Sermon Info:

Responsive Reading:  1 John 5:3-15
Key Verse(s): 1 John 5:11-12
Background Scripture:  Matt. 21:33-44; 1 Pet. 2:4-10

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Again, I say to you what you already know:  it is the holy season – the most wonderful time of the year.  It is that time of year where we celebrate the birth of our Savior, God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus, we will see John say, is the testimony of God.

The Testimony of God

A testimony, we should know, stands as a witness; it is a solemn declaration usually made orally by a witness; a firsthand authentication.  Those that sell a service or products love to have others give a testimony about their service as a means to convince others to give their service a try.  Testimonies build trust as they act as endorsements as they are a form of proof.

God’s eternal promise

So, when we consider what a testimony is, and that Jesus is the testimony of God, it should make us wonder, why did God need a testimony?  What is His service?  What was it that Jesus testified of?  Let’s give this some thought for a moment.

If we go back to the garden, we know the desire that the Lord had for mankind.  God created mankind with the intent for us to be fruitful (prosper) and to multiply (Gen. 1:27-28). God created mankind with the desire to dwell with us forever, but unfortunately, mankind fell to the deceptions of Satan; we ended up going against the Lord’s desires by becoming sinners – people the Lord would never dwell with.

This fact is shown to us in Isaiah 59:2, where it is stated that the iniquities of man separates us from the Lord.  In that verse, we are told that Israel, because of their sins, God hid His face from them.  Not only did God hide His face from Israel, but He also did not hear them.  This, again, was not something that God desired to do – He did not desire to be separated from mankind.

So, after mankind’s fall in the garden, there was a promise made by the Lord with a certain desire in mind.  In Genesis 3, we see that God promised to destroy Satan and sin (Gen. 3:14-15).  Why did God make a promise to destroy Satan and sin?  It was because He still had the desire to dwell with mankind.

To Noah, after the great flood, God promised never to destroy mankind; God’s eternal desire was in mind (Gen. 9:12-17).  When the Lord sought to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, He spoke with Abraham about His desire to save those who were righteous (Gen. 18:16-33).  To His chosen king, David, God promised that one would sit on an everlasting throne (2 Sam. 7:13) and be king over those that were righteous; God kept that promise even after David’s great sin and the great sin of Israel and Judah.

Showing the proof

So, when we ask why did the Lord need to provide a testimony of Himself, the answer would be because of sin and His desire to save us, mankind from sin.  God needed to convince us to turn away from wickedness for something – a way – that was far better.  In order to convince us to do so, He needed to send a witness with first hand authentication of His eternal promise.

Did He send an angel to give a testimony of His heavenly kingdom?  No.  Gabriel did come to announce the coming of the one that would testify of God’s eternal promise, but Gabriel did not necessarily testify of eternity to mankind.  The writer of Hebrews stated it best when they wrote that the Lord sent greater than an angel to testify of His eternal desire for mankind (Heb. 1:5-14). God gave the world His only begotten Son to testify of Himself and His heavenly kingdom.

So, how great of a testimony could the Son of God give to mankind?  I would say He could give better than a 5-star review – His testimony could be trusted!  Jesus, the Word of God, came directly from eternity with His testimony (John 1:1).

Christ, John said, came by water and blood (1 John 5:6).  Blood, as you would figure, is representative of the flesh which the Word was made (John 1:14).  Water, on the hand, Jesus taught Nicodemus spoke to life of the Spirit.  Jesus said to Nicodemus that unless one is born of water and Spirit they cannot enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3-6).

Christ coming by water and blood signified that Jesus was both of the flesh but was also of the Spirit – He was holy and divine. In other words, there could be no better witness of heaven!  Jesus, as we know, was God in the flesh.  So, I would ask:  Who could be a better witness of heaven than the Lord?

The Testimony of God Rejected

Yet, many have and still do reject the testimony of God.  In his first letter, Peter touched on the thought of the testimony of God being rejected by mankind.

