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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : The Anatomy of Deception by Art Katz

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 The Anatomy of Deception by Art Katz



Introduction

I once had the opportunity, by the Lord’s providence, to be invited to speak at a “Jesus Rally” in Winnipeg, Canada. An earlier experience some years before at the first of the Jesus Rallies was enough for me. I vowed then to never again be a part of the outdoor, carnival-like atmosphere of men and women in shorts stuffing potato chips in their mouths, while hearing what ostensibly purported to be serious words of God from the platform. The whole atmosphere chilled my soul. But when this invitation came from Winnipeg, I felt that it was God, despite my determination, and I went.

I was not supposed to be a speaker at the general sessions, but as is the format, the morning sessions were given over to the denominational and non-denominational charismatic groups. I was invited to be the speaker at the Baptist charismatic group. How could I refuse so novel an invitation as that? And indeed, those speakings were blessed. On the night of the general meeting, I found myself sitting on the platform, where an internationally known speaker was the message bearer for that session. While everyone entered into the general merriment, I sat there like a glum lump. I was agonizing and mortified at some of the statements that were coming forth. The whole prevailing atmosphere in which the audience was receiving those words reinforced my impression that the whole thing was ‘hokey.’ I know of no other word for it. There was a sense of artificiality, of things synthetic and feigned, having the appearance of things real, but being somehow false, although real words and meaningful terms were employed such as phrases out of Scripture that spoke of the unity of the Body.

There were prophecies being uttered that night from a certain assemblage of men who ostensibly had the gift of prophecy. They would write their prophecies out on yellow legal pads and give them to an overseer who would then call the men to the microphone at the appropriate moment to speak them. The terrible sense of unreality was all the more pronounced because the whole thing was couched in things that were very real. By the end of the night, my spirit was such that I could not wait to leave the platform. Unfortunately, I had been assigned to bring the benediction at the end of the night. I could not, however, lend myself to the things that had been taking place, which would then identify me with it. So I went over to tug the sleeve of the man who was presiding over the platform and ask to be excused from the obligation of bringing the prayer of benediction. But before I could get to him, he announced my name; so I came to the podium in that terrible agony and frustration. All I could do was ask the people to stand up, take off their sunbonnets and visors, come to a posture of respect before God and to sing with me the Lord’s prayer. And that was how the night ended. As I was leaving the platform, a layman who was in charge of arranging the sessions asked if I would be available for the general session the following morning. At first I abruptly said, “No!” But then I said to him, “Okay, but only if the Lord gives me something specific.”

The next morning we drove to an open park where the rally was being conducted and where I was to be the morning speaker in the Baptist section. I discussed with my colleagues whether I ought not indeed take advantage of the invitation that had been given me and speak a word distinct and different from the kinds of things that had been promulgated. We prayed together because I did not want to fall into that role of always having to bring an ungainly word. Without making any haste to get there, and in fact, hoping that we would be too late, we parked the car and walked to the platform where the public meeting was taking place at the very moment when it was time for the speaker to be announced. They had already assigned another speaker in my absence, but when the man saw me coming up the steps to the platform, he immediately called to me and I was rushed to the microphone.

I started with something like, “Is there something grievously wrong with me that prevents me from entering into the spirit of general merriment that has prevailed in these meetings?” I went on to read in the Scriptures where Moses was coming down Mount Sinai with the tablets of the law only to hear a noise, which was not the noise of battle or the noise of victory, but the noise of singing. I went on to say that I had the impression it was this kind of noise that characterized the previous night, and it had much to do with that earlier event of men and women, too impatient to wait for Moses to come down from the Mount with the true thing. Instead, they simulated something like it—a golden calf, a substitute—and danced and pranced around it.

Can you imagine how these words were going forth? Even as I had been walking up to the platform, I heard one of the so-called prophecies in which the speaker was saying, “I, the Lord, have been with you this weekend; I have given you my Spirit and I am going to do this and I am going to do that. . .” But for me it was leaden and without life, and so I said, “It seems that my condition is so bad that I have no witness to the authenticity of these prophecies, and I wonder indeed whether it is not some kind of idiosyncratic thing, where I am some kind of character who always seems to find a negative thing. But if my condition is somehow an expression of the heartbeat of God, we might well ask whether functions such as this are not some kind of massive deception into which we have been inducted unwarily. Just because the sermons have been rich and suggestive, and we have been impressed with the three or four thousand people who have gathered here, and our hearts have panted after true unity in the Body of Christ, we need to consider whether we have been too quick and willing to call this “unity” when, in fact, it is not. As we explore that, maybe we need also to ask about the validity of the whole charismatic phenomenon, whether we in fact have an authentic baptism in the Holy Spirit, and indeed whether we have been born again of the Spirit. Or have we been, from beginning to end, inducted into one of the most colossal deceptions that has ever been perpetrated in the religious world and all history?”

