Acts 21:40 - 22:24
Speaker 1: Acts chapter number twenty one. Acts chapter number twenty one. And as you find your place, if you wouldn't mind join me in standing in honor of reading God's word. Acts chapter number twenty one. We're going to begin reading in verse number forty. Ax twenty one verse number 40. I do need to say this also. If you're in a youth in. You had better be down at this altar as soon as I'm done preaching, thanking God for that miracle that took place on that field yesterday. Good night. So acts Chapter 21 December reporting. The Bible says when he had given him license, Paul stood on the stairs and beckoned with the hand under the people. And there was made a great silence. You speak under them and the Hebrew tongue say. Men, brethren and fathers. Hear Ye, my defense, which I make now unto you. When they heard that he's speaking the Hebrew tongues to them, they kept the more silence and he said yes. I am Verily, a man, which I am a Jew born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the Fathers and was zealous toward God as we all are this day. And I prosecuted this way into the death binding, delivering into prisons, both men and women. As also, the high priest doth bear me witness all the estate of the elders from whom I also, I received letters unto the brethren and went to Damascus to bring them, which were there bound under Jerusalem for to be punished. It came to pass that as I made my journey was come nigh on to Damascus about noon. Suddenly they're shown from heaven, a great light round about me. And I fell on the ground, I heard a voice say that to me, Saul Saul, why persecutors thou me? I answered, who are the Lord? He said to me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom now persecute us. They that were with me saw indeed the light, and we're afraid, but they heard not the voice of him that spoke to me. I said, what shall I do, Lord, the Lord said on me, arise and go into Damascus, then it shall be told the of all things which are appointed for you to do. When I could not see for the glory of that light being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus and in one in and is a devout man, according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there came on to me and stood and sat on me. Brother Saul received his sight. The same hour I looked up upon him. And he said the god of our fathers have chosen the Nadal, should this know his will and see the just one and should us hear the voice of his mouth for thou shall be his witness unto all men. What thou has seen and heard. And now by Terry, now all arise, be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Came to pass that when I was coming in to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance and saw him saying unto me, make haste, get the quickly out of Jerusalem. But they will not received my testimony concerning me. I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on. And when the blood of dying martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by and consenting to his death and kept the Raymond of them that flew him. You set out to me the part. I will send the far hints under the gentiles. They gave him audience into this word. Then lifted up their voices and said away with such a fellow from the Earth or does not fit that he should live. And as they cried out and cast off their clothes and threw dust into the air. Chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle. Let's pray for we thank you for this day. Thank you for the people that are here. Or I pray that you bless them for making this time a priority in their weekend. Well, I pray that you help us as we look into your word. I pray that you would give me the words that you'd have me to say. You'd help the folks that are here to listen and apply what they hear to their hearts. Words in Jesus name. I pray. Amen. Thank you. May be seated. See here how many of you, your spouse, when you saw them, it was mutually love at first sight. I heard a few people mislead he. Well, we'll have to hear that story later. All right, how many of you had to do some convincing or your significant other any right now for Paul, you in this many can't both raise your hand. I remember as a sophomore, I don't know, a freshman at college, I was playing intramural basketball and there was this girl that was keeping score and I just thought she was the prettiest thing ever. I'd seen her once or twice around campus, but really had never talked to her. And first game, we're playing, dribbling, basketball. I was in dribbling, but somebody else was dribbling basketball. They lost the ball. It was going out of bounds. So I was running and in all of my athleticism, I dove forward to try and save it. And I missed. But I I ran into the scorers table and hit my head. And so this girl, she looked over and she's like, Oh no, are you OK? And I was like, Yeah, yeah, I think I'm fine. I don't even know what happened, the rest I game. But that girl, talk to me. She was