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“The Man Of Sin”

SIH STSTA ICONOne of the most interesting, and controversial, of all the prophetic scriptures is Paul’s teaching on “the man of sin”. This title is used only once in the entire Bible and is presented by Paul as a topic of utmost importance to all Christians.

May we all approach this subject with a heart submitted to the Lord and the revealed truths of His Word. May we seek to shun all the interpretations and sensationalistic teaching on this subject that has been presented to us by the worldly religious kingdoms of this world.

 

 

THE SCRIPTURES:

1) Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him,
2) That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3) Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4) Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5) Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6) And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7) For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way.
8) And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9) [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10) And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11) And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12) That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)

1 John 2:18-24
(18) Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
(19) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
(20) But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
(21) I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
(22) Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
(23) Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
(24) Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

1 John 4:2-4
(2) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
(3) And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
(4) Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

2 John 1:6-8
(6) And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
(7) For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
(8) Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

11) And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
12) And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
13) And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
14) And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by [the means of] those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
15) And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16) And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17) And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18) Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number [is] Six hundred threescore [and] six.
(Revelation 13:11-18)

THE STUDY:

(2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)

1) Now we beseech you, brethren,

Paul is coming before the people humbly, asking them to take his message very seriously, and then carefully apply it, due to its importance.

by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him,

The word “by” comes from a Greek word meaning “concerning” or “referring to”. What was this important message going to be referring to? I would be addressing the second coming of Jesus Christ and our gathering together to be with Him for an eternity.

2) That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

Why was Paul delivering this message to them? He wanted to give them assurance, Christ was coming again to take His people to be with Him for an eternity. Paul did not want the believers to be shaken in mind or spirit, or weakened in their faith about His coming.

Paul main concern was them be shaken in their faith by a false teacher claiming to have a vision (“by spirit”), a false teacher delivering an ungodly message (“by word”), or a misunderstanding of one of Paul’s letters (“by a letter from us”). Paul wanted them to rest assured “the day of Christ is at hand”.

3) Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed,

They were not to allow ANYONE mislead them to believe Christ is not coming again. As a matter of fact, they should expect to hear these false teachings, they WILL take place prior to His coming.

Christ will not come again until this apostasy take place. This apostasy will be fueled by the doctrine of false teachers who are actively opposing the truths of Christ. But the Christians were to not lose faith, at the second coming of Christ, those who teach these errors will be uncovered and shown clearly to be the enemy of Christ and receive His wrath upon them.

Falling from the truths of God takes place in every age and every place. They are like “birthpains” that increase in intensity and frequency, as time progresses (Matthew 24:5). In other words, these things will increase as we get closer to the return of Christ.

When the falling away from the truths of the Lord becomes evident, the man of sin that is leading them is revealed to the world. This takes place now, and at the massive falling away that takes place close to Christ’s coming. When Christians see others fall from the truth due to the influence of a false teacher, the Christian then recognizes that teacher as one that opposes Christ and is to be avoided.

“By their fruits ye shall know them”… if the fruits of a person’s ministry is rebellion against the truths of God (leading others to depart from the faith), the Christian can make a clear judgment that this man is a false teacher, one that holds the title “the man of sin”.

Note on the title: “Man of Sin”…
This title does not have to speak of an individual man, but can also be referring to many men who share the same characteristics or position.

For example, in the sentence “the President of the United States is a powerful man”. The title President of the United States can refer to our current president, or it can be referring to the office of President and anyone how has previously held that office. Another example of this is found in the sentence “the elephant is a big animal”. This sentence tells us any animal that is called an elephant is a big animal. Is is not just referring to one specific elephant.

A Biblical example of this same principle is the usage of the singular word “church” in Matthew 16:18 – “Upon this rock I will build my church…”. Although it is singular in number, the word “church” is referring to any assembly that can be classified as a church of the Lord. This verse is stating that any true “church” is built upon the “rock” (the truth of Jesus Christ). There are many churches that are built upon the truths of Christ… the singular word “church” includes each and every one of them.

