BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
A testimony is a witness. It is an authentication, an approval, a validation, an endorsement. It’s one thing for someone to testify about himself (people may not believe the person) but another thing for others to testify concerning someone (more people may believe the testimony). For example, in Acts 22:12, the Bible describes a certain disciple, Ananias, as “a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews…” (NKJV). That is good. However, there is a testimony better than self-testimony and others’ testimony, and this is Heaven’s testimony – when God testifies about a person.
Whether it is God or man that is giving a testimony, human beings can either receive the testimony or reject it. The third option is to remain indifferent.
People may be pardoned for rejecting someone’s testimony about another person but it will be foolish for a human being to reject God’s testimony about someone because God’s testimony is always true.
In the Bible, we have both testimonies by man and testimonies by God each attracting different responses by human beings. It is good for man to receive positive testimony from fellow humans, but it is better to receive Heaven’s testimony. And to receive God’s testimony, one must live worthy of God’s testimony because God doesn’t squander his testimonies.
In this message, I want to show you examples of some Bible characters who received God’s testimonies or approval. This is to assure you that it is possible to live such a life that will attract Heaven’s approval, endorsement, testimony. It is not all these Bible characters lived flawless lives or were perfect. No, some of them made mistakes but God was more concerned about their hearts, their motives, than their actions. Their hearts were right with God. The truth is anyone whose life is worthy of Heaven’s testimony will not be denied it.
God’s testimony is what you should live your life to receive and not crave for the good reports or recognition of human beings. If the latter is your target, you’re most likely going to be living your life to please people. That doesn’t mean I’m saying you should live your life deliberately to displease others. Paul apostle speaks about himself thus: “Obviously, I’m not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant” (Galatians 1:10 NLT). Don’t be a people pleaser looking for their endorsement, approval, validation. If you fail to get God’s testimony, man’s endorsement, approval or validation will mean nothing. And you can never succeed in life trying to please fellow humans.
Let us look at the following examples of people in the Bible who received Heaven’s testimonies.
1.Jesus Christ – He is our perfect example on obedience. He abandoned his glory in Heaven to come to the earth. Hear what God said about him when he had not even done any miracle or preached the Gospel: “And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’” (Matt 3:17 NKJV). A similar thing is said in Matt 17:5 with the addition of “Hear him” – in case some disciples were not listening to him! And throughout his ministry, Jesus lived to do the will of his Father and to please him. “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work’” (John 4:34 NKJV).
2. John the Baptist – He received the testimony of Jesus Christ which is as good as Heaven’s testimony. This was the most powerful testimony about John. Jesus says, “But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Mat 11:9-11 NKJV). Did you see that? God called John the greatest among those born of women. That was amazing because John did not do any miracle; he didn’t do any of those things that appears spectacular to men.
John was a man who lived and fulfilled God’s purpose for his life – he was contented to be the voice of one crying in the wilderness, a man who only prepared the way for Jesus, a messenger who prepared the ground for the message, a man who announced the Messiah, a man who saw nothing wrong in decreasing for Jesus to increase. Yet he was a great man. You should emulate him by living your life to do the will of God for you and not to be blinded by ambition or competition.
3. Enoch – Heb 11:5 says, “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found, because God had taken him’; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (NKJV). Please take note of that phrase: he had that testimony that he pleased God. That is great! Enoch lived a life that pleased God. This was a reference to the Bible account of Enoch’s life in Gen 5. “Enoch lived 365 years in all. He enjoyed a close relationship with God throughout his life. Then suddenly, he disappeared because God took him” (Gen 5:23-24 NLT).
Take note again of that phrase: he enjoyed relationship with God throughout his life. The New Living Translation says, “He enjoyed a close relationship with God throughout his life.” If you put Heb 11:5 and Gen 5:23-24 together, you’ll see that Enoch pleased God because he maintained a close relationship with God. God was so pleased with him that he didn’t allow him to taste death. He was supernaturally transported out of this earth. That was a great testimony about him. We don’t know how many year he had walked with God before he gave birth to Methuselah but the Bible says, “Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters” (Gen 5:21-22 NKJV). The lesson that teaches us is faithfulness, constancy in walking with God.
No matter your age now and how you’ve lived your life, you can repent and begin to walk with God and God will forgive your sin and forget about your past life. David, a man who experienced such forgiveness says, “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Ps 103:11-12 NKJV). Why don’t you take advantage of God’s forgiving and merciful nature and begin to live a life that will attract Heaven’s commendation? God says, “No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool” (Isa 1:18 NLT).