The chief cornerstone rejected

Peter quoted scripture from the book of Psalms (Ps. 118:22) and Isaiah (Is. 8:14; 28:16) when he quoted, “ ‘Behold, I (God) lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’ Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious, but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,’ and ‘a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense (1 Pet. 2:6-8).’ ”

Who is the chief cornerstone that the Lord laid in Zion that was rejected?  Jesus identifies Himself as the chief cornerstone that was rejected and had become a stone of stumbling (Matt. 21:41-42).  Why was Jesus, the testimony of God, rejected?  Why was He rejected during His days, Peter days, and now during our days?

Peter, within that same passage of scripture, said that those who stumble, stumble being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.  So, to answer the question, many choose to reject the testimony of God because they would rather adhere to their own word rather than God’s word.  People are disobedient to the word of God because they believe they know better than Him.

So, imagine this:  believing you know more about a product you have never used compared to one who has used a product and left a testimony.  Imagine this:  believing you know more about a restaurant you have never been to compared to one who has actually been to it.

How could we ever reject the testimony of God believing that we know more than Christ who came from heaven and can testify of it first hand?

In Isaiah 8:14-20, we will see where the Lord spoke through Isaiah about mankind’s stumbling and rejection of His testimony.  Rather than binding up the testimony of God in their hearts and waiting on the Lord, Israel, in their own wisdom, chose to seek mediums and wizards!  Is that what you do today?  Would you seek mediums and wizards over the testimony of God?

The Lord asked, “should not a people seek their God?”  God is all powerful, all knowing, and is everywhere at all times, so, it would certainly make the most sense that if you have the ear of God, you would consult Him first over anything or anybody else!

However, the truth of the matter is that many of us would rather consult and seek the council of “mediums and wizards” over the Lord.  Foolishly, many of us would rather follow after the testimony of a fool – false reports, doctrines, and conspiracies  – over the testimony of God because apparently man knows better than the one who created him!

What good does it do to disregard and ignore the word of God for foolishness?  The answer: it does no good; it only leads to destruction.  So, God gave us His testimony in the flesh to convince and turn us away from the testimony of fools for a way of strength and life (Prov. 10:29-30).

God’s testimony rejected in the flesh

I encourage you today that it is the perfect season for you to turn to the Lord and His saving testimony if you have not done so already.  Some say that if the Lord came before them and showed them heaven, and His great works, they would believe in Him.  Yet, again, we know that the testimony of God has been rejected even when it stood before mankind in the flesh.

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus expressed this thought to us through the Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers (Matt. 21:33-44).  In this parable, Jesus spoke of a landowner that had planted a vineyard that he leased out to some vinedressers.  The landowner is representative of the Lord and the vinedressers were representative of Israel.

When vintage time came around, the landowner desired to collect the fruit of the vineyard (Matt. 21:33-34).  So, the landowner sent his servants to collect the fruit but the vinedressers took his servants and dealt harshly with them.  Jesus said that vinedressers beat one servant, killed one, and stoned another (Matt. 21:35).

The landowner then sent another group of servants to collect from the vinedressers and again, the vinedressers beat one, killed one, and stoned another.  By dealing harshly with the servants, let’s understand that the vinedressers were being incredibly ungrateful for what the owner had given them.  This pattern spoke to how the Lord was reaching out to the children of Israel about His desire for them but they were ungrateful; they responded by repeatedly rejecting the prophets sent by God.

Now, after the vinedressers had dealt so harshly with the landowner’s servants, we are told that the landowner then sent his son with the belief that the vinedressers would respect his son and not deal harshly with him (Matt. 21:37).  However, the vinedressers were so caught up in their wicked ways that they also dealt harshly with Him; they rejected and killed him with the belief that they would be able to seize his inheritance (Matt. 21:38).

Jesus made it clear that He was the son that He was being antagonized while testifying of the Lord by doing all kinds of good throughout the land.  God sent His testimony through His only begotten Son because man was not listening to anybody else!  If they did not listen to anybody else, the hope was that they would listen to His Son.

Let us consider the testimony that was rejected:  Jesus, in person, testified of God’s love; Jesus testified of God’s mercy and forgiveness; Jesus testified that the Lord truly desired to dwell with mankind forever as He preached that He would show mankind the way to heaven if we believe.

You have heard me express to you how troubled I am at the ungratefulness of man when it comes to all that God has done for us.  The fact that the Lord gave us His testimony in the flesh combined with the fact that God still desires to dwell with each of us after we have lived in sin for so long should not be mocked or taken for granted.

