The Comforter’s Testimony
Our text tells us that the Comforter himself testifies when he comes. In Acts 2, when the Comforter first came, he testified through the disciples of the Lord. Jesus had told them, “You also will bear witness,” and this was fulfilled at Pentecost. After the Comforter had testified in tongues through Peter and the other disciples, Peter stood up, and in his own language, gave a wonderful, convincing testimony. It took the testimony of both the Comforter and Peter to accomplish this remarkable change in so many lives, and I am persuaded that the same two witnesses, God’s and man’s, will be required to bring about the long-awaited, end-time revival spoken of by the prophets.
Solomon said, “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor” (Eccl. 4:9). Moreover, under Moses’ Law, no one was condemned without the testimony of at least two witnesses. Referring to this holy standard, Jesus said, “It is also written in your Law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one who bears witness of myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness of me” (Jn. 8:17-18). The Father bore witness of the Son many times, especially at his baptism by John in the Jordan River, when the Comforter descended as a dove upon Jesus, and a voice from heaven cried, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Friend, do you have a testimony from God?
The Spirit’s witness, the Comforter’s Testimony, sets God’s way of salvation apart from all other religions. No religion but God’s bears His mark of approval: the Spirit’s testimony. Only God’s is a two-testimony religion. Throughout history, people everywhere have claimed to belong to God, but man’s testimony is insufficient. It is the second testimony that seals the covenant.
Paul wrote (Rom. 8:16), “The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” These are the two witnesses, my reader: God’s Spirit and yours. I know that you have one of them, but what about the one that confirms the covenant, the Comforter’s Testimony? In other words, did the Spirit of God testify through you when it came into your heart?
Have Tongues Ceased?
Upon reading Paul’s words, “tongues are for a sign to unbelievers” (1Cor. 14:22), one should ask, “a sign of what?” The answer is that God ordained tongues as a sign to guide sinners to Himself. Sinners need the saints to speak in tongues! Yet, despite the testimonies of multitudes of believers, many people deny the existence of the Comforter’s Testimony. Some admit that the earliest disciples spoke in tongues, but then they say that tongues have ceased, though they cannot say who did away with them. Can you imagine Jesus, after coming to this sinful world and giving his life to complete God’s plan of salvation, allowing someone to change His plan, or to do away with part of it? No, my friend, this New Testament is eternal and unchangeable. Jesus declared, “My words will never pass away.” We must go God’s way, for “he who climbs up some other way is a thief and a robber.”
The Scriptures give no indication of the withdrawal of the blessings Christ bestowed. Long after the initial outpouring of the holy Ghost in Acts 2, the saints were still speaking in tongues and thanking God for it (1Cor. 14:18). Gentiles received the holy Ghost and spoke in tongues long after Pentecost. And remember, Paul strictly warned the saints that if any man, or even an angel, came preaching any other gospel than that which he preached, he was to be accursed (Gal. 1:8-9). If anyone has caused speaking in tongues to cease, it is ministers who teach against it, not Jesus, who purchased that blessing with his blood.
Some, with foolish boldness, dare to teach that speaking in tongues is of the devil! How I fear for such men! They may be sealing their eternal judgment, for Jesus said, “All sins will be forgiven unto the sons of men, and whatsoever blasphemies wherewith they blaspheme. But he who blasphemes against the holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation” (Mk. 3:28-29). The disciples who were first filled with the Spirit were mocked and accused of being drunk (Acts 2:13), and ignorant men at times still mock Spirit-filled people. Paul knew that those unlearned in the things of God would call the saints insane when they spoke in tongues (1Cor. 14:23), but Paul also knew that the saints were in fact “giving thanks well.” My friend, never mock what you do not understand. Peter said men would be destroyed for doing that (2Pet. 2:12).
Yes, many teach that speaking in tongues is not for today, but God knows their hearts. In fact, it is precisely because God knows their hearts that they have not received His Spirit and do not speak in tongues. Peter said that God gives the holy Spirit to all who obey Him (Acts 5:32). Therefore, we know that those who have not yet received the Spirit and spoken in tongues have not completed their obedience to God, though they certainly may do so; we pray that they will.
The gift of God’s holy Spirit, and the miraculous sign of tongues that it brings with it, came to us at a very great cost. It cost God the sending of His beloved Son from the perfection of his heavenly home to an earth steeped in heartache, sorrow, disease, sin, and death. It cost the Savior inexpressible anguish and ignominious death on Calvary’s cross. Many other miraculous wonders preceded the death of Christ Jesus, but not the sign of the covenant: the Comforter’s Testimony.
After the Lord ascended, his disciples went forth with miraculous signs attending their message. Jesus had told them to teach “whatsoever I have commanded you.” And what he had commanded them was to preach the gospel, saying, “These signs shall follow those who believe. In my name, shall they cast out devils. They shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents. And if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them. They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mk. 16:17-18). Yes, speaking in tongues is one of the signs of the true body of Christ. Proud men make great efforts to discredit these verses, but every faithful child of God knows that the words are from Jesus.
Not knowing what the Comforter’s Testimony is, misguided believers, more full of confidence than of knowledge, often refer to their happy feelings as proof that they possess the Spirit. Eventually, however, such people, if sincere, must admit that this witness is an unreliable one. It will fail them in time of greatest need. Now, while in favor with men, while in health, while financially secure, while surrounded with friends, they feel blessed, but later, when those conditions are reversed, they will feel unhappy. They will lose what they now suppose to be the Comforter’s Testimony. Others point to “what the Scriptures say” as proof of their having the Spirit, but friend, the Bible has never said anything. It is a book. Everything anybody has ever received from the Bible he has read, and who has and who has not understood what he has read is the issue.
Some think that the testimony of the Comforter is their peace of mind, but when they see many who claim no religion apparently having the same peace of mind, their concept of the Comforter’s Testimony proves insufficient to sustain their faith or to give them trustworthy assurance. When the dark hour comes, they, too, must face defeat and surrender their claims as being false. But what joy, peace, and righteousness come to those who have the witness of God - to those who really have the Spirit and who have learned to walk in it!
Jesus promised this divine testimony to his followers, and he died that they might have it; so “why should it be thought a thing incredible with you” that God should still be testifying today through those who yield to His will and power?
“When the Comforter is come . . . HE will testify of me. And YOU also will bear witness.” These are the two witnesses: God’s Spirit and yours. Are you among the many who testify alone, “I am born again”? Or do you also have the second witness? Please don’t allow any man to steal your hope. Millions think they are being led rightly, when they are actually being carried away from the truth of Christ. Jesus loves you and offers you life.
On Pentecost, the first group of disciples were born again, and now, Christ is offering to you your own Pentecost experience, your own new birth into the kingdom of God, a kingdom into which no man can take you, and out of which no man can cast you. The only thing men can do is either to encourage you or dissuade you to pursue the thing you need most, the baptism Jesus gives, with the evidence which always accompanies it: