This is a review of a sermon called Sharing Your Testimony (get sermon power point here) based on Acts 21:17-40, 22:1-30, 23:1-35, 24:1-27, 25:1-27, 26:1-32 by Shawn McCracken, Pastor of Whistling Pines Church.
- McCracken’s sermon is a quick storying of Paul’s experiences recorded in Acts 21-26, but most of the sermon is about Paul’s testimony in chapter 26, which McCracken summarizes in the following way — that through the testimonies of believers, that is, our personal stories of “once I was blind, and now I see,” Jesus pursues people like He pursues us, makes Himself known to them like He makes Himself known to us, changes their identities the way He changes our identities, and gives them a new purpose the way He gives us a new purpose.
- A final point in the sermon resonates with me, when McCracken says, “Our testimony must exalt Jesus.”
- It is precisely this point that leads me to think deeply about how self-centered my testimony had been for over a decade as a believer with limited hope for the world, and how radically different and Christ-centered it has been over the past few years, since discovering the Good News of great joy for all people.
- Before, my testimony was about how I was on the wrong path, making poor choices, feeling guilty and ashamed, and realizing that Jesus was my only hope against a God who was keeping track of my sins and ready to bring down the hammer, only I resisted Him for a year, while I tried to prove the whole Christian tradition as false, but I did not succeed, because I got hung up on the idea (“now I see”) that this historical person died and rose again and that a bunch of people lost their lives because they would not deny that this had happened.
- Now my testimony exalts Jesus more than ever, because it is about how “now I see” Jesus is the Savior of the whole world, that He accomplished His mission to seek and save everyone, that His death demonstrates the kind of selfless love I want to have for others, and that His resurrected life is the glorious announcement that the power of sin and death is completely and utterly broken.