Testimony And Teaching
20 “But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.” Acts 11:20-21 NKJV
The account of non-Jews hearing the preaching about Jesus and then surrendering themselves to Him comes on the heels of the persecution growing from the stoning of Stephen. Because of the persecution followers of Jesus are being scattered, but wherever they go they preach Jesus. Here in Antioch the sharing the good news and the giving of their testimony have resulted in Gentiles coming to accept Jesus.
According to verse 21, when we give a testimony about Jesus Christ to others, the Lord moves through that testimony in powerful ways. Giving of your testimony is more than just sharing with people how you got saved, it is sharing with people what you know, what He has taught you in the Word and what you have seen and experienced with the power of the Holy Spirit and the faithfulness of Jesus. When you read verse 21 in the Amplified Bible it says those who believed “learned” to believe. When you share the things you know about Jesus with others, you are teaching them how to believe in Jesus.
As believers in Jesus, we need to be active in teaching or sharing that which we know. You don’t have to know everything; you just have to be willing to share what you do know with others so that they might learn from you and your experiences. As you share what you know, you are helping to build them up to be His disciples. Remember the great commission that Jesus gave was not win converts but rather to make disciples. As you teach what you know and share your zeal for Jesus it will win the hearts of others as you are making them disciples of Jesus. As you share what you know, the Holy Spirit will move with power through your words to lead them to a deeper relationship and a desire for the relationship with Jesus.
We don’t always think along these lines, but sometimes the best way to win someone for Jesus is not to give them an evangelistic sales pitch, but rather to make them disciples. Make them followers of Jesus by leading them there with the things you know and have learned. Give them testimonies, invest in them, and disciple them into the truth.
As you look further in Acts 11, you find that Barnabas, seeing the Holy Spirit move at Antioch, goes there personally and he is so encouraged by what he finds, that he then proceeds to Tarsus seeking Paul. The two return to Antioch and for a year they instruct those who are there. Here in Antioch, these converts are the first ones identified by the title of “Christians”. There is power in what you know, share it others to build the body through your testimony and teaching.
J Todd Hostetler