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Your Story is God's Story

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How to shift our thinking about the witness of our experience with Jesus into a testimony that we can share with others.

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Good evening guys, welcome to our study tonight. Let’s do some introductions.
When you introduce yourself, tell us about a time when you have given testimony, like in a trial or deposition, a hearing of some kind (maybe even when you or a friend got in trouble, and you had to tell what you knew).
How is giving testimony in a court like giving testimony about Jesus?
I did a little research on the topic of testimony in the Scriptures. The concept, of course, is ancient. A testimony is a statement for the purpose of establishing and recording truth.
Our concern is how testimony is used in the Scriptures. In the OT, the concept of testimony related to the establishment of truth in life and law. The law required two or three witnesses to establish the truth. The law itself was a testimony to instruct God’s people. The Prophets brought testimony against God’s people for not following His covenant.
The NT upholds the OT requirement of 2 or 3 witnesses as a legal requirement. But there is a shift about the nature of witness. It becomes less about establishing the truth in a court of law, and more about establishing the profound truth of the love of God through the person and work of Jesus Christ. The apostles are called to be witnesses of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, i.e. they give testimony to the truth of these things.
Words like bear witness, testify, testimony, witness, and martyr all have the same root. A good example of this is John 8:12-18. Everyone look at it & a volunteer to read it.
John 8:12–18, Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” 13 The Pharisees therefore said to Him, “You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.”
14 Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. 17 It is also written in your law that the testimony (same as witness) of two men is true. 18 I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.”
We’re going to take that foundation of witness and testimony in John 8 and apply it to an event in John 9. From there we want to discuss how to shift our thinking about the witness of our experience with Jesus into a testimony that we can share with others.
John 9 tells the story of an adult man who was blind from birth and his testimony about Jesus. Let’s read it in four parts, we need four volunteers.

vss. 1-12, His CONDITION or Struggle- The blind man is healed

vss. 13-23, His STORY/ Testimony- the healed man’s testimony

vss. 24-34, His CONFIDENCE- the healed man’s testimony (part 2)

vss. 35-38, His CONFESSION- faith & worship of Christ

What sticks out to you about this text?
Every true believer in Christ has a story, a testimony of who Jesus is and what he has done for them. We often find some of testimonies to be more moving than others, but every believer has had a personal experience with Christ that we can share with others.
What do you find moving about his story?
How many times does he share his testimony? (v. 10, 15, 17, 24)
Who else gives testimony? (his neighbors, vs. 8-9; his parents, vs. 20)
Is there anyone who gives false testimony about Jesus?

APPLICATION: Elements of a Good Testimony

What would you say are the elements of a good personal testimony?
If a person wanted to share their testimony, how should they frame it?
Evangelistic training organizations say there are five basic parts to your story: the opening, your life before Christ, how you came to Christ, your life after Christ, and the closing.
The Opening. Identify a theme you can use to frame your story. What did your life revolve around (e.g. relationships, your reputation, money) that God used to help bring you to Him? Briefly illustrate how that influenced your life.
Your Life Before Christ. Paint a picture of what your life was like before you came to Christ. Don’t dwell too much on, or brag about, past sin struggles. Share only the details that relate to your theme –– just enough to show your need for Christ.
How You Came to Christ. Give the details about why and how you became a Christian. Communicate in such a way that the person you are talking with, and anyone who overhears you, can understand how they can become a Christian, too. Even if your listeners are not ready for that, God could use your story and explanation of the gospel to draw them to Himself in the future.
Your Life After Coming to Christ. Share some of the changes that Christ has made in your life as they relate to your theme. Emphasize the changes in your character, attitude or perspective, not just mere changes in behavior. Be realistic. We still struggle as Christians. Life is far from perfect, but what's different about your life now?
The Closing. End with a statement that summarizes your story and connects everything back to your theme. If you want, close with a Bible verse that relates to your experience.
Example: Before I met Jesus, I was blind as a bat. I was born that way and there was nothing I could do to change it. Being blind, I really had no way to make a living. There wasn’t any help for people who were handicapped like me. I was forced to beg money from others to survive. Many people looked down on me because of my blindness. Some even thought that I or my parents had done something really bad and that my blindness was God’s punishment for it. And then I met Jesus. He helped me to see that my blindness was something God could use. In fact, Jesus took the very thing that handicapped me, my blindness, and used it for His honor and glory. He healed me and I could see! God restored my sight! From that moment on I realized that I didn’t have to beg anymore. If God could use my blindness for His glory, how much more could He use me after giving me sight!
I remember that after Jesus healed me, a lot of people wanted to know what had happened to me. They wanted to know how I was able to see. I told them about Jesus. There were others around who hated Jesus and they wanted to discredit him. But I wouldn’t. All I could say was- ‘I once was blind, and now I can see!’ They kicked me out, but just like Jesus came to me when I was blind, rejected, and neglected, he came to me again. I’m happy to be able to say that having a relationship with Jesus really turned my life around. Not only did I receive my sight, but with Jesus I received someone who will never leave me helpless and hopeless again and one day I know I will live with God in heaven because of what Jesus has done for me.
Would you mind sharing your testimony about Jesus?

RESPONSE: Sharing your Story

Most of us are aware of the calling to share our testimony with others. 1 Peter 3:15, But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear (respect, reverence- a different sort of fear).
What are some reasons we don’t do that? What keeps us from sharing the reason for our hope? (most of us it is fear)
Many people are gripped with real fear about sharing the Gospel. 2 Timothy 1:7–10, For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began...
Is there a difference in sharing the Gospel (testimony of the Lord) and sharing your own testimony? How do they work together? (your story is God’s story)
However we structure our own testimony, the point is to weave in the testimony of the Lord (Gospel). We have a duty to steward our testimony to the glory of God and the advancement of the Gospel.
Final Comments or Questions?
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