Are You a Christian?
Christians are those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus Christ. This has been God’s expectation for over 2000 years! But are we doing this? And do we really know what Jesus’ testimony is all about? In the broadest sense that testimony is Jesus’ revelation, his roadmap that helps us understand his mission and our future. It is the apostle John in the book of Revelation who makes it clear that the faithful who will overcome do so, by the blood of the Lamb and the word of his testimony. So what is that testimony?
Jesus’ Prophetic Ministry
This testimony of Jesus’ was the spirit of prophecy. Jesus proclaimed his testimony as he fulfilled the prophecies of the Hebrew scriptures in specific detail. And he added to the prophecies as he proclaimed the future of the Kingdom of God. His testimony was worthy judicial evidence, his eye-witness reports. So even when the lives of the disciples were at stake, they did not renounce the testimony of Jesus Christ. They believed both the faithful witness of the messenger, and his message. And being convicted of the veracity of the testimony, they actively fulfilled their role in bearing witness to Jesus, even to the point of martyrdom.
The Commandments and the Testimony
Those early disciples understood the importance of their two-fold obligation. They were motivated to live holy lives, keeping the commandments, as a testimony to the good works that Jesus Christ would do through them. In their own lives they experienced spiritual transformation as they repented and changed their behaviour to conform to God’s standard of right conduct. Unlike many religious of their time they valued God’s commands above human traditions. They could see the hypocrisy of those who claimed to know and honour God, yet rejected God’s ways in favour of the common cultural practices. They were also willing to listen to Jesus’ authoritative interpretation of scripture, though it was at odds with what the Pharisees were teaching.
To the Law and to the Testimony
Long before the writer’s of the Greek scriptures highlighted the importance of the ‘testimony’ and the commandments, the prophet Isaiah wrote the same message. In a world where paganism, spiritism, and the occult arts held sway, Isaiah wrote, “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” And the message is the same today! There are many who would claim that they speak for God. But is their testimony true? Are they faithful witnesses, or false prophets. We need to realize that those who reject the commandments and Christ’s testimony have no spiritual authority, no light. We must believe the testimony of Jesus Christ and reject all others who claim to offer spiritual enlightenment. Why is this so vital?
Jesus’ Testimony about the Messiah
Jesus testified that he was the Messiah, and the Father had committed all judgment into his hands. It is only through Jesus that we can have eternal life. When the dead hear his voice they will be resurrected. He has life within himself, and he is able to give life to those who honour him. He alone is the Messiah, who came from heaven, and has given faithful testimony of what he has seen and heard from the Father. He demonstrated his power as the Father’s agent in the world when he healed the sick on the Sabbath. For no one had heard or seen the Father, but because they had Jesus’ testimony they could know the Father’s nature and character.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ time could not accept his testimony. They could not believe that he was the Son of God. Nor, could they imagine that he was the ‘I AM’ the one who walked and talked with Abraham. They called his testimony, blasphemous, and sought to kill him.
These religious authorities thought they had known God, the Father, so they could not accept Jesus’ testimony that no one had heard or seen the Father, except the Son. They could not imagine that their God, the Lord God of Israel, could become flesh as their Messiah. Nor could they conceive of a Messiah who would die to save them.
Preserving the Testimony of Jesus Christ
But there were disciples who saw Jesus’ power in raising Lazarus from the dead, and believed his testimony as Messiah. There were many eye-witnesses to Jesus’ miracles of healing. And most importantly, there were many willing to suffer death to preach the message of Jesus’ resurrection. They had seen his crucifixion, were witnesses to his resurrection, and had close contact with him until his ascension. Our challenge today, 2000 years after these events, is to believe the faithful testimony of Jesus’ words preserved in the scriptures. God’s test of loyalty is still the same. Will we keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus? The reward for being faithful and obedient witnesses is eternal life in the Kingdom of God.