EXHORTING ONE ANOTHER~
“...Then watch how carefully you walk, not as unwise, but as wise ones... speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and praising in your heart to the Lord... having been subject to one another in the fear of God... But even as the assembly is subject to Christ, so also the wives to their own husbands in everything... that He might sanctify it, cleansing it by the washing of the water in the Word, that He might present it to Himself as the glorious assembly, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such things, but that it be holy and without blemish.” All of Ephesians 5; with focus on these verses 15, 19, 21, 24, 26, 27
During a recent conference, this question arose: Are people and leaders really willing to enter in to a serious effort to exhort and hold one another accountable with the goal of becoming more like the true Lord Jesus Christ, being made without spot, wrinkle, or blemish and made set apart? These matters should be a part of community life.
Our experience has been that, sometimes, people can be resistant and even angry about being held accountable to a standard of behavior as described in the word of God. It isn’t wrong for leaders to hold to a standard that exhibits zeal something along the lines of that of a Phineas (Numbers 25:8). God knows we need that type of encouraging, fiery leadership. In more than one instance, people first resist the message and then the messenger. Unresolved personal issues can affect how things are presented, through painful filters caused by past wounds and may come across seemingly abrasive to others. Nevertheless, genuine exhortation and loving support for the actual process of becoming holy, set apart, without spot, wrinkle or blemish is important for any community, especially those who are escaping the effects of ritual abuse.
We understand that it is wise for us to specifically pray that our Father would expose and bring into the light anything cleverly hidden within us that is not pleasing to Him. Our community was first birthed in response to the need to encourage those coming out of occult practices, many from illuminati backgrounds or bloodlines that were sold on demonic trading floors to Lucifer. We realize we all are coming out of one kind of pagan practice or another, so the relevance of this prayer need has been thoroughly evident.
“Then do not become partakers with them; for you then were darkness, but are now light in the Lord; walk as children of light. For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth, proving what is pleasing to the Lord.
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove[expose] them.” Ephesians 5: 7-11
This is a verse we pray not only for those to whom we are ministering but also for ourselves. We request before the one true Father, Son and Holy Spirit that He would reveal not only what is within us, but also those things that are corrupted around, and among us. This is an ongoing passion and strong conviction and aligns itself with the name of our Ministry “Liberty Group”
“Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
At the onset of this journey, we had no clue how much we needed the true Lord Jesus Christ and His guidance. We didn’t foresee just how deep the struggle would be to carry out the mission to help those who were held in captivity. All praise to Yeshua, the TRUE Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer!
Holy Spirit has been faithful and has exposed both personal issues and interpersonal issues which have not always been easy to receive. Our prayers now also include the request for His joy, perseverance, courage and strength to actually face what He chooses to reveal and to work through to a resolution that is honoring. This is especially true where interpersonal matters are involved so that both people grow closer to Jesus in the process.
We believe this type of prayer, praying for ourselves and also for the growing community, is scriptural and an important practice. The Ephesians 5 reference specifically speaks of the submission of the assembly to Him that results in the sanctification and cleansing of the assembly that ultimately leads to the glorious assembly presented to Him. We see the needs of individuals attending prayer as well as the need of the corporate body wholly submitted to Holy Spirit for His correction and development. Exposure of what is unholy within and among us is a necessary part of the process of sanctification.
