It Shall Turn to You For a Testimony
by Carl McIntire, D.D.
Our Lord Jesus Christ explained how His servants, those in the latter days, would have a special duty and opportunity to testify to Him. It is this privilege that the Council of Christian Churches of India and the International Council of Christian Churches throughout the world have and are now seeking to fulfill through their churches, which understand the times in which they work and live and suffer.
The signs the Lord described as He stood on the Mount of Olives and was asked about the end time and which are recorded in Luke 21, Matthew 24, 25, and Mark 13, may be seen by all, even the unbelievers of the world. The ungodly falsely use His precious name against the Lord in the pulpits of the apostates and in the drive of the Pope and the World Council of Churches to build as rapidly as possible the final, visible, one-world superchurch.
Babylon the Great, predicted in Revelation, chapters 17 and 18, is on the horizon. Only the blind and the deceived cannot recognize it.
The churches of Jesus Christ are called to testify of Him. They have always had this responsibility and call. Here the Lord outlines their duties just before His return. These are fresh, gleaming, glowing, powerful words. They are today as clear as the day He exhorted His disciples. It is this that undergirds the witness of the ICCC.
When the ICCC came into being in Amsterdam, August 11-19, 40 years ago, the signs of the times entered into all that it did. The preamble, which the Council adopted, uses the very word, "testimony," and it said "the times demand the formation of a world-wide agency, for fellowship" of churches to do this very thing for Christ. It was this that produced a call clear and strong to the Bible-believing churches throughout the world to stand together and that they would come together "out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" "for the proclamation and defense of the Gospel, for the maintenance of a testimony pure, steadfast and world-wide."
In the midst of the frightful apostasy and disruption, Jesus described will come, He will have those who will, like Noah of old, warn the nations of the judgment and of the grace of God. The ICCC churches have heard these words. Our Lord underscored every word spoken here with its full and precise meaning when He concluded: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Luke 21:35). It is indeed to this end that conditions today have turned to the believers for a testimony.
I. The Use of Jesus' Name
The use of the name of Jesus Christ was His paramount concern. He wanted His people to separate from all denial, abuse, and false use of His name. His command rings in every ICCC church's ears and preaching. "Go ye not after them." He has been so graphic in His description of the great apostasy in the church of our day and the great tribulation which is to fall upon mankind.
It is His name that He defends. "Many." He said, "shall come in my name." He calls on all His own to recognize this attack on Him as found in His house of prayer. "Take heed," He asserted, "that ye be not deceived."
"Deception" is the first word. It came in the Garden of Eden. Jesus' first warning recognizes Satan as the Deceiver, and He is to be seen in His final attacks upon the name of Jesus Christ. He is a liar from the beginning and the father of it. He is now in the churches deceiving the people from their pulpits, their seminaries, their colleges. He has taken captive these liberal church bodies to steal what has been raised up by God's people and to use all these resources to present another Gospel, another Christ but using the name of Christ, Himself.
They call it pluralism, room for many views of Christ's person and work, many different theories, as they call them - anything, any way, to divert men from the Christ of the Bible. This is the reason that in rewriting the creeds, this is a plague and it has become an epidemic. This shift is made from the Bible, which is in writing and is precise to Christ, building the new creeds around Christ. It sounds good to the simple, but the Christ that is presented is flexible and turns out to be a revolutionary, one whose doctrine is to be obtained in the experiences of the poor with the name, liberation theology. There is now room for several different Christs. Each may have his own. The Bible is put down. The new Jesus or Jesuses is made the subject of the creeds.
Christ's call was re-echoed in the Book of Matthew, where Christ said the fakers "shall deceive many," and "many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:11, 12).
This describes the liberal, Modernist, inclusivist, ecumenical churches today. Christ's demand is, "Take heed." Do not close your eyes; do not betray Him by your silence. Here is an occasion for a great witness. The ICCC has been raised up to give it. Do not excuse yourself for any reason whatsoever, and as you witness, "ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake" (Matt. 24:9).
The Apostle Paul told the believers, "Ye are called in one body ... and whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Col. 3:15, 17).
We are to defend, protect, honor, and use this name which is above every name, for He has purchased His beloved by His own blood on Calvary's Cross. This testimony to Him is required. Always and in every thing when His name is blasphemed in these ecumenical prayer meetings with the leaders of the pagan religions and the witchdoctors -of Africa, when they have these interfaith worship services for peace, the faithful churches, those who belong to the ICCC, must point out the blasphemy, the union with idolaters. All must know that there will come a day when Christ Himself will return with the same name, and His name shall be glorious.
II. His Name Before Governments
The Lord further explains that His name shall be used before governments, and kings of the nations. He says that His own shall be "brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake" (Luke 21:12). It is immediately after this that the text stands out, "And it shall turn to you for a testimony." Jesus is specific: "I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist," (v. 15).
