What a remarkable life story the Apostle Paul had! Just imagine the experience of the Damascus road. In one day his life was completely upended, rerouted, and utterly transformed by the wonder-working power of the Lord Jesus Christ. And Paul never got over it—never.
It seems he captured every opportunity to tell and retell it. Such was the case in Acts 26:1–23 as Paul awaited transport to Rome for an appellate decision on his previous arrest in Jerusalem. A visit from Agrippa afforded Paul yet another opportunity to share his wonderful story with a ready listener.
Could it be that the local church has so “systematized” and “methodized” her evangelism efforts that the Gospel presentation has become dry and dusty to its recipient? It seems that the average church member has been exposed to the “Romans Road” approach and the “Four Spiritual Laws” method, but he has forgotten the power of sharing such vital truth within the context of his own compelling life story.
As we wrap the Gospel message in the unique package of our own testimony, it tends to become more attractive—and relevant—to those with whom we share it. Everybody loves to hear a good story, and the best story we can tell is the story of when we met the Lord. Consider Paul’s story:
It Was a Compelling Story
His story told of a past that was sinful. Paul did not paint a picture to make himself look good. He bluntly detailed his former life of opposition to Jesus Christ and His followers. Sometimes folks believe that they have sinned far too egregiously for Christ to save them, but nothing could be further from the truth! Paul made it his business to persecute—even kill— Christians; yet God graciously saved him.
His story included the point of his surrender. Salvation is a surrendering point. As the gracious General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865, when he realized the inability of his army, even so must men and women surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. Their ways, including their religious observances and good works, are entirely ineffective and unable to save. God alone possesses the sovereign power to save, and He effects that salvation for all who come to Him by faith.
His story showed the purpose of his salvation. Like Paul, believers are saved for a specific purpose (Ephesians 2:10). A familiar pattern in the Bible includes telling others about the compelling way by which Christ affected one’s life. Consider the woman at the well, or the maniac of Gadara, or the first priority of Andrew. It seems that those who came to know the Lord were avid in their communication of the Lord.
It Was a Continuing Story
Unlike so many new year’s resolutions, Paul’s story was not short-lived. His commitment to reaching others with the Gospel by telling his story never faded as the years stacked on.
Just how did Paul continue reaching people for a lifetime?
Paul continued with help and support. “Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day” (Acts 26:22a). Paul understood that, minus the grace of God, he never would have persevered to that point. Each of us must learn the truth of the insufficiency of his own strength and the sufficiency of God’s (Ephesians 6:10).
Paul continued with a heart for sinners. Paul witnessed to both the “small and great.” Obviously he understood the essence of Christ’s command to preach the gospel to every creature. No prejudicial lines should be drawn when it comes to preaching the truth. One size fits all: male or female, black or white, old or young, rich or poor, Jew or Gentile, etc.
Paul continued in harmony with Scripture. Paul’s story was consistent with what the Old Testament Scriptures already revealed. The compelling story of my life can be an effective testimony to another only as it bears witness to the truth of God’s revealed Word.
With boldness may each of us renew our commitment to tell others of what Jesus Christ has effectively accomplished in our lives life. Tell your story!