2015 Sermon Series
- August 9, 2015
The Protective Value of a Genuine Testimony.
Every believer has been born again of a supernatural cause. Paul gives his testimony in the first chapter of his letter to Timothy to remind him that spiritual new birth is what keeps the church revived, refreshed, and protected. A healthy church is one that sees people being saved, discipled, and serving. This is the natural progression that God uses to build His church. One person who walks with the Lord can have a spiritual influence so great that only the Lord knows its true extent.Listen
Yet some churches do not see new birth on a regular basis. How do those churches grow or even stay in existence? Usually, these churches resort to guilt-tripping people to keep certain rules in order to be right with God. This is the essence of religion at its worst. If your eternal destiny depends on your actions, that is a heavy burden to bear.
Churches that are no longer seeing new birth and growth often blame legalism. They turn to pragmatic strategies to bring people in. But the real cause of stunted church growth is that somewhere along the way, discipleship stopped, starting with the personal witness of the pastor.
Paul gives his testimony in 1 Timothy 1:12-17 to show that the primary way to confront unbelief is to see people saved. The protective power of a well-discipled new believer is of great value to a church.
Timothy surely had heard Paul's testimony before as he traveled at Paul's side on his missionary journey. Repetition is also protective. We should never tire of hearing other believers' salvation testimonies. Never forget the miracle of how God saved you!
After we are saved, God intentionally orchestrates our life circumstances so we can reach others with the Good News of the Gospel. Wherever God has put you, you can be sure that He has people in that area to be saved. Will you reach out to them?
Paul's testimony has a specific structure. He gives an introduction and conclusion and centers his testimony around the capable grace of God. He describes his life without God's grace, then his life as he is drawn by God's grace, lavished by God's grace, and directed by God's grace. All glory belongs to God. We all are a work in progress, but Christ is the reason for any change.
- Did you know that remembering and rehearsing your testimony can help refresh and protect the church? When is the last time you rehearsed your testimony or told an unsaved friend how God saved you? See if you can tell your testimony using the same outline as Paul's in the paragraph above.
- When we are thankful for our own salvation, we will reach out to see other people saved too. Corporate evangelism is good, but it must be accompanied and supported by personal evangelism. Jesus came personally to earth for our salvation. Will you do the same for your neighbors? Pray that God will show you who He desires to see saved around you. Then go find some friends!
Tools for Further Study
Cross References to Explore
- Matthew 16:18 -- Jesus builds the church, not any man-made strategy. The gates of Hell cannot prevail against omnipotence.
- 2 Timothy 4:5 -- Pastors are to lead the way in evangelism.
A Hymn to Encourage: "Be Thou My Vision"
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tow’r:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.