What is a testimony and why is it so important?
The Bible teaches us about the power of our testimonies. The book of Revelation describes a war that broke out in heaven and gives the details as to how the devil was defeated.
“Rev 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony;..”
If we are not overcoming evil, it means we either have 1. No Testimony, 2. False Testimony or 3. an Ignorant Testimony. In either case, we would have become an unreliable witness.
A testimony is any type of communication that attempts to validate that something is correct. Two people cannot work, function, build, create, or do anything constructive unless they are in agreement. A testimony is a verbal declaration that something is a fact and that it is true. Agreement sits at the heart of all relationships, whether it is between man or God.If our testimony is not in line with what we want from each other, then we cannot accomplish anything together.
The entire Bible is a testimony and is divided into two main sections. THE OLD TESTAMENT, and the NEW TESTAMENT. The people that spoke, wrote, and contributed to the creation of the Bible through the divine inspiration of God are called his Witnesses. The people that reads the Bible, believe in its words and receives Jesus' spirit, are also called witnesses. Therefore, when you become a witness, you must have a testimony and when you have a testimony it means you're a witness. My goal with this teaching is to help us to become better at knowing what to speak when asked to give a testimony. Right now there is great confusion in our churches as to what it means to give a testimony. Many have stood up in the congregation and spoken, misleading information, along with things that have nothing to do with what it means to give a testimony. Many have confused Testimony with Prayer, Supplication, Worship, and even preaching none of which is a testimony.
God wants us to be witnesses of his love and wants our words to be testimonies of that experience. God has never shown love in an invisible way, where you can't see the channel from whom it comes. After all, he is not the Author of confusion.
1Co_14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. & Joh_14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
What is Love?
God requires love to be something that you can identify within yourself when you receive from or give it to others. He describes what love is and how to identify it. If we were not able to identify and know Love, we would not be able to speak of the "New Testament" which is all about Love and our relationship with God.
The Bible describes love as a combination of two things. A specific set of activities that is driven by a feeling of affection. If these specific actions are not accompanied by a feeling of affection, then we have not achieved Love.
1Co_13:1 "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 1Jn_4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 1Jn_4:21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
In order to have a Testimony of Love to speak about, someone physically in the flesh must have to give you something or do something for you, and you would have to affectionately receive it. In other words, If your testimony is that Billy Gave you a dollar because Billy loves God, then you have told a lie on Billy, reason being, you don't know Billy's state of mind and his heart. Quite frankly the Bible expresses that the heart of man is "Continually Deceitful" Jer_17:9 It really is God's job to know the heart of man 1Sa_16:7.
We experience love in two ways.
Giving Affectionately: When we share our possession with others with a deep feeling of gratitude and affection. And Receiving Affectionately: When someone shares their possessions with us and we accept it with a deep feeling of gratitude and affection. Our testimonies, however should not be about how we feel when we give, because that is pride. It should be about the affection we feel when we receive because that is humility.
A Correct Testimony
Starts with; The identification of a giver, then what that person gave to you, and then how it made you feel upon receiving it. Both the Giver & the Receiver has to be identified for your statement to be a Godly testimony.
The mechanics of a good testimony.
A testimony is not the act, neither is it the person who did the act. A testimony is a verbal statement proving that you have experienced the act and the person who did it. In order for your testimony to be accurate, you have to Identify three specific things, if any of these things are missing, then you have an unreliable testimony.
The three things are listed in order of importance;
1. Identify the Giver,
2. Identify the Gift,
3. Identify your reception of the Gift.
Example; Bill(the giver) Gave me a dollar (The Gift), and when I took it, it changed my life for the better. I was able to buy food, and i'm so appreciative of God's love working through him. (The reception)
Example; I'm so grateful that my daughter's teacher (The Giver) gave her a second chance(the Gift) after failing her test. My daughter and I were very happy she was able to do that and we thank God for the Love he has shown. (The Reception)
Mechanics of a bad testimony
A bad testimony eliminates or speaks without identifying either the Giver, the Gift or the gratitude of the recipient. Just in the same way you can have a "Bad Prayer" Mat_6:7,
Example: I want to thank God for waking me up this morning and starting me on my way. He didn't have to make me live. Many didn't wake up, and many are dead and I want to thank him for life health and strength.
