THE SPIRIT OF GOD OR THE SPIRIT OF ERROR? HOW TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. ~ 1 John 4:1-3

The confession that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not an acknowledgment of a historical person named Jesus. Rather, it is the acknowledgment that this man Jesus, was more than a historical figure. He was God manifested in the flesh. It is a confession that speaks of the deity of Jesus Christ. We know this because of the emphasis John places on the deity of Christ throughout the epislte.

John begins his letter by testifying of the deity of Christ.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. ~ 1 John 1:1-3

Likewise, John ends his letter by testifying of the deity of Christ.

And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. this is the true God, and eternal life. ~ 1 John 5:20

The deity of Jesus Christ is a major theme in the writings of John, who tells us that every spirit that denies the deity of Christ is not of God but is of the anti-Christ.

Those who confess the deity of Christ have the Spirit of God. This is consistent with Paul’s words to the Corinthians “no man can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Spirit of God”

True fellowship with God is fellowship with the one who John says is “eternal life” and who was with the Father from the beginning. Christ is Lord, and he is exalted, and by this truth (God manifest to us) we can know the difference between the Spirit of God and the  Spirit of error.

The Holy Spirit exaltes the Son of God.

A SOUNDING BRASS, OR A TINKLING SYMBOL ?

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1

I have been bothered by the abundance of false teachings and so-called revelation given by those who speak with tongues. I have observed this over a long period of time.

I have finally reached a place of wanting to address it. As one who has spoken much in tongues at certain times in my life, I am disturbed that so much error has entered the church through those who speak with tongues.

Being gifted to speak with tongues does not mean you are spiritual person. The Corinthians spoke much in tongues, but according to Paul they were carnal believers.

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. ~ 1 Corinthians 3:1

When the gift of tongues is properly understood, and kept within its biblical boundries, it is a great blessing. When tongues becomes a badge of spiritually, revelation, and walking in the supernatural – abuses, error, and false teachings follow. Rather than following Jesus, those who misapproiate tongues often fall into a false sense of spirituality.

Recently, I came across something someone had written titled, 100 BENEFITS OF SPEAKING IN TONGUES. While a hand full of the mentioned benefits had scriptural support, the vast majority of them did not.

Allow me to share a few of them and the reason why they are wrong.

Benefit #4 claims, Tongues is the believer’s direct access to the throne room.

This is false, tongues is not the believer’s direct access to God’s throne, the person of Jesus Christ is. The scriptures tell us that there is only one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ. Jesus instructed his disciples to come to the Father in his name, and in the book of Hebrews we are told to come boldly into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus.

Jesus is our direct access to God, speaking in tongues is not.

By claiming that tongues is the believer’s direct access to the throne room, the writer has elevated tongues to the status that only Jesus has in scripture, and by default he is closing out those who don’t speak with tongues.

Therefore this view of tongues should be rejected, for such statements elevate tongues beyond its biblical boundries and opens the mind of carnal believers to a false sense of spirituality.

According to the Bible, the fruit of the Spirit is revealed as love, joy, peace,  patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self control ~ Galatians 5:22-23. These are the characteristics found in the lives of those who are spiritual, and according to Paul, you can speak with tongues and still be lacking in the fruit of the Spirit.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (LOVE), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1

Also on the list of 100 benefits of speaking in tongues was an unbiblical spin on speaking mysteries. Point #5 says, Tongues is speaking divine mysteries – divine coded secrets.

Obviously this statement is predicated on Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 14:2, which says, For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

The emphasis of this text as the context reveals is that tongues is spoken in a language not understood by the hearer, and that is the reason for the use of the word mysteries. Speaking mysteries doesn’t mean “divine hidden codes” which is another way of saying “hidden revelation.”

It simple means you do not understand with your mind the meaning of your tongues, no more than you would understand what a Korean, or Russian were saying if you didn’t know their language. Paul explains this when he says, Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. ~ v.11.

Soon thereafter Paul says the following:

For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. ~1 Corinthians 14:14-15

The New Testament does not teach that we are praying divine coded secrets when we pray in tongues, and such ideas are the breeding ground for false revelation not consistent with the sound doctrine given to us in the scriptures. When we go beyond the teachings of scripure thinking we have spiritual revelation because of tongues, this can  will open our minds to doctrines of demons.

