Okay, so I’ve recently discovered a new preacher. He’s pretty awesome and pretty deep. I love the whole bent of how he’s saying things and picking things apart. So I wanted to share with you a bit of what I learned from his first sermon. I think it’s important in these times that we are aware.
Let’s start in John 15:18-26. Jesus is telling his disciples that the world is going to hate them. HATE. That’s a pretty strong word. I find it interesting that in today’s culture when we speak out truth in love, we are being called haters. Jesus called it. He nailed it right on the head. (Ya, I got the pun in there.) And I find it interesting (not to get into politics or anything) that one of the presidential candidates said in a speech that “Christians are just going to have to change their way of thinking. ” Ya – NO! We are being renewed in our minds by reading the Word, by digging in and finding out what it really says. And in the times we are in, this is of utmost importance.
For instance I have been quoting that scripture in Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” But if you look right before this verse, who was overcome and who testified. So I went back to Revelation 7-10 which talks about the war in heaven between the “dragon” and the Archangel Gabriel. And this is what it says in verse 10: “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.”
So basically, the devil gets thrown out of heaven – down to earth. And it’s because of the blood of the Lamb and get this THE WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY. The testimony of the angels, and the testimony of those who did not love their own life even when faced with death for Jesus. So, Girls, our testimony means quite a lot. Could it be that in certain instances it even throws the devil out of a situation when coupled with prayer and Jesus’ blood?
And then He continues in John 16:1 ““These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling.”. He doesn’t want us to stumble or pull away from Him when people aren’t our friends any more, when we speak Jesus’ words and are judged for it, when hard times come. He said it, and we should believe it! It brings to mind when Peter stumbled, not once but twice. Once when he took his eyes off of Jesus while walking on the water and the other time when Peter denied Jesus not once, not twice, but three times.
In our Christian world in the USA, we build our little churches and stay inside of them, never reaching out to a lost and dying world. We comfort ourselves and stay busy there. Here’s the problem. There’s a huge difference between busyness and doing God’s business. Our job, Girls, is to reach out. Fulfill the great commission found in Matthew 28:16-20, This is where we find our job. Our only job. It is to makes disciples, baptize them, and teach them to obey God’s commands. It doesn’t say bring them into our church so it will get bigger. It doesn’t say lead them in a prayer and our work is done. It says make disciples, baptize and teach.
Then back in John chapter 16 verses 5-11 we read that the Holy Spirit will come after Jesus leaves. Why wasn’t it best for Jesus to stay? Because Jesus was with us in an external way, but the Holy Spirit is in us, guiding us and teaching us every day. Jesus said it is to our benefit. God always gives us what’s best for us. After all, He’s our Daddy who loves us.
And since we have the Holy Spirit inside of us, we should be bold and walk with courage and strength. We should be speaking up when God tells us, to whoever He tells us without fear. For it’s God speaking through you and not you yourself. And since we already know the world hates us, what difference does it make if we are persecuted. Plus we have the added bonus of the knowledge that our testimony truly means a great deal.
So, what is a testimony, you ask? It is simply witnessing what we have seen God do. The Oxford Dictionary says: 1. A formal statement, especially one given in a court of law. 2. A public recounting of a religious conversion or experience. How totally perfect is this. How many times do we see God as judge and jury in the Bible!
And again, why all of these warnings coupled with things to life us up? So we would be bold and brave in speaking God’s works and wonders. And so we will not stumble.