Are you willing for your witness to Christ to cost you something?
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. I look forward to these times when I can open the Word of God and share with you these precious truths. May the Holy Spirit bless and comfort and direct your life today as we fellowship together around the Word of God.
We’re looking at John chapter 1, John the Baptist said, “I knew him not but that He should be made manifest. Therefore am I come baptizing with water.” Remember the purpose clauses in the New Testament? This is one of them. That He should be made manifest. And John bear record… John bear record. Now, this is the record of John verse 19. John bear record. You remember I talked to you about your record, what is it that you bring along with you as your record? Well, this is part of John, bear record, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove and it abode upon Him and I knew Him not.” No collusion there. They hadn’t gotten together and cooked this up, “But he that sent me to baptize with water the same said unto me upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on him the same as He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost, and I saw and bear record that this is the Son of God.”
A couple of thoughts here. You have every right to know your marching orders before you go out in the field. I read a book years ago called The Law of Faith, which had this idea in it that a soldier has a right to stay at headquarters until he gets his orders and then he carries them out confidently, knowing what he’s supposed to do. If you’re not sure, you can be sure. John said, “There wasn’t any collusion between us. I wasn’t aware of who the Lord Jesus is and what He looks like but He said I had my orders. He that sends me said, ‘You watch for somebody upon whom you see the Holy Spirit descending and remaining on Him, that’s the Son of God. He’s the one that baptizes with the Holy Ghost.’ The one that sent me said.”
Now, you see, we come to this realization that you and I don’t have any authority of our own in this old world. You’ll find that out soon enough if you try on your own to convince people either of the truth of the gospel, or of the authority of God, or of the importance of lining up their lives with God’s word and God’s will. They’ll say, “That’s what you think.” You don’t have any authority unless you can say, “Thus saith the Lord.”
Early on in the ministry of our precious brother, Billy Graham, I’m old enough to remember when he started and I’ve watched him through the years and we’re dear friends. But early on in his ministry, he realized the importance of the Word of God in preaching, and so from those first days and right straight through ’til today, you’ll find him saying, “The Bible says.” Why? Because the Word of God, “Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.” That’s our authority. He that sent me said. Which leads me then to urge you, my beloved, to base your life and your approach to society as well, God knows as to your family, the people who know you best, base your approach to others on the authority of the Word of God.
Now, a small thought here, there is such a thing as credibility and it doesn’t do any good to quote the Word of God if your life doesn’t back it up. John’s life backed up what he had to say. Jesus said, “He was a burning and a shining light.” John’s life backed up what he had to say. We have tragically had the experience of seeing some whose lives did not back up what they were saying and that always causes a crisis of credibility and people say, “Whom can you believe? Who can you trust?” I know. Well, you can always trust your Lord, that’s a starting point. And you can always trust His Word, but if you’re gonna proclaim His Word, your life has to back it up. That was just a small detour there that all of us need to be reminded of, I think, from time to time.
“He that sent me said, when you see the Spirit descending and remaining that’s the one that baptizes with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove and it abode on Him and I saw and bear record that this is the Son of God.” Effective preaching has to be based upon effective Christian experience. Peter said, “We are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him.” Effective preaching always has to be based on commitment to God, the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and the authority of the Word of God all mixed together in a powerful proclamation of God’s truth. May that be true of every one of us, God grant it.
Being true to a divine call will always lead you to point to Jesus. If you wanna know whether someone has been divinely called of God, just find out whether or not they’re pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ. This also is a very fine screening device for plausible things that represent a deviation from divine truth. The world is full of plausible ideas that have grown in many cases into cults and something that is perhaps worthy in itself has been blown up into a full system of belief that is apart from the Word of God.
I was talking to someone not long ago and he said, “Well, we believe in prayer and we believe in miracles. Oh, yeah.” And he was very definite about that, but one thing that I missed in that conversation was any reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. See, there’s the difference. There are many helpful and plausible ideas, and you don’t reject them so far as their basic helpfulness may be. But you don’t base your life upon them entirely because in many cases they tend to leave out the heart of the gospel, which is Jesus Christ is Lord of all. You understand me on that?