This is not a testimony but more of a prayer, and a bad prayer at that. It is more like something you would say to God when you are praying. It excluded the Person and the gift. This testimony also tries to show appreciation for God while eliminating the brethren. This is wrong.
Rom 13:6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Rom 13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
Church is at times, like a Courtroom
During every testimony session, the church and its members are on trial. They have the power to loose or bind. The bible teaches us to bring our brethren before the church when they are not doing right and to be a witness against them if they refuse to listen. This is an example of a courtroom setting.
Mat_18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. Mat 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglects to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Mat 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
We need to also become a witness of the Good that our brethren are doing and the testimony service is where we get to do it. When you stand and testify you are letting everyone know that Sister Jane, or Brother Bill, is a true christian since it is prideful for them to praise themselves. Showing honor, and appreciation is a big part of love. It is our job to bear witness of the God that resides in our brothers and sisters. Too often we are quick to testify of the devil that is within them but slow to speak on the God that they possess. This is wrong.
Php_4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
We cannot testify about God directly, because we can't see him. This was only possible in the Old Testament. To testify we need to identify the Giver through whom the gift came. Every time we testify, we must indicate that a real human being gave us something, and also show our reception towards the gift. If you believe that have not received anything from anyone, it could mean you are ungrateful. It is impossible to be alive and well, without someone contributing something to your life in some way shape or form. We are interdependent. And if you are not capable of recognizing what the visible person is doing for you, neither will you recognize what the "Invisible God is doing for you". So in recognizing what the physical person is doing, you automatically recognize what the "invisible God" is doing.
Our relationship with God has moved from being Separated, as in the exodus, to being directed (as in coming from the prophets), to being connected (as in being married to Jesus). He has moved his kingdom from being apart from us, to being within us.
Mar_9:36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, Mar_9:37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.
Don't confuse a testimony with Prayer
Prayer is asking God for what you want, thank him directly for what he has done for you. and learning from his spirit that resides in you. Mat 6:5 to 15 (When ye pray...)
Don't confuse your testimony with Worship
Worship is when you sing or recite praise to God for all the things he has done for you so others may hear of his goodness. This is not a testimony this is worship. Psalm 100:1
Don't confuse your testimony with Teaching
Teaching is when an individual expounds on the word of God for the edification of the body of believers, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Don't confuse your testimony with Supplication
Supplication is what you ask during prayer, or during a prayer request. Don’t indulge in any type of begging, or talking about yourself. It is not a time to ask for what you want, ask for prayer or to speak about what destitute situation you're in. Testimony is a time to talk about what you were given, not what you are missing.
NOW, OUR TESTIMONY SHOULD BE ONE THING AND ONE THING ONLY; TO BEAR WITNESS OF THE LOVE OF GOD THAT RESIDES IN YOUR BRETHREN AND FOR THEM TO BEAR WITNESS OF THE LOVE OF GOD THAT RESIDES IN YOU.
If you are a part of the body of Christ and no one can stand and testify to your love then it means either, you have not done anything for anyone, or they are ungrateful for what God is using you to do in their lives and the bible tells us what to do with that kind of person.
Mat 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
In either case, this scripture is for you. Find someone who will receive your love, or to whom you can give your love. And when you do your alms in secret your heavenly father will reward you openly.
THE NEW TESTAMENT
The "New Testament" is a New Way of Seeing God. Love is not only Giving", but love is also receiving
Rom_15:7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
The best testimony we can give is to tell of what our brethren have done for us. God wants us to know him, recognize him, and to be able to have a relationship with him through the people in and around us. It started with knowing God through Jesus,
Joh_14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Jesus is the beginning of the New Testament, or the New "Way" of testifying, or better yet, the New way of "seeing God", through our relationship with others. See the Parable of the Good Samaritan Luk_10:25. Mat_22:37, Mar_12:30 There are basically three types of Testimonies and they are given by the three kinds of witnesses.