Those were the kinds of questions that I raised, and then invited as many as would, to come to the session where I was to speak on the spirit of truth. There was a cry from my heart for something authentic to take place, that we should not settle for and be satisfied with a plastic counterfeit kind of charismatica, when the cry of God is for authenticity in the earth. Plastic is not a comely substance anyway, but a plastic Kingdom is a tragedy of such proportions that I could break down and weep. For the Kingdom of God to be plastic, subject to pressures and influences to accommodate and suit the needs of men, is inconceivable. We need to be alerted to the kinds of end-time deceptions that will come in the spirit of antichrist (“instead of” or “appearing as Christ”). This booklet is intended to examine the spirit or anatomy of deception, of the things that are plastic, false, artificial, synthetic, imitative, counterfeit, spurious, feigned and pretended.


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 2007/12/11 3:29Profile
PaulWest
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Joined: 2006/6/28
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 Re: The Anatomy of Deception by Art Katz

This reminds me of "[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/visit.php?lid=3321]The Real or the Plastic"[/url] by Katz. I know the glum lump feeling he talks about, as I too was once asked to speak at a Youth Rally that was nothing more than a charismatic Six Flags over Jesus. The leaders of the rally were enamored with men like Hinn and Duplantis and the whole TBN circus and I would have never even considered to speak at such a rally if not for my brother-in-law asking the leaders (his cousin was the president of the function) if I might be able to bring forth a message.

As I fasted to prepare for the message, I began to experience this forboding sense of dread as I knew the vast majority of these "Christian" kids were not saved, and their pastors and youth leaders were not right with the true God of Israel. They didn't know the real God of Holy Scripture - they only knew the false similitude god of TBN, the benevolently innocuous social-worker-in-the-sky deity. My message was an expounding of James 4:4,9: "[i]Ye adulterers and adultresses, know ye not that friendship of the world is enmity with God?...Be afflicted and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to heaviness."[/i]

And the Old Testament parallel I drew for the lukewarm pastors and youth leaders was from Joel 2:7: [i]"Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord weep between the porch and altar, let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach..."[/i]

Well, moments before I was to go up to the platform and preach on this, a wave of physical sickness swept over me. This was amidst all the ebullient "praise" music and handclaps and hands raised. While I gave my message I looked out and saw what every preacher dreads: angry, bewildered, shocked, disgusted faces. At one point I looked out to over where my brother-in-law's cousin was and saw him sitting there with his jaw hanging down. He looked like a man beholding a re-enactment of the holocaust.

At the end of the message, people coldly got up to leave and no one shook my hand. I remember a few ladies actually giving me contemptuous glares as they were leaving the church building. A few days later I got the inevitable phone call from the president telling me he was getting bombarded by angry phone calls from parents. He also told me that until further notice I was [i]banned[/i] from ever preaching again at their rally and that I needed to pray for maturity and wisdom.

But as it turned out, this was the last rally they would ever have. The entire thing fell apart less than a month later, as the various churches that comprised the rallies all split and went separate ways. This was the first time God required me to bring such an ungainly word to an assembly of youth leaders and pastors and kids and with their parents all in one place, and the mass-scale rejection was very, very painful.

During these times, it's almost as if God withdraws and observes you from a distance. At the time you're sure it was God who birthed such a fiery rebuke in you, but, afterwards, when the Jezebels and Zedekiahs and Hananiahs begin to vituperate, you begin to second guess and experience fresh waves of dread. So, really, there are two waves, or tides, of dread: The first comes when you [i]receive[/i] the message, knowing what you'll have to say and the rejection that will result. While you preach, there's a still, a calm. But then the second wave comes in [i]after[/i] you've preached and all the complaints and shockwaves go out and eventually reverberate back to you. I tell you in Jesus' name, it is a dreadful, agonizing thing. It is not a joyful, amazing experience at all; it is one of fear and trembling and inner torture. Any person that tells you they love bringing forth such messages...this person is not right with God and is probably doing it in the flesh, and is totally unauthorized by God to bring forth such messages.

If you notice, many of Art Katz's mesages begin with: "Well, again, here we are. I hate this, I dread this, I agonize over this..."

Yes, some of us can identify.

Brother Paul


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Paul Frederick West

 2007/12/11 9:55Profile
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 Re:

Have listened to this sermon in the past.

Can identify with it too.

God bless.

 2007/12/11 11:10Profile
PaulWest
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Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re: Refinement Brings Rejection

I would like to bring this thread back up to the top because I believe it contains a sobering, easily-forgotten message for us today: If we are going to stand for God and His righteousness, we are going to be rejected on a mass scale. It will not be the Mormons or Jehovah Winesses or Secular Humanists that will come against us with the most fervor; it will be those of our own "hometown" synagogue. They will be the ones so infuriated that, if they could, they would stop us in the middle of a sermon and throw us off a cliff.

No preacher of God deliberately wants this. Like all flesh, we want to be accepted and embraced by our own. We want the accolades, and not the aspersions. We want to see God move in mighty ways among the people after we preach, but for the man of God this is not always so. Like Arthur Katz said so many times in his messages, in the midst of other Christians partying and praising and shouting and singing, the true man of God feels sorrow, pain, agony, remorse. He is not allowed by God to partake in the perpetuosity that encapsulates convivial Christianity today.

As masses of people sing praises to a self-complying god of choice and convenience, those that are nearest to the God of Israel are trembling, sick with an awareness of sin, implacable and unable to be stimulated by anything less than the glory and integrity of a thrice [i]holy[/i] God being upheld. Their hearts are in the painful furnace of refinement and are thus held in a keen awareness in the discerning matters of spirit versus soul.

