16th Sunday after Pentecost
September 16, 2007
Every Christian Has a Testimony
1 Timothy 1:12-17

My wife Monica grew up as a very religious person. She grew up a very strict Catholic in Guatemala City. She didn’t drink, smoke or curse. She went to mass on a regular basis, and she was faithful to pray as the Church had taught her. She had one problem though — she was lost. She was on her way to hell even though she lived a good moral and religious life.

She came to the United States as an exchange student, and about one year later she recognized her lostness and her need for a Savior. She was gloriously saved at age nineteen, and her life has not been the same since. The change was so obvious that it could only be explained by her new life in Jesus.

I have just briefly told you about the testimony of my wife and how Jesus Christ has changed her life. I want you to understand one thing today: Every Christian has a testimony!

We understand from our text that Paul was not always a Christian. In verse 13 he states, “although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” He was called Saul in those days, and he was probably one of the most religious men to ever live (cf. Phil. 3:4-6).

This reminds me of a recent event in my life. On August 5th of this year, I boarded a plane from Atlanta to Amsterdam. I was leading a group of men from our church on a mission trip to the Ukraine. As I boarded the plane, I sat in my preassigned window seat that I had requested. There was one empty seat next to me, and I was wondering who would sit next to me.

Eventually a man from Atlanta came and sat down. He seemed very pleasant, and  I was relieved. After he found out that I was a minister, he began to tell me about himself. He told me how he was a man of great faith, and how nothing in this life controlled him. He also told me that he followed the teachings of Jesus Christ, but he believed all paths lead to heaven including Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. He told me one statement that will stick in my life for as long as I live. He said, “I have so much faith, I dare Satan to try and tempt me.” I thought to myself as he made this statement, “He’s already got you.”

Like Saul, this man was in need of a Savior. Before we come to saving faith in Jesus Christ, we are all lost in our sins no matter how bad or how good we may appear in the eyes of the world.

Every Christian has a testimony. As Christians we should all be able to look back and see how our life was before we met Christ. We should all be able to look back and point to the time when we came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.

If you will look at vv. 14-15, you will notice how Paul tells us about his salvation experience. He writes, “and the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” Saul, as he was called, was on his way to persecute Christians when Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Even though Saul was a persecutor of the church, Jesus reached out to him with forgiveness and saved him.

I can vividly remember the day that Christ saved me. I was nineteen years old, and my best friend called me on the telephone to tell me about Christ. He had lived a life of sin, but Jesus had turned his life around. As he shared about the transformation that had occurred in his life, I became thoroughly convicted of the sin in my life. I got on my knees, and I prayed for God to forgive me of my sins and save me. You know what? He is faithful, and He saved me that very moment.

Verse 12 shows us how God changed Saul after salvation. Saul went from persecuting the church to leading the church. It was evident to all those around Saul that he had changed after he met Jesus. Was there a dramatic change in your life after you gave your life to Christ?

I had two friends in high school named Mike and Chad. They were brothers, and they were anything but Christian examples. They were both saved about a few years ago, and their lives have been completely transformed. If you are around them for any length of time, it will be evident that Jesus is the priority in their lives.

I went on a mission trip to Peru with Mike, and I went on a mission trip to South Africa with Chad. Looking back at all of us in high school, none of us ever would have dreamed that we would be going on a mission trip together. Though I should not be, I am still surprised how God changes lives. It can be easy for us to think that a certain person will never change, but Jesus Christ is in the life-changing business. When people meet Him, they change.

If you are a Christian, you have a testimony about how Jesus Christ saved you from your sins and changed your life forever.

Do you remember your life before you came to know Him as Savior? Do you remember a time when you asked Jesus to forgive your sins and save you? Can you look back and see a dramatic change in your life since salvation? I hope you can answer all of these questions with a yes, but if you can’t, don’t worry. You may realize at this moment that you have just been living a life of empty religion. You may see that you are just a sinner in need of a Savior. Jesus Christ will welcome you with open arms and give you a brand new life. He will take you just as you are and give you a new life in Him. You can leave here with a clear testimony about how Jesus saved you. (Scot Farris)

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