The Testimony of the Church
“And do not fear those who kill the body
but cannot kill the soul.
Rather fear him who can
destroy* both soul and body in hell”
Matthew 10:28 (ESV)
“I think, my friends, that it depends altogether upon that of which one is afraid. The words of our text (Mt. 10:28), with the solemn inculcation of fear, are also a ringing denunciation of fear: the “Fear Him” is balanced by “Fear not.” The fear of God is here made a way of overcoming the fear of man. And the heroic centuries of Christian history have provided abundant testimony to its efficaciousness” - John Gresham Machen
The history of the Church has been one of men and women bearing testimony to God by living His truth. True pilgrims were often “misfits”; even though their testimony was a shining light of God’s grace and favor in their generation. They did not dwell in the concepts of men concerning the scriptures. They lived their lives in the unfolding truth of God and as a result their testimony was the spirit of prophesy. There was a sense of being captured or, as Paul would say, “bound in spirit” to the will and purposes of God; a knowing that they had been apprehended to apprehend the thing to which they had been called.
To feel deep within our being that CALL, inarticulate in the language of men, which is more real, more powerful and more essential than any existence the world has to offer is true life. Its passion is to leave a clear witness of the Christ here in the earth. Bound up within this call is to know the joy of finishing our course with a testimony that clearly expresses His heart and being. The CALL to an effective communication of His Faith to the world around us and to leave a legacy of faith in our own children which will impart His Life to their generation is to be our birthright.
The CALL of Christ is unto Himself; it does not leave options or choices to those who respond to it. Disciples are ultimately freed from their own agendas and pursuits. They are captured by the wonder of His beauty to follow Him alone. They cannot rest in anything less than a full and dynamic expression of Christ. There is a sense of the eternal that draws them to things unseen. There is an endurance borne of “seeing Him” who is invisible.
“By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king,
for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible”
The Testimony of the Church has ever been one of faith, intensity of spirit and heart which desires to honor Him.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus…”
May our testimony be somewhat worthy
of all who have gone before us!
*Note: apollumi (G622), a strengthened form of ollumi, signifies “to destroy utterly”; in middle voice, “to perish.” The idea is not extinction but ruin, loss, not of being, but of wellbeing. This is clear from its use, as, e.g., of the marring of wine skins, Luk 5:37; of lost sheep, i.e., lost to the shepherd, metaphorical of spiritual destitution, Luk 15:4, Luk 15:6, etc.; the lost son, Luk 15:24; of the perishing of food, Joh 6:27; of gold, 1Pe 1:7. So of persons, Mat 2:13, “destroy”; Mat 8:25, “perish”; Mat 22:7; Mat 27:20; of the loss of well-being in the case of the unsaved hereafter, Mat 10:28; Luk 13:3, Luk 13:5; Joh 3:16 (Joh 3:15 in some mss.); Joh 10:28; Joh 17:12; Rom 2:12; 1Co 15:18; 2Co 2:15, “are perishing”; 2Co 4:3; 2Th 2:10; Jas 4:12; 2Pe 3:9. “Vines Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words”