Brother Paul


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Paul Frederick West

 2007/12/11 13:38Profile
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 Re:

Brother Paul

I thank you for sharing your testimony, it blessed me, it also made me realize i have failed God at a certain point in my walk. There was a confrontation and i "backed down". I did not confront with what i knew i should have done. I failed to bare this discomfort of being alone. Instead of speaking the truth i bowed my head and shut my mouth and was quiet like a coward.

I did not fully realize then what i did, but i think i begin to. My fear of man was greater then my fear of God.

I pray i will learn from my mistakes.

I post here the first chapter from this booklet.

The previous was the introduction

[b]Chapter 1 - The Cry for Reality[/b]

There is a ‘Kingdom of reality’ that needs to be demonstrated by God’s people. And if we need to be anything as the Church, it is foremost to be eminently real, eminently loving, eminently living in the truth, speaking the truth, walking in the truth, doing the truth, being true. It is much more than merely “being correct,” or scripturally and doctrinally sound. It is something that should be suffused right into the marrow and the knit of our makeup. It needs to be in our eyes, in our speech, in the inflection of our voice, our posture and our talk.

God has triggered something in my heart to raise the questions of authenticity before the Body of Christ. Are we willing for authenticity’s sake and for truth’s sake not to grasp at the first straw that floats our way, and which seems to present the possibility of solving our problems? Are we willing to refrain from simulating something out of our own humanity that has the appearance of love, but is not? I want that which comes down from above, however long I have got to bear the terrible agony and reputation of ‘lovelessness.’ I do not want a saccharine counterfeit. Authentic things do not come cheap. They never have. It is we, as believers, who have been inducted into the spirit of glib, unctuous and facile kinds of doings.

We are quick to reconcile that which is not reconciled in God, and thereby suffer the surfacing again and again of problems, issues, and habits that will neither dissolve nor go away. We want a pseudo-resurrection without the ignominy and pain of the Cross. But it is only out of the ultimate agony and devastation of the Cross that ultimate glory comes. Are we lovers of the Cross? Do we love the splinters and the blood and the gore? Do we recognize that there is a cross for us to bear, and it is to this suffering that we are called, and that the resolution of the issue will not be far from us if we seek the things that are authentic and true? Do we have the discernment to distinguish the authentic from the counterfeit? Are we so habituated to success, and so desirous of seeing some visible effect of power that we are not too discriminating so long as we ‘get it,’ somehow? We want the excitement; we want the titillation; we want the appearance of power; we want to succeed, because the possibility of failure is a form of death we are not willing to bear, thus avoiding the Cross. We ought rather to ask ourselves what is success as God defines it?

Nazi Germany put great emphasis on demonstrations of a very impressive kind, such as their meetings at Nuremburg with marches and torchlight ceremonies, almost like pagan practices, that filled the void in German life with emotion and intensity. It was an answer to a need for fulfillment, excitement and engagement. If we do not have a valid apostolic reality in our spiritual life, that void will be filled by other contenders who are only awaiting their opportunity. If we move into the realm of what is false, synthetic, humanly contrived and not the operation of the Spirit, we can move very easily from the charismatic to the demonic. We cannot tell the difference between the hunger for God and the hunger for experience. If we have a real hunger for God, we do not have to go to places where ‘signs and wonders’ abound. Last Days’ deceptions are related to an inadequate view of God by which we interpret the ‘blessing’ or seeming power as being the evidence of God as we know Him, but the true knowledge of God would have made no room for that kind of understanding, or even the desire for these phenomena in the form in which they have been manifested.

The pattern of Acts, chapter 13, shows a very different context: the demonstration of power as the provision of God to demonstrate the authority of His messengers when they were opposed by powers of darkness in the fulfillment of their mission, as opposed to the ‘power’ demonstrated in auditoriums to Christians who are looking for excitement, or help for their own bodies. This apostolic model is the one that we more rightly ought to look for and expect, indeed, will be the only one effective in the Last Days’ final confrontation with those same powers.



Right Perception of God

The apprehension of God is very much affected by how we perceive Him, and therein lies the problem. We bring a distortion out of our own subjectivity and out of our own twist. We see God through a prism of our own being. There are some people who see God as some kind of a lackey or errand boy, who provides the convenience of meetings for this kind of entertainment and so-called ‘blessing.’

With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure. . . (Psalms 18:26).

To perceive God rightly requires something from us. If we have any kind of controversy with God, the problem is not God, but ourselves; we are projecting something onto Him and becoming guilty of Israel’s sin. The thing that we need is to be transformed into His image, not to project our image onto Him. He is not a convenience for us. He is God. He is the Creator. He is the Almighty. I think those words have lost their cogency. Maybe we have said them too often. They have become a catechism or an invocation of a mechanical kind. Unless we know Him in the place that is too deep for words, then we do not really know Him. Until there is a gasp and a splutter, until we find ourselves prostrate and stretched out as dead, do we really know Him? How many of us will go through an entire Christian lifetime without that knowledge and still be perfectly content, and think that we know Him, and that we can communicate Him?

