Skip to content

First Baptist Church - Palestine, TX

Christ is Enough…Period. (Blog & Podcast)

You can subscribe to this podcast through iTunes

For centuries the people of God, the Jews, demonstrated their love for God through their works, their sacrifices, and those things they refrained from in their lives. Jesus came and was preaching the same type of message as far as surrendering to God, but with a different approach. While we are still called to obedience, the days of multiple sacrifices would be gone. He, Himself, would be the one and only needed sacrifice. It was about a relationship, rather than a series of sacrifices. Christ was, and is, enough.

Paul writes a letter to the Galatians because he has been made aware of the fact that they have taken the Gospel of Grace and corrupted it. Some of the Jews are now saying that yes, the Gospel is open to all people, but the Gentiles must become Jews first, before they can come to Christ, and continue with the ceremonies and such. This was not the Gospel that Jesus preached.

Galatians 1:6-7, I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

What is happening here is that men and women are turning from the gospel by adding something to it. The Gospel is the Gospel and to add anything to it is to pervert it and is no Gospel at all. You don’t need to become Jewish on order to follow Christ. You don’t need to continue in the sacrifices, as some were teaching in this day, for Christ IS your sacrifice. You don’t need to live in fear that somehow you cannot measure up, for Christ IS the measuring stick. If you know Christ, your hope is secure.

With that said, let’s make some practical applications from the text from what Paul is saying

Paul is saying that Christ is enough…to rescue us
We cannot add anything to the Gospel that Christ did not put there. Salvation comes by grace, through faith, period.Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” A works-based salvation is not only impossible to achieve, but it also seems to exalt the work of man, versus the work of Christ. If I can achieve works-based salvation, then I could be tempted to say “look at what I did”. Christ is enough to rescue us.

Paul is saying that Christ is enough…to pursue us
Verse 6 says they are so quickly turning away from him who “called” them by the grace of Christ. It was by grace that we were called to salvation. We were undeserving. We were stained with sin. There was nothing in our lives which could redeem us. But Christ, in His grace, called us. Not only that, he continues to pursue us. Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.” Christ is enough…to pursue us.

Paul is saying that Christ is enough…to break us
Often, in our lives, we take things that are broken, and we toss them aside, rid ourselves of them. If they are of no good to us, if they are unable to do anything for us anymore, or even if we are just tired of them, we throw them away.

Aren’t you glad that God does not do that with people? No matter what you are struggling with, no matter your strongholds, no matter your lack of obedience, no matter the situation, God never tosses aside those things that are broken. In fact, those things that are broken, He brings them closer to Himself. Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”.

Not only that, but sometimes He allows us to go through things. He breaks us, if you will, in order to strip away the things that are unnecessary and to help us realize how much we need Him for everyday living.

Paul is saying that Christ is enough…to sustain us
If Christ can rescue you, if Christ can pursue you, if Christ can break you…then Christ can sustain you. Sometimes that sustaining is walking close beside you through the fire. Sometimes that sustaining you is simply holding you when you are broken. Sometimes that sustaining you is healing you from the scars of the past and reminding you that He is the One who brought you through. Sometimes, that sustaining you is just reminding you that He loves you, period.

Paul says God the father raised Jesus Christ from the dead. If He raised His Son from the dead, then he can sustain any and all of His children through whatever they go through.

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

 

How Do We Solve a Problem Like Diotrephes? Blog and Podcast

To subscribe to the podcast through iTunes, search for “It’s All About Relationships” and look for the black logo you see here and click subscribe.

Last week we looked at the first half of 3 John and specifically the story of Gaius, who was a wonderful example of a disciple of Christ. As we continue through the rest of 3 John we see, at the end of the chapter, the mention of another man who seems to be on the same path as Gaius in regard to being a disciple, a man named Demetrius.

Sandwiched between those is the story of a man who is not exactly a shining light of Christ, yet he seems to have prominence in the church. His name is Diotrephes. Already, with a name like Diotrephes, you know this is a man who is going to stand out. Unfortunately, Diotrephes stands out for the wrong reasons.

 3 John 9-11, I wrote something to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have first place among them, does not receive our authority. 10 This is why, if I come, I will remind him of the works he is doing, slandering us with malicious words. And he is not satisfied with that! He not only refuses to welcome fellow believers, but he even stops those who want to do so and expels them from the church.

Diotrephes was a man in the church who was about his own agenda, would not receive the ministry of the apostle John, or anyone outside the fellowship, for that matter. He did not receive guests into the body, and, in fact, would throw people out of the church for bringing new folks in. When people would speak of the Apostle John, Diotrephes would slander his name and talk badly of him. Diotrephes did not want anything to disrupt his agenda.

