Transcript–‘The Truth that Edifies’ Part One
By Fred Pruitt
(A talk given April 29 2012, at the home of Gary and Dee Dee Winter in Arlington TX.)
Audio Link “The Truth that Edifies”
Thanks for scaring everybody. It won’t be a minute over three hours …. No, just kidding!
Well, honestly, when we’re doing these things, and it’s about time for folks to show up …. I’m always hoping nobody shows up … [laughter]
Because I have this sense … uh … I have this responsibility on my shoulders, and I have this “thing” I have to say. When you come and you’re “the speaker” or the person that is doing the program, and people are looking at you … If you’re a comedian you’ve got to have funny jokes, and, if you do what we do, then, well, it “must be a Word from God.”
So that is what relieves me at that point, because I know I’m not capable of giving a Word from God, only He is. And so then I settle down and trust in the fact that I have nothing to prove, nothing to demonstrate, nothing to defend. I’ve looked like a fool so many times in my life I’m used to it.
So, if I open my mouth and out comes a duck quack we’ll just give it to the Lord and say thanks! Because these things come out of – what we’re looking for, is not the wisdom of men, right? We’re not looking for clever arguments or intellectual razzle-dazzle … but the Truth that edifies, that lifts up, that brings with it the Light of God, the Light of Christ. And if it’s not that, we don’t want it!
I have no use for anything except for the Real. It’s kind of like counterfeit money, it might look just like the real money, but it’s not, and it’s no good, and we don’t want it. And the only One Who can bring us the Real, is the Spirit of God Himself. So we have to trust that.
And since … this is what the Lord has John and I doing and we’ve been doing it for quite some time, I’ve come to expect that the Lord will meet everyone here where he is, where he or she is, and what you see from Him, He’ll deliver. It may not be in the words that I say or he says, but I find people hearing things that we don’t say, and yet it’s the things that the Spirit says to them.
So …… pay attention to what God says to you! And if something we say doesn’t float your boat, toss it out! Don’t worry about it. Just say, “Lord, just filter all this and give me your Word in this.”
So that’s my introduction.
I was sitting here thinking, the Bible says, Paul says somewhere, that the visible things of the world, testify of the invisible things of God. And some instances of that, that are particularly appropriate to what we are talking about …. When I first began to understand Who I was and how I functioned, God gave it to me in some pictures. One of the pictures was the sun and the moon. When we look at the moon, shining in the night, especially a full moon, it’s glorious, it’s beautiful, especially if it’s a clear night and you’re away from the lights of the city and you can see it real well … I mean it just cheers me up, to see a full moon.
But we realize that we’re seeing the light of the sun – we’re not seeing the light of the moon. And in fact if the light of the sun was not shining on the moon, we wouldn’t see it! That picture began to show me Who we are, as human beings. We were created in the image of God, and the “image” is not the thing itself, it’s a reflection or a representation of what it represents. And so, as an “image” of God, we’re not God. Obviously! We’ve proven that! Although some people might still hold onto the “fact” that maybe they might be, but still, we KNOW we’re not God! Life pretty well teaches us that! Maybe when you’re seventeen or eighteen and full of grit, you think, well I can conquer the whole world … you don’t think you’re the Living God but you think you can “master” this thing called life. Hopefully, by the time you’re a little older, you think well maybe there’s a few things I need to learn and see. Maybe I’m not so great as I thought I was!
But this thing with the sun and the moon I began to really see. Now, let’s say the moon decided, the moon was alive like we’re alive, and we can have our own thoughts and our own separate existence. So let’s say the moon was alive and it thought that the light that shone from it, was its own light. And so it went around trying to light everything up. But unfortunately, unless the sun was shining on it, the moon can’t do it.
Well see, that’s what happened when Adam and Eve took of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They traded a Light they were already living in, and had they continued, they would have reflected the image of God. They would have been the image of God. That wasn’t how it worked out … to use a southern expression, they took a “pig in a poke,” and it turned out to be the devil’s bargain. And, thinking they would become wise as gods, instead they became self-conscious of their own selves, and when the focus in their – they were sort of unconscious in their infancy. Adam and Eve were not quite like us – it’s where humanity started. They were in a sense innocent, they really didn’t know who they were – they were like babies. And so, in their infancy, in their babyhood, this voice comes along and says, “Look, God’s holding out on you! If you take of this Tree right here, you’re going to know all there is to know about good and evil and you’ll be as wise as God. In other words, you’ll be able to be like God! God’s holding out on you, now you just go on and take of that!”
