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Logo of Talking Points, 3rd Quarter 2020: Making Friends for God

02-The Power of Personal Testimony

Mark Howard Kameron DeVasher
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Pastors Kameron DeVasher and Mark Howard share study and teaching tips for Quarter 3, July 11, lesson 2, “The Power of Personal Testimony”



  • July 6, 2020
    9:00 AM
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I'm going to Beijing and I'm here now and this is talking points this week we're looking at quarter 3 Lesson 2 inside of our making friends for God This week's title is the power of personal testimony that's right and before we get into our lesson preparation because this isn't the lesson itself of course as a walking through the preparation for the lesson that everyone's going to be doing actually having a lesson in their Sabbath school live in a local church but we wanted to address something that may have come up and in fact we know it came up we have some input about that about the actual format of this new series right there we're sitting here at a table and if people have noticed we are not 60 to part we don't have that kind of wingspan and are more arms out we're not wearing a mask and so a legitimate question was brought up about what is what are we modeling is this a subtle teaching to the conference and to be you know 14 or some sort of disregarding the rules and and we want to be crystal clear about that this is no way an endorsement of you know or trying to get away from the structures and recommendation to come out yes I'm just I'm just thinking to myself This is a reality of recording space and you know we don't have a studio so if you want to donate to our studio we believe we have that as it is we're doing this in your office and Cameron and I you know of course we're in this situation now where you can have groups of 10 and what have you people your queen with but we work together yes closely so we it be like the context of your family whatever so because of that us being 6 feet apart for this would do nothing but model and we don't want to take that away and give an idea idea that we don't think this is serious or important and it would show insensitivity those who've been sick but we do want to explain. I mean that we're not trying to negate some of the guidelines that are out there but explain why we're in the format that we write and if you notice that whenever we did the full set was cool program we did have 6 feet apart we were on much tighter restrictions the office was still closed the office comforts office opened and so those rules are easing but to be clear we do have people here and we get our temperature checked everything as they come in we have to have social distancing when we're in larger groups and all of those protocols are still there but for our recording space we're not setting this up a so hey everybody take off your mask and close together savable but for this purpose of this format is just for the video it's so well the other thing we talked about is you'll notice that if you really look at your screen you feel like you're at the table with us and you know a lot of people we've got a lot of feedback from people who actually have been appreciative of that because they feel so closed up and isolated and so it makes it feel like you're in a group and virtually all of the places you're you're not allowed to be in a group so that was kind of the design as well so we there was no thought about trying to like disregard any of the norms or protocols and we actually do want encourage people to be helpful and heat all those warnings right but for this particular production that's the direction we're going just for the logistics of that Yasser Howard and I are in no danger from each other because we've been working together through this whole thing and so it is more like a family family arrangement than anything and then as you mentioned were checked every day in the arts and so far so good so praise the Lord a 1000000 healthy and I think we can dive into a lesson Yes listen to the power of well listen to us we haven't had prayer for this incident we always pray offscreen and you know what why don't we begin with prayer and then we'll dive into this Ok Father in heaven we are thankful for the opportunity the privilege we have of knowing you and your Son Jesus Christ and your word Lord and being able to study that together we just pray now that as we go through our talking points for this particular lesson your Holy Spirit would guide us as the presenters and our viewers as well Lord and bless us abundantly with your presence we ask in Jesus' name and then again then. Ok the entire quarter is about making friends for God right Elder Finley as a main contributor here in this we were talking about the power of personal testimony yes that's the title of the lesson and what our reason are for our one of our main purposes for talking points and just to reiterate as we're still kind of starting this out is you know again the lesson format is laid out in a weekly you know Sabbath afternoon Sunday Monday Tuesday but that was for devotional purposes not teaching purposes and so often times and I've noticed it quite a bit in this lesson the author of the lesson has a something he's trying to communicate and because by virtue of the set up of the lesson he's got to divide it up and so often times there may be 3 or 4 key points that are spread out over 7 days and so what we have done is gone back through in distilled those into key point yes and just to be clear the way that we are relationship is as working here I am the one who does the initial outline of the lesson and then Cameron and I go over the lesson together and so these are the key points that I would have drawn out of Cameron have the primary responsibility not that when we get together he has input but the main outline or key points initially are mine and sometimes that if it were the other way around Cameron's outline would be different from mine right it would be very similar because we're dealing with the same lesson but