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Sermons of Rev Mike Willmouth
"Giving A Good Testimony"

This article was written and submitted by: Joseph M. Willmouth, Pastor of Eastview Baptist Church in Kentucky. This contributed article is copyright protected, and the sole property of the contributing author.  It may be freely copied and used provided the above credits are included. Document expiration: indefinite.

Introduction: If you were asked to give a personal testimony, would you be able to do it? Do you know what should be included or excluded from your testimony? The Apostle Paul gives us his personal testimony in the book of Galatians and in the book of Acts. If we examine his testimony, it provides us with a biblical example to follow when it comes to sharing our own personal testimony with others. Good testimonies will not only be a witness to the lost of the power of the gospel, but they will also be an encouragement to those believers who hear them. This is actually what Paul's testimony did and still is doing today.

Paul's testimony is divided up into these three parts. . .

I. Tell of your life before Christ (Gal.1:13-14; Acts 26:4-11).
1. The Apostle Paul describes his former standing and activities before he became a Christian.

2. Take the time to summarize what you life was like before you came to know Christ.

A. Remember, everyone has a different background and each one is just as important as the next one - because those who are listening come from different backgrounds too, and will only to able to "connect" or "relate" to those individuals that they have something in common with.
1) Often we think that only those who come out of a background of drugs, alcohol, sex, violence, etc., have the only good testimonies, but not everyone can relate to these types of backgrounds.

2) God can use a testimony of someone who grew up in a Christian home as much as He can use the most extreme situation - so don't let this stop you from giving your testimony.

B. Suggestions.
1) If you do come from some extreme background, don't try to share every little piece of information, this could become a distraction and can even be offensive to some people (especially if there are children in the audience).
- Let me give you an example of this, I once heard a woman give her testimony about her life before Christ and how it was a life of sleeping with numerous men. Instead of saying it in general way, like I just described it, she began to talk about all kinds of details, almost to the point of the number of men, names, where they met, etc. The result was that her testimony tended to put everyone in shock more than it helped anyone to relate to her testimony.
2) Don't try to gave every little detail, but only those details that will give people a general overview of what your life was before Christ. Remember, you are doing this so that people will be able to see a contrast between your old life, and your new life as a Christian.

II. Tell how you came to trust Christ as your Savior (Gal.1:15-16a; Acts 26:12-18).
1. The Apostle Paul simply recounted how God saved him.

2. Tell about:

A. How God spoke to your heart.

B. Who God used and how they witnessed to you.

C. Where you were at when you were saved.

D. How you responded to that call.

III. Tell of your life after you put your trust in Christ (Gal.1:16b-24; Acts 26:19-23).
1. The Apostle Paul shared about how the Lord prepared him to preach the gospel, and about his ministry to other believers and their churches.

2. Explain how your life has been changed since you accepted Christ.

A. How has this change impacted your personal life.
- examples: new strength to overcome problems, how your life now has a focus and a purpose, a new outlook on life or about other people, etc. . .
B. How has your changed life impacted others.
- examples: helping others who may be going through the same type of problems that you went through, ministries that you are actively involved in now, etc. . .
Some Additional Advise In Closing: A good testimony should be no longer than 15 minutes and no shorter than 5 minutes. Let the place where you are sharing your testimony dictate your length. Read Paul's testimony out loud and time it to see long he took. If you are talking one-on-one then you can take longer to give your testimony, but if you are speaking before a church (or some other group) where other people will also be speaking, then you need to make sure that you keep your testimony short.

    Look again at Paul's testimony, see how it is tightly put together - he didn't ramble on about things that had no bearing on his testimony. It is good to set down and write out your testimony, and then rework it over and over again so that what you are sharing is very clear and focused. Try to get it down to 5 minutes, this will prepare you to give it everywhere - it's always easier to add to it than it is to shorten it. Avoid rambling, this will only become an distraction to those who are listening, and will cause your testimony to lose its effectiveness - people will mentally tune you out. Practice giving your testimony so that you will be prepared to give it when the opportunity presents itself.