Of Growth
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The witness of the Father and the witness of the Spirit

Jesus said in: John 5:31 “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.”  Many in this hour come speaking in their own name, attesting their preachings and teachings by their own name, by their denomination’s name, by a ministries name, or by some other ministers or ministry’s name. I will confess that twenty years ago I committed these same sins.

If Christ’s bearing witness of himself is not true, and the servant is not greater than the master; then if I bear witness of my ministry, if I bear witness of the words I speak, I am guilty of coming in my own name. If Christ says this witness is not, what then is it?  It is false, it is a false witness. This is serious stuff. According to the word this is a very serious offense. Bearing false witness is listed as a reason for not inheriting the kingdom. Bearing false witness is listed as a reason for not entering the promises of God.

This is a warning of God.  Jesus is putting on notice the earthly, fleshly teachers and preachers of our day that are bound by the traditions and doctrines of men, those that come and would speak in their own name. If we do such, we shall receive nothing of God, we shall instead receive the praise and honor and rewards of men as the false prophets do.

John 5:33-34 “Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man . . .”

Further Christ said he cannot receive the witness of John, because it is the witness from men.  In this verse Jesus is at very least here saying that the witness of men, even John the Baptist are suspect, and therefore cannot be used to verify the words that He spoke.

If this is so, then how is it that the ministers, ministries, and entire denominations of today feel free to do so?

Do they do so intentionally? Some do.  Some “hold the truth in unrighteousness,” but the greatest majority seems to do so in ignorance. Being blind, ignorant, and unlearned in the ways of the Lord, they do so because they were taught of men to do so. They ran out with a vision, a vision that was not their own, or they had run out into ministry without any understanding of the vision they have received.

In order to better understand this text and its far reaching implications we need to get a firm grasp on what Christ meant by witness and what Christ said was a qualified witness

John 5:36-37 “But I have greater witness than that of John. . .”

Jesus had greater witness that that of John because he needed a greater witness than that of John. Jesus lauded the life and witness of John. He said John was the greatest of all prophets – surely in ourselves, when we view this scripture with our blind, dull senses we would say: If only I had the witness of a great prophet like John. If only I had witness from a great minister like Charles Finney, Dwight Moody, John Graham Lake, Smith Wigglesworth, or Kenneth E. Hagin.  Then I would really be something. Then I could really do something for God.

If only I had a Bible degree from one of the great schools, if only I were ordained by one of these great men or a some great ministry. If only I would receive the mantle of some great bygone servant of God. – Then I would have a great ministry. Then I could really do something for God.   

In this simple verse of scripture Jesus marches past the pretense of all of this. He declares for all time that the witness of men, even the witness of great spiritual men is at very least suspect. The servant is not above the master. You cannot create spiritual short cuts. You cannot do what the Master cannot do.

Understand that when you give witness by your own attestation, by the attestation of a denomination, by the attestation of some other ministry, or by the attestation of some other minister’s name, you according to Christ’s words have given witness that is not true. You have borne false witness. And not only that, but you have borne false witness to the people of God. And further you have planted seeds of deception in your hearers.

If Jesus being the son of God needed greater witness than that of men, if Jesus needed greater witness than that of the greatest of prophets -- John. Then if we are truly his servants, we also need this greater witness.

What then is this witness?

I thought Jesus called us to be witnesses unto him. John the Apostle gives us the key to this layer of truth. “That which our eyes have seen that which our hands have handled concerning the word of life that speak we unto you.”  In order to become witnesses, you must first witness His works and acts in your life. It has to be a first hand knowledge. Did it not occur to you that Paul preached Paul. Peter preached Peter.  And John preached John. They only spoke that which their eyes had seen that which their hands had a handled concerning the word of life. Peter did not preach John’s experience; John did not preach Paul’s experience and revelations. The Apostle John could not, because the servant is not above the master.

We have fallen so far from the grace of God that was once delivered unto the Church by Jesus and the Apostles. We have so lost our way; we are so far removed from the teaching of Christ and the Apostles that these simple truths have never occurred to us.

We have little or nothing to draw on. We have little or no experience. And so we have carelessly and wantonly cast ourselves out into ministry, and so having little or nothing in ourselves we feel compelled to preach other men’s experiences, and other men’s revelations. And if that were not bad enough we sin all the more, going out in our name, and using the names of other men, even great and notable names to witness the veracity of the words we speak. God help us. God help this evil generation.         

What then is this witness?

Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

 1 John 5:9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which He hath testified of his Son.

Hebrews 2:4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will.

Mark 16:15-18 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature . . . And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.  The signs that follow is the witness of God, it is the witness of the Spirit. This is the greater witness that Christ said he needed.

2 Chronicles 6:15 –17 (Solomon Praying) Thou which hast kept with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him; and spakest with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day. Now therefore, O LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit upon the throne of Israel; yet so that thy children take heed to their way to walk in my law, as thou hast walked before me. Now then, O LORD God of Israel, let thy word be verified, which thou hast spoken unto thy servant David.

 Solomon knew of the personal visitation of the Lord and Solomon the king does not verify his own words and prayers. He is king, his word is law, but he does not verify his own words.  Instead he as God to verify his words, he asks God to be a witness. He asks God to verify the temple that he built was not a work of his own hands, not of his vain imagination, but was what God indeed had spoken to him. And what happens?

2 Chronicles 7:1 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD's house.  And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth forever.

John 5:36-37 “But I have greater witness than that of John. for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me.

 If we speak the words of men, if we speak of the traditions of men if we speak of the world, if we speak of the lust of the eyes, if we speak of fleshly ministry, if we speak of lusting after the things of the world – God’s witness is not required. Neither shall he witness thereunto. For that which is flesh is flesh, and that which is spirit is spirit. The two are contrary. 

Have you ever wondered why we have not the power of Jesus and the Apostles?  It is because the words that we speak are the words of men. Our ministries are so filled with the corruption of men, and the corruption of the world, that God cannot bear witness of our words or our ministries.

1 Thessalonians 2:5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness:

The false witness of men are flattering words. This false witness is a cloak that conceals covetousness. This false witness conceals our wandering eye of lust. This false witness conceals our love for the praise of men.  This false witness conceals our love for the things of the world. This false witness is the veil that blinds us, and our hearers. This veil of the flesh separates us from God and the witness of God.

Jeremiah 14:17  “Therefore thou shalt say this word unto them; Let mine eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease: for the virgin daughter of my people is broken with a great breach, with a very grievous blow.”

Romans 13:11-12  “. . . knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”

2 Corinthians 7:1 “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

Hebrews 4:1 “Let us therefore fear, lest, the promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.”

Hebrews 4:10-11 “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

Hebrews 4:15 – 16 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

Genesis 31:44 “Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.”