Saturday, April 9, 2011

Test the Spirits

Christians, we have the best owner's manual ever, the Bible! "
2Ti 3:15-17 NKJV - and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

We also have the best Teacher ever, the Holy Spirit! 
John 14:26 NKJV - "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
John 14:17 NLT - He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all Truth. The world at large cannot receive Him, because it isn't looking for Him and doesn't recognize Him. But you do, because He lives with you now and later will be in you.

God's Word is to be our only Source of Truth. Yes, God does bless believers with Spiritual Gifts and those gifts are meant to be used to build up and encourage the body of Christ. (That is a topic we can delve deeper into at another time.) The body of course, is what we know as the "church" or the assembly or gathering of fellow believers in Jesus Christ. The gifts we most encounter in "church" would be that of Teaching and Pastoring. Every Sunday or whenever there are Bible studies, gatherings, special meetings, and such, we pretty much always encounter a Pastor (Shepherd of the flock) and/or the Teacher. Even though teaching is a Spiritual gift and pastoring is as well, Pastors are usually also the teachers. Only once in twenty plus years, did I attend an incredible church that had a Pastor and a Teacher. The gifts were clearly defined and it showed. In fact many churches, have Pastors, that are wonderful Shepherds, and they m ean well but do not necessarily have the gift of teaching. It seems to be a task put upon all Pastors by the churches that recruit them. Perhaps in other continents, this is not the "tradition." 

We are to always line up what we hear with Scripture. In fact a couple of the other Spiritual gifts are: discernment, words of knowledge, prophecy, tongues and interpretation of tongues. We can know if fellow Christians, Christian leaders, teachers, writers and journalists, and such are speaking God's Truth to us. Bottom line, do not follow human wisdom and teaching, but God's Word and those you know beyond all doubt, that are gifted by the Holy Spirit. Don't be lead by emotions, signs and wonders, and warm fuzzies, for they can be false - test every spirit as we are told in:
1John 4:1 NLT - Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.

Personally, we believe that God's Word is Truth, absolute, and that the Holy Spirit is our number One Teacher of the Word. We assume that we are not alone, hence the intense "discussions." There are Christians, ourselves included, deeply concerned about others, bearing the title "Christian," who are doing exactly what we have been warned about in God's Word:

2Ti 4:2-5 NKJV - Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Itching, in the original Greek text is the word 

knēthō, which means:
1) to scratch, tickle, make to itch
2) to itch
3) desirous of hearing something pleasant