Today you should read: Acts 22:1-21
I hope you’re enjoying our new series in 1 Peter that just began this past Sunday. I am looking forward to diving into God’s Word together over the next few Sundays. There’s one verse that always sticks out to me when I read through 1 Peter.
“…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3:15 ESV
We are to be prepared to defend the reason why we have hope. It’s Jesus! This is a popular verse for those who love apologetics – the study and practice of defending the Christian faith. We should definitely study and defend the historicity of the Gospels and the Resurrection, but there is another way that we can “make a defense…for the hope that is in [us.]” Paul gives us a great example in our passage today of how our testimony can be a defense of the hope that is in us through Jesus Christ.
Paul says, “…listen to me as I offer my defense” (v.1), and then proceeds to lay out his testimony. What is included in a testimony?
First, a testimony includes your life before meeting Jesus. Paul explains that he was a Jew and educated under Gamaliel. He was “zealous to honor God in everything” (v.3) he did. He also persecuted followers of Jesus. Paul explains in this that he was a sinner. Our testimony should include a confession of a sinful life before meeting Jesus.
Now, you have probably heard great testimonies where someone was radically saved out of a life of sin like Paul, and you might be tempted to think that you don’t have a great testimony. However, if you have been saved by Jesus, you have been radically saved from a life of sin whether you were six years old or sixty years old. Jesus has rescued you whether you mostly sinned against your little sister when you were a child or you were a drug dealer. Bottom line: Jesus saves sinners, and you’re included in that.
Second, a testimony includes how Jesus saved you. Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus. Your testimony probably won’t include a vision from Jesus and being blinded after seeing him, but if Jesus has saved you from your sins, you’ll have a story to tell. This part of our testimonies should include a presentation of the Gospel as you explain how Jesus worked in your life. Explain that you were a sinner, needed a Savior, and you realized that Jesus was the only way to Eternal Life. Explain that Jesus took your sin with him on the Cross, and that because he rose from the grave, you now have life. You don’t have to overthink this point or be a trained theologian to share what Jesus has done for you. You were a sinner deserving of punishment, Jesus took that punishment, now you are saved and a child of God!
Lastly, a testimony includes your life now. Paul described his God-given mission to go and share the Gospel with the Gentiles. Share how God is working in your life now. Share the burden that God has given you for the lost in your world. Share how God has answered your prayers and how he is faithful to his people.
If you have been saved by Jesus, you have a testimony! Share it!
By: Lucas Taylor — West Campus Pastoral Ministry Apprentice