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The Word of Our Testimony

Psa 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

 March 14, 2007              Following GOD          Kathleen Maples

          Eph 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children:

The word follower here in the Greek means an imitator. I've always gotten an image in my mind reading this of a child following their parent, or the disciples following Jesus. I noticed something the other night in church, as my 4 year old daughter sat beside me. I had bought her a cute purse, with little pockets and pouches on it, big enough to put some things in, yet not too big to weigh her down. She carries it with her when we go somewhere, and I notice, she has begun to carry her Bible in it. She can't read yet, but she said she wanted to carry her Bible in her purse, because she knows I carry one in my purse at all times. Anyway, my daughter will get her Bible out and sit quietly looking at the pages, as if she is reading it. I thought, she is copying what she sees me do. God knows one of my prayers for her has been a request for God to give her a love for reading and for His truth. To be followers of God means we are to imitate God. That requires personal intimacy and knowledge of Him, doesn't it? You cannot imitate something or someone you do not know very well.

Joh 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

What a perfect example He was and is. He never tells us to do anything He did not first do Himself.

Eph 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.

To obey this Word we need the help and power of the Holy Ghost. What exactly is He saying? As I meditate on this, I must first consider how Jesus walked. He was always ministering the love of God to others. He was compassionate, caring, kind, honest, and He gave of Himself. He did not concern Himself with what people thought of Him when He reached out and touched a leper. He did not concern Himself with what the religious crowd thought of Him when He reached out to those who were wounded and sick and poor, who could offer nothing to Him but their faith. He wasn't worried about accumulating possessions or wealth, or reputation. (Php_2:7) He did not seek positions of authority nor did He seek praise of men. He did not seek to be recognized or compensated for the good He did. Not one sign was put up in His honor, not one fund raiser, nor was His name put on any building or work. The only sign He ever had was put above His head, meant as mockery, on the cross. He came to bring mankind back to Himself. He came to bridge the gap between the Creator and the created. Have you ever stopped to wonder how badly He must have wanted to have a relationship with His creation to leave the throne of glory and come down here and suffer so greatly. What love He has for us. He proved it beyond a doubt. No wonder the devil works so hard to try to convince us we are worthless and that God doesn't love us. And oh, how much we need a personal Holy Ghost given revelation of this love for ourselves. He sacrificed Himself-He presented Himself a living sacrifice to God, holy and acceptable, (Rom_12:1). His sacrifice was made out of love.

This is the kind of love we are to walk in. Walk with a servant's humble heart, giving of ourselves for the help and sake of others, always pointing them to the Father, as He did, with a genuine desire to see Christ glorified in them and revealed to and in them. Oh, to walk about ministering His love and light to others who are in darkness and who are hurting, and need to know there is hope and help. To forsake all thoughts of personal comfort or gain, and care when part of the Body of Christ is hurting, or struggling, and seek to be what we are supposed to be-an extension of HIM.

Eph 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

Eph 5:4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

Things that will separate us from Him if we partake of them and allow them entrance into our lives-our temples cannot be tolerated. Fornication in the Greek is 'porneia' and that's where we get our word 'pornography'. It includes the whole gamut of sexual immorality. It can also mean idolatry, because idols played a large part of the sexual immorality that people indulge in. In Bible times, they had female idols in certain nations that were supposed to be goddesses of fertility, or pleasure, and people indulged in sensual and promiscuous behavior under the guise of worshipping this idol. It's illicit sexual behavior, including homosexuality-male or female, bestiality, incest, adultery, and it can be spiritual, not just physical. In Matthew 15:19, Jesus said out of the heart come fornications, adulteries, evil thoughts, etc. If I entertain a secret desire for something forbidden by the Word of God, isn't that comparable with what Jesus said when He said if a man looks on another woman to lust after her, he's committed adultery with her in his heart already? If we are His then we have been given authority by the Word of God to capture all vain imaginations, and wicked thoughts that would enter our mind and cast them down, bind them with the Word of God, and render them powerless. We can reject these things through the power of the name of Jesus Christ-whether it's a spirit of fear, lust, or envy-whatever the case may be. At HIS Name it has to bow the knee and the Bible promises if we submit ourselves to God then we can resist the devil (and his works) and he will flee from us.

All impurity, anything that would render us unclean must be avoided and rejected. Unforgiveness, bitterness, strife, contention, jealousy, everything that would put spots and blemishes on our spiritual garment must go. Coveting the things of this world that is growing increasingly dark and desperate-I do not want to do this. I cannot imagine that God would want his children in ivory palaces, unconcerned, in the lap of luxury while the lost and hurting He sent His Son to die for perish. How can we expect to live in opulence or total comfort without giving any thought to the poor and needy? If we have much I know God has entrusted that to us for the sake of those He wants to reach out to, not so we can consume in on our own lust. That is what makes this peace and prosperity gospel that is being touted in America so abominable. It is nothing like Jesus. It's built on self and flesh. It's all about me, myself, and I.

