The Great News
Witnessing has to grow out of an excitement about the Lord Jesus and His Holy Word.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends, how in the world are you? Yes, that little greeting establishes the fact that this is indeed your friend, Dr. Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. We’re looking into the Gospel of John, you and I. And we’re coming now to the end of verse 14 and on into 15, 16, and 17. Great verses. Come on, let’s see what the Lord will say to us today. And remember, you and I pray, don’t we? That God will give us something special for our needs. I pray every day that God may speak in a special way to the needs of those who are listening. May that be granted today for Jesus’ sake and for His glory.
The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. The combination of God’s personal revelation involves His grace to save us and His truth to straighten us out and guide us. All you’ll ever need to be saved from sin and guided in righteousness is found in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Living Word, and in the Bible, the Written Word. You don’t need anything else to keep you straight in life. Now, there’s a lot of other things to study and a lot of other things to learn. And there is no premium on ignorance.
The Bible doesn’t come out in favor either of the lazy person, or the ignorant person, or the foolish person. The Bible speaks of wisdom, says get wisdom and get knowledge. So, do your homework and learn as much as you can, as you go on through life, but do remember that there is one basic resource, without which, you cannot succeed and that is the person of the Lord Jesus as the source of your life, God’s grace saving you, poured out upon you, filling your life with His Holy Spirit, God’s truth guiding you, shaping your character, making you what God wants you to become.
We look at verse 15. John the Baptist says, “He bear witness of Him.” And cried saying, “This is He of whom I spake.” Saying, “He that cometh after me is preferred before me for He was before me and of His fullness have all we received in grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” I want to stop just for a moment on the word, “witness.” It’s a Greek word martureo, from which we get our English word martyr. To witness, concerning the Lord Jesus, is more than talking about Him. Do you realize that? Your whole life has to be placed in a position of guaranteeing the truth of what you say about Jesus Christ. That’s why it’s so important that our lives back up our testimonies. And that’s why it’s so disastrous when someone who is reputed for leadership in the things of God turns out to be not everything that he or she was supposed to be.
John bore witness of Him. Tell me something, my dear friend. How do you witness for Jesus? It must be admitted that many of us do this in a hesitant and haphazard fashion. We are afraid of barging into other people’s lives and privacy and so we are very hesitant about bringing up religious matters to begin with, in many cases. And when the opportunity is given, we tread softly so as not to say anything that might be considered out of place. We avoid all argument certainly, and all controversy, and we end up, then, being a sort of a marshmallow type of a witness without too much effectiveness or character. Am I describing how you sometimes feel about yourself? How do you really witness about the Lord Jesus? Let me think with you about it. I’ve got a few ideas that I’ve gathered through the years, that sort of stick in my mind. Do you know that Christian witnessing is not so much an effort as it is a spillover, a kind of a by-product, an overflowing of interest? Inevitably, we talk about that which is most interesting and exciting to us.
There was a boy in the college, years ago, that wouldn’t talk to me. He was either shy or else he didn’t think I was worth talking with. And I tried, oh tried so many ways to open up conversation with him, never give me even the time of day. One day, I found him outside the front entrance of the college tinkering with a secondhand Honda. It was one of the old 400’s; any of you motorcycle people know that that was a motorcycle that was practically indestructible, but it had one fault. Over 50 miles an hour, it vibrated viciously. You ride for one hour and vibrate for 24. [chuckle] Yes, I knew a little something about it. And so, I saw him tinkering with this ancient Honda. And I went up, I said, “Hey, you got yourself a new bike. It’s a Honda 400.” Or 450, whatever it was. And I said, “You know, that’s got sodium-filled valves so they don’t burn at high speed and its compression ratio is 8.5:1.” And I told him a little something about the make of it and the manufacture of it, and ask him if he’d found a way to cope with the vibration.
