Prepare Your Testimony

By Daniel Scot Sept. 2008

Click here to get this in Tract form as a Word doc http://MuslimHope.com/DanielScot/03-prepareYourTestimony_TractForm.doc

Of Him [Jesus] all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.—Acts 10:43

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For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard.—Acts 22:15

How to prepare an effective testimony when sharing with Muslims.

Your testimony is not a story about you as much as it is about how God met you, and is and has been molding you. In other words, you are privileged to have the living God working in your life and should be eager to share that good news with others.

Jesus told His disciples to bear witness of Him to all the earth. Be honoured to be a witness of the grace of God! Furthermore, Jesus says in Matthew 10:33, 'But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.' In Matthew 10:32 Jesus promises, 'Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.'

The disciples undoubtedly were called upon frequently to testify how Jesus had changed them; Paul frequently told what God had done. Jesus himself told people to testify about what He had done (Mark 5:19). And you are commanded to always be ready to answer unbelievers. In short, your testimony is a testimony to the power and faithfulness of God in your life (1 Peter 3:15).

Your testimony is not a substitute for the Gospel even though it may concisely contain the Gospel. There are numerous dangers in confusing the two. If your testimony is particularly spectacular or powerful, and the person with whom you are sharing doesn't have a similar experience, they may think they are not saved.

  1. Read numerous examples of testimonies from Scripture (Acts 26:2-29; 1 Samuel 1:9-2:4; 2 Kings 5:2-3; Daniel 3:16-30; John 1:38-42; Mark 5:19-20; etc).
  2. Ask God for guidance and wisdom (James 1:5-6);
  3. Talk about your past—things that people can relate to and understand. Find an interesting opening line to capture attention.
  4. How did you come to know that you were in need of a Saviour? How did you know that only Jesus could be that Saviour? Quote relevant Scripture verses.
  5. What were the main hindrances for you to become a Christian?
  6. How has God changed your life? What are the differences now?
  7. How do you know that you have the forgiveness of sins? How does God enable you to overcome sin? How are you aware that you have fellowship with God? How do you know that you are going to heaven when you leave this earth?
  8. Ensure God gets the glory, not you!
  9. Practice, practice, practice. Prepare two or three different versions that emphasise different aspects of your life and conversion. Then practice, practice, practice.
  10. Introduce this material to a few people from your Church/Bible study/cell group or other Christian friends, and have people prepare and share their testimony with each other. Later extend your group and again have each one share his/her testimony.

Possible Pitfalls

There are some potential pitfalls in developing a personal testimony. Consider the following tips carefully:

  1. Don't speak negatively about other Christians, the Church or Christian organizations. Remember you aren't a perfect Christian. Do mention false assumptions or beliefs that you had about the Church if this is appropriate.
  2. This is your testimony and not a sermon. It should be natural, concise and yours. Remember it is the Lord working in your life; it doesn't matter whether it is spectacular or not. (1 Kings 19:7ff cf. Mark 1:16-18).
  3. Try to avoid jargon. Words that you may think are easy to understand, i.e., Bible. (There are many people today, even in the West, who do not know what a Bible is, nor that Christians consider it the Word of God.)
  4. Make sure it is not more than 3-5 minutes.
  5. Use your testimony at appropriate times and junctures. Do not foist your testimony on people who are unwilling to hear it.

Generally speaking, strangers, acquaintances and friends do not ask for your testimony without you letting them know that you are a Christian and speaking to them in such a way as to impart a knowledge of God and His love for them. This is frequently done through times of struggle, encouragement, kindnesses, practical help etc.

Living your testimony is not the same, and will never be the same, as telling someone. Imagine that your neighbors's house is on fire. Do you first run inside your home, have a shower and put on clean clothes, have a shave etc., and then parade up and down outside their house, trying to entice them out by your lifestyle? NO! If you have concern for them you will shout at the top of your voice that they are in danger and need to get out. Simply being good will never bring someone into the Kingdom; you must have the testimony as a Christian who is led by Jesus. Without the Gospel, no one can be saved. The Bible says that God has chosen the "foolishness" of the Gospel to save (1 Corinthians 1:18, 21 etc) so that, apart from the presentation of the Gospel, the conviction of their sin and the righteousness that comes through Jesus, they cannot be saved.

The general structure of your testimony should provide a before and after snapshot—how you were convicted of your sin, how you knew that Jesus alone could atone for you, plus how God is working in you today.

Final points:

  1. Pray that God's holiness and glory will be revealed through your testimony both in words and deeds. This is to be our priority as we have been bought at a great price and are no longer our own. It must be evident in our lives or we make God a liar and the Gospel becomes fiction to your hearer.
  2. Be humble. You are also a sinner. The difference between you and them is that God has opened your heart. Pray that He will open their hearts.
  3. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). When Jesus was confronted with someone who was proud of their status, achievements etc, He always used the law. When Jesus was confronted with someone who knew of their state before God, He used grace. Pray that the Lord will show the person his/her need for Jesus Christ and convict him/her that righteousness is found in Jesus alone—He is the only Saviour for all!

4. It is God who works in you and through you. You cannot live a life that is pleasing to God apart from His enabling. Since the God of this universe lives in you, He can and will give you the courage and ability to testify about Him since that is His revealed will for everyone. God is glorified most when we are weak and rely on His grace and power!!

5. Pray that the Lord will give you boldness, wisdom and the opportunity to share what He has done!

6. Be genuine. Refresh your memory by reading the example of Paul before King Agrippa (Acts 26:2-29). Paul appealed to the knowledge that Agrippa had of the law; he told some positive aspects of his own life before conversion - such as his strict observance of the law. But he also told some of the negative aspects as well, i.e. that he killed the saints! He told of his conversion and his subsequent life after seeing Jesus—an inspiring and courageous presentation! Use this page to make notes and prepare your own testimony. Write Scriptural references that you know that will support your story. Remember! Your testimony should be only 3-5 minutes and is about how Jesus has been faithful to His Word.

Introduction:

Think to positively affirm the person with whom you are about to share. Speak truthfully and with appreciation.

Before conversion:

Thoughts about God/Jesus, works, sin, the Church: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Positive Qualities: ________________________________________________________________________________

Negative Qualities: ________________________________________________________________________________

Conversion:

How you realized the need for Jesus alone: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

How you trusted Jesus: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________

Results of Conversion:

Fruit of salvation initially: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Fruit of salvation now: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

How you know that you have peace, fellowship with God the forgiveness of sins, and assurance of Heaven. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

May the Lord Jesus Christ be glorified through this testimony and many people

Read the Holy Bible online: http://www.ibs.org/bibles

Watch the Jesus Film online: http://www.jesusfilm.org/languages

Mizan ul Haqq

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