Manifestation phenomena are already perplexing the Church, with many asking, “Is it God?” People seem to receive benefit; they are delivered from hang-ups and depression; marriages are reconciled; people are restored to the faith. There is much evidence of ‘good’ things, but when the Last Days’ deceptions come, of which we have been warned, will they not come with ‘good’ things? Can we tell the difference between the true and the false, especially when we want so much to be blessed and to have an experience and be relieved of our hang-ups and depressions? How discriminating are we about the source from which the ‘blessing’ comes? How do we tell whether something is of God, or a contrary spirit who is able to lift the depression that he may well have inflicted in the first place? Here is the key: our authentic knowledge of God, not as we thought Him to be, but as He, in fact, is.

Deception is a deception when it contains elements that are dubious and suspicious, and at the same time there seems to be apparent blessing. Who has the acumen and the discernment to see through it except a people of priestly stature whose discernment has been increased by the exercise of it? And who can discern between good and evil, between the profane and the holy? If blessings, so called, can succeed in bringing the Church to viewing benefit as the criterion by which something is judged to be of God, we may well have been brought to the very ground of deception itself. There is something more important than benefits, something more important than being released from depression; it is the holiness of God, it is His name, it is His honor, it is He Himself. Receiving benefit of a dubious kind is too high a price to pay if it is going to throw any shadow upon His great Name. We have lost everything for the sake of benefit when the desire for benefit is, in itself, suspect.

We are not in a position to categorically condemn as deception the ostensible benefits to which many testify. God is always free to bless whom He will bless. But if the enemy can succeed in bringing the Church to viewing benefit as the determinant by which something is judged to be of God, we may well have been brought to the very ground of deception itself. So for myself, I would choose to keep my distance from such phenomena, trusting that whatever I might be missing is not greater than what I am protecting and cherishing, and that the Lord is not offended by a carefulness that would rather err in a jealousy for His holiness than to risk subverting what has already been given as pure and true.

It is remarkable that, though we are explicitly warned about end-time lying signs and wonders (2 Thess. 2:9; Matthew 24:24), we somehow imagine that it is future, and mindlessly trust ourselves in our greed for experiences, empowerments, or releases, to dubious personalities who have caught the public fancy in incredible overnight popularity. I profoundly respect God’ s use of the weak and the foolish thing, but I cannot, for that reason, endorse what is garish, cheap and coarse as being that weak and foolish thing of which Paul speaks. “Holiness unto the Lord” is still the standard of God’s House, even when it is unspectacular and unassuming in the eyes of the world, and even in our own eyes.

Waiting is a priestly function, and we need to wait to see if our spirits are hospitable to what is being mediated from church platforms. Is it compatible with our already existing knowledge of God? If it is not compatible, they can stand on their heads, run all over the platform, and every other kind of madness. We are not to mindlessly give ourselves to it at all. Our integrity in God needs to be guarded, and we should not allow ourselves to be influenced, taken up and affected by the current trends, or else we will never have anything significant to give

The teaching of the Scripture is to seek out, through the word and prayer, the root of the problems that come up in life. One will usually find that unacknowledged disobediences are at the root of them, and the correction is accomplished primarily through that part of the Body to whom one is accountable and authentically joined.

But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love (Eph. 4:15 -16).

Revelation 12:11 tells us that “They overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even unto death.” What has come to us in our relationship with God, our personal history of the knowledge of God, has come through obedience and the reproaches that accompany obedience, and the sufferings that come with following the Lord. It did not come cheap. That knowledge is precious and dear. We need to make it the index of all other knowledge, and if present phenomena are not compatible with what we already know, and have tested, as being the knowledge of God as God, then we need to hold at arm’s length that which purports to be from God, even if it is a ‘blessing’ to others.

I have found safety in aligning new phenomena with what already is my knowledge of the holiness of God through my forty-year walk. I am jealous over that inward deposit, that residue of the knowledge of God that is beyond words; it cannot be articulated, but I know it to be there, and it is in the innermost place of my being. Everything has to be tested against that. If present phenomena are not consonant with what I already know to be the holiness of God, then I am alerted, and cannot indiscriminately receive what others seem to be applauding. This has been a life-saving provision for me, and it ought to be so for all believers.

It was not too long ago, in a church where I was speaking, that in a moment of time the thought came to me that one does not have to be a Mormon or a Jehovah’s Witness, or subscribe to some cult to be deceived. One can subscribe to correct Christian orthodoxy and be as effectually deceived in the correctness of that credal statement as if they were embracing false doctrine. And in fact, that kind of deception is the most devious and most powerful of all, because you think you are correct.

There is a desperate need in the Church to know God in truth. He is waiting to be sought, and He distinguishes that people, that generation that will ascend the holy hill of Zion, in Psalm 24, as those with ‘clean hands and a pure heart,’ who have not given their soul to vanity by running to Toronto and other places, as those who will ascend the holy hill and throw the bolt that opens the gate so that the King of Glory might come in. He says, “This is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Thy face―even Jacob” (Psalms 24:6). You do not have to go to Toronto to seek Him; He is right where you are. Be ruthless against yourself in finding time, in sending the kids out, in getting out of the way those clamoring legitimate things that are always clawing at you. Lock yourself in a room, throw the key away. Do something, but seek God and be found of Him. His promise is that if we will seek for Me with all our heart and all our soul, we shall be found of Me.