How did this church get to this point? How was Diotrephes allowed to have this much influence? The truth is, the church failed. They let their guard down and, slowly but surely, an evil influence was able to take root and potentially destroy the church. Let’s take a look at the areas where the church failed.

First of all, the church lost its identity

This was established as the church of Jesus Christ. Christ died for the church. The identity of the church is Christ. Our personal identity is to be Christ in us. Letting the light of Christ shine through us.

This church in our text had lost at least part of its identity, and had allowed someone to rise up to leadership that was not in tune with the Spirit of God.

Secondly, the church compromised the Truth

When Diotrephes refused to receive the letter that John wrote as one of the apostles of Jesus Christ, he was, in a manner of practice, refusing the Word of God. When Diotrephes was throwing people out of the church who were trying to share the Gospel and welcome people in, he was going against the Great Commission

Thirdly, the church denied its mission

By refusing to hear the counsel of the apostle John, by refusing to welcome new people into the fellowship, and by stifling the evangelistic efforts by the church, Diotrephes was denying the mission, and the commission, of the church. The Great Commission is pretty clear. Matthew 28:19, 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

The question of the day is…How Do We Solve a Problem Like Diotrephes?

Make no mistake about it, Diotrephes is a problem for the church, and it is the church’s problem. The church is a relationship, a body of believers, and when a member of the body is pulling against the rest, the entire body has a problem. If you don’t think so, remember the last time you stubbed your toe. Was that a problem for just your toe, or a problem for your entire body? For a few moments, it’s a problem for your entire body. The solution is not to cut your toe off and separate it from the rest of the body.

As the body is hurt, the body is built to heal itself. In doing so, the body must build itself up. I need to make sure that I don’t have some Diotrephes slipping into my life.

To combat that, I ask myself three questions. First of all, I ask myself, “Have I found my identity in something other than Christ?” Is my life defined by something besides Christ in me? The Word says “Seek ye first” and He will take care of everything else. God has the small stuff well under His control. He has the big stuff well under His control.

The second question I ask myself is “am I compromising the Truth in my life?” Diotrephes compromised the truth by refusing to obey the Word of God, by refusing people to have access to the Gospel, and by denying the voice of the apostles to speak the Word into the church. The Lord simply asks us to obey and He will take care of the rest.

The third question I ask myself is “is my life denying its mission?”

When we come to Christ, our agendas go by the wayside in light of Christ’s agenda for our lives. His calling on our lives is a calling through our lives. Go…ye…therefore…we can’t deny it and remain obedient to Christ.

So, how do we solve a problem like Diotrephes? By pursuing Christ every day, by keeping our eyes on the prize, by loving others as Christ loved us, not looking at difficult people in your life as problems but opportunities.

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

Discipleship Matters – Blog & Podcast

To subscribe to this podcast through iTunes, search for “It’s All About Relationships” and look for the black icon.

What does it mean to make disciples? How did Jesus do it? He invested time, He spoke the Word of God, He showed them, He brought needed correction, and He loved them unconditionally. For 3 years He was totally invested.

Let me ask this in a more pointed way… Are there people in your life that, if you stopped investing discipleship into their lives, who would miss it? There are a number of approaches to that, and many of them are good. I’ve realized over the course of years that having a “discipleship” class is not necessarily discipleship. It’s part of it, but it is not the whole. Discipleship is personal, it’s connective, and it continues outside the 4 walls of the church.

Today we are going to look at the story of such a man that, I believe, John recognized as a discipler. The man’s name was Gaius and John writes to him to affirm what he is doing and to give him some wise counsel. As we seek to be disciplers in the manner which Christ has called us to be, let us see what we can glean from John as he addresses Gaius.

3 John 1-4 The elder: To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Dear friend, I pray that you are prospering in every way and are in good health, just as your whole life is going well. For I was very glad when fellow believers came and testified to your fidelity to the truth—how you are walking in truth. I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in truth.

Gaius was a man who…Lived spiritually– It’s apparent John had a close relationship with Gaius, as he addresses him three times in this passage as “Dear Friend”. John had a deep, heartfelt love for Gaius. He affirmed Gaius’ walk with the Lord. He mentioned that other believers came to him and testified to Gaius’ walk in the Lord. John had been praying for Gaius’ spiritual walk as well. Notice in verse 2 that John says, “I pray that you are prospering in every way AND are in good health”. He is praying for his friend’s spiritual well-being.