we're saying this to say one of the things we're going to do is show you how we come up with the key points and why you may come up with different key points and that's fine and we're trying to help you have some tools to make you better equipped to teach is right and so I do want to make sure that this whenever you have these and they'll be the link at the bottom of the screen against. The outline that has been provided here and it's not just like Ok now I can be done with this all just follow this how and it's not a substitution for it's a model of how we're going to put together it's a good starting point it's a good if you want to use your. And but like you were saying the goal is to have people prepare a lesson study based on their own understanding of what was already what was taught and how they would present it clearly for a class and so this is just a sample of that as you put together as yes or so just as a for instance now we won't do this every week but let me just walk through what I've done this week. Sabbath afternoons lesson is generally introductory to the hymns week and the point it makes is the power sharing a testimony that person experience with course which is the theme of the week Sundays lesson goes into the example of the demoniacs of the Gadarene and the fact that these demon possessed men Jesus turned right around and made witnesses for him which will go over unless Monday's lesson goes over the women who went to the tomb witness that Jesus had raised and went back and told the disciples about it so again a personal testimony experience. To say is lesson is highlighting. Peter and John before the authorities and talks about the changes how it changed lives make a difference now already what I'm seeing in this is how some things kind of complete together you know it's just kind of experience you'll see what I do with it in a minute but this is as I go through I said last week I go through the whole as and then I step back and say you know how how does this answer our main objective this week of sharing the power of personal testimony Wednesday talks about sharing our experience sharing about what Christ has done well that's really saying the same thing except afternoon and some of what's already been used so I'm saying that to say to go through this lesson with a class and again I'm I'm repeating myself from what we've said before some of it just because we're starting this out but it bears repeating. I think it's a disservice to the class for me to come to the class as teacher and just basically read through the lesson with them which they had opportunity to do without me Ok my job as a teacher is to draw out of the lesson things that can help them to get a better understand in this case a power personal testimony so Wednesday's kind of repetition I want to roll out in something else Thursday talks about the power of personal testimony which. It is a repetition is I mean the low tide so but it's I understand the author was just carrying over you or the contributor I should say was an author of a lesson because you get that contributor at editors and then Friday is always kind of a summary of thought so here's what I took away from it I've got 3 key points and from now on we're going to end the talking points without even the description I gave because I'm not going to go every week and say this is what I saw in the lesson this is what i do we are going to take the key points I'm going to say from this week's lesson these are the points I drew out 3 of them this week and I said I would encourage you to keep it to 3 or 4 points number one even a beginner can share a personal testimony Ok And you're going to see it was we walk through it how we do that from the lessons examples so in this this week what we're what I would do in teaching it is I would give an overview of the lesson. The power of personal testimony kind of an introduction and we'll talk about how we do that and it's in our outline and then key points number one even a beginner can share personal testimony number 2 not everyone will believe but don't stop sharing your testimony and number 3 the power of a crisis like life those are the 3 things that I drew out from this week's lesson and when you draw out 3 points it's fairly easy to get through 3 points in your weeks' study time in your church where you have 25 minutes or 45 minutes right so that's kind of the goal there so what we're going to do is we're going to walk through that introduction and then our 3 points and again these you can get these on line in and follow along with the outline or just listen to us highlight the points All right so let's go let's go through with it. So you have these 3 points but it doesn't start with a 3 points you have some introductory call in to the overview of the personal testimony just like your Sabbath afternoons lesson and does. First of all just explaining to the class what is personal testimony course testimony is sharing your firsthand experience like you test a witness has to have a 1st hand account of something. Have seen or heard for example I could have heard an accident and not been at the scene of the accident and I'd still be a witness I could testify to what I could I witness you mean ear witness yes but I couldn't heard about the accident and been a witness right so the personal testimony you have you're telling what you know of Christ and what we're doing with the personal testimony really is and we talked with this a little bit is we're not even you know we think of personal testimony as sharing what Christ has done in my life and that's true but I'm not witnessing about me or even as much about what God has done for me as I am about who God is and what he can do for everybody in other words what he's done for me is testifying to the authenticity in the bulletin he of the palate all serious is merely an example of this greater God you know that your experience made it look like that when you try him but it is what I know but I know do know that if I have this you'll have something from him to put it in a part of the reason bring that up is personal testimony never