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Today's Little Lift

    by Jim Bullington

Two 3:17's
Date Posted: September 7, 2021

Testimonials are only as good as the person doing the testifying. I once heard a man offering testimony regarding a siding installation company and I knew the man had a stucco house! I once heard a man offering testimony about a certain insurance company only to notice at the end of the commercial there was a small disclaimer saying he was a paid actor. I once heard sports star touting a high energy drink only to find out that he had been paid for the endorsement. Testimonials are only as good as the person doing the testifying.

Matthew 3:17 “And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'” This testimonial was unlike any other in as much as it placed a Divine stamp of approval on Jesus of Nazareth. Similar voices were heard at the time of His birth, at His transfiguration, and during the final days of His ministry. This voice, however, spoke to the identity of the Man who was embarking on a ministry that literally would target the whole world. It was essential for those involved in this ministry to understand just who the Man was that would be the point of focus from thence forward. John, the man who had just baptized Jesus, had been a point of focus, but the emphasis was about to shift away from John and toward Jesus. John needed to know this fact as well as did all those who were involved on the ministry. There simply could be no mistaking who this man was – He was the only begotten Son of God, and He was one in whom the Father was well pleased!

2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The first 3:17 (above) testified as to the acceptability of the ONLY begotten Son of God. This second testimonial speaks to the acceptability of other sons. The son who is the central character of this verse is an adopted son, but nonetheless, a son. In this text such a son is specifically referred to as “the man of God.” Much as is the case with commercial product endorsements, so it is with those who wear the name Christian; they can garner endorsements from other men, but what good are these endorsements? They can only be as good as the endorser and that simply is not good enough.

The only endorsement that counts is God's endorsement. Paul knew this fact when he wrote, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1.10-12). To Paul it was of no consequence whether men believed his message or not; his mission was simply to preach and teach that which had been revealed.

How can we know that we have God's endorsement? That is the exact point of our second 3:16! We can know that we are approved men of God when we revere and seek to follow His will as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. It is then and only then that we can know that we are “complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” By the way, the word man in this text has NO reference to gender; it means humanity without regards to gender. So, what applies to one applies to all. Only one endorsement counts and that is God's!

In financial circles, it might be the case when a certain expert speaks, everyone listens, but that is in the financial world. The only voice that counts in the spiritual world is the Lord God's!

Questions:

1. Prior to the baptism of Jesus, who had spearheaded Israel's call to repentance?

2. What was this man's mission as regards the coming Christ?

3. Why might an audible voice have been necessary to shift the focus from the forerunner to the Son?

4. Where and how is the will of God expressed? How can we be sure that we are completely equipped to function as a “man of God?” What school, church, sanctioning body, or seminary must approve of our work in order for us to be pleasing to the Father?

"Bible verse and quote" from Jan Couns

Bible and Quote - April 25-29

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Biography Information:
Jim Bullington - A Christian writer whose insight into the scriptures is reflected in practical application lessons in every article. The reader will find that the Bible speaks directly to him/her through these articles. God is always exalted and His word is treated with the utmost respect in this column.
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