Thursday, April 13, 2017

Trying The Spirits III

As we saw in the previous test, the focus and who is interested wasan important indicator whether a thing is directed by the Holy Spirit.  This next one is similar.  I John 4:6 says, “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”  Here, John is speaking specifically of hearing what the apostles and Prophets said.   II Peter 3:1-2 makes the same point of paying attention to the Apostles and prophets.  “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.”

II Peter 1:19-21 declares, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.   For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”  The apostles and prophets spoke as they were directed by the Holy Spirit, and no one has the right to make up thri own doctrine or interpret what they said to satisfy their own agenda.    If a person will not accept what the scriptures teach it is a clear proof that he is not led by the spirit that directed writing them.  Spirit led people, on the other hand will be focused on what the scriptures say.

II Timothy 3:16-17 says, “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 perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”   Many theologians and preachers have taught that only part of the scriptures are from God or is relevant today.  Such a belief clearly indicates they are not inspired by the Holy Spirit, regardless how many degrees they may have or how popular their teachings may be.    

I John 4:7-8 gives the final test.   “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.   He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”  The word translated ‘love’ is άγαπαω (agapao).  It refers to a deliberate choice to care deeply for a person, as compared to a mere emotional feeling toward them.  It is the kind of love God demonstrated  as Romans 5:8-10 describes.  “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.   Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.   For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”  Even though we were his enemies, Christ died for our sins because he loved us. 

Such love is not dependent on people doing what the person wants, and is not selfish or manipulative.  It is willing to sacrifice its own convenience or pleasure for those who are loved.   The evangelist who demands that people give him all their money or the preacher who spends all his time attacking those who do not do things as he thinks they should clearly indicates they are not being led by the Holy Spirit.  They are only concerned with themselves. 

Satan is a liar and his followers are deceptive.   They may be able to fool us in some areas, but by applying all the tests we can tell whether they are of God or not.  We are responsible to obey God, and so it is important we check out those who purport to tell us what God commands.  I Corinthians 14:29 commands, “Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.”  Acts 17:11 tells us the Bereans were greater Christians because “they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”  Don’t just blindly accept what people tell you. 

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