concerned I was OK. I tell you that whole week, I thought about how I could. Manipulate the situation so that she would talk to me again. What do we have in common? I don't know. What is she interested in? I don't know. The only interaction we've had is her asking me if I was OK from running into that, that scorers table. So I had this great idea. I've got one shot. I've got one chance to somehow drum up, stir up this relationship into something more than what it is. And so I went and I found a Band-Aid. Like, well, I know, yeah, it's not the best work, but as I've said, often times I was home schooled. What do you expect? And so, anyways, I it's a stupid it's so stupid, I shouldn't say stupid. This is dumb. It's very I'm surprised it worked. But anyways, I go up to that girl, the next basketball game next week, and I said, Can you hold this, this Band-Aid for me? And she said, Why? What's this Band-Aid for? And I said, in case I hurt my pride again. Of course, you may be guessing. But yes, it was, Alicia. I thought about saying it was this other girl and it didn't work out, but now it was Alicia and she took pity on me. But I had one shot. One chance and that was the best I could come up with. I had seven days to think about it, and that's what I came up with. If you if you see my my boys just tell them that they need to thank God that they exist because there are a lot of hurdles to get to this point. But if you had one chance to shoot your shot to give it your best effort because you didn't know if you would ever see this person again, you never will speak to this person again. So you have one opportunity to get your point across. What kind of tactics would you use? What kind of preparation would you invest to make sure that when you got the opportunity, you would be ready to say what needed to be set? Well, Paul, as we've been following him on his trip to Jerusalem, he's been told you're going to have to face persecution, you're going to have to face opposition when you get to Jerusalem. But Paul, this whole time, I believe he is hoping for the opportunity to share the gospel with his countrymen, his hometown Jerusalem. He wants to be able to share Jesus with them. And so in verse number 40, as Paul is being carried up the steps into the fortress that is right there next to the temple. Paul says to the captain of the guard, he says, Can I speak to the people? The captain says, yes, so here here's Paul, he's on an elevated platform. All of the people are below him walking up to see what will happen to this man that has got them into such an uproar and inverse number 40. We see that Paul beckons with his hands. He he he he motions to them that he would like to say something. And so as he motions to them, there is a great silence that comes on the crowd. Paul's mind must have been racing. He'd been hoping and praying for this opportunity. And now it's there. Right in front of him is a crowd of Hebrew Jewish men, many of them, probably the vast majority of them completely lost without Jesus. And he has an opportunity to speak to them. There are so many messages that Paul has preached throughout his life. He could talk to them, have fulfilled prophecy. He could talk to them about all of the prophecies in the Old Testament, from the great writers that those men would look up to and how they had spoken of Jesus and how Jesus would one day come. And Jesus has fulfilled all of those prophecies. You can talk to them of their their need for a savior. You can talk to them about the the sacrifices and how they were a picture of what Jesus would do for every human on the cross. Paul knew all of the stories of every character in the Old Testament, and he knew how to take those characters and point them to Jesus. As we see and as we read in Chapter 22, Paul does none of these things. Instead, Paul takes a different tact. Knows that there is something at his disposal that will carry more weight with his audience. You see, he has one chance to make a connection with them and where they are right then at that moment. Yes, to illustrate to them that he knows what they're going through. He has to make himself one of them. They need to be able to identify with Paul. They need to see that he's been where they are. He also has to demonstrate for them the supernatural nature of the change that took place in his life. You see, he has to get his message across without them turning him off. I mean, I've worked with teenagers. You can tell. When they're turning you off. I can tell in this in this auditorium, sometimes where I pinch too long. Because you start turning me off. Some of you physically with your hearing aids, turn me off. Other you doing this one of these things? He doesn't want them to to to tune him out, he doesn't want them to discredit what he's going to tell them before he has a chance to tell them. So what could he say it would accomplish all of these goals? Well, Luke records to us that he shares with them his testimony. You see, by sharing