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When God sent Moses to Israel, He did not send them with only a message, neither did the message He sent through Moses incite them to rebellion. For God said to Moses, “I have indeed seen the misery of My people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land…”[1]

The promise was, “I have come to rescue them,” and what a rescue. The Israelites did not have to rise up in armed rebellion. They did not even have to believe in Moses’ message. God did it all through Moses and Aaron performing the signs and wonders that they did. Perhaps the Israelites did not know it for their day, as they were not coached in history as we are, but their rebellion and deliverance from their slave masters is the only slavery rebellion in history that did not cost the life of a single slave! Every historical rebellion of those who have been oppressed resulted in death of the slaves and those who would set them free, with the best example being the American Civil War. In the deliverance or rescue from Egypt, the casualties were so one-sided that it was a massacre. The Egyptians alone suffered the loss of their crops, livestock, firstborn sons and all their chariots. On the Israelites’ side, not a single person died.

In the process of the rescue, the entire nation experienced for itself the walking across on dry ground of the Red Sea. You see, not everyone may have witnessed all the other miracles, not even the parting and the closing again of the Red Sea, but everyone, man, woman, child and livestock, had to walk across the sea-bed that day. They were all witnesses to that great miracle of deliverance, so that when they stood on the other side of the sea not one of them was a believer anymore. They were all witnesses. God planned it that way because it is easier to testify to what you know and have seen or heard than to believe in what you have not seen but yet hold onto it with the conviction of its certainty. Or rather, it should be easier, yet for all their knowledge and their witness, that first generation, who was never without the witness of the presence of God with the column of fire by night that was in the middle of the camp and the cloud by day, did not believe in God when they arrived at the edge of the Promised Land. And for their disbelief, they perished in the desert.

The second generation, who were witnesses to the deliverance as children at best, or witnesses because they heard the story, on the other hand believed the report, and having walked across the Jordan on dry ground, continued in their faith after they had witnessed the truth of God’s promise.

If it was the intention of God that Israel should only live by faith, then He would never have sent Moses to rescue them with signs, wonders and miracles in their midst, but rather just a message to incite them to act on their own to rebel with a ‘Godly’ guarantee of success. If the latter had been the case, history would have recorded the armed uprising of the Hebrews that won them their freedom, and such a rebellion would have been chronicled by both the Egyptians and the Hebrews, for there would have been casualties on both sides.

The exodus, the deliverance of Israel, was so one-sided that only the Hebrews chronicled the deliverance, but the Egyptians have completely left it out of their history. Understandable, because what empire would want to chronicle a defeat of such a magnitude, and that by two old men and a wooden stick? Their utter denial of the events of the Mosaic-Pharaoh War was so that it cannot be confirmed by two witnesses, only one. God, however, did not need the witness of Egypt concerning His mighty deeds, only the witness of His people Israel. Only two witnesses are needed to validate anything in God’s Law, He and His people, that’s two!

That is why He said, “You are My witnesses, and My servant whom I have chosen.”[2] All Israel had to do was to remain true to what they had seen, heard and knew. They did not have to become believers again, which was exactly what they did when they made that golden calf and started worshipping it because they said, “These are your gods, O, Israel.”[3] They made up a fanciful idol to put their faith in and changed themselves from witnesses to believers, and that was their idolatry.

In the same way, when Jesus was leaving the disciples, He said, “You are My witnesses of these things.”[4] Just like His Father, Jesus does not need the witness of others to support His testimony, only ours. Just as God did not need Egypt to record the exodus of Israel, but only that Israel remained a true witness to God Almighty who delivered them with signs, wonders and miracles, by not introducing religious practices that are by faith, but rather continued to practise what they had witnessed only. Idolatry is when a witness denies what he has seen, heard, and knows to believe in something he knows nothing about. Jesus does not need theologians to work out with their great theories and theses of who He is; only that His witnesses would remain true to Him, and speak of what they know, have heard and seen of Him.

