Today I am posting the beginning of a message entitled “Apostolic Conversion” by the late Art Katz, who passed in 2007.
Arthur Katz was a Jewish believer, or rather, apostolic disciple of Jesus Christ, who had a prophetic voice very similar to Leonard Ravenhill and David Wilkerson. I found this message challenging and inspiring and I hope the same for you:
Tonight I believe that the Lord’s heart is on the subject of conversion. I’m very fond of saying, “Many saved, few converted,” and I’ve come to a realisation after two nights, that to continue along the lines that we have been speaking would be vain unless there has in fact been a radical crossing to the other side. I can’t think of a greater cruelty or delusion than to speak about apostolic things when we are spiritually incapacitated or incapable of walking them out, especially when something foundational to our relationship with God has not yet been effected. The apostolic things that pertain to His glory can only find fulfilment in a people who are utterly abandoned to God. If we embrace only the vocabulary of apostalicity, we engage the cruellest of all deceptions. Let’s talk about anything else, and use any other kind of language, but let’s not embrace this language unless we have an intent to fulfil it. Somehow we need to pause in the course of what is being unfolded in these days and raise the question of the authenticity of our own conversion. Can you understand that it is possible somehow to be saved and even born again of the Spirit – even be filled with the Spirit – and yet not be converted in the sense of an utterness toward God that apostolic reality requires?
Seeing that we are focusing on Paul, I want to read an account of his conversion from Acts, Chapter 9. It is remarkable to note that in the book of Acts there are three expressions or recordings of that conversion. Perhaps it is not an exaggeration to suggest that the apostolic life that followed was altogether proportionate to the kind of commencement or beginning that it had from the first. Or to put it in another way, maybe we can’t exceed or go beyond what is the point of our beginning. Some of us may need a day of new beginnings or a beginning that has never in fact been made; which if it is in fact not made, would condemn us to being fixed at a certain level of Christian response beneath what the Lord himself intensely intends and desires.
………So, as I’ve already said, the inception of the apostolic life greatly determines its end. Many of us are malfunctioning, not walking in fullness, because of inadequate beginnings. I can go off on a long dissertation about the inadequacy of our contemporary gospel, of it being more of a kind of formula for salvation than it is an induction into the most holy faith, and how the pagans in Thessalonica who heard an apostolic proclamation of that gospel were saved “from their idols to serve the living God, and to wait for His son who comes from heaven and who will save them in the day of His wrath.” (1 Thess. 1:9). Evidently, they heard a much fuller and more powerful presentation of the gospel than most of us, and therefore, right from the instant of their conversion, a quality of things was released that made that church distinctive. Indeed, they reflect their beginning and we reflect ours.
But praise God that if our beginnings have been faulty and inadequate, if our poverty of beginning has affected our subsequent walk, then there are ways in which God can give us a new beginning.