The title “Man of Sin” is being used in exactly the same way to refer to all the false teachers of the world. They are given this title to describe the sinfulness of their ministries as they actively teach error in direct opposition to Christ and the true teachings, His Word. Paul is emphasizing to the believers the sinfulness of the false teachers and need to refrain from any part of their ministries.

As we continue with the Man of Sin’s description we will clearly see this identity of the man of sin being brought out more clearly….

the son of perdition; 4) Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

The man of sin is now described as:

1. “the son of perdition” – “the son of ruin or destruction”.

Those who lead men away from Christ rightfully hold this title for at least three reasons:
a. They cause ruin and destruction to come upon the lives of others
b. They are to be viewed by Christians as destructive as rightfully ignored.
c. They are headed for eternal judgment (ruin and destruction) as they face the wrath of Almighty God.

Please note only one other place in the Bible do we read of the son of perdition…

John 17:12 – refers to Judas Iscariot as “the son of perdition”. Within his life we find a clear display of the characteristics of a son of perdition…
a. He attempted to bring great harm to the Lord and His cause.
b. The intended consequences of his actions would be to condemn a world to die in their sins, by killing the One sent to save them.
c. Due to His exceeding wickedness, his life was cut short and he now faces a special place of eternal wrath (Acts 1:25).

2. “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped

False teachers, as they teach errors that oppose God’s word and leads men astray, are placing themselves in opposition to Christ and His ministry.

Although they may not verbally claim that are higher than God…. their teachings imply this. Through their false teachings (as they consistently oppose, deny and correct the Word), they are saying, “I have the truth, Christ is lying to you”, “I have more knowledge, understanding and wisdom than God”, “I know better than Jesus”.

This is clearly exalting themselves above the true God and any other false God whose teachings oppose theirs. With their voice they may say…. “I am a follower of Christ and a worshipper of Jehovah, the true God”, yet found in the content of their teachings a clear denial of Jesus as their Lord and Jehovah as their God.

3. “so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”

False teachers whose teachings oppose the truths of God’s Word are clearly setting Himself up as the true all-knowing God. Through their ministry, as they declare their false teachings publically, they are taking the place of God, usurping His authority and taking His place as the Giver of truth. They may not claim to be God, although many do, but their actions and teachings clearly “shew” themselves to be God.

It is important to note the word translated “temple” (naos) and its usage in the NT scriptures. This word comes from the Greek word for “dwell” and is speaking of “a dwelling place”. It is translated by the words “temple” and “shrine”.

It is used to speak of:
1. the Jewish temple – (Matt 23:35, etc)
2. shrines built for the worship of idols (Acts 19:24)
3. the body of the saints – (1 Cor 3:16-17 etc)
4. the local church – (Eph 2:19-21)
5. the physical body of Christ – (John 2:21)

From these examples, it is important for us to realize that the term “temple” does not have to be limited to the Jewish place of worship. As a matter of fact, nowhere in Paul’s writings do we see him use this word to describe the Jewish place of worship. His writings limit the usage of “temple” to the body of the saints and the local assembly.

So when we read that the “man of sin”, the false teacher, is “he as God sitteth in the temple of God”.

Paul is telling us that this false teacher can be found teaching in the midst of the “temple”:
1. amidst the saints (in LOCAL CHURCHES where the worship of Jehovah can be corrupted by error)
2. amidst of the lost (in SHRINES reserved for the worship place of idols where false Gods are worshipped)
3. amidst the Jews (in the JEWISH TEMPLE where a denial of Jesus as the Messiah is clearly proclaimed).

In other words, false teachers, men of sin, can be found in any place where men gather to worship the true God and the gods of men.

5) Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

Paul had previously warned them about false teachers and, apparently, had felt the need to repeat this solemn warning to them.

