The Necessity of Witnessing “By Twos”

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The Necessity of Witnessing “By Twos”

Because of a few recent trials within the body of Christ, our time today and next week also, will be spent on admonishing us on how to behave ourselves in the house of God.

Today we will discuss the necessity of witnessing by twos, and next week, Lord willing, we will discuss the need to receive and bear with the weak in faith among us.

The Lord has made it clear that there is at this time a great need to give His body some direction from His Word concerning how we, as His body composed of two sexes, ought to behave ourselves in His house, to paraphrase Paul’s instructions to Timothy:

1Ti 3:14  These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
1Ti 3:15  But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

If we are not told how to behave ourselves in the house of God, then we simply don’t know, and it is very easy to assume we know more than we do. That is a common misconception about both ourselves individually and about others within this body of believers.

Over the years I have heard time and again from many of you listening to me today, how when you first came into our fellowship you felt so spiritually immature that you feared to ask a question or make a comment for fear of exposing your lack of spiritual maturity. But after a short while, and maybe after your first conference, you quickly learned that there is no one who is not struggling against his flesh and that we are all experiencing the same “one event” of being judged in this age through fiery trials in our daily lives of fighting against our fleshly old man.

Ecc 9:2  All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.

We want to think the very best about each other, and that is a good Biblical frame of mind based upon these verses of scripture:

Mat 7:1  Judge not, that ye be not judged.
Mat 7:2  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
Mat 7:3  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Mat 7:4  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Mat 7:5  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Php 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

So while we should think the best of each other, we must not make the mistake many make in twisting Mat 7:1 and Php 4:8 into saying that we must never make judgments, and that we are not even to judge those who are within “His body, which is the church” (Col 1:27). The exact opposite is true of us if we are Christ’s, and the proof is right here in Matthew 7:

Mat 7:15  Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Mat 7:16  Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

‘Knowing them by their fruits” takes very vigilant judgment, and according to Christ’s apostles, we as His children are actually instructed to “judge all things”:

1Co 2:14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1Co 2:15  But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
1Co 2:16  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

We are to have the mind of Christ and discern between the things of the flesh and the things of the spirit. “He that is spiritual judges all things…” and that is what we are doing here today.

We must be able to properly discern whether our thoughts and our actions will lead us into temptation, because we are told not to tempt the Lord, and we are specifically instructed to petition our heavenly Father, “…lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for the ages…”

Mat 4:7  Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Mat 6:13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

That is my own prayer for myself and for all of us who are “the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the Truth”. We, as the flesh and bones of Jesus Christ, are warned to “abstain from all appearances of evil”, and while we have great liberty in Christ, we are warned:

Gal 5:13  For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

By “occasion to the flesh” Paul makes it clear that he is referring to preemptively “cutting off [all] occasion” and that we are to “give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully” about this body of Christ:

2Co 11:12  But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.

1Ti 5:14  I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

When Paul says “… they may be found even as we”, what he is saying is that if you and I are claiming to preach his gospel, then we had better be found living as he lives, which is as Christ lived His life, in total dedication to pleasing His Father and not His flesh.

1Jn 2:10  He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

It is very easy and very natural for us, knowing there is neither male nor female in Christ and that we are all one in Him, to let our liberty in Christ become an occasion to our flesh, and we will then find ourselves in a position of “giv[ing] occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully”  of us.

If a couple of singles, of the opposite sex, are spending extended periods of time together, be it live and in person, or even if it is by e-mail, face time or Skype, that couple must be careful and vigilant against letting themselves get in a position, whether physically, alive and in person, or mentally via electronic media, to do anything which would give the adversary an occasion to speak reproachfully against Christ and His body.

Married men speaking with other married women, or single women, must be very careful and vigilant to say and do nothing that would give the adversary an occasion to speak reproachfully against Christ and His body.

