Testing The Spirits

GUARD AGAINST THE DECEIVER

We must be careful in diagnosing what we see in the “religious/church world” and keep in mind that the devil is a thief, robber and counterfeiter. He robs from God’s true biblical principles and twists them to his own usage. Just as there are certainly true miracles, healings and supernatural manifestations performed by God through the power of His Spirit, there are also those performed by Satan.

We must keep in mind that simply because someone professes to be a Christian and demonstrates certain supernatural phenomena and miracles of healing, using the name of Jesus, does not mean that this person must be performing miracles by the power of Jesus Christ, nor that the gospel he propagates is the genuine gospel of Jesus Christ. When we think of Satan’s counterfeits, we tend to think of some gross exaggeration, but this is not necessarily so. The Bible tells us that Satan’s counterfeits  are so similar to the real that, if possible, even the very elect would be deceived.

Which of us would accept a three dollar bill, or a five dollar bill printed in blue ink; the bill that is readily passed is the one that only the keenest eye can detect.

The Lord gives us, as His children, ways by which we can test and know the spirits.

WAYS TO TEST THE SPIRITS

In I John 4:1, we are commanded, “Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Our first response as believers should be to “believe not.”

The following are eight scriptural ways for testing the spirits.

1. Does the Preaching Align with Scripture?
Does what we hear line up with the whole of Scripture? (Mt. 16:20-23 )

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Praise Is Not the Way to Revival but the Result of It

In recent years there has been an emphasis in churches on how to give God our praise.

Praise is wonderful and scriptural, but God does not desire praise from impure hearts! God told the Israelites not to bring Him their sacrifices and burnt offerings, until they were ready to bring Him their broken and contrite hearts.

Ps. 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

God desires holy hearts—then praise. If God’s people have holy hearts, they won’t need instruction in how to praise the Lord–they won’t be able to restrain themselves from it! Our praise doesn’t come from classroom instruction, but from the abundant overflow of a holy heart. True praise doesn’t flow from repetition and practice, but from a pure and rejoicing heart. True praise springs forth when the Holy Spirit fills purified hearts. Without a pure heart, praise is an abomination to a Holy God. God still says to frivolous and disobedient churches today:

“Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs, for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment run down as waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.” (Amos 5:23‑24)

The only way to true revival is through heart purity

Regardless of the claim to spirituality and revival made by churches today, we find divorce, all manner of strife, contention, heartache, jealousy, envying, malice and guile. The fact is that no “new” method, program or expression or Pentecostal experience is going to bring a God‑sent revival. The only method that will produce genuine revival is the one Peter said the Gentiles experienced, that which the Jews first experienced, heart purity. (Acts 15:9) Prayer with brokenness and personal holiness will bring true God‑sent revival.

No organization, discipleship group, home cell group, “how to praise and worship” conference, restoration movement, healing service, tongues doctrine or any other gift expression is going to bring revival. If the lifestyle portrayed is floundering in carnality, no one will see the true Jesus, even though they claim Christ as their cornerstone. There is a difference between carnality and immaturity. Carnality is sin; immaturity is youth. Carnality requires repentance; immaturity requires growth.

There is certainly a dire need today for unity, restoration and true Pentecostal power. But, this must come out of the fertile soil of holiness. The call is first purity—then praise; first repentance—then restoration; first consecration—then charisma.

Whether Charismatic or non‑Charismatic discipleship groups, home cell groups, prayer groups, praise groups, Bible study groups or restoration conferences each has the same need: genuine heart purity. This requires humility, repentance, sacrifice, faith, servanthood, prayer and absolute obedience to Christ. When this happens, there will be revival—true revival.

But, beloved, the Bible tells us not to look for great multitudes in this true revival. The true will be holy, but comparatively few. If a pastor does not honestly desire true holiness, his church will eventually take on his character rather than Christ’s. Let us see the day when the pastoral prayer is “God make us a church whose cry is to be holy of heart, blameless and unreprovable in Your sight. God, send us true revival!

 What is a True God Sent Revival

Available Soon on Amazon

Biblical Church—What is it?

Strait Gate Volume 1

Available on Amazon

We will begin by first saying what we are referring to as a biblical church, as it exists on this earth today, will never be a perfect church. The perfect church awaits the heavenly perfect age. But, it is a church that does aspire to be perfect.

With each year, we can see the apostate church increasing. The truth of the Bible is denied or perverted, heresy reigns and sin abounds. We know that God’s Word tells us ungodliness and apostasy will abound. But, this does not mean our spirits aren’t grieved and our hearts hurt because of the condition of this last days’ apostasy and the rebellion and wickedness of men’s hearts.

There is a famine in the land today for the Word of God, just as happened to Old Testament Israel. The Bible tells us of this. (Amos 8:11-12; II Tim. 4:3-4) True believers increasingly find themselves starved for the Word of God. They are becoming more and more famished for it—thirsty in a dry land.

