clarify who you were before you met Jesus Christ personally.
How did you meet Jesus?
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph 2:4–9).
This is so important to speak of when sharing your testimony. The person of Jesus Christ brought about a conversion within your life and this experience is eternal in significance. For many meeting Jesus was a powerful experience – it was Good News. So, it is important to describe the situations that led up to your salvation; in other words, identify the events that led to your conversion and share who was involved. In some cases, this may have taken place over a period of time which is normal for many; remember this is your story and it is good. You should explain the steps you took to become a Christian; prayer or talking with a friend or a Scripture passage. Sometime during this aspect of your testimony, it is important to include the gospel clearly and briefly: Everyone has sinned (Romans 3:23) … Sin's penalty (Romans 6:23) … Christ paid the penalty (Romans 5:8) … Must receive Christ (Romans 10:9-10, 13)
Your Life After Christ
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Eph 2:10).
Salvation is more than describing your conversion experience. It is how you are living your life now and how Jesus has satisfied your deep inner needs. Your testimony must present a clear message of how Jesus has fulfilled your life. In the before you were a Christian stage, you expressed your needs and how you tried unsuccessfully to meet them. You now want to concisely show the difference that Christ has made in your life; I am no longer alone or afraid, Jesus has given me peace… It is important to highlight your testimony with a statement like: “I now have purpose in life by which to live and have eternal life to look forward to.”
We cannot underestimate the power of one’s testimony. The Scripture tells us “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…” (Re 12:11a). Your testimony is a powerful tool of the Holy Spirit. If you became a Christian as an adult you have a definite before, how and after testimony of Jesus touching your life. If you became a Christian as a young person you made a decision for Jesus but your life was described by spiritual immaturity; your life experience before Christ will be limited, but how you met Christ is still impactful and your life following is genuine and growing. Some of you may have an early conversion where you grew up with Christian parents and have a strong Christian background; your testimony will describe a decision to follow Jesus and how you are living for him today.
Pre-Christians do not understand our Christian lingo; it is helpful to use words that are more understandable for them. Avoid Christian slang and speak their language; Under the blood, I went forward, I am born-again, I am saved from sin etc… all of these need to be translated in relation to who you are speaking to. Your testimony is just that, it is personal and yours. Enjoy it, share it. Your story of salvation is perfect; it is your life being intersected by a holy and loving God. Within your testimony is the power to bring salvation to someone as seen in 2 Thess 1:10 - …on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
I am grateful to those who shared their testimony with me over 30 years ago. Let’s share our stories of God’s grace and mercy in our lives with others so they can come to know Jesus and his wonderful life.