The Testimony of the Church

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”
Hebrews 11:27

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…”
Hebrew 12:1-2

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”

Brian Troxel

 

 

Meditative Moment – Hebrews 11:39-40

Meditative Moment

“And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect”
Hebrew 11:39-40

May we stop and consider what the Word of God has laid before us! All that the saints of old have accomplished, their faith, their testimony and the laying down of their very lives for God’s glorious name – they yet await for us to finish what they started… “that they without us should not be made perfect”! Let the weight of this sink into the depths of our being and may it free us from the paltry offerings of the modern day “gospel”. May we lift up our eyes to see beyond the horizons of our present day experience.

Let us consider His call upon this generation that He may receive a fresh offering of ourselves unto Him.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…” Hebrews 12:1-2

Brian Troxel

Consider Our Heritage

Consider Our Heritage

“They were stoned, they were sawn asunder,
were tempted, were slain with the sword:
they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins;
being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
(Of whom the world was not worthy:)
Hebrews 11:37-38

How we need to contemplate our heritage and the bravery and purity of those who have gone on before us. By faith they forsook the ways of this present world because they were in pursuit of a City whose “builder and maker is God”. It is the nature of faith to produce within the lives of His Own a pilgrim walk; a life of separation and detachment from the toxic offerings of a world opposed to all that is godly and righteous.

We need only study the lives of those who through faith obtained a “good report” from God to consider our ways and find grace to walk in the “paths of righteousness”. These precious saints paid a price for their faith. Their lives were such a light and revelation of their faithfulness to God that it caused those around them to take note of the dynamic faith, which was living, vital and real in their lives.

“…who through faith overcame kingdoms, worked out righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the mouths of the sword, acquired power from weakness, became strong in war; made armies of foreigners to yield. Women received their dead by resurrection; but others were beaten to death, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.”
Hebrews 11:33-35

They had their eyes upon a “better resurrection”. By faith they were convinced that the life lived here on earth was a determining factor in the eternal realities of God. It is a false gospel which declares that regardless of how we live our lives here, our resurrection is unaffected. It is a degrading concept of a Holy and Righteous God!

Surely it is a day for us to consider our ways; to contemplate the beauty and quality of the lives of those who have gone before us. May we see and feel their testimony passed on to us that by the same power of a living faith we would walk worthy of Him who has “called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).

“Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus…”
Hebrews 12:1-2

Ω

“But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God,
in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses…”
2 Corinthians 6:4

Brian Troxel