It is a critical hour for the Church. Deception is rampant. My Jewish people are perishing. Where is that witness that moves them to jealousy? The Jews are everywhere about us, totally unimpressed and untouched with our best Charismatic demonstration. The Church needs to come into a place that is holy, holy, holy, where they know God as He is, and not just as they think Him to be. Only out of that place are we then able to make Him known.


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 2007/12/11 15:12Profile
PaulWest
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Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
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 Re:

Quote:
It was not too long ago, in a church where I was speaking, that in a moment of time the thought came to me that one does not have to be a Mormon or a Jehovah’s Witness, or subscribe to some cult to be deceived. One can subscribe to correct Christian orthodoxy and be as effectually deceived in the correctness of that credal statement as if they were embracing false doctrine. And in fact, that kind of deception is the most devious and most powerful of all, because you think you are correct.



Dear brother Christian,

This above quote is a premonition that has been swirling around in my spirit for years. Even before I'd heard of Arthur Katz or T. Austin Sparks I knew something was terribly wrong, something just [i]plastic[/i] about what goes on in the name of Jesus in the churches God allowed me to visit. I wasn't very versed in theology (I'm still not) and quite immature in the ways of the Lord (I still am), but I knew enough to weep. I would weep because the vital reality God would impress upon my spirit in private was not echoed in the corporate worship with others. On the outside they stood for Jesus, but their speech, their actions, their utter lukewarness belied their confession.

I remember once being invited to preach for two days at a church in northeast Texas. This particularly stands out to me today because, for the first time in my ministry, I found myself weeping while others were laughing, praising God. This was happening right in the middle of the morning praise and worship. The whole church was singing an upbeat song like "Look What The Lord Has Done" and I just turned toward the wall and begin sobbing.

I was too embarassed to have the people see me, because I'm sure my face was a mess. The ugly, red and contorted face you make when your heart is breaking. It was not tears of joy and gladness; I was in uncontrolled agony and all I heard in my spirit over and over again was "Ichabod! Ichabod!"

The average saint in that congregation had been serving Jesus longer than I'd been alive. Who was I to start crying like that? This is all happening up on the platform, by the way, moments before I was to deliver a message I didn't have. Sometimes God does that, you know. You labor for a message and never receive anything concrete until the moment you step into the pulpit.

And so I was just standing up there, on the platform facing the wall and weeping, while the whole church just sang and clapped and raised their hands. The pastor's wife was in the habit of going to see Gloria Copeland and receiving words of "prophecy" from her ministry, and I suppose she was considered a kind of "prophetess" herself, because after I delivered the message (which I was not allowed to finish) this "prophetess" sat at the piano and spoke glibly, almost sarcastically to the congregation: "Wow. I never knew God was so unhappy with us."

Quote:
I thank you for sharing your testimony, it blessed me, it also made me realize i have failed God at a certain point in my walk



Oh brother, this is the last thing I want to hear from you. I don't wish any of my testimonies to jump out and make a person feel inadequate in any way. Believe me when I tell you I am not half as spiritual as you may think. I am the weakest of the weak, full of doubts, fears, failings. For every testimony like this, I have 100 unspoken failures. Just ask my wife and the people who see me and interact with me daily.

Quote:
Instead of speaking the truth i bowed my head and shut my mouth and was quiet like a coward.



Like I said, for every time I've stood up for the truth, there are 100 unspoken times where I've failed God. Usually in forums people only share all their victories and marginalize the failures, but in actuality it's the reverse: our fallings outnumber our flyings. And as long as you can admit this in your heart and in public and before God with a clean conscience, you can still be used mightily by the King of Kings.

Brother Paul


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Paul Frederick West

 2007/12/11 20:21Profile
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 Re:

Quote:

Like I said, for every time I've stood up for the truth, there are 100 unspoken times where I've failed God. Usually in forums people only share all their victories and marginalize the failures, but in actuality it's the reverse: our fallings outnumber our flyings. And as long as you can admit this in your heart and in public and before God with a clean conscience, you can still be used mightily by the King of Kings.



Yes i belive you are right, and i think we see in scripture many of the people God used failed him sometimes more then once. So i am i no way defeated yet brother :-) and failures have a way of showing us our weaknesses. Maybe it is about accepting and God letting us know we in our self cant do anything. I spoke with another brother from this forum who said to me "all I knew, and was 100% sure that if I want God to use me, that I MUST go through suffering" I think there is a great thruth in that statement.

Quote:
The average saint in that congregation had been serving Jesus longer than I'd been alive.



I can identify with this feeling, since i have not walked with the Lord that long, sometimes i feel this, i have been "cornered" for speaking certain things and was told "we" dont say such things in church or to people. And this is very hard coming from a person we "look up to" in a spiritual sense, someone who known God many years longer then i have lived.

but i believe these are all things in the school of God. Some need more schooling then others :-) but i praise God for his faithfulness and his wisdom in his dealings with us. I know he will see me through.

here is the second chapter



[b]Chapter 2 - Holiness or Blessing[/b]

If we have any jealousy for the Church to bear the name of the Holy One of Israel, we ought to be critiquing the signs and wonders phenomena rather than mindlessly nodding in assent and indiscriminately giving ourselves over to it in the name of blessing. One can pay too high a price for blessing, and if that price is the denigration of God and His name, it is too high a price.