So, they, they’d been given the commandment not to do it, but here’s this voice, and it says Eve looked at the Tree, it looked like a good tree, seemed like a good tree, it seemed like the right thing to do.
I mean, there’s this “kindly friendly voice” saying, “You know, God – I mean, He really does love you, but, He really hasn’t got … He’s just trying to hold you back.” And so they fell for that!
And don’t feel too bad and blame Adam and Eve for too much because if it had been us we’d of done it, too!
Because we’re all there. Because we all first think, that we’re the stuff. I’ve got the stuff and I have to somehow become the right kind of person, whether we’re “religious” or whether we have spiritual faith or not. In the world, whether we believe in God or not, we de facto think we are the stuff, and all I have to do, and all I have to do to live life and conquer the world is just apply myself, work really hard, and I’ll accomplish my goals. And if I’m good then these things will happen, and if I’m evil, then these things will happen.
So that’s where humanity began. Humanity began thinking that it had its own light. And it didn’t. When they took the wrong fruit, that light retreated. And instead they were left with sort of a flashlight with some really low batteries, if I could say that.
Because God did create us in ourselves to have life in ourselves. But that “life” does not function correctly, without the right “light” in it, without the right battery, without the right power. And in this case it’s not a battery, it’s not a light, it’s not a power, it’s a Person!
Because, things were created, the entire universe was created, to manifest God in all His glory – everything we see is God showing something about Himself. The trees, the air, the earth, the sky! The beautiful things!
All these things are opening or demonstrating to mankind the Creator in all His Glory and all His infinite variety. And it’s all beautiful. It says, God created all these things, and it says God looked at it and said, “It was good!”
And then Man came along, and we could say, “Man messed it up, screwed it up, now everything’s all a mess,” and yes, that’s the truth, but at the same time, I always say God never went to “Plan B.”
I mean, it wasn’t like [God in heaven thinking], “Oh, I didn’t see that coming! I didn’t know they were going to do that! Now, what do I do about it?”
No, it very plainly says, and evidence is there in scripture, and it’s confirmed by Spirit, that before there was a sinner to be forgiven, there was a Lamb slain from the foundation of eternity. So this was foreseen. We don’t understand God and all the “foreseen stuff.” We don’t understand how He can live “outside” of time, and we live “inside” of time, and somehow God Who is outside of time somehow relates to us who are inside of time, sequential time, and we don’t get that. I’m not even going to try to get that, until, you know, the Lord brings us into expanded consciousness, probably on the other side of this place where we are now.
But, what I began to see, is that even though this plan was in effect, God had a reason that Adam and Eve did what they did, and the Serpent did what he did. And all of the result that we’ve had since then.
I know people are really concerned about the state of the world now, the state of our country, the state of other countries, all that’s going on politically, socially, economically, all of this stuff.
We were in California walking out of a friend’s, he was a pastor friend we were visiting, and we were walking out of his house to go somewhere to eat. That’s what you do with “ministers” in Christianity. You go to restaurants and eat a lot. See! So as we’re walking out the door – my friend’s name is Carson – and he said, “You know, things have really gone downhill lately.”
And I knew what he meant, he meant “something since 1965 this or that,” he meant stuff in the “now,” but I said, “You mean, since the Fall?”
Because, that’s really when things went downhill. We’re just living in the results of all that. But I’ll also say, that where sin does abound, there does grace much more abound. And when you begin to really see how God is in control, and that He’s never lost it – like I’ve said many times, He’s not sitting up in heaven wringing His hands saying, “Oh, when are they going to get it, when are they going to see?” He already knows the answer to that. We can’t see till it’s given to us to see.
