There are a lot of people speaking a "thus says the Lord" or a "God told me" word today. God clearly uses His people to help speak to His people. Here’s the key. We must use a filter when we hear these words that suppose to have come from God. What’s the filter? The Bible, God's Spirit, and God's Character are the filters. If anyone preachers, teaches, or speaks to you something and it does not agree with the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and the Character of God, it is safe to conclude that it is not from God.
We live in a day when so many Christians preface every statement they make with, “The Lord told me”. How are we supposed to deal with this? Well, first and foremost what they say must be judged according to the Bible and cannot violate the Word or Character of God.
It does not matter how religious the people look or how sincere they talk or cry when they speak about God. It does not matter how good they may make you feel or how good the word they give makes you feel. It doesn’t matter if they have thousands of people lapping up their every word. It doesn’t even matter if you feel "convicted" by their words. God never contradicts His Holy Word or His Holy Character. Everything you experience and learn in this life should be filtered with the Bible. I actually had a leader in the church say one time, “You might as well close that Bible, I don’t want to hear it, I know what I believe”. How dangerous is this?
Now, with that said, there are some awesome preachers and teachers out there that God speaks through in a clear prophetic way. Even though this is not always the case, when someone goes to a church service, fellowship, or house church meeting it is assumed that they are pursuing God. We also assume that God will reward those who are seeking Him by using His servants to help know God and experience God.
There is a saying I picked up somewhere in my ministry years that has served me well. It goes like this. “Not everyone who walks in your doors is sent by God, is seeking God, and love you. Not everyone who walks out your doors is backslidden or angry with you.”
If you are listening to someone and you feel convicted by what they are saying and if what is being said agrees with the Word of God and the Character of God, then you can be confident that it is God speaking to you through that person. A feeling of conviction from the Holy Spirit is a strong "Wow, that is really true”, feeling. So the conviction test is one that leads us to repentance and reconciliation. If the conviction leads us to judgment and condemnation then it is most likely from the accuser of the brethren.
Another way to judge a word spoken to you by someone is what I call the “glory” test. Not only must the word not contradict the Word or Character of God, but it must give glory to the Father. I have had to many words spoken over me that exalted me, exalted worldly success, or exalted the person speaking. God warns us many times in Scriptures about flattery and giving glory to the flesh.
I believe God led me to start RSIM (Raising the Standards International Ministries back in 1999. But it is more than just a man-made ministry and certain more than me or my opinions. RSIM has been and will always be about the believers raising up to the standard of God's Word and God's character and not trying to bring the standard down to the path of least resistance.
God's Word and character is absolute and complete lacking and needing nothing. It is the tendency of mankind who wants to do what is right in His own eyes to seek to justify his actions. The first attempt of doing this is to seek to discredit the messenger or the message that goes against our fleshly desires and lusts of the heart. If we cannot attack and discredit the messenger (God), then we try to attack and discredit the message (His Word). This is done in so many ways today. First by ignorance, because believers in general don't read and don't know God's Word. So they discredit it or shun it away out of ignorance. The second is false spiritual knowledge. These believers give the impression that they are smarter than God and try to explain away the Word by picking the isolated Scriptures of what they believe is for us today versus what Scriptures pertains only to the time it was written. It must be an awesome weight of responsibility to carry such knowledge. RSIM believes and mantains that all of God's Word is true and for us for our correction and Scriptural growth. We do not try to explain any of it away nor do we relegate any portion to "different" time periods. God said it and that settles it. Our job is to meet the Word by faith in the power and guidance of God's Holy Spirit and His grace. We will align our lives to God's Word because the Father refuses to align His Word our lives.
Colossians 3:17 ESV And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV (31) So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Colossians 3:23-24 ESV Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, (24) knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
1. RAISING THE STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE SHOULD AFFECT ALL AREAS OF OUR LIFE:
2. RAISING THE STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE IS AN INTERNAL ATTITUDE WHICH IS MANIFESTED IN THE EXTERNAL
Let others see Jesus in you. You are the only Jesus some will ever see and the only Bible they will read.
What if you are the only chance some of your acquaintances will ever have to be saved? Are you the light that will guide them? You are saved, and that is great. But how saved are you? In other words by the grace of God you have a home with God in glory, but does your words, deeds, and thoughts look like you belong there? The challenge of a "first impression" for a believer should be a high standard of excellence:
2 Corinthians 3:2-3 ESV (2) You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. (3) And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
As believers many of us see being Christian as something we do. We read our Bibles, pray, go to church, and give our offerings. These are all good disciplines of the faith and should be done. However being a Christian is more than something we do, it is someone we are. We are called Christian because we are like-Christ.
Our old Adamic nature is dead, we have been given a new nature, the nature of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are developing a new set of actions, which leads to new habits, which leads to a new lifestyle, which leads to new strongholds, which leaders to a new character. My character is not what I do but who I am.
Sow a thought and you reap a deed or an action. (What we think and then act out)
Sow a deed and you reap a habit. (What we continue to do until it becomes a habit)
Sow a habit and you reap a lifestyle. (That which we do daily)
Sow a lifestyle and reap a stronghold. (What we do now drives us)
Sow a stronghold and reap a character. (No longer what we do but who we are)
Sow a character and you reap a destiny. (Who we are determines what we accomplish in our life)
In the Old Testament, Joseph was called "a dreamer" by his brothers, but his expansive dreams came true. Why? Joseph decided who he was before he decided what he would do, and he lived out his vision in everything he did. Joseph was a man of excellent character.
God is always more concerned with your character than your position in life.
Proverbs 11:3 ESV The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.
Proverbs 4:23 ESV Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
THE ABUNDANT LIFE IS A LIFE YIELDED TO CHRIST:
Romans 6:10-13 ESV For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. (11) So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (12) Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. (13) Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
How to live the abundant life is no secret; it is revealed in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in Rom. 6:10-13. The same faith that "saves" us also identifies us with Christ in His death. This is eternal life. The faith that "yields" to death to self also identifies us with Christ in His resurrection. This is abundant life.
Colossians 3:1-4 ESV If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (2) Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (3) For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (4) When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
***It is one thing to have eternal life by faith. It is quite another to have abundant life by faith.
***It is one thing for us to be “made the righteousness of God in Him. It is another thing for us to realize His righteous life is in us.
1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
***It is one thing for us to live in Christ. It is another thing for Christ to live His life in and through us.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
We, as believers have a choice. We can yield unto God by faith and enjoy abundant life, or we can yield unto sin and endure a defeated life. God would have us to “know and experience the power of a yielded life.” By the way, I have met many "committed" Christians. However, they were committed to church, to a building, to a denomination, or to a certain doctrinal creed.
Not only must we not yield to sin, but we must not yield to the traditions and religions of man if we really want to walk in the abundant life of Christ. The power of a yielded life will lift us above circumstances that tries to cut off abundant living. The abundant life begins when we yield to Him as Master, allowing Him to live His life through us by faith.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.