his own testimony, Paul removes their ability to argue Old Testament interpretation with him. These people knew the Old Testament, too. And so if he goes into the Old Testament, then he'd have some, some scribes, some rabbi, some well taught Jewish man who would be able to say, Yeah, that's just your interpretation. I interpret it differently. Now you and I both realize that the Bible has one interpretation. It's not. Some mean something to you. That means something to me, and we can disagree. There is one right interpretation for the Bible. Now we may have different interpretations, but one of us is wrong. We may not know who it is until we get to heaven, but. So interpretation is a sticky subject. His testimony, though, is not a matter of interpretation, it's a matter of experience. Paul lived it. Paul Paul was there on the road to Damascus, he saw what he saw, he heard what he heard. Paul Paul lived those years of persecution and now has lived those years of mission work. See, these are all things that happened to him. And so they, the Jewish people, would not be able to argue with it. There is no response that you can, can, can give to Paul sharing his testimony. And so Paul begins in verse number three, sharing his testimony and his testimony is broken into three parts. All of our testimonies can be broken into three parts. How I was before I met Jesus. How I met Jesus and the change that Jesus has made in my life since then. It would be a very good exercise, and we've talked about this before, it'd be a very good exercise for you to go home today with those three headings and write your testimony down. What was I like before I met Jesus? How did I meet Jesus? What is my life been like since then? But for Paul, he addresses the people that moments ago were trying to kill him. And he starts in a manner that is extremely respectful. He says in verse number, verse number one men. Brethren and fathers. Now, it's not immediately apparent when he calls them in. But then he goes on and he calls them brothers and fathers. This is surprising. The people were also surprised to hear him speaking Hebrew. Now if you were beating somebody up. OK. I thought you would think that that was a ridiculous statement, but nobody really laughed. Which makes me worried. You're like, yeah, what about it? If you're beating somebody up and things cool down and they you know, you guys separate and this guy instead of like, you know, threatening to sue you, says sir. The. I just like knocked your tooth out, sir. Brother. Father. And Paul is I mean, he's a special guy. We will do this, but it means he's speaking Hebrew and this is his version of two when they heard him speak in the Hebrew tongue that they kept the more silence. Remember, there was already a great silence, and then there was more silence with three little kids in my house. I can't even imagine what this sounds like. As Paul gets into the first part of his testimony, he reminds them in verse number three what his life was like before he met Jesus informs them of his Jewish heritage. You see, Paul was born in Tarsus. But he was raised in Jerusalem. He was born in Tarsus, but he was raised in Jerusalem. And he says I was born in a city in Solicitar brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel and taught recording the perfect manner of the law of the fathers and was zealous toward God as we all are this day. Now I have lost my spot. Give me one second. Oh, this is not good. All right, I'm going to need more than that. I saw those nice words, but you go get my computer, please. Very embarrassing. And this has happened to me one day. Say what happened? Well, my notes stop. Where they shouldn't stop. Would you like to hear some more anti jokes? OK. OK, so here now while he's coming, we'll just keep on going as best as we can. As a Jew. Hey, here he comes. Where you going this way? Thanks. It's only awkward if you make it awkward. It's not there, either. What in the world happened?
Unidentified: OK. Weighing in. All right. OK. All right.
Speaker 1: Are we going this? So has this ever happened to me? No, this has never happened to me. All right, so he's a Jew, he's born in charge, is brought up in the city of Jerusalem and at the feet of Gamaliel. Gamaliel was a teacher that was there in Jerusalem. Gamaliel, you may remember from earlier in the book, was one who had stood up for Peter and John and the others and basically said, If this is a god, then we can't stop it. If it's not of God, then there's there's no way it's going to succeed. And so Paul says, Look, I was taught by Gamaliel, a man who is universally respected and looked up to among Judaism. And so I wasn't just some some guy out here doing whatever I wanted to do. I was taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the Fathers and was zealous about these things, just like all you guys are today. You see, he's trying to connect himself with his audience. And so he says, I was zealous as we all are this day versus before, and