Well, the more I talked, the more his face just opened up until finally he was grinning broadly, almost from ear to ear. I had found a new friend because I talked with him about something that he was interested in. Witnessing, I think, has to come from a heart that is excited about the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you ever get excited about Jesus? Do you walk close enough with Him to have that burning excitement in your heart that says, “Oh, He’s so wonderful!” Remember the reaction that those two who were walking on the way to Emmaus had when the Lord Jesus joined them. And later when He had taken his leave, after having had supper with them, they said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked with us by the way and while he opened to us the scriptures? Didn’t our hearts burn within us?” Well, of course they did. And I think that’s the start of it.
If you’ll spend enough time with Jesus in prayer, in your daily devotions, in the inerrant, infallible Word of God, the Bible, if you’ll let the indwelling Holy Spirit speak to your heart about the Savior, you’re gonna get excited about the Lord. You’re gonna have something about which you can speak to someone else. How long… Now, if this bothers you, maybe it should, I’m speaking in love. I love you and I’ve prayed that God would just open up His heart to us today and do something for us. So I have to ask, how long has it been since you shared anything juicy from the Word of God with somebody else? Now, it must be admitted that some people would be scared to death if you said to them, “Hey, I got something wonderful from the Bible this morning.” [chuckle] That’s true. Most folk aren’t used to that. The fact is, however, that witnessing has to grow out of excitement about the Lord Jesus and about the Word of God. I asked Hubert Mitchell one day why it is that the sadhus, the holy men, so-called, of India are so hard to win over to Christ. He thought a moment, he said, “Well, it must be that they spend every waking moment meditating upon their own sacred writings. Their minds are so full of their own sacred writings that they have no time nor room to think of anything else.”
“Thy word have I hid in my heart,” said the Psalmist. To have the word of God on your mind and in your heart, to spend enough time with the Savior until you get excited about Him. Now, I’ll tell you another thing that produces excitement and that is when the Lord Jesus does something in your own life. Have you ever taken some of your own faults and failings to the Savior and asked Him to do something about them? As a matter, I mean, of regular prayer. I suppose all of us have prayed about our faults in a sporadic fashion now and then. But as a matter of regular prayer, have you ever taken seriously some of your faults and shortcomings to the Lord and asked Him to do something about them? And then when He did did you sense that holy excitement and that rush of heartfelt gratitude that came when you realized that God had indeed answered your prayer? Oh, yes. Excitement about the Lord Jesus, it comes from prayer, it comes from the Word of God, and it comes from answered prayers, something happening in your life. So that you can share that with someone else. Have you ever met a person who had been a member of Weight Watchers and who had lost 30 pounds? And you say, “Hello Gertrude, how nice you look.” And she says, “Yes.” You know the next thing she’s gonna say? “I lost 30 pounds.” [chuckle]
See? Because it happened, something happened and she’s happy about it. And there isn’t any reason in the world why she shouldn’t say so. Now, can’t we be just as natural and un-posed in this matter of speaking about our Lord Jesus? Has He done something for you? Has He cured you of the chronic habit of worrying? Or has He done something about the habit of complaining? Or has He begun to monitor your thoughts so that you don’t have to think of things that you’re ashamed of? Or has He helped you to forgive someone concerning whom you only had hateful resentment before? Has Jesus, our blessed living Lord, done anything in your life? Well then, if He has, you certainly can share that with other people, as the Lord opens up the opportunity for you to bear witness. Spend some time with Him in prayer, let Him speak to you from His Word, let Him do something in your life that is worth talking about. Witness.
Now, there’s another thing you have to realize and that is that the blessed Holy Spirit who indwells the believer is the master of witnessing. Our Lord Jesus said, “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you and as a result,” I put in that phrase, “And, as a result, ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Sumeria, and unto the outermost part of the earth.” As a result of what? As a result of the Holy Spirit of God dwelling within you, anointing you, filling every room in your heart house with His presence. You don’t have to force witnessing, you don’t have to say, “Now, I gotta witness.” Let the Spirit of God guide you, just as naturally as breathing. In your daily conversation with others, let the blessed Spirit of God guide you. Be sure you’ve got something to share and then when the Spirit of God opens up the door, just walk in. John bore witness of Him. Mind you, you’re not talking about yourself, but about Jesus; that’s where it counts. Father God, today, oh, may we be filled with the grace of God? In his name I pray this, amen. ‘Til I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing.
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