THE INESTIMABLE VALUE OF YOUR TESTIMONY, PART 1

INTRODUCTION

What is the most valuable thing that you possess? Have you ever given any thought to the question? Doubtless, many of us could enumerate a small list of the most valuable things that we possess: a keepsake, a cherished memento, family, salvation, forgiveness, and the like.

I’d like to talk to you about the inestimable value of your testimony. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it, but, in truth, your testimony is one of the most valuable things that you possess. Why is that? Because God saved you. And instead of taking you to Heaven right away, He left you here on Earth. Why? Because He has a job for you to do. A big part of that job is He wants you to be a witness for Him. Wherever you go, wherever you live, and work, and play; God wants you to tell people about Him. He wants you to introduce people to Him. And in order for you to do that job, you need your testimony or witness.

DEFINITION

Our testimony consists of two things. (1) First, it consists of our character, conduct, and behavior. Just by being ourselves we’re “telling” people a lot about ourselves. For example, if we’ve got a short fuse, we’re telling people that we’re quick tempered and we get mad easily.  If we refuse to sleep with every Tom, Dick, Jane or Mary, we’re telling people that we’ve got morals; we’re not willing to fornicate or sin for the sake of love, acceptance, or money. Do you see what I mean? WE’RE TELLING PEOPLE A LOT ABOUT OURSELVES JUST BY BEING OURSELVES.

(2) There’s another aspect of our testimony and that is our spoken word. By telling people what Christ means to us, what He’s done for us; we’re introducing Jesus to them and getting them to consider the possibility of having a personal relationship with Jesus. And this relationship with Jesus will profoundly change their life and their destiny. They’ll spend eternity in Heaven, saved from Hell, because you introduced them, you led them, to Christ. THE SALVATION OF SOULS REQUIRES A SPOKEN WORD. IT REQUIRES US TO SPEAK UP AND TELL PEOPLE ABOUT JESUS.

Friends, we have an awesome privilege, opportunity, and responsibility, to change people’s lives by introducing them to the Lord. Think of the many people we can rescue from Hell—think of how happy and grateful they’ll be; that we cared enough about them to tell them about Jesus. Brethren, YOU CAN’T INTRODUCE PEOPLE TO JESUS IF YOU DON’T SAY ANYTHING TO THEM ABOUT HIM. You talk about weather. Work. Current events. Things that really don’t matter in the long run. Why not talk about Jesus who can save them, change them, fill their lives with meaning, purpose, and blessings? And, on top of all this goodness, God will bring them to Heaven where they’ll live happily ever after. Friends, your testimony of God’s love, power, and works in your life can set people on a path of change that will benefit and bless them for the rest of their life.

NAAMAN

We’re all familiar with the story of Naaman. He was a mighty General in the great Syrian Army. And he was very well liked, and favored, by the Syrian King. But the thing of it was, Naaman was a leper. There was no cure for it. And it’d be only a matter of time before the leprosy got really nasty and bad in a gruesome, smelly, and painful way. It would end up killing the great General. So Naaman’s living with a death sentence.

Well, one day he decided to pay the prophet Elisha a visit. And, without even seeing the great General, Elisha sent messengers to him at the door and told him to dip seven times in the Jordan River—after which he would be healed.

Naaman was livid! He was furious! Here was a great Syrian General who came a very long way to see him and the prophet didn’t even have the courtesy to meet with him or speak to him. This was a grievous insult to the General.

But worse than that, the prophet’s prescription for the healing of leprosy just didn’t make any sense at all. Think about it. How can dipping in the River cure leprosy? Naaman got to thinking. Do you know what this is really all about? It’s all about the Israelite prophet—an enemy prophet—humiliating me! He’s trying to make a laughingstock out of me. “Look at that fool Syrian dipping in the Jordan. What’s he thinking? Does he think the Jordan’s going to cure his leprosy? Boy, he’s all wet. He’s sure come a long way to take a bath!” Naaman would be a laughingstock in Israel. And Syria. He’d go back home a leper. No. Strike that. He’d go back home a wet leper. His people would laugh him to scorn and mock him for going all the way to Israel and trying to get healed in an enemy nation, by an enemy prophet, and an enemy God. No, Naaman wasn’t going to fall for Elisha’s trickery. So he turned around, livid and furious, and started his journey home.

