The Testimony of Jesus

By Ray Foster

 

Hear the word of the Lord concerning the testimony of Jesus. 

What is the testimony of Jesus?

I invite you to let God speak to your heart from His word.

I Corinthians. 1:6 "Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:"

Let us start reading with verse 4 of I Corinthians. Chapter 1 The testimony of Jesus being confirmed in us means that we are given the grace of God by Jesus. It means that in every thing we are enriched by Jesus, in all utterance, and in all knowledge. Verse 7 tells us the purpose of this enrichment is that we come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Having the testimony of Christ confirmed in us is a very precious thing.

I. Timothy 2:6 "Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."

Starting with verse 4 we see that Jesus' will is that all men be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Verse 5 tells us that Jesus is the one mediator between God and men.

Verse 6 tells us that Jesus gave Himself a ransom for all. It tells us that Jesus will be testified in due time. My margin says "or a testimony". Using the marginal wording it would read: "Who gave himself a ransom for all, a testimony in due time."

So we see that it is the will of God that all be saved. Jesus was given as a ransom for all men. And God has given Jesus as a testimony in due time. The message is that this testimony is for all men as well.

II. Timothy 1:8 "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord."

One of the pastors I knew, when he would come to a "therefore" in the text would ask: "Wherefore is the therefore?" In the preceding verse we find wherefore the therefore is there: II Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. This is why we should not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord Jesus.

God goes on to say through Paul in the next verse:

II Timothy 1:9 "Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."

In verse 8 the testimony of Jesus is connected to the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God. God here invites us to be partakers of the testimony and the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God. What is your response? What is my response to this invitation?

Revelation 1:2 "Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw."

To find who it is here that is bearing record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, we must look at the end of the preceding verse. He sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John. It was John who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

Revelation 1:9 "I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ."

Bearing the testimony of Jesus resulted in John's being thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil. It resulted in his being banished to die on the island of Patmos. This illustrates how the testimony of Jesus, the afflictions of the gospel and the power of God were experienced in John's life. God wants to make us illustrations of His power.

Revelation 12:17 "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."

The three distinguishing marks of the last generation of those in the kingdom of God are that they keep the commandments of God and that they have the testimony of Jesus Christ, and they experience the wrath of the dragon. Do you, do I have all 3 distinguishing marks seen in our lives?

Revelation 19:10 "And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See [thou do it] not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

This last text has always been a bit of a puzzle to me. The question is, what does falling at the feet of the angel Gabriel, to worship Gabriel, have to do with the testimony of Jesus being the spirit of prophecy?

John falls down to worship Gabriel. Gabriel tells him not to do that, because he is a fellowservant. I, Gabriel am one of the brethren that have the testimony of Jesus. God only must be worshipped. That all makes sense to me and is perfectly logical. What does the statement that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy have to do with the fact that God only is to be worshipped?

John was overwhelmed with the thought of the blessing of being called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. John was overwhelmed with the truth of this fact:

Revelation 19:9 "And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed [are] they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God."

With these emotions, John falls down to worship. The angel Gabriel, reminds him gently, don't worship yet, don't worship here, don't worship me - worship God. It is the Holy Spirit that indites the testimony of Jesus. You and I are only agents that have this testimony. It is God, the Holy Spirit that gives us this testimony of Jesus. My current understanding is that the spirit of prophecy is the work and role of the Holy Spirit. We are living under the dispensation of the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit does not talk of Himself. The Holy Spirit tells what He hears from the Father and the Son of God. So the connection I currently see is that Gabriel is telling John, it is the Holy Spirit that gives us both the testimony of Jesus, worship God, not me. And it is the Holy Spirit that moved Ellen White to write the books we call the Spirit of Prophecy.

What is the testimony of Jesus Christ? What did Jesus testify?

The message Jesus preached is found for us in Matthew 4:17 "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

One testimony that Jesus testified was that the kingdom of heaven is at hand and that we should repent. Jesus testified many things about His Father and about the kingdom of heaven. But in a special sense, the testimony of Jesus was His testimony about Himself.

John 10:36 "Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?"

In verse 30 Jesus had said that He was one with the Father. The Jews had taken up stones to stone Jesus on the spot. In the dialogue that followed, Jesus stated that the Father had sanctified Him and sent Him into the world and that He, Jesus, was the Son of God. This in a special sense is the testimony that Jesus bore of Himself.

At the trial of Jesus Pilate examined Jesus: John 18:33 "Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?"

John 18:34 "Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?"

John 18:35 "Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?"

John 18:36 "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."

John 18:37 "Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice."

Jesus was trying to save Pilate and win Pilate to His eternal kingdom. Pilate felt the pull of the Holy Spirit, but resisted. Jesus is doing everything in His power to save you and me. Do we resist or do we yield ourselves to Him?

The testimony of Jesus to Pilate was that He was a king. The appeal to Pilate was to let Him be His king. That same appeal Jesus makes to us.

The question Caiaphas, the high priest, asked Jesus was related but not a secular question, but religious.

Mark 14:61 "But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?"

Mark 14:62 "And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."

Mark 14:63 "Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses?"

