When God began to reveal Himself to the world He did not send down bookshelves filled with outlines, theologies, or lectures, He began with a story. As a matter of fact, He created a huge picture of His love (creation) and then placed a man and a woman inside that picture. Adam and Eve were the first recipients of God's story!
The Bible is filled with the most powerful stories we will ever read or hear, but it isn't just a storybook! It is God's testimony to each of us. Now we are all part of God's story. If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you are the reason that He sent His Only Begotten Son to Calvary 2000 years ago! If you are a believer, then you are also a part of God's story. As Christians we are to repeat the story of God's love to others who need to hear. That includes the nations around the world, and the neighbor across the street.
(1 John 1:2-3) (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
In this passage we find that John, who walked with Jesus, was now sharing that story with his readers. He was testifying, announcing the Good News of Jesus to those who would listen.
Did you catch the word - testify? One of the TV programs that I grew up with was Perry Mason. If I heard the swearing in of a witness once, I heard it a 100 times. 'Do you solemnly swear that the testimony that you are about to give is the truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God'? What does tell us? That I watched too much TV? Yes, but it tells us something about giving testimony. We are to tell the truth!
There is something else we need to understand about testimony. It is about what we know to be the truth…not what we think or what we have heard. It is all about what we know! That's exactly what God expects from each of His followers - to simply share what we know - to testify to others of what God has done in our lives. to what we have seen Him do in our lives. We don't have to have the Bible memorized or be able to answer every question that someone might have about God. We only have to be willing to share the story of what God did in our life!
During His time on earth that's exactly what happened. Jesus would work in someone's life and they would simply share that story with others.
When Jesus healed the blind man:
(John 9:24-25) Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
When Jesus forgave the Samaritan woman:
(John 4:29) Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?
(John 4:42) And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
The disciples were simply ordinary men who told people the extraordinary story of Jesus working in their lives. That was what Jesus wanted them, and wants us, to do!
(John 15:27) And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
But let's be honest, sometimes we are ashamed to tell our story.
Because our lives don't always match what we know God has done in us.
Instead of having a good "testimony" we get sidetracked and we become ashamed of our testimony.
Galatians chapter six is about testimony, it begins with a believer losing his testimony.
(Galatians 6:1) Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
If anything will mess up our testimony getting trapped in sin will certainly do it!
How can we not be ashamed?
How can we develop and deliver a powerful testimony of what the Lord has done in our lives.
How can we witness and share that testimony with others?
Read: Galatians 6:10-17
I. Do Good
(Galatians 6:10) As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
A. It's simple.
1. If want to have a powerful testimony…
2. If we want others to hear our story…
3. Nothing will ruin our testimony like failing to live for God.
4. If we want folks to listen to what we have to say about the Lord, we must live a life that reveals that it is real!
5. Our walk must be in line with our talk!
B. It isn't natural.
1. Our nature is sinful…our flesh will always give us trouble when it comes to our witness.
2. Doing good isn't always the easiest thing to do.
3. Usually it's really tough to do the right thing when everyone around us is expecting us to do the wrong thing.
(Galatians 6:12) As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
4. This verse tells us that some people don't want to do what's right because they are afraid of persecution.
5. They are afraid of what others will say or do to them.
6. When we take a stand for Jesus there will be those who don't like it.
7. But we can't worry about the crowds when it comes to our testimony.
C. It will be powerful.
1. When we allow God to work in our life, we find the true source of power in our witness.
2. Most people in this world ignore God's purposes for their lives.
3. The crowd usually follows the easiest way not the best way.
4. God calls us to do good.
5. While the rest of the world tells us to do wrong - we simply must determine that whatever we do will be good and Godly!
(Daniel 1:8) But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
(Psalms 34:14) Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
6. The problem is that it's impossible on our own to do good all the time.
II. Keep Our Focus on the Cross.
(Galatians 6:14) But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
A. It's about what Jesus did…not us!
1. Sometimes people begin to think that they are the ones responsible for their salvation.
2. Nothing could be further from the truth.
(Titus 3:5) Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
3. If we are saved today, it isn't because we were good…it isn't because we are walking the straight and narrow path.
4. It is only because of what Jesus Christ did for us on Calvary.
5. That's why Paul said, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross…"
6. If we want a powerful witness, we must focus on the Power.
B. There is personal benefit as well.
1. The more we focus on the cross the less we focus on the stuff that weighs us down and holds us back.
2. That's what Paul was talking about when he said, "…The world is crucified unto me and I unto the world."
3. The more we focus on God's purposes the less we focus on the world.
III. Realize We Are Not The Same Any More.
(Galatians 6:15-16) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
A. New creatures…
1. We must realize that there has been a transformation that has taken place.
2. When a person, by faith, accepts the finished work of Jesus Christ as atonement for their sin, they are born again.
3. At that moment they begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
4. At that moment they are given a new life, and become a new person!
(2 Corinthians 5:17) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
B. New realization…
1. Remember, it isn't about what we have done, but it is all about what God has done.
2. So what is left for me is simply to realize that I am no longer the man I used to be.
3. I am a child of God!
(Romans 6:11) Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
4. It is up to me to 'reckon' or conclude that we are no longer servants of sin, but we are now to be servants of the Lord.
5. This isn't presumption on our part, but it is a realization of what being a child of God means in a very practical sense.
6. Our testimony will never be what it needs to be until we realize that we are no longer what we used to be!
7. We have been born again, we are new creations in Christ, and we need to start living like it!
IV. We must be willing to Suffer.
(Galatians 6:17) From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
A. Paul's declaration.
1. I bear in my body the marks or scars of the Lord Jesus.
2. He was talking about the visible evidence that he had suffered for his testimony.
3. When I consider what it meant for him to declare the gospel, I have no room to complain at all!
(2 Corinthians 11:23b-28) "…In labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches."
B. There is a cost for living for Christ.
1. It might be physical suffering like the Apostle Paul had to endure.
2. It might be ridicule by our friends or family.
3. It could mean we face discrimination on the job or in our community.
4. People will misunderstand us and our motives. Ex. 'What a racket!'
5. They will question our intelligence!
6. But remember the words or our Lord.
(John 16:33) These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
The world needs Christians who will not be afraid to live their faith…and share their testimony. The Lord commanded us to go into all the world and preach the gospel. We will not be able to do that unless we realize the power and importance of our testimony.
Keep Our Focus On The Cross
Realize That We Are Not The Same
Be Willing To Suffer For The Lord
The message is a challenge for each of us who are believers to realize the impact that we can have for the cause of Christ through a powerful testimony. Recommit your lives to Him today. Determine to stand for Him regardless of the cost for His glory and honor.
If you are here this morning, and have never placed your faith in finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary, why not come today? Will you let us show you from God's Word how you can be transformed? Will you trust in Him this morning?