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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Unqualified Witnesses

This is an excerpt from "My People Are Destroyed for Lack of Knowledge" by Kathleen Maples

2Pe 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.

2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Beloved, have you ever considered what the Lord means when He calls you Beloved? In the Greek, it is the word "Agapetos" and it means favorite, worthy of love, clearly and well loved and much loved, dear to the heart. May we pause a minute and meditate quietly in our hearts on that? In the New Testament this word is used to describe divine and Christian love toward each other and from God toward us. He is telling us something very important here, and I pray the Spirit of God will give us hearing ears to understand this. If you read all of Chapter 3 in 2 Peter, you understand that Peter has just described how the judgment of God will consume this earth with fire that will melt even the atmosphere and the planets.

He's described the unbelief that grips people's hearts, deceiving them into believing God will not judge their sin. This is the error of the wicked-they simply do not grasp or believe that God will judge them for their sin. This applies to us, as Christians as well. When I saw this, it was because HE showed it to me. I had to repent, too. People sit in churches for years, they amen the preacher, they sing the songs of praise, they lift their hands, they read their Bibles some, they pray some, they hear the Word of God taught, and that is the extent of their Christian experience. They are satisfied with that. Occasionally they will get convicted by a Word, weep and cry some at an altar for about 4 or 5 minutes, feel better about themselves, and are satisfied things are ok, and they would tell you if asked, that they keep the commandments of God as best they can. They would say they know it is wrong to disobey God and do not do so. But have we considered carefully and examined ourselves as we are exhorted to do? We aren't as obedient as we think we are.

God has been dealing with me about these things, and has sent me a solid confirmation of these things, through several messages preached by BH Clendennen. What I write here is the result of God dealing with me, personally. But I see the need in the church, as well. HE said in Luke 24:49 "Tarry until you be endued (clothed, infused with, covered with, filled with) power from on High." Acts 1:8 says we will receive power when the Holy Ghost comes upon us to be witnesses to Him throughout the world. Witnesses. That word means someone who sees and knows something firsthand. They get their revelation from the Lord Himself, they do not depend on the preacher. They seek the Lord. They know Him, or they are learning to know Him, for there is so much to know about HIM we could never know it all. In the Greek this word for witnesses is "martus" and it means martyr. It is one who has given their life up for Him, literally or figuratively. They have exchanged their old life for His new one. They do not live for self-but have yielded themselves for Him, to Him, to live through them. How can we represent Him accurately if we don't know Him? I know I sound like a broken record. These are not suggestions, but commands. If this is not our walk, and our life with Him, we are not being obedient. We don't have the strength to reject ourselves and crucify ourselves, that's why we must have the Holy Ghost. God knows that, but we need to know it. Saying it is one thing, recognizing the need is another. But when will "Get around to it"? I have been guilty of this-knowing my lack, knowing my need, just struggling along, knowing that almost mythical "someday" God will get me there. But there comes a time, when He is dealing with us, we need to stop and consider carefully the consequences if we don't walk in the light He is shining-the only alternative is to be overtaken by darkness. We can't hem and haw and make excuses and expect Him to just wait on us forever to get our act together. We can't get it together without HIM.

The church world has come to re-define some of the terminology of the Bible, for we've come to believe the word "witness" means to share the Gospel with someone-but by definition, you can not accurately share what you do not personally know to be true-in this case, Jesus Christ. That requires a sacrifice of our time, alone with Him in the prayer closet, in His Word, learning Him, feeding on Him, being filled with His Spirit and THEN we can be true witnesses of Him. We've come to think of conviction as a bad feeling for having done something wrong. In reality, to be convicted is to be found guilty of violating God's law. Without repentance, there is only judgment left. Ephesians 5:18 says "Be filled with the Spirit" and the word implies a continual filling, not a one time thing. Stay filled with the Spirit is what He is telling us. If we are not tarrying, waiting, seeking and praying, and learning Him, and being filled with His Spirit, baptized by the Holy Ghost and fire, we are disobedient and unqualified witnesses.

Peter has reminded us how the Lord doesn't want anyone to perish but these things are coming and we see the signs of their approach happening all around us. The scoffers are scoffing, the ignorant are willfully ignorant, refusing to consider the truth, but the Word of the Lord is still forever settled in heaven and cannot change. Toward the end of chapter 3, Peter, knowing by the power of the Spirit that such thoughts and such knowledge of what will happen will be a tool of the enemy to incite fear in the heart of the believer, he reminds them to be alert, and remember they are beloved of God, and must grow in grace and follow on to know the Lord for themselves. It's in knowing HIM that we find this peace and security. To mature we need to eat the Word and pray for understanding. If we do not understand how this Word of God applies to us, we cannot profit from it as God intends. As we do this on a regular basis, we grow, we mature. The more we see and learn of HIM the more we will hunger for Him. As John said, I must decrease, and He must increase. Before there can be an increase of His life in me, I must empty myself of self-and to do that I need the help of the Holy Ghost. I cannot do this myself. It is vitally necessary that we KNOW HIM for ourselves.

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