The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"According To Thy Word"
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life. For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us" (I John 1:1-2).
The Apostle John begins his first epistle by affirming his hearing, seeing, and touching the Lord Jesus Christ not to confirm the fact of the Savior, but rather to combat a heresy.
"Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world" (I John 4:2-3).
Known as Gnosticism, a group of deceivers during the days of the early church sought to promote the notion that the Lord Jesus had only appeared to have "come in the flesh." They based their error on the belief that only spiritual things are actually real. All other things are merely appearance according to this notion, and thus bear no substantive reality. This was not true, and John wrote his first two epistles to combat the false teaching. "Many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist" (II John 1:7).
All this to say that John did not mention his eye, ear, and hand witness of Christ to serve as the basis for the faith of others. John did not thereby expect others to believe because of his experience, but rather by his testimony and teaching of truth.
"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17).
"And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead, and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ" (Acts 17:2-3).
Like John, the Apostle Paul had seen the risen Christ and heard His voice. However, to lead people to faith in the Lord Jesus, He "reasoned with them out of the Scriptures." This we do as well. Our testimony of the Lord's working in our lives doubtless serves as a powerful witness to the truth. It is not, however, the truth itself. Thus, we always seek to bear witness to the living Word, the Lord Jesus, in light of the written Word, the Bible. The Spirit of God enlivens and empowers such communication, gracing the Word He inspired and the Word we speak with "the power of God unto salvation" (Romans 1:16).
While none of us have ever physically had contact with the Lord Jesus, we do have personal experience of Him by His presence and working in our lives. We do well to share this with others. However, to lead hearts to Christ, we must lead them to what the Scriptures declare about the Savior and His salvation. Thankfully, this does not requires volumes of verses, but rather a relatively consise selection of Scriptural passages that bear simple, but powerful witness to the saving grace of God in Christ. Indeed, our Heavenly Father inspired the message of His redemption in terms so simple a child can understand and respond. He also made the message so simple that even the newest of believers can quickly hide the Gospel within their hearts in order to be ready to "reason with them out of the Scriptures."
"Let Thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even Thy salvation, according to Thy Word."
Weekly Memory Verse
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth…. Be clothed with humility."
(III John 1:4; I Peter 5:5)