"Go . . . to the priest . . . for a testimony unto them" (Luke 5:14). For years to come, the ten lepers who were healed could have had a powerful testimony, spending their lives talking about how Jesus merely spoke a word and healed them: "I was once a leper! I was all alone with no hope—filthy, lost, dying. Then Jesus came along and cleansed me. I've been healed now for twenty-five years and I praise His name!"
That all sounds wonderful. But the problem was, they were talking about a Man they did not know, witnessing to the power of a Savior they knew nothing of. They only saw Him afar off. They could tell you what He looked like, what He talked like, how He walked, but they never got near to Him and His heart.
One of the great sorrows in all my years of ministry has been to witness the burnout of former addicts and alcoholics who had been miraculously delivered from lives of terrible sin and crime. Many of them were called of God to preach but churches and pastors kept asking them to come and give their spectacular testimonies. They were cajoled and encouraged to give the gory details of their past.
Now, years later, many of these former addicts are telling the same story: "Fifteen years ago I was a pimp. I lived with prostitutes and went to jail twenty times. One day somebody told me about Jesus—and I was cleansed and made whole!"
Beloved, hundreds of such precious converts are now burned out, backslidden and shipwrecked! They have none of the character of Christ, no relationship with God, because they are living on a past, one-time experience. They never returned to Jesus, never got to know Him or go near to His heart!
Many people have asked why Times Square Church does not have converts from our outreaches come and testify each week. Indeed, these men and women have some of the most incredible testimonies you have ever heard. But we want more for them than to end up with an old, worn testimony. We want them to go on with Jesus, to be able to stand and tell about a fresh, daily walk with Him, about what He is doing for them today!
We want them to have more of Christ!