Have you ever been to a conference or other ministry event, and heard a powerful testimony from a speaker? If so, do you remember the emotions that you felt as they described the work that the Lord did in their lives? There’s no doubt that hearing the testimony of another believer can be impactful.
What about your own testimony? Do you remember the moment the Lord saved you? Do you remember the emotions you felt as you trusted Christ as your Lord and Savior? If so, your testimony is a powerful reminder of God’s work. For some, salvation came at an early age; for others, it came later in life. Regardless of how you came to faith, your testimony is a miracle!
In church circles, we often talk about sharing your testimony with others. Admittedly, it can be overwhelming to think about sharing with others, and there is no shortage of rebuttals that we can come up with to avoid it. I wonder, though, if we truly understand what a testimony is. Before we highlight the reasons for sharing, let’s define the term.
Simply put, a testimony tells of our experience in coming to know the God of the Bible through the power of the Holy Spirit. Even more specifically, a Christian testimony begins the moment a person places their faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Our testimony begins with salvation, but it does not end there. Our testimony continues and grows as the Lord works in our lives.
We know what it is; but, we still haven’t answered the question: “why is it important to share our testimony?"
This morning we will be celebrating baptism, and as a pastor, I could not be more thrilled. The stirring of the baptism waters is the direct result of the Lord stirring the heart of an individual. Romans 6:3-4 remind us that we first experience a “dry baptism”, before we experience water baptism, and that the latter finds its significance in the former.
You may have noticed that each baptism candidate shares his/her testimony with
the congregation prior to being baptized. I’ll concede that this may be a departure from what has been done in the past. At the same time, I’ll submit that the sharing of a testimony is one of the most important aspects of the baptism process.
The rationale behind the sharing of testimonies is more than aesthetic. In fact, there are deep practical, and even doctrinal reasons for this. Here are just a few of those reasons:
· It glorifies God. Ultimately the testimony time, in addition to being a benefit to the church, brings glory to God. When we celebrate the work that Christ has done in a person’s life by affirming them and bringing them into the fold of our congregation, we are accomplishing God’s will.
· It provides an opportunity for the congregation to hear and celebrate the work of Christ in a person’s life. Each Christian has a testimony of God’s grace working in their lives. Even more than simply listening to a person share their testimony, we should celebrate the reminder that “Jesus saves!”
· It is a witness to visitors who may not know Christ. Scripture teaches that baptism is for believers only. As the church, we celebrate how the Lord has worked in a person’s life. But, we know that each week there may be unbelievers in our midst. For God’s people, a testimony serves as an exhortation and a reminder; but for unbelievers, a testimony is a powerful tool in helping them understand the person and work of Jesus Christ.
· It is an encouragement to members who may have shared similar life experiences. Each person has a different testimony. Some come to faith as a child; others as an adult. Some come to faith with a simple realization that they were a sinner in need of a Savior; others come to faith “kicking and screaming!” It is easy to feel as though no one can relate to your testimony, which, at times, can be discouraging. When you hear a testimony that you can relate to, it provides encouragement. Rather than feeling alone, it is comforting to know that others have been through similar circumstances.
As we grow deeper in our faith, it will become imperative for us to share how the Lord is working in our lives. Your testimony may just be the encouragement that a person needs to continue trusting the Lord!