Single men speaking to married women within the body of Christ must be very careful and very vigilant against spending extended periods of time, alive and in person or via the phone or e-mail or any electronic media, doing or saying anything that could give the adversary an occasion to speak reproachfully against Christ and His body which is the church.

In the process of imparting to us these instructions concerning how we ought to behave ourselves in the house of God, it is essential to point out that we, as “the church of the living God [really are] the pillar and ground of the Truth”, if indeed the King of His Kingdom, that is Christ Himself, is living His life within us. If indeed He is doing so, then we will not be seeking to please our flesh, and we will instead will be seeking to know and do “the things of the spirit”:

Rom 8:5  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Rom 8:6  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Rom 8:7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Rom 8:8  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Rom 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Rom 8:10  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Rom 8:11  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

This is how it is possible for the spirit to give life to our mortal bodies while at the same time making us “dead because of sin”:

Col 1:27  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

1Jn 4:16  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
1Jn 4:17  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

That statement, “…as He is, so are we in this world”, should provoke us to inquire diligently concerning how Christ is in this world as it relates to us. He is very clear in letting us know how He feels toward us as His bride and His wife:

Exo 20:5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to [other gods], nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

Exo 34:14  For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

Deu 4:24  For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

Deu 5:9  Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,

Deu 6:15  (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

And what is the mind of God as expressed in the New Covenant?

2Co 11:2  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

Now if we are “as He is… in this world” (1Jo 4:17), then we, too, will be jealous of our spouse both physically and spiritually. We will not be spending more time with others than with our spiritual or physical spouse.  Notice proper jealousy is called “godly jealousy” because it is “godly” jealousy”! That means that we should be guarding jealously the relationship we have with our physical spouse just like we ought to be guarding our relationship with our spiritual spouse, our “one husband” Christ.

We know that the things of the spirit are understood by the things that are made.

Rom 1:20  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

With that perspective, none of us will spend more time with anyone more than we do with our own “first love”. Obviously we would all want our physical spouse to put us before anyone else in this world. Christ certainly did so:

Mat 14:23  And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

Mar 6:46  And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.

Luk 6:12  And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

Joh 6:15  When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

“He was there alone” does not mean that His Father was not there. What it does mean is that Christ was “there alone” with His Head, His Husband, His Father:

1Co 11:3  But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. [This is the fruit which we will reap by putting both our physical and our spiritual spouse first as Christ set us the example:

Joh 8:28  Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

Joh 7:17  If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

In other words, if we “tremble at His Word, then we will know His doctrine and whether it is the doctrine of God or the doctrine of men.

Isa 66:5  Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.

Isa 66:2  For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

There is much more to His doctrine, and there is much more to His Word, but the following verses are His doctrine and His Words concerning how we are to behave ourselves in the house of God as it relates to the two sexes:

Mar 6:7  And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;

Luk 10:1  After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.

Why did our Lord send His apostles and the seventy out to be His witnesses by twos? Would they not have been capable of covering more territory and reaching twice as many people if they had gone out as individuals? They might well have been capable of doing so, but there is a principle at work which is far more important than simply covering the most territory and reaching more people, and this is that principle:

1Th 5:22  Abstain from all appearance of evil.

How important is it that we obey and live by that principle? To see just how important it is that we abstain from all appearance of evil, we will take a look at how this world treated our Lord whose we are. If the world was looking to condemn our Lord, how much more will they seek an occasion against those who are his disciples?

Christ said this about all those in whom He dwells:

Mat 10:21  And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
Mat 10:22  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Mat 10:24  The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
Mat 10:25  It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

Luk 6:40  The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

Mat 25:40  And the King [Christ] shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

This world falsely accused our Lord of being disobedient to and blaspheming His Father. How much more are they seeking an occasion to condemn Him through condemning His body?

If Christ identifies so closely with us, then it is imperative that we represent just exactly who He is. If we do not represent Him as He is, then we are not His representatives. These are His words in answer to Saul of Tarsus, who later became the apostle Paul, when Saul was persecuting and stoning all he could locate who claimed to be Christ’s representatives:

Act 22:6  And it came to pass, that, as I [Saul of Tarsus/Paul the apostle] made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.
Act 22:7  And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Act 22:8  And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.