Gaius was a man who…Walked Truthfully– John said he was “very glad” to hear that Gaius was continuing to walk in and live the Truth. In fact, John said he had no greater joy than to see those he had influence over, those he had discipleship over, walking in Truth. John certainly would have had joy if Gaius were blessed with a happy family. John certainly would have had joy if Gaius had been successful in whatever career he was involved in. John certainly would have been happy to see Gaius happy in his life in general, but that’s not was brought John the greater joy. John’s greater joy was in the spiritual growth of Gaius, because he knew that not only fueled every aspect of Gaius’ life, but also enabled Gaius to influence others with Kingdom emphasis.

Gaius was also a man who…Ministered Generously– John commends Gaius’ hospitality to both the brethren/sistern, as well as the strangers who would come into their midst. In this day and time, when people were traveling through town, there wasn’t local hotels available. The hospitality would be up to individual people. There would be people who would be traveling through and would come to worship. People would take them into their homes and feed them, and meet their needs. Gaius was evidently one who took that seriously.

It’s clear from the Great Commission, as well as embracing the example of Jesus, that making disciples is where it’s at. A disciple is a follower of Christ. We have a responsibility, not only to be disciples, but to make them. We have seen throughout John’s letters that being a disciple is characterized by loving God and loving His people.

Here it is, where the rubber meets the road. If we want to be disciple-makers. If we want to be a disciple-making church, we must learn what Gaius shows us.

Gaius teaches us to…Pray for Spiritual Health– So many times we gather together in classes or study groups and we say “Do we have any prayer requests?”, and that is good. Many of the requests are for physical ailments and sicknesses, diseases, and there is nothing wrong with that. We should absolutely pray for the sick. God’s Word tells us to. But when you are praying for someone, how often do you pray for their spiritual health? I want to challenge you, as you develop your prayer list, as you pray through those people that God puts on your heart, that you pray for their spiritual well-being. One of the best ways you can invest in someone’s life is to pray that God would fill them with His Holy Spirit, that He would teach them the Truth, convict them of sin, protect them from evil and equip them for the trials they face in their lives. Ask God to give you wisdom as to how to pray for them effectively.

Gaius also teaches us to…Seek Kingdom Relationships–I believe that we should be building relationships intentionally. The intent of those relationships should ultimately lead to Godly or Kingdom influence, the kind of influence that makes disciples. How are people won to Christ? One person at a time, one invitation at a time and one investment at a time. When someone walks the aisle to profess Christ as their Savior, there are typically a number of people who have had influence in that. John said of Gaius, “I was very glad when fellow believers came and testified to your fidelity to the truth – how you are walking in the truth”. John invested in Gaius for the purpose of Kingdom growth.

Finally, Gaius teaches us to…Extend Gospel Hospitality– Verses 5-8 of 3 John speak to Gaius and his hospitality to both church members and strangers.

How did Gaius show hospitality? The text shows us that whenever guests came to minister there in the local congregation, that Gaius saw to it that they were taken care of. Some of that hospitality can be taken care of on the administrative side, through budgeting and planning, through making sure the facilities are in good shape, that classes are equipped with what they need. Hospitality has a number of forms.

Not only was Gaius a great example, but John was a great example by continuing to pour into Gaius. Just because someone has walked with Christ for a long time doesn’t mean they are through becoming a disciple. They still need people to invest in them and they need to invest in other people. Church, if we want the church to grow, and I trust that you join me in that desire, we have to not just invite people but invest in them. Pray for spiritual health. Seek Kingdom Relationships. Extend Gospel Hospitality. That’s called being the church. May the church be the church.

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

Cruise Ship or Battleship – Podcast & Blog

To subscribe to this podcast through iTunes, search for “It’s All About Relationships” and look for the black logo you see here. Select it and choose “subscribe”.

Is the church more like a cruise ship or a battleship? That may seem like an interesting comparison but think about it. Why do people go on a cruise? To get away from it all, to be waited on, to get away from responsibility, to relax and get away from work, and so on. A battleship is made for function, for work, to defend against the enemy attacks.

The main difference seems to be in focus. The cruise ship is focused on the comfort of the passengers and the battleship is focused on the mission.

So what are some criteria by which we would evaluate the church like we would a cruise ship?

Do I like the music?
Do Iike the pastor and staff and the people?
Do I think they do a good job?
Do they meet my needs?
What do they offer my family?
Is the temperature, seating, décor, service times and subjects covered to my liking?
Did I have a good enough experience that I would go back?

