We’re going to continue with the series we started 3 weeks ago, which is called “The Witness of Christ,” Releasing the Witness, Part I. About the thought that we have a cause; everyone needs to know what your cause is in life, ..what’s your purpose. A cause can compel us to find out what is it, about God that maybe we don’t know? Maybe we’ve come to a place in life that we’re caught up in our own decisions and we’re not content to where they’ve brought us, so we’re seeking something more, that becomes our cause, that sort of consumes us in that cause. It then brings us to a place that we have “an encounter; ” God Himself becomes real to us! The bible itself says the Spirit of God draws us to Him, and there’s an experience that develops from that. That God has freed me from the foolishness that would have defined my life, had it not been for the mercy of God! It’s not something that we learn, but it’s a gift that’s given to us, it’s brought to us so there’s a moment that we realize that, “I can’t develop week by week into this knowledge, because in the mean time there’s a whole lot of “crazy things,” that we’re getting involved in, that’s ruining the life that God has for us. God wants us to get to a place that there’s an encounter so there’s an experience with God, and realize that I have to make a decision to change. The bible calls this “repentance; ” the need to move in a different direction; then the Lord brings a gift to us to help us do that which comes in the form of grace. The mercy that is delivered through that grace, is God’s ability to change us from the foolish person that we were, into a person that is acceptable in His sight. In that moment, it brings us an experience that is a witness to us that Christ is the Savior of all mankind! We then have a gift; we are given a “gift of helps,” to share also with other people. This witness then demands to be “released.” For there comes a moment when you really do desire to release this experience, this witness, because you realize that there might be someone else in a similar situation that you would want to share it with.
In this text, the last chapter in the book of Matthew, the last three verses, this is the great commandment, so that we can release this witness; that was how we started this series. We then brought how this witness needed to be released to the world in a context that relates to the world we live in, to understand what we’re talking about. (Translation, Part II). Today, many people don’t understand biblical “jargon,” ..the words that we use. So this has to be translated in a way that people can “get” what what we are talking about, so that the Lord Himself would be released through this in a way that our society can comprehend. This is more important now then it ever has been, because so much of society has lost faith in the biblical witness; because they see so much of, “do as I say, but not as I do.” Which potentially causes them to say, “whatever you got, is probably some antique, so I don’t see the value in it. ” Well part of the reason for that is, it has been difficult to translate for our present world. More than just the words we use, but the way we express our “witness.” To meet the need of the person “in our path,” ..that’s called “translation.” This was discussed last week. Now we get to the place, that the witness we’ve released, is translated, ..is clear, that there’s no confusion to our witness. So this morning we have some thoughts about ..clarifying our witness, (Part III). We live in a time that our witness needs to be clear. Not confusing, but clarified!
TEXT: MATTHEW 11:28-30
30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
We’d like to locate ourselves in this chapter, because that’s really where we get the most benefit, so we can find ourselves in the word of God. There are 4 principal parts of this chapter that I find. The first begins with a question. The first three verses in this chapter, John the Baptist is speaking and he ask this question; ..”Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3) Interesting because Jesus is John’s cousin, and John had baptized Him. But time had lapsed, until John is even questioning for his disciples to find out if Jesus is the one that has prophesied, “or shall we wait for another?” Doubt can afflict anybody! You can be even John the Baptist, and not know for sure whether Jesus is the Messiah! None of us are immune to uncertainty or confusion. So this question begins the chapter. The question is framed around doubt. Is it You that we look for, or shall we wait for another?” So doubt can find itself even in the very life and witness we say we have! The chapter is a development in answer to the question. The second part of the chapter, (probably in the next 20 verses, down to verse 24), is the answer to the question. In verse 4, Jesus said, “Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: (verse 5) “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” 6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” These verses are really Jesus’s answer to John’s question.
As we read these verses in a spiritual way, the purpose for this whole sermon that we’re reading in the next 20 verses, is to clarify the witness. So in these verses, we can find that Jesus’s purpose, is to clarify to the disciples and John that He is The Christ. So therefore what He stands for, ..is The Messiah, and there is no other! We have to come to the same place as well, that our witness is so confident, so confirmed, so clear, that there is no alternative, that I don’t have a “side” door! We like to preach a message, that of making sure we don’t have an alternative to a life that we’ve chosen, (that has been chosen for us), that’ll be an alternative for a side, or back door. I like to remember in history about this one called “Cortez” who was not a “nice” figure by any means, but when he sent by Spain to search for the riches in the Americas, his fleet ended up at the shores of Yucatan, (or wherever,) he tells the captains, “I want you to sink the ships, that would otherwise take anybody back to the old world, because we want everybody to be “all in,” ..in this journey. We don’t want anybody to have a “back door.” So when things get really hard they won’t think, “I remember there’s a way back home.” He did this on purpose. Now again Cortez was not a nice figure in history, but this ..illustrates the point that a commander and a captain, wants his followers, or armies, to be behind him, with him, because, it’s going to get tough! The battlefield is not a pleasant place, it’s a noisy, confusing place. When we come to that place in life, we want to come to the place that “there is no other option!” That the choice we made is clear ! So clarity…is essential, for our witness to be effective. For any “side, or back doors,” will leak into this life, and will distract, derail you, tempt you to doubt, so when you wonder why all the oppositions come, these alternatives will present themselves. The reason is, is because you haven’t “sunk the ships!” Then everything will become confusing and you’ll doubt when things don’t go the way you thought they should go, or your life is not as pleasing to you or you’re not as happy as you think you should be, then all these other possibilities will present themselves. The bible tells us that many then will leave the narrow way, and go down “the broad way” that leads to destruction. It’s then a confusing life that is no longer led by the Captain of our Hopes!
Clarify The Witness