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Theology Is Confusing, But Don’t Throw the Baby Out with the Bath Water!

Proverbs 25:2  It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

In the first ten years of my Christian life, I spent exhaustive years studying various theological positions, even simultaneously attended classes in theologically opposing seminaries—one Reformed and one Wesleyan. During this time, I would try to understand various opposing theological positions and to relate them to my practical Christian life and ministry. I particularly studied how the various theologies chose to describe the Person of God—how did each see and present God’s character?

Studying the various theologies became very confusing. It became especially confusing in the contradictions between theologians regarding the essential doctrines of salvation and sanctification. If there is confusion and contradiction in these two doctrinal areas, ultimately there will also be a contradiction and confusion about the Person and personality of God. I discovered that every doctrine a man believes can ultimately be traced back to his doctrine of God. The book, “Understanding Who God Is” came out of this.

What was most confusing in all the theological study was not what I saw to be wrong in the various doctrines, but that I could see there was actually biblical truth in them all! Since I didn’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water, the question became, “How can these elements of theological truth come into biblical balance?”

I concluded theological balance exists. In order to find it, we cannot disregard the Scriptural truths in each theological position. God did not give Christians the option of disregarding any verse in His Bible while focusing on another, simply because the verse doesn’t match our particular theological leaning or position. I concluded that I needed to resolve the issues regarding God’s biblical balance in the essential doctrines, especially regarding the doctrines of salvation and sanctification.

From this desperate search to arrive at theological balance came the writing of the books available now on Amazon and on the Understanding His Way Christian bookstore . Searching out biblical balance in understanding His way and His Person is worth your time and effort as a believer. It will bring you into an astounding rest, joy and peace through being established in His whole Word, rather than just a theological leaning held by a church or denominational school you attend.

Available on Amazon

 

SUFFERING DOES A GODLY WORK IN US

Produces Low-Mindedness, Understanding, Love and Compassion

Romans 5:3 tells us that tribulation works patience in us. As we learn to rest in patience, we realize the experience of salvation and sanctification. By the success and victory of this experience, we gain the hope for deliverance. Finally, somehow through it all, we are enlarged in our capacity to love God, and through us this love of God is shed abroad to others.

Romans 5:3-5 is an amazing sequence of events—not at all understood by the lost, but every believer whom God has carried during times of tribulation can attest its validity. These times can be very trying. It’s easier to say to someone else “Just rest in God” than actually to do it ourselves when the thermostat of our “trying furnace” is turned up until we find ourselves pressed out of measure. But rather than claiming that such tribulation is unscriptural, God’s intent is to teach us to rejoice in tribulation and grow in grace. This brings a humbling that brings more low-mindedness concerning ourselves.

It’s a work with a price, but a necessary price worth the cost. Most of all, with each occurrence of tribulation, we realized more love for God, gain a deeper understanding of love and acquire more compassion for others.

Rom. 5:3-5

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.


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As a Christian, Can You Be Defeated by a Recurring Problem?

We wrestle not with flesh and blood. Beneath every human problem, there exists an underlying spiritual root. And every spiritual root is connected with ungodly spiritual influence and power. Therefore we must always be dependent upon the Spirit’s power in casting down strongholds.

II Cor. 10:3-4
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)”

It is impossible to remove these strongholds by the strength of our own human power because they have been imparted to us by spiritual forces with spiritual power. It will take spiritual power to effectively remove them. This is why secular psychotherapy can never be ultimately effective. Secular psychotherapy, for all its indepth rationale, has only a limited and natural ability to diagnose the humanistic appeal for help, but lacks the power to deliver.

For more on how you can have victory over strongholds and recurring problems in your Christian walk, there’s a book written from years of counseling as a pastor and helping Christians obtain freedom. The book is Biblical Counseling, available on Amazon. Can you as a born again believer “counsel” yourself? Can you counsel others? The answer is “yes.”

THE SPIRIT-FILLED VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN LIFE

Regardless how thoroughly you deal with spiritual strongholds, no victory can be maintained aside from a continual moment-by-moment appropriation of the Holy Spirit empowered, faith appropriated “know-reckon-yield,” dead and live reckoning principles given through the apostle Paul in his victorious Christian life treatise of Romans chapters 6-8.

Having seen many delivered of strongholds and set free to walk in the victory that belongs to God’s children,  your victory is assured when you work through your recurring problems and strongholds God’s way. He will do it for you, in you, through His power, His Word!


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What Effect Does Abiding in Christ Have on Your Prayers?

Understanding Prayer Available on Amazon

In order for us to pray in the name of Jesus, it is necessary that we abide in Jesus and that His Words abide in us.

What then does it mean to abide in Christ? In John 15, Jesus compares Himself to a vine and His disciples to the branches of the vine. Some branches continued in the vine; they remained in living union with the vine. This means the sap or life from the vine constantly flows into these branches; they have no independent life of their own. Everything in them is simply the outcome of the life of the vine flowing into them.

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