Wednesday, November 11, 2015

MANIFESTING THE SPIRIT

Sermon on the Mount (pt. 21)

The Charismatic Movement saw the restoration of the gifts of the Spirit—a necessary addition to the dry, lifeless religion of its time.

As in so many other revivals of the faith, though, that heady time of renewal also brought its share of corruption.

We saw the rise of celebrity television preachers, circuit-riding ministries for hire, the health and wealth gospel, and numerous other phenomena designed by Satan to draw us away from the truth that is in Jesus (Eph. 4:21).

This section of Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount speaks directly to the problem before us—
Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity. [Mat 7:21-23]
This takes us back to what we have been considering for some time now, which is the aspect of judging.

Charismatics, by and large, left off any exercise of true discernment.

This happened partly because of the over-emphasis on demons that arose and prospered through the 1970s. People were burnt out from seeing a demon under every rock and behind every tree. Discerning of spirits fell by the wayside for the less challenging, but more flamboyant gifts of tongues and interpretation, and prophecy.

As a result, if anyone came along manifesting ANY of the gifts of the Spirit, that person was accepted without question, because the thinking was, “I mean, after all, God wouldn’t use someone whose life was out of order, would He?”

Perfectly logical.
Perfectly natural.
Perfectly wrong.

Jesus linked iniquity with manifesting the Spirit in this passage.
(Don’t write and tell me how harsh that is. I didn’t say it. He did. Read it for yourself.)

He said that manifesting the works of the Spirit could also be a work of iniquity.

Why?
Because of the lack of the most important thing necessary on this plane—knowing Jesus.

I’ve heard many sermons on sin, but the only one I’ve heard on iniquity is the one I’ve preached a couple of times. Consequently, the perpetrators of deception are able to continue simply because, once again, the Body of Christ in general, does not know nor obey the Word of God.

Our instruction from this passage, however, should not be an understanding of iniquity, but an understanding of the most important aspect of living we will ever face.

Does the Lord know you? Do you know the Lord?

Many believers want to boil this down to a single event in life—
  • Catholics: have you been baptized a Catholic?
  • Baptists: have you made a decision?
  • United Pentecostals: have you been baptized according to Acts 2:38?
These, however, are only the first step on a lifelong journey.

You cannot set up camp on the first step and expect to reach your destination.

You cannot play around with, or even become intimately familiar with, the outward trappings of religion and expect to know the Lord—or, rather to be known by Him (Gal. 4:9).

In high school, I attended Mass 4 – 6 times a week, always taking Communion. I went to Novena every Wednesday night with the specific intention of experiencing God. I used my St. Joseph’s Daily Missal until it wore out, the pages falling singly out of the binding.

Still, my life was empty and meaningless.

It was not until I was confronted with the claims of Christ that I began to understand what I was missing, and what I needed in my life.

I no longer had to worry with whether my good works would outweigh my bad works.

I was now a part of the family of the King.

And just as I was born into the family of Ed and Lorraine Hill and began to grow, I now was destined to grow as a child of the Father.

Physical growth is a natural result of being born. It’s going to happen as long as you respond to the natural urges within you to eat, sleep and be clean.

But, the new birth, the second birth, the born-again aspect of being a believer is of a spiritual quality. Nothing comes naturally or automatically in this sphere. You must give yourself to it.

Many, though, have given themselves to the outward props and trappings of their faith while having left off true spirituality.

This may be a scary thought for some, but Jesus said that just because you may prophesy or cast out demons, that is not any guarantee of a relationship with Him. You may read your Bible every day and pray in tongues on a regular basis, but that is no guarantee of your future placement.
“Depart from me, you workers of iniquity. I never knew you.”


Learn what this means:
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. [Phl 3:14]
We will consider how to secure your future placement in the next installment of the Sermon on the Mount.
_________________________________

Your comments, criticisms, or questions are welcome here.
Please consider leaving your response below—either through words, or simply checking the appropriate box below that equals your reaction.
Thank you.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this teaching! I was a teen age Jesus Freak-born again at age 12 and high school in early 70's. Saw the Charismatic renewal groups sweep through our town and hung out with both my protestant (C&MA) youth group and CYO'ers as well as a whole eclectic mix of Jesus Freaks at various coffee shops and gatherings in and around the Buffalo, NY area.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Those were definitely grand times, were they not?

    ReplyDelete

Your comments are welcome here.
Feel free to critique, criticize, question, or otherwise make your voice heard in relation to this post.
I only ask that you keep it civil and appropriate to the post.
Thanks.