Sermon for Saturday

And I fell at his feet to worship him, and he said unto me, See thou do it not, for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Revelation 19:10

The young man shrugged and said, ‘Y’know, we don’t really need to know much about prophecy. It’s OK for the Bible students to figure that stuff out, but for regular people like us, it’s really irrelevant.’ ‘That’s right,’ said the young woman beside him. ‘There’s no reason for us to be interested in prophecy. It doesn’t affect us. The most important thing for us is to be saved and to learn to follow Jesus.’ Sadly, their attitude is all to common today among the young folks in our Assemblies. And all too common among many of the older folks, too. Is prophecy really irrelevant to us? If prophecy is irrelevant, why is our Bible so full of it? Prophecy is deeply relevant to us, not just at conference time, or on the Lord’s Day, but every waking hour of every day of our Christian lives. A Christian who knows little or nothing about prophecy is pathetically lacking in his knowledge of the Lord he professes to serve. A Christian who cares little about prophecy is pathetically lacking in his appreciation for his Lord.

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. These striking words bring together the entire Word of God, from before Genesis 1 and beyond Revelation 22. If we were to study all the prophecy in the Bible, and it would be a huge study because so much of the Bible is prophecy, we would find the central and all-encompassing theme is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whether we look back to prophecy fulfilled, or to prophecy yet to unfold, we see Jesus, who was made for a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour. The testimony of Jesus links the people of God with the knowledge of God’s purpose for the ages for His Son.

The context of today’s text is the suffering of the tribulation saints. For the testimony of Jesus, they have suffered and died. Moving back into our own time, we see how God’s people have been martyred, have suffered and laboured, have spread the Gospel, have occupied and gathered according to His Word to His Name, faithfully serving the testimony of Jesus throughout the Christian age from Pentecost to the Rapture. Old testament patriarchs and prophets were also faithful, living joyfully in the good of that which they have not yet seen, for the testimony of Jesus. What upheld and sustained all these saints from the Old and New Testament eras and into the tribulation? The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. All these saints, including those yet to come, understood that God’s purposes are not limited to today. They unfold from yesterday and blend into the fabric of tomorrow. Because they understood prophecy, the testimony of Jesus was always sweet.

We need to know and care more about prophecy, which is to say we need to know and care more about Jesus. – Jim MacIntosh

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