Witness Type #1 (The Eye Witness. )
This type of witness is based on where you were and what you experienced. This is where you talk about what you experience through your senses. This is the Lowest form of testimony you can give, and the lowest type of witness you can become. Even in our court system, eyewitnesses are not considered a credible source of information. 75% of wrong convictions are because of eyewitnesses.
Here are some of the problems with experiencing things just through your senses.
- You may not have any experience with what you saw. Just like the disciples in the storm had no experience (Mar_4:38) What they witnessed was a man who didn't care about them. Because the idea of a person being calm in the midst of the storm was alien, never seen it.
- When you give your testimony about God based only on what you see, you run the risk of being an Unreliable witness, Nothing is wrong with telling people about what you see God do, but we want to get to a higher plane of witnessing.
- You may not Understand what you saw Mar_4:39-40 The disciples' lack of understanding caused them great fear. People general fear things they don't understand or know about. When you give testimony and you can't explain the science behind your testimony or the reason why God did what he did, then you have become an unreliable witness.We need to strive for more than what meets the eye.
- You may not know the person you saw Mar_4:41 The disciples saw the man Jesus but still didn't know or understand that he was God. When you give a testimony based only on what you see and you don't know anything about the person that is involved, you have become an unreliable witness.
God is a spirit, you're 5 senses is for this world, God is not of this world. You will need a higher level of witnessing in order to please God.
Witness Type #2 - (Expert Witness)
An expert witness' testimony, comes from his years of study and expertise pertaining to that which he's testifying about. In today's Court system, an expert witness can easily overturn an eyewitness. This is the second most valuable type of witness in the system of Law. Here's why
Discipline: Disciplined people are least likely to lie. They stick to the information they have tested and proven over time. This is why they became an expert in the first place. They would have to have a track record of being accurate over and over again. Joh_1:1 to John 1:8 (John was an expert witness) He studied the word of God and could quote relevant scriptures from memory. He was not just a regular eye witness, he was an expert. Joh_1:19 He Understood what to look for, who to expect, and what needed to be done. Joh_1:29 to 34 When the time came for John to be able to identify Jesus the messiah he was able to simply because he was an expert witness.
God appreciates you for studying to show yourselves approved, however, we are under a different covenant and testament.
The first five books of the Old Testament focused on the eyewitnesses.
The book of the Prophets focused on the witness of the expert Witnesses.
But since Jesus fulfilled the law, the eye witness and the expert witness won't cut it anymore we need the highest form of testimony.
Witness Type #3 (Character Witness)
A character witness is the most powerful type of witness you can have. While an eye witness, sees the event, and an expert witness understands the event, the character witness knows the person. The greatest character witness on earth is a person's spouse. This witness is so powerful they are the only witness that cannot be compelled to testify in a case (Immunity). A spouses testimony can...
1. Override a Jury
2. Convict an innocent or guilty person
3. Can cause a Mistrial
4. can even nullify the opinion of a judge.
God wants us to become his character witness on a spousal level. (He relates to the church as his bride throughout the scripture.)
Eph_5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Isa_62:5 For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.
Mat_25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
Rev_19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
God wants us to be a witness that can testify of his Love.But you can't testify about his love if you don't get married to him. Your love needs to be evident in those that are closest to you. Your husband, your children, your family is your first and foremost neighbors. And you love of God starts there. 1Co 13:1 Agape (Love, benevolence, like a spouse)
Testify of your relationship with your spouse, and what they gave to you and how you feel about it.
Testify of your relationship with your children, what they gave to you and how you feel about it.
Testify of your relationship with you Brother & Sister what they gave you and how you feel about it.
Testify of your relationship with your Parents what they gave you and how you feel about it.
Testify of your relationship with your neighbor, what they gave you and how you feel about it.
Can I get a witness that can testify about God's Love? Can you attest to someone's love today? Give a testimony and set them free.