6) And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

Paul now reminds those in the church at Thessalonica that the Lord is in control. There is no need to lose hope, nor question the existence of false teachers.

The Lord’s sovereign power actively withholds each individual false teacher from teaching error, until the time is right for the false teacher to be revealed to all. It is only then that the false teacher is allowed to minister, gain a following, bear fruits in opposition to Christ and be recognized by all Christians as a false teacher.

Christians should always use this truth to encourage their hearts. Every false minister is under God’s control and only allowed to minister as the Lord allows.

7) For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way.

The same spirit is at work in all the hearts of the false teachers. It is Satan and those under his control (demons) that are at work within the false teacher’s life.

This Satan and his work is described as the “Mystery of Iniquity”. This is because Satan’s workings are done secretly in the life of the false teacher. He empowers the false teachers secretly, the lost world does not recognize that the false teachers have Satanic enabling and authority. Lost men look at false teachers, readily accept them, and eagerly follow them.

These dark forces “doth already work”… they have been at work in the lives of false teachers from the beginning of time until Christ’s coming (Satan in Eden – Second coming).

The Lord will continue to “hold down” this demonic work of Satan in the lives of false teachers until Satan is taken out of the way at the second coming of Christ. It will be at this time that Satan will be defeated and the false religions and heretical teachers will be brought to an end.

Paul is explaining to the church at Thessalonica that the Lord will always restrain false teaching until He comes again. No matter what victories the false teachers seem to gain, no matter how many are led astray, the Lord is allowing it for a reason and will continue to control it until He comes again.

Paul now turns our attention to that great day when Satan is defeated, and those who teach error are brought into great defeat.

10) And then shall that Wicked be revealed,

At the second coming, the false teachers who have led others away from the truths of Christ (“that
Wicked”), will be seen for what they are… those who oppose Christ and misled all mankind and deserving of divine wrath.

whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

The defeat of the wicked will involve the Lord calling down His wrath upon him (pictured by the sharp two-edged sword in Revelation 19). This will take place at the second coming of Christ. The greatness and glory of the Lord will destroy the false religions of the world.

9) [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,10) And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

“That wicked” the false teachers and religions of the world, are now described as

1. “whose coming is after the working of Satan” – The Mystery of Iniquity, Satan working in their heart
2. “with all power” – Their tools are Satanic abilities and talents.
3. “and signs” – the ability to perform great signs seeming to indicate divine origins.
4. “and lying wonders” – the ability to work miracles that lead men astray
5. “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish” – They are very misleading, they have many sinful acts and teachings that are effective in the lives of those that are headed for eternal ruin. These remain in their lost state, being misled, because they have never received the love of the truths of God.

11) And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12) That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
The false teachers, that possessed a mental recognition of the truths of God, have willfully chosen to mislead the lost and benefit from their eternal destruction. These same false teachers have become deceived like their followers. This is because God has placed upon them overpowering errors that ensured their continued spiritual blindness, and caused them to believe the same lies they have propagated among the lost. These same false teachers approved and encouraged sinfulness to take place.

1 Timothy 4:1-2 – “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;…”

It is these that were turned over to their spiritual blindness to ensure their divine punishment. The Lord did this to ensure that those false teachers would face the same divine wrath as those they misled.

These are the same type of individuals described in Romans 1:20-32, only in their case, they spread their errors and attempt to selfishly profit from them…

(20) For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (21) Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

(22) Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, (23) And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

(24) Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: (25) Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

(26) For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: (27) And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

(28) And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; (29) Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, (30) Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, (31) Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: (32) Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Other Biblical texts that speak of this “man of sin” include the following texts. Please notice in every text, this man of sin is not described as one individual, but is described as applying to many individuals who have existed throughout time…

1 John 2:18-24
(18) Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
(19) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
(20) But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
(21) I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
(22) Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
(23) Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
(24) Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

1 John 4:2-4
(2) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
(3) And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
(4) Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

2 John 1:6-8
(6) And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
(7) For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
(8) Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

Revelation 13:11-18
11) And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
12) And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
13) And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
14) And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by [the means of] those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
15) And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16) And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17) And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18) Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number [is] Six hundred threescore [and] six.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

May we all come to understand the destructive nature of the Satanic tool of false teaching. Not only does false teacher harm those who are misled by the teachers, but it also brings far greater judgment upon those who declare these errors to mankind.

