The testimonial style evangelist has realized God took a life that was blind and begging and made it abundant. The power of the testimonial evangelism style is God took a person’s imperfections, even what some would consider God’s judgments, and displayed God’s marvelous works. God has used the bad, the negative, the failures, the ugly, and the broken to show how he can transform a life through Jesus.

The Power of Testimonial Evangelism

Power of Testimonial Evangelism

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The Power of Testimonial Evangelism

Scriptures: John 9:1-15, John 9:25, John 9:34, John 12:42, Acts 15:5,
Mark 4:26-29, John 9:35, 1 Corinthians 9:23, Acts 1:8

Let’s go ahead and look once again at the different styles of evangelism that we are studying.

1. Intellectual Style (Paul at Athens)

2. Confrontational Style (Peter – Day of Pentecost)

3. Relational Style (Levi – Luke 5)

4. Invitational Style (Woman at well)

5. Serving Style (Tabitha)

6. Testimonial Style (Man born blind)

7. Prayer Style (Cornelius)

Now, remind me again, please. Which of these is the most important? Which of these should we use if we get an opportunity? They are all equally important. We should use any of them at any opportunity we are offered. We work diligently to create an opportunity to evangelize. Opportunities are rare and precious. We need to take advantage of each one. Once we have that opportunity, we should use our entire arsenal. In one situation we may need the intellectual style. In another situation, we may need the confrontational style. The situation determines the style needed. We become all things to all men.

Today’s lesson is about the testimonial style. This is my power style. I use all styles, but when I can get someone to let me tell them how Jesus has changed my life, they usually come into the kingdom shortly after. It is a power in my life. I have confidence and boldness with this style. This is my “fearless” style. I seek for an opportunity to use this style.

John 9:1-3, 6-21, 24-25, 34-38

Our lesson begins in St. John chapter 9:1.

John 9:1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.

As he went along – Once again we see that it was as Jesus “went along” that he touched the lives of people bringing them into the kingdom. It is that way with you and me. It is as we go along in the activities of everyday life that we are given the opportunities to bring people into the kingdom. It is simply a matter of using the opportunity we find.

John 9:2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

One day Jesus and his disciples were walking through downtown Jerusalem. As they walked, they saw a blind man who had been blind from birth (Joh 9:1). He was begging (Joh 9:8). His disciples asked a “religious” question. The question stemmed from the teaching that God punishes people that sin by doing horrible things to them. In this case, the question was if God was punishing the parents for sinning by giving them a blind child or was he punishing the blind man for sinning by cursing him with blindness. Have you ever heard something like that? Or, have you perhaps suspected God had done that to you or someone you know? If so, make certain we hear the answer given by Jesus.

John 9:3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

He said, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned” (Joh 9:3). We know neither the blind man nor his parents were “sinless” (Rom 3:23). That is not what Jesus was saying. Jesus said neither had done anything that would bring such a thing about. It was not because God was punishing the man or his parents that man was blind. However, it would be used to display the work of God in his life.

As a pastor, I often run into this mentality. People have been impressed somewhere along the way by some teaching that God is knocking them around or punishing them. God is not knocking anyone around. We knock ourselves around. He tells us the way to be blessed and abundant. We often select another way which doesn’t work out well. Then we blame God for judging us. He isn’t judging you. We are simply reaping what we sowed.

The Greek word phaneroo translated displayed is important in this passage and important to understanding the power of “Testimonial evangelism.”

displayed (K.J. manifest) – 5319 phaneroo {fan-er-o’-o}

make actual and visible, realized, expose to view, make manifest, to show one’s self, appear

It means to make something actual, visible, and realized. It means to expose something to view and make something appear. It is talking about going beyond theory and idealism into reality. Jesus was about to take his kingdom beyond theory and idealism and make it real. He was about to change the life of that blind man so drastically that no one could truly doubt that he could change a life. It would be a visible view of salvation.

This is at the heart of the “Testimonial” evangelism style. Father God through Jesus Christ took that barren and blind and begging life and “showed of!” God exposed his works. He made something appear.

The testimonial style evangelist has realized that God took a life that was blind and begging and made it abundant. The power of the testimonial evangelism style is that God took a person’s imperfections, even what some would consider God’s judgments on a life, and displayed God’s marvelous works. God has used the bad, the negative, the failures, the ugly, and the broken to show how he can transform a life through Jesus. He did that with me and I know it. My life changed and I know it.