There is nothing more to be coveted, or more to be cherished, more to be preserved, and more to be watched over, than the sense and knowledge of God as He in fact is, and not as we may have thought Him to be. If we lose that, then what do we have? What are we? What is our witness? Everything in the world, even in the religious world, conspires against the knowledge of God. Even our own enthusiasm and desire for successful meetings might, ironically, oppose and be the greatest detriment to the knowledge of God. It is the strangest paradox implicit in the faith. Karl Barth, the Swiss theologian, made the pointed statement that nothing more reveals our pathetic humanity than our seeking to serve God, or to celebrate and worship God out of that humanity.

There is always a danger of making God commonplace, of fashioning Him in our own image, and we may not even be aware of what we are doing. We need to be reminded, or perhaps we have never known, that God is other than what we ourselves are. God’s lament to us through the prophet Isaiah is that we thought God was such a one as we, and that the knowledge of Him is taught by the precept of men. It was not a compliment from God, but more of an insult: “You have fallen so low in the knowledge of Me, that the knowledge of Me is taught by the precept of men (paraphrased).” Once you have resorted to precept, it is no longer God you are declaring; it is principles you are teaching about God, and not God Himself.

We are encouraged to contend for the faith that was once and for all given to the saints. Faith is not a set of doctrines or a means by which we get something from God. True faith is the apprehension of God as He is, the fear and awe of Him and the sense of God that tempers everything. If this knowledge is not to be found in the Church, for what then shall we hope in the world? It is little wonder that the ‘signs and miracles’ phenomena find such ready acceptance. We are a ready-made audience looking for novelty, needing a lift or an experience. Our Christian life is hardly more than a succession of predictable Sunday services, and unhappily, that for which we are so readily grasp after is not what we really need, but in fact, will probably move us further away from obtaining the things that we really need, rather than closer.

Are these not the Last Days of which we have been warned in regard to deception, and are we not exhorted to test all spirits? Are we to ignore the prevalence of ear-splitting ‘worship,’ high-powered offerings, calculated theatrics, carnival bawdiness, the chilling shrieks and cries that punctuate the proceedings, the conspicuous absence of the preached word (except perhaps in a token way), the relentless, spirit-dulling testimonies often spoken in a stupor unbecoming to the dignity of God, given even by ministers of the word of God?

Has God changed from being the God who insisted that His priests mount a ramp to the altar rather than ascend by steps lest any flesh be revealed?

And you shall not go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it (Ex. 20:26).

It was a peculiar requirement, but in lifting the leg to go from one step to another, there was a slight possibility of revealing one’s flesh, and the ramp was the more secure provision that no flesh would be revealed in God’s presence. He is the same God who had Aaron to wear the golden head plate continually on his forehead (Ex. 28:36), the very place we now so readily make available for hands to touch us so that we can be ‘slain in the Spirit.’

And you shall speak to the sons of Israel, saying, “This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations. It shall not be poured on anyone’s body, nor shall you make any like it, in the same proportions; it is holy, and it shall be holy to you. Whoever shall mix any like it, or whoever puts any of it upon a layman, shall be cut off from his people (Ex. 30: 31-33).”

Clearly, the warning is not to counterfeit the anointing oil, or fabricate something like it. How many of us would consider the use of amplifiers to psyche people up by creating an ‘atmosphere for the Spirit’ as being fabricating the anointing oil? God will anoint what He appoints, not what we establish for our own satisfaction and enjoyment, or for the assurance of a good service. Let us not make any other like it. In his book, The Latent Power of the Soul, written in the 1920’s, Watchman Nee warns about soulish power, and the deception that can be brought about through the use of musical instruments, and that was before the advent of amplifiers.

Our ache is that ‘Holiness to the Lord’ be inscribed afresh on the foreheads of priestly men and women who will stand for Him in this age of sleaze and vulgarity that is even now seeping into the House of God. It is the cry of Isaiah:

Depart, depart, go out from there, touch nothing unclean; go out of the midst of her, purify yourselves, you who carry the vessels of the Lord (Is. 52:11).

And,

Therefore having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Cor.7:1).

Any revival or awakening in God’s people must be accompanied by an appreciation for the holiness of God. It is debatable whether the Church today has ever known the holiness I am referring to, but certainly we have a great repository in scripture in the books of Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus and Numbers. I look for a Last Days’ people, a remnant people of God, who have that same press upon their spirits as the plate that pressed against the forehead of Aaron, ‘Holiness to the Lord;’ a people who are conscious always of what they say and what they do as being before a holy Judge. Such a jealous regard for the holiness of God has been lost to us. Do we really know what the holiness of God means? This revelation is a provision from God, and if it is deeply inscribed upon our hearts, it will be a safeguard against the cheap and flimsy age in which we live.