It is almost certain that this is the reason why so many who elevate tongues beyond the scriptural broundries very seldom obey the Bible’s instructions regarding the proper use of tongues publically. Rather than remaining silent in obedience to God’s Word, many  elect to “display their spiritually” by speaking in tongues publically when there is no one present to interpet. Yet the scriptures teach us to be silent in public if there is no interpeter.

The 6th benefit mentioned on the list of the 100 Benefits says, Tongues is drawing secrets to life’s complicated issues.

There is not a single text anywhere in the New Testament that even hints to this. In every place that tongues is referenced in the New Testament, where we are told what was said in other tongues, the emphasis is always that of magnifying God.

Notice Paul’s words in 1 Corinthains 14:

What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. ~ v. 15-17

Notice that Paul’s description of what is being said in tongues is that of blessing God and giving thanks. This is consistent with Acts 2. When the mulititude heard the 120 disciples speaking in tongues they heard them speaking of “the wonderful works of God” ~ v.11.

It is also consistent with Acts 10 where we find Cornelius and his house, “speaking with tongues, and magnifying God”. ~ Acts 10:46

In Acts 11, Peter described what happened at Cornelius’s house as being similar to the experience of the 120 disciples on the Day of Pentecost.

And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? ~ Acts 11:15-17

The gift of th Holy Spirit is given to us to exalt Jesus, and the gift of tongues (scriptually) is given to help us bless and thank God, and glorify him.

Speaking in other tongues is not going to straighten out your theology. It didn’t do that for the Corinthians and it won’t for you either. It is not going to make you spiritual. it didn’t do that for the Corinthians, and it won’t for you either.

This is where I think people mistake the purpose for the gift of other tongues. The primary purpose for tongues is for exalting God (praising and glorifying him) in your personal devotion.

If you pray in other tongues, your spirit is edified, but others around you are not, and that is why the gift of the interpretation of tongues is needed in public. Praying and singing in other tongues in your personal devotion will spiritually enrich you in your praying and singing in your understanding.

I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:18-19

Paul makes a contrast between his much speaking in tongues privately, and speaking in the church. While speaking in tongues in private edifies the individual who speaks in tongues, speaking in tongues publicly does not edify those who do not know what you are saying.

This is why Paul says he’d rather speak five understandable words in the church than 10 thousand which can’t be understood by others. Displaying tongues publically with no interpertation is not an act of being spiritual, but carnal and selfish because it is not motivated by love towards others in the room. Such displayes of tongues causes a person to be spiritually unpleasant as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal, rather than a sweet fragance of God’s love in Christ.

When we are in fellowship with others  we should be concerned with the edification of others, and not ourselves. Paul tells the Corinthians to keep silent (from speaking in tongues) in the church if there is no interpreter present.

If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:27-28

The sad truth is that many Christians are robbed of the blessing of speaking in other tongues because of the abuse of carnal Christians who think speaking in tongues publicly is a sign of spirituality. It is not!

Speaking in tongues publicly with no interpretation is a sign of carnality. Being able to control yourself and keep silent is a sign of spirituality. In his instruction concerning the use of tongues and when to keep silence, Paul says, Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. ~ 1 Corinthains 14:20.

Spiritually mature people do not display their tongues publicly!

Spiritual people do not need to draw attention to themselves.. Spiritual people are more concerned with using their gifting with discretion and wisdom so that the name of Christ is glorified and others edified.

 

WITCHCRAFT OR THE POWER OF GOD? HOW CAN I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE?

In the book Acts, there is not one example of anyone being prayed for to recieve the gift of tongues. Instead, they were prayed for to recieve the Holy Ghost. For example, consider the following from Acts:

Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. ~ Acts 8:14-17

Among those in Samaria was a man named Simon who had used sorcery to bewitch the people. This man led the people to believe that his power was from God ~ v 9-11. When he saw the power of God demonstrated by the apostle (Peter and John) he offered them money for this ability.

And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. ~ v 18-19

Simon was impressed with the miracles which Philip had done, and with the ministry of Peter and John as they prayed for the people to recieve the Holy Spirit. However, he was unrepentant of his soceries and wanted to continue to bewitch the people. He actually thought he could swindle the gift that Peter and John were endowed with by God, by offering them money.

In response, Peter says the following to Simon:

Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. ~Acts 8:20-23

That last phrase of Peter’s “I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity” speaks volumes. Evidently, Simon was bitter that his power of socery to decieve the people had been trumped by the real power of God displayed through Philip and the apostles. He cowardly attempted to sneak in and posses the same abilities without going through the door of repentance.