Well, one of the General’s attendants turned to him and said, “Sir, we’ve come this long way to get you healed. If the prophet told you to do something big or hard you’d have done it. How much more if he told you do something small. It’s not that big a deal. Dip in the Jordan like the prophet said. It can’t hurt you. It  won’t kill you. And you’ve got nothing to lose, except maybe your pride. And who knows, you might even get healed.”

The General got to thinking about it. He settled down. And for the next twenty miles, as they made their way from Samaria to the Jordan, he saw the wisdom of what his advisor said. Reluctantly, perhaps even grudgingly, Naaman decided to give it a try. So down in the Jordan he went. Once, then twice, then thrice, and still he wasn’t healed. I wonder if he threw his hands up in the air, got all mad again, and said, “This is ridiculous! I can’t do this! It’s not working!”

Well, the General stayed with it. The prophet said seven times, so he continued dipping. And when he dipped the seventh time, he came up out of the water completely healed of leprosy! The leprosy was all gone, just like what the prophet said. It worked! It really, really worked! It’s a miracle! This was a God-thing. So right then and there, on the spot, Naaman gave his life to the Israelite God and he became a worshipper of the one true God.

2 Kings 5:15-17, And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant. (16) But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused. (17) And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules’ burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD.

A SERVANT GIRL

Naaman’s life was profoundly changed—not only physically by being healed of leprosy; but also spiritually by becoming a believer and worshipper of God.

Do you know how this change came about? Do you know what made Naaman come to Israel in the first place? It was the testimony of a servant girl. 2 Kings 5:1-5, Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper. (2) And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. (3) And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy. (4) And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel. (5) And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.

The testimony of an Israelite servant girl—carried away captive from her home in Israel and providentially placed as a slave in Naaman’s house—was what brought Naaman to Israel in search of healing. THE GIRL’S TESTIMONY, IN A WORD, CHANGED HIS LIFE FOREVER.

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, Part 2. I’ll look at some of the things we need in order to be an effective witness for Jesus. You really can’t afford to miss it. Hang tight. It’ll be worth the wait.

4 Comments

  1. Nancy Ludden said,

    July 25, 2011 at 10:14 AM

    I remember this Bible story being told by Billy Graham in one of his revivals in Indianapolis. I was a young teenager and singing in the choir that night. He taught the story with such intense meaning – asking for the people to lay down their pride and come to Jesus.

    Later that evening, after everyone had gone home, Rev. Graham and I approach each other out in a long, empty hallway of the arena. We were both coming from different directions – heading straight toward each other. I felt frightened of him as we walked closer. I remember him being VERY tall in statue. He was kind and with few words. He might have been tired or exhausted. His appeal was very strong that night. It almost seemed as though I was meeting God, himself, especially after he had spoken so strongly about Naaman not wanting to ‘dip in the river’.

    Conviction about Naaman’s pride about ‘not coming to Jesus’ struck throughout the arena that night. It was a very convicting night. The Spirit of God was very present and moving. That was about 1962.

    • gaylorddiaz said,

      July 25, 2011 at 8:53 PM

      Wow! What a memorable evening for you. I would’ve never forgotten that if it happened to me. I see, and learn, so many practical, relevant, insights in the stories from the Bible and I’m happy that the blog post brought a distant memory back to life.

  2. Nancy Ludden said,

    July 25, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    Isn’t it remarkable the way some Bible stories, and the meaning behind the stories, often stay with us for a lifetime!!!! Never to be forgotten!! Naaman’s story is one of those.

    • gaylorddiaz said,

      July 25, 2011 at 8:59 PM

      I know you were out of town, but I wish you were present to hear the delivery. You know how lively, animated, and passionate I can get in the pulpit and this message was truly blest & anointed of the Spirit. I’d always look at the story in terms of Naaman, but one day not long ago the Lord turned the spotlight on this nameless Israelite servant girl and, wow!, I’m so amazed at how the Lord brings new things to light even after reading & studying the Bible for 45+ years. Jesus well understood the power of stories to teach timely life lessons and His parables are mines whose wealth has yet to be depleted.


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