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Saturday, June 8, 2019

6-8-2019    Why Should I testify?

And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony because they did not love their lives, even unto death (Rev. 12:11).

I would like to share three things here: 1) the blood of the Lamb; 2) their testimony; and 3) loving their lives.  How can we relate to these three things in our lives today?

First, let’s back up a few verses in this passage.  Michael and his angels fought against the devil and his angels and that old devil, Satan, did not prevail but, with all his angels (1/3 of heaven – Rev 12/4), the one who deceives the world was cast out of heaven.  Then John says he heard a voice saying that the salvation of our God and His Christ is now come for the accuser of the brothers is cast down from heaven. Then comes our key passage, they overcame by …. 

Consider, once we have received Jesus into our hearts (salvation), the enemy is constantly trying to ruin our relationship with the Father.  Should God turn His back on us, or we turn from Him, where is our hope? 

The Blood of the Lamb

When we first gave our lives over to Jesus (those of us who have), we acknowledged Him as the Son of God.  We acknowledged that He came into this world as a real ‘human being’ over two thousand years ago. 

The woman who gave physical birth to Jesus, Mary, was still a virgin at His birth (Luke 1:26-35).  The bible tells us that the Holy Ghost put the baby into Mary’s womb making the eternal God His Father.  (How did God create everything?  He spoke it into existence Gen.1:1-31) 

Jesus had to be born into the natural world, via a human being, so He could be ‘born’ under the ‘Law’, yet with Yaweh being His Father, He was already ascended above the law.  Yet, He had to live as we do, being bound by the same guidelines so that, when the time comes, He, not only could be, but would be a ‘just’ judge.  Jesus lived as one of us for thirty years, He walked in ‘our shoes’, and He pleased the Father and had found favor with man.  He also had uncommon knowledge of Spiritual things (of course).  The Spiritual man conquers things of the flesh.  Jesus was born under the Law so He could redeem us from it (Gal. 5:17-18).

John, the Baptist, was a forerunner for Jesus.  As people confessed and repented their sins, he (John) baptized them in water as an indication of the remission, or forgiveness, of those sins (Mark 1:4).  The old man was buried and a new man was emerging (Rom. 6:4).  Jesus had to be baptized by John in order to fulfill the law.  In the natural, He was obligated to the same conditions we are.  For thirty years, Jesus lived as a man, proving that it could be done.  But being baptized by John, the Holy Ghost descended upon Jesus giving Him full power from Father to operate in this world.  With salvation, Father gives us the Holy Spirit so we may have authority in this world.  With the Pentecost, He gives us power (Acts 1:8).   All we have to do is receive it.  Now, empowered by the Holy Ghost, Jesus could really go out and kick some spiritual butt!  Doubt it?  Read the gospels – giving sight to the blind, healing the sick, casting out devils and raising the dead.  Each event was a boot to Satan’s derriere.   

For approximately three and a half years, Jesus taught the people about being forgiven their sins and coming into and living in the kingdom of God.  As many did back then, today, we believe Jesus is the Messiah, of whom the Old Testament prophets spoke and we accept Him as our Savior (the One who redeems us from death).  

God tells us that there is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood (Heb. 9:21).  Exampled when Abraham took his only begotten son to offer him to God upon the mountain.  Interesting, just before ascending the mountain, Abraham told those who had come with him, that God would provide Himself a sacrifice.  Isaac was not sacrificed, but rather a ram which was caught in the bushes took his place on the altar.  God substituted a ram for Isaac (Gen. 22:5-13).  Israel’s animal sacrifices always pointed to what Jesus would do for us.  And He did it!  If you will, Jesus, the lamb of God sacrificed Himself on the cross, shedding His blood four our sin.  He took our place.  We just need to receive what He did into our heart.

From the Mount of Olives, Jesus was taken by those who would condemn Him to death, before the high priest, then Pilate and then finally to the cross on Calvary (the place of the skull, Golgotha).  So we believe that Jesus shed His blood and died on the cross cleansing us from our sin, our unrighteousness, giving us the promise of eternal fellowship with the Father (John 3:16).

We don’t serve a dead Savior.  For had He died, then never arose, where is our hope for eternity?  On the third day, the grave in which they laid Jesus, was empty (Matt. 28:1-6)!  All that was left were the cloths He had been buried in.  The two Marys and Peter and John all were witness to the empty tomb (Acts 1:2-3).  We accept the testimony of His disciples that He walked, talked and ate with them for forty days after His resurrection (He wasn’t a ghost).  We accept their testimony that Jesus was then raised up into the clouds and back into the kingdom of God (Acts 1:9-11).  He, now, is waiting, at the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:55-56), to come back for us so that we, too, can be with Him – for all eternity.  Oh, by the way, as He yet walked with His disciples, before His crucifixion, He told them that He would go and prepare a place for us so that we could be with Him (John 14:1-3).  Amen?  As further promise for us to be with Him, He has given us the Holy Ghost, a ‘security deposit, a down payment) that He is coming back for us (1 John 2:1-2).

Their (our) Testimony

We share our testimony of salvation or what Father has done, so we can help others.  We attest that it is true because, as with the disciples, either we have lived it or, at least, seen it with our own eyes (Eph. 4:11-16).

