"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

In Defense of Boot-Strap Witnessing

In Chapter 2 of Power Through Prayer, E. M. Bounds said:
The preacher may feel from the kindling of his own sparks, be eloquent over his own exegesis, earnest in delivering the product of his own brain; the professor may usurp the place and imitate the fire of the apostle; brains and nerves may serve the place and feign the work of God's Spirit, and by these forces the letter may glow and sparkle like an illumined text, but the glow and sparkle will be as barren of life as the field sown with pearls. The death-dealing element lies back of the words, back of the sermon, back of the occasion, back of the manner, back of the action. The great hindrance is in the preacher himself. He has not in himself the mighty life-creating forces.
        I wonder how wise such convicting teaching is, when it may suggest to the believer that his own, personal level of spirituality determines the effectiveness of his testimony. That belief will inflict self-condemnation on any believer who shares his testimony without apparent effect.
        Bounds, in his attempt to persuade preachers to seek a higher walk with the Lord through broken-hearted prayer, may only succeed guilt-tripping the most sincere of witnesses. But the apostle Paul said:
By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 1Jn 3:19-20 ESV
        By all means, fall on your face before God; one can never be too broken before Him, but we must readily accept His reconciliation through Christ Jesus, for there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Rom 8:1 ESV) While we cannot save ourselves, neither can we condemn ourselves when we are in Christ Jesus.
        We will never be spiritual enough to testify of God's grace toward us, but that doesn't exempt us from Jesus' Great Commission. As long as we realize it is His holiness that brings seekers to Him, we must limit our responsibility to (letting our) light shine before others, so that they may see (our) good works and give glory to (our) Father who is in heaven. (Mat 5:16 ESV)

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