4. Noah – In a perverse generation, God singled Noah out for commendation. While everybody lived for the devil, Noah chose to live for God. He didn’t adopt the dictum, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” He stood for righteousness rather than allow his life to be polluted. Gen 6:8-9 says, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. Noah Pleases God…. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God” (NKJV).
Please take note of God’s testimony about Noah – he was a just man, he was perfect in his generation and he walked with God. Because of this, when God decided to destroy the earth with flood, He established his covenant with Noah and preserved him, his sons, his wife, his and sons’ wives in the ark He had asked him to build (Gen 6:17-19). Hear God’s testimony about Noah again: “… I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation” (Gen 7:1NKJV).
Just how would you feel if you were the one God was testifying about? It is better to stand alone for what is right than to join the multitude to do evil. Ex 23:2 says, “Do not join a crowd that intends to do evil. When you are on the witness stand, do not be swayed in your testimony by the opinion of the majority” (NLT).
God found Noah righteous before Him in his generation. Unfortunately, Noah became a victim of drunkenness after the flood, and the Bible does not tell us how he lived his life thereafter (Genesis 9: 20-29).
5. Abraham – This man walked with God. He had an intimate relationship with God which developed over time since he answered his call in Gen 12. “Now the LORD had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen 12:1-3 NKJV). God testified about this man that he couldn’t hide from him the planned destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. “And the LORD said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him” (Gen 18:16-19 NKJV).
This man, Abraham, is called the friend of God in the Bible. In Bible days, the most powerful person in the land after the king was the king’s friend. He had unhindered access to the king, the type no officer or official in the kingdom had. It is in this context that Abraham was called the friend of God. James 2:23 tells us “Abraham believed God, so God declared him to be righteous. He was even called ‘the friend of God’” (NLT). This is a reference to 2 Chro 20:7: “… And did you not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham” (NLT). Isa 41:8 also refers to Abraham as God’s friend. “But as for you, Israel my servant, Jacob my chosen one, descended from my friend Abraham” (NLT). A friend of God! That was a powerful testimony.
But there is another testimony I’ve also found so profound. There are those calling themselves prophets who God knows nothing about. Theirs is a fraudulent credential! Abraham never called himself a prophet but Heaven called him a prophet. God told King Abimelech: “Now therefore, restore the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours” (Gen 20:7 NKJV). What a testimony!
What title have you given yourself that does not have God’s approval? You need to drop it now. Jezebel called herself a prophetess but that was not what God called her. She was a seducer, a sexually immoral person and God’s judgment was pronounced on her for her dubious claim and sinful, wicked ministry. “Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works” (Rev 2:20-23 NKJV). Does Heaven call you what you call yourself?
6. Job – God testified to satan on the character of Job and he lived up to God’s testimony despite his trials. In Job 1:8, the LORD said to satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” (NKJV) But satan told God that Job’s seeming blamelessness and uprightness was because God had made a hedge around him, his household, and around all that he had on every side and had also blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions had increased in the land. He said if God stretched out His hand and touched all that Job had, he would surely curse God to His face (Job 1:10-11). But satan lied – he underestimated the character of Job. To prove him wrong, God told him in verse 12 that He allowed him to do whatever he wanted to do with all that Job had but he must not lay a hand on his person. And true to God’s testimony about Job, he remained blameless and upright – he never cursed God as his wife had asked him to do. Despite all the losses of Job, the Bible says, “In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong” (Job 1:22 NKJV).
When satan returned from his attack on Job’s property, God asked satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause’” (NKJV). Note God’s commendation of Job again. Job was consistently blameless and upright. He was a man of stable character.
Despite God’s permission to satan to attack his body but not to touch his life, Job maintained his integrity. He lived up to God’s testimony. In fact, when his wife told him to curse God and die, he replied, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks” (Job 2:10 NKJV). That was a testimony of the quality of life that Job lived. After all the accusations of his three friends and all the conversation of both parties, God still vindicated Job despite some inaccurate things he also said about God when he couldn’t find Him in his trials to help him understand the reason for what was happening to him.
In Job 42:7–8, God told Eliphaz the Temanite, one of Job’s friends: “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has’” (NKJV). Job had an excellent testimony from God because of the blameless and upright life he lived despite the monumental excruciating trials he experienced.