That all sounds great, right? But is that how we should evaluate a church?

What if we were evaluating the church like we would a battleship? I might ask these questions…

Is the church on a clear mission?
Does the leadership submit to a higher authority?
Is their mission guided by accomplishing a greater purpose?
Are the leaders equipped to succeed?
Are the members able to contribute in significant ways?
Is their focus on furthering the mission?

The Great Commission commissioned the church to “19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20. That sounds like the mission of the church is not to be self-serving, but to be about bringing Christ to others.

In John’s 2ndletter, there are only 13 verses, but he stresses several themes which will help the church be more battleship than cruise ship. I’ll only share one verse here, but I urge you to look at the entire letter.

2 John 4, “I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, in keeping with a command we have received from the Father.”

For the church to be more battleship than cruise ship, John challenges us in these 5 areas:

Truth or Consequences?
In order for us to know Christ, we must know Truth. To know Christ is to know His Word. If you want to walk in truth as John has urged, get to know His Word. The church is useless if it’s not grounded in His Word.

Love Can Build a Bridge
John says that love is shown in our walking according to His commands. Love is honoring God’s Word in all of our relationships. Love is reaching out to those who don’t look like us, act like us, think like us, or even vote like us. It’s crucial that the church live both in the church and in the world.

Command Response
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, He gave a number of commands. He commanded us to repent, “follow me”, “rejoice and be exceedingly glad”, “let your light shine before men”, to be reconciled and not let bitterness or tension remain. We are to “go the second mile”, turn the other cheek, love our enemies, do unto others… That certainly sounds more like battleship than cruise ship, and it surely sounds like what the church should be about.

Walking the Talk
It’s one thing to talk the talk, but another to walk the walk. There is such freedom that comes in walking daily with Christ. We are called to be, and get the privilege to be, the hands and feet of Jesus. People know when we are just talking a good game and not walking it. On the battleship, everyone has their job. It’s the same in the church

Tune into Teaching
Everyone who serves must also be fed. Everyone who gives must also receive. It’s just a fact of life. In order to serve well, you must also be partaking of nourishment. When you get dry, it’s not time to back away, it’s time to plug in – to Bible study, to community groups, to the daily time with the Lord in Word and prayer. There are tons of good resources – our only excuse is ourselves.

Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.” ‘

We are in a battle, and the battle is not against the government, against another country or power. The battle we face is against the enemy, the devil. He is working hard and winning many battles. Families are facing it day by day. You are out there facing it every day. It’s not a matter of if you are choosing to be in the battle or not. The battle is raging. Are you striving to be prepared for it?

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

It’s All About Relationships, Revisited – Blog & Podcast

To subscribe to this podcast through iTunes, do a search through the Apple Podcast app for “It’s All About Relationships” and look for the logo shown here. Select it and click “subscribe”. The weekly podcasts will be available on Friday mornings and all past episodes are available.

Being that this blog is entitled “It’s All About Relationships”, I believe it’s important that every few months we get back to the basics of what that represents. On a summer night in 2011 my life and ministry was transformed by the awareness God brought me through a title to a chapter of a book (Transformational Discipleship) that was entitled “Relationally Intentional”. I was struck by the concept that a big part of our purpose on earth is to intentionally begin and build Kingdom relationships. That is, relationships for the purpose of strengthening others, and our own, relationships with Christ. As I began to weep, God began to reveal to me, what I would come to embrace as the five basic relationships of every Christian life. It is paramount that we, as believers, be intentional relationship builders.

I was in a group of pastors recently assisting a brother pastor with his doctoral dissertation by answering some questions in regard to revival and church revitalization. Following our discussion, one of the brothers asked him to reveal what data he had discovered about common factors in churches that have experienced long periods of revival and revitalization. After all, many churches are either plateaued or declining.

His research revealed that churches who had experienced longer periods of revitalization or revival, say 8 to 10 years, that there were some common factors. They experienced increased attendance, giving increased and was more stable,  and those churches baptized at least 10% of their active attendance over a period of years. Then he revealed that the most telling factor in long-term revival or revitalization of a church is this…sustained intentional, personal discipleship. That is, one on one or small groups or two or three in personal discipleship. In other words, intentionally building Kingdom relationships.

Back to my original point, let me briefly outline for you the five fundamental relationships for the believer and underscore the need for “intentionality” in each.

