4th Aug. Sunday Jubilee Church worshiped with the theme ‘Jesus Christ, the perfect witness of God’ in John 3: 31-36. Below is a summary of the sermon.
“The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”
In A.W Tozer’s book, there is an illuminating paragraph that refers to the inferential character of the average man’s faith in God. This means that for most people God is the end result of a chain of reasoning rather than a reality. According to such people, there may be much to suggest God’s existence. There is the beauty of nature, the immensity of space, the order of matter. “He must be,” they say. “Because these things are, he is.” Other people argue in the same way from the experience of a parent or friend. “God was real to my mother,” they say, “so he must be real. I believe in him because others believe in him.” Still, others find their belief in God linked to their belief in such things as truth, goodness, beauty, or ethical ideals.
Still, as Tozer notes, those who hold them have one thing in common. “They do not know God in personal experience. The possibility of intimate acquaintance with Him has not entered their minds. While admitting His existence they do not think of Him as knowable in the sense that we know things or people.” For although they believe in Christ and trust him in one sense, still for them God is unreal and they go through life attempting to love an ideal or be loyal to an abstract doctrine or principle. If you are at any point of this wide spectrum of those for whom God is unreal, then the verses to which we come now are for you especially. They are about Jesus Christ, and they speak of him as a great witness to God, the great revealer of him.
What is it that makes a person a good witness? The first thing that is required if a man is to be a good witness is that he must have firsthand information. He must have seen or heard that about which he is testifying. Second, a good witness must be willing to testify. He must be willing to speak up, to get involved. Third, the witness must be reliable. That is, his witness must be substantial and possess enough self-consistency to be believed.
The first point is that Jesus Christ possessed accurate knowledge of God the Father. This is linked to his supremacy over all other teachers and prophets. This is linked to his supremacy over all other teachers and prophets. These may have possessed part of the truth, but even at the best, their insights were secondary. They reported only what God had revealed to them. Jesus was God incarnate. His origins were heavenly. Consequently, he has revealed the truth perfectly out of the fullness of his knowledge.
There is also, a second requirement for a perfect witness. Not only must a witness have firsthand information about that which is to be testified; the witness must also be willing to testify. Was Jesus willing? Of course, he was. He got involved. Therefore, John writes, “He testifies to what he has seen and heard” (v.32).
Jesus also fulfilled the third requirement for the perfect witness. His witness was consistent. It was complete and therefore totally reliable. John indicates this when he writes, “For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands” (vv. 34-35) These are that the Father has not withheld any measure of the Spirit from the Son. This is John’s way of saying that there is perfect communion and communication between the Son and the Father, with the result that the Father guarantees the truth and total reliability of Christ’s words. This is not true of any other religious teacher; in fact, no other teacher would claim it. In all the teaching of all the other religious teachers of this world, truth is always mixed with falsehood. Therefore, those who teach, if they are wise, always point beyond themselves to that which is higher. This was never done by Jesus. Others pointed down the road to a far destination. Jesus claimed that he was that destination. Others taught that they had aspects of the truth. Jesus said that the truth had come in his person. Others offered to show the way to God. Jesus said that he is the way to God. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
At the end of his book, Runaway World, Michael Green, the principal of London Divinity School, deals with the means men and women use to escape an honest investigation of Christ’s claims. Sex is one obvious means of escape, according to Green. So are drug, mysticism, conformity to our culture, the rat race, vice, even social involvement. Perhaps you are involved in one or more of these pursuits as a means of escape from the claims of Jesus. But what of him? Is he the one he says he is? If he is, none of these means of escape will do. In fact, in order that no one might miss this. John ends his whole presentation of Christ’s claims with a forthright statement of the issues, “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains him” (v.36)What will you say when you meet him? What possible excuse can you offer? Green writes: “‘I didn’t believe you ever existed?’ What utter nonsense; what culpable ignorance of the evidence! ‘I didn’t think your life was attractive enough, noble enough’? What manifest hypocrisy: it was rather that the standards of the man of Nazareth were too high, too costly, was it not? Or shall the excuse be simply ‘I did not bother’? How do you think that will look to the Son of God, who became man for you, loved and died for you, rose again in order to take over your life and make a new man of you? No, all excuses will wither and wilt before the truth, the love, the self-sacrifice of Jesus. The final truth about the world, mankind, and God have been disclosed by the other who came into our very midst, the one who declared ‘I am the truth.’ By our relation to him, we shall be judged.”It is my profound prayer, as we close our studies of this great third chapter of John’s Gospel, that you will not ignore Christ’s witness but instead will enter into eternal life through believing in and committing yourself to him who died for you and rose again