Testimony is the bridge to the presence of God as your testimony is not simply about something that happened to you but is also an invitation for those who hear to experience what you have. What are we testifying to? What is a testimony? A testimony is just telling what you have experienced, heard, and or seen. For instance, you see policeman going around asking for testimonies from people that may have witnessed a crime or accident. Only witnesses can give testimonies and the truth is that if you actually call yourself a Christian, then you are a witness and if you are a witness than you testify to the experiences you have had with God! Christians should not be silent about Christ but must testify about the works He has done and so the church should not be a place of silence but passionate proclaiming for His glory.
Today, how can you proclaim your testimony and better yet, how can you be the testimony to the fact that God is actually real?
NOTES ON THE TEXT
14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15 for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard
Paul is giving a testimony about his life and this is the part where God reveals His will for Him. Verse fifteen tells the nature of how Paul is going to be a witness in that he will only testify about what he has seen and heard. Our testimony is only a declaration of what we have seen and heard and we can only increase the effectiveness of that story when we have been intentionally spending time to hear from God and seek His face. To grow in the number of different types of testimonies and depth is to really seek God to intentionally put him in the center of our lives. When our lives are centered around Him rather than God being an accessory to our lives, we will see the power of our testimony growing as it has God’s presence all over it. Is our faith being exercised daily? Are we seeking Him daily? These are things we must ask ourselves daily for you can only speak about what you have seen and heard.
16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’
To start the new destiny that God has for Saul, Saul needed to become Paul! For this to happen, he had to let go of his old ways and start adopting God’s new ways for Him. To start on the new adventure he had to be new. When we want to walk for christ we must be new in Christ by letting go of the things that use to separate us from Him and begin adopting the things that draw us near to Him. If you didn’t pray before, you pray now. If you use to indulge in addiction, now is time to run from and fight against your addictions. If you didn’t want to be part of the community of God, it is now time to invest into and support the community you are now part of. Things have to change! More than a name change for Paul, Paul became a new being and relearned how to live life with God by spending time relearning everything about God with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If you need to relearn how to relate to God, then there are plenty of ways you can do that within the church through discipleship programs and attending large group gatherings.
18 and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’ 21 And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”
Testimony is powerful but does not force people to change for that is between them and the Lord! We can get discouraged when the response to our testimony may not be what we want in that we desire to see people changed but that is not up to us. All that we are in charge of doing as witnesses of Christ is proclaim what we have seen and heard as it is up to God to do the rest! WE CAN’T SAVE PEOPLE but we can surely guide people to Christ who can save! As great as Paul was, the people only grew to hate him even more but the Lord sent him elsewhere to continue to be a witness for Him. What this tells us is that not everyone will listen but there will be people that do! So do not be discouraged to the point of giving up but let the disappointment be the fuel for determination to keep on obeying God’s voice to proclaim! When people are not moved because you were moved by God, this is an opportunity to exercise faith to believe that God can and God will move in accordance to His time and that your faithful giving of your testimony is planting of seeds.