I persecuted this way unto the death binding and delivering in the prisons, both men and women. And so Paul is so zealous about God that he went after those who claim to be in the way I want you to look at verse number five. This is also the high priest of Bear Witness and all the estate of the elders from whom also I received letters under the brethren and went to Damascus to bring them, which were there bound under Jerusalem for to be punished. We mentioned a little bit at the beginning of the Book of Acts how Christianity at the beginning was known as the way. And so if you were a believer, you were to, you were said to be in the way. And so these are the people that Paul is going after because he saw them as a threat, as a group of heretics against Judaism. And so as a Pharisee, one of the pure ones, it was his duty to go after them and to silence them. And so Paul says, Look, I know where you guys are coming from. I used to be just like, you are. In fact, I was so zealous. I was so energetic and passionate about persecuting these people who believed in Jesus that the High Priest actually chose me out of everyone else to go to Damascus to find more people in the way and bring them to Jerusalem so that they could be punished. But as he's on his way to Jerusalem, we see the second point and that is his introduction to Jesus. This is the road from risks that as they were coming nigh on the Damascus about noon, suddenly they're shown from heaven. A great light roundabout. He fell on the ground and heard a voice. Say an enemy, Saul Saul. I persecutors now me. You know it's one thing to pick on somebody from behind a computer screen to write really bold statements, you know, while you're typing away on a keyboard? I mean, sometimes the thing I things, I read 'em like, I'd really like to see you try to say that to somebody's face. You sound really big and bad online, but what are you like in real life? Now, if they're really being bad in real life, I don't want to mess with them, but I have my doubts. People tend to be a little bit more brazen when they're they're battling behind the keyboard. But here's Paul, and he's been going after Jesus, even persecuting Jesus. And now all of a sudden, Jesus is there talking to him. So why are you persecuting me? Who are thought? If you see a bright light and you hear a voice, you know, and you're on the ground because this light is so powerful and they say, Well, why are you hurting me? You don't even know who you are. Says I am Jesus, Nazareth. From now, persecutors, I guarantee you, when he heard the name Jesus of Nazareth, he knew exactly what was going on. He knew what Jesus was talking about when he heard Jesus speak to him. He says, Look, and if you don't trust me. There were other people with me. They saw the light and they were afraid that they heard, not the voice him that spoke to me. You see those other people. This was not something Paul dreamed up. It wasn't that he had some bad hummus on the way down there and was seeing things. As they saw the light, they didn't hear the voice, but they saw the light and pulses, I asked him, What shall I do? Lord Lawrence said, In your eyes and go into Damascus and there should be told the of all things which are appointed for the to do. Paul wanted to know, OK, if you've got this power that you can knock me down to the ground, that you can shine this bright light and speak to me, or what else would you have me to do? And the voice says, I want you to go into the city like you were planning to do, but I want you to wait because I'm going to show you what you're going to do. Of course, the light goes away in verse 11. Paul is blind, so it's all his policy is blind. You can't see that to lead him by the hand. We've talked about this before this mighty man who walked around with so much authority and confidence. All of a sudden he doesn't have his notes. He's somebody to lead him on the by the hand. Goes into Damascus, the Bible says, and Paul's remembering these things he rehearses about in a nice and nice was an older man when Paul was there in the city. And so probably in and I guess by this point has passed on. He is. He's in heaven. He's enjoying the rewards of of his Christian testimony. But in and I wasn't just a follower of Jesus. He was also a strict observer of the law. Paul says, Let's listen. Some of you are from Damascus and you know, and and is, you know, the testimony he had. He had a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there. And this was not a rabble rouser. He wasn't a troublemaker. He wasn't a heretic. You guys, London and is an alliance is the one who came to talk to me. It came in to me and stood and said under me, he made a couple of announcements, he announced that my site would return and that same hour I looked up upon him. Then he announced in version 14 that God had great plans for my life. He says, The God of our fathers has chosen me. That option is no his will and see that just one. And should us hear the