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.
We love the Bible, God's Holy Word. The great miracle of Bible prophecy demonstrates two things:
FIRST: The prophetic revelation of God's Word demonstrates that God is Omniscient meaning that He knows all things from the beginning to the end.
SECOND: The prophetic revelation of God's Word demonstrates that God has a plan and purpose which in His Power and Wisdom He carries out for His glory and for the redemption of His people.
The prophetic revelation of God's Word demonstrates that He always operated within His plan A and has never lost control. It certainly would be a confusing world if every act and happening surprised God and required Him to improvise with a "plan B" to rescue His people and plans from disaster.
The prophetic revelation of God's Word demonstrates that not even Man's original sin of rebellion in the Garden of Eden surprised God. He created Man with freedom of will to obey or disobey.
Why God permitted man to sin and do evil we cannot perfectly explain, but we have assurance from the Word of God that a blood-washed redeemed people will ultimately contribute vastly to God's glory and praise.
The prophetic revelation of God's Word demonstrates that God is not the author of sin, but is righteous in all His dealings with mankind. He, in His Infinite Wisdom, which we cannot fully fathom, made man a free moral agent capable of obedience or disobedience.
Depravity, pain, and crime resulted from Man's disobedience. But the prophetic revelation of God's Word demonstrates that it has always been God's purposed to overrule these and defeat sin, death and the grave.
There is a key strategy of the enemy attempting to deceive the church during this crucial and final preparation season of end times. The desire of the Holy Spirit is to create in us purity essential for entering the Secret Place of the Most High and union with Christ.
Ephesians 5:26-27 ESV that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, (27) so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
As Pastors present their sermons they need to realize there are believers listening whose garments are stained and soiled needing to be washed. Unfortunately, in many fellowships the leadership has removed the "washing machines" from the church and the people are unable to be washed by the Word.
This is a crucial mistake that must be rectified. The "washing machines" represented the "Washing by the water of the Word" cleansing the garments of the believers making them presentable before the Lord. The emphasis of the Holy Spirit is now going to be on the cleansing and purifying work necessary for the believers to enter in to the next level of God's anointing, fellowship and relationship.
John 6:63 ESV It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
The Words of our Lord Jesus Christ are Spirit and Life. This Book called the Bible breathes. This is a Book were every promise is ours. We don’t need more polished sermons. We need men who know God and know the Person of the Holy Spirit. We need to be more than just the letter of the law, we need the Spirit. This is so vital to the principles of prayer.
John 4:23-24 ESV But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. (24) God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."
God created us like Him. Let me say that again. God created us like Him. Back to John 4:24. We are a spirit being, we have a soul, and we live in a body. Our soulish man consists of three areas. It is the mind or thoughts, the emotions or feelings, and the will or choices.
Once saved, your spirit is alive unto God. Your spirit is your inner-most man, your soul is your inner man, and the body is your outer man. Let’s look at some Scriptures concerning the spirit, soul, and body of man.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 ESV (23) Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 20:27 ESV The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all his innermost parts.
Job 32:8 ESV But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.
I have done three studies on moving from faith to faith so far.
But in learning to grow or mature in faith we need to understand the Law of Faith. What exactly is faith and how does it work. If I am to grow in it and mature in it and use it to touch the hem of the Master's garment, I need to know exactly what faith is and the Laws that surround its operation.
We all know what faith is but how can we activate it? How can we make faith work for us, in us, and through us. In case you need a refresher about faith I have a few points for your consideration.
Faith is trust:
Faith is assurance:
Faith is substance.
Faith is believing that you have what you asked God for before you actually see it in the natural.
LAW #1: Faith released by the spoken word carries power to bring forth the invisible.
Faith is not wishful thinking or just hope. It is actually receiving a promise in your heart and mind and walking out as though you already have it physically. It is seeing the invisible.
In the Scriptures we see that faith is substance and evidence.
Hebrews 11:1 ESV Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
We also see that salvation was made real and complete through the confession of faith through the mouth.
Romans 10:9-10 ESV because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (10) For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Also it is important to see that God formed everything through the spoken word. Speaking the Word of God has the same power as if God Himself is speaking it. The Father stands behind His Word and it cannot return void.
Hebrews 11:3 ESV By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
There is a lot of teaching about prayer that in proper prayer we learn to accept the hand that was dealt to us. They would say that in prayer God is not moved but our heart is changed to accept the current circumstances. maybe sometimes this is true, however it is not the norm in what we see in Scriptures. Proper fervent effectual prayers of a righteous man avails much. The spoken Word of faith has creative power to change the current situation, instead of just accepting it. Why did God change the world in Gen.1:2 before forming man? He changed the current circumstances and situations to make the world a more desirable living space for mankind before He formed man of its dirt.
Genesis 1:1-3 ESV In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (2) The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. (3) And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Genesis 1:9 ESV And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so.
Genesis 1:24 ESV And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.
We need to recognize our responsibility to seek to understand and to stand in active faith. Teach me Lord to trust You today for the possible and the impossible so that You would be glorified.
We all know that the enemy is the accuser of the brothers. But what does he accuse? What are his weapons and tactics? How can we use the Word of God to keep from being a part of the accuser's plans?
There are 5 different accusations the enemy uses in order to keep the believer defeated and the body of Christ divided.
1. He accuses us to God. He will go before God and accuse us before God as not loving Him.
2. He accuses God before us. He will to come to us with the accusation that God does not care for us and does not really love us.
