With the massive rise of radical evil in the world, it’s vitally important that, as well as being aware, we are always drawing near to God, as He is our only hope, the only power that is not only greater, but astoundingly greater than the power of evil we see at work around us.
Turning our focus to the church for a moment, the enemy is as much at work there as everywhere else. The prince of this world is preparing for his swan song, and he hasn’t missed a detail. His aim in the church: to make the only power that can thwart his efforts ineffective, benign, powerless. How is he doing this? Financially, from the top down, and through false teachers of every variety tickling people’s ears with things that tempt their pride, and take advantage of their lack of scriptural knowledge. So as well as being aware of the horrific fuss that satan is making all over the planet, we need to be good “Bereans” and carefully scrutinize new teachings rising up in the body of Christ. Our enemy is truly “prowling like a roaring lion, looking for who he may devour” today.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” 1 Peter 5:8
Walk in Love, Not Experience, Not Specialness | Yvonne Nachtigal | HHA
There are so many seeking after experience in the churches today. People desire God’s presence and his fullness in their lives, because as spiritual beings they instinctively know that they are missing something essential. So, they try out various paths that promise an experience or a ‘special-ness’ that will fulfill.
I’ve been there. I went to church after church, looking for what was missing, looking for His Spirit, His presence. Often I thought I found it in great worship services where ‘feelings’ welled up as choruses were repeated again and again. But it was clear that something was wrong when immediately afterward people were acting anything but loving toward their brothers and sisters. There was no fruit of the spirit. I know today that what had swept us all up was an emotional experience, brought about by rhythmic repetition, a known way to create a psychological euphoric state. Rhythmic repetition is used by many occult religions. It is a way of producing a counterfeit for the presence of the Holy Spirit. It causes people to ‘feel spiritual’. It actually does open them up to spirits, but the spirit they are feeling is not the Holy Spirit.
I can already hear some of you saying that there is true Holy Spirit filled worship, and that we can’t just come against all worship in the body of Christ. Rest assured, I agree. I’m referring here to the aim of our worship or anything else being to produce a desired experience.
Satan is the counterfeiter. He can create nothing on his own, he can only distort what God has created. Yet he is highly intelligent and knows the condition of man and the emptiness inside of him that resulted from the fall. when man lost the indwelling Holy Spirit. Satan continues to market his lie over and over again, both to non-believers and to those in the church, saved and not saved. The lie: ‘you can be as god‘. It translates to ‘don’t listen to that bible thumping preacher telling you to repent. Here is a pastor who talks about positive things and makes you feel good!‘ And ‘you are saved, that’s good, but you are special and have special gifts, here is special knowledge that sets you apart!‘ Among many others…
From the beginning of time, satan has promised ‘special knowledge’ that would enable man to be ‘like God’. Special knowledge has always enticed man because it puffs up and makes men feel special. It feeds human pride. Most importantly it takes the focus off of God and puts it onto the flesh/soul of man. In this way what the serpent said was true; man did become ‘like god’. Looking to his own soul/flesh rather than seeking to glorify God, man was forced to become his own ‘god’ and find meaning and fulfillment in life apart from the only source of life (God).
Our churches today have veered so far from the gospel of Jesus; which is the gospel of repentance, brokenness and surrender. This is the only gospel that has the power to radically transform a man, heal his wounds, deliver him from the bondage of death, and transport him from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.
The “feel good” gospel (without repentance) we hear so much today is not just ‘watered down,’ it is utterly powerless because it leaves men in their sin… Either that or they do come to the cross, repentant, and do receive salvation, but then they are not properly discipled and taught the importance of walking in love, forgiveness, humility and obedience. They aren’t taught that through obedience to love they will find freedom! Quite contrary to popular sentiment, obedience is not legalism, obedience is freedom. So what are we supposed to obey, the law (ten commandments)?
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22: 36-40
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. – John 13:34
“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” – Galatians 5:14
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” – 1 Peter 1:22
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:32
Obedience to Jesus is to live a life of selfless love and forgiveness, to follow his example and love, sacrificially, as he did. There is nothing that can be added to the perfect work that Jesus Christ accomplished on that cross. Nothing. Jesus said: “It is finished!” – and it is! Our salvation is through faith in Christ and his cross and nothing else. You can’t get “extra saved” by following the law.
“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.” Galatians 2:21
What we are told to add to our faith is the fruits of His Spirit; things like love, purity, brotherly kindness, love, love and love, which covers a multitude of sins. “to know his LOVE that surpasses knowledge.”
To obey the source of life, who is in fact our most merciful loving Father, and to walk in the power of His Spirit is to walk in love. His love, that surpasses understanding. This is the only way to be filled with the fullness of God.
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you,
according to the riches of his glory,
to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith;
that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge,
that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.
Be rooted and grounded in the love of God. This is how we are filled with the fullness of God.
Are there spiritual gifts? Thanks be to God, yes, there are, but their purpose is to glorify God and draw people to the gospel, not to draw attention to any person.
Draw near to Him. Desire to know His love. Seeking after experiences or wanting to appear wise or special is only the soul/flesh trying to be ‘god’. The desire to be filled with His Spirit is real. It is your soul longing for him, and nothing else will satisfy that desire. No amount of special knowledge, formula of following rules, spiritual gifting, no experiences, nothing. Nothing but the cross, your repentance and surrender, and walking in thankfulness, love and obedience to so great a love that was poured out (lavished!) on us.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! ” – 1 John 3:1
Be good Bereans.
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. ” – 1 John 4:1