takes the place of the word it's not like Ok I don't share the Bible and share doctrine I just tell my testimony because the testimony is supporting the word in other words there are people who heard about the Bible or heard about Christianity your testimony is giving them a real life example that this is true so it's not replacing it it's actually both during It is like I've heard about the Bible but then when you give your testimony and what doesn't and I feel like maybe the Bible is true and you know so we're testifying to the validity of the Gospel or the lesson brings out that point the bottom if there is a there is no witnesses effective as a changed life and that that's why it reveals it reveals to people the possibilities of what God can do like this is real it's not just make believe because this person is experienced and I have a couple quotes that I've included here one is evangelism 289 it says the conversion of the human soul is of no little consequence it is the greatest miracle performed by divine power in awesome States. No I read an excerpt from the surveys the wonderful love of Christ will melt in subdue hearts when the mere reiteration of doctrines would accomplish nothing so this is just talking about the power of testimony and again to be clear that's not to say that we shouldn't present doctrine right but if we were to merely do that in a sterile You know what but wrapping it in your own person test my test how many gives power to the doctor exactly it's not a separate thing he said so just a little bit of introduction about what personal testimony is and of course the question is or the point is the power of personal testimony in the 1st take away we have our 1st point is even the beginner can share personal testimony and of course a lesson goes into the example of Mark 5 you can find the story of the demoniacs in Matt and all the synoptic gospels Matthew Mark and Luke and if that's a new term for you synoptic it is 2 words together why Anas likes in a synonym it's the same optic view Matthew Mark and Luke are called the synoptic gospels separate from John because John takes a little different approach in his gospel but all the synoptic gospels carry this account in a little different way. You want to go ahead you're there and I'm sure and you want me to read through the 15 to 20 chapter 5 to do that Ok. Then they came to Jesus and saw the one who had been demon possessed and had the Legion sitting and clothed and in his right mind and they were afraid and those who saw it told him how it happened to him who had been demon possessed and about the swine then they begin to plead with him to depart from their region we got into the boat he who had been demon possessed begged him that he might be with Him However Jesus did not permit him but said to him Go home to your friends and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you and how he has had compassion on you and he parted and began to proclaim him to Capitol us all that Jesus had done for him and all marveled. There's all this is a challenge for us in this format because we're going to dive into but the point I want to pick up on is here's a guy if you're reading. Is it Matthew who brings up 2 demoniacs there's a seeming discrepancy one time is the one guy and the other time is 2 and people will say That's it yeah distance a but reality there is one that was more prominent than the other but the point is demoniac of the gatherings or the money actually getting demon possessed at one minute witnesses for Christ in literally day and night and so I mean if you if you look at the story closely because they basically had time to be freed and sit in Jesus' feet while the telling spoke heard about this story and by the time they come back begging him to leave that's the law so this man didn't have days which he literally had maybe the span of a few hours and we even have a quote We're going to share that Elmo it's clear that they hadn't even heard a single sermon of Jesus Exactly and I think the phrase uses but for a few moments you know only they had been in his presence which again might have been minutes or hours but I mean it wasn't multiple days they didn't hold the whole series and of all the things in the story that get my attention like the demons beg Jesus on this one he says Ok and the townsfolk beg him to leave and he leaves Yes And then the one last big is like please can I go with you and he's like no you say and he sends them back. And you would think of all the people to why him why did you leave him there yeah it almost sounds like Jesus had a little lapse of judgment right now for a minute and in addition to that one of the reasons this is so powerful and again our key point our draw our take away is even a beginner Yes I mean this person has even heard a whole sermon how many times do we hear among 7 they haven't been in the church for 20 years I don't know enough I don't know where I don't know if this takes away any and every place where you demon possessed 2 minutes ago then go you know well I mean you can even take that up and they won't even receive Jesus right but they will receive the testimony of these men is it there's an individual experience that is uniquely exams right at that position so these guys were better suited to be missionaries in that area than were his own disciples or even at this moment Jesus himself what you think about it I mean what why would that be because. We're talking with the power of personal testimonies we got people knew who these guys were his money the lesson brings up that many of the people and I put in the margin of the quarterly many how could you not know about the guys Belling in the games and they're handling the crazy I know yeah so so it's like in then to see that transformation right could not have an impact even more so as you said than Jesus would have had on them obviously his Christ demeanor and bearing and all of that had an impact but to see what these guys were and what they became was evidently the Savior myself knew that that was what that town needed and if you look the story up inside of ages I highly