“But all things being exposed by the light are clearly revealed, for everything having been revealed is light.” Ephesians 5:13
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave themreverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now, no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12: 5-11
If I say: Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light around me. Even the darkness will not be dark from You, but the night shines as the day; as is the darkness, so is the light.” Psalm 139: 11-12
"For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face; their iniquity is not hidden from My eyes.” Jeremiah 16:17
“You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your face.” Psalm 90:8
"Confess to one another the deviations from the Law, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. Very strong is a righteous petition, being made effective... If anyone among you goes astray from the truth, brothers, and anyone turns him back, know that the one turning a sinner from the error of his way will save the soul from death, and will hide a multitude of sins.” James 5: 15, 19-20
Having had a history of attending a “social” kind of church, or a history of church abuse, whether experienced personally or through association, has made people wary and suspicious, and that’s understandable. The faith group that keeps a superficial level of relationship often demands that people be more mindful of hurting someone’s feelings rather than focusing on seeking His truth. To come into relationship with people that are openly asking Him to bring forward to our conscious mind the things we’d much rather hide and that are at times, socially abhorrent or disbelieved, is asking a lot. Sometimes, these types of prayers and gatherings may cause difficulty in tolerating the rise of emotions long enough to evaluate the circumstances that are actually in the present. One of our ladies has jokingly described these memories and realizations coming out into the light as like suddenly finding our “undies showing.” If people do not have experience with recognizing conflict or past trauma being resolved, they fear it when they feel memories rise. Indeed, we have been told by a few people that they had never seen conflict actually called out in prayer or worked through and resolved in a group before. Our confidence is that, in Messiah, our unity is greater than our differences and He will strengthen us all to see it through to healing.
It is all the more crucial for leaders to be under this same light of Holy Spirit exposure. Spiritual leaders are not somehow “superior” or beyond having any personal issues. Personal pride has been the single greatest downfall of many leaders and ministries. Boundaries do remain, but pursuing a community model of restoration and healing presents an entirely different concept than the office setting. We are all sinners in need of our Messiah’s redemption. Willing cooperation with the sanctification process is part of our obedience to Him. It is a practical outworking of the desire to be kept back from presumptuous sin, as NKJV puts it. (It is “arrogant” in KJV.)
“Also withhold Your servant from arrogant sins; do not let them rule over me; then I shall be upright, and I shall be innocent from great transgression.” Psalm 19:13
We do not merely wait for Father God’s correction, scriptures clearly say we are to judge ourselves, lest we be judged. Father has entrusted us with personal responsibility as we co-labor with Him. It is both our part and His part while we are maturing. Yet all the while, our final hope and confidence is in Him. Wherever we have yet to be made fully clean, He will cover and bring us exactly where we need to be at exactly the right time. His grace is for when we fall short, not for when we aim short.
“So therefore, we also, having so great a cloud of witnesses lying around us, having laid aside every weight and the easily surrounding sin, through patience let us also run the race set before us, looking to the Author and Finisher of our faith, Jesus, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, "and sat down at the right" of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12: 1-2
So, as the time draws near for our Messiah to return, we are convinced there is little time to worry about “losing face” in front of people while there is every reason to be concerned that we may not be yielding to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. How often has He used our relationships to rub and bruise and offend us, until, as Oswald Chambers observed, there is nothing “offend-able” left within us. The corporate aspect of this process is part of His plan for us, and His intentions are only for our good, and not for evil! This doesn’t mean that exposure isn’t uncomfortable or even painful at times. Blows that hurt cleanse evil from the heart. It’s important that we recognize the difference between hurt and harm: a surgery may hurt but it helps, and a sugary diet may seem good but it harms.
We understand that every fellowship group is not the same and that those who do not share the mutual vision and commitment to healing, can stop the process of iron sharpening iron. The process involves daring to risk exposure with people who are also, themselves, fearing exposure...this refers to everybody! In our fallen world, such exposure has often meant disgrace or banishment. In Jesus’s kingdom, it brings an opportunity to walk in greater realms of revelation,grace and freedom.
In a community of believers who desire to be like Yeshua, let’s encourage each other while it is still day to enter into the process of healing, encouragement and refining, which allow the release of formerly withheld blessings of His greater redemptive gifts as we fully embrace and live out His purposes.
“And this is the message which we have heard from Him, and we proclaim to you: God is
light, and no darkness is in Him, none!
If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and we walk in darkness, we lie and are not practicing the truth.
But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the
blood of His Son Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous that He may forgive us the sins, and may cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.”
1 John 1:5-10