At His religious trial, Jesus testified that He was the Son of God. This condemned Him before the church and Jewish national authorities.

During the life of Jesus on earth, the Father spoke audibly and directly to man for the first time since the garden of Eden when Adam who is called the son of God in Luke 3:38 spoke directly with God and with angels. What was the Father's testimony? What did the Father have to say to man?

At the baptism of Jesus, Jesus prayed on the bank of Jordan after He had been baptized by John. And the Father answered the prayer of Jesus, directly talking to man again.

Matthew 3:17 "And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

At the transfiguration of Jesus when He spoke to Moses and Elijah, the Father the second time spoke directly to the Man Jesus.

Matthew 17:5 "While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him."

Peter told us about this event also.

2. Peter 1:17 "For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

The third time God the Father spoke directly from heaven to earth to His Son was just before the crucifixion when the Greeks came to the temple saying, "We would see Jesus." Jesus prayed at that time and the Father answered Him directly.

John 12:28 "Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, [saying], I have both glorified [it], and will glorify [it] again."

So the testimony of the Father was that Jesus was His Son. The testimony of Jesus was that God was His Father and His God.

This message was given to Mary, to whom Jesus waited to talk to before going back to heaven after His resurrection:

John 20:17 "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and [to] my God, and your God."

We have seen that the testimony of Jesus about Himself was that He was King, and that He was the Son of God.

We have heard the testimony of God, that Jesus was His beloved Son.

Now what is the testimony of Jesus that is given to you and to me? We know that Scripture identifies those of God's kingdom who live to meet Him in the clouds of heaven will keep the commandments of God and will have the testimony of Jesus, which is the Spirit of Prophecy. What is this testimony that is the Spirit of Prophecy that the living saints will have when Jesus comes? Do you think it is something besides the "red books" of the volumes of the Spirit of Prophecy? Or do you think that having those books will fulfill the prophecy, as long as we also keep the commandments of God?

If Jesus had not kept the commandments of God, could His Father have testified of Him, that He was well pleased with Him? No! Did Jesus have the Spirit of Prophecy? Yes Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit, but He did not have any additional red books. And beloved, you and I may not have the red books at the end either. They might be taken away from us. What would be our situation then? If the red books are taken away from us will we not be able to stand and keep the commandments of God?

The story is told that during the days of slavery in this country that a certain slave owner required his slaves to look away from him and get down on their knees when he came near. One day the slave owner came out to see the work and a group of new slaves had just been purchased. All the slaves kneeled down and looked away except one slave who stood upright and looked the slave owner in the eyes. The owner asked the slave master if this slave had not been instructed as to what he should do when he came near. And he was told that the slave had been instructed. So he was ordered to be beaten.

The next day the owner came to inspect the work and the same slave did not look away and fall down but stood upright and looked the owner in the eyes again. The owner became very angry and ordered that the slave be dragged behind a horse for a mile. The next day when the owner came to inspect - same story. The same slave stood upright and looked him in the eyes. This time he ordered him beaten again and his legs broken. The next day the slave was out working on his knees with broken legs. When the owner came near, the slaved kneeled upright and looked the owner in the eyes again. The owner ordered that the slave to be killed. But before killing him, he asked through the interpreter for the reason that this slave would not get down and refused to look away when he came near. So the interpreter asked him. The answer came back, "I refuse to forget that I am the son of a king."

If the testimony of Jesus has been confirmed in you how will it be manifested in you?

 

1. Timothy 2:6 "Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."

What is your response to Jesus who gave Himself a ransom for all? What testimony am I, what testimony are you, going to bear in due time? I can tell you the answer to that question. It is the same testimony that you are bearing now, day by day. But today there is still time to change your testimony of Jesus if need be.

Am I ashamed of the testimony of Jesus?

2. Timothy 1:8 "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord."

How could we show that we are ashamed of the testimony of our Lord?

"Christ is denied in many ways. We may deny him in our words, by speaking contrary to truth, or by speaking evil of others, or by foolish talking or jesting, or by words that are idle. In these things we manifest but little shrewdness or wisdom. We make ourselves weak, and our efforts are feeble to resist our great Enemy, and we are conquered. From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, and through lack of watchfulness we confess that Christ is not in us. Those who will hesitate to devote themselves unreservedly to God, make poor work of following Christ. They follow him at such a distance they do not really know half the time whether they are following his footprints, or the footsteps of their great Enemy. Why are we so slow to give up our interest in the things of this world, and take Christ for our only portion? Why should we wish to keep the friendship of our Lord's enemies, and follow their customs and be led by their opinions? There must be an entire, unreserved surrender to God, a forsaking and turning away from the love of the world and earthly things, or we cannot be his disciples." {4bSG 150.1} 1T408.

How will our lives testify that we are the son of a king?

"And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." Luke 21:25-28

We are told how the testimony of Jesus will be expressed in that day in Isaiah 25:9

"And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation."

May this be our testimony in that day. May the testimony of Jesus be confirmed in us today and daily is my prayer. I invite those to stand who would like to send the message to heaven by standing, saying in your heart: "Lord, take me as wholly thine, and let thy testimony be confirmed in my life day by day, to your name's honor and glory."