recommend that you do Ms White goes into detail about how the disciples could explain doctrine better than they could have Jesus of course was that was the message himself of his to give it but back this is the quote share some of that want you know me quote look at it it's not in there because it's from this is desire of Ages 340 says the to restore demoniacs with the 1st missionaries from whom whom Christ sent to preach the Gospel in the region of the Qabalistic for a few moments only these men had been privileged to hear the teachings of Christ not one sermon from his lips had ever fallen upon their ears they could not instruct the people as the disciples who had been daily with Christ were able to do but they bore in their own persons the evidence that Jesus was a Messiah they could tell what they knew what they themselves had seen and heard and felt of the power of Christ and then she makes the application this is what everyone can do whose heart has been touched by the grace of God and I don't know that when he told me he's in there but that that's the point that she's making there is that they had a unique perspective that only they could have and there was and Jesus needed the disciples and. Those double up no. It would be better for them in their own growth to go share their faith and it would be just as good let's see let's assume it's back to that in just a 2nd one thing this makes me think of is often times and I know they do this exercise videos and other things like that they usually pick a person to be an every man you know who's like oh I can't do it well this guy like for example I don't exercise video where the guy is one legged guy it's like well how are you and like if he can do it you can do it well this is this is the idea this is why she makes this point they haven't had or some of the price of a site is good but this is what everyone can do whose heart has been touch like why share this story in the lot because this is these are the every man I mean if anybody if they can do it right what we can do is absolute Now you are touching on. A question the question on this on top of page Sunday asked Why do you think Jesus sent the man into the capitalist to witness to his family and friends rather than nurturing him in his newfound faith by keeping him with himself and I would reject the premise of the question because it sets up an either or else good to see are exactly so so good and it is it might be a leading quote a question but the reality of the question assumes that either you're sharing your faith or you're being nurtured. And these guys are new to the face so they needed nurture before they hear the famous for when the reality is it is in the sharing our faith that we become nurtured right we experience a spiritual growth that can't be found elsewhere where on the service of Christ we talk about I mean sometimes so eloquently and self importantly in a way that we need to follow the example of Jesus and yet things like this seem to go so unnoticed in the church that what is the example Jesus is giving us here where we need to nurture people we need and I hear this all time we need to quit doing so much for the outside the church ever do more for inside the church as if they are an either or right Jesus is giving an example here did Jesus have a lapse of judgment no Jesus forgetting oh you're right the guy needs nurture of all. People Jesus knows that and how does he Christ the master choose to nurture the man go out and share what I've done that's going to do more for you than anything else yes and no my goes on to say that he says those are exactly and so I get to read that chapter is starting read with 30340 I mean 40 there the story that well yes but we need to move on yes even a beginner can share personal test name in 72 point not everyone will believe now it's interesting because the lesson brings out the point in Sabbath afternoon and I have it highlighted in the outline but basically. It's difficult to argue with a person's personal testimony and I mean you know it's difficult but it's not impossible to turn fact is you can give a testimony that doesn't mean everybody is going to believe and this is an example the lesson takes us to Mark Chapter 16 and in Mark 16 in fact we look at verses 9 through 13 they take us through more of the passage but this is here as in the wrong way Mark 16 let's look at verse 9. My pages to Cameron you may regret Chapter 16 verse 9 and through where 13 through 13 now when he rose early on the 1st day of the week he appeared 1st to me a mag 1000000 who out of whom he had cast 7 demons she would in told those who had been with him as they mourned and wept and when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her they did not believe if he were gone after that he appeared in another form to 2 of them as they walked and went into the country on the road to mass there you go and they went out and told to the rest but they did not believe him either so here are 2 accounts of personal testimony but they didn't believe 7 afternoon it's all Osteria system all right except for this one and this one and the ones who are the unbelievers here were the disciples of Christ the ones not wanting to believe but they still couldn't believe you so clearly your point is that yes it's hard to resist but it's certainly not impossible people will resist or not that's right and so I highlighted Monday's lesson. At the very end it makes this point and I think it's a great point it quotes from Mark 1611 that they didn't believe and then elder family said makes this point thus if even Jesus own disciples didn't immediately believe we shouldn't be surprised if others don't immediately accept our words either we know they later believed and that's the whole encouragement here is and again the point number 2 for us is not everyone will believe but don't stop. They don't continue to share because they came around didn't they and we could ask the question a way why keep sharing if people don't believe and one of the things that grabbed me in the paragraph right before that the lesson again Monday's lesson and I read paragraph 