Because we love God, the second best way we can show our love for Him is by loving those around us (Mark 12:30-31).  We share our salvation experience and what God has done in our lives to encourage others that they might have hope for the same. 

Jesus testified to His disciples what He had seen from the Father.  The apostles and disciples testified to the world what they had seen, experienced, with Jesus.  Should we do any less?

When we share what Father has done for us, it brings encouragement to those in despair.  It brings hope to the hopeless.  After all, if God did it for us, why wouldn’t He do it for them (Acts 10:34-35)? 

But, all this does have some conditions.  “Oh!” you say, “I knew there was a catch!”  First of all, we know that we can do nothing to earn our way into heaven (Eph. 2:8) but we do have to accept Jesus into our heart.  So, the ‘catch’ is simple.  After all, would you do something for someone else if they didn’t believe you could do it?  If they didn’t believe, would they even let you try?  We need to believe Jesus is all that He said He is.  God does not force Himself upon us yet He continually does try (despite our unbelief) to draw us into His Kingdom (1 Peter 3:9) until we just flatly, unequivocally, deny Him (Rom. 1:28).

Then the clincher – obedience.   As a parent, we expect our children to obey what we tell them.  Of course, our intent is to help them become responsible adults and know how to deal with life.  Right?  Father expects the same of us for the same reason.  Of course, whatever He does is solely and always for our good.  Sometimes, our earthly mom and dad may not. 

Think about “key clubs” or perhaps a gym membership.  We have to abide by their rules to gain access and then, if we intend to maintain that membership, we have to maintain their rules.  Father expects us to live in His love, once we have received Jesus, to obtain full privileges (eternal life).      
I was shy in high school.  Okay, I was really afraid of being rejected by girls so I didn’t try so hard.  I was a senior and there was an underclassman who took a shine to me.  One of her classes was working in the school office so she had access to all the student records.  She searched me out, then she approached me about going to a dance.  Not really having anything else better to do and being surprised that she even asked me (ME), I said OK.  No, the relationship didn’t last through the summer after school.  Yet, she took the time to find out all she could about me.  Father says that in a true relationship, we need to know all about Him, too.  At least as much as we can discover.  We meet Him, then our relationship of discovery begins.  Our relationship grows through bible reading and prayer.

When we find something good, we share information about that ‘something’ with others.  The woman who lost a coin told all her friends once she found it (Luke 15:8-9).

Our testimonies help others to come into the promise of eternal fellowship with the Father through Jesus Christ.  Our testimonies help others to overcome difficulties they may be facing in life.
We share our testimonies, not to brag on ourselves, but to help others become all that they can be. 

Committed to living for Jesus

Revelation implies that we should not ‘love our lives’.  That we should be willing to die for the gospel’s sake.

Stephen gave his life sharing Jesus with the Israelites.  Those who thought Jesus taught blasphemy stoned Stephen to death believing that he, too, spoke blasphemy.  Many Christians were executed (martyred) because they admitted that they followed Jesus.  There are many non-biblical stories where missionaries have given their lives as they entered an hostile environment and shared Jesus.  The book of Revelation speaks of those who will be martyred during tribulation.  If we think about it, Jesus, in dying on the cross, He was actually the first martyr for the faith.  Saints giving their lives for our Lord Jesus happens.  Even today, we hear stories of Christians, in other countries, being martyred for their faith even today.  Watchman Nee, a noted Chinese Christian in China, was imprisoned most of His adult life before dying in a communist prison in 1972.  And the book of Revelation tells us that until Christ returns, there will still be martyrs (Rev. 20:4).

But all don’t have to literally die for Jesus to show that we live for Him.  That we are committed to the faith.

The bible speaks of dying daily (1 Corinth. 15:31).  That is to ourselves.  We yield pieces or segments of our lives over to Jesus regularly, maybe even daily.  We die to the flesh (Rom. 8:13).  That is when we recognize we are involved in anything that is not pleasing to the Father, we confess, repent and leave it at the cross, determined not to do it again. 

Willing to die for Jesus also means being willing to be rejected by the world.  Many people didn’t like Jesus and many people won’t like us.  Our jobs not to make people like us but to offer them life through Jesus Christ (John 15:20).

God is love (1 John 6:5-8).  He commands us to love (John 13:34-35).  Jesus has given us the example of how to live in the Father’s love.  We need to do it.  When we miss the mark, the Holy Ghost is our strength to make it right (John 14:16-18). 

Loving also means that we trust God implicitly.  When we don’t, we violate His Law to love.  There is, again, confession and repentance for our lack of faith.  Once we have truly confessed and repented our sin, God puts it behind His back (Isa. 38:17).  Likewise, we need to let it go.  When the enemy brings it back up (Rev. 12:10), we respond “I’ve given that to God.  Get behind me Satan (Luke 4:8).”  Then, continue to press forward in our walk with the Lord. 

We need to confess that Jesus died for us (an individual), then confess and repent our sins.  We need to live in God’s love.  Then we need to be bold to share our salvation experience with others or any other work Father has performed in our lives that others may benefit from our experiences.  Then we need to live for Christ, giving (yielding) our lives to Jesus and living in His love so we can be a true testimony as to who Father, who created the heaven and the earth, is and all that which He has done for us.


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