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Three Valuable Exhortations

By Zac Poonen

1. Seek to be on Fire for God:
Paul wrote to Timothy: “I want to remind you of the spiritual gifts you received when I laid hands on you. The Holy Spirit is not a spirit of timidity” (2 Tim 1:6). Paul urged him to stir up that gift and to kindle it afresh, to keep the fire burning. From this we learn that even though Jesus baptizes us in the Holy Spirit and fire (Mathew 3:11), we still have to do something to keep that fire burning at all times. God lights the fire. We have to keep supplying the fuel – a life totally surrendered at all times to God’s will. Don’t imagine that because God anointed you once that you can relax and say, “Once anointed, always anointed”. That is as great a fallacy as saying, “once saved, always saved”. I have seen people who were genuinely anointed by God who are spiritually dead one year later. The fire is gone. Worldly interests and pride have come in and taken the fire away. They are now running after money and a comfortable life and have lost the fire of God. That is sad and a great loss for the kingdom of God. So Paul told Timothy, “That fire that came upon you, keep it afresh, keep it burning. It is up to you now. If you don’t keep it burning it will die out. Keep it burning by keeping a good conscience, by studying the word of God, by humbling yourself, by seeking God wholeheartedly, by staying away from the love of money and from arguments with others and from anything that will quench this fire”.

2. Seek Fellowship with Wholehearted Believers:
Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22 “Flee youthful lusts and Pursue after righteousness with those who call upon the name of the Lord with a pure heart”. In other words, we must seek for fellowship primarily with those who seek for purity. That will help us to flee from sin. Our best friends on earth must be those who desire purity with all their hearts. Many believers have lower standards and are not interested in godliness. But we must spend most of our time with those who are seeking to live a holy life. How can we know if someone has a pure heart? Jesus said that people speak out of that which fills their hearts (Matthew 12:34). We know what is filling a man’s heart by the things he loves to speak about. If he is always talking about money and material things, it is because his heart is filled with thoughts of money. On the other hand, when a man wants to talk mostly about the Lord, you know that’s what is filling his heart. I want to fellowship with those who long to be like Jesus. When we love the Lord we love to talk about Him. This is the secret of effective service for the Lord.

3. Seek to Uphold God’s Standards:
Paul exhorted Timothy: “Don’t ever lower the standard” (2 Timothy 1:13). What a great need for an exhortation for all Christian preachers in our day. Don’t lower the standard that you see in the Scriptures in order to bring more people into your church. If you have less people with a higher standard you are a better church in the Lord’s eyes than if you have more people with a lower standard. It is better to have a church with 3 disciples than with 300 comprising believers. Three wholehearted disciples can influence a village for Christ more than 300 compromising believers. This is the burden that every true servant of God must have for the next generation after him. In Christian history, we find most often that the second generation of a movement lowers the standards, because they don’t have the same vision that their founders had. Compare the great denominational churches of today with what they were like in the days of their founders. If the founders of those denominations came to earth today, they would not join the denominations they founded – because it has lowered the standard that the founders held up and proclaimed. The external form of doctrine may be there, but the power and the anointing are gone. Life has gone and the knowledge of God has gone. We must guard this standard through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, because it is a sacred treasure.

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