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Leon Fontaine - The Power of Your Testimony

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I wanna talk to you today about your story. Your story. There is something you have that is so powerful and people don't use it. It's your own story. You know, over the last year so I've been watching the American election and then you watch CNN news and you watch FOX news. I always thought there was such a thing as experts in the world. And that if somebody had the right opinion of somebody had it figured out that's the truth. Then we find out there's more spins out there and you can listen to one person who go, "They are so convincing". Then you flip to the other channel you gonna go, "Woo, they are so convincing and they disagree horribly".

And it reminds me of Christians who sometimes we forget that we're so worried about, you know, "Well, they're so confident in their opinion but how do we share this faith? This Jesus. How do we", everywhere we go, we need to look at that today and find out in a world filled with confident opinions and it's getting more confident every day on the exterior. We're people are, "This is what I believed. This is what I believed". And everyone thinks what they believed is right because they believed it. And everyone is allowed to believe whatever you believe. You know, that's why you have freewill but every belief you have has a consequence. Every belief that you follow is gonna take you somewhere.

And so today, I wanna just drive into this. I wanna help you. I wanna change the way you live out your Christianity. I'm so tired of secret service Christians afraid to embarrass anybody. Gosh, golly, shucks, gee. Yeah, whatever you wanna believe is cool. Actually, it's not. 2 Corinthians 5:19-21 says that it was God personally present in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up, not holding against men their trespasses, their sins, their mistakes but cancelling them, and committing to us the message of reconciliation of the restoration to favor. So we are Christ's ambassadors. I'm gonna stop right there.

I found when I travel that there's certain countries that when they hear that I'm Canadian, they kind of go, "Oh, Canadian. Dogs, sleds, and igloos". They don't, they just kind of being fun. But in a way, they're kind of demeaning sometimes, you know. People go, "Where's Canada"? And they don't know a thing about Canada. And I become an ambassador for Canada everywhere I go. They talked about their sharks. I talked about our grizzly bears. If they're gonna talked about their mountains, I talked about our Rockies. They're gonna talk, like, and I just start bragging about the big wide-open spaces and the powerful Canadian where they're sure best shooters. I mean, well, all the men are better looking, all the women are beautiful. You gotta come to Canada, man. Canada is a place to go and I just go on and on and on. You can spread your wings. You got places to go. I mean, this is, and I just, this is a country with everything, from deserts to icebergs all in the same nation. We got rainforest. Really? Canada? Oh, man. Canada, and I just start listing off all the things I love about Canada.

And then they go, "I should come". It's one of the hottest places to visit in the world. I start talking where to go and what train to get. I love changing the way people think about Canada. But I'm the same way about my Jesus. People love to knock Him. But often Christians don't share the gospel because the gospel means good news. Christians like to share bad news a lot, often religious people. Yeah, you're gonna go to hell. Oh, let's talk more about that. Oh, really? But it's the good news. Here it says that Christ has reconciled us. He has literally taken the sins of world. And when you are an ambassador, you don't go comparing your country to everybody else and knocking them and putting them down like some. We are ambassadors for the kingdom of God and we need to speak about our Jesus in a way that introduces Him to people that makes them go, "I gotta check Him out".

I got people all over the world, wherever I go, they want to come to Canada. When I get done, they wanna come to Canada. And when you get done talking about your Jesus, you need to have them go, "Wow, He's worth checking out". You my friend are an ambassador. It is stamped all over you. You're not just a follower of Christ. You are an ambassador to others of this Christ that you follow and you need to learn to share with people in a way that is good news. It's what goes on on the inside of a person that makes him run to alcohol. You can take him away, dry him out. If he hasn't got a purpose for life and if God doesn't heal the hurt in his heart, he'll just find a new addiction. People always wanna drag you into debate. What do you think about gender and homosexuality and LGBT? What do you think about other religions? The Muslims and the Hindu? Who do you think goes to heaven?

And they would love to draw you into a debate. Because mind to mind, you know, you can debate til the cows come home. But I have found that I don't debate with people. In fact, often in the hallways, if someone comes to kinda check it out and fix me and fix my doctrine, they'll start, you know, "Can I just tell you something? Can I just ask you a question"? And they'll ask me a question and I'll just wait and go, "I don't think you wanna know an answer from me. You just want to debate because you disagree with me, don't you"? Well. I said, "You know, you believe what you want. Doesn't bother me in the least". Oh, really? No. Go believe whatever you want. How am I gonna change that? But I'm not gonna argue with you so go have your beliefs and I'm very just, you know, at my age now I just stop debating with people.