We ought to be thankful for God’s love!  We ought to be thankful for God’s testimony!  We ought to be thankful for all that the Lord has done rather than be ungrateful.

Blind to the testimony of God

The Jews were ungrateful and they ended up stumbling because of their disobedience.  Their disobedience caused them to go blind to the testimony of God that stood right before them.  Many stumble over the testimony of God today because of their disobedience.  There are many that go blind to the testimony of God because of ‘their wisdom’ and the belief that they know better.

After the Son, God has sent into the highways the message of His testimony through preachers, teachers, and all who join in ministering God’s gospel of love, mercy, and salvation.  Yet, the genuine ministering of the testimony of God is met head on with those that seek to challenge the wisdom of God with the intellect of man.

For example:  at this time of year we celebrate the birth and manifestation of Christ who brought God’s testimony from heaven to man but it is now met with mockery, bitterness, and even disgust.  The birth of Christ, because of man’s wisdom, has become the greatest stone of stumbling.  Some suggest God coming in the flesh to be too impossible because there is no proof of Christ.

The witness of the testimony of God

Jesus would disagree with such a thought as He made it clear that He had one that could bear witness of Him.  When accused of not being able to prove His divinity, Jesus said, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going … I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me (John 8:14,18).”

If the witness of the Father is not good enough for you, John writes that there is another that bears witness of Christ.  After His resurrection and ascension, this other one came from heaven to dwell in the hearts of those that genuinely believe in the Son.  The Holy Spirit, Comforter, came from heaven to dwell in the hearts of believers and stand as a witness to the testimony of God in Christ.

Jesus told the disciples that bearing witness of Christ is the purpose and work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.  “He (the Holy Spirit) will glorify Me,” Jesus said, “for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you (John 16:14).”  John, remembering exactly what Christ taught him about the Holy Spirit, stated that it is the Spirit who bears witness of the testimony of God because the Spirit is truth (1 John 5:6).

Confident in the Testimony of God

What has the Spirit testified to us?  The Spirit has testified that God is love!  The Spirit has testified that through our faith in Christ we have victory over sin, Satan, and death!

God has given us His testimony – His proof – of His eternal desire through His Son, and now through the Holy Spirit, to convince us to believe in Him.  So, the onus is now on us, not God, to look at Jesus’ testimony – His review – and either believe it or not.  As David said, I, personally, have sought the Lord and He heard me, and He delivered me from all of my troubles (Ps. 34:4).

I listened to Christ, gave the Lord a try, and saw that what Jesus said was true!  For all of you that may be questioning the Lord today, understand that Jesus is the best one to give a review of the Lord.  Listen to Jesus’ testimony and then give the Lord a try!  I want you to know that we can be confident in the testimony that came from Christ.

The threefold witness to the testimony of God

We can be confident because we have three in heaven that bear witness to the testimony of God (1 John 5:7).  John writes that we have the Father who testified of His promises through the prophets.  Secondly, we have the Son who testified of the eternal promise face to face.  Thirdly, we have the Holy Spirit that bears witness of the testimony – this is God in three persons working in unity to convince the world.

We also have three on earth that bear witness to the testimony of God.  On earth, we, again, have the Holy Spirit that works to convince us of the truth in our hearts.  Secondly and thirdly, we have the water and the shed blood of Christ; these three, John wrote, agree as one (1 John 5:8).

John then stated, “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater (1 John 5:9).”  The witness of men, we must consider, can be corrupted because of our sinful nature.  Therefore, the witness of man can be fallible because we are fallible creatures.  If you, on occasion, would believe a fallible witness, surely you can believe the witness of one who knows no lies and is perfect!

As I consider my life, the many prayers I have prayed, and have seen how the Lord has moved on my behalf, I know that the testimony of God is certainly true and that you can be confident in it.  John wrote, “this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him (1 John 5:14-15).”

All of this is true, thanks be to God for giving us His testimony through His only begotten Son.  So, this holiday season, I again encourage you to look at the testimony of God through Christ and give Him a try.  You will see that the Lord truly is good and the absolute best gift you will ever find.


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