Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bear testimony to the sufferings of Christ

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed.” 1 Peter 5:1.

I judge that the principal business of any minister of Christ, or of any elder of the Church of Christ, is to bear testimony to the sufferings of Christ. If the atoning sufferings of Christ are left out of a ministry, that ministry is worthless. “The blood is the life thereof,” is as true about sermons as it is about animals and sacrifices. A bloodless gospel, a gospel without the atonement, is a gospel of devils, and not the gospel of God. Many are laboring hard, till their oars bend, to get away from the gospel of Jesus Christ; — I mean hundreds of so-called ministers of Christ; — but in proportion as they forsake the gospel, they cease to be what they pretend to be. They are not the ministers of God, or of his Christ; they are not ambassadors telling of reconciliation to men, if in their teaching the sufferings of Christ are beclouded, and their cause and motive and object are obscured.

It is the glory of some of us that, whatever else we bear witness to, we certainly are witnesses of the sufferings of Christ. We declare to men that there is no hope for them but in Christ who died; we testify to them that we have ourselves exercised faith in his death, and have thereby received eternal life; we tell them that we know that what we say is true, we are as sure of it as was that disciple who, when he saw the blood and water flowing from Christ’s side, bore witness to it, and added, “He knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.” These things are not like dreams to us, they are part of our very being; we have believed in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, our troubled conscience has therein found peace, our soul has been filled with all the fullness of God; and therefore we are and must be witnesses to the sufferings of the crucified Son of God, to the reality of the atonement that he made on the cross, and to the effect of that atonement upon the heart and conscience of all those who receive it.

From a sermon entitled "A Witness And A Partaker," delivered November 4, 1883.

Photo by harvest_japan*; some rights reserved.

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