Such witnesses know the Lord, love the Lord, honor the law of God. All this underscores that the Ten Commandments are for all mankind, lost and saved, kings and parliaments. Jesus kept that law, proclaimed that law, and sin is the breaking of that law. The Old Testament is full of those who were called before kings. The history of the Christian church has dealt with kings, and Christian people today, the Fundamentalists, are dealing with kings and powers of the secular state.
Righteousness will exalt "a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." This reaches the whole area of the existence of the life, and duty of believers in the churches. The churches cannot be silent in dealing with Communism and terrorism. The ICCC made it plain in its functions that it would do just this. Freedom is the gift of God. It is everybody's business. The Great Commission requires it, and it is the duty of the churches to protect and demand such freedom. Peace and justice, so perverted and used by Satan in the Communist deceptions, and by fascism with its totalitarian repression, are all issues that involve the Christian witness to the name of Christ. The Christian and his church cannot turn the affairs of his nation over to the Devil's people. They must vote, pray, speak out, rebuke.
Separation of church and state does not mean the separation of God from the state. It does mean that the state must not interfere or repress the work of the churches and the freedom of God's people to worship. Separation of church and state restricts the state to the affairs of Caesar and that Caesar must be as the great confessions have testified, a "nursing father," treating all equal and protecting the freedom to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to live the Christian life. Separation of church and state does not require silence in the rebuking of iniquity or exposing the works of the Devil in political circles and chicanery.
The churches are to use trumpets and alert and awaken the saints to their duty. So it was that the ICCC made it plain as the Functions of the ICCC specify that they would advocate steadfastly the Christian mode of life in society at large and do something to retard atheism and paganism under any name. Loose morality and godlessness are mentioned.
Martyrdom is no disgrace; it is a glory. There are those who will wear that crown. When one suffers for the name of Jesus Christ, it is a glory, for "if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed." The spirit of glory rests upon him. Satan is pleased when believers abdicate one realm of life after another - the church, the home, the school - to his free possession. "Resist the Devil" means chasing him everywhere he shows his angelic face, his dirty hands, his lying tongue and his poisonous fangs.
It is in the name of Christ that we fight the good fight of faith, and in His name He gives victory. The Apostle Peter gives the details: "There shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them.... And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of" (2 Pet. 2:1, 2). Isaiah the prophet described what the Lord Was talking about. "Yea truth faileth and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey" (59:15).
III. Security in Christ's Name
Christ's name speaks of security and peace to all His people. He tells them: "Be not terrified." The end is not yet. The A-bomb, this deadly potential, will hot destroy the earth. There will be, He predicts, a time of great trouble. There shall be "wars and rumours of wars, . . . nations shall rise against nation" (Matt. 24:6, 7). Even the frequent and great earthquakes will testify that He is coming again soon. All these, He said, will include, famines, pesilences, and even great signs shall be from heaven (Luke 21:9, 11). He explained, "Ye shall be hated," and then he adds the words, "of all men for my name's sake" (v. 17).
The responsibility to testify, He says, and your opportunity to do so, will be great. My servants, he said, do not deny me, do not compromise my commands. They do not reflect against the Word of God, question its inerrancy or doubt that God has given it. All things, He emphasizes, in the Scriptures will be fulfilled. It is in the midst of this revelation that He adds: "In your patience possess ye your souls" (v. 19).
We, beloved, belong to Him, Our times are in His hands. Just be patient, just wait, whether it be by life or whether it be by death, be true to this Redeemer. Our souls are His, our lives have been given to us by Him. The greatest of all is our present possession of everlasting life. This is the only life of peace. Be patient, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
Even to give the testimony as required in these days gives strength and joy; the privilege of living and knowing the Son of God, whom to know aright is life eternal, is indeed our glory. Jesus speaks of Jerusalem in verse 20 and tells us that it "shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." There will be, He said, "upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity. . . . men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth" (vv. 25, 26).
As humanity moves toward these great judgments, we are to relate these events to the prophecies of the Scriptures. His command is "Watch ye therefore, and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (v. 36).
IV. The Coming of Christ
Now the Lord turns as we behold His name and anticipate the great consummation. He says: "Then shall - they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads" (vv. 27, 28). He even goes as far as to call their attention to the fig tree, for the fig trees were near them and abound over the land.
"Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is nigh at hand" (vv. 29, 30). The Lord has directed His saints; they are without excuse.
The ICCC sees these signs, hears these words, and knows that the time is short and the coming of the Lord is at hand. We can, I believe, see His hand in the raising up of the ICCC. He has provided, as this Word reveals, that He will have those present who will use these last days as an opportunity to give their testimony. He will provide their strength, their courage, and give them joy in being faithful to their Saviour and Lord. As the ICCC is being brought together, He is placing it in the hearts of those whose hearts are perfect toward Him to reach out their hands to one another and bring their churches under the same glorious banner, not to build a world superchurch, but to maintain their candlestick alongside each other. The Holy Spirit is moving in a special way among His people, letting them see in the Scriptures what He intended for the believers to have in the last days.
