Saturday, March 12, 2016, 7:25 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Servant of The Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 5:30-47 (ESV).
The Testimony (vv. 30-37a)
“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me.
Jesus had just finished talking about how he could do nothing without the Father, and that what the Father did, the Son did also. Jesus did not operate on his own. He was completely in submission to the Father, and he obeyed him in all things, even though he himself was God – fully God, yet fully man, our creator and giver of life. He did not seek his own will, but the will of God the Father, who is the one who had sent him to the earth to become our sacrificial Lamb to take away the sins of the world.
Now, he said that he also did not testify alone about himself, i.e. that he is the Christ, the promised Messiah, of whom Moses and the Prophets spoke, and this was because his testimony alone would not be sufficient evidence to hold up in a court of law. Yet, he did not testify alone, because John the Baptist, the works the Father had given Jesus to do, the Father himself, the Scriptures, and Moses and the Prophets all bore witness about Jesus, that he is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the only true God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and that he was sent by the Father. And, their testimonies did not originate with man, either, but with God the Father.
The relationship Jesus Christ had/has with the Father is a model for us, Christ’s followers, as to what our relationship with Jesus should look like, and how it should operate, not in the flesh of humankind, but of the Spirit of God. Jesus told his disciples, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5). So, just as Jesus could do nothing of his own accord, but only what he saw his Father doing, so we can do nothing of eternal value, and for the advancement of the kingdom of heaven, apart from our abiding in Jesus Christ, and apart from the empowerment of his Spirit living within us. If we try to serve God in our own flesh, seeking our own will, instead of the will of God in what we do, it will profit us nothing.
God is not interested in what we are willing to sacrifice for him, or what areas of ministry we have decided we are willing to fill. He wants us to be, with Jesus, like Jesus was/is with the Father. It is his will for us that we should be crucified with Christ in death to sin, and resurrected with Christ in newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). It is his will that we should no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life for us on a cross. It is also God’s will for our lives that we should be surrendered to Christ, submitted to his Lordship over our lives, obedient to his teachings, and that we should not seek our own will for our lives, but the will of God/Jesus Christ.
As well, our testimonies about Jesus Christ should not be based in human reasoning or understanding, but they should be founded in the Word of God, and in the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. We must make sure, as much as is possible, that what we give testimony to is in agreement with Scripture, and not something man made up. When we share Christ with others, it should be in the power and working of the Holy Spirit within us, as we pray for the Lord to guide our words and to give us the words to speak. When we share Christ and his Word, it should also not be for the purpose to glorify our own flesh, but to bring praise, honor and glory to God alone. And, our actions, i.e. how we live our lives, should bear witness to the reality of our relationship with Jesus Christ of which we speak.
How Will You Believe? (vv. 37b-47)
“His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
From infanthood I was brought up attending weekly meetings of the church, and I heard the Word of God taught and the gospel of Jesus Christ explained. In my youth I had a pastor who dearly loved the Lord, and who taught us how to study the scriptures, and how to live holy lives, pleasing to God. I was blessed beyond measure with knowledge and understanding of the scriptures, and with a pastor who was a man of God, a man of his word, a man of integrity, and one who walked the talk instead of just talking the walk. I had several godly mentors who taught me how to spend time with my Lord each day in his Word, listening to him speak his words to my heart, and who taught me obedience to Christ, as my love response to him because of all that he did for me. In other words, they taught me how to love Jesus with all my heart.
Yet, having all that knowledge and teaching was not enough. I had to personally accept God’s invitation to his great salvation. I had to personally yield control of my life over to him, repent of my sins, and trust him with my life. It was the Father who drew me to Jesus, and it was the Holy Spirit who convicted my heart of sin. It was the gift of God and his grace that gave me the desire and the ability to believe in Jesus and to repent of my sins, and it was the working of the Holy Spirit in my heart that transformed me from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that I could receive forgiveness of sins. Yet, I am not a puppet, and God is not a puppet master. I had to willingly yield to his Lordship, and willfully cooperate with the working of God’s grace in my heart. I had to turn to God and to his righteousness and away from my sin, empowered by the Spirit, yes, and only because of Jesus’ sacrifice for my sins, but nonetheless I had to make that choice to follow Jesus with my life or to reject him.
There are many people who profess to know Jesus Christ but it is head knowledge only. They know the scriptures. Many of them were brought up attending meetings of the church. Some of them even have Bible college degrees (diplomas). Yet, they don’t really believe in Jesus, because they have never trusted him with their lives. They are still holding on to their old lives of living for sin and self. They are still trying to run their own lives, and they operate fully in the flesh. They have never surrendered their lives to Christ, though, and they never did submit themselves to the cross in dying with Christ to their sin, and in being resurrected with Christ to live to righteousness. They never truly came to Jesus, in other words, but in form or in profession only. Thus, they do not have the love of God within them, because they never truly received Jesus into their lives to save them from slavery to sin in order that they might live with Christ in the Spirit and walk in his holiness.
They are followers of man instead of followers of God. Even though they say they believe the scriptures and that they believe in Jesus, they do not follow them. Their lifestyles do not bear testimony to the profession of their faith, that they have been born again of the Spirit of God, and that they are united with Christ, and that they have eternal life with God. Belief in Jesus is not head knowledge, nor is it an emotional response to an alluring message which promises an escape from hell and the hope of heaven when we die, but does not teach that faith in Jesus means dying to sin and living to righteousness. True belief in Jesus Christ means trusting him with our lives, and submitting to his Lordship, and allowing him to transform our hearts and to make us new creations in Christ Jesus. Will you trust him to be your Lord (owner/master) today, and will you become his servant?
Servant of the Lord / An Original Work
Based off Romans 1:1-17 / July 26, 2012
Servant of the Lord;
For the gospel you’re set apart.
Promised through the prophets of old:
Jesus, Son of God.
Through Him, and for His name alone,
We receive His grace
To call people, Him to obey;
Coming from their faith.
You belong to Christ;
Loved by God, and called to be saints;
Serving God with whole heart and mind;
Preaching Jesus Christ;
Always praying for others’ needs;
Helping hand to lend;
Giving courage to others’ faith,
For the praise of God.
Servant of the Lord;
Of the gospel, I’m not ashamed;
For salvation, power of God
To those who have faith.
In the gospel find righteousness:
Being right with God.
Turn from sin, and trust Jesus Christ.
By faith, live in Him.