The work of God is a transformed life. No one can argue that point when the person transformed is standing before them. People can and will find faults with any and everyone, but when a life is transformed before our very eyes, who can argue? That is the power of the testimonial evangelist.

John 9:6 Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.

John 9:7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

Jesus did a very unconventional thing to heal the blind man. Jesus spit on the ground, made some mud using the saliva. He put the mud on the man’s eyes (Joh 9:6). Wasn’t that a lovely sight and sound? Can you imagine what the blind man was thinking? It’s amazing that he remained motionless and allowed Jesus to do that. Jesus then told the man to go wash in the pool named Siloam. After doing what Jesus had instructed, the once blind man came home seeing (Joh 9:7).

We learn an important point about this style of evangelism. That which the Lord has done for the person using the testimonial style will often have been accomplished by unconventional means. Spit and mud and washing in a specific pool is weird and unconventional, but it worked and no one could argue that it had happened. The testimony of the person using the testimonial style will border the miraculous and the unbelievable. Nonetheless, it will be impossible to argue against because of the visible works that God has displayed.

My life was a barren thing. I was miserable. I was actually blind inside. I was groping around like a blind man. I didn’t know where I was going or how I looked or how anyone else looked. I didn’t know who I was. Like the woman at the well, I had tried many different things thirsting for life. I was in dept and begging. I didn’t like myself. I made people miserable. One day Jesus was going along and saw me. Through many unconventional ways Jesus transformed my life. God did a work. I am a piece of work. My eyes were opened. I discovered where I was and where I was going. I could see myself. I no longer groped about life. In a few years after I came into the kingdom, I was out of dept. I had a purposeful life. I began touching the lives of others. God had displayed his works in me.

made some mud,”wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent) – I think it is necessary to point out that the man did two things that helped his transformation. I see so many people that believe in Jesus, but there is never a great display of God’s work in their lives. Why is that? Perhaps we can gain some insight from this story.

The man allowed Jesus to do an unconventional thing. It’s not traditional to allow someone to put mud made with spit on your eyes. How many of us would do that? Perhaps if we were blind, we would try anything. My point is to experience a transformation, we must allow Jesus to touch our lives the way he wants to touch us individually. He will not touch me the identical way he has touched you. He will not touch you the identical way he has touched me. He may simply tell you to take up your bed and walk. He told me to go and wash in the pool of Siloam which means Sent. There were some things I was sent to do.

Another thing we see is that Jesus instructed the man to do a specific thing. He told him to “wash in the Pool of Siloam.” What if he had not washed or went to a different pool? He would have been touched by Jesus, but would he have received a transformation work? Often people will not follow up on what the Lord instructed to do to complete the transformation. Therefore, their transformation does not happen. What are some things that people refuse to do that they should? Perhaps pray, read the Bible, attend church, become involved in the kingdom, etc. There are instructions when Jesus touches a life. The transformation will not happen if those instructions are not followed.

John 9:8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?”

John 9:9 Some claimed that he was. Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”

“Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” The man’s life was so changed that it appeared to be a different person. The Bible talks about a new creature (2Co 5:17). When the Lord touches us, we should be new creatures. Even those that knew the man doubted it was really him.

The change of the life is so drastic that some people refuse to believe it actually happened. Here is another point about those that use this evangelism style. They will say things like, “That won’t last long. Or, I don’t believe it.” However, years later when the once blind man continues to see, they have no options but to believe.

It was that way with me. People said, “Delbert has gotten religion.” Then they would laugh and say, “That won’t last long. He only looks like he has changed.” Twenty-five years later I can still see. I continue to be blessed and abundant.

John 9:10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they demanded.

John 9:11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

John 9:12 “Where is this man?” they asked him. “I don’t know,” he said.

Immediately the once blind man began using his testimonial style of evangelism. People began asking, “How were your eyes opened.” The once blind man said, “Jesus did it. This is what happened. Now I can see.” I absolutely love the next part because it is the part I await people to ask me when I tell them how my life changed. They said, “Where is this man?”

I was this way. Immediately I began reaching people for Jesus. I began bringing my family to church. I got people saved at work. I began telling people where they could find Jesus.

Everyone desires that their life change in one degree or another. Even though they may not be ready to change, they want to know where they can find Jesus when they are ready. That is what is so wonderful. One day they will be ready and when they are they will remember where to find Jesus. We will look at this a little more in a minute.