voice of his mouth? Thou shall be his witness. And the Allman. Of what Dow has seen and heard. Now I want you to just go back in your minds for a second here. Remember, there is great silence. We find out later that they gave him ear. They gave him attention this whole time. I mean, this is a captive audience. He says you're going to be a witness to all men. No problem. Yeah. But, you know, when you hear all men, what do you think of? Oh, I hope you think of like the little kids song red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. That's all men. That is not the way they would have heard this by by saying you would be a witness to all men. They heard all Jewish men. Because everybody else is a dog. Or some summer 16, the third announcement. Paul received your site. Paul, God's going to use you, but Paul, you've got to get saved. What, why are you tearing holes like I was blind a second ago? Why are you tearing arise and be baptized in wash away their sins? Now, if that person did there, we'd have some big problems. But it doesn't. I don't have time or the notes to go deep into this as to why the wash away their sins is connected to calling on the name of the Lord, not onto the baptizing. I mean, in in the glamor, if you were to diagram the sentence, washing away your sins is connected, calling on the name of the Lord, not to that baptism. OK, I know there's a lot of country songs that we taught you well, that you hear on set, you're seeing because I've heard so many sing. But did you hear that talks about that? Some dirty water? It's not dirty. It is dirty because the baptistery is dirty, but it's not dirty because your sins got washed off in that water. It's not dirty because your sins got washed off in that water. That water has no ability to wash one single solitary sin from your account. That only happens with the blood of Jesus Christ. And it's only accessed by calling on his name. Does she need to call the name of the Lord? And although it's not stated, we know that Paul did call me my lord, he was saved and then he was baptized. Verse number 17, Paul made his way back home to Jerusalem. We start to see the third stage of his testimony. The difference, the change that Jesus made, how his life was never the same. He says when I was coming into Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple. Listen. No, Jewish, Christian, this point tried to abandon their culture or abandon the things they love about Judaism just because they met Jesus, being a Christian is not no more like A. A. M. ISM. It doesn't mean we can just do whatever we want because it's all in a grace. It's not that's not what Christianity is. He still went to the temple, the temple was a special place for him. You don't have to go to the temple, but he liked going to the temple. It was where he met with the Lord. He was accustomed to going there and praying and and talking to God. And so now that he is a Christian, he has free access to God. Well, of course, he's going to go back to the temple and pray to the Lord. He's not going to the temple to try to get his sins forgiven. It's going there to talk to God. There he is, talking to the Lord in the temple, and that's what God starts talking back. You should have places in your life that you go to communicate with the Lord. I hope this is one of those places. God speaks to him, he says, make haste, get the quickly out of Jerusalem, but they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. I think it's interesting that he calls out his testimony. Because Paul does have an amazing testimony, that's why he's sharing it right now. Verse number 15, if you go back there, it says four, thou shall be his witness and all men, what is they witness? It's somebody who saw something and shares it. I'm want to be a witness to share with you, share with others what Jesus did for you. He said, Lord, they know he's a God. I've got a great testimony. They know how I persecuted those that believed on you. I imprisoned them. I beat them. And when the blood of nine martyrs Stephen was shed, I also was standing by and consenting under his death. Kept the arraignment of them that slew him or if anyone's been changed by you, it's me. Can you? You want me to share my testimony with the people of Jerusalem, the people that are nearest and dearest to my heart? That says depart. I will send me for hints. The God not want the Jewish Christians or the Jewish people to get saved. We definitely did. But there's a church in Jerusalem, James and the others. They're preaching the gospel. Gazelles, Paul, the hills, and they're not ready to hear your testimony. I've got somewhere else I need you to go. The messenger for hints unto. The Gentiles. Let me tell you, when Paul said those words. It all broke loose. What do you mean, it all broke loose? Well, I mean, like. He will start taking their clothes off. They're so mad that Paul talked about the gentiles. So they gave him audience, they were quiet and listened unto this word, what