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"All That God Has Said,
We Will Do"
They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Israel’s history was written for our caution and learning (1 Cor 10:6,11).
So, if you think you stand firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (1 Cor 10:12, NIV.)
By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
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I was working in the garden recently, when God spoke. Appropriately, I was digging up weeds!
He took me back a couple of years and reminded me of a person in Kenya. Jesus had appeared to him in a night vision – spoken to him as clear as crystal – and told him to promote MM literature in his area.
This individual had received our literature, had read it, accepted it and believed it (up to the level he could at that time), but when he didn’t get money out of us he went and joined a church that opposes us and denies what we teach about the power of the Spirit.
He wrote to me, telling me that Jesus appeared to him. I have no reason to doubt him. Jesus appears to quite a number of wayward people, urging them to turn around and do God’s will. The guy told me that Jesus had said to him to go out and distribute or share MM literature with others. But instead of doing what Jesus had said, he wrote to me asking me for money.
He already had our literature. He had Witnessing For Christ which explains how to go about it. He had Guidelines For Evangelists which gives more pointers. It explains that if you receive an instruction from the Spirit, that you do precisely what the Spirit says first, and then Jesus backs you up and provides for you.
But, instead of beginning to do what Jesus had said, he did the opposite! He didn’t go out and share what Jesus had given him in ‘our’ literature.
His reliance was upon money. He asked me for money to fulfil Jesus’ command. He was not looking to Jesus, but to me.
I didn’t send him what he asked for, because Jesus had not told me to. It’s not my responsibility to pay for others’ outreach. When Jesus speaks to you, it’s your responsibility to learn to follow His lead, not mine to carry you. My responsibility is to follow His lead in what He shows me to do.
In Kenya and other poor countries there is such a fixation on money, as if money can solve all problems (which it can’t), that Jesus has been substituted. That guy couldn’t see his own idolatry. He put his reliance upon money and me, instead of upon Jesus and His Word. He didn’t really trust Jesus.
It was no different in Israel. They had seen the stupendous miracles God performed to deliver them from Egyptian slavery. It seemed there was nothing God would not do in order to deliver His people and fulfil His plan (Ps 106).
He’s the same today (Heb 13:8). There is nothing that He will not do for you, in order to fulfil His plan, IF you are totally sold out to Him (Jn 15:7; 14:12-14).
Israel did not trust God. She did not believe Him, despite the miracles, despite seeing His pillar of cloud or fire all day, every day! (Ex 13:21,22.)
Knowledge OF God is not the same as KNOWING God. Israel didn’t KNOW God. They didn’t understand what He considered important. What was important to them was what they wanted physically.
It was the same with our friend who turned against us. Because his mind was on the physical, he couldn’t have trust in the spiritual. As Jesus said:
...without Me you can do nothing (Jn 15:5c).
And so, our friend didn’t. He didn’t do anything. Conversely:
He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit (Jn 15:5b).
Pride And Unbelief Go Together
Coupled with his unbelief, there was pride. He took Jesus’ words to mean what he wanted them to mean. To him they meant he could be someone important.
He envisaged himself as prominent, perhaps rich, handing out MM publications like sweets to children who have never had them before. Perhaps he had illusions of personal grandeur, as people who receive look up to him with admiration. He thought he would do what Jesus said with a ‘big splash’ and bring himself acclaim and even fame. That’s why he thought he needed lots of money.
But Jesus didn’t tell him how to do it. He certainly didn’t tell him to spread MM publications that way! Because of the pride in his heart, he wasn’t interested in just sharing one publication with just one person. He wasn’t interested in sharing what he had. He wanted to keep that for himself. And because of this wrong preoccupation, he wasn’t able to listen further to the Spirit to hear how to go about Jesus’ command.
Had he been sensitive to the Spirit, and willing to share and show love and concern for the spiritually hungry, God would have led him to someone spiritually hungry with whom he could share God’s saving truths.
But those who are self-seeking, with pride in their hearts, they can’t share Jesus with others, because Jesus is not inside them. You can’t give someone else what you don’t possess in yourself.
It’s no good having print on paper, if the meaning of that print is not inside you. You’ve got to be living it to be able to share it.
The promises of God’s guidance and help are to those who are careful to DO what He asks:
If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight... (Ex 15:26).
But humanity doesn’t. Hence, massive problems.
You, chosen by God in Jesus, are called to be:
A special treasure to Me above all people (19:5).
But only if... as God said:
If you will indeed obey My voice... (Ex 19:5a).
In the third month (Ex 19:1), when Pentecost is observed, God tested His people at Mount Sinai. He had Moses instruct the people to be consecrated, ready for God’s appearing on the mountain on the third day (19:10, 11). He warned them to reverence God (19:12, 21). On the third day, true to His word, God appeared in a display of frightening thunder, fire and lightning (19:16). Moses led the people out to meet with God! (19:17.) They were terrified!
On that tumultuous occasion God thundered His commandments to all Israel from the mountain (Ex 20). Afterward, Moses told the terrified people:
Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin (Ex 20:20).
Sin destroys your relationship with God. Eventually it would destroy you. Hence God’s vehemence against sin – which is doing anything contrary to God’s will.
Seeing the ferocity and power of God, Israel vowed:
All the words which the Lord has said we will do (Ex 24:3).
Moses wrote all God’s words down, so the people could be reminded (24:4). And he read all those words to them (24:7). And the people again declared:
All that the Lord has said we will do and be obedient (Ex 24:7b).
To ratify that Covenant, Moses sprinkled blood on the people, to remind them of the solemnity of their vow, which they were required to keep until death (24:8). All the people intended to keep it (Deut 5:27).
But they didn’t, and nor do many Christians today, who come to Christ, with equally good intentions!
You know what happened to Israel. Do you know what happens to believers in Jesus today who deny their calling like the man I cited earlier?
You have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. (For they could not endure what was commanded... And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, "I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.") But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all... See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven (Heb 12:18-25).
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