Reach Gather Grow
in Galatians

Lesson Three • Grow

Pastor Josh Yates

A testimony is an account of events that occurred. Testimonies are most often given in courts of law to try to piece together what happened and what the circumstances are in a case brought against an accused person.

A testimony is also a recounting of a person’s life events. It is a person’s story. It is your story. No one can really argue against your story and what you have experienced because it is your story.

Your story with Jesus is your testimony. How you came to know Jesus as your Savior is one of the most important stories you can tell.

1. Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? What is your story about how you came to know Jesus? What is your testimony?

2. Have you ever been tempted to believe that your testimony is not that important? Do you ever think your story is just not that powerful? Why?

Please read Galatians 1:11-24.

The Apostle Paul is beginning his letter to the Galatians by letting them know about the Gospel that he preached and how he came to know this Gospel. The Galatians had been drawn away into false teaching and some had even deserted Christ (Galatians 1:6). False teachers had brought a false gospel that distorted the truth of Jesus. It was not Jesus plus the Jewish religious rites that brought salvation, it was only by grace through faith in Jesus alone.

Paul presents the truth of the Gospel and his own testimony to show himself as one that is trustworthy.

3. How does Paul describe the Gospel’s origin in verses 11-12?

4. How did Paul receive the Gospel that he preaches? (Take a look at Acts 9:1-19)

Part of your story is about who you were before you met Jesus and Paul’s story is no different. He talks about the fact that he was a Pharisee and that he was a persecutor of the church of God.

Paul was an unlikely person to convert and follow Jesus with his life. He was a “Pharisee of Pharisees” and he knew it. He was prideful about it. Read Paul’s own words, “Though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless” (Philippians 3:4-6).

His confidence in the flesh was misplaced at the time, but he thought he was doing the right thing in persecuting the church. There was no way he would follow Jesus, but God.

5. Do you have anyone in your life right now that you think will never accept Jesus as their Savior?

The word, “but,” in verse 15 is a word of hope. It is a word of rescue. It is a word that changes things.

• The other team scored a touchdown, “but” there was a flag on the play!
• You have cancer, “but” it can be treated.
• I was at my wits’ end with this kid, “but” God changed him.

God intervened in Paul’s life and called him out. God had determined this from the beginning of time! Paul’s life had changed because of “but God!”

6. What have been some of the “but God” moments in your life? How has that grown your faith?

What an amazing moment in Paul’s life! God reached down in His grace and Jesus revealed Himself to Paul on the road to Damascus. God radically changed Paul on that road and in the coming three years.

It has been said, “Karl Barth, perhaps the twentieth-century’s greatest theologian, liked to say that true Christians are the victims of a successful surprise attack by God.”

It is easy to believe that you somehow found God, but the truth is you have been found by God. Jesus steps into the scene of our life and saves us. The Holy Spirit calls us and we respond. It is as though like Paul, the scales have fallen off of our eyes and we can see Jesus as He is.

Read 2 Corinthians 4:6.

7. How have you seen the glory of God revealed in your life?

I just love the phrase that Paul tells us people were speaking about him before they knew what God had done in his life, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy” (Galatians 1:23). Paul had been transformed. Jesus was now living in Paul and in verse 16 he declares that he had been changed so that Jesus could be revealed. He was revealed in the one that had persecuted the church! What a change! What a transformation!

8. How has God transformed areas of your life as you have grown in Jesus?

Paul would describe himself as a person that never deserved Jesus, but he had changed him anyway. Read how he describes himself and what had changed him in 1 Corinthians 15:8-10.

Your testimony is your story. It is only by the grace of God that any of us become who we are. Only grace makes sense of who we have become and only grace can describe our lives.

9. How does God’s grace describe your life?

Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

It is easy to forget that the Gospel is the power of God to change lives and bring salvation. He can do it for anyone at any time. Yes, He can do this even to the person that you listed on question 5.

God’s grace in your life is never a dull or boring story. Do not be tempted to believe that your story is not worth sharing. Jesus coming into your life and changing you is a miraculous story whether you accepted Jesus at the age of three and have been in church all your life or if you lived a life of promiscuity, substance abuse, and crime, only to be changed by Jesus. Both of those stories are stories of the mighty grace and mercy of our Savior and, like Paul states at the end of our passage, “They (will) glorify God because of (you).”

You have been given a story by God. Sharing that story is part of your growth as a disciple of Jesus. Here is the toughest question of this study.

10. When will you share your story with the person you previously listed?

It is scary to share your story. It is scary to put yourself out there. What can God do with your story? It is not your job to save anyone, it is your job to share your story.

Remember, “but God…”