Sunday, June 5, 2011

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Discerning Of Spirits

          Discerning of spirits is a gift of God, but you have to make sure it is His gift you are using and not just your opinion that is guiding you.  In my traveling salesman days, back in the 1980’s, I would get a chilled eerie feeling whenever I got close to New Bern, NC.  I didn’t know why I got these feelings but found out later New Bern was a concentrated center for witchcraft.  There was a clash of spirits. 


          We are instructed to judge all things in relationship to the Word of God.  We are also told to test the spirits[1].  We are instructed to make sure we are in God’s will before we take action.  We are warned about false prophets, false teachers, and those claiming to be Christ. 


          Remember an old Jewish statement – “An all loving and all powerful God will do whatever an all loving and all powerful God wants to do”.  This all loving and all powerful God, knowing that we were not capable of living perfect lives, provided His all loving and all powerful Son to pay the price for our shortcomings.  All we have to do is accept His all powerful gift.[2]


          What has happened to Christianity?  Man, from his deep need for spiritual fulfillment, has not only withdrawn from the conventional denominations of Christianity but has, since the beginning of time, invented cults of different kinds to fulfill his longings,  Why, since the beginning of time has this happened?  It is because man, in his finite wisdom, has inevitably judged this finite wisdom to be superior to even the infinite wisdom of God.  Man in his own mind is right![3]  Is this because God is hard to locate?  Absolutely not!  The Bible tells us God will reveal Himself to whoever seeks Him.  In the Old Testament the Lord was available to people like Abraham and Moses, although initially they didn’t know who He was.  The difference between people like Abraham and Moses as opposed to the average guys of that time, is the openness factor.  If you truly open your heart, God is faithful to fill the void within you. 


          In today’s world, and several past centuries, we have had the Bible to guide our way.  The denominational churches we have today were all founded in strict Bible teaching and true love for the Lord.  What has happened is, as usually happens when man tries to think for himself instead of listening to the Lord, man blunders.  The message in a lot of denominations has become watered down and politically correct.  The preferred message today, in many of these churches, is a feel good, fluff message that minimizes the real message of the Bible.  The truth is that sin is real, hell is real and punishment is the result of unforgiven sin.  In the same way, God is real, His message is real, the Bible is real, Gods love is real and the salvation He provides is real. 


          If you attend church on a regular basis, how close does the preacher’s message match the Bible?  Cults are abundant today and many of them claim to be “Christian”.  Purposeful misinterpretation of scripture is the basis of many of these cults and some of the denominational churches have fallen into these false teachings.  God never promised to make us filthy rich in this world.  He never promised to keep us in perfect health in this world.  The Hold Spirit never intended for His gifts to be used as toys.  His true promise is that He will be with us in our trials and provide our daily needs.  The gifts of the Spirit are to be used for the edification of the church.  Since many of us are like sheep and tend to follow the leader, we are led astray by those leaders who are either misled themselves or are purposely misleading their followers.  This is the spirit of deception.  We are instructed to study the Bible for ourselves in order to show ourselves approved.[4]  Could this be because God knew these things would happen?


Below are the tenants of Biblical Christianity –

1.  There is one true and living God.  He has three parts – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

2.  God is all knowing, all seeing, all powerful and always present.

3.  Jesus was born of a virgin.

4.  Jesus was all man and all God.

5. He taught what He wanted us to know, and saw to it that these things were recorded in the New Testament (new testimony of witnesses to what was taught and what took place).

6.  Jesus is the Messiah, sent from the Father to be tortured and die on the cross, so that we could have an undeserved personal relationship with Him.

7.  The Holy Spirit is the personage of God that is with us at all times whether we are Christians or not.  He dwells within us if we are Christians. 

8.  The devil is real and his desire is to destroy you. (We have all seen the cartoon with the devil on one shoulder and Jesus on the other.  That is close to the truth. The Holy Spirit never leaves you, and the devil is constantly trying to lead you in the wrong direction.)

9.  Eternal salvation is available to anyone who repents of their sin and accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

10.  You absolutely must be Born Again, in order to enter the kingdom of God.  The work has been done, the price has been paid and the availability is there for everyone. 

11.  The Bible is the inspired Word of God.  Anything, that differs from the Bible, whether in print or in attitude, is blasphemy. 

12.  Jesus is going to return in Glory.



          When considering if something is to be judged as a cult or God’s truth, we should keep in mind the words of Gamaliel – “If this work is of men, it will come to naught, but if it be God, we cannot overthrow it.”[5] Jesus said “Anyone who isn't with me opposes me, and anyone who isn't working with me is actually working against me.”[6]

Jesus said: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”[7]

[1] 1 John 4:1
[2] John 3:16, Romans 10:9
[3] Proverbs  21:2
[4] 2 Timothy 2:15
[5] Acts 5:38-39
[6] Matthew 12:30 New Living translation
[7] Matthew 5:15-23


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