  1. Relationship level 1 – God to man – No man initiates a relationship with God on His own. God intentionally initiates a relationship with us, we simply respond and repeat it with others. John 15:16 says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you”. We are nothing, we have nothing, without God’s intentionality in initiating relationship with us.
  2. Relationship level 2 – Man back to God – Once God initiates that relationship, we have the opportunity to respond, and receive permanency of that relationship. I John 4:15 says, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God—God remains in him and he in God.” We confess Jesus as the Christ, as Savior and Lord, and our relationship is secured.
  3. Relationship level 3 – Man to man – Once that relationship is secured, we are called to replicate that to others. Initiating relationships with others that share the love of Christ that we have received. It’s clear that our purpose as believers is to make disciples. The Word states it and the data backs it up. I John 4:11 says, “Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another.” After all, someone invited me, someone invited you, to come and learn about Jesus.
  4. Relationship level 4 – Man to church – Man cannot live the Christian life obediently apart from a relationship to the local church. There are too many principles, particularly in the New Testament, which only truly make sense in community, that being the local church. Romans 12:5 states, “In the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another.” The best way to live that out is in the community of the local church.
  5. Relationship level 5 – Man to organization – All of us are involved with entities like work, school, shopping in the marketplace, athletic teams, musical groups, clubs, political and governmental organizations, etc. We don’t have a relationship to a building or to a title, but we do have a relationship to people, therefore we have a relationship to an organization. Ephesians 5:1 states, “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children”. What did God do but send His Son Jesus Christ to initiate relationships with saint and sinner alike. He did business as a carpenter, He had friends, He walked among people, initiating relationships and responding in love to needs that were presented to Him.

The path to changing the world is simple…it’s one Kingdom relationship at a time. Let us not limit our Kingdom potential by believing the lie that, as believers, we don’t have what it takes to be Kingdom relationship builders. We have the Holy Spirit, our teacher, refuge, comforter, who will be our words and will reveal truth through our words and actions. Who can YOU invite to your church this week? Who can YOU intentionally invest God’s love in this week? It’s the way we were created to live.

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

5 Certainties – Blog and Podcast

To subscribe to this podcast, search iTunes for “It’s All About Relationships” and look for the black box with “It’s All About Relationships” in it.

How many things are there in our lives that we truly KNOW? In an era of fake news, social media campaigns and ultra-partisan politics, facts seem to be up to interpretation and up for much debate. The old saying is that there are only two things we can be assured of in life: death and taxes. While those are realities, there are many things that we can truly know, but only if you really know the Truth, if you know the Lord.

In our text for today from I John 5, John gives us five things that we can know, that we can be sure of. We will call them five certainties.

Are certainties important? Do you want to put your faith and trust into something that you can’t be totally sure of?  When you are operating in certainty, you can operate with much more confidence, much more passion and much more surrender. That’s where we should strive to be in our Christian walk – surrendered and yielded to God’s desire and design.

I John 5:13-21,13 I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked of him. 16 If anyone sees a fellow believer committing a sin that doesn’t lead to death, he should ask, and God will give life to him—to those who commit sin that doesn’t lead to death. There is sin that leads to death. I am not saying he should pray about that. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin that doesn’t lead to death. 18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not sin, but the one who is born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know the true one. We are in the true one—that is, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, guard yourselves from idols.

Let’s look at 5 certainties that John gives us in this passage…

  1. We can be certain that we have eternal life (v13). What is eternal life? Is it just the life to come? When Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gesthemane, just before His arrest, he said in John 17:3, “This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent – Jesus Christ. That tells me that eternal life begins for the Christian at the time of receiving Christ. My eternal life has already begun. His Word has said it. It’s a certainty.
  2. We can be certain that God answers prayer (v14-17). John addresses 3 aspects of prayer in this passage.
    1. We can have confidence in prayer. God wants us to come confidently to the throne. This assurance is fuel for our prayer.
    2. Condition – If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. So how do we pray in His will? First of all, we must be willing to surrender to His will as He reveals it to us. Secondly, we trust the Word, which tells us in Romans 8:26, “In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should…”
    3. Certainty –The text tells us we can be certain that He hears us and that He answers prayer. His Word promises it.
  3. We can be certain that we have victory over sin (v18). “We know that everyone has been born of God does not sin, but the one who is born of God keeps him.” “So preacher, are you saying that after I come to know Christ, that nothing I do is called sin? I can do whatever I want?” No, that’s not what John is saying at all. John is speaking of the permanence of the sinful condition. No longer can your sin keep you from an eternity with Christ. No longer is spiritual death a threat to you.
  4. We can be certain that we belong to God (v19). “We know we are of God, and the world is under the sway of the evil one”. John declares that only two types of people exist in the world: children of God and children of Satan. Children of Satan can be redeemed and become Children of God, but once we are a child of God, our status can never be changed. God’s Word affirms it. It is certain.
  5. We can be certain that we know Christ (v20-21). If the Holy Spirit has quickened your spirit, made you aware that you are a sinner, convicted you of our sin and you have received Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can be assured that you know Christ.

