Last night I attended a testimonial night at The Fortress, a Christian in-house restoration program in Willmar, MN, that was a carryover from the water baptism the week before. It was wonderful!
Of course, many of the stories were quite remarkable. Most should have been dead long ago from their reckless behavior. But God had another plan for these folks. Mine is the same.
Testimonies are powerful. They encourage the believer and educate those who don’t. Quite frankly, there is nothing more exciting than a new believer telling you about what Jesus has done for them! It drives the haters crazy. It thrills me! And all of heaven, too!
I’m thinking I should use my testimony more in my day-to-day interaction with people. I mean, I do, but not like I could. Last summer, I met an old guy at the Fort Hays Chuckwagon Supper & Show in Rapid City, SD. The setting is an old town with a blacksmith shop and other store fronts. He happened to be the owner.
Anyway, he started up a conversation with me, like everyone who walked into the workshop, and told me his story. He pointed to pictures on the wall of himself as a young, reckless race car driver. He then told me all that changed when he went to a Billy Graham Crusade and was saved. He then took us through a tour of the shop and showed us how to make a rope out of toilet paper. When we left, he did the same thing to the next tourist. Pretty cool.
It reminded me of the story of the demon-possessed man in the bible? Can you imagine how he must have shared the gospel! Think about it. He was absolutely out of his mind and completely uncontrollable. He lived, naked, in a cemetery! Think about that!
Yet, if you look at the biblical record, Jesus made a specific, intentional trip through a savage storm to see this man. Look it up. Jesus made a special trip to meet this man. That was the only thing Jesus did there.
If you look into it further, it was right after Jesus basically stopped teaching the Jews by switching to parables. If you recall, he did that “so they might not understand.” (Luke 8:10) I challenge you to think about that for awhile compared to the basic understanding of Jesus. Does the idea that Jesus talks in a way that unbelievers do not understand fit into your understanding about how Christianity works? But there it is, plain as day in scripture.
Anyway, back to the demon-possessed man. Jesus basically stepped out of the boat and the guy came running down. Jesus drove out the demons that possessed him, and the man was free. The rest of the community was afraid of Jesus, so they asked him to leave. Now here’s the best part:
Luke 8:38-39 The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.
There you have it. A man given the ministry of reconciliation. An ambassador for Jesus who told his story. He didn’t have any training. He didn’t know the bible. None of that mattered. What DID matter was that Jesus did for him what no one else could do. It was a miracle!
This guy is one of the top three people I want to meet in heaven. I want to know all about that story. At the same time, however, his was not different than anyone else’s who has been saved. Look what the Apostle Paul had to say about that:
Ephesians 2:1-10 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Folks, do yourself a favor and mull all this over. I am quite sure it will stir you up and encourage you with your job as Christ’s ambassador. Many of us lose the zeal we had when we first believed. Telling our story is like polishing the silver. It lets the light of Jesus shine bright!
Father, I thank you for the mercy you have extended on the men and women last night. I ask that you keep them close and surround them with other believers who will teach and encourage them. Father, keep them close. Amen.
Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers