What’s good about being a witness? By definition a witness is someone who has, who claims to have, or is thought, by someone with authority to compel testimony, to have knowledge relevant to an event or other matter of interest. In law a witness is someone who, either voluntarily or under compulsion, provides testimonial evidence, either oral or written, of what he or she knows or claims to know about the matter before some official authorized to take such testimony. What usefulness does a witness play in our lives? Well first we wouldn't have much to talk about when it came to news or current events or court cases. And secondly we wouldn't know before hand when it comes to purchasing a….
- Personal hand held gadgets
- Neighborhoods to live in
- Movies to watch and so on
- Music to download
A witness plays a crucial role in today’s society….Why? We are stats and information people who need information, warnings with red and green lights when it comes to do anything or believing something. “Hey Bobby, are those tires you have on your truck any good?” “Susan, is that detergent you use as good as is the ad says, when it comes to getting out grass stains” “Is this church worth checking out Mr. Andrews?” This is why it’s important to do your homework and read some of people’s testimonies about something you find interest in or investing time and money into. But let’s change gears for a moment…… and see how important a witness plays when it comes the word of God and the coming Christ or in our time the gospel message. These are vital pieces of information that the world needs to hear! Why? It a message about hope and everlasting life found in the giver of life the Incarnate Christ. Read the text! John 1:7-8 In John 1:7 it says “He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.” Wow….what a message of hope to proclaim to a fallen and helpless nation that desperately needs saving not physically but spiritually……..Especially after some 400 years of silence from the last letter of the Old Testament was written. This message is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s and Malachi’s letter some 700 years before both John and Jesus were born.
Isa 40:3 “A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
Mal 3:1 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.”
John the Baptist had one purpose in life…..to proclaim [herald] the testimony that the coming Messiah was coming to save the people from their sins. John’s witness is a great encouragement for you and me today! Why? Because we are to do the same with the gospel that saves to the uttermost! Every one of us is living testimonies or witness to the grace found in the finishing work of the cross through Jesus Christ the Incarnate Lord. See John was privileged to share in His coming………but we get to share in the results of His finished work on earth. We must herald to the world the “good news” of Jesus Christ without reservations or excuses. We are to be Witnesses. This comes from the Greek word “martur”. This is a person who is a witness in life, and by death. From which we get the English word “martyr”. A witness is one who has heard, seen, experienced, and knows the truth of a person or event. In I John 1:1-5 it says “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” Listen to the wisdom of Charles Spurgeon…..“God sent me as an ambassador now; but if you do not listen to me, he will not send an ambassador next time, but an executioner. There will be wooing words of mercy soon: the only exhortation will hear be the dull cold voice of death, that shall say, “come with me.”
John’s witness was to proclaim that the Son of God was coming to save us from that pending doom that Spurgeon talked about in his generation. We read in Matthew’s gospel “Mat 3:1-7 “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.'" Now John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” What was John’s underlining message to the people and what’s ours today? The same message that John spoke to the Pharisee’s. God has come in the flesh to reconcile us back to the Father through Jesus Christ the Incarnate Saviour and sacrifice for our sin.
JESUS IS THE ONE WHO SETTLES THE DEBT
Reconcile is defined this way……the process by which God and man are brought together again. See we need to understand! God and man are alienated [withdrawn, separated, estranged] from one another. Why? Because God’s holiness and our sinfulness. That’s why we read in Luke 2:10-11 “And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
We see the beauty of that truth fulfilled in Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is what makes John’s witness so beautiful………..the Saviour is coming to save sinners. This is what makes your witness in Christ so beautiful……….the Saviour has come and saved a sinner like me. See reconciliation is God’s own complete act. This is something that takes place before any human action…such as confession, repentance or restoration. Remember what Paul wrote…“that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Cor 5:19. This was John’s witness, Paul’s witness and ours today! Why? V20-v21 of 2 Corinthians says “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Through the sacrifice of Christ, man’s sin is atoned and God’s wrath is appeased! Which means it’s possible for us to have a relationship that was once hostile in nature to a relationship that is one of peace and fellowship with a holy God “glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” Luke 2:14
The wonderful truth is that we get to play a part in His redemptive work. See how I said His and not ours! Look at (v8) “he was not the Light, but came to bear witness about the light” John was the agent of belief……just as we are evidence to the saving power found in the One who John boldly proclaimed about. This is a wonderful truth this morning! That God would choose to use us to share the good news about the Incarnate Christ who came to reconcile sinners back to God. J C Ryle said “Christian ministers are not priests, nor mediators between God and man. They are not agents into whose hands men may commit their souls, and carry on their religion by deputy. They are witnesses. They are intended to bear testimony to God’s truth and specifically to the great truth that Christ is the only Saviour and light of the world. This is why Peter’s ministry on the day of Pentecost: ‘with many other words did he testify’. This was whole the tenor of Paul’s ministry: ‘testifying both to the Jews, and also the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ’. Unless a Christian minister bears a full testimony to Christ, he is not faithful to his office. So long as he does testify of Christ, he has done his part, and will receive his reward, although his hearers may not believe his testimony. Until a minister’s hearers believe on that Christ of whom they are told, they receive no benefit from the ministry. They may be pleased and interested; but they are not profited until they believe. The great end of a minister’s testimony is that ‘that through him, men may believe’.” We are in a wilderness of unbelief and confusion as it was in John’s age…..…..but God has given us something to say this generation and the next. So to help us to speak or be bolder about your [our] witness, I want to leave you with some simple truths to help encourage you to share the message, the testimony of hope with people around you as John did with his generation as it pertains to sinners being reconciled.
WE HAVE BEEN RECONCILED THROUGH THE INCARNATE SON FROM THE WRATH THAT IS YET TO COME. 1 Thess 5:9-11 “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
WE HAVE SURPASSING PEACE THAT’S BEEN SATISFIED BY THE FATHER THROUGH THE INCARNATE SON. Rom 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
WE HAVE ACCESS TO GOD IN FELLOW SHIP THROUGH THE INCARNATE SON. Eph 2:17-19 “And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,”
WE ARE FORGIVEN THROUGH THE INCARNATE SON. Micah 7:18-19 “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” In Acts 3:19 “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,”
What a wonderful promise isn't it? What a wonderful message to share with others who desperately need His reconciling grace? As R C Sproul said “The glory of the gospel is this: The one from whom we need to be saved is the one who has saved us.” God looks at your life and God loos at my life and says “I see no sin in you”…….this is only POSSIBLE through the saving Incarnate work of our Lord Jesus Christ. In His humiliation Jesus gave his life so that we could live. Church family………..ISN”T THAT AMAZING? John was a witness of the coming grace though the Son and we are the witnesses to the grace that’s already been given. May our voices be heard and may His grace fall upon those who hear.