Monthly Archives: November 2009

♣ The Holy Spirit’s Hallmark and Influence in the Church

He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you (John 16:14).

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).

The testing of spirits, which include movements and phenomena, is something that has been neglected, ignored and classed as outdated by the majority in today’s Christendom.

Christians who have concerns and are disturbed by the numerous so-called ‘modern movements’ of the spirit are labeled as critical, unbelieving, self-righteous, one who sows discord and division, and are even being falsely accused of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. A minority stand but the majority often too willingly go along with the flow.

Sound biblical doctrine is foreign to the modern church and we have arrogantly dismissed what God’s true shepherds once stood for. Unity is the emphasis today; but true unity must never be at the expense of truth – never. Our New Testament clearly reveals the imperatives of sound doctrine. We have our blueprint, the way set before us, but we will not sacrifice our time to really understand the scriptures. If we truly know our scriptures, we will see that right teaching is a safeguard unto true experience. Sadly today the emphasis is upon experience prior to truth.

You will notice when the apostle Peter preached, moved by the Holy Spirit, glorious results took place but in the light of God’s Word and truth. In the great genuine revivals (not the modern day revivals such as the likes associated with Rodney Howard Brown, Todd Bentley, etc.), you will notice Christ was central. Revivals came out from true, powerful preaching and sound biblical proclamation. The people of ‘The Great Reformation’ and the leaders of the ‘Puritan Movement’ laid their emphasis on truth and the right way to handle the scriptures that led to a true experience of God. The inevitable happened and the Holy Spirit moved powerfully. Great Britain and America were once classed as Christian nations and the scripture applied, ‘righteousness exalts a nation’; how far we have fallen from this standard.

When there is a true movement of the Holy Spirit, there is a great promotion of the glory of God and the believer’s sanctification, such as the following operations:

1. The Holy Spirit will not draw attention unto Himself… “for He shall not speak of Himself” (John 16:13, JKV)

2. Christ is central and He is the focus; His substitutionary atonement and death, resurrection, His glory, His Priesthood and intercession for all believers at the right hand of God the Father. Our need of and our reliance upon Him intensifies

3. One has an increased desire and thirst to know God’s Word

4. Our love for God greatly increases unto obedience

5. There is an increased desire for the glory and honor of God

6. One should have more of a hatred of, and a desire to discontinue, sin in their life

7. One should become more detached from the world and its influence

8. The fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 will be evident

9. Our burden and compassion will increase to see lost souls regenerated and saved

We will notice that the leaders in the book of Acts were men chosen who were full of the Holy Spirit and faith. They were compelled to speak of Jesus Christ. This was Paul’s all consuming passion. None of these men drew attention to themselves. Oswald Chambers was so right when he said, “If I attract attention unto myself as a minister of God’s Word, I have failed my mission.” Look at the lives of the great leaders such as Jonathan Edwards, George Whitfield, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, J.C. Ryle, C.H. Spurgeon, A.W. Tozer, Martyn Lloyd-Jones just to name a few. Study their lives and realize these men were truly humble and exalted Christ. As a result of these men seeing nothing in and of themselves, they were greatly used of God for His glory. It was evident they had the spirit and heart of the apostle Paul… “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my weaknesses that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

We see the very opposite today. Most leaders are egocentric rather than Christocentric, hungry for power and recognition in the most subtle forms. They will tell us they are not – but examine their fruit and their life; do the results last or do they fade away in time (see John 15:16). Who do we see more of – them and ‘their’ ministry – or God? Who really gets the glory? Furthermore, what do they endorse – experiences or God for Himself. And what is the main impression left in our heart and mind when such meetings are over; are we continually exalting the speaker or are we left with a greater sense of who God is?

So many Christians are running here and there after big names, to so-called ‘healing meetings’ and ‘revival meetings’. Where do you find such things taking place in the New Testament? No, rather leaders today are guilty of manipulating and manufacturing God. The emphasis is upon the experience of ‘feeling great’, which is nothing more than self-indulgence and self-glorification in the atmosphere of the spectacular and phenomena. It is subjective and mirrors the very appetites of the world; so many are hungry for their ‘fix’ and they will certainly have their fill! We are prone to calling all ecstatic feelings an ‘experience of God’. But where is God in it all and who is really being lifted up? Even in today’s worship, most of it is about making us feel good about ourselves. Sadly, we want God on our terms, but this is NOT the God of the Bible. Is God revered and is there a godly fear that a Holy and Almighty God has come near to us? Do we see how small we are in comparison to God’s over-whelming greatness and glory? When our Holy God draws NEAR to His people, the result is holiness IN His people; is this evident in the churches that hold these so-called ‘power meetings’? Is God’s name truly revered and hallowed? If such things are not evident, then the Holy Spirit has NOT been in our midst. Some ‘other’ has been present and we have entertained familiar spirits. “Believe not every spirit”, as John rightly stated.

A great excuse and biggest defense that the followers of these false leaders give is, “look at what they do… look at the results… the miracles that take place… surely they must be of God”. There is only one thing to say in response: Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Such people will have produced many extraordinary manifestations and phenomena but has NOTHING of Christ in it whatsoever. Again, look at what they declare, “Haven’t we done this in Your name?” Such people are deluded in thinking they are really serving God. Time will reveal that they only served their own ends and Christ will say to many so-called shepherds and leaders, “I never knew you, away from Me.” And this is not only confined to the leaders, but to the followers that spread their name and fame.

I won’t say, “Church, it’s time to wake up.” Many have been saying that for decades and it’s a worn out motto; unfortunately, we are beyond that and the Lord could wrap this up at any given moment. As Leonard Ravenhill stated, “God isn’t writing the last chapter – He’s writing the last page.” The time is drawing near when many of us will not be able to escape the judgment to come – like Samson, whose end came as a result of being continually seduced and deceived by Delilah. Eventually, he was unable to break out of the bonds, shake off the delusion, and awaken himself as he was accustomed to.

So you see, there IS such a thing as… ‘It’s too late.’

May we be found in the will of God and full of the Holy Spirit at Christ’s second coming!

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