The Holy Spirit Establishes The Power and Proclamation of Personal Testimonies
- The Big Picture: When the Holy Spirit changes your life a personal testimony is established.
- The Big Thought: Every Christian should have their own personal testimony.
- The Big Response: Every Christian has the responsibility of sharing their story.
In the previous chapter Paul found himself in another bind. After he had been beaten in the temple he asked the chief captain for permission to speak to the crowd. In chapter 22 Paul begins to speak in the Hebrew language. Paul wanted to capture the crowd. Therefore, he knew that Jews in the courtyard would be impressed when he spoke the old language. Immediately, he identifies with the crowd his Jewish historicity. Paul made the crowd aware of his association with Gamaliel and they listened more attentively. Paul’s association with Gamaliel was like saying to an all African American audience, “I marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.!” Gamaliel was respected among the Jews as King is amongst African Americans. He wanted to connect with his listeners. Paul gave his testimony in 3 parts:
- The Criminal: Paul expresses who he was in his past life. In verses 4-5, Paul confessed that he was a persecutor of the faith he now embraced.
- The Conversion: Paul expressed what happened to change his life. In verses 6-10 Paul explained his conversion experience when he encountered Jesus.
- The Christian: Paul expressed who he is in the present. In verses 11- 21 Paul received and responded to his assignment.
In verse 21 Paul acknowledged that Christ sent him forward to the Gentiles and that Jerusalem was not his place for ministry. His field was the world and his mission was to spread the gospel to the Greek and to the Barbarians, to the Romans and the world. Paul was informing the crowd that the people they despised were to be included as the Sheep of God. As soon as Paul mentioned the Gentiles the crowd went completely hostile. They began to yell and scream that Paul was a man not fit to live. Paul told the crowd that Jesus, whom they crucified was the Messiah. Paul was called a traitor. The crowd violently expressed their dissent by casting off their clothes and throwing dust in the air. The tribune did not understand Aramaic and was confused of what was going on. He decided to beat it out of Paul. In verse 24 Paul was ordered whipped in hopes of getting him to change his speech. This is where Paul played his last card. He said, “I am a Roman citizen.” To bind a Roman citizen was a serious offense but scourging a Roman was illegal and to do either without a trial was the most serious offense. The centurion rushed to make the tribunal aware of Paul’s Roman status. The Emperor Claudius made Roman citizenship available to anyone for a large cash payment. The tribunal was surprised because he did not fathom that this poor Jew could have such finance. However, Paul said, “I was free born.” Paul did not pay for his citizenship because his father was a citizen. It is possible that Paul’s family were made citizens by some great service they rendered to the Roman Empire while living in Tarsus. Some suppose that Tarsus was a Roman colony and that is how Paul obtained citizenship but there is no proof. The next day Paul was brought down to the Sanhedrin Council to see if they could make sense out of Paul. The chapter concludes with Paul preparing to give his testimony to the Supreme Court.
- Why did the crowd become silent when they heard Paul speak?
- Who did Paul say was his teacher?
- What did Paul say he once did?
- What happened to Paul on the Damascus Road?
- Where did the Lord Jesus instruct Paul to go for further instructions?
- What devout man came unto Paul in Damascus?
- What were Ananias’ instructions from the Lord?
- Why did Jesus instruct Paul to leave Jerusalem?
- Who was Paul assigned to witness to?
- What was the crowds response to Paul?
- How did Paul avoid the scourging?
- Why was the chief captain fearful?
- What happened the next day?
Group Application Questions
- What ways can you adjust your speech to deal with hostile personalities?
- Do you think people want to hear scripture when you are trying to win them to Christ?
- Why should every Christian be able to talk about Jesus Christ?
Homework Assignment: Based on what you have learned about a Christian testimony write a one page paper describing your testimony.
- Who were you before you came to know Jesus Christ?
- How did you come to know Jesus Christ?
- How has your life changed since you met Jesus Christ?
Because of Him!
Dr. Oscar T. Moses