In this instance Christ tells Saul of Tarsus that in persecuting His disciples Saul is persecuting “Jesus of Nazareth” Himself”.

Finally we are made to know in no uncertain terms that we are to understand that “as He is so are we in this world”:

1Jn 4:16  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
1Jn 4:17  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

What an incredible thing to say about us as His witnesses! ‘As he is so are we in this world’. Christ is the light of this world, and He says we are, too:

Joh 8:12  Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Mat 5:14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Now look at just how vigilantly the apostle Paul sought to avoid giving any occasion to the adversary to reproach the church, which is His body:

2Co 8:18  And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;
2Co 8:19  And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:
2Co 8:20  Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us:
2Co 8:21  Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

Yes, we have great liberty in Christ, but let none of us ever use that liberty for an occasion to the flesh or even to give the adversary an occasion to reproach His body, which is the church.

In concluding this study, I want to again cut off any occasion to speak evil of the Lord’s body. There will very likely be those who will hear or read this admonition to abstain from all appearance of evil, and will twist what I have said into “Mike said that there should be no communication between the sexes within the body of Christ” when that is not what I have said here at all! What I have pointed out to all of us is that Christ sent out His disciples and His apostles by twos so no one could ever say anything evil against those disciples and apostles. What I have shown you is that Paul did not presume upon the faith of the churches in His honesty. Rather, he solicited another man, whom they all trusted, to go with him up to Jerusalem with the gift the churches were sending to aid their fellow Christians. What I have said is that we must be very careful to maintain good works and to abstain from all appearances of evil.

I will however confess that I have said in the past that singles should marry only in the Lord, and that is true:

1Co 7:39  The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. 

I have also said that “only in the Lord” means only in the body, which again, is true as far as marriage is concerned. But as all of us demonstrate, there is a time when we are being dragged to the body of Christ, but are not yet part of that body, and it is essential that someone in the body of Christ confirm to us what the holy spirit has already begun revealing. At that point we must admit that singles within the Lord’s body can and have been those instruments of confirmation as our dear Tony and Gale, as well as my son Austin and his wife, Kat, demonstrate. The Lord dragged our sisters to their prospective husbands, and they patiently but firmly witnessed of the mind of Christ to their future spouses before they knew these ladies would become their wives.

What we have been lacking is the utilization of our “older women” in mentoring and teaching the younger women, as we have been instructed:

Tit 2:3  The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
Tit 2:4  That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
Tit 2:5  To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Nothing would be more helpful to “the young women” than the admonitions that can and should be flowing to them from their elders of the same sex, and these verses instruct us. Lord willing we will from this day forward, implement these Godly instructions when the Lord sends us a potential spouse for any of our young men, whom the Lord Himself has placed within our fellowship.

Next week, if the Lord wills, we will see that when we do fall and come short of the glory of God, when we do offend our brother and we are reconciled to our brother, that we must not expect full restitution immediately when that brother wants to be reconciled but does not have the means at that moment to make full restitution for the trespass and the debt owed.

Mat 6:12  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

The latter half of Matthew 18 and Romans 15:1 will be the opening and substantiating verses for an admonition against the spirit which would have us to demand of our brother, “Pay me now [or go to prison]”, when that brother has, in reality, offended us merely a fraction of what we have offended our Lord.

Here are those sections of scripture:

Mat 18:21  Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Mat 18:22  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Mat 18:23  Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
Mat 18:24  And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
Mat 18:25  But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
Mat 18:26  The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Mat 18:27  Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
Mat 18:28  But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
Mat 18:29  And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Mat 18:30  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
Mat 18:31  So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
Mat 18:32  Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
Mat 18:33  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
Mat 18:34  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
Mat 18:35  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Rom 15:1  We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

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