Much like Simon, who desired to purchase the power the Holy Spirit, I believe we have an epidemic within the Chruch as more and more people want to be known for having the power of God, yet they have not truly repented, and aren’t seeking the Holy Spirit for the right reasons.

In the book of 1 Thessalonians the apostle Paul tells us exactly why God has gven us the Holy Spirit.

For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8

Much of the shenanigans going on within the Charasmitic churches in the name of “the power of God” is no more that witchcraft decieving the people. If the end result does not lead to to a holy life coupled with a real reverance for God, it isn’t God’s power.

The real power of the Holy Ghost brings repentance. In Acts 2, after the 120 disciples were filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke with other tongues, Peter preached the gospel and instructed the people who gave audience to turn from their sins in repentance towards God.

Those who repented, “continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common… ~ Acts 2:42-44

Notice that these who had recieved the gift of the Holy Ghost through repentance, had the fear of the Lord in them.

If there is no real repentance coupled with the fear of the Lord which leads to a holy and clean life for the Lord, the power on dislay is not from the Holy Ghost.

FOLLOW SCRIPTURE AND NOT MEN’S CLAIM TO DIVINE REVELATION

When I was a young Christian, I was very hungry for God and I followed people who claimed to have had revelations, visions, and dreams.

Much if my understanding of God’s word was based on those revelations, vision, dreams, and supernatural experiences. I had two personal mentors who I spent much time with. The end result was confusion. My understanding of God’s word and spiritual things was an absolute mess.

It truly took me years to get free from the things I had learned, but the more I sought God for the unadultrated truth and studied the scriptures, I found myself fellowshipping with God and the light of God’s word shined on my understanding. The truth of Christ grew in me, and it was clean, holy, and pure.

As I fellowshipped with God in his word, I found that God’s truth sounded nothing like the claims of the many teachers I followed or the two mentors I learned from.

Eventually, I did come accross the writings of Andrew Murray, who was an wonderful expositor of God’s Word. God used him to nurture me.

It took a long time to untangle the things I had learned, but God’s Word grew and multipled, and today, I am strong in the Lord because of his word.

When ministers who claim to be apostles, prophets, etc., teach their visions, dreams, revelations, and experiences with the intent that their followers would accept it as “divine truth”, be on your guard because error follows such people.

Dreams and visions should only serve to help better understand those things that are clearly supported by the sound doctrine given to us in scriptures.

Though I have had many dreams where I saw symbolic representations of spiritual things, I do not preach or teach those things as doctrine for people to follow. I teach the scriptures.

Once when I was young, I had a dream in which I saw Jesus. I do not preach or teach this, I teach the Bible, nor do I serve the Jesus I saw in the dream. I serve the Jesus that in the scriptures that the Holy Spirit ministers to my heart.

That dream was wonderful, but I seldom think about it and I hold it accountable to the written Word of God. The Jesus in the Bible is of divine authority. The dream I had is subject to scrunity.

Don’t follow the visions, dreams, or experiences of anyone who claims to have had divine revelation.

If I have a revelation in a dream, I am not called to teach it as doctrine for Christians to follow and herein is the problem with the teachings of those who teach thier experiences as divine revelation.

A person can literally make “any claim” and that is a dangerous path to go down.

Stay with the Word of God, and learn the scriptures in context and don’t follow the visions, dreams, and so-called supernatural experiences of those who want to preach and teach thier personal revelations as divine doctrine for Christians to embrace.

THE POWER OF THE BLOOD OF JESUS REVEALED TO THE HEART

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. ~ Hebrews 10:19-22

When I was 19 years old, or in my early 20’s, the Holy Spirit revealed a truth to me about the power of the blood of Jesus from Hebrews 10:19

If this revelation had not been given to me, I possibly would have been overcome in my mind by the darkness that was opposing me. Many times when I would get overwhelmed, I would hear the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart, “the blood.” These were calming words, and strengthening words. They were words of hope, life, and victory.

The truth the Holy Spirit revealed to me about the power of the blood of Jesus became like holy hook in my soul. No matter how dark things became in my struggle, the darkness could not overcome me because of the light that was in me through this very personal revelation from the Holy Spirit.