3. He accuses us to others. He will go to others and speak lies in their ears which are accusations about us.
4. He accuses others to us. He will tell us bad things, lies and accusations against others so that we would judge them and criticize them.
5. He accuses us to us. He will tell us that we are no good, dumb, not forgiven, and that we will never amount to anything. When we believe the accusations against ourselves we walk in rejection and as a victim and limit the work of God in our lives
The only to fight these is to read and know the Word of God. We need to know what the Word says about how God speaks over us and how much He loves us.
We need to know the Word of God about how we are not to give or receive gossip, false accusations, or slandering, bur we are to exalt and build up one another in love.
We need to know what the Word of God says about us in Christ. We are sons and heirs of the kingdom of God.
I know that it is easier to believe a lie than t believe the truth. It is a part of the fallen nature that we battle. That is why we need to fill our mind and heart with the truth of God's Word and not with the lies of man or the enemy.
Revelation 12:10 ESV And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.
TIME: Our most precious commodity.
What is important to you today? Those things that are important to us are the things which we will spend our time on. Time is our most precious commodity in that we can't save it and we can't get back what we wasted. What we can do is redeem time. That means to spend it wisely. It is making each moment count for the most. We are not promised the next breath, so make the most out of this one.
I would like to address the importance of the things we think and feel. In any given day we spend the largest part of that day thinking and feelings certain ways. Therefore, we are spending time on those thoughts and those feeling.
We make judgment calls or decisions each day concerning the things we think and feel. We must make a judgment or decision about the Word of God and the love of God. These are emotions and thoughts that are tied directly to our time. How are we spending it?
Here is the judgment or decision...that the Word of God and the love of God are more important then stinking thinking and bad emotions.
Therefore, having made that decision and that judgment call we can exchange the time we spend on bad feelings and thoughts for that which is more important which is God's Word and God's love. It is why Paul said, "Think on these things."
However, if our bad emotions and bad thinking is more important to us, then it does not matter how true God's Word is or how much God loves us...we will waste our valuable time walking in something that does not count in eternity.
Philippians 4:7-8 ESV And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (8) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
2 Timothy 1:7 ESV for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Romans 12:2 ESV Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
It would be a point for us to remember that when our Lord Jesus Christ spent 40 days and nights in the wilderness being tempted by the enemy He used the Word of God to overcome His tempter.
I have been in many doctrinal conversations with believers who responded to me with “I don’t believe what you are saying because my church doesn’t teach that.”
What our church and denomination teaches will deem very insignificant when we are in the fire and are being tempted by the enemy unless the church and denomination is teaching the truth of God’s Word.
We no longer need to be satisfied with words that imply truth, philosophies that exalt man’s intellect, and convenient doctrines that allow freedom to be worldly and sinful. We need to be fed that which is truth and life from God’s Word and not given the powerless, fruitless traditions and religious teachings of man.
When the tempter comes, and come he will, we need to be armed with THE WORD OF GOD and have the boldness to say verily, verily I say to you...
Matthew 4:4 ESV But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
John 6:32-35 ESV Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. (33) For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (34) They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” (35) Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
WARNING-WARNING-WARNING: There is a great devaluation within the Body of Christ for the preaching the Word of God.
There seems to be a value placed on everything except the Word. I hear things like, "wow, God really moved in our service today, the preacher didn't even preach, all we did is music." Really?
I also hear when it is time for the music, "now is the time for praise and worship," and when it is time to receive an offering, "now is the time to praise and worship in a special offering." However, I have never heard someone introduce the preaching of the Word as "now is the time to praise and worship with the Word."
One of the ways we can recognize the devaluation of preaching is the time and importance placed on it. I heard one preacher say that they sing for a hour but can't see any reason for preaching longer then 15 minutes because of the attention span of the hearer. What?
There are 134 verses in the New Testament alone on the importance of preaching the Word of God and many times you will find that our Lord Jesus Christ, Paul or Peter taught and preached all day with NO music or praise team. I am not attacking the music aspect of the Christian life, but according to the Word of God we DO NOT grow in faith in music but we grow in faith by the WORD.
Music time will not build by faith.
Coffee time will not build my faith
Fellowship time will not build my faith
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God
The N.T. shows us how the O.T. saints understood the importance of preaching the Word of truth and righteousness. To name a couple:
2 Peter 2:5 ESV if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;
Jude 1:14 ESV It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones,
WORD NEEDS TO BE GIVEN TIME TO BE PREACHED:
1 Peter 1:24-25 ESV for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, (25) but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
Hebrews 4:2 ESV For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.
WORD MANIFESTED THROUGH PREACHING
Titus 1:3 ESV and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;
COMMAND TO PREACH:
2 Timothy 4:2 ESV preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
PREACHING IS A LABOR AND TRAVAIL:
1 Thessalonians 2:9 ESV For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.
PREACHING IS A WARNING:
Colossians 1:28 ESV Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
WHAT WE ARE TO PREACH:
1 Corinthians 1:23 ESV but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,
PREACHING IS A DEMONSTRATION OF GOD'S SPIRIT AND GOD'S POWER:
1 Corinthians 2:4 ESV and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
WOE TO US IF WE DON'T PREACH:
1 Corinthians 9:16 ESV For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!
In all of the N.T. one would not be able to find any such importance on any other part of what we include in our church services today, including the music time.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.