They wanna come here and hear the Word. I'll teach you the Word. I'll teach you what the verse says here and there and I'll share God's Word with you. But to sit and argue, I really don't care. And what I share with people and not as a pastor but if someone is sitting on a plane or someone grabbing a coffee at Starbucks or Tim Hortons, wherever I go, I don't talk about issues. You think that, wow, if I can get someone to talk to Leon and he can answer all the questions about dinosaurs and why starving babies and what about sexual gender and oh, if I could just get them. You know what, me answering their questions won't mean a blessed thing. You know what I do? I just tell them my story. Whatever part of it I want. If they're struggling in an area of sin, I'll just say, "Hey, you know, I remember growing up and when I gave my life to Christ, there was a power".

If they're struggling with who they are, what their identity, I'll just share what it did for me. If they're wondering about anything. If they're hurting, if they're, whatever the area of their life, I'll just try to share a time in my life. I don't have by the way this great testimony that I killed 23 people, joined the Hell's Angels, then I did this. I did, where I could just excite them, mesmerize them. When I was a teenager, we would always bring in youth speakers and the youth speakers where always like incredibly brutal sinners who got saved. And we thought that was gonna help our kids. And so, I would never share my testimony. You know, little clean Christian kid and there's nobody perfect, by the way. We're all sinners and there's things I did wrong. But I didn't have this incredible Hollywood-type story that would mesmerize the youth to get them sitting there. I literally got to a place when I realized God had called me into the ministry. I thought, "Okay. I'd better take a hiatus from Christianity and go get a testimony".

I need to go do something and get a testimony and when I come back, I can talk with real experience about how bad sin is and who I killed and how much drugs I did and how many much money I stole and how many months and years I spent in the pen and then I discovered Jesus. Amen. God bless you. Have a good day. And all we do is exalt our former life. No, I tell people what He did for me on the inside. The peace that I have. And when I tell them, I tell them as an ambassador of Jesus Christ. I don't back down one iota. And when they argue with me, I just, "Stop, are you trying to tell me what I felt? You trying to tell me what happened? No, I'm just telling you what happened to me". And most people don't but just listen because no one can argue with your story and you need to learn to share from your wealth of experience and say, "Well, Leon, I'm the same. I didn't kill anybody, shoot anybody, do any drugs, touch any alcohol. I'm not set free from drug addiction, alcohol addiction, so I didn't know what to share".

You know what, all of those things are periphery. It's what goes on on the inside of a person that makes him run to alcohol. You can take him away, dry him out. If he hasn't got a purpose for life and if God doesn't heal the hurt in his heart, he'll just find a new addiction. Whether it's food, that's a great Christian addiction, or whatever it is that he can go to. So it's only the heart. Until the heart changes, things aren't gonna change. We are Christ's ambassadors. In Proverbs 29:25, listen to this. It's out of the Message Bible and it says, "The fear of human opinion disables. Trusting in God protects you from that. Everyone tries to help from the leader. Everyone tries to get help from the leader but only God will give us justice. Good people can't stand the sight of deliberate evil and the wicked can't stand the sight of well-chosen goodness".

Do you know that when we make a stand for Christ, when we planted this church Springs Church in this location and we began to go out on radio and television, every means we could that there are some people that just hate us for that? Death threats, problems, attack, lies, confrontation. All the gossip that goes on about they require team force and they make you give and it's all about him and whatever they can do to minimize the effect. Any time God's people rise up with a church that is beginning to impact this nation, this world for Christ, our neighborhoods. As it goes out on TV, the enemy will try to stop it. But you have to make a decision. I love the first line. It says, "The fear of human opinion disables you". Why are you shutting up? Why are you being quiet?

Well, they're so confident. Everybody acts confident. Everybody puts on a mask. But I wanna show you why your story is so powerful. I wanna show you that it's not about mind to mind that your story is where there are truths of God's Word and it's the truth that sets people free. There's a couple of my dad's church in Selkirk who very religious and they would read that verse as God's Word does not come back void. It accomplishes what it was sent forth to do. They believe that if you can get God's Word in someone's heart that change would come. Here's what they would do. They'd get on the street corners and they'd walk up to people and say, and they'd just quote a verse. They would stand at traffic lights and as soon as the light turned red and the cars stopped, they would run over there, knock on the window, and just quote a verse to them. And they felt like they had gotten this verse into their heart and it was now gonna change their life.