word? Gentiles. Then lifted up their voices. So the way with such fellow from the Earth does not fit that he should live. They wanted to kill him because he said God sent me to the gentiles. As they cried out, cast off their clothes and threw dust in the air. Can you get a picture of this? This is like watching your children destroy a room that you just cleaned. What's? It's so crazy the chief captain is like just rolling his eyes and commands and Paul to be brought into the castle and beaten to be examined by scourging, but we gonna talk about that next week. The chance was over. Paul had one opportunity. To share the gospel with these people. And he did he did share the gospel with them. He shared the gospel through his testimony of what Jesus Christ had done for him. He told them all about what he'd been like before he told them how he met Jesus, and he told them how Jesus had changed him for one who had built a persecutor of those that were in the way to one who wanted to be in the way himself. Get more people to be in the way. These people didn't hear it. You see. Luke is recording for us. That even when one of God's servants. Shares, their testimony delivers, the gospel does the absolute right thing to try and help the people that are listening to them. Sometimes prejudice still gets in the way. So you and I are not responsible for the outcome. When we deliver God's message to some. We're just responsible to deliver the message. I can't help what you do. Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night with the messages I preach. You know. It is somewhat frustrating. You know, when when you see someone dealing with something like, well, we just preached on that. And we just looked at that from the Bible. If you come to me for counsel, I'm going to tell you exactly what we just talked about. But I can't help what you do with these things after you leave here. What do I pray just about every single time Lord? Please help people to listen and apply what you hear to their lives. But I can't force you to do that. Paul could not force these people to take what they heard and do something with it. And in the end, their prejudice became an obstacle. And he couldn't help. Think about that word prejudice pre.
Unidentified: Judicial. Free judgment.
Speaker 1: See, I believe Paul had more to say. He wasn't done. That's a really short message for a preacher. He had more to say. You need to finish because as soon as he said the word. Ten times they were triggered. And their prejudgment of where he was going caused them to silence him and not allow him to finish. Prejudice. Is a. Hard thing to overcome. You know, prejudice shows up in many different ways, perhaps right now you're thinking of prejudice when it comes to racial issues. But prejudice can also apply to someone's education status, somebodies income. It could apply to someone's country of origin. I mean, prejudice shows up in a lot of different ways. Prejudice is an obstacle. Prejudice is an obstacle to the gospel. And you and I have the greatest message that any group of people has ever had. Mean we've got hope and love and eternal life. I mean, it's free. It's already been paid for. I mean, if you took the facts of the gospel and applied them to anything else, people would be like beating down doors to get a handle on it. Right. Many might even be a stinky car. You know, not even a good car, but hey, it's free. Someone else already paid for it. Oh, yeah, sure. I'll take a free car. They've got these prejudices about Christianity, and so, you know, well. If I become a Christian, I'll have to give this up. You know, they've got prejudices about Christians and and they think, Oh, you, you know, if I became a Christian, I had to give all my money. The church owes money grubbing Christians are always out for something. And so someone you knew at work, you try to share this with your coworkers and they hear Jesus and their prejudice takes over. They'll hear, in other words, you say. Right. Start talking about church, and all of a sudden, all they can think of is an experience they had before, when they were a kid at a different church. And their prejudice, they are prejudging your church and they all want anything to do with it is all churches are the same. Now that's your prejudice speaking. Well, what do we do? How do we combat this? Keep sharing our testimony. I mean, maybe you're not a great Bible scholar. I'm not, either. Maybe, maybe your your your knowledge of the prophecies of Jesus in the Old Testament characters isn't what you would want it to be. And so on, either Lockerbie, I'll take Isaiah and do like this great oration about, you know, how it prophesies about Jesus. I'll be able to take a whole lot of the songs without significant study and show you, Hey man, this is pointing to Jesus. If I get into a conversation with somebody in the airport or out shopping or in the neighborhood, I tell you what, I'm going to go to my testimony. I was a lost little boy. Until Jesus