We can’t have “revival” – everybody wants to get together and figure out how to make revival come. Revival comes when God sends it! And instead of us getting together and deciding we’re going to “get God to come down and bring us a revival,” it’s God Who brings people together, and brings these things about in His own time and way.
In my first church after I was born again, it was a Pentecostal church, and we also called it a “ministerial training program.” It was a “winepress for Jesus.”
We decided, that all we had to do, to get this program off the ground, and get God’s work done out in the world, is just figure out all the “techniques” and procedures and principles they used in the New Testament, and all we gotta do is figure all those things out, apply ‘em – hey, we’ll get it done!
And so, how did the Day of Pentecost come? Well, they had a 120 assembled in an upper room. They were all of one mind and one accord. … That’s kind of hard. … We can get 120 people together, and we can get an “upper room,” but the “one mind and one accord” thing, that’s a little tougher. But we figured, there were some ways we could do that.
And so, I spent several years outlining parts of the New Testament, especially the things that Jesus did. His procedures, His evangelism techniques, His counseling techniques, His prayer techniques, His rising up a great while before the day to go commune with the Father. And, hey, all you gotta do is just do all that and hey, you’re home free!
I may have told this story here before, but, when I was about eight years old, I loved Superman Comic Books. And one thing Superman could do, was he would take a coal, an old chunk of coal, and he would squeeze it in his hand and it would become a diamond. So in my little eight year old mind, I thought, hey, I think I can do that. I didn’t know why anybody hadn’t thought about it before.
There was a man who lived several doors down from us, and he had a vise in his garage. And I knew where there was some coal. And so, one day, they were gone, whoever those people were, were gone, and the garage was always open. And so I went and found this piece of coal and I was going to go down there and put that piece of coal in that vise and squeeze it and squeeze it and squeeze it, til I got a diamond. I thought, well, if Superman can do it, I can do it. And I thought, why has nobody thought of this before? [Laughter] See, God was speaking to me early on. [More laughter] So, I did and I ended up with coal dust. No diamond.
So, that is how we think. My little infant thinking, my little childlike thinking, of how I’m going to get a diamond out of a chunk of coal, was the way we were approaching having the outflow of the Spirit. Because we wanted people to come to Christ, we wanted to walk in the Spirit, we wanted to have the demonstrations of the gifts and all of that stuff …
Actually, what we really wanted was for us to be doing it and for folks to be looking at us and saying, “Ooh, those people are real spiritual. Look at all the stuff they’re doing.” But, of course, we would say we want to do it, “for the glory of God,” and we want people to be healed and we want people to be saved and all these things. We literally spent years looking through all these techniques and procedures … And then thirty years later it came out with “Oh, here is the simplicity of life, what would Jesus do?” Just figure out what Jesus would do and then you do that.
Well, ok, here’s what Jesus would do. He’d bend down, and spit in some mud, spit in the dust, make mud out of His spit and the dust, and then put it on somebody’s eyes, and heal blindness. Hmmm, maybe we can find another thing Jesus would do that might be a little easier than that.
The first thing I heard when I heard this “What would Jesus do?” – “that’s all we gotta do, what would Jesus do, just figure that out and then do that.”
I thought, “But He was the most unpredictable guy in the world! There’s NO WAY to know what Jesus would do in any particular situation. One time He would react one way to a situation. The next day, it would be the same situation but He would react differently.
Because He didn’t live by procedures and techniques! He didn’t have a manual in the back pocket of His seamless robe. He lived by the Life of the Spirit that was within Him. He said, “The Father that dwells within Me, He does the works.” He said, “Whatsoever things the Father does, the same … the Son does likewise.”
Well then what?
Ok, well then, “Ok, Jesus must’ve looked up into heaven and seen the Father standing there, bending down and spitting in the mud, and you know … Obviously, we know, well that’s not right. So how is it that Jesus lived? Because, if we’re going to reproduce the life of Jesus, well then, it must be the way that Jesus did it. The way that Jesus lived His Life as John said, was that He lived it out of the Father who within Him. In fact He said the Son can do nothing of Himself, nothing, not some things, not a few things, or I can do twelve things but God does the rest. He said the Son can do nothing, N 0 T H I N G … of Himself! And then out of the Son doing nothing of Himself, the greatest “works” the world has ever seen out of a single individual, came out of that man. But He did nothing.
