Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds Jesus' additional words after the healing of the impotent man. Dr. Johnson outlines seven evidences of Jesus' messiahship.
[Message] We are turning to John chapter 5 again for our Scripture reading and reading verse 31 through verse 47. Our subject for this morning is the sevenfold witness to Christ and five of the testimonies are found right here in this section that we are going to be reading. John chapter 5 verse 31 and following the Lord says in his sermon that is explanatory of the healing of the impotent man.
“If I bear witness of myself my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John and he bore witness unto the truth. But I received my testimony from man, by things I say that ye might be saved. He was a burning and shining light and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light, but I have greater witness than that of John for the works which the father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do bear witness of me that the father hath sent me. And the Father himself who hath sent me hath born witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at anytime nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you for whom he hath sent him ye believe not. Search the Scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life and there are they which testify of me.”
The word search in this particular context is in a form in the Greek language, which may be rendered in two ways. It may be an imperative and may be rendered as it is here as a command, “search the Scriptures”. But it also might be rendered as an indicative expressing a declarative thought and that is the more likely way it should be rendered.
“Ye search the Scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life and there are they which testify of me. And yes will not come to me that ye might have life. I receive not honor from men but I know you that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name and you receive me not. If another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe who receive honor one of another and seek not the honor that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one that accuseth you, even Moses in whom ye trusts (Or as the original text says, “In whom ye have hoped.”) For had ye believed Moses ye would have believed me for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings how shall ye believe my words?”
It’s most interesting that our Lord links the testimony to him with the testimony that Moses gave and affirms that if an individual does not believe Moses he cannot believe the words of our Lord, and that may account for many of the severe attacks that modern scholarship has attempted to make upon the book of Genesis which tells us about the creation, creation of all things, the creation of man. It speaks of the fall of man and the results of the fall of man. It also speaks of the messianic promises. And our Lord says if you don’t believe the things that Moses wrote you cannot accept his words. It is impossible for us to say I believe the Lord Jesus Christ but I don’t accept those sagas and myths that are found in the Book of Genesis. Our Lord does not give us that alternative.
We are turning to John chapter 5 and verse 31 through verse 47. And the subject for today in the ministry of the word is “The Sevenfold Witness to Christ.” Five of those seven witnesses are here in the chapter and I’ve added two, which come from the Gospel of John but are not specifically stated here in this fifth chapter.
Last week I made reference to a book written by Neils F.S. Farray who was professor of philosophical theology at the Vanderbilt University’s School of Religion a few years back. He wrote a book called “The Sun and the Umbrella” which is really one of the most blasphemous books that was written at that time by a professing Christian man concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. Essentially the parable of the sun and the umbrella as set out by Professor Farray was that one of the difficulties with the understanding and seeing of God as he is, the only true God, is the fact that the Christian chapter has been responsible for inserting Christ and the Bible between us and the Lord. And he likened the father to the son and he likened us to individuals who were walking around under an umbrella, and the umbrella prevented the rays of the son from reaching us. And one of the umbrellas was the person of Jesus Christ and another was the Bible so that by putting ourselves under the umbrella we were preventing ourselves from coming to know the glory of the one true God. Among the things that Professor Farray said were that theology did “present him (Jesus) as sinless and thereby robbed him of his humanity”. In other words, the Bible is responsible for telling us that Jesus Christ is the sinless Son of God and by so doing has erected an umbrella between us and the true God. Furthermore, his own humanity has been robbed by the fact that we have called him sinless.
The Bible plainly teaches the sinlessness of Christ among the texts of Scripture the Apostle Paul writes, “For he hath made him to be sin for us who knew know sin that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” Professor Farray made the common mistake that because men are sinners today and because Jesus Christ lives in the midst of us that therefore he was a sinner to. But we should remember that sin is not a necessary factor of human nature. It is only necessary since fall. Adam in the Garden of Eden was a sinless man until he fell. Sin is not necessary for humanity to be humanity. In fact, we ourselves shall one day be delivered from the sin principle and shall also at that time be sinless.
