“Giving Your Testimony” or Preaching Christ
Our religious world has lost sight of the power of the story of the coming of the Messiah, His death, His resurrection and the establishment of His kingdom to bring salvation to the world. This was the message that began at Pentecost and spread around the world. In this day, far too many give their “ testimony ” about their past life and how they have changed. The message that will convert the world is not the story of our life, but the story of His life.
In Acts chapter eight, we read how Philip lead lost men to Jesus. It was not the “testimony” of Philip’s past life that changed the world. It was the story of the Savior. Imagine the following story. It never happened. It is simply an illustration showing God’s plan of evangelism versus the modern plan used by some.
Philip ran to the chariot and heard the Ethiopian reading the scriptures and asked him if he understood the Bible. The man responded saying that it so hard to understand, and then Philip got into the chariot and gave his “testimony.”
Philip said, “You are so right about the difficulty of understanding the Bible. I used to be exactly where you are. I attended worship at the local synagogue, and the lessons presented there made me think that no one could ever find God. They often spent hours trying to decide just how far one could walk on the Sabbath before walking would violate the command not to work on the Sabbath. They talked about eating with unwashed hands and talking to Gentiles. Synagogue worship seemed to never talk about mercy and faith in God.”
“Those leaders in the synagogue were not serious. They used their position to gain fame. They loved having the chief seats in the assembly but did not seem to love people. Their religion was outward and never seemed to change. I was so discouraged.”
“I remember one time when these same leaders caught a man and a woman sinning and decided to let the man go free, but wanted to stone the woman. It was rather strange that they would do this, for just the previous week we had read the words of Moses saying both should be stoned.”
“I also was such a sinner in my own life. Let me preach to you my favorite sermon, What a Sinner I Used to Be. I have changed, and you need to change.”
This story never happened. What did Philip preach? He preached about the authority of Jesus and the kingdom of heaven (Acts 8:12), and he taught about Jesus (8:35). The Ethiopian said, “See, here is water. What prevents me from being baptized?” Giving one’s testimony will never bring such a response. Preaching Christ and His kingdom will!