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 )
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
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.
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.
Available On Amazon
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!
Available on Amazon
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.
During my early Christian life (born again in1975), I poured over theological doctrines trying to determine which were valid and how they practically applied to everyday Christian life. I also moved about through many theological “camps” and experiences. More than anything, I wanted to have a victorious Christian life, not one characterized by the ups and downs of carnality and defeat.
If we were to ask, “Whom does God save?”, our first thought would be: those who have a humble, broken and contrite heart.
• Ps. 34:18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
This is true. But, as we look a little further, in the book of Acts we see that the Apostle Paul recognized that God saves those who fear God. This fear means a reverent awe for God.