came and introduced himself to me. When I got saved, let me tell you, it changed my life. So what were you involved in as a four year old? Well, not much. There's a lot of things that I didn't experience because Jesus was in my life. It changed the direction of my life. I would not be here today if it weren't for Jesus. I would not be married to my wife today if it wasn't for Jesus. I wouldn't have those three precious little boys in my home if it wasn't for Jesus. Jesus changed my life. Jesus gave me a calling for my life. I mean. For my whole teenage years, I thought, I'm going to be in the air force, I'm going to be a pilot. I love to fly. I think it's the greatest thing ever. That's what I'm going to do. Then about junior year. All of a sudden that desire is gone. Like, not like I learned something. I was like, Oh, I don't wanna do that anymore. That seems scary. No, I just didn't want to do it anymore for about six months as lost. You are asking me, you're a senior next year. What are you going to do? And like, I don't know, I didn't talk like that, but. Well, anyone here, what am I gonna do with my life? I hate that feeling, don't you hate that feeling? I know purpose. Nothing I was working towards. One pastor said, Hey, would you preach for youth night? What do you think put that on his heart? Wasn't Satan? Was Jesus working in him and four and in me? Preaching that message and then going to church at Southland Christian Camp, where our kids go night after night, after night, after night, after night knew God was working on my heart, Jesus was active in my life. He gave me a calling, gave me purpose. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Jesus, Jesus has made a change in my life, hasn't he and yours? You keep telling people that. You can't argue with your testimony because it happened to you. And sure, they've got some prejudices. It may be like these people having to do with a certain group of people. Maybe their prejudice towards Christians. You show them your testimony. What a real Christians like. Maybe they've got some prejudices about the gospel. You show them through your testimony. The power of the gospel has, Hey, I tried that church thing before. I don't work for me. Hey, let me show you how it's worked. It does work. Your testimony? Go back to it. Maintain it, practice it. Write it down. So I don't know if I can tell somebody, write it elman. Once you write it down, it's in your brain. Write it down, practice it, share it with somebody. Find somebody a church that you can have over because that's a good thing to do for church members to do, have somebody over to your house, somebody you don't know yet. One of the new new folks, new members and say, Hey, tell me about how you met Jesus. I tell you why. Let me tell you how I met Jesus. I love hearing those testimonies. Many of you will tell me before you join the church, you'll tell me about how you got saved and how your spouse got saved. I love hearing those things. Why? Because there's power in the testimony of a follower of Jesus. It can overcome even the prejudices of those who don't want to hear it. So but they silenced him. Yeah, but they heard his testimony. And there's a church there with thousands of believers, don't you think that his testimony probably bore fruit in the days and weeks to come? And he stirred up some curiosity in, some of them made them seek out more information about this Jesus. I guarantee you the Holy Spirit was what was at work in those people's lives, and the Holy Spirit will use your testimony if you'll share it with other people. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, we thank you for this day. Thank you for your help, Lord this morning to get through this message. God, I pray that you would use your Holy Spirit to grant boldness and strength and courage to your people here this morning. Or do you know that we're going to face those who are prejudiced against us and against the message that we have to share? Lord, I pray that we would use one of the most powerful tools you've given us the testimony of how you saved our heart, our soul. An eternity in hell, how you forgive us of all of our sins. Word that we would share that with as many people as we can. Well, I pray that she would work during this time of invitation if there's someone here that doesn't know Jesus as their savior. Now that they will hear the testimony of Paul and would say, you know what, I want Jesus to do something like that for me. That's a day they would come forward and we could take a Bible and show them how they can know that their sins are forgiven. Florida, maybe there's another spiritual decision that needs to be made. Someone that's been saved but never been baptized, or someone that has been looking for a church home, and they would feel like this would be the place where God would have them to land. What I ask that you would be at work as we enter this, this stage of the service. It's in Jesus name. I ask these things. Amen.