The Witness

Friday, March 13, 2015, 5:45 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “My Prayer.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 1:1-34 (ESV).

The Word

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.

Jesus Christ is the Word and he is God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. John declared him to be God in verse 1, where he said the Word was God, and most definitely again in verse 18 where he stated that Jesus, the only God, who is at God the Father’s right hand, has made God known to us. Jesus is also our creator. He existed with God and as God from the beginning. He did not just come into being when he was born in human likeness as a baby. The creation story in Genesis records for us how God made man in “their” image, indicating God was more than one person, though three persons in one. So many people who claim to believe in Jesus do not believe that Jesus is God, yet the Word teaches this over and over again. So, should we deny scripture?

Jesus Christ is The Way, The Truth, The Life, and The Light. He is the only way to God the Father and to heaven. And, only by His Way can we attain salvation and eternal life. He says that if anyone would come after him, he must deny his self-life, die daily to sin and self, and follow Jesus in obedience and in surrender to his will for his life. He said if we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self that we will lose them for eternity, but if we die with Christ to our old lives of living for sin and self, we will gain eternal life (See: Lu. 9:23-25; cf. Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6-8; Gal. 2:20; 1 Jn. 1-5; Ac. 26:16-18; 1 Pet. 2:24-25).

The Light is truth, it is God, it is righteousness and it is holiness. It is the opposite of darkness, which is evil and wickedness. The Light gives new life in Christ to all who believe in Jesus Christ, via them turning from their sinful lifestyles, being born anew of the Spirit of God, and choosing to now walk according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh - all in the power and working of the Spirit within them (See: 2 Co. 5:15; Tit. 2:11-14).

Jesus Christ, although he never sinned, and although he went around healing the sick, raising the dead, delivering people from demons, and comforting the sorrowful, as well as preaching the Way of Life to all who listened to his words, was hated, despised, rejected, falsely accused, mocked, and his authority brought into question on a regular basis. His own countrymen, many of his family members, and people of his own faith rejected him, mocked him, and criticized him for doing the will of God. He told his followers that they would be treated as he was treated for the sake of his name, for the sake of his gospel, for their testimonies, and for their lifestyles lived in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. So, if we are following Jesus Christ with our lives, we should expect to be hated as he was hated.

The Testimony

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

(Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

John the Baptist, not the writer of the book of John, was sent from God to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. He was a witness to testify concerning Jesus Christ as the Light, “so that through him all men might believe.” Isaiah prophesied concerning John when he said, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”

John’s task was to be instrumental in preparing people’s hearts to receive and to believe in Jesus Christ. His baptism was a baptism of repentance (turning from sin to God). A straight way (path) is one that is honest, law-abiding, upright and trustworthy; undiluted, unmixed and unadulterated. Wow! That really says it! If we make straight the way for the Lord, it begins with humbling ourselves before God in repentance, then submitting to the cross of Christ in our lives in surrender to God and to walking in obedience to his Word. We don’t compromise the truth, we don’t dilute it to make it more acceptable to the world around us, and we don’t mix the truth of God’s words with the lies of this sinful world so that people will accept the message. John the Baptist was a straight shooter. He did not speak with flowery words or a smooth tongue. He told people they had to repent of their sins to have eternal life with God in heaven. He told them the way of Life is the Way of Holiness.

With the Holy Spirit

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

Jesus was our sacrificial Lamb who paid the penalty of our sin so we could go free. He shed his blood on the cross for our sins. When he died he crucified our sins with him, and when he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, death, hell and Satan. By faith in him, we can escape hell, have the hope of eternity with God in heaven, and have abundant, full and purposeful life with God now here on the earth. We can be set free from slavery to sin (the control of sin over our lives), and be set free to walk daily in the Spirit in Christ’s righteousness and holiness (the straight path).

God’s grace doesn’t just forgive us of our sins and leave us to make it on our own, but his grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, godly and upright lives while we wait for Christ’s return. Jesus died so we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us. He died “to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (See: Tit. 2:11-14; 2 Co. 5:15). And, he gave us his Holy Spirit to indwell us to give us the strength and his power to live godly and holy lives pleasing to God.

The Holy Spirit is the third person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When Jesus Christ left this earth and returned to heaven, he sent his Holy Spirit to indwell the lives of his followers – to teach us all things about Jesus and to lead, counsel, guide, correct, rebuke, encourage, and comfort us, etc. When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, thus, Christ baptizes us with the Holy Spirit through death to sin and through resurrection to new life (rebirth) in Jesus Christ, our Lord. We are not only now indwelt with the Spirit of God, but we are to walk in the Spirit and not according to our flesh. The more we forsake the sinful passions of our past life, and we throw them off, and we put on the things of God, in the power and working of the Spirit within us, the more we are filled with his Spirit and have the mind of Christ and will desire and will walk in the ways of Christ (See Eph. 4-5).

To walk in Christ’s ways, in the power and working of his Spirit within us, involves us allowing Jesus to live his life out through us, as we cooperate fully with that work. He cannot live his life out through us, for instance, if we are still choosing to walk in the ways of our flesh, if we are resisting his Spirit, and if we are not yielding to his rule and control over our lives. As well, he is our example for what a Spirit-filled Christ-like life should look like. His love, kindness and compassion towards others was not only seen in how he healed the sick, raised the dead, delivered people from demons and comforted the sorrowful, but also in his teaching and counsel, and sometimes in his rebukes in which he confronted sin in sinful human beings and called them to repentance.

There is nothing kind about lies or about ignoring sin, and instead focusing our attention on just making people feel good all the time and/or just saying what they want to hear. We should be encouragers, but encouraging involves also speaking the truth in love when needed. Jesus modeled this for us all throughout his ministry. So, be loving, and be kind, but do so as Jesus did, and not as our human flesh often does, thinking more about us rather than what is best for others. True kindness “refers to meeting real needs, in God's way, in His timing (fashion)” -

My Prayer / An Original Work / May 30, 2011

“Fill me with Your Spirit;
help me to love others;
Let me know Your power;
be an overcomer.
Show me how to follow
Jesus Christ, my Savior;
Be His faithful servant
to obey Him always.

“Lead me with Your presence;
help me know the right way;
Teach me love and kindness,
generous compassion.
Give me grace and courage
to be Jesus’ witness,
Teaching His salvation
to a world who needs Him.”

Won’t you come and follow
Jesus Christ, your Savior?
He died so you’d be
free of control of your sin;
Free to follow His ways
in complete surrender;
Living sacrifices –
let His grace transform you.