4 This is from I'm sorry 5 This is from paragraph 4. Says after Mary met the resurrected Christ she ran to tell the story good news is for sharing and she could not be silent. Well that goes back to the what is the nature of news news is something a truth that is told right otherwise it could still be true but it wouldn't be news and I sometimes am tempted to say falsely say that the gospel is good news or rather the word the word Gospel actually means good news in other words the gospel isn't just about news it is that it is both literally the essence of the word yes inherently is about telling it in other words there's no gospel gospel is. Good news the Bible is truth but it wouldn't you know fulfill the Gospel Commission is just sitting on a shelf and read and shared right so the nature of news itself makes the gospel have to be active or you wouldn't be having it and what's interesting also about news is we share news we share bad news eagerly as we should because many people hated the year yeah right as with social media was invented just to get bad news across this quickly so you think about that in terms of God designed the Gospel to be told if you've experienced the gospel why wouldn't you like well people won't believe so. Tell me what you know people tell me new you know we're in an era of fake news and I have to say if somebody there is so much good that comes across news channels then you find out in fact there are some of the news feeds that will say this week what didn't happen the news you know all the fake stories Ok people still tell him. Oh we've got true gospel the good news is why not tell it also it puts a limiting perspective on it to say like well I know it didn't how do you know it didn't work that's just because they didn't respond to you in that moment doesn't mean you can plant a seed and then think about it later on it makes me think it's Ecclesiastes you Chapter 11 sort of the 1st or he would serve the wind well not so he regards the clouds and the agriculture metaphor if you're always looking for just the right atmospheric conditions or weather setting before you actually go to work you're never going to get a harvest out and the implication I mean extension is the 1st 5 as you do not know what is the way of the wind or how the bones grow in the womb of her was her who was with child so you do not know the works of God who makes everything in the morning so your seed in the evening do not withhold your hand for you do not know which will prosper either this or that or whether both alike will be good so my perspective might be failure God's like another this is running right on time and so for me to limit it to my finite perception is discounting the power of God to use that testimony absolutely so as not everyone will believe but don't stop the final point key point is. Is dealing with the power of a Christ like life now we do a lesson draws from x. for verse 13 where it talks about Peter and John and it says that those who heard them took note of them that they had been with Jesus and I like what the English Standard Version says yes we as says they recognize that they had been with Jesus knowing them would recognize In other words they saw something you know taking note of them doesn't convey the same thing is they recognized Jesus in that they saw something in them they recognize hey that looks familiar and what that tells us is that it gives credibility that it tells us the power that a Christ like life adds to the testimony I mean you give a testament about what Jesus has done but if your life is not reflecting that right You've obviously lost the power of testimony and I think of the story in Acts 19 of the 7 sons of Stephen who went to cast out demons in the name of Jesus who Paul preaches now the words Jesus we don't know who he is but Paul talks about him well the Bible says the demons beat the man and sent him wounded naked through the streets and so why because they didn't have a personal experience with Jesus you know makes me think of a good fit I was going to say that the the power of the testimony is not your eloquence and your knowledge and all your skilled ability and your degree it's the fact that you have a real experience with Jesus to tell him your sincerity authenticity your goodness your good works that come out of you through God's grace of course gives credibility to the message you bear and in turn the message that you share gives your good works your Christ like life its eternal significance you know just randomly random acts of kindness or something you are now an ambassador for Christ and you bear in your person that message from him that's right well there's 2 statements and I'm going to read a part of these you'll see the whole things in the handout but. Talks about the witness the personal testimony and then in desire of a just $247.00 she says these precious. Acknowledgments to the praise of the glory of His grace when supported by a Christ like life have an irresistible power that works for the salvation of souls and again acts of the Apostles page 31 says the savior knew that no argument however logical would melt hard hearts or break through the crust of worldliness in selfishness he knew that his disciples must really receive the heavenly endowment speaking of the spirit the gift of the Holy Spirit that the Gospel would be a made effective only as it was proclaimed by Hearts made warm and lips made eloquent by a living knowledge of Him who is the Way the Truth and Life Again the power of the Christ like life are 3 take away points even a beginner can share personal testimony number 2 not everyone will believe but don't stop and number 3 there is power in a Christ like wait a minute let's pray Heavenly Father thank you so much for the opportunity to study these important themes and not only learn about them but by your grace to put them into practice in our lives please lead in every Sabbath school class this week that these lessons might be clear and they might be impactful and might hasten your coming for you prayed in Jesus' name.


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