His entire ministry was devoted to the raising of witnesses, which was why He was always speaking and teaching openly, as well as doing most of His miracles in the open in the presence of the crowds, which included His detractors from the Sanhedrin and Romans as well. Just as God did not secretly spirit Israel out of Egypt so that the Egyptians did not know what happened, but rather did it openly through Moses and Aaron so that Pharaoh, his magicians and all his people knew that they suffered under the God of the Hebrews, so Jesus did His miracles openly in broad daylight, in the presence of those who needed Him and those who needled Him. Even the very Pharisees and Sadducees who plotted His crucifixion were witnesses of the miracles of Jesus. For they said, “What are we accomplishing? Here is this Man performing many miraculous signs. If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”[5]

What Jesus needs today are witnesses who testify to what they have known and seen, not preachers who preach of what they believe, but have not themselves experienced that which they are believing and hoping for. The difference between a theory, which is a proposal provable by faith and application, and a truth, which is a fact provable without faith, only application, is that the theory may work sometimes, but a truth works every time. Jesus did not come to give us faith, people, no more than Moses went to give Israel faith and hope in the God they were praying to; but both of them gave God’s answer to His people of the time.

Jesus Christ came and gave us God’s answer to the curse of sin, once and for all. He came and gave Himself as the sin offering that we might be the righteousness of God, and all the signs and wonders that He did were to prove that He is who He said He is. Just as the ever increasing dreadfulness of the miracles of Moses was to prove to Pharaoh God is who He said He is, as well as a token to prove His intention.

The opening of blind eyes, the lame walking, the deaf hearing, the lepers cleansed and the dead raised are tokens of evidence to the truth of His message, the Good News that He had been preaching. The final proof of Israel walking across on dry ground was the confirmation to them of God’s message, “I have come to rescue…” The sight of his charioteers being wiped out was the proof to Pharaoh of God’s message, “I have come to rescue them.”

The acquisition of testimony by us who have believed in Him, lies in the practice of His words that we have heard, whatever they may be, for not all believers are as privileged as we are to have the entirety of the New and Old Testaments fully available to us. That is why Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”[6] He did not say, “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and believes in them.” Rather, it is the practice of them, for the practice of the words of Jesus confirms the faith professed and gives life to the seed of faith to bear fruit.

It is by the practice of His words that you come to know whether His words are true, not your faith. To give you an example relevant to 21st century Sydney: You may believe that the scratch lottery that you have bought is a winner, but you will never know unless you scratch it. No lottery office will give you a prize just because you believe you are holding the winning ticket.

Likewise, many Christians believe in healing, but until they are prepared to ask a fellow believer to lay hands on them, just lay hands and not pray, they will not experience the truth of God’s words: “They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”[7] If they should ask for prayer instead of laying on of hands, they might notice public prayers for healing avail little, but prayers in secret avail much, for Jesus said, “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.”[8]

I hope everyone has noticed that He said, “pray to your Father,” and not, “pray to God, who is unseen.” It is the Father who is unseen, but as for God, what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.[9] “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like the pagans.”[10]

As I have said, many Christians believe in miracles, but they do not practise miracles. You can believe that what Jesus said in John 14:12 is the truth, but unless you are doing what He has been doing, or at least seen those who have faith in Him doing what He has been doing, you will not know whether it is the truth. Jesus did not say to the first disciples, “You are believers.” No, He said, “You are witnesses.”

Jesus did not ask us to make believers of all nations, but rather, just preach the Gospel, and let those who would believe, believe, but He did say, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.”[11] The making of disciples by Jesus Christ was not by teaching them the essence of His theology, but showing them the essentials of His knowledge of God, whom He alone knows as Father. Any theologian of any faith or religion that believes in God the Creator can teach you something of God who is unseen, but Jesus Christ alone can teach you something of His Father, who happens to be God Almighty, Creator of the Heavens and Earth, God the gracious, compassionate, merciful, who is the God of all gods as well, sitting upon His throne as He presides over other gods, all of whom He created, and none of whom knows Him as Father. For the demons testified, “I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”[12] All demons can testify to that, but no demon can say, “You are the Holy One of the Father,” for the Father is known only to Jesus. Only when you accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the only begotten Son of God, will you see the Father who is God. That is why Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through Me.”[13]

The making of disciples is where the work is, and it was to disciples that He said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses.”[14] Thus, the work of the church was meant to be easy just as He promised, to believe in the One God sent,[15] and the One sent said, “Be My witnesses.” We only had to preach the word of God, that which God promised that He so loved the world He sent His one and only Son to save the world; and share our testimony of what we know, what we have seen and heard that has convinced us that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God.