Other things that Professor Farray said included the prayer which he shared with his disciples acknowledged his need for forgiveness. Our Lord never said that he had need for forgiveness. He asked the disciples to pray and acknowledge their need of forgiveness but himself never prayed that so called Lord’s Prayer. In fact, he did just the opposite in the Gospel of John. He said, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” and of course intended and received no answer.
Mr. Farray went on to say the doctrine of the second coming denied the concept of God’s being love. It seems doubtful that Jesus ever taught such a doctrine as the doctrine of the Second Advent. Well, one only has to read a few pages in the New Testament to realize that our Lord taught very plainly the fact of the Second Advent and that is something for which we as believers look forward.
He said also to call Jesus God is to substitute an idol for the incarnation. That is, that we are not to think of our Lord as God and if we do call him God than we are guilty of worshipping a false God. We have made him God. One wonders what would be said concerning texts such as when Thomas saw that he had truly been raised from the dead cried out as he fell down before him saying, “My Lord and my God.” The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews obviously had never read Professor Farray’s book because in the first chapter of his letter he gives a number of texts pointing to the true deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. And among them is this plain text in chapter 1 in which he cites Psalm 45. And in the citation these are the words that are found. “And of the angels he saith, ‘Who maketh his angels spirits and his ministers a flame of fire’. But unto the son he saith, ‘Thy throne O God is forever and ever a septure of righteousness is the septor of thy kingdom.” Know the Bible testifies without any equivocations whatsoever to the true and full deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s rather significant, I think, that in this fourth Gospel — the Gospel of John — the Lord Jesus said “my father”. He also spoke of “your father”. But never once did Jesus say “our father”. In other words, he always claimed to have a sonship that was different from the sonship of you and me. We are sons of God but he is the Son of God. We are the children of God but he is the unique second person of the trinity, the eternally begotten Son of God. We are sons by the new birth, by generation in time the Lord Jesus is the Son of God by eternal generation. He is the only person who stands in that relationship to the father.
Well, the Lord Jesus has been affirming things that are just as significant and just as unique in the fifth chapter. He has healed the man who had the lameness and in the course of his discussion of things after the healing of the impotent man he’s been giving a sermon, a message. And in the midst of it he has just affirmed his authority to make alive the human spirit. He said in verse 24, “Verily, Verily I say unto you, he that heareth my word and believeth him that sent me hath everlasting life and shall not come into judgment but is passed from death unto life. Verily, Verily I say unto you, the hour is coming and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live.” He claims to have authority to make alive the human spirit. Now, that is something that only God can do as we saw when Namon went down from Syria to the land of Israel in order to be healed of his leprosy and when the king of Israel was asked to do something about it he said as he tore his clothes thinking that this was an occasion for the king of Syria to come and war against him. He said, “Am I God to kill and to make alive?” He recognized that to bring life, or to quicken, or to make alive a spirit, or to cleanse from leprosy is a prerogative of God alone. But the Lord Jesus claims that prerogative. He is one who when men hear his voice; they hear his voice, they shall live. He communicates life to those who hear his word. Not only does he quicken the spirits of men but he also makes alive their bodies.
Verse 28 contains these words, “Marvel not at this for the hour is coming in which all that are in the grave shall hear his voice and shall come fourth. They that have done good unto the resurrection of life and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment.” So the Lord Jesus Christ is able to make alive the human spirit and he also has the authority and will execute it to make alive the human body in resurrection.
Someone might say at this point to him, and I think he has anticipated this possible objection, “You’re affirmations are supported only by your words so how can we believe them.” And so our Lord now will give some testimonies to him and to his person and power. He begins with something of an introduction by saying that, “I will condescend in effect to human law. Notice verse 31 and verse 32. “If I bear witness of myself my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.”