You know, I’ve had people say, “Well, yeah, uh, that was Jesus. But if I did nothing, I wouldn’t “do anything.”
I mean, think of it, the Son of God, perfect, never sinned, pleasing to the Father, said He did nothing of Himself. And yet somehow we think we can do “something,” and that somehow will reproduce Christ. Well, of course, that’s foolishness. But we have to be disabused of that notion, that we can do “something” that will bring forth Christ.
Because we can’t do anything. Either He does it or it doesn’t get done. Either it’s His life that comes, or, it’s no life, because He’s the only Life in the universe, there is no other Life. He says, “I AM the WAY!” You want to know your methodology? He’s the methodology! How do I do this? He says, “How do I do these works? I don’t know, the Father does it.” I say, “How do I do this talking? I don’t know, the Father does it.”
How do I stand the fact that I have to be in a car with him [John B] for several thousand miles every few weeks? I don’t know, the Father does it, and I have NO IDEA HOW He does it with me! [Laughter]
But somehow, we’re able to hold it together and we’re not at fisticuffs by the end of our three weeks in the car together. Because what’s happening is, we both have learned, and we didn’t learn this because we were so smart, we’ve learned this because we found out we can do nothing. And in that finding out that we can do nothing we are finding out that He does all. And in finding out that He does All, that’s when we really begin to know that I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Now a long time ago when I read that scripture in my beginning days, that was Jesus adding on to me helping me do things. So I can do all things through Christ, and so here — my consciousness had not been changed. As I grew up. We all grow up with this idea that we’re just ourselves alone and he that helps himself is, you know, the one who gets the stuff.
When I came into Christ it was the early 70s and it was part of that wave that went through the mainline denominations during the late 60s and early 70s, with the Charismatic, went through the Catholic Church, (I was Episcopal) went through the Episcopal Church, Baptist, Presbyterian, and kind of the mainline churches and I was a part of that and that’s when I came into Christ. It also went over into hippie land and got me.
[Laughter] Audience member: “Was that a ‘hiptite’?” [More laughter]
But part of that bunch of folks that came in, this was not me but I noticed them, because I was thrown in the midst with these people, were these really high-powered professional guys who were in charge of companies, as John called them, “fortune 500” type fellows, they’re really high powered, they’re really successful, they’re masters of their trade, masters of their craft, and so, what they decided to do with Jesus and the Life of Christ was to master that the same way they’d mastered their businesses. So these guys got the biggest Bibles and the biggest notebooks and then started underlining everything and memorizing everything, tackling Christianity the same way you’d tackle starting a business or whatever you might do.
So all I got to do is apply myself, ok, what I gotta do?
I gotta get up early and I gotta pray.
I gotta get up early and I gotta read scripture.
And so you do all those things and you just, give it your best! You just memorize, and TRY, and go to every meeting you can go to, listen to every tape, every sermon you can, hear every teacher, read every book. Go – every time you hear there’s great move of God somewhere you go over there. Back in Georgia in those days where I’m from there was a church in Atlanta, Mt. Paran Church of God. And it was going nuts for Jesus. Churches of God are not usually very large, but this one grew into thousands – this is pre-megachurch days. 2410
And so, things were happening! All over the place! There were ministries proliferating, Jimmy Carter’s sister was going around doing a healing ministry. It was an exciting time.
And that was the time that I came in, and we were all applying ourselves, with due diligence, to bring the revival that we thought was coming. You know, do it by our faithfulness, by our effort … And, a lot of that just kind of died away, and , into something else. And what happened to me at the end of that time – I used to … I used to … I had me a program that I made for myself. And my program consisted of an hour of private prayer time a day, ten chapters of the New Testament, ten chapters of the Old Testament, five chapters of Psalms and two chapters of Proverbs. Those were my goals for every day. And I would get up either early in the morning or I’d stay up late at night – because I had a family and I didn’t like to take time away from the family because I had to be a good husband, a good steward, a good father, all of those things.
END PART ONE