Will you remain faithful, steadfast, loyal in your agonizing trial or you will forsake God? You may be going through debilitating pain but don’t cast away your faith in God. “Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion according to the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow” (Lam 3:31-33 NLT). You may be going through a trial of sickness now but it doesn’t mean you’ll die. Jesus said about Lazarus his friend, “This sickness is not unto death , but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4 NKJV). And even after Lazarus had died and had been buried for four days, Jesus still restored him to life.
Hold on to your faith in God. Even if God permits you to die in your present situation, die in faith; don’t die a backslider, an apostate. Heb 11:13 says of the patriarchs: “These all died in faith , not having received the promises, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (ASV). Make sure you have God’s testimony that you believed God to the end, that you endured all trials to the end.
7. David – God testified that David was a man after his own heart. This was even before he was anointed as king. Prophet Samuel announced to King Saul: “But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you” (1 Sam 13:13-14 NKJV). Paul also made reference to this in Acts 13:22 saying, “And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will’” (NKJV).
In 1 Sam 16:2, God, sending Samuel to go to Jesse the Bethlehemite, told him that he had provided Himself a king among his sons. But when Samuel went to Jesse’s house to anoint king the person God had told him was “a man after His own heart” he nearly anointed the wrong person king but God told him he had rejected all of them.
None of the sons of Jesse invited to the meeting for the anointing of king was God’s choice. All the seven children were rejected. When Jesse confirmed that there remained one child (the youngest), Samuel requested that he should be sent for and they would all not sit down until he arrived. David eventually arrived, and the Lord told Samuel: “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” and Samuel anointed him as God had said (Verses 12-13).
God’s insistence on David was based on His testimony about him that he was a man after His own heart. What is God’s impression about your life? Are you living a life Heaven can endorse?
8. Moses – He received God’s testimony as someone God spoke to mouth-to-mouth. He was different from those God spoke to in dreams and visions; God spoke to him mouth-to-mouth as a man speaks to his friend.
Aaron and Miriam had spoken against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married saying, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” (Num 12:1-2 NKJV) But verse 3 describes Moses as more humble than any other person on earth. Moses did not defend himself against the attack on his leadership by Aaron and Miriam, her sister. God, however, defended him giving a testimony about Moses to his accusers, Aaron and Miriam: “Now listen to me! Even with prophets, I the LORD communicate by visions and dreams. But that is not how I communicate with my servant Moses. He is entrusted with my entire house. I speak to him face to face, directly and not in riddles! He sees the LORD as he is. Should you not be afraid to criticize him?’” (Num 12:6-8 NLT)
Not a few are excited about God speaking to them in dreams and visions, and that is wonderful. But God’s communication with Moses had gone beyond that. God spoke to Moses face-to-face. “So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle” (Exo 33:11 NKJV). That’s superlative!
If this testimony had come from the mouth of Moses or from another human being, it wouldn’t have carried as much weight as this. What is most important in your life is not people’s approval or testimony; it is God’s testimony. It will settle any strife against you just like God caused murmuring to cease when He made the rod of Aaron to bud (Num 17).
Even despite the circumstances of Moses’ death, God not allowing him to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land, God still referred to him as His servant. God told Joshua: “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them — the children of Israel” (Josh 1:1-2 NKJV). Moses had Heaven’s approval upon his life. What is God’s testimony about you?
Conclusion- For you to receive a good testimony from God, you need to live a life of faith – obeying the Word of God, living true to Heaven’s commandment, holding on to God’s Word. Heb 11:39 says the patriarchs obtained a good testimony, God’s approval because of their faith. And verse 6 says without faith, it is imposable to please God. Therefore, to live a life that pleases God such that you will receive Heaven’s approval or testimony, you must live a life of faith. You must live as a citizen of heaven. Paul said, “But whatever happens to me, you must live in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ, as citizens of heaven…” (Phil 1:27 NLT). Don’t live a life that is only focused on the things of this earth. “Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth” (Col 3:2 NLT).
I pray that your life will be like that of Apelles, a disciple in Rome, who was described as “a good man whom Christ approves” (Rom 16:10 NLT). I pray that your aim will be like that of Paul who said, “So our aim is to please him always, whether we are here in this body or away from this body” (2 Cor 5:9 NLT).
May you be like David, a man after God’s own heart. May you walk with God like Enoch did. May you cultivate Abraham’s type of relationship with God that will make you God’s friend. May you have a close fellowship with God.
If you’re not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus. I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God.”
I believe you’ve said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You’ll need to join a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church in your area where you’ll be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things becoming all God wants you to be.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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