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The Scriptorium

Paul's Testimony

Paul tells his story. Acts 22.1-21

The Trials of Paul (1)

Psalm 71.1-3.
In You, O LORD, I put my trust;
Let me never be put to shame.
Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape;
Incline Your ear to me, and save me.
Be my strong refuge,
To which I may resort continually;
You have given the commandment to save me,
For You are my rock and my fortress.

Sing Psalm 71.1-3.
(Solid Rock: My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less)
In You, O Lord, I refuge claim; O let me never be ashamed.
In righteousness deliver me; incline Your ear and hear my plea.
Refrain v. 3
A Rock of habitation be; command Your Word to rescue me;
my Rock and Fortress ever be!

Read Acts 22.1-21; meditate on verses 17-21

Preparation

1. What did Paul tell the Jews about his background?

2. What happened to him as he went to Damascus?

Meditation
We can go quickly here, for much of this is familiar ground. For the Jews, the masses were tools to manipulate for their own purposes. For the Romans, they were rabble to be controlled or brutalized. For Paul they were men and women made in the image of God, with reasonable souls, who deserved a fair opportunity to hear the Good News.

No hard feelings, just the facts: Paul related his story about coming to faith in Jesus. A simple outline: here’s who I was (vv. 3-5, 20), here’s what happened to me (vv. 6-16), and here’s why I’m doing what I’m doing now (vv. 17-21). Paul cited his past work as a persecutor of the Christians, which many present would have remembered. (vv. 3-5). He then explained that, without seeking it, he received a revelation from Jesus, which amounted to a call to repentance and faith and an appointment to service (vv. 6-16). Finally, telling it “slant” (Emily Dickinson), he identified his audience with an earlier one by reporting that the Lord (v. 19) had indicated they would not receive Paul’s testimony. Then he “blew that room away” (as we shall see) by mentioning the Gentiles (v. 21).

No one can gainsay our experience of what Christ has done for us. We know Him. We know His Presence, blessings, power, promises, Word, Spirit, truth, and love. We need to be ready to explain our hope whenever people ask a reason for it (1 Pet. 3.15) – and, sometimes, even when they don’t. Paul relied on his testimony on more than one occasion. This suggests that we should, too.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
In Paul’s testimony he recounts “a great light from heaven shone around me” (Acts 22.6), and then goes on to say that he was blinded, or could not see, “for the glory of that light” (Acts 22.11). In many respects he was repeating what David wrote, “For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light” (Ps. 36.9).

His was a glorious transformation with an immediate change in the direction of his life (Acts 22.18, 21).

Ananias told him that God had chosen him: 1. To know His will. 2. To see the Just One. 3. To hear the voice of His mouth. 4. To be His witness to all people of what he had seen and heard (Acts 22.14, 15).

Not everyone has such a dramatic testimony. But each testimony is as exciting in its own way as this one. Why? Because each of us has been called to the exact same mission.

So many people think that their testimony is not a good one because they might not have had a huge before and after story. The godliest person I ever knew, with an active witness, who was called by the Lord to “unseat the saints”, and share Christ with those who needed to hear, said that she “could not remember a day in her life that she did not love Jesus.” But love Him, she did. And she served Him wholeheartedly all the days of her life. Pat Hunter did not have a dramatic testimony. What she had was a dramatic life, filled with the overwhelming love of Jesus. Her life was not an easy life. And frankly, I wondered how she could handle all the family issues, and health issues that she did. But to know her, you knew a little bit about what being near Jesus is like.

So each one of us has a testimony. And it may be as exciting as Pat’s, or it may be like Paul’s; but each of us has decided to follow Jesus. And our history of how that happened affirms it to us. No turning back.

“Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the L
ORD your God” (Josh. 23.11).

And the same question posed to Paul is also asked of us: “And now why are you waiting?” (Acts 22.16)

We are called into our Personal Mission Field to be His witness of all that we have seen and heard (Acts 22.15). How we came to this truth is important because it is our story. And the way it came to be ours may be helpful to guide someone else into God’s truth. For in His illuminating light, we saw His light, and now long to proclaim this Light to others.

For reflection
1. Following Paul’s example, what are the main points of your coming to faith in Jesus? Or perhaps your testimony is more like Pat Hunter’s?

2. Sharing your testimony is no guarantee people will believe in Jesus. But why is sharing your testimony important?

3. If you could choose one verse of Scripture to “hang” your testimony on, what would it be? Why?

A simple relation of the Lord’s dealings with us, in bringing us, from opposing, to profess and promote his gospel, when delivered in a right spirit and manner, will sometimes make more impression that labored speeches, even though it amounts not to the full proof of the truth, such as was shown in the change wrought in the apostle. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Acts 22.1-11

Pray Psalm 71.12-16.

As you prepare for the day, seek the Lord’s grace and protection, as well as His Presence, wisdom, and boldness to work your Personal Mission Field for Christ and His Kingdom. Ask Him to give you opportunities to talk about Jesus today.

Sing Psalm 71.12-16, 3.
(Solid Rock: My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less)
O God be not too far from me; my ever-present Helper be!
Consume and shame my enemies; let them reproached and humbled be.
Refrain v. 3
A Rock of habitation be; command Your Word to rescue me;
my Rock and Fortress ever be!

But as for me my voice I raise to sing in hope and constant praise!
With saving grace my voice will swell Your never-ending grace to tell.
Refrain

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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