The Testimony of Christ Confirmed

1 Corinthians

The Testimony of Christ Confirmed

February 27th, 1955

1 Corinthians 1:6

Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
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THE TESTIMONY OF CHRIST CONFIRMED

Dr. W. A. Criswell

1 Corinthians 1:6

2-27-55    10:50 a.m.

 

 

. . . morning because I think both of them are in the text.  The testimony of Christ, a subjective genitive verb – that is, the things to which Christ testified to: His testimony, His witness – the testimony of Christ.  The great testifier, the great witness of God to the truth of God is always Jesus Christ.  He is presented in the Word of God as the great witness and the great testifier to the truth.  If you could imagine God on the throne and if you could imagine the whole world in court, the great witness – the star witness – is Jesus Christ.  I say He is presented so and as such in the Bible.  In the third chapter of the Gospel of John:

 

He that cometh from above is above all; he that is of the earth is earthly and speaketh of the earth.  He that cometh from heaven is above all.

And what He hath seen and heard, that He testifieth . . .

He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. 

For He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God . . .

The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand.

[John 3:31-35]

 

The great witness from heaven and from God is Jesus Christ our Lord.  He’s the great testifier.  I say He is presented as such all through the Scriptures.  In the eighteenth chapter of the same Gospel of John, Pilate says to Jesus:

 

"Art thou a king then?"  And the Lord replies, "Thou sayest that I am a king"

– the most affirmative way that the Lord could answer –

"Thou sayest that I am a king.  To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, to bear witness unto the truth."

[John 18:37]

 

The great testifier is Jesus Christ.  Again, in the passage that we read in the first chapter of the Revelation, the Revelation is sent from God and from the Spirit of God "and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness," who is the faithful testifier, "and the first begotten from the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth" [Revelation 1:5].

I say, the great testifier and the great spokesman and the great witness is Jesus Christ.  All who lived before Him but spake partially.  They saw it dimly.  The patriarchs and the prophets and the sages and the seers of the ages past, they saw a little.  They understood somewhat.  They spake oh, so, so partially, and they saw so dimly [Ephesians 3:5; Hebrews 1:1; 1 Peter 1:10-12]. 

But Jesus Christ "brought life and immortality to light" [2 Timothy 1:10].  He is the great testifier to the things of God and to the revelations of heaven.  Whoever it was – and I think Apollos – but whoever it was that wrote the book to the Hebrews started off like this:

 

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake unto our fathers by the prophets,

Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He made inheritor of all things, by whom He created the world[s]; 

Who is the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person.

[Hebrews 1:1-3]

 

 

In little pieces and in diverse ways in the ages past, the prophets and the patriarchs and the fathers received somewhat of the revelation of God [Hebrews 1:1].  But in our day, in these last days, the full truth and the full testimony is presented by Jesus Christ [Hebrews 1:2].  That’s the reason that in the Bible you find Abraham saying, "I see His day," and he rejoiced [John 8:56].  All of the things hidden from the ages were revealed in Jesus Christ.  That’s the reason Moses said, "After I am gone, God will raise up another Prophet who shall tell you all things" [Deuteronomy 18:15].  The Samaritan woman had that in her heart when she said, "I know that when Messiah cometh, He will tell us all things" [John 4:25]. 

That’s the reason that in the Book of God, all through the Bible of the Lord, the Lord Jesus is the great answer and the final word on these things that pertain to life and to death, to judgment and to damnation, to heaven and to hell, to immortality, to the meaning of life and the ultimate destiny of life.  The great witness thereto is Jesus Christ. 

Now, I have said that all before the Lord just spake partially, saw dimly, understood just somewhat, but the full revelation is in Christ.  Now, all who have come after the Lord Jesus but repeat His witness and His testimony:  Ignatius [Ignatius Theophorus], John Chrysostom, Savonarola [Girolamo Savonarola], John Wycliffe, John Calvin, John Knox, John Wesley, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  All of the preachers of the days past who have followed after the Lord Jesus, they but repeat the testimony of Christ.  There’s not a one of them that has invented a message.  There’s not a one of them that has added to it.  When you have a meeting, you have a revival; that is, they are taking the things of the past and the revelations that have gone by, and they are recreating them.  They are reliving the great truths to which Christ was the chief and only testifier.  The light of the knowledge of the glory of God shines in the face of Jesus Christ [2 Corinthians 4:6].  It is His testimony to the truth of God. 