That raises an interesting question. “If I bear witness of myself my witness is not true.” If our Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God is not his witness true? Well, of course his witness is true. And if he is as he claims to be this individual who can make alive the human spirit and can make alive the human body and resurrection then the things that he speaks they are true. In what sense could our Lord possibly say, “If I bear witness of myself my witness is not true?” Well, the only way in which he can do this is to do it out of his mediatorial relationship to the father. For you see though he was the eternal son of God, eternally the second person of the trinity and the eternal son by eternal generation he took upon himself human nature and for a time became a mediator in order by his life, and ministry and preeminently by his death to make it possible for the saints of God to be restored to relationship to the Lord God. And in taking that relationship he took upon himself the necessity of complete obedience to the father.
In everything he must obey the father. He said in verse 30, “I can of mine own self do nothing. As I hear I judge and my judgment is just because I seek not mine own will but the will of the father who sent me.” So the Lord Jesus committed himself to a life of obedience. That obedience was an obedience even to the death of the cross. And when he had finished his ministry of obedience in the flesh he ascended to the right hand of the father and continues his obedience to the father in his resurrection glory until his whole program is finished. And when it is finished Paul tells us he will turn over the kingdom to the father that God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit maybe all in all. Our Lord Jesus is the mediant. If he were to have thoughts of his own and depart in actions and ways that were contrary to the will of the father in any way the of course it would be the same as any of us becoming sinners. He would have turned aside from the will of God. He would have become the lie instead of the truth. And so he speaks of himself as being in complete subservience and submission to the father during the whole time of his mediatorial ministry. Therefore, if he bore witness of himself as a separate testifier apart from the direction of the father his witness would be not true.
Now, I think that we also may say if I bear witness of myself my witness is not true in your estimation. That might be also involved. In other words, you might think that my witness is not true if I bore it of myself, but I think that problem the sense that I’ve just explained is the sense in which this is to be understood. Now, to show you that his testimony is always true even when he speaks individually turn over to chapter 8 verse 14.
The Lord Jesus there speaking in a different context says, the text reads John 8:14, “Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Though I bear witness of myself yet my witness is true for I know from where I came and where I go but ye cannot tell from where I come and where I go.'” So far as our Lord’s testimony is concerned it is true and it is true because he is the Son of God, but he has committed himself to subservience and submission for a time. And therefore he says, “If I bear witness of myself apart from that relationship of complete dependence upon the Father my witness would not be true.”
Well, that’s something that someone might want to use to show that the Bible really does contradict itself. But I think that when you read the Bible carefully you will see that that is not true at all. In fact, if someone wanted to be sure that the Bible, being a deceptive book and being a forgery, would not have unnecessary criticisms an author would never put two texts like that in the same book. But John has done it because he sees no contradiction between the statement in chapter 5, “If I bear witness of myself my witness is not true. If I bear witness of myself my witness is true.” It’s the context that determines the meaning in each particular place. Well, that’s the first testimony to our Lord’s greatness and it comes from him himself. “If I bear witness of myself my witness is true.”
Now the witness of John the Baptist is given next in verse 33 through verse 35. Jesus said to the men about him, “Ye sent unto John and he bore witness unto the truth.” That reminds us of the Jews who came to see John the Baptist described in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, and they asked him who he was. “Are you the Messiah?” John said, “No, I’m not the Messiah.” “Are you Elijah or one of the prophets?” “No. I am simply the voice of one crying in the wilderness and I’m giving testimony to someone who is coming after me, someone’s whose shoes’ latchet I am not worthy to unloose.” So he gave a clear testimony to the dignity of the king who would come and claimed himself simply to be the ambassador of the king.