We need to be reminded that the Holy Spirit means the Spirit of holiness, and before we think that we can obtain the advantage of the Spirit of God as being the Spirit of power or any other benefit that accrues to us through the Spirit, we need to be aware that in its first ministration, the Spirit of God is the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of righteousness and holiness, and then, when received on that basis, He will become to us as power and the other forms that are needful in this life. How shall Jews, who are so caught up in the spirit of the world and are its principal movers, be saved out of their own massive deception if there is not a Church who can show them the holiness of their own God?



Worship - Priestliness

The tragedy of the Charismatic Movement with all of its emphasis on praise is that they have made it a technique for their benefit to improve the atmosphere of their services, to provide a kind of appropriate setting for whatever will happen next; they have made it to be for us, rather than for Him. True worship is not a technique to warm our atmosphere or to put the people in the mood to hear from the speaker.

Do we have enough of a fear of God that we will not allow ourselves to be cajoled by musical chords or any kind of soulish device used to get us into ‘the mood’? It is an unholy manipulation that works against the highest purpose of God. Only a priest will wince over these things, and those who want only to be religiously entertained will not so much as blink an eye.

At the heart of priestliness is waiting upon Him for the time that pleases Him. If we want to be the revelation of His radiance, then we are going to have to reconsider what we are doing when we launch off into worship and choruses or any other kind of simulation of ‘waiting upon God.’ Unless there is a sense of priestliness, worship will become a mere mechanic, a technique, a device and a manipulation. It is not an entering into the holy place at all. If we degenerate into becoming some kind of charismatic fellowship that celebrates praise, believing that we have some kind of revelation, but have made of it only technique and manipulation, then our end will be disastrous. I cannot think of anything more tragic than that worship should become mere rhetoric and words, a vocabulary that is appropriate to us, but a vocabulary that has no real life or meaning.

The two sons of Aaron died for bringing in strange fire. They were priests, descendants of Aaron and called of God, but they acted out of some desire to manipulate or evoke the glory of God that was not their right. They saw something that was evoked by the obedience of Aaron and Moses, and they thought somehow they could do the same. But they came at the wrong time, in the wrong way, and instead of evoking a fire that was a glory, they evoked a fire that slew them. Strange fire! It had the form, but was not the actual thing, and instead of bringing life, it brought death.

We must not think that this is some archaic episode out of the past that has no profound relevance for us. Even Aaron could not enter the holiest place at his own choosing. This is a word for us. Having just witnessed the instant death of his sons, who does he presume to think he is, that he can enter into the holiest place of all at his own whim and at his own convenience and at his own choosing? What is the practical application for us? Do we think that we can enter at our whim and will into the place of holy worship (worship which is a sweet smelling savor unto God) just because we have gotten the band going and the instruments playing and the choruses ringing? This is not the true incense or the hot coals from which a cloud will issue forth in which the Lord will appear. It will be a thud, and not a glory. If we continue in that way, we will get phony prophecies, phony exhortations, things calculated to work up a certain kind of response. We will go from being unspiritual, to being soulish, to being psychic, until in the end, it becomes outright deception.



Eunuchs for Christ

Jesus spoke at one time about eunuchs. A eunuch is a man who has had the axe ‘laid to the root.’ Jesus said that there are some eunuchs who are born eunuchs, who are biological freaks, who will never have the physical enabling for the gratification that is given to all men; there are some eunuchs that are made eunuchs by men, and there are some eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven’s sake. Only a eunuch can be implicitly trusted because there is no way that he is going to usurp anything from the Kingdom over which he has charge. He is not going to appropriate anything for himself, because the axe has been laid to the root. Like the Lord before Him, a eunuch has been “cut off out of the land of the living (Isaiah 53:8b),” and God offers us the same opportunity. It is the Cross of Christ Jesus, laid to the root of life, that we might be cut off out of the land of the living.

A eunuch for Christ’s sake, or a dead man, is the only person who will be safe at the end of the age, an age abounding with iniquity, full of filth and lust, powerful seductions, subtlety and sensuality. The axe has been laid to the root of his life; he has recognized the horrible propensities of his flesh, and has seen that self-conscious discipleship is not the answer. He has seen that singing the choruses is not the answer. There is only one answer; it is the Cross of Christ Jesus, not the plastic counterfeit, but the blood of the Cross, the place of suffering and shame where God bids us to come.

The Cross is the power of God for salvation for those who will join Him in that place, who have voluntarily made themselves eunuchs for Christ’s sake, who have welcomed the axe laid to the root. We need to see this truth, and come to it and cleave to it until the end of the age. Having made that decision, we invite the daily death. It is a daily reiteration of this mystery in ways that are uniquely appropriate to our life, our call and our walk.

The life of Christ will never manifest itself in our lives other than out of that one necessary condition, namely, death. The whole re-enactment, the whole drama, and the whole principle is future and eschatological, but also for the present. The whole genius of it is before us daily, and in fact, if that Cross is not operative daily, if we are not willing to suffer its deaths, for example, when our flesh rises up, if we find a way to skirt around it, then we make ourselves, to that degree, candidates for deception. The issue of being saved from deception is the issue of the Cross and our willingness to be ruthless with ourselves, and to bear the suffering of it when God makes the issue clear. If we run from something, if we are escapist, if we rationalize and justify our conduct and find a way to explain it that gratifies us and saves us from the awareness of sin as sin, then we are to that degree, candidates for deception. That is why the love of the truth is cited in scripture as being one of the main means by which we are saved from deception, not a love for something technically correct, but rather truth as God understands it.

