When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters received us warmly. The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.
When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law.
- Acts 21:17-20
“A time-honored, effective method of evangelism is your personal testimony. Just telling about your spiritual pilgrimage. How you found bread as a beggar.
”The skeptic may deny your doctrine or attack your church, but he cannot honestly ignore the fact that your life has been cleaned up and revolutionized. He may stop his ears to the presentations of a preacher like me, or the pleadings of an evangelist, but he is somehow attracted to the human-interest story of how you – John Q. Public – found peace within. Believe me, the steps that led to your conversion are far more appealing and appropriate to the lost than a pulpit exposition of John 3 or Romans 5.
“On six separate occasions between Paul’s third missionary journey and his trip to Rome, he stood before different audiences and presented Christ to them (Acts 22-26). Six times he stood alone, addressing unbelievers, many of them hostile and rude. And each time Paul used the same method: his personal testimony. Each time he simply shared how his own life had been changed by the invasion of Christ and the indwelling of His power. Not once did he argue or debate with them. He didn’t try to preach a sermon.”
- Charles R. Swindoll, The Finishing Touch
I had written some notes a couple of weeks ago regarding future blog topics. Then I got very busy writing some of the posts. So, I got down to “the latest Chuck Swindoll devotion.” But it was two weeks later. There was no hint as to the date that I wrote the note!!
Then, today I read Timothy Holman’s latest post. Today, meaning the day that I am writing this. Timothy is the Beard with a Blog, and by the time this gets posted, it will not be Timothy Holman’s latest post, so here is a LINK on HIS SALVATION STORY.
Then it dawned on me what the topic was of that Swindoll devotion.
Sadly, I think that the operative word regarding the skeptic is “honestly.” I have had one non-believer tell me that all Christian conversions are just a matter of mass hysteria. I think that they probably wanted to “join,” as long as God was answerable to them instead of surrendering to God, and when God did not buy their plan, they decided that there was no God. But is that not like the last temptation of Jesus by Satan. Bow down and worship me and I will make you king of this world. God did not fall for that trick then, and He will not now.
I have had a close family member try to beat Christianity out of me, as if it were a phase that I was going through or a demon that must be cast into a pig. They were afraid that my mental delusion would hurt my chances of success in business. It may have, and to that I can only give God the glory. I would love the cash, but not if it means sacrificing my integrity and my faith. God is within me. When I screw up in that respect, I hurt myself as much as I give God a bad name by denying Him before others.
As for my testimony in a few words, when I moved back to my old hometown as a junior in high school, it seemed everyone had Joy except for me. For a year, I said the salvation prayer with no success, because I was not beaten down enough. I simply wanted Joy. But after I realized how miserable of a sinner that I was – yes, me, the eternal “good” kid – I surrendered, but it took over a year. You could say it was a choice of my free will, but once I faced how wretched I was without God, it was the only choice that I thought that I had. That is how low I had to go before I understood, the poor in Spirit.
That was 51 years ago.
You can ascribe any label you wish to ascribe in order to deny my testimony, but can you assert your claim against my testimony with all honesty? Yet, the Apostle Paul did not argue, debate, or preach a sermon. Maybe I should take a cue from him.
I am saved by faith in Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
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