We do not have to make believers, no, believers make themselves by their faith or condemn themselves by their faith. We only have to make disciples from believers, which is a much lighter burden than making believers. We only need to teach those who want to be disciples how to practise the words of Jesus for themselves until they received the evidence of its truth —the testimony. We only need to teach them to take Jesus at His word, and from that foundation build them up.

That was why God sent Jesus to the blind, the sick, the lame, the lepers, the deaf, the poor, and the sinners, so that they would experience the truth that He is the Lamb of God who takes away sin. Even the sin of the world and the evidence of that removal of sin was the manifestation of healing, for to a Jew, you only became sick because you had sinned against the Law of Moses, not because Satan had afflicted you. Satan’s affliction on the Jews came after they prostituted themselves to idols, not before, for God promised, “I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands.”[16] No person belonging to God would be touched by their enemies, unless they had sinned against God. The enemy may try to attack, but never in the Old Testament did any enemy of Israel ever succeed against Israel whenever Israel was obedient.

The personal experience by those who are healed in Jesus’ Name and the personal experience of those who are delivered in Jesus’ Name are to give them the testimony, not the faith or belief system or theology, but the testimony that it is Jesus, His Name and His faithfulness to His Father, that healed them.

Thus, the time has come for the very definition of the role of the Holy Spirit’s Workshop in these final days before Jesus arrives. It is to make witnesses from both those who have already believed and those who have refused to believe as well as those who have not yet heard the truth about Jesus Christ.

A judge cannot hand down a decision unless there are witnesses to the case, and the truth of those witnesses must be backed up by forensic evidence, by that which can be seen, heard or found, whether by written word or objective material. It is when we have men and women who can testify like the man born blind, or the lame man, or a multitude like those written for our encouragement in the gospels, who can say, “I was blind, but now I can see, and it was Jesus who opened my eyes,” or, “I was lame but now I can run, and it was Jesus who made this happen,” that judgement can be executed upon those who have heard and seen the testimony, but refuse to believe. Judgement comes when the witnesses are found. So we are here to make disciples who can raise up the witnesses and the Holy Spirit has given us the power to do just that.

As Jesus said to the first eleven, a term often used in this nation, “The Spirit of Truth… will testify about Me. And you also must testify, for you have been with Me from the beginning.”[17] So also, we will testify even though we were not there in the beginning, but we are here at the end, 2000 years later. And we can testify that since the church adopted the recommendations of James the Younger into its practices, there has been very little power evident, very few of the sick are healed, the food is not multiplied, and no one has been able to do what Jesus has been doing.

Yet since we have discarded the recommendations of James and gone back to obeying only what the Father commanded: “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”[18] we have seen the blind receive sight and the lame walk. We have seen enough evidence to know that we have been guilty of idolatry just as the Israelites had, and made ourselves believers of an unproven religion when we should have been witnesses of the truth we know. That is the idolatry of the church when we adopted the recommendations of men like James the Younger and pronounced it seemed good, and devoted ourselves to their practice, instead of staying true to the words of Jesus and devoting ourselves to their practice, whilst resisting all temptations to receive words of faith from others.

As Paul wrote: You were also included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.[19] Christ gave us the word of truth, not the word of faith, so let us repent of our idolatry of the words of faith, the judgements and proposals of all other men, and return to the words of the Truth Himself, and be witnesses of those words and those words alone.

In the words of the physician Luke: Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account,[20] let us continue to investigate everything and give an orderly account of our witness, which is the testimony of those who listen to Jesus. Amen.

And let judgement begin first on us, then on all others, and let us see whose words and deeds are the righteousness of God —Jesus’ or men’s like James’. If indeed, we are the living sacrifices acceptable to God because of Jesus Christ, let the words of Jesus prevail over all other words, for in Him alone we take our stand. Amen.


 

[1] Exodus 3:7-8

[2] Isaiah 43:10

[3] Exodus 32:4

[4] Luke 24:48

[5] John 11:47-48

[6] Matthew 7:24

[7] Mark 16:16 NLT

[8] Matthew 6:5-6

[9] Romans 1:19-20

[10] Mark 6:7

[11] Matthew 28:19

[12] Mark 1:24

[13] John 14:6

[14] Acts 1:8

[15] John 6:29

[16] Leviticus 26:25

[17] John 14:26-27

[18] Matthew 17:5 (Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35)

[19] Ephesians 1:13

[20] Luke 1:3

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