Testimony in His People
Let’s talk now about the expression of Jesus in His people. Jesus being here was an awesome thing, but He said, “It is better for you if I leave…” It was better that He leave than that He stay (John 16:7). Why was that? He said, “I’m sending you the Spirit that he would no longer just be with you but he will be in you, and that you might do greater works than I’ve done” (John 14:12, 16-17). “This is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:8).
In His people there will again be on earth a testimony of the Life of Jesus Christ. “The Christ” is what 1 Corinthians 12 calls the people of God. How will the manifold wisdom of God be made known to the principalities and powers? Is it by Jesus? No, it’s by Jesus in His people—by the Church. The gates of hell won’t prevail against what? Against Jesus? No, against Jesus in His people, the corporate Christ life, the called-out ones of God. Hell won’t prevail against the Church, the Bride of Jesus Christ that’s of His same nature and that lives by His same Spirit. The same Spirit that raised Him from the dead now dwells mightily in us to allow us to do more than we could ask or imagine. “According to the power that works in us” is how that verse reads (Eph. 3:20). So now let’s read about Jesus in His people.
“‘Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know…’
“‘This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear’” (Acts 2:22, 32-33).
Peter is saying that God attested to them the nature of Jesus’ life. He proved that Jesus was who He said He was by the signs that followed—by a testimony in the seen world of what Jesus was saying and speaking of in the unseen world. Peter went on to say, “Jesus is raised up, and we are all witnesses. The same God that raised Jesus from the dead and testified of who Jesus was by the things that He did, is also pouring out what you now see and hear.”
The first time I really read that a couple of years back, I wrote in my margin, “Oh, God, for something that men could see and hear.” Pour something out that man can see and hear that would testify that this is not just man’s idea. This isn’t just a neat thing. Yes, I could prove what I’m saying to you with sound argument, but what good does that do?
Someone says, “It’s in the Bible so it has to be true.” The other person says, “How do you know the Bible is the Word of God?” The first person says, “Because it says it is.” That’s called a circular argument in the philosophical world and doesn’t hold up as valid. “The Bible says it’s the Word of God. The Bible says it’s the Bible.”
“You say you’re Julius Caesar? How do I know you are Julius Caesar?”
“Because I say I am.”
I might say I’m a Christian, but on what basis do I say I’m a Christian? “I say it on the basis that the Bible says I’m a Christian.” Is that the Word of God or is it the word of men?
So you can see why heathens and atheists really don’t listen to our arguments. Have you noticed that? “It’s true because it says so right here.”
“So what?” they say. “I could show you three thousand other books and say those are true too. If you expect me to do something about your book, what will you do about my book?”
Do you see what I mean? You get caught because it’s just circular arguments. That’s why we’ve got to be crying out, “Oh, God! Pour out something they can see and hear! Pour out something to testify to who You are and what You’re doing. Pour out something that’s beyond my ability. I cannot make anything happen, but God, You can. Please hear my prayer.”
If you think about it, we’re not talking about anything more than prayer. Do you see what I mean? The very basis and foundation of Christianity is that we can talk to God and ask Him to intervene. We’re asking God to somehow intervene in ways that wouldn’t happen—statistically and probably—if He didn’t intervene. It’s just prayer, and there’s no disputing that it’s essential to Christianity. It’s simply asking God to get involved in doing something that we can’t conjure up on our own. The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” Both of those things have got to be in conjunction with each other.
Let it be your constant prayer that men will be left with no excuse. Let it be that men see that there is no mistaking that our lives are of God. If they turn away from Him, it won’t be because our arguments were too pathetic. Our incomplete knowledge and lack of persuasive skills better not be the cause of other people’s demise. “God, You’re going to have to intervene here. I will do everything I can to present it clearly as I ought,” as Paul prayed. We want to present the Gospel clearly. We want to speak the Truth accurately and handle the Word of God correctly. We’ve got to do that, and we’ve got to be equipped for the works of service toward that end. That’s all true. But when everything is said and done, we cannot do anything by ourselves. “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” We’ve got to get it through our heads that our knowledge and persuasive skills are not the end of things and that God Himself has got to work with us confirming His Word. If He doesn’t do that, we’re without hope.
That’s why the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Muslims are converting more people than we are. It’s because we are relying on argument rather than on God. Do you see that? It’s because we’ve not asked Him, “Confirm Your Word by the acts from heaven that follow it.” We try to argue people into believing what we believe. The end product of that is usually shallowness. We go over land and sea to make a single convert but they’re just as impotent as we are. Have you noticed that? Am I saying something that you don’t recognize as you look around and scan the religious horizon? It’s not right, and it’s not the Christianity you read about in the book of Acts. The Kingdom of God does not consist of mere words, ideas and belief systems, but of power. It consists of God intervening on the face of this earth. “Come, Thy Kingdom. Be done, Thy will. Intervene with humans and it will testify to Your presence, Your holiness and Your purposes.”