The most acute expression of that truth is Christ and Him crucified. The church or individual who moves away from the Cross, and has allowed the Cross to be a mere ceremonial object or an architectural decoration, but is not living a cruciform life and is not willing for the suffering of the Cross, but instead wants the blessing, makes himself a candidate for deception. That deception will likely come from very God Himself, who will give lying delusions to those who have rejected the love of the truth. Mere tolerance for the truth, or even respect for the truth, is not enough. Only a love for the truth keeps us from deception because truth is painful, especially the truth about ourselves, but we have got to be ruthless in this regard and apply the Cross, and bring to the death that thing that God brings to us and allows us to see.


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 2007/12/12 0:50Profile
PaulWest
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Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re:

Quote:
There is always a danger of making God commonplace, of fashioning Him in our own image, and we may not even be aware of what we are doing. We need to be reminded, or perhaps we have never known, that God is other than what we ourselves are. God’s lament to us through the prophet Isaiah is that we thought God was such a one as we, and that the knowledge of Him is taught by the precept of men.



This is the true virus of humanism. We see this everywhere - both in the church and in the world. We think that God is altogether like us, and really He is not. Only His Word upholds who He truly is; it is the only trustworthy source that conveys the attributes of His true nature and judgments and how He deigns to communicate with us.

This "God is who I make him out to be" syndrome is not so much the plague of heathenism as it is a truly debilitating disease among even our own colonies. It is acute and rampant in evangelicalism, and quite epidemic at least in my part of the world. A.W. Tozer wrote a fabulously anointed book called "The Knowledge of the Holy" and I think it should be required reading in seminary school (for those who chose to go). It should be taught in Sunday schools and Bible classes in every church of our land, using scripture to both verify and validate Dr. Tozer's insights. At the very least, such a study could open the vestibule of consideration that would eventually lead a believer into the sanctuary of a true knowledge of God's ways and nature.

Such a book shouldn't be as costly for churches to requisition as, say, "The Purpose-Drive Church" or some other spiritually-vapid bestseller; "The Knowledge of the Holy" is found in Christian book bargin bins and wedged haphazardly upon the dusty shelves of second-hand bookstores. I found mine in such a place, and I think I paid $1.50 for it.

Brother Paul


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Paul Frederick West

 2007/12/12 12:03Profile
hmmhmm
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 Re:

Quote:

"The Knowledge of the Holy" is found in Christian book bargin bins and wedged haphazardly upon the dusty shelves of second-hand bookstores. I found mine in such a place, and I think I paid $1.50 for it.



yes, i do not know why, but many of the books that has serious spiritual weight, are found there, but those 1,50 can change a life, both here and in eternity. I frequently go to a second hand bookstore here, it is the only shop where you can find good reading, in my opinion, old rugged worn out books often with notes from older saints. About a dollar each.

Spurgeon , Tozer , Finney, Biographies of all the classic missionarys. This has been a gold mine for me.And to find this in my mother toungue! Wonderful!

Even as there is much "christian" books, in the Christian bookshop, i have estimated there was two small booklets i might buy, one from madame Guyon, and Oswald Chambers daily devotional.

Other then that mostly WOF books and emergent, but the foolish of this world are sold in the "bargin-bins" :-) and second hand bookstores


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 2007/12/12 13:59Profile
PaulWest
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Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
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 Re:

Quote:
Do we have enough of a fear of God that we will not allow ourselves to be cajoled by musical chords or any kind of soulish device used to get us into ‘the mood’? It is an unholy manipulation that works against the highest purpose of God. Only a priest will wince over these things, and those who want only to be religiously entertained will not so much as blink an eye.



A gem of a statement! This is an issue that becomes more and more prominent the more a person endeavors to grow in God. God beckons the believer beyond what I call the noisy "outer courts" and into the solace and sobriety of the inner holy place. Once a person has spent time with Jesus in the holy place, the noisy outer court becomes nothing more than a nuisance, a place to flee from. It's not a matter of being more spiritual than those who will to remain in the outer realm; it's about discovering something much better and deeper and life-altering by the grace of God.

I can tell my extended family here on SermonIndex that such a deeper knowledge of God and His holiness has caused some major reconstruction in some beliefs and convictions that I once held indestructible. Knowing Jesus more intimately and spending time with Him in the holy place of God's Word has caused me to somewhat alienate myself from the whole charismatic movement, and honestly question much of my Pentecostal upbringing. It has, in fact, culminated in me opting [i]not[/i] to renew my credentials this year with the Assemblies of God. Understand that I cast no aspersions whatsoever on the Assemblies, it's just that I can no longer openly confess to and align myself officially with an organization that requires all its ministers to blanket-endorse certain fundamentals I have come to find spurious.

O that we could return to the glorious hymns and do away with all the plastic and contrivances and man-tainted worship with loud amplifiers that showcase human talent - talent that often qualifies as anointing when soul and spirit are juxtaposed.

Brother Paul


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Paul Frederick West

 2007/12/12 14:02Profile





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