We Would Love to Hear From You
2502 Crowders Creek Road
Gastonia, North Carolina 28052
Today is the first day of a 40 day adventure.
No, this adventure is not about a mission trip to Haiti or a hike down the Appalachian Trail. This 40 day adventure is a time set aside to discover more about the Lord and to specifically learn to hear Him speak. That’s right, it’s my desire during this adventure to draw closer to the Lord than I’ve ever been before and to learn to hear His voice. I’m not talking about hearing Him speak to me through His Word, which is wonderful. But I long for something more personal, more intimate. I long to hear Him speak to me like He has others in Scripture, and as He has also done for me several times in the past. In fact, those times of hearing His voice are some of the high points in my spiritual life.
I know what many of you may be thinking.
“Oh, here we go again. It looks like somebody else is wanting to move beyond the sufficiency of Scripture. I guess Scripture’s not enough for Steve and now He wants more than God has already provided for him. Maybe he wants an encounter like the one described in The Shack or to hear God speak like Sarah Young claims in Jesus Calling or something like that. Doesn’t he know that God only speaks today through His Word?”
No, I don’t know that. In fact, I see many places in Scripture where God speaks to His children in other ways than through the Scriptures. Let me give you a few examples.
Today, as we continue our study into the life of Christ, we’ll look into the testimony of John the Baptist regarding Jesus that begins in John 1:19. In fact, it’s hard to read the question they ask him without having the CSI theme song, the Who classic from 1978, playing in my head. “Who are you?”
Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” (John 1:19)
What we have before us is the testimony of John the Baptist. And the word “testimony” (marturía) means “a witness, certification, record, that which someone witnesses or states concerning a person or thing.” It is a declaration by a witness who speaks with the authority of one who knows, like an expert witness. John is very familiar with this word and uses it over 75 times in his writings. But there is more.
Just think, John the Baptist is the first witness the Apostle John calls to testify of the Lordship of Christ. Later he writes:
This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. (John 21:24-25)
But there is more.
In John 15 we have the Lord’s blueprint for the “abundant life” (John 10:10) He promised each of us. And no, that life doesn’t involve expensive cars or vacation homes or buckets of cash or having Your Best Life Now! The abundant life in Him is defined by being able to bear His fruit, and bearing it in ever-increasing quantities. Or, like Jesus said, “more fruit”, then “much fruit”, and finally “fruit that will remain”. Consider the following:
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2)
“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” (John 15:8)
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” (John 15:16)
Unless the church fully understands the importance of bearing the fruit of Christ, the Vine, this incredible teaching of Jesus will have little meaning or lasting effect on our lives. Or on the lives of those we try to influence with the Word, our spouse, our friends, our parents, children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. We must come to a clear understanding that the only purpose for the branch, the only reason you and I were created and chosen in Him (Eph. 1:4), is to bear the fruit of the vine. And the only one who benefits from the fruit we bear, is the Vinedresser, the Father. The one key to hearing “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:23), is our commitment to being nothing but branches, committed totally to bearing His fruit.
As we said last week, there is no other way.