He makes some comments about John that are interesting for he says, “But I receive not testimony from man but these things I say that ye might be saved.” He, John, was a burning and shining lamp. Not light — the light is our Lord. He was the lamp that held that light; the Lord Jesus Christ. He said he was a burning and shining lamp and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. Isn’t that interesting that the Lord Jesus said yes John the Baptist came and he bore witness to the truth. But he was a burning and shining lamp and you were willing to for a season rejoice in his light. It is striking but nevertheless true that Josephus the Jewish historian in his antiquitous tells us sometime after this that when John the Baptist came the people were “aroused to the highest degree by the ministry of John the Baptist”. So there was a great response to John the Baptist’s ministry among the Jewish people. But notice our Lord said it was for a season. They rejoiced in John. They went out to hear him. Many did respond and receive forgiveness of sin signifying that they were waiting for the king to come. But the great mass of the people who responded to him later turned away from him. In fact, the Bible says that Herod heard him gladly. You see it’s possible for people to really rejoice in spiritual things but for it not to be a deep down reality. It’s possible to be responsive to the word of God for a time and for it not to be a genuine response.
“He was a burning and shining lamp and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his life.” But it wasn’t long before John’s head was on a platter. You know you often see this even in Evangelicalism when we are so plagued with the fads. And people are extremely interested for a while, they get all excited about this thing or that thing, or perhaps even this preacher or the other preacher. And sometimes for months, sometimes even for years there is responsiveness but then things become different and it’s not long afterwards well some even of those preachers might find their heads on a platter too, speaking in a spiritualized way of course.
But it is nevertheless true. It’s true to our human nature. You see, a lamp not only attracts people who want light but it attracts the moths as well. And there are many moths who gather around the preaching of the word of God who do not have any real ultimate true response within to the things of the word of God. I think one of the saddest things is that individuals know the Bible so little that they become easily confused and fooled by the fads of the day.
About 25 years ago one of the professors at the school of theology in this city associated with a university here, one of the men who was Professor of New Testament there in the Mustang student paper wrote, “The Bible is a parcel of historical uncertainties, a compendium of outmoded, outdated, obsolete, and senseless rules, a tissue of legends, curious and bizarre arguments, fantastic and outlandish figures of speech.” And then he said discerning the signs of the times for he seemed to sense, he said that there is a turning of the tide back to a more conservative approach to the Bible. He said that he had discerned that and the institution had discerned that, and therefore that he and the faculty were determined to ride in on them. That is, those who represented a change of attitude toward the Scriptures and advanced beyond both fundamentalism and modernism. Oh, how easily fooled we are by the men of the cloth. The Lord Jesus said, “John was a burning and shining lamp. You were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But now things are different.”
Bengal the old German commentator said, “They were attracted by his brightness but now by his warmth. They were attracted by the fact that he was an interesting new character who came out of the wilderness dressed as he did and eating the things that he ate. And people were naturally attracted to him but not to his essential message. Well, that’s the witness of John the Baptist.
Jesus then refers to the witness of his works in verse 36. He said, “But I have greater witness than that of John for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do bear witness of me that the Father hath sent me.” Nicodemus saw that from he said remember as he came to the Lord, “We know that thou art a teacher come from God for no man can do these miracles that thou doest except God be with him.” And so he sensed that because of the mighty works that the Lord Jesus Christ was doing, the mighty miracles, that God was with him. Our Lord refers to that as his third witness.
And then the witness of the Father follows. He says in verse 37 and 38, “And the Father himself who hath sent me hath born witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you for whom he hath sent, him ye believed not.” Now, it is clear that when he says here, “You have neither heard his voice at any time nor seen his shape and the fact that the Father has born witness of me,” the Lord is referring back to the Old Testament and on up to the present time and the testimony that the father has given in the Scriptures. In other words, “that has born witness” distinguishes the past and the present. He has born witness in the past and the effects of that witness are still with us. But Israel has rejected him. Well, in the Old Testament they did not have divine revelations in the sense that they have now for now they have the Lord Jesus incarnate before them and he is declaring who God is and what he is like.
