Tuesday, May 27, 2008

One Reason a Testimony is Not as Powerful as Jesus

Suppose that a man has heard of a great physician who understands his complaint? He has traveled a great many miles to see this celebrated doctor. But when he gets to the door they tell him that he is out. “Well,” he says,“then I must wait till he is in.” “You need not wait,” they reply,“his assistant is at home.” The suffering man, who has been often disappointed, answers, “I do not care about his assistant. I want to see the man,himself—mine is a desperate case, but I have heard that this physician has curedthe like. I must, therefore, see him. No assistants for me.” “Well,” they say, “he is out, but there are his books. You can see his books.” “Thank you,” he says, “I cannot be content with his books. I need the living man and nothing less. It is to him that I must speak and from him I will receive instructions.”

“Do you see that cabinet?” “Yes.” “It is full of his medicines.” The sick man answers, “I dare say they are very good, but they are of no use to me without the doctor. I want their owner to prescribe for me, or I shall die of my disease.” “But see,” cries one, “here is a person who has been cured by him, a man of great experience, who has been present at many remarkable operations. Go into the inquiry room with him and he will tell you all about the mode of cure.” The afflicted man answers, “I am much obliged to you, but all your talk only makes me long the more to see the doctor. I came to see him, and I am not going to be put off with anything else. I must see the man, himself, for myself. He has made my disease a specialty. He knows how to handle my case and I will stay till I see him.”

Now, dear Friends, if you are seeking Christ, imitate this sick man or else you will miss the mark altogether! Never be put off with books, or conversations. Be not
content with Christian people talking to you, or preachers preaching to you, or the Bible being read to you, or prayers being offered for you. Anything short of Jesus will leave you short of salvation! You have to reach Christ and touch Christ, and nothing short of this will serve your turn. -C.H. Spurgeon, Christ in You, Preached May 13, 1883.


  1. Amen and Amen. Good illlustration.

    Years ago it seemed as if the primary model for evangelism was honing up a bright, shiny testimony with a few Scripture verses sprinkled on top for dressing.

    Some had to work very hard on their testimonies. Especially those of us who came from 1). A loving family 2). Who saw to it that we were raised in a Christian home 3). Made sure the whole family was involved in a faithful church congregation and 4). Were saved by Christ at an early age.

    It was tough creating a spell-binding testimony which would capture the attention of listeners and cause them be convicted of their sin. Some of us never qualified in the important meaningful arenas of testimonial prominence. We never were alcoholics, murders, crooked politicians, drug addicted professional athletes, or raised in the ghetto. What kind of testimony could we have? The best we could come up with is to point to Jesus.

    But since, as has been so wonderfully illustrated, its the physician who has the power, not the stories of the people already healed who brings the healing.

    Good post, Mike.

  2. Mike and Terry

    Can I possibly not totally agree with Spurgeon....:) I think one of the last commands given by Christ to his disciples before leaving was "be my witness." Now my understanding of being a witness is telling others what you have seen, or experienced. So if we are obeying Christ's command of being a witness, then what Christ means or what He is doing in me should be a part of my evangelism, in some way or another. Our being a witness should point them to the one who has saved us, namely Christ. I think there are too many of us that are not adhering to the command of being a witness, and our evangelism has become a dry quotation of Scripture. People want to hear our story, they want to know how Christ is (notice present tense) changing our life, into the greatest life ever.

  3. Josh,

    You may absolutely NOT disagree with Spurgeon. :-)
    That's part of the Baptist Faith and Message isn't it?

    Thankfully for you (LOL), I'm not sure that you actually are disagreeing with Spurgeon. The bad thing about pulling out quotes is that you miss the context. Keeping in mind much of what Spurgeon taught, preached, and lived, I am confident that he would be clapping in approval with your statements.

    The point Spurgeon is making here is that if you are seeking Christ do not be satisfied with sitting under those that borrow his light, but camp out under the True Light. Spurgeon's advice is to the seeker...not to the evangelist.

    Now, my title may be another story. I wholeheartedly agree with what you are saying. If a witness is not feasting on the beauty of Christ, I'm not really sure why he is witnessing in the first place. Cold presentations of Scripture passages divorced from the Spirit overflowing in our lives is not evidenced in Scripture. So, to your comment I say Amen!

    The point that I am making by titling it such a way, and referencing Spurgeon, is that a simple personal testimony that leads the person desiring to be more like me, may seem effective but is not nearly as good as being so enthralled with Christ that they want my Jesus. Simply put, a testimony that does not aim at and come from an encounter with Jesus is not really much of a testimony.

    Hope that clears it up! Thanks for stopping by and commenting Josh!



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