Meanwhile, they didn't hear a word they said. They're freaking out that some weird guy's banging on their window. What's that woman doing banging on my window? Then you roll it down and she says some Elizabethan English verse. You kinda go, "What in the world? Get me out. Hurry up, light! Turn green! Turn green! Turn green"! And they'd peel out of there. Now, they have the right thought but until God's Word gets planted in people, there's no change. But let me take you to a verse that you know well. In Mark chapter 4, it's the teaching of the sower sows the Word and Jesus talks about some soil, that seed, when you throw the seed out, that some seed went on the path and the birds ate it. Some seed got in soil and it came up for a while then died. Others seed got choked out by thrones and thistles and this is one of the most incredible teachings of Jesus. In fact, this teaching is so important that it says it's the key to all the other parables in the Bible.

Listen to Jesus explaining it on Mark 4:13. "And he said to them, "Do you not discern and understand this parable? How then is it possible for you to discern and understand all the parables? The sower sows the Word. The ones along the path are those who have the Word sown in their hearts but when they hear, Satan comes at once and by force, takes away the message which was sown in them". You know that when you start sharing with people what you share, your story, what Jesus has done for you, is so powerful. You see, we keep thinking that the message is just Bible verses. But how many know you are the message, too? The book of Acts does not have an amen at the end because the acts of the apostles, the acts of the children of God is still going on and the story of how God touched you is still so powerful because it carries with it the seed of Jesus Christ and the Word of God and what Jesus has done for you.

You don't have to quote 43 verses in Elizabethan English in the King James. Just need to tell them your story and that, the emotion and the weight and the truth that is shared in your story is powerful. But we need to know, Satan comes in immediately. When someone comes here and gives their life to Jesus Christ, I just know that within the end of the day, someone's gonna tell them a rumor about Springs or a rumor about me or they're gonna get too busy on Sunday. They're gonna get a raise that has them work or anything you can do to get them away from the Word. Satan comes immediately to steal the Word of God, the truth of God, that someone has shared with them. Then it says, "And then there are those who's sown upon stony ground and when they hear the Word at once, they receive, accepted it, welcomed it with joy and they have no real root in themselves".

They have no real root in themselves and so they endure for a while but when trouble or persecution arises on account of the Word, the truths they've heard, they become offended. They become displeased, indignant, resentful. They stumble and they fall away. I've seen the first growth. They get excited when they first hear the Gospel. You share Jesus with them. They get saved. The church or with you somewhere and immediately, it's like something goes wrong as Satan tries to just pull them away from the church. Pull them away from the people who help them. Or here, they give their life to Christ and things go so well for a while but they don't have any root in themselves because they need you to come along side of them when persecution and stuff pushes at them and they say, you know, someone said this. Yeah, I know.

There's a lot of imperfect people at church including us, right? Well, I guess you're right. Yeah. God bless their dirty hearts. I'm glad they're here but don't get offended by them. Don't get upset by them. Or you know, that's just a religious person. Like you need somebody to help this person past this state of kind of growing in God's Word. God's Word, His truths are now planted in their heart and His Word will grow. But the third kind of person that talks about, it says that they're sown amongst thorns and when these people hear it that cares the anxieties of the world. And the distractions of this age. The pleasure and delight and false glamor. The deceitfulness of riches. The craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word and it becomes unfruitful. Ever talk to somebody you know. You go, "They don't even have time to listen to me. They've got their money they're pursuing. They're pursuing their marriage".

You know, in the early 1900s, there was a phenomenal Christian leader in India and incredible signs and wonders. Wherever he went, miracles like, there's just record after record of his meetings and his open-air meetings and that the people that were raised from the dead, there was just no way to refute, to put away with the incredible presence of God that this man walk in. And so he got in a boat, took him weeks to come to America and they say in his biography that he got off and he got off I think in New York. Walked the streets of New York for one day. Turned around, got back on the boat, and wouldn't do one of the meetings that he had planned. Got back on the boat, went back to India and he said, "These people are too busy to listen to God's Word. I'm not even wasting my time". He understood that there is something about God's Word that needs to come and get planted in our heart and then that Word needs to grow.

So many of us think that we need to go get somebody saved. Actually, to do, that's great. But what we need to do is plant truths from God's Word in them from your story. They need to hear about that man who knows his marriage wouldn't have made it if he wouldn't have found Christ. That woman who didn't know who she was made in but when she found out she was God's daughter or they helped you through a death in the family and you guys, you were ready to lose your mind, but God brought a peace and whatever you can, it is your story that is powerful. It's not you screaming the Word at them. It's not you preaching the Bible at them. It's not you digging up every doctrine you know. It's not you debating every disagreement that takes place because you can't anyway because to give your life to Jesus Christ, everybody's welcome with every crazy belief possible. If they just turned to Jesus as messed up and as wrong-believing as they are. But once they believe on Jesus, they're accepted. And then on this journey, they begin to learn who they are and the truths of God's Word.
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