Acts 22:6-16 (ESV)
“As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.
“And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’
When people are trained in evangelism, one of the first lessons is in how to give your personal testimony – tell how you became a Christian. It’s a powerful apologetic because it’s impossible for someone to challenge. You were there, and they weren’t. Also, the events that led up to your conversion are generally interesting.
Change doesn’t occur in a vacuum.
That’s what Paul’s doing here. He’s just telling everyone his life story and how he became a Christian – and his conversion was action packed too. He describes a spectacular sequence of events, and he has unassailable credibility. What’s someone going to do, say, “No, that’s not how it happened.”?
This sounds like the perfect sermon. Paul has the audience spellbound with a fantastic, life changing story. You’d expect it to end like Peter’s Pentecost sermon – converting thousands.
But God has other plans.
When presenting the gospel, we tend to assume that, unless someone converts, we failed. Nothing could be further from the truth. Getting someone ready is just as important. People rarely go from zero to Christ in one day.
That’s why sharing your own conversion experience is so powerful. Everyone is qualified to do it. You don’t have to worry about converting someone (which is the Holy Spirit’s job anyway). You just testify to what you know.
The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:
We need to do more of this. Pray for a golden opportunity, where someone asks, “What happened?”