“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
“Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was.”
“I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”
John 1:14, 19, 34
Several years ago I read a comment from a Pastor nearing retirement who was reflecting in an annual report on the fact that there always seemed to be too much to accomplish in the one service that he was able lead each week. There was the need for worship and instruction as well as pulpit evangelism that needed to be part of each weekly service. This pastor regretted the fact that the church seemed to be moving away from the Sunday Evening Worship Service. Lloyd-Jones commented frequently that he focused his preaching in the Sunday Evenings upon the evangelistic appeal, while on Sunday Mornings he tended to focus more upon edification. The reality was that there was a tremendous overlap between these two approaches. Recognising that this overlap between the two approaches to preaching is a fact of life, and in fact is a reality, I have attempted to follow the pattern that Lloyd-Jones outlined, but within the mixture of gifts which the LORD has given to me.
When we look into the discipleship focus of the Gospel of John as part of a larger series on the New Testament writings of the Apostle John we see the pattern that John followed. One of the keys to this Gospel is that it calls us to “see” the vision of the Lamb of God and then to testify about it to others that they might come to faith as well.
It is amazing what a correspondence there is between all of John’s New Testament writings. In what is often called the centre of the book of Revelation we read these words.
“Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and to the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”
Compare that quotation with the three verses referenced at the head of this page. Each one points to what is seen and testified to by a widening body of believers. John is calling us to see the vision of the Lamb who was slain for us. We have beheld His glory. Pre-eminently we have seen this glory in His cross; John will go on to tell us. Here John simply points us to what we have seen. The vision is of One who through a sacrificial death will take away the sin of the whole world. The One that we see is the fulfillment of the Promise of the Scriptures. In the book of Revelation John tells us that we overcome through the blood of the Lamb.
Secondly, John tells us that true believing discipleship leads us to not only catch sight of the vision but to testify to it. John points out an ever widening circle of believers who bear witness to the reality that they have seen. John the Baptist testifies to the religious leaders, and then to two of his disciples. Those disciples go and find others. The circle of the Church grows larger each time we bear witness. This is the New Testament Discipleship principle. Are you following it, testifying to what you have seen and heard?