Jesus encountered a man who was demon-possessed. The man was so dangerous that people quit trying to help him. They avoided him. But Jesus set the man free.
The man is so grateful to Jesus and so impressed with his power that he wants to go with Jesus. But at this point Jesus does something a bit surprising.
Jesus does not allow the man to come with him like his other disciples are doing. Instead, Jesus instructs the man to go home and tell how much God has done for him.
The man does what Jesus asks. He goes and tells all over town how much Jesus has done for him (Luke 8:39).
This account shows that our Lord does not always send his followers to faraway places in order to tell others about him. Jesus wants us to reach out to people across the street as well as around the world. We cannot all travel to far-away places but we can all speak to our friends and neighbors.
This episode illustrates another very important point. Jesus sends the formerly demon-possessed man out with no training. He does not teach him a gospel presentation or provide him with pamphlets. How will the man know what to say?
Jesus gives the man a very simple instruction. He directs the man to tell others how much God has done for him. In other words, just give a personal testimony.
A personal testimony about how God has worked in someone’s life is compelling. The Apostle Paul was a great teacher and preacher of the gospel, yet he often used his personal testimony as a tool for reaching out to others.
Any believer can construct a short, simple and effective personal testimony. Think about something that God has changed in your life. Practice telling others about the “before” and “after” of what God has done.
Your testimony may use this form: “I used to. . . . But now I. . . .” Perhaps you used to have no desire for church, but now you love the fellowship with other believers and the joy of worshiping and serving the Lord.
Maybe you used to be confused by the Bible but now God’s Spirit is enabling you to understand and apply Scripture in life-changing ways.
The formerly demon-possessed man sure had something remarkable to tell! Our story may not be as dramatic as his, but it is just as important. Jesus has liberated every believer from sin’s eternal punishment.
After telling about the change in your life, make a clear statement giving God the credit. All of this may take just a minute or two.
Finally, after sharing a personal testimony, extend some sort of invitation. Invite your listener to church. Or, ask if you can pray for him. Maybe you are attending a Bible study and you can invite him to join you.
In some cases, you may even sense that he is ready to be saved. If you are comfortable doing so, lead him in a sinner’s prayer. If not, urge him to meet with your pastor or Sunday school teacher or other leader in the church.
Go tell how much God has done in your life. Amazing things will happen!
Brother Richard Foster