Tag: Paul’s testimony
Scripture reading for June 4th: Acts 22
Paul arrived in Jerusalem and shared the results of his ministry to the Gentiles. At the advice of the church leadership there, he began a purification ritual to prove his faithfulness to the laws of the temple so as not to give the Jews cause to harm him. However, Jews from Asia ( probably Ephesus) recognized him and seized Paul and dragged him from the temple and began beating him. (Acts 21:30-32) The Roman troop commander rescued Paul from the angry crowd of Jews and certain death. Religious people can be mean!
Paul asked the Roman commander if he could address the crowd and was granted permission. Paul again has opportunity to share his testimony of his personal encounter with Jesus. He told how he was zealous for God just like they were and persecuted the believers in Jesus, having them imprisoned and put to death. On his way to Damascus with letters to arrest believers, Paul encountered Jesus! “About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, “Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?” “Who are you Lord?”, I asked. “I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting, He replied.” (Acts 22:6-8)
Paul then told of his blindness and then visit by Ananias, a devout Jew who was also a believer who brought healing. He told how he was baptized and returned to Jerusalem. He was warned by Jesus to leave town and preach to the Gentiles. When Paul mentioned this, the crowd again turned on him, demanding his death! (Acts 22:22)
Paul seized every opportunity to tell people about Jesus! He was willing to die that others might hear. Oh that the church might live that way today!
Scripture reading for July 8th: Acts 26:1-32
God’s servants often get labeled by those they are sent to reach. In Jesus’ ministry, the Jews accused Him of being filled with an evil spirit and a ‘Samaritan’. (John 8:48) At the upper room on the Day of Pentecost, the disciples were accused of being drunk at nine in the morning! (Acts 2:13) Paul was called a “trouble-maker” by the Jews because of his preaching about Jesus as Messiah. (Acts 24:5) Paul was again labeled by governor Festus as he shared his testimony to King Agrippa! “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.” (Acts 26:24)
Why did Festus make a statement like that about Paul? Paul had just preached the Gospel to King Agrippa and Festus as he made his defense and gave his testimony. This Gospel is the power of God for salvation and Paul was not ashamed of it! (Romans 1:16) The Gospel brought conviction and demanded a response of faith. When hearts are hardened, the flesh tries to silence the voice of truth or bring accusation against the source of truth.
Also, those who are resisting the Holy Spirit find the message of the Gospel as foolishness and something hard to understand. Paul taught that the message of the cross was foolishness to those who were perishing. (1st Corinthians 1:18) Festus thought that Paul’s great learning was causing him to go crazy. That was the only way he could make sense of his message.
We should not be surprised at the reactions of people when we share the Gospel message with them. Paul took it in stride, telling Festus that what he was saying was both true and reasonable. Paul directly asked King Agrippa if he believed the prophets and encouraged him to believe! Agrippa’s response was, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” “Paul replied, “Short time or long–I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except without chains.” (Acts 26:28-29) The real insanity was not with Paul, but with these Gentile leaders who had opportunity to believe and passed it up! They walked out saying that Paul could have been set free if he would not have appealed to Caesar. But their bondage to sin continued!
Scripture reading for July 3rd: Acts 21:37-22:16
Paul asked permission from the commander to speak to the violent crowd. The request was granted and Paul stood up to speak to them in Aramaic, the native language of the Jews. They became very quiet and listened as he testified about his experiences as a Jew and how he became a persecutor of those who followed the “Way”, putting them in prison and even to death. God had opened a door for Paul to preach and he seized the opportunity to again reach these who were so opposed to the Way of Jesus.
Paul shared his testimony of the encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Jesus told Paul that he had been persecuting Him, not just the followers of the Way. He was struck blind for a time and a godly man, Ananias, came and prayed for him. He received his sight and was told that God would use him to share his testimony of Jesus with many. (Acts 22:8-16)
Paul shared how God warned him to leave Jerusalem earlier because they would not accept his testimony. “Lord,” I replied, “These men know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in You. And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.” ” Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.” (Acts 22:19-21) It was this final statement that again brought the crowd to life for Paul’s death! “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!” (Acts 22:22)
The uproar caused the commander to order Paul flogged and questioned. As they were preparing to do this, Paul asked the centurion if it was legal to flog a Roman citizen. When Paul brought this fact up, he was spared him the beating and arranged a meeting with the Sanhedrin the next day.
The idea that God would send a Jew to the Gentiles was outside the thinking of the Jews of Paul’s day. Even though God had made His people to be a testimony to the whole earth, they had become proud and selfish. When they heard the truth, they tried to get rid of it by shouting, violence, and even murder! Following Jesus means we can expect some of this treatment!
Scripture reading for November 14th: Acts 21-23
Have you had a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ? Did it impact your life? The word of God tells us that we overcome the accuser, Satan, by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony! (Revelation 12:11) So sharing your testimony is a powerful thing. It does something in you and then does something to overcome the enemy of our souls in others who hear. Many people have been won to the Lord through the power of a testimony! In today’s reading, the Apostle Paul shares his testimony of his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus road.
Paul had gone to Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost and had taken Trophimus the Ephesian with him. He went through the temple purification rites for seven days and went to the temple to verify the dates and times and appropriate offerings had been made. There, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul and Trophimus and began to stir up a riot. They aroused the city and men came running from everywhere, seized Paul and drug him out of the temple, and began to beat him, intending to kill him! Religion and tradition can cause people to become irrational, particularly when Jesus is present or preached!
The Roman guards heard the commotion and stopped the beating, putting Paul in chains. The commotion of the crowd was so great that they had to literally carry Paul back to the barracks. The crowd was shouting, “Away with him!” (Acts 21:33-36) Paul asked the commander of the guard for permission to speak to the crowd. He gave him permission and Paul addressed the crowd in Aramaic, their Jewish native language.
Paul then simply shared with this crowd of Jews his testimony. These were his people and quite likely some of the same people who had earlier demanded the death of Jesus Christ. Many were likely their descendants for this was over twenty years later! In sharing his testimony, Paul told this hostile crowd of his own anger against Christ and His followers. (Acts 22:3-5) He could identify with their anger because he used to be there. He told them of his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus road and how he was struck blind and Jesus spoke to him, giving him instructions. He told them of his healing and then his call by the Lord to go to the Gentiles. At this point, the crowd turned on him again and demanded his death!
What can we learn from Paul’s example of sharing a testimony? We see that Paul, himself, was touched by Stephen’s testimony on the day he was martyred! (Acts 22:20) We see that our testimony helps others to relate to us and us to them. It offers us a way to share a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The results are always up to the Holy Spirit and it may not appear positive at first! Share your testimony with someone today as the Holy Spirit directs!