It’s one thing to know a truth, it’s another when the Holy Spirit makes it personal to you. Thanks be to God that this truth doesn’t belong to me only, it belongs to all who will call on the name of Jesus.

The blood of Jesus is always victorious over sin and darkness and there is nothing that can stand between you and God when you have sincere faith in the blood of Jesus to cleanse you and make you clean in the sight of God, and that is what became real to me by the revelation given to me by the Holy Spirit.

It doesn’t matter what you have done, God will always honor the blood of his Son Jesus when you cry out to be cleansed. God so desires to make you holy and pure in his sight that he gave his only Son to die for it.

HOPE FROM THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? ~ Matthew 7:11

Nothing speaks more to the liberation of Jesus’s doctrine in contrast to that of the scribes and the Pharisees as the words of Jesus referenced above.

The people had been held as prisioners under the religious doctrine of the scribes and Pharisees for so long, they must have thought of themselves as “evil”, for who could live up to the religious demands of the scribes and Pharisees?

Often the pure in heart feel as if they are evil because they can’t live up to the demands that religiously sanctimonious leaders imposed on them. Unlike the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus’s words gave life.

When Jesus says, “if you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children”, it seems contextally, to be a play on words, for in the beginning of his sermon he addresses the poor in spirit, the meek, the mourning, the pure in heart, and those who were hungry and thirsty for righteousness. Certainly these are not traits of those who are evil.

I don’t think Jesus was really calling the people evil, but but driving home a point to those weary with the religious beat down of the scribes and Pharisees. Just maybe Jesus smiled as he says, “if you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more does your Father in Heaven know how to give good gifts to his children?”

Imagine the hope and joy that must have resonated in the  hearts of the people when they realized they weren’t the evil servants of a harsh God, as proclaimed by the scribes and Pharisees. Instead, they were the blessed children of a good God, who was their loving Father!

PEOPLE DIE, AND GOD ALONE REMAINS

Just days before Smith Wigglesworth suddenly passed away, he sit with a young man of whom he was mentoring. Mr. Wigglesworth wept as he looked at all the invitations of those who wanted him to come speak at their churches and or ministries.

He said to his young friend, “people have their eyes on me, God will take me out of the way.”

A week or so later, he was dead.

Today, people continue to put their eyes on men they esteemed as “great” and they even do so with Smith Wigglesworth. Yet Wigglesworth was broken that people had their eyes on him in such a manner, rather than having their eyes on God.

When Joshua became the leader of Israel after the death of Moses, God said to Joshua, “Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel…as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” ~ See Joshua 1:1&3

There is a reason why God buried Moses himself. The people of Israel were prone to idolatry and most likely would have made a shrine to Moses, breaking the very first two commandments that God gave them through Moses.

During the time of Zechariah the prophet, God said to his people, “Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the Lord. YOUR FATHERS, WHERE ARE THEY? AND THE PROPHETS, DO THEY LIVE FOREVER? But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the Lord of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us. ~ Zechariah 1:4-6

People die – aposltes die, prophets die, pastors die – they all die. God alone remains. Serve the Lord, and get your eyes off of people!

Men are mere servants of God and no man is worthy of being exalted except the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the God-man! He is the ONLY MAN who is worthy of glory, honor, and prasie.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE?

Destiny and purpose have become two of the most popular expressions that professional ministers use to entice unstable and immuture Christians.

For many, the Christian experience revolves around their own personal sucess, or “spiritual satisfaction”, and this is a misguided pursuit.

In the New Testament, the meaning of the Christian life is laced throughout Paul’s teaches to the Gentiles. Though Paul made it clear that he was an apostle called of God and sent to the Gentiles, Paul did not view his calling as an apostle as the great purpose for his Christian life.

Paul’s pursuit was to know Christ, and to be conformed to the likeness of Christ. And for Paul this was the “high calling” of which he was in pursuit.

Consider Paul’s words from the book of Philippians:

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 3:12-14

Forgetting those things that are past is contextually a reference to those things mentioned by Paul in the previous verses of which he could have boasted. Paul had many credentials to boast in.

Yet Paul considered these things as nothing in comparison to “knowing Christ”, which Paul considered to be the prize and high calling for which he was called.

Unlike so many today who parade themselves as apostles and prophets, suducing their followers with the proverbial “carrot of destiny on a stick”, Paul’s view of the meaning of the Christian experience was found in knowing Christ: a pursuit that is basically non-existent among the “purpose and destiny” preachers.