So now we come to one of the hardest aspects of witnessing: How do I do it? “I don’t know the Bible enough! I’m going to get it all wrong! I’m going to flub it all up!”
First off, let me give a little personal testimony on this score. I’ve preached many sermons both here in America and abroad. I learned something as I preached in Brazil. I was delivering a sermon in which in the middle of it, I prayed, “God, can you please deliver a mercy killing to this sermon?” I felt like the words coming out of my mouth were like lead balloons: My timing was off, my illustrations seemed to fall flat, and I felt like I might as well have been preaching to a brick wall. In my mind, I already calculated how I would vastly improve this sermon the next time (if ever) I preached it. And lo and behold, several people came forward at the invitation to receive Christ. And of course the exact opposite occurred: I delivered a sermon that seemed (to me) like something which would make angels weep and demons flee. And of course I got the proverbial chirping of crickets.
My point here? God can do a lot with a willing servant who submits to the leadership of his Spirit. He can’t (or won’t) have much or anything to do with a slick presentation that takes confidence in one’s own abilities.
You might be asking, “So Keith what is the best method of sharing the Good News?” My answer? The one you use. Yes, I believe in improving your skills in this area to the best of your God-given ability. But if you're just willing to speak out when he leads you to speak, you’ve already won. This attitude of submission and willingness to be used by God does not lead to victory. It is victory.
Now, having said that, I’m going to do a terrible thing to you. I’m going to strip you of your excuse to not share the Good News. You say, “I don’t know the Bible well enough!” Well, I certainly encourage you to read and know your Bible. If you knew it backwards and forwards, that'd be nothing but a good thing. But you don’t have to know a lot about the Bible to share the Message.
You don’t need to know the Bible all that well at all in order to share your testimony, do you? I mean, you know your own history, don’t you?
That’s why I picked today’s passage. When Paul was led before Agrippa and was given an opportunity to speak with him, he chose to share his personal testimony. It’s so simple, it’s almost criminal: Like any good story, it has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
The beginning was before you met Christ. Now, please don’t misunderstand me. You might not have a dramatic testimony like Paul’s. Who was Paul’s numero uno Right Hand Man? On whom did the apostle depend the most and trust in the most? Timothy. But to our knowledge, Timothy had no dramatic testimony. He was raised in a good Jewish home in which his mother and grandmother taught him the Old Testament Scriptures, and when he met Paul, Paul led him to faith in Christ. There’s no record of Timothy persecuting Christians or being demon-possessed or leading an immoral lifestyle.
On a personal note, that’s a lot like me. I never was involved in gross heinous sins. I was raised in a Christian home and attended church regularly. But until I received Christ, I was as lost as any murderer on death row. I’m glad that not only did Jesus save me from my sins, but he also—purely according to grace—prevented me from getting involved in some terrible things which I would regret today.
When you share the Good News with someone, that might perfectly describe both you and the person you’re sharing with. They need to know this truth: The religious and good man needs to be saved from Hell just as much as any person out there. To get me into Heaven cost my Savior his blood just as much as for any murderer or thief or adulterer.
We’ll continue this tomorrow.
Lord Jesus, I’m forcibly reminded right now of what you saved me from. I was church-going, nice, honest, gentle, and as lost as a golf ball in high weeds. You reached down, pulled me out of my pride, my lust, and my self-righteousness, and cleaned me inside-out as only you can. I hereby repudiate any claim on self-righteousness or goodness or holiness. It all comes from you, and it all belongs to you. Thank you.