In Verse 4, well, common sense will tell you as well as the power of the conviction of the Spirit you can't curse and be right with God. You can't use obscenities. But what is obscenity? I think it's more than just curse words or foul language. It's obscene to be focused only on ourselves when the Lord said plainly to the disciples the harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few, pray for the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest. And what about when you get together for homecoming dinners at church, or social events with other Christians, and everything BUT Jesus is being discussed? When you hear people telling jokes, acting silly, being sarcastic, speaking evil of the leaders of this country when the Bible says speak evil of no man and don't sit in the seat of the scornful, these things are not proper or fit for discussion as children of the Lord God. Jesus did not do this. The only people He criticized and rather harshly, were the religious hypocrites. This is so carnal. He says neither foolish talking, nor jesting. Don't talk about silly things, or act like the class clown. That definition for foolish behavior includes the word 'buffoonery' and that means ridiculous behavior to amuse others. Don't be guilty of that. It's unseemly for a child of God. Don't be partakers with the joke tellers, or allow indelicate, improper, sensuous jokes out of your mouth. Don't even hint at anything of the sort. It's not funny and it will keep you out of the kingdom of the heaven. This includes insulting others and thinking it funny. It's not in God's eyes. Not according to these Scriptures, and this is our Instruction Manual for those preparing to leave this world with Jesus when He comes-which could be any second, these things need to be laid aside. They are unclean, according to the Word. Jesus also said in Mat_12:36-37 that men would give account of every idle word. The power of life and death is in the tongue-and words spoken that glorify God will be profitable to the hearers. The other is not. It leads sinners that hear deeper into unbelief and cynicism, because they judge God by what they see in us who claim to be His.

None of these are getting in. If they are in you-they will be like baggage that won't let you through the straight and narrow gate. They must be put off and forsaken.

Eph 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Eph 5:7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

Don't allow yourself to be cheated out of what God has for you, and the plan He has for your life by hearing and joining in empty and vain words. It's a sign of unbelief in the person speaking and partaking of these things. It's dangerous and it is visible evidence there is no fear or understanding of God before their eyes or they would not behave this way. If the Spirit of God is in you and you hear this kind of conversation you will shy away from it. He will not allow you to partake of it. He will convict you, remind you of what the Word says.

Eph 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

Eph 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Eph 5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

We who are born again were once in darkness, but when He saved us, and gave us His Spirit, he brought us into His light. He lit up our understanding-and we started to see things like God does when we read His Word and pray. We are to walk according to what we have been taught by Him. This is the fruit-or result of the Spirit's life in us. If we walk in obedience and refuse to partake of such carnality, and sinful things as Paul has just listed in these Scriptures, it proves what is acceptable unto the Lord and reminds us we are not to share in or participate in such unfruitful things-and the Scripture calls this kind of behavior works, or labors of darkness. Remember- Paul told the Corinthian church what fellowship hath light with darkness? None. In Christ there is no darkness at all and we are not to defile ourselves with it, either. This is one way the enemy causes trouble and sin in the camp when he can successfully manipulate carnal Christians into behaving this way. They don't see or understand that he then whispers reproach and unbelief to the mind of the sinners nearby who see it. They don't understand how the devil points out their stupid behavior and further convinces a poor lost soul there really isn't a God because He wouldn't act like that? Or would He? I mean they claim to be HIS-and look at that. They talk and act like you, but they claim to be Christians. If they can make it, you ought to be alright, too. See how we can give place to the devil to work destruction right in the House of God by our own behavior? DOES THIS NOT MAKE US CONSENTING WITH THE THIEF (Psa_50:18) at the least it makes those who indulge in these things his accomplices, and we can't say we don't know better because the Word clearly says don't do this. No wonder Paul says the carnal mind is enmity (hostile) to God. When it is in charge every thing it accomplishes will work against the kingdom and plan of God.

Eph 5:12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

Eph 5:13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

To speak of things sensual, private, unclean, and to indulge in obscenity, or tale bearing, or joking around brings a reproach, it's shameful to speak of it, partake of these kinds of conversation, and generates more evil. It reveals hypocrisy. How can a sinner behold a "Christian" who is talking this way and think anything but that person is a hypocrite? He said the things that are reproved or brought to light by the convicting power of the Holy Ghost is done because He wants us to wake up and shake ourselves so He can show us again the right way to go. Eph 5:14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

Eph 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

Eph 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Eph 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Eph 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Because of all these things, He says 'WAKE UP!' Oh, if He is dealing with us we must wake up and listen and mind Him because Jesus is coming back and we don't want to be left here. If we will stir ourselves up and stand up and listen, He will give us our own revelation of truth that will set us free from what has hindered us. He will give us light. I know He wants to reveal Himself to us. It's knowing HIM for ourselves that strengthens our faith and makes it impossible for the devil to lie to us and get by with it. We need God to help us by the power of His Spirit to walk carefully, to be occupied with HIS kingdom, HIS Word, His Life, not the beggardly things of this world. To be about HIS business. We need to walk perfectly, exactly as He says. Remember, He said if we would listen He would we would hear a voice in our ears (His Voice) saying "This is the way, walk ye in it" (Isa_30:21) We need to seek the wisdom and understanding He has made available to us and consider carefully the plan and purposes of God, and know they outweigh any little personal ambitions we could ever have, and refuse to let ourselves get caught up in the cares, worries, pressures and pleasures of this life, but seek to be filled with His Spirit. This is a command, not an option. It is a necessity to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God, led by HIM, taught by HIM. Without HIM in us we will go nowhere when Jesus comes. If we let the oil of the Holy Spirit leak out, we had best be running back to the Source on our knees and preparing ourselves to be filled. I don't really understand all this, I just know I must have Him, I must be prepared and diligent to receive to HIM and I must allow HIM to rule, not me. Why is this so important?

Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

When Jesus comes for His Bride, only those who have let the Holy Spirit prepare them to meet HIM and who have the Holy Spirit in them will go. If we are not preparing to meet Him, and aren't ready, and if we have let ourselves grow cold, and let the Spirit leak out of our lives due to neglect, we have only ourselves to blame. We are warned repeatedly through out the Scriptures. Don't listen to those who tell you that you can't live above sin. Don't listen to those who try teach you from the Bible without reading it yourself. Don't ever accept blindly what any man or woman tells you from the Scriptures. Your soul is at stake-search the Scriptures for yourself to see if these things be so. (Act_17:11).

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And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32