Now, in our text, it can also be an objective genitive.  "The testimony of Christ was confirmed in you" [1 Corinthians 1:6]: that is, Paul’s preaching about Christ, Paul’s testimony to Christ – what Paul had to say about Christ.  The gospel message that Paul preached was confirmed in those people there in Corinth who heard the message, and you’ll find his reference to that in the next chapter, in the second chapter, where Paul avows:  "My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men but in the power of God" [1 Corinthians 2:4-5].  The testimony of Christ confirmed the preaching of the Christ incarnate: the demonstration of the truth of the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, preaching the testimony of Christ – the witness of Christ to the truth:  Preaching – preaching is sound.  Preaching is oratory.  Preaching is sentence.  Preaching is syllable.  Preaching is noise.  Preaching is furor.  Preaching is eloquence.  Preaching is words unless it is confirmed in the hearts and in the lives of those who listen – unless its truth is demonstrated in the church and among the people who listen and receive the message of God.

I say every truth is that and every witness is that.  If it’s not confirmed, it is nothing but a sentence.  It is nothing but a syllable.  It is nothing but a word; but it must be incarnate in order to stand and to be made to live.  For example, if I’m in the middle of the night and it’s as dark as pitch, and I say, "Look at the light.  Look at the light.  It’s light everywhere."  It’s not light everywhere; it’s as dark as midnight.  There’s no confirmation to my testimony.  I say it’s light.  It’s not light.  It’s as dark as midnight.

Suppose I’m hungry and starving to death.  I am famishing, and I say, "Look at the beautiful, beautiful banquet table spread before us.  Look at it.  All of these wonderful dishes to eat."  There’s not any confirmation; there’s not any verification.  There’s nothing there to eat.  I just say it, and it’s not true.

Suppose I’m freezing to death, and I’m cold and I’m shivering, and I say, "Oh, how pleasantly and salubriously warm I am.  What a delightful clime," but I’m freezing to death.  There’s no confirmation of it.

Suppose in the middle of the Sahara Desert I say, "Look at the abundant rainfall, and the glorious clouds, and the rivers, and the beautiful streams, and the rich and fertile fields on an abundantly productive country."  But I’m in a desert.  There’s no confirmation to the testimony.  It is nothing.  It’s a man’s words; it’s syllable.

So with the testimony of Christ: if it is not confirmed – if the witness is not incarnate – it is nothing!  It’s a man’s oratory; it’s a man’s sentences; it’s a man’s eloquence; it’s a man’s words, and that’s all!

You say there is light in Jesus Christ.  Where is the light?  Where is the light?  I’d like to see the light.  You say there is life in Jesus Christ.  Show me the life.  Confirm it.    You say there is power in Jesus Christ.  Show me the power!  Where is it?  Confirm it.  You say there is great ableness in Christ to save, to change men, to regenerate.  Fine.  Show it to me: there is a man who’s been saved; there is a man who’s been changed.  Confirm the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.

You say there is great victory and there is great triumph in the Lord Jesus.  Where is the victory and where is the triumph?  Demonstrate it to me.  If you cannot, your witness cannot be confirmed and your testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ falls to the ground.  It turns to dust and to ashes.

Paul says the testimony of Christ is confirmed in you [1 Corinthians 1:6].  Is that so?  Is that so?  Then I’m ready to be convinced.  Show it to me.  You say all of these marvelous things about the gospel of Jesus and the power of the cross and the saving efficacy of the message of Jesus.  All right, I am willing to be convinced.  Show it to me.  Confirm that testimony.  Let me look at it.  Let me handle it.  Let me feel it.  Let me see it.  Let me judge it for myself.  Where is the confirmation of the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ?

All right, we can do it.  We can do it.  The testimony of Christ is confirmed.  We can do it.  There sits a man.  Stand up over there!  Stand up over there!  What’s your testimony?  Confirm it.  And that man stands up, and he says, "Pastor and people, not long ago I was in the grips of hell.  Not long ago, I was in torments.  Not long ago, I was in the gutter, and the gospel of the Son of God reached my heart; and I am a saved man.  I’m a new man.  I am a different man.  I gave my life to Jesus Christ, and He made me again and anew; and I’m here by your side today, sober, given to God, walking in the glory of the Father."  Confirmation, witness, testimony incarnate! 

Here’s a man stands up: "Pastor, I was wretched and miserable and didn’t know where to turn, and I was lost and undone.  Now, we have grace at the table.  Now, we have prayer in the home.  Now, the Lord’s Day is a holy day in our house.  Now, I have a partner with God.  We have a new house.  We have a new home.  We have a new family.  We have a new way.  We have a new destiny.  We are confirming the testimony of Jesus Christ."

Here stands one: "Pastor, I had an ungovernable temper.  Any little thing, and I’d say the most despicable and frightful and terrible words.  Now, I feel those things in my heart, but I’ve got a grace on the inside that I’ve never known before, and they never come out any longer.  There’s something on the inside of me now that steals them, and I have to have a new language and a new response and a new attitude."  The testimony of Christ confirmed.

Here’s one: "Preacher, I was critical and caustic.  I found fault with everybody, and I found fault with everything, and nothing was right.  Preacher, I found the grace of Jesus and now when things aren’t right, I can pray for them.  When things aren’t right, I can smile.  When things aren’t right, I can take it to God.  I’ve overcome a censorious and a bitter and a critical spirit."  Confirming the grace of the testimony of the Son of God.

And here’s another one stands up – a dear blessed mother – and she says, "I was walking in the valley of the dark shadow by myself.  And today, today, Somebody keeps step by my side."

Yesterday afternoon late, I was driving down Lindsley Avenue, and a few cars ahead of me there was a driver that ran into and over a boy.  And when I came up there in the procession, I looked out there, and there on the pavement was that boy.  When a boy is hurt not very seriously, he’ll cry, and he’ll whimper, and he’ll move around.  This boy didn’t move.  He was perfectly still and silent.  I read in the paper this morning where the little fellow died.  Oh, the awful hurt that comes into the life of a home and of a mother in a tragedy like that.  It can happen to you.  It can happen today.  It can happen before I see your face again.  Then what?  That tragedy or some other tragedy – then what?  Can the testimony of Christ be confirmed that He walks by your side and gives you grace and strength for the hour of the great trial?

I worked one time in an associational work with a blessed, blessed mother.  She lived in Kentucky.  They were well-to-do people.  She had three children, and they had a little car for them.  Back in the day when they have a car for just your children was really something unusual. 

The three children got in that car, and they were driving down the road to school.  It was Christmastime, and the home was all decorated with popcorn, tinsel, and tinfoil, and Christmas trees.  It was cold, and the windows of the car were up, and the children must have been talking or not looking or some way their attention distracted.  They drove on the L and N railroad tracks and the "Crack Fire," the Pan-American Limited, hit that car broadside.  And when they gathered up those three children and brought them to the home of the mother, all three of them were mangled and dead.    In the service, three caskets there together; in the grave, one wide enough to hold three children.  And the mother went back home, and there in the house the Christmas tree, and the popcorn and strings, and all the things that go with Christmas; and her three children sent out into eternity in one terrible tragedy.  Then what?  Then what?  She was a Christian.  Was the testimony of Christ confirmed in her? 

In prayer, she touched the hand of God, and in prayer God reached down and touched her hand.  And what she was doing in the associational work that I came to know her was this: She was taking care of all of those young people’s organizations in our association.  Turning aside from the three children by which she was bereaved, she began to put all of her life into the lives of all of the children of the association – she’s a great Christian.  That’s the confirmation of the testimony of the Lord Jesus. 

The testimony of Christ confirmed in you.  You say there’s power in it.  Where is it?  You say there’s glory in it.  Where is it?  You say there’s deliverance in it.  Where is it?  You say it has great ableness to save.  Where is it?  You say it can make a heart happy; it can make a life glad; it can brighten the darkest soul; it can break the bond of canceled sin.  You said that’s the testimony.  Where is it confirmed?  In you?  In you?  In you?  And in you?  Is it – the testimony of Christ confirmed in you? 

May I close in this little minute that I have left in the context of my text?

 

I thank my God

– Paul says –

I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ,

That in everything ye are enriched by Him in all utterance and in all knowledge,

Even as the testimony of Christ is confirmed in you,

So that ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

[1 Corinthians 1:4-7]

 

 There is just a moment for an exegesis of it.  "I thank my God . . . for the grace given you . . . that in everything ye are enriched by Him, in utterance, in knowledge . . . so that ye came behind in no gift" [1 Corinthians 1:4-7].

There was no church that had greater gifts than this church in the city of Corinth.  Paul recounts the gifts that they had.  One of them had the gift of the word of wisdom; another, the word of knowledge; another, faith; another, gifts of healing – they could lay their hands on the sick, and the sick would be well; to another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another, discerning of spirits; to another, diverse kinds of tongues; to another, the interpretation of tongues [1 Corinthians 12:1-12].  And on and on it goes.

There wasn’t any church that had greater gifts than in the church at Corinth, but it was the most wretched church in the world.  There never was a church that sunk so low as the church of Jesus Christ at Corinth.  They had gifts above any other church in the world.  They could speak eloquently.  They had utterance of great wisdom and knowledge.  They had magnificent sessions.  They could even heal the sick.  They could cleanse the leper.  They had every gift that a church could covet, but they were sunk so low until Paul found in them a means of aspersion upon the name of Christ and degradation toward the cause of Christ [1 Corinthians 1:10-17, 5:1, 6:7, 11:18-30].

The church at Corinth, unless it changed and repented after the ministry of Paul, was a byword to the people that passed.  Some of their practices on the inside of that church were so abominable that Paul was afraid that they were just another offshoot of that Venus temple on Acrocorinthus.

With all of their gifts and all of their blessings, they were the most wretched church and the most unspiritual of all of the churches that we have in the New Testament.  What does that mean?  That means without the confirmation of the testimony of Christ in our church and in our lives, our gifts are nothing and our talents are worse than nothing [1 Corinthians 13:1-3].

Can you understand?  Do you understand for the glory of God?  Can you speak?  Do you speak for the glory of God?  Can you sing?  Do you sing for the glory of God?  Can you work?  Do you work for the glory of God?  Are you affluent?  Do your gifts redound to the glory of God? [1 Corinthians 10:31]  If they don’t, they’re a curse.  They’re a curse to you, and they are a curse to us.

A thousand times rather – I’d rather have people without talent and without gifts and without prestige and without ability but whose lives are consecrated to God than to have the most able and talented and gifted of all the people in the world and their talents and gifts turn to the unspirituality of the ministry as their gifts did here – depicted here in this letter to the church at Corinth.  The confirmation of the testimony of Jesus Christ in you and you. 

Now, this appeal and I’m done.  With this coming month, day after tomorrow – with this coming month, we are preparing for a great revival season.  Over our Southland in Texas, in this church, in our city, there is to be a tremendous appeal for souls.  There will be somebody preaching.  There will be language and literature written.  There will be all kinds of announcements made.  But you listen to your pastor: whether or not that testimony to Jesus Christ has power or not, has ableness or not, has triumph or not, has conviction in it or not, whether it saves or not, depends upon its confirmation by the people who espouse the cause of Christ and who name His name.  For example, for example, when the day of the revival comes and our preacher is here and he’s preaching the gospel of Christ – that all of us are lost in our sins and that without Him, there’s nobody saved; we must trust in Jesus or be lost and damned forever; we must find in Jesus a Savior – and the preacher’s preaching, and where are you? 

"Oh, Preacher, you don’t understand, I’ve got a dinner party.  Oh, Preacher, you don’t understand, I’ve got a meeting.  Oh, Preacher, you don’t understand, I’m too tired.  Oh, Preacher, you don’t understand, I’ve got another engagement."  And your preacher’s up here preaching that only in Christ are the lost to be saved, and it falls to the ground.  It has no confirmation.  If you don’t come, what makes you think a lost man will come?  If you’re not concerned, what makes you think a lost man will be concerned?  If you don’t believe the testimony, what makes you think a lost man will believe the testimony?

When I come to a revival meeting down here and I sit there in that pulpit and I look around here and there’s that seat empty – no confirmation!  There’s that seat empty – no confirmation.  There’s that seat empty – no confirmation.  Why isn’t it confirmed?  It’s not confirmed in you; and it’s sentence, and it’s sound, and it’s syllables, and it’s oratory, and it’s preaching, and it’s nothing!  The only power that the gospel has is the power that it reaches and touches and seizes in your life and in our lives [Romans 1:16].

The world’s not going to read that Bible.  They are not going to read it.  The Bible they read is you – up and down, at the beginning, in the middle, both ends, and everywhere.  And they look at you every day, and the confirmation of the testimony of Jesus Christ must be in us or it falls to the ground:  the martyr, the witness, the testifier who lays down his life in the cause of the gospel message of the Son of God.

I must quit.  I want us to sing a little song.  I want us to sing a little song.  It’s a little prayer.  It’s a little prayer.

 

Lord, send a revival,

Lord, send a revival,

And let it begin in me.

Let it begin in me.

[From "Lord, Send A Revival," by Baylus Benjamin McKinney, 1927]

 

"Lord, may the testimony of Christ be confirmed in me, Lord.  Do it in me.  Do it in me."  That the testimony of Christ might be confirmed in you:  my text, the appeal of Paul and the appeal of this revival season.

Now, I say it’s a prayer.  Should we bow our heads and could we sing it together?  All of us with our heads bowed and singing it together – all right, everybody:

 

Lord, send a revival,

Lord, send a revival,

Lord, send a revival,

And let it begin in me.

[From "Lord, Send A Revival," by Baylus Benjamin McKinney, 1927]

 

Now, once again, doing it before God: a prayer – confirming the testimony of Jesus Christ.  All right:

 

Lord, send a revival,

Lord, send a revival,

Lord, send a revival,

And let it begin in me.

[From "Lord, Send A Revival," by Baylus Benjamin McKinney, 1927]

 

And our Father in heaven, if there is any moving of the Spirit of God in this earth, we know, we know it must come through Thy people, Thy children, Thy martyrs, Thy witnesses – these who testify to the grace of God in Christ Jesus.  If it is nothing to us, it’s nothing to them.  If we pass it by, small wonder they pass it by.  If we are not interested, why should they be?  If our testimony to Christ is nothing to us, why should it be to them?

O God, may the words have power and dynamic and reaching ableness because God has us.  There’s a demonstration here in us.  Look at what God has done for us.  Look at what He’s doing for us now.  Look, look! Come in, my brother, taste and see that the Lord is good [Psalm 34:8].  Why stand outside the door and say, "I wonder how it is on the inside?  Come out and explain to us how it is to us on the inside."  No, come in and see for yourself.  Taste that the Lord is good [Psalm 34:8].  Try and prove Him [Malachi 3:10] and see if His promises are not everlastingly "yea and amen" in Christ Jesus [2 Corinthians 1:20].  For this purpose, Christ was a minister of God to confirm the promises made unto the Father.  They stand in Him. 

And, our Lord, today, this day, this hour, in us, Lord, confirm the witness and the testimony of Jesus Christ.  God, help us anew, to begin anew, to give ourselves to Thee anew.  And Lord, may there be a light in us and a fire in us and a glory in us.  May there be a way in us that the world, looking upon it shall see and say, "This thing of the ableness of Christ to save is surely the truth of God." 

And, our Lord, this day when we make appeal and we sing our song and we have opportunity, some today, "Pastor, I’ve been saved.  I’ve been baptized.  I’m in the church, and I want to come and be with you here in this ministry."  Others: "I have felt in my heart the call of God, and here I am and here I come.  I give you my hand; my heart I have given to Christ."  Others: "I do now and herewith re-give my day and my life and all that I am to the service and ministry of the Lord Jesus."

As God’s will may be done in us today, O God, may we see and hear a demonstration of the moving, saving, winning power of the Spirit of God.  We pray in His name.  Amen!  Amen!  

Now, while we sing our song, while we sing our song, in that topmost balcony, from side to side, on this lower floor, everywhere, anywhere, somebody you, give your heart to God: "And here I come, Pastor."  Put your life in the church:  "And here I am, Pastor, and here I come."  Anywhere, everywhere, somebody you, a family you – while we make appeal this day, will you come?  Will you come while we stand and while we sing?

 

THE TESTIMONY OF CHRIST CONFIRMED

Dr. W. A. Criswell

1 Corinthians 1:6

2-27-55

 

I.          The testimony of Christ – the testimony to which Christ gave witness

A.  The great witness from heaven is Jesus Christ (John 3:31-35, 18:37, Revelation 1:5)

B.  All before Himspake partially, saw it dimly; but Christ brought life and immortality to light (2 Timothy 1:10, Hebrews 1:1-3, John 8:56, Deuteronomy 18:15, John 4:25)

C.  All who have come after but repeat His witness and testimony

 

II.         The testimony of Christ – the witness of the apostles to the gospel message

A.  Paul is preaching about Christ

B.  The message needs to be confirmed

C.  Testimony of Christ is confirmed in you

1.  Once a slave, in the gutter; now a new man, sober

2.  Once a miserable, wretched home; now grace at the table, new family

3.  Once had ungovernable temper; now grace inside of me, new attitude

4.  Once critical, caustic; now gracious, praying for others

5.  Once in the dark valley alone; today somebody keeps by my side

1.  Yesterday boy hit by car, died

2.  Kentucky mother lost all three of her children in car accident

 

III.        Occasion for writing the Corinthian letter(1 Corinthians 1:4-7)

A.  All of their special gifts, yet sank so low, beyond any other church

B.  Without the confirmation of the testimony of Christ in our church, our lives, our gifts are nothing

 

IV.       Preparing for our revival season

A.  Our appeal for the lost – if we don’t come, it has no confirmation

B.  Our testimony to the saving grace in Christ – the Bible the world reads is you, the confirmation