John 9:13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind.

John 9:14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath.

John 9:15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”

Again we note the unconventional touch upon those that use the testimonial style. The Lord had touched that man on the Sabbath day. Jesus had broken tradition. The Pharisees thought it had to be done a certain way.

Jesus did not touch my life in a conventional way. I didn’t “get saved” at church. I believe it actually happened in my bedroom one morning as I read the Bible. Later, I prayed with my pastor because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. There is nothing wrong with “getting saved” at church. That just wasn’t the way it happened with me. I didn’t receive the Holy Spirit at church. I received the Holy Spirit at my place of work as I was praying one night. There is nothing wrong with receiving the Holy Spirit at church. That simply wasn’t the way the Lord touched me. Still today some think I am rebellious because I break tradition. I would rather think of myself as unconventional. That is the way it began and that is the way it continues. In fact, not long ago I preached a message titled, “My name is Delbert Young and I am not average.” Jesus broke tradition with me and used me to break traditions of men. Today the Pharisees continue to dislike people who are unconventional. Sometimes they still question if God really touched me. All I can answer is look and see.

People will check out our story. The Pharisees decided that what the man who had been blind was saying could not be true. So, they asked people that would know if what the man was saying was indeed true. They asked his parents who affirmed that it was true. We learn another principle about this evangelism style. We can make it sound wonderful and miraculous, but people will find out if it’s not true.

The Pharisees will always question if Christ touched our lives. We should welcome the opportunity because it gives us an opportunity to say exactly what the once blind man said.

John 9:25 He replied, ” . . . One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

It used to bother me deeply when people questioned if Jesus actually had his hand on me and if he had indeed sent me to Siloam. Today I welcome the questioning. I smile this big smile and sweetly say, “Look around. What do you think? All I know is I was blind but now I see!”

John 9:34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

Have you ever been thrown out of a church? I have experienced it. I was so unconventional that I was thrown out of a denomination. They threw once blind man out, but there was an effect from his testimony. Even the Pharisees were affected. We are told that later many of the chief leaders and Pharisees believed on Jesus (Joh 12:42; Act 15:5).

John 12:42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him . . .

Acts 15:5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said . . .

Our witness for Jesus never goes without good coming from it. It may seem at the time that it did not accomplish anything, but it always does. This is true with any evangelism style. What we do has an effect. It may not appear that way, but it does.

I constantly see and hear about how the effects of something I did or said years ago had on people years later. It takes time. It’s like a seed planted (Mar 4:26-29).

Mark 4:26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;

Mark 4:27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.

Mark 4:28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.

Mark 4:29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

We must never become frustrated or discouraged when we know we have moved in an evangelism style. They threw that poor guy out. Yet, a little time later, the seed did spring up and grew. They had to deal with the fact that his life was transformed.

I continue to upset people and they attempt to throw me out of their lives. But often, later they find something that I said or did springing up and bringing them life. It’s how the Lord uses me.

John 9:35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

There is a very interesting ending to this story. Jesus heard about the man’s testimony and actually went searching for and found the once blind man (Joh 9:35). Jesus actually took time and personally came and spent time with him. There are few, if any, times that I am aware of when Jesus went looking for a specific person like this. I am aware of going to raise Lazarus and going to the house of Zacchaeus as he passed along the way. However, Jesus specifically went and searched out this man to talk to him about coming into the kingdom.

Paul said that he became all things to all men so that he could be used to save some (1Co 9:19-23). He went on to say that there were special benefits and blessings when a person will reach out to people evangelistically.

1 Corinthians 9:23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

This would be one of those special blessings. Imagine a personal visitation from Jesus. Now that’s a blessing. It seems that people who move in a testimonial style actually do have special visits from the Lord and his Spirit. They are not conventional. They don’t experience Jesus only on Sunday. They have many visits. I have had many visits from the Lord.

As we have seen in all the evangelism styles, there is a power. That power has the ability to transform lives. It is within every person who has received the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

We are his witnesses every place we go. We have an ingrained power that will witness for Jesus and bring people into the kingdom of God. We need to use that power.

Other Related Sermons:

Power of Relation Evangelism – sermon video audio notes

Work of Believing – sermon video audio notes

Reaching Through Relationships – church growth sermon video audio notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young