So I say pointing to Jesus as Lord and the Lamb of God and Savior is a very fine screening device if you want to find out what to believe and whom to follow. He said, “Whom you see, that’s the one I saw and I bear record.” Being true to a divine call will always lead you to point to Jesus.
Now, there’s one other thought that I wanna cover before time runs out. Look with me at verse 35 of John 1. Again, he says, “The next day afterward John stood with two of His disciples,” His disciples, “And looking at Jesus as He walked he said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God.’ And the two disciples,” John’s now, they were John’s followers, “Heard Him speak and they followed Jesus.” And the record shows later on in the chapter that they weren’t following John anymore after that, they followed the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus turned and saw them following and He said, “What are you looking for?” They said, “Rabbi, where do you live?” He said, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He dwelled and they stayed with him at that hour for it was about that day for it was about the 10th hour.” Four in the afternoon.
“One of the two was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He found his own brother Simon, he said, ‘We have found the Messiah,’ which being interpreted is the Christ. He brought him to Jesus and the Lord Jesus said, “‘Thou art Simon, the son of Jonah. Thou shalt be called Cephas, which means a stone.'” Now, here you got Andrew and Simon Peter, they were John’s disciples. John’s disciples. Well, Peter wasn’t, but Andrew was. I have to get that right. And the record would indicate that after that, they followed Jesus. Now, I wanna ask you something. Are you willing for your witness to Christ to cost you something in terms of either popularity or notice, visibility or measurable success? That’s what it did to John. They came to him later on as recorded in chapter 3, we’ll get to that by and by. It said, “He that to whom thou bearest witness, He himself is preaching and baptizing and all men come to Him.” “John, you’re losing your grip and you’re losing your crowd. Where are your buddies? You’re losing it.”
By and by after all, you know John ended up in jail for his forthright preaching. And I have to ask you and ask myself, are we willing for our witness to Christ to cost us anything? Yeah, it’s a penetrating question because if you’re in business and you’re true to Jesus, it may cost you a promotion. If you’re in sales and you’re true to Jesus, it may cost you an account ’cause you weren’t willing to heist a few, as they say, at the local bar with your client. If you’re true to Jesus and you’re in a secular university, it may cost you tenure, they won’t give you tenure because somebody on the tenure committee will identify you as a religious kook and they’ll say, “He’s too religious. He doesn’t deserve tenure.” And you may be ever so fine a teacher but they’ll discriminate against you on that basis and there is nothing you can do about it. Yes, you can sue them, I know that, but you’ll find out that the wheels grind very slowly and you oftentimes come out on the short end of the deal there.
So I have to ask that question of myself and of you, are we willing, beloved, for a true witness to Jesus to cost us anything? It’s one thing to sing all for Jesus, all for Jesus, all my days and all my hours. It’s another thing to come straight up against the fact that if you take your stand for Christ, it may cost you either your job, or your loved one, or a promotion, or tenure, or whatever. And if you’re dating an unsaved boy or girl, it may cost you your sweetheart. You gotta think about that.
Now, the other side of it is, Paul said, “Whatever it has cost me, I count that just like so much refuse,” so much garbage, “That I may win Christ and be found in Him.” “Yea,” he says, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but refuse, that I may win Christ.” He said, “Jesus is so much better that anything else looks like garbage by comparison.” He said, “He’s the best, I got Him.” Have you decided that for yourself, beloved? John did. You don’t find him complaining because his disciples walked off and followed the Master. Think about that. Do you wanna think about it and see what you’re willing to do for Jesus, your blessed Lord?
Dear Father, today, oh, may we be true to Jesus, may we count the cost and gladly pay it. May we point to Him in the process of doing our daily work because we’re in the purpose of God. I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen. ‘Til I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today, and be a blessing.
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