Stories of God’s mighty works have always spurred the gospel onward.
There I was, in yet another Bible study passionately sharing my desire to see people experience God’s power. “You talk about this stuff too much,” a well-meaning friend quipped. Somewhat shocked, I quickly snapped back some sarcastic aside and went on with the rest of the morning — mad! On further reflection, perhaps I had gotten a bit obnoxious, driving my points home a little too often. Still, I thought, is it really possible to talk too much about the power of God?Go Deeper! Download a FREE Bible study on the power of testimony throughout Scripture.
People of the New Testament who dramatically encountered Jesus couldn’t talk about it enough. As a result, the Church grew by the multitudes. Israel, on the other hand, stopped talking and their children abandoned the Lord. Today, in our politically sensitive culture, it is tempting to keep experiences to ourselves so as not to offend anyone or be seen as too radical. Yet, throughout history it has been testimony — the stories — of God’s mighty works that have spurred the gospel onward.
People that Encounter Jesus Can’t Keep Quiet
When the Holy Spirit fell upon an individual, the person could not keep quiet!
A quick perusal of the gospels reveals that just about everyone either healed or delivered by Jesus could not keep quiet. Even when Jesus requested an individual not to tell anyone, he or she were still compelled to spread the message! Men healed from leprosy went out and freely proclaimed their experience (Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12). When Jesus brought back to life the son of a widow, crowds began to talk (Luke 7:11-17). In the familiar story of the woman at the well, after speaking with Jesus, she left and told of everything she had heard. “Many Samaritans from [her] city believed in Him because of her testimony” (John 4:1-40).
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost only served to increase the hubbub. The Book of Acts recounts story after story when the Holy Spirit would manifest upon people in a powerful way. Consequently, the people went out and talked about their newfound faith and multitudes were added to their numbers (Acts 2:47). In almost every instance, when the Holy Spirit fell upon an individual, the person could not keep quiet!
Why Generations Abandoned God
Undoubtedly, early Israel had some amazing experiences with God. Who could forget the Passover, the parting of the Red Sea, manna miraculously provided from heaven, or a glory cloud leading the group in the wilderness? Over and over, the Lord admonished Israel to talk about these things that He had done for them:
Tell your children and grandchildren how I have made fools of the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them — so that you may know that I am the Lord. —Exodus 10:2
Yet, despite all of the miraculous events, signs and wonders, the Bible describes generations that grew up not knowing the Lord, doing evil in His sight. Judges provides some insight: “[A] whole generation was gathered to their ancestors, and another generation grew up after them, who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10, emphasis mine). It seems reasonable to conclude that when the people stopped talking about the amazing wonders of God their children grew up not knowing His awesome deeds, therefore abandoning Him.
In the Absence of Testimony
To many of my peers, Jesus was dead and lifeless.
I recently hosted a television interview with a lady delivered from demon possession and terminal illness. After a childhood of abuse and violence, she felt that witchcraft gave her a power that she never experienced in any church. She spoke of a defining moment in her pre-teen years when she stared at a lifeless statue of Jesus and mouthed, “You’re dead!” At that point she sold her soul to the highest bidder — and the Devil showed up to the auction with a bundle of empty promises. All of the power that she received from witchcraft was actually demonic and eventually began to destroy her. Thankfully, just before death, she dramatically experienced Jesus.
Her story eerily resonates with what I experienced in high school. No, I never dabbled in the occult, but I had close friends who did. Witchcraft was popular, and I heard talk of others experimenting with new-age religions. To many of my peers, Jesus was dead and lifeless — a mere statue hanging on a wooden beam. Nobody told them — nobody showed them — of God’s transforming power. Thus, they abandoned Him for other gods.
Talk About It!
I’m a believer in the power of testimony because I’ve seen it at work for myself and in the lives of close friends. A co-worker of mine began attending some very lively meetings where the power of God manifested through tremendous healings. She made it a point to frequently and politely talk about what she witnessed as if it were a normal part of Christian life. Those around her began to notice. Her mom, who had previously been skeptical, started attending the services and so did her young children. Sometimes they even begged her to bring them along! She determined that her children would not be named among those who didn’t know of God’s works.
David’s confidence to slay Goliath came as result of remembering previous experiences with God!
Talk about what you’ve seen and experienced. Discuss your experiences as if they are a natural part of Christian living, which they are! Slowly, other people will notice what God has done for you and will build a confidence that He will do it for them as well. Whether salvation or healing, people will want what you talk about. Furthermore, it will continue to build your confidence. When confronted by the giant Goliath, David declared, “The Lord, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37). David’s confidence to slay Goliath came as a result of remembering previous experiences with God.
Faith is built by hearing the good news of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:17). But how will people hear if we remain silent? Determine to talk and don’t let up, give up, back up, or shut up! Tell the world of God’s mighty works!Go Deeper! Download a FREE Bible study on the power of testimony throughout Scripture.