Tim Chaffey, AiG–U.S., surveys Paul’s use of his conversion testimony in proclaiming the gospel.
“And when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.” (Acts 26:10–11)
Today’s big question: why should I share my testimony?
We have discussed some of the various approaches to sharing the gospel and making disciples used by the early church in Acts. Someone who knows little about Scripture may be shocked to learn that the words from today’s passage were spoken by the Apostle Paul. Yes, the same man who wrote about half of the books in the New Testament had formerly persecuted Christians to death.
While imprisoned in Caesarea, Paul was granted a hearing with King Agrippa. Ironically, one of the reasons he was imprisoned was to protect him from more than 40 Jews who had sworn not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul (Acts 23:12–13). To open his defense, Paul recounted earlier days when he zealously followed his Jewish faith as a Pharisee. Next, he spoke about his conversion when Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Finally, Paul said that the Lord had sent him to both Jews and Gentiles to preach what “the prophets and Moses said would come—that the Christ would suffer, [and] that He would be the first to rise from the dead” (Acts 26:22–23).
One of the reasons Paul shared his conversion testimony with King Agrippa was because he knew the king believed the Old Testament prophesies (Acts 26:27). Also, the dramatic changes in Paul’s life are consistent with the fact that he had seen the risen Messiah. What else could turn a man from being a fervent persecutor of Christians to one of the most committed followers of Christ? Paul went from being the hunter to being the hunted because he met the Savior, and he was willing to give his life to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
Paul utilized several approaches to sharing the gospel. In Thessalonica and many other places, “he reasoned with them from the Scriptures” to point them to Christ (Acts 17:2). As we discussed in a previous devotional, Paul started with creation when witnessing to pagan philosophers. When Paul and his companions entered the temple to make the offerings required for their vow (Acts 21:26), he also shared his testimony before the angry mob that had him arrested (Acts 22:1–21).
Not many have a testimony that compares to Paul’s, but every Christian has been saved from sin and can tell others of God’s grace. Also, when you explain how the Lord has worked in your life, you demonstrate how Christianity is relevant to every area of life.
Today’s big idea: all Christians can powerfully share their testimonies with unbelievers.
What to pray: thank God for working in your life and ask Him for guidance in how to use that in witnessing to others.