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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. (Acts 10:41)
There is a special "ministerial" witness. We see this in the power exhibited by the early apostles as they went forth under a special anointing. They worked the powerful works of God and through them the Divine oracle was given. They labored under a dispensation of God, a dispensation defined as to a particular time and place according to the need for the advancement of the Messianic Kingdom. They were witnesses "chosen before of God." There have been such apostles in every generation of the Christian Era.
There are gifts in the Body of Christ that perform "personal work" with individual people, and other gifts that reach out to the world in the task of evangelism. These are part of the "ministerial" witness. It is true, however, that the bulk of the gifts and ministries given by the Holy Spirit are for the building up of the saints into the full stature of the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13).
For most of us, most of the time, our witness is the good works that are seen in us because of the Life of Christ in us. By good works we mean upright character, humility, purity, and obedience and praise to God. This is the testimony of God that the world is waiting to behold in the Body of Christ (Isaiah 61:11).
When we are under the impression that it is our duty to "save souls" we set out to "sell" the Gospel, to convert people to our way of thinking. The idea is to bring people into our church (not necessarily into the Kingdom of God). Since Christ's statements and demands are offensive to many people of our day we stress only the parts of the Scriptures that speak well of people and lift them up emotionally. Our purpose in "stressing the positive" is to "win people for Christ"—or so we suppose.
In actual fact, we are seeking to add them to ourselves.
We destroy the true witness of God in our anxiety to please people and draw them to our group.
The true witness of God speaks the Words of God. He is not seeking to draw people to himself or his group. He is striving to portray correctly what God wants revealed.
No one ever has borne witness of God as faithfully and as truly as did Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus never sought to attract people to Himself. Rather He strove to portray correctly what God wanted revealed at the time.
The stress on "saving souls" is entirely in keeping with the philosophy of the age of Laodicea because the welfare of man is being emphasized.
The stress on bearing a true witness of God is not at all in keeping with the philosophy of Laodicea because the welfare of God and not of man is being emphasized. The welfare of man actually is being sought by God's true witnesses, even though the true witnesses may be preaching the need to suffer for the Gospel. But the shortsightedness of the flesh cannot grasp eternal values.
The Spirit of God dwells in every true Christian. This means every Christian has in himself the Spirit of prophecy. The Spirit of prophecy always bears a true witness of God. Every Spirit-filled saint is a prophet and a witness of God in the sense that he portrays what God Is, what God requires of man, what God has done and yet will do, and the current attitude of God toward His churches and toward the world.
To be continued.