In the Old Testament only Moses was able to hear his voice. And then also Jacob and a few others had experiences with the theophonies. Jacob wrestled with the angel who turned out to be the Son of God as a theophony. He spoke about the fact that this place at Geboc where he had wrestled with the angel that was going to be called Kanal, face of God, because he recognized that he had wrestled with God in the form in which he appeared the incarnation. But generally speaking those are the rare exceptions of the Old Testament.
Also we read here, “For whom he hath sent him ye believe not.” So the witness of the Father has been rejected because the word of God was not theirs inwardly. Verse 38, “Whom he hath sent him ye believe not.”
And finally he comes to the witness of the Scriptures. I won’t say anything about the witness of the Holy Spirit in chapter 15 verse 26 and the witness of believers in chapter 15 verse 27. We’ll talk about them later but there are two other witnesses that make up our seven. But let me concentrate for a few moments on the witness of the Scriptures. Verse 39 and verse 40, “You search the Scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life and they are they which testify of me, and ye will not come to me that ye might have life.” Search the Scriptures. You search the Scriptures.
Now, isn’t that what we are supposed to do? Isn’t it that we are to search the Scriptures? Well, yes. But there are two ways to search the Scriptures. We may the search the Scriptures as some people do, not only the Jews but some of the protestant interpreters today. How did the Jews search the Scriptures? Did they search the Scriptures to find Jesus Christ in them? No. They didn’t search to find Jesus Christ in them. They searched the Scriptures somewhat like this. They numbered all of the verses in the Old Testament. They counted the words and the Old Testament. They counted the letters of every book in the Old Testament. They calculated the middle word in the book. They calculated the middle letter of each book. They enumerated verses which contained all of the letters of the alphabet or a certain number of them, and all other kinds of things like that. An individual might spend his whole time studying the Scriptures in that way and never really come to the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many Protestant interpreters in our theological institutions today who search the Bible in that way. They speak about various types of hypothesis concerning the makeup of the Scriptures, some of which might be of some help to us in interpretation but devoting all of their time to the scholarly theories concerning the origin of the Scriptures and the character of the Scriptures. The whole point of the Scriptures, the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, is missed.
I wish it were possible for some of you to go into our theological institutions. It will be most enlightening to you. I’m sure many of you at least think of a theological institution as a place where young men go and where they are given the word of God where day after day the Scriptures are expounded to them so that they will come out of the institution knowing the Scriptures and also able to expound them. Well, it would be very enlightening for you to go to our institution. It would be most enlightening for you to go to our liberal institutions in which it is possible to graduate without ever having a specific course on a specific book on the Bible. It would be also interesting for you to go into some of our evangelical institutions where the thrust of the teaching is not upon the Scriptures and the exposition of them but upon modern scholarly theories concerning the origin and purpose of the Scriptures. And the result is often to leave the students without a real positive grasp of the teaching of the word of God.
There is, of course, no life in the Scriptures themselves. But if we follow where they lead us they will bring us to him so that we find life not in the Scriptures but in him through them. That is the purpose of the word of God is to bring us to the one of whom they speak and those Scriptures are the inspired word of God’s designed to lead us unerringly to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. But it’s possible to search the Scriptures in another way. “You search the Scriptures because in the you think you have eternal life but they are they which testify of me.” If in the reading of the Bible and in the study of the Bible you should imagine things about Jesus Christ which are not really true of him, then ultimately what you have is what Calvin called a shadowy ghost in the place of Jesus Christ. It is possible for us to construct ideas about our Lord that our not found in the Bible at all. Those have no reality whatsoever. Calvin is absolutely right. You have then only a shadowy ghost.
Now, the Lord Jesus said Scripture should be studied with the aim of finding Christ in them. We’re not diverging from the point of the Scriptures if we preach Christ from the Scriptures. That is the point of the Scriptures, Jesus said. “Search the Scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life. They are they which testify of me.” So the Scriptures are instruments by which we come to understand the Lord. Even whoever turns aside from this object, even though he wears himself out in learning will never reach the knowledge of the truth. Furthermore, if all of this is true that our Lord is speaking about this is a great promise for individuals. “Search the Scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life and they are they which testify of me.” So if you go to the Scriptures and you really search the Scriptures you will come to Christ. “They are they which testify of me.” Why is it that so many of us who read the Bible do not have very much knowledge of Jesus Christ? Because we don’t go to the Scriptures and we don’t go to the Scriptures expecting to find Christ and studying them with a view to finding him. In fact, if you see a person who has a Bible in their hands, and a Bible in their home, and who carries their Bible all around and doesn’t know much about Christ you can mark it down to this: they don’t really have much desire to know him. “You will not come unto me,” the Lord Jesus Christ said, “that you might have life.”
That’s a tremendous challenge, tremendous challenge to us. It is tremendously important that we realize what he is saying. The Scriptures testify to Christ. If you really want to know Christ read, and ponder, and study the Scriptures to find him. If you don’t find him something’s the matter. Either we don’t want to. It’s possible we’re going at some things in the wrong way perhaps. But essentially it’s because we don’t want to know him. Put on as much facade as you like. Come to a Bible teaching church. Gather around people who are supposedly followers of the Lord Jesus Christ but you’re only hiding the fact if you don’t really know him through the Scriptures that you don’t really want to know him. That’s really the problem. What a tremendous problem this is though. Opening the Scriptures and reading them to know Christ we have the assurance they testify to us of the Lord Jesus Christ. I don’t think it would be possible for me to give you any exhortation that is better than that that is right here given by our Lord in John chapter 5.
Calvin says, “But what hinders most men is that they look at them only carelessly and as it were in passing. But it needed the utmost application and so Christ commanded them to search diligently for this hidden treasure. Accordingly the abhorrence for Christ, what the Jews feel who have the law constantly in their hands. (Do you have your Bibles with you this morning?) Must be imputed to their laziness for the brightness of God’s glory shines clearly in Moses but they want to have a veil to obscure that brightness.” That’s rather convicting. It’s rather convicting.
Don’t make the application only to the Jews. That’s something that pertains to us. And don’t apply it to the individual who just knows a little bit about the Bible. Apply it to us in Believers Chapel because it has application to us. Apply it to me if you like because it has application to me. That’s a great promise and we’re missing a great blessing when we don’t take advantage of it.
Well, me conclude by mentioning the last few verses here because the Lord lays stress on the causes of the rejection of him in verse 1 through verse 47. He speaks of a moral cause here in verse 41 through verse 44. “I receive not honor from men but I know you that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name and you received me not. If another shall come in his own name him you will receive. How can ye believe who receive honor one of another and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?” They sought the praise of men rather than the praise of God. That always leads to deception when we seek the praise of men. There are Christians like that. There are people who teach in theological seminaries who are more interested in the praise of other teachers in theological seminaries and other individuals than they are in the praise of God it would seem.
Think of the wretchedness and the absolute demonism of preferring false Christs to Christ. But that’s what he says, “I am come in my Father’s name and ye received me not. If another shall come in his own name him ye will receive.” Ultimately that’s a reference to the coming of the antichrist who will come as the Christ and we who have not received him shall receive him. Isn’t that amazing? The Lord Jesus said, “I’ve come in the name of the Son of God and as the Messiah and you don’t receive me. The time is coming when someone will come and you will receive him.” I’m come in my Father’s name I should say, and he will come and his own name and you shall receive him. And you say, “My goodness, that’s impossible. How can you be credulous about the false Messiahs and incredulous about the Messiah?” Well, take a look around you. Look at the Moonies. Look at the Mormons. Look at the Christian Scientists. In the light of our Lord’s coming in his own name they have preferred a Christ who is not taught in Scripture. What they worship is a ghost, to use Calvin’s word. It’s easy to do that. It’s easy if we do not hold fast to the word of God to be led astray into error. Oh, my dear Christian friends who listen to the word of God in Believers Chapel pay attention to the Scriptures. Search the Scriptures and follow Christ.