The forming of the ICCC in Amsterdam 40 years ago marked a new day in the history of the church. For the first time in the 20th Century, the churches faithful, loyal, obedient, loving, arose and said, This great apostasy of the WCC must be faced, offset and people called out of it. Thus the very preamble of the Council included this duty as belonging to all true churches "to make a clear testimony to their faith in Him." There it is in Luke 2 1: "It shall turn to you for a testimony."
There simply had to be an agency, a fellowship that would indeed stand for the Word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ against the false use of His name on every hand. Here was the frightful abuse and rejection of His name, as men spelled it the same, but made a different Christ and Christs, seen in the liberal, inclusivist, ecumenical churches of the hour. The ICCC has been raised up as a sign in itself which Christ here indicates would arise as these great challenges turn to a testimony.
The turning to that testimony would have His blessing, His guidance, and He would use it. How is it that as the Word of the existence of the ICCC is spread in spite of the opposition, the repression, the misrepresentation and silence of the media? Why is it that the Bible-believing churches are coming from everywhere to be a part of this fellowship? Here is a clear blessing, a sign in itself, one of the signs of the last days that He would bring as a testimony with separated, true faithful and militant churches standing together for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
The founders of the ICCC, that little band that met in the English Reformed Church in Amsterdam, were burdened with a passion that their testimony would be such that Christ's churches would heed it and that His name would be manifested throughout the world. Truly the Holy Spirit was guiding the framers of the Constitution with all these details carefully phrased, a summary of the common evangelical doctrines, and the adoption of the historic Apostles' Creed. They saw indeed in John 17 not Babylon, but the definition of eternal life and Christ's giving to His people God's Word, every word of Scripture. Then He said, "Thy word is truth."
We stand here today with our two hundred delegates from just one nation, India, to thank God that in at least 100 nations there are separated churches such as we have here, and we stand fully, totally, dedicated to what God has been pleased to give us. The ICCC Congresses are - truly a foretaste of the resurrection fellowship of eternity where the sight of our Lord with His pierced hand will bring the hallelujahs of the Heavens, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour and glory, and blessing" (Rev. 5:12).
Daniel predicted these days, but he was told that his book would be sealed until the. time of the end. "0 Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end" (Dan. 12:4). He explained that there would be present realities which would make possible such a united witness from all nations, as in the ICCC. He said: "Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased" (v. 4). So it is, as the world goes, so the airplane, the TV, the computer, and all that is coming out of nature that God has had there have made it possible for the Christians to be together for one purpose that they might give the testimony that Jesus has ordained - that they might let the world know that they have heard His prayer that in their unity, their oneness, their agreement in the faith, "that the world may [see and hear and] believe that thou has sent me" (John 17:21). This whole 17th chapter of John blasts their vision of this world superchurch. Christ had been sent by the Father. So He prays for us, the true believers, the true churches made up of the. saints, "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one" (v. 22) - one in faith, one in the Spirit, one in love, one in the living and true church and in the hope of His coming.
There is no cement powerful enough to hold together belief and unbelief in the contradictions of which the WCC boasts when they say they have "unity in diversity." The true unity, Christ says, as it is described: "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me" (v. 23).
Finally, He concludes, affirming His eternal choice for the elect of God, "that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovest me before the foundation of the world" (v. 24).
It is indeed the glory of the ICCC that it declares that name, and also its churches and brethren find that spiritual unity which Christ has given them and behold that love seen in Christ and desire that it may be in them. Jesus Christ must be all and in all, and as we turn to the last verses of the Bible itself, Christ is again speaking His final words. Here we find the fullness of His whole ministry with the emphasis upon His testimony. Three times He concludes with this emphasis upon testimony, and this in itself intensifies the ICCC and all its brethren to see these days actually turn to us for a testimony.
Thus Jesus concludes, "Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book," and "I am Alpha and Omega.... Blessed are they that do his commandments." So He says, "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches." "Churches" is plural; they are the candlesticks. There He stands: "I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come." The bride is the body, His chosen ones who are united in saying, "Come." The invitation is extended to "whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17).
Still He warns: "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book" (v. 18).
Woe to any who have an open-ended Bible and are making a consensus of the fruit of their own thinking to be the message of God for our day. Woe unto the WCC as it dreams, prays and works for their Babylon church.
Then the Lord continues that testimony: "If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" (v. 19). So Jesus said, "Have ye not read that he which made them in the beginning made them male and female?"
He rebuked Satan in temptation each time with, "It is written. Now here are the very last words that He had to say covering everything He did: "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly." There is only one word left for him to say to the churches, Daniel said the wise would understand. "Amen."
This concludes the Scriptures with the churches giving their resounding call, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus." The ICCC has turned in this hour of consummation to be a testimony as here described, predicted and, finally, all of its churches call upon all of God's people of like precious faith to lift up this banner, display it, clear as the moon, fair as the sun, and terrible as an army in battle, with the final united prayer, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus." Amen.