We Testify

Saturday, August 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m. – I had a long, full and good day! Praise Jesus! I spent time in the word, in housecleaning, in grocery shopping, and then with some of my children and grandchildren. I ate dinner with my kids and grandkids at Fuel Pizza, and then I came home. I did some more house chores, talked with a friend on the phone, texted a couple of people, played a couple of Words With Friends (like Scrabble), checked Facebook and email, and then the song “Come and See” began playing quietly in my mind. So, I closed my IPad, got out paper, pen and Bible and was ready to hear from the Lord again.

Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 John 1 (ESV).

That You May Have Fellowship

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.

The apostles knew Jesus Christ in the flesh when he walked the face of this earth. They personally heard him preach the gospel message, they saw him with their own eyes, and they touched his flesh, so they could bear witness to the fact that God the Son (who always existed) came in the flesh, walked the face of this earth, bore testimony to God’s saving grace, died and rose again, and then ascended to the Father.

Jesus Christ is the word of life. He is life and he is the giver and revealer of life. He created all things, through him all things exist, and he sustains (holds together) all things. He is the word, i.e. he is the exact word (revelation) of God Almighty. Not only do we have the written word of God (the Bible), but for those of us who have accepted God’s invitation to salvation, we have the word (Jesus, by the Spirit) living and dwelling within us, speaking daily his words to us. Awesome! So, even though we did not see Jesus in the flesh, we know him experientially via his Spirit within us, i.e. we have a personal relationship with him, too.

Since we, who by faith have accepted God’s invitation to his salvation, have come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, and because we now have eternal life with God secured for us in heaven, it should be our goal, joy and desire to proclaim Jesus Christ and his gospel of salvation to others so that they can know him (have fellowship with him), too.

Suppose you were dying of cancer, and you didn’t have long to live, and suddenly someone came out with a cure, and you accepted the remedy, and your cancer was cured, never to return? And, then you learned that others had the same cancer? Wouldn’t you want to tell them of the cure so they could be saved, too? And, yet how many who claim to know Christ hold on to the “cure” and never tell anyone? Why? We should be passionate about sharing Christ with as many as possible before he returns, so they can have the “cure” too.

How many of us, if unmarried, upon getting engaged to get married keep it a secret? How many of us, if we win in a big contest keep it a secret? How many of us, if we get a gift we had always wanted fail to tell anyone? When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, it is a lot like getting engaged (by OT standards of engagement). We also are winners in the biggest contest of all – the battle for our lives – because Jesus paid the price. And, we have been given the best gift of all – freedom from sin, freedom from eternal damnation, and freedom to walk in Christ’s righteousness. Yet, how many of us tell others about Jesus and our salvation with the same enthusiasm and consistency as we do tell of the things of this life?

In this day and age of communication via the internet and social media, people are telling the world about most everything that is going on in their lives, so why are believers in Jesus Christ not saturating the internet and social media sites with the gospel of Jesus Christ? We have the “cure” for the cancer of sin. We are engaged to the best man ever! We are in a personal relationship with the God of the universe who loves us and who gave his life for us. Why are we not telling people? And, if we are telling them, are we telling them the truth?

Walk in the Light (No Darkness)

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. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
The message that the apostles proclaimed was not a feel-good, happy-happy message. It did not tell people to just invite Jesus into their hearts and they would be guaranteed heaven no matter what. They did not tell them that all they had to do was to “believe” and that nothing else was required of them, and that they could kind of just “accept” the teachings of scripture a little at a time. The message was not given in piece-meal, i.e. a little bit at a time so as not to overwhelm people. They were not concerned about offending people with the truth of the gospel. They didn’t entertain them. They didn’t use tricks and gimmicks to try to draw in large crowds of people. They didn’t read the best-selling books on how to market the church just like big business so they could grow their businesses. No, they just told people the truth – the plain truth without the use of manipulation, trickery, deception, half-truths (lies), and without dressing up the gospel to make it more acceptable.

The plain truth of the gospel is that God is light (truth; holiness; righteousness, etc.). In him is no darkness (lies, half-truths, deceptions, manipulations, tricks, evil, sin, etc.). So, if we say we have fellowship with God, i.e. if we say we are in a living, spiritual union with God via faith in Jesus Christ, and yet we continue to walk (by lifestyle) in the darkness (sin, wickedness, lies, deceptions, adultery, idolatry, etc.), then we are liars, and we do not live by the truth. Ouch! Try preaching that message from most pulpits today! I don’t think that would fit in with the marketing schemes of today for how to build big churches. It is not fun! It is not comfortable! Yet, that is the truth of the gospel!

Jesus said that if we would come after him, we must deny (disallow) ourselves (our self-lives), take up our cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him (See Lu. 9:23-25). Paul said that the way we come to know Christ is by putting off (forsaking) our former lives of living for sinful pleasure and self, by being transformed in heart and mind (of the Spirit of God), and by putting on our new lives in Jesus, “created to be like Christ in true righteousness and holiness” (See Eph. 4:17-24; cf. Ro. 6; 1 Jn.; Gal 2:20, et al). Faith in Jesus Christ is not some prayer we pray at an altar, it is not an emotional feel-good decision, it is not intellectual assent to what Christ did for us in dying for our sins, but it is a radical change of mind, heart and behavior, via our cooperation with the Spirit’s work of regeneration (new birth) and sanctification (spiritual growth) in our lives.

So, we can’t continue in lifestyles of sin and living for self and be in true union with Jesus Christ. We must walk (live out our lives daily) in his light (truth, love, righteousness and holiness). Our lives are no longer our own. We were bought with a price. Jesus is not content with the leftovers or with a few crumbs. He wants it all! In other words, coming to Christ means complete surrender of our lives to him for him to now work his will and his ways in our lives. Yet, this is rarely taught anymore here in America, nor is it exemplified to us by our leaders in most cases, and so we, in America, end up with a skewed notion of what it means to be in fellowship (union) with our Lord Jesus. And, salvation ends up being reduced more to a religion that we practice occasionally, rather than it being taught as a relationship and thus as a lifestyle of submission and obedience to Christ Jesus our Lord.

So, if we want to be in true spiritual union (fellowship) with God/Jesus, we must confess, forsake, and turn from our lives of living for sin and self, we must allow the Spirit of God to transform us in heart, mind and in behavior, we must submit to our Lord and to his will for our lives, and we must now live our lives in his love, truth, righteousness and holiness, forsaking all others. This does not mean we will live in perfection or that we will be absolutely sinless, as chapter two makes clear, but it does mean that we should now make it the goal of our lives to live holy lives pleasing to God by yielding to his work of grace within us in transforming us and in conforming us to the likeness of Christ.

So, by the grace of God, via faith in Jesus Christ, and in the power and working of the Spirit of God within you, walk in his light and not in the flesh and you will have fellowship (union) with God. And, then proclaim Jesus Christ and his gospel to others so they can know him (have fellowship with him), too. We have the most wonderful Savior and Lord, friend, and fiancé (husband) there could ever be! We have the cure for the cancer of sin! And, we have been given the most precious gift ever – the gift of eternal life with God! So, don’t keep it to yourselves. Share it with others so they can come to know Christ, too.

Come and See / An Original Work / May 20, 2013

Based off John 1:35-51

John, the Baptist, called of God to
Make straight the way for the Lord,
Told his disciples about Jesus,
So two of them followed Him.

One of them who followed Jesus
Told his brother, Simon Peter,
Who then he brought to the Savior,
Who had told them, “Come and see.”

Jesus Christ, our Lord, Messiah,
On his way to Galilee found a man, Philip,
So he told him, “I want you to follow Me.”

Philip then found his friend,
And he told him, “We have found the one
The prophets spoke of – He is Jesus!”
Philip then said, “Come and see.”

Jesus saw the man, Nathanael,
While he sat beneath a fig tree,
Even before Philip called him,
So Nathanael did believe.

Nonetheless the Lord said,
“You believe because of what I told you.
You will see much greater things than these
If you will Come and see.”

Jesus’ calling to each one of us.
He tells us to believe in Him
As our Lord and Messiah,
And to follow where He leads.

He says we must turn from our sins,
Die to sin and self each day,
And put on our new lives in Jesus;
Bow before Him; humbly pray.

Hi there Ms Sue, John's First Epistle, that you quoted a section from, I find to be one of the most searching parts of Scripture.