The Supernatural Testimony of the Church
Review: In chapter 14, Jesus encouraged, 15, Instructs/Charter, 16, Predicts the future. Vv 26-27, in 15 end the instruction, and simultaneously begin the prediction… “You are to testify” (15-instruction), now here is what you can expect (chapter 16-prediction).
What is the church to expect in this age? The Lord predicted a few things. Jesus is absent bodily (16:5). The world is hostile (16:2-3). The Spirit is present (15:26). We are to testify (15:27).
One thing to note is that this prediction is our present reality! Notice that verse 15:26a, Future tense, prediction, “When he comes” “I shall send” came true in Acts 2:17. Verse 27, the Apostles “will testify” future tense of their task, as in Acts 1:8. This activity still continues today. This brings us to point 1.
1) The Church’s Primary Task is to Testify about Jesus!
However, if we must bear witness, won’t that cause opposition? Notice the world’s hostility, 16:2-3.
- v.2a, Synagogue, church cast out!
- 2b, Physical hostility
- 3, Intellectual opposition, contradictory religious convictions!
Notice Jesus’ purpose:
- 1, “to keep from stumbling”
- “Keep” – Translated- Guard! Like a shepherd, see Luke 2:8
- “Stumbling” – Translate, “Fall into trap of unbelief!”skandalizo, to ensnare
Jesus used that word in John 6:61-64 to describe the result of opposition is to stumble into unbelief! The point is that the Net effect of opposition is doubt. This comes from intimidation, bullying, pressure, disdain, disgust, disregard, disrepute, or being called backward, bigoted, irritating, uncool, etc. Institutions, policies, physical opposition, majority opinions, political correctness all pressure the Christian to unbelief and doubt. As a result comes about the inevitable result of doubt, vv.5-6, “Sorrow.” Now sorrow is not the purpose of Jesus bringing up their opposition. Self-pity is not a Christian trait. Still, testifying to Jesus wears you down because you will run into opposition. Jesus realized this. According to the Lord, in Matthew 5:9-12, we should expect the most opposition, more than anywhere else, when we testify to him.
Notice Jesus’ resolution to their plight. In 16:4 he predicted to preserve! He knows our weakness! He knows that we doubt when we are challenged! This brings me to point 2.
- 2) We Need the Testimony to Guard/Keep us!
Let me put this into perspective: in v.7, he says, “It is to your advantage” because he keeps the church! Jesus too “spoke” to keep and guard the church! (16:1) The testimony to Jesus not only initially saves you, but strengthens you throughout your entire life. Read, study, think but also pray! Pray for the Spirit to strengthen your heart and bear testimony! The Spirit testifies to you to believe the Gospel!
Without this confidence created by the Spirit speaking to us we have no message of reconciliation, no reason to not sorrow in this life, and no boldness and confidence to bear witness to Jesus. So here we know the wisdom of Jesus. He preaches to us, he speaks to us, he keeps us by his word, his testimony to us.
Jesus’ bodily absence, the cross, resurrection, and apostles’ witness are historic facts. Nevertheless the historic facts at some point these historic facts become something more. The Gospel is historic fact to which we testify, but also a saving command! “Believe and saved!” How does a historic fact become a saving command? How does God overcome the distance between his eternal plan, the cross of Jesus, and our specific lives here and now?
Notice, 15:26-27, The Spirit’s Testimony Empowers our testimony. In 16:8-15, He “convicts,”(8), “Guides” (13), and “discloses” (13, 14, 15). Not us only, but the Holy Spirit! He convinces the heart/mind!, he convicts us in 8-12 of the content: Sin (need for Jesus), Righteousness (Jesus for sin), and Judgment (urgency!). Finally in 14-15, He actually brings God’s eternal plan, and Jesus’s work to your specific life!
- 3) The Testimony is Supernatural because of the Holy Spirit!
Do you realize your words about Christ carried on by the power of the HS; that He may indeed work, recreate, convict, convince sinners to saving faith? The church’s job description is “Bearing testimony to Jesus, and bringing supernatural reconciliation to a hostile world!”
Let me illustrate. Have you ever been telling someone about Jesus, and feel that you are part of something bigger than yourself? That you were merely a voice, but God was convicting and crushing their hard heart? The Apostle Peter did. In Acts 2:36-39 we read that the crowd was “Cut to the heart,” not by Peter, but the Holy Spirit!
What should the church expect from this age? The answer is hostility and victory, bearing testimony, and being testified to by the Word and Spirit.