My Testimony

My Testimony

My Testimony

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.

  1. 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.
  2. A final point in the sermon resonates with me, when McCracken says, “Our testimony must exalt Jesus.”
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
Comments
  • Mary Vanderplas September 22, 2014 at 5:12 am

    I like what you say about the focus of your testimony shifting from you and your experience to the objective fact of salvation, though I don’t think that it’s necessarily wrong or unhelpful to mention one’s subjective response to the good news of God’s saving love in Jesus Christ in telling the story of what God has done. But I do like what you say and agree that focusing on the saving event is more Christ-exalting – and likely more beneficial to hearers who wonder whether this is for them, too – than simply telling the story of “what happened to me” and “how I came to believe” the good news.

    I was struck by the fact that you changed from seeing God as the object of reconciliation, the One who needed to be “bought off” by Jesus’ sacrifice before we could be reconciled to God – an unbiblical view of the atonement – to seeing Jesus’ mission being an expression of God’s love initiating and fulfilling the reconciliation between us and God. Your current understanding, contrary to your former view, is, I think, in line with what the Bible teaches about the meaning of the cross.

    • Alice Spicer September 22, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      I, too, am “struck by” some of the things I used to believe. Live and learn, right?

  • Nikki September 22, 2014 at 8:52 am

    I have a question. According to your beliefs, even the most disturbing, scum of the earth people go to heaven.. Serial killers, rapists, ISIS.. To name a few. This does not seem like it could be right or correct in God’s book to me. I understand your wanting to believe that everyone that deserves to go to heaven and have everlasting life because I have also shared that thought, regardless of if someone is a “born again Christian”. What are your thoughts/ how do you explain this? And I’d love to see scripture that backs it up.

    • Alice Spicer September 22, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      I don’t believe that there will be serial killing, raping, or terrorism in heaven. “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Revelation 22:1

      I do believe people must be “born again” (a totally hijacked phrase BTW) to enter into the Reign of God, or for that matter, to even see it (understand that it exists). “Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.'”

      A few things to consider: The apostle Paul (who used to be called Saul) was a kind of serial killer, because he hunted down Christians and consented to and approved of their murder. The old testament prophets committed atrocities far worse than anything ISIS has done, including a widespread, organized system of rape (read Judges 21).

      “And Jesus answering said unto them, ‘They who are well have no need of a physician, but they that are ill: I came not to call righteous men, but sinners, to reformation.” (Luke 5:31-32)

  • Nikki September 22, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    So how do you believe one becomes born again?

    • Alice Spicer September 22, 2014 at 11:56 pm

      God takes a spiritually “dead” person and makes him/her alive together with Christ (http://biblehub.com/greek/4806.htm). Faith is a gift from God. Those who have faith believe. As Jesus (the Shepherd) describes it, the reason they believe is because they are His “sheep.”

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