And then he gives the spiritual cause in the end. He says in verse 45,
“Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one that accuses you, even Moses, in whom ye have hoped (for us the word of God). For had you believed Moses you would have believed me for he wrote of me. But if ye believed not his writings how shall ye believe my words?”
So he links together the whole of the Bible, the beginning and the end of it, as one unified testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ.
In what way did Moses testify to Christ? Well, there were many historical pointings to Jesus Christ. There were the promises of the messianic character who would come, the seed of the woman. One can trace those messianic promises through the mosaic writings. He wrote of the Passover. He wrote of the manna. He wrote of the water. He wrote of the serpent. And then prophetically he spoke of the prophet who was to come like Moses but men would hearken to his word. And then personally Moses through the law testified to the sinfulness of man. Paul says, “Why the law was added for transgressions sake to show us that we were sinners that we might turn to Jesus Christ.” And in that sense Moses testified to Christ. He pointed men to Christ by showing that men were sinners and that they needed the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ. “And if you do not believe Moses,” he said, “you cannot believe me for he wrote of me. If you don’t believe his writings how shall you believe my words?”
Well, here is the sevenfold testimony the Lord Jesus Christ, the witness of the son himself, the witness of John the Baptist, the witness of the Father, the witness of the works that the son performed, the witness of the Scriptures, and then the witness of the Holy Spirit and the witness of other believers — sevenfold testimony to the Son of God. Here is rational ground for confidence in the living Christ and in this testimony there is an appeal for self-committal.
When men give testimony what do they do? Well, they sit in witness box and then they commit themselves. That’s what testimony is. It is a committal. You’re not free in a witness box to say one thing in one breath and then something else in the next. You are committed and the father has given witness to the son that he is the Son of God and that is his committal. He is committed to that and the others are committed to their testimony. These are just some of the testimonies. Down through the years there have been others: the testimony of Polycarp, the testimony of Clement, the testimony of Ignatius, the testimony of Irenaeus, the testimony of Augustine, the testimony of John Huss, John Wickliffe, testimony of Luther, the testimony of Calvin, those great numbers of English and Scottish reformers and continental reformers and others to the four corners of the earth. One of the great things in heaven is going to be there and hear the testimony of all of the saints of God given to the Lord Jesus Christ. The two hundred and eighty-eight persons burned at the stake by Bloody Mary during the last four years of her reign. I want to listen to their testimony. The testimony of John Rogers, the Vicar of Saint Sepulchers in London who went to his death in the 16th Century, according to the French Ambassador, as if he were walking to his wedding. I like that. John Hooper, Bishop of Glouchester entreated by Sir Anthony Kingston, a convert of his, to reconsider with the words spoken to him, “Life is sweet, death is bitter.” Mr. Hooper replied, “Eternal life is more sweet, eternal death more bitter.” Hugh Lattimer, Bishop of Wooster, burned with Nicholas Riddley at stake said, “Be of good comfort Master Riddley and play the man. We shall this day by God’s grace light such a candle in England as a I trust shall never be put out.”
Why testimony? Why Jesus said that ye might be saved. God help us to believe on him whom the father has sent. May it never be said of anyone in Believers Chapel this morning, “You will not come unto me that you may have life.” Come to Christ. Believe in him. Give yourself wholly to him. Accept the testimony of the word of God. Rely upon him for God has committed himself to the testimony to Christ.
[Prayer] Our gracious God and heavenly Father we are convicted by the words of our Lord that we do not search the Scriptures as we ought. Even though we have this marvelous promise that in the searching of the Scriptures we shall find him. Oh, give us fresh motivation, fresh diligence, fresh perseverance in the study of thy word to know him. Deliver us from the byways, and the fads and all of the other things that often detour us from the central thing; the fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the word by the spirit. And Father, if there should be someone here who has never believed in Christ may the testimony given to him by John the Baptist, by the works that the performed, by…
[RECORDING ENDS ABRUPTLY]