Are you lacking certainty in any area of your spiritual life? Not only does Jesus want to be Lord and Savior of your life, but He wants you to be certain in your walk. He wants you to have confidence. He wants you to have security. He wants you to trust Him. Child of God, if you know Him, then you can be certain that you have eternal life, that God answers prayer, that you have victory over sin, that you belong to God and that you know Christ.

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

Three Witnesses – Blog Post and Podcast

I John 5:6-12 (CSB),Jesus Christ—he is the one who came by water and blood, not by water only, but by water and by blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and these three are in agreement. If we accept human testimony, God’s testimony is greater, because it is God’s testimony that he has given about his Son. 10 The one who believes in the Son of God has this testimony within himself. The one who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 The one who has the Son has life. The one who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Just imagine that you are in a courtroom, where you have found yourself on trial. If you are convicted, the sentence is death, but if you are acquitted, death can never be held over you, ever again. The charges are many, but they are all rolled into one, big charge, called sin. You know you are guilty. It’s clear that you’ve sinned. Yet Someone came forward and offered to represent you, Someone who said just tell the truth and trust Me, and everything will be ok.

The prosecution, led by the Chief Accuser, has called many witnesses. Each one of them has charges against you of sin in one shape, form or fashion. With the testimony of each one, you just shake your head, because you know everything they have said is true. You are a sinner and Scripture has declared that the wages of sin is death. You are completely sure that this is not going to have a happy ending.

As each witness testifies, and the prosecution mounts its case, the Judge turns to your Defense Attorney and says, “your witness”. Each and every time, your Defender says, “no questions, Your Honor. We have no argument against these.”

Unbelievable, you think! You are sweating, your blood pressure is going up, your anxiety is getting stronger and stronger – yet your Defense Attorney continues to put his hand on your shoulder and say, “trust me, believe in me, I’ve got you covered.” Yet, all of the evidence points to the fact that you are surely headed to a death sentence.

Now it’s time for the Defense to put you on the stand. You are losing hope, but you know that your only choice is to trust your Defender, and He has assured you, so you take the stand.

Your Defender asks you, “Is there anything you can offer in your defense to answer these charges?” You think to yourself “what a question? Isn’t He supposed to defend me?” But then you remember that He said for you to trust Him and be truthful, and you really have no other choice at this point, so you answer the question truthfully. “No, Your Honor, I don’t have anything to offer as my defense. The charges are true. I’ve sinned with my words, with my actions, my thoughts, my desires and my intent at times. I’m guilty.”

Then, your Defender rises up and addresses the court. “Your Honor, I would like to offer 3 witnesses to answer for the charges against my client.” The Judge says, “this is highly unusual, but I know You to be totally true and trustworthy, so I’ll allow it”.

Your defender says, in the Old Testament, a case was solidified if it was accompanied by the testimony of 2-3 witnesses. I’ll refer you to Deuteronomy 19:15, “One witness cannot establish any iniquity or sin against a person, whatever that person has done. A fact must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”

Your Defender states, I have 3 witnesses to call on behalf of the Accused

  1. First is the Holy Spirit of God – it is the Holy Spirit that draws, teaches, convicts, reveals Truth.
  2. Second is the Baptism of Jesus Christ. Though Jesus never sinned, He was baptized to identify with the sinner, in the need for the sinner to die to self, have sin buried, and being resurrected to walk in newness of life in Christ
  3. The final witness is the Blood of Christ, the Crucifixion. Without blood there is no remission of sin. Only a sinless man could die for the sins of another man and that’s what He did.

This courtroom scene is fictitious, but the facts remain

  • The Accuser is Satan Himself
  • The Accused of course is you
  • The Defender is Jesus Christ
  • The Righteous Judge is Jehovah God

Because all of us come to the Father through the Son, the Righteous Judge accepts these three witnesses presented by the Defender, His Son and the charges are dropped with no hope of appeal. The text tells us that your testimony is good, but God’s testimony is greater – in fact, it’s the greatest. Child of God, you have three witnesses who will always testify for you. Walk in the victory of being a child of God today.

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX