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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

There Was A Man Sent From God

John 1:6-9

John, after beginning his Gospel with a statement of our Lord's nature as God, proceeds to speak of his forerunner, John the Baptist. The contrast between the language used about the Saviour and that used about his forerunner ought not to be overlooked. Of Christ we are told that He was the eternal God, the Creator of all things, the source of life and light. Of John the Baptist we are told simply that "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John."

We see in these verses the true nature of a Christian minister's office. We have it in the description of John the Baptist. He 'came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe'. Christian ministers are not priests, nor mediators between God and man. They are not agents into whose hands men may commit their souls and carry on their religion by deputy. They are witnesses. They are intended to bear testimony to God's truth and especially to the great truth that Christ is the only Saviour and light of the world. This was Peter's ministry on the Day of Pentecost: "With many other words did he testify" (Acts 2:40). This was the whole tenor of Paul's ministry: "Testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21). Unless a Christian minister bears a full testimony to Christ, he is not faithful to his office. So long as he does testify of Christ, he has done his part and will receive his reward, although his hearers may not believe his testimony. Until a minister's hearers believe on that Christ of whom they are told, they receive no benefit from the ministry. They may be pleased and interested, but they are not profited until they believe. The great end of a minister's testimony is "that through him, men may believe."

For Meditation: Your minister may have many faults - and is probably more aware of them than you are - but, if he preaches Christ, value him.

~J. C. Ryle~

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