Acts 22:1-5: The powerful weapon of personal testimony.

“1 ‘Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defence.’  When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet.  Then Paul said: ‘I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.” NIV UK

The repetition of Paul’s testimony in the book of ‘Acts’ is significant. His conversion was a key moment in the history of the church. It is clear that he was an educated man; a deeply religious man, and an angry man. He hated the church and opposed believers. Yet he was converted.

The story of your conversion is unique to you. Don’t doubt for one moment that it is a powerful God-given weapon in your armoury. Pray for opportunities to use it, and look for them. Paul told his story on a number of occasions

In the eighteenth century, two young men in the swim of society, Gilbert West and Lord Lyttleton, went to Oxford, and they agreed to research two key points of Christianity with the clear aim of proving them false. One of them, Gilbert West, would study to prove that Jesus did not rise from the dead; the other,George Lyttleton (the first Baron Lyttleton) would aim to prove that Saul of Tarsus was never converted – that he did not become the apostle Paul. Each determined to do a thorough job, taking a year to establish his case. However, as they went about their serious business, they eventually concluded that Christianity was true and became Christians. West eventually wrote ‘Observations on the History and Evidences of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.’ Lyttleton wrote a lengthy text entitled ‘Observations on the Conversion and Apostleship of St. Paul.’

In 1761, Lyttleton wrote these words to West: ‘Sir, in a late conversation we had together upon the subject of the Christian religion, I told you that besides all the proofs of it which may be drawn from the prophecies of the Old Testament, from the necessary connection it has with the whole system of the Jewish religion, from the miracles of Christ, and from the evidence given of his resurrection by all the other apostles, I thought the conversion and apostleship of Saint Paul alone, duly considered, was of itself a demonstration sufficient to prove Christianity a divine revelation.

In chapter 22 Paul gives the before and after pictures. On the face of it, you might say he was not a likely candidate for conversion, but such is the power of God.

David Pawson was speaking at a youth club one night. When he came home his wife asked him how he got on. ‘There’s hope for two of them,’ he replied. ‘They got angry!’