Judges 10:17 Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpeh. 18 And the people and princes of Gilead said one to another, What man is he that will begin to fight against the children of Ammon? he shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead. 11:1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah. 2 And Gilead’s wife bare him sons; and his wife’s sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father’s house; for thou art the son of a strange woman. 3 Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him. 4 And it came to pass in process of time, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel. 5 And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob:
The source of the contention in the house of Gilead was a matter of difference in births! And it remains so in our world today. For all humans receive existence by a natural birth. But out of that number some are then born again by the Spirit of the Lord. John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
And from this spiritual birth of God’s elect, and the remaining of others in the state of the natural birth has come all the contention of the human race. And it was stated by God from the beginning that it should be so. Gen. 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. And he re-affirms this during his earthly ministry. John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
The principles from only the natural birth effects especially those prone to religious practice, when they confront those born again of the Spirit. The former have only a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. (2 Tim. 3:5). And the true, spiritual kingdom is not in word, but in power. (1 Cor. 4:20). The two births are distinctly seen in their origins! The natural birth originates from that which penetrates from an outside source. But the spiritual birth does not come from any external natural invasion, but comes from the Holy Spirit within.
Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. For just as the virgin Mary’s birthing, so is that of those born again of the Spirit. Mary was not opened up by Joseph implanting his seed within. She was opened (remember that Jephthah’s name means to open), by that holy thing placed by the Spirit within her coming out from her!
Therefore natural religionists think to bring forth the kingdom of God in the world by continuing to place within themselves more religious information, even though, Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. (1 Cor. 8:1). And they seek to persuade to their religious opinion by placing their doctrine within the minds of their proselytes. Therefore we wind up as we have today with a religiously educated, but unregenerate church membership!
The Spirit’s gospel witness only goes from faith to faith. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Therefore the gospel proceeds, by the Spirit, from one who is living it by faith, preaching it to another, to whom the Spirit imparts the grace of faith from within. James writes that in regeneration we receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. (Jas 1:21). And that word, engrafted is the word implanted! That is, that effectual word revealed within us by the Holy Spirit! It is never just the bare word imparted from outside finding lodging only within our minds! John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
Therefore the true, spiritual witness is the Holy Spirit acting out from within the believer Christ’s characteristics for his own. Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
For the only true witness wherein God is glorified, is the light of God (which is Christ! – John 8:12), shining out from within the believer! Matt. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
For the two witnesses of God have always been the Holy Spirit within the true church, NOT Moses and Elijah! Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
The Lord Jesus warns us that that which comes out from within a man is the most powerful to effect human practice – not that which goes into the man! Mark 7:18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; 19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? 20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
And in sovereign regeneration that which then comes forth from the man is nothing more that the characteristics of the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ manifesting forth his principles of life! The writer of Proverbs well understood this as he wrote in Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
The Apostle John gives this same principle as both how the professing believer truly knows that he is not reprobate, and his understanding as to why he was writing his epistles! 1 John 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. In that verse twenty he gives them the reason that they can know that they are not as the antichrists, or reprobates he has just described in the previous verses, who sat on the same pews, heard the same preaching, but came to abandon the faith. And that reason is that they have the anointing, the unction of the Spirit, dwelling within them. The reprobates only had the word enter into their minds from without, merely conforming them to the image of the practice of local religion.
But those true believers had, not just the Spirit with them, but in them! John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Then in verse twenty one he, as an Apostle of Christ, sets forth his understanding of the reason for writing the scriptures. And he clearly says it was not because that they did not know the truth and needed his writings to inform them. But it was because they did know The Truth, even Christ Himself, and would therefore know and recognize all spiritually imparted truths, which allows no lie!
We need to get back to Christ and the Holy Ghost! For none but the Holy Spirit has the ability to make the word effectual to the heart of the believer! He alone can make application of the Living Word to the heart for eternal life.
But we must be careful for Satan is a very wise and cunning creature. He even attempted to use the written word against the Savior as recorded in the temptation after his baptism. Matt. 4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
And herein lies the serious problem with those handling the scriptures without the Spirit’s interpretation. For with the Spirit’s handling of the Word, there comes to be but one Lord and one faith! (Eph. 4:5). But without the Spirit’s handling of the word, and with the human heart prone to make it of their own private interpretation, we wind up with the crowned, multi-headed creature with the many names of religion! Revelation 12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
These religious pulpiteers who are said to speak great swelling words of vanity are powerfully used of Satan in the deception of souls! 2 Peter 2:18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. (And you can even see in this verse twenty that there is a ‘sprinkling’ of truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ that temporarily effects some degree of legal morality. But then, there is some corn in rat poisoning! For how else would you get the rat to consume it?)
Dear Reader, the crucial issue with hearing the scriptures preached is failing to love the Truth! 2 Thessalonians 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Listen to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ on this matter: John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
It is the spiritual Word applied by the Spirit that saves, and it is that same word that shall condemn! John 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
Pastor Gene Breed
August 2, 2012