May we all make certain that the teachings we accept only come from God’s Word. We do this by making sure any teaching we hear aligns itself with the Word of God.

Acts 17:11 – “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

And then, for those of us who teach God’s Word, may we NEVER, NEVER, present any teaching that we cannot prove is true using God’s Word. That leaves no room for speculation, addition or subtraction from any truth found in God’s Word.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 – “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

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Spiritual Gifts: When Did The Accrediting Gifts Go Out Of Existence? (Part 5)

 SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

“Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

 

In our previous studies we have seen that there are three basic types of Accrediting Gifts which include several gifts under each type. In the above passage, we find each type of Accrediting Gift is represented by one gift from each type …

 

Type Of Accrediting Gift Gifts Included In This Type Representative Gift Mentioned In1 Cor 13:8
Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth The Word Of Wisdom, The Word of Knowledge Word of Knowledge (or Knowledge)
Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth Faith, Gifts Of Healing, Working Of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning Of Spirits Prophecy (or Prophecies)
Supernatural Proclamation Of The Truth Divers Kinds Of Tongues, Interpretation Of Tongues Diverse Types Of Tongues (or Tongues)

 

Please note the above verse (1 Cor 13:8), which includes one representative gift from each group, makes it plain that each type of Accrediting Gift will come to an end at some point in time. We now will turn our attention to the question at what point in time will these gifts go out of existence?

 

In this study, we will see that this question is answered by the Word of God using several different lines of teaching which all present the same answer for us. This will be the lines of teaching that we will be studying:
I.        The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”
II.        The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span
III.        The Death Of The Apostles
IV.        The Supernatural Beginning / Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings
V.        The Prophecies of False Miracles In The “Last Days”

Lesson:

The Prophecies Of False Miracles In The “Last Days”:

Please note MANY PASSAGES will be referred to in this lesson. As in all the lessons, the KJV text of each passage can be found at the end of this study. Please take the time to refer to them to come to a more clear understanding on the biblical teachings on these things.
As Christians, it is of utmost importance that we familiarize ourselves with Satan’s deceptive practices (2 Corinthians 2:11). Satan, the father of lies (John 8:43-45), uses deception as a chief tool to mislead people from the truths of God’s Word (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12; 2 Corinthians 11:13-14). When we understand how Satan works we can more successfully guard against falling for His lies and counterfeit gospel message.
Let’s take a very quick look at some of the ways that Satan opposes Christ’s workings in the days in which we are living.

The Bible makes it very plain that in the time period described as the “last days” false accrediting miracles will be used by Satan to mislead many from the Biblical gospel message (Matthew 24:23-24; Mark 13:21-23; 2 Corinthians 11:13-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12; 2 Timothy 3:1-8; Revelation 13:11-14; 16:13-15; 19:20).
These false miracles are very effective tools of deception for Satan, This is because of man’s fallen, carnal nature which is not satisfied with the exercise of faith in the Lord and His Word, but is only satisfied by witnessing supernatural miracles being performed (Matthew 16:3-4). This attitude flies in the face of true Scriptural faith that rests in “the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1-3).
Please note that… The “last days” is the time period in which we live today. It finds its beginning with the first coming of Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3).   Knowing that the “last days” began with the first coming of Christ, we can know with certainty that the existence of false deceptive teachings, and false accrediting miracles, existed since the days of Christ on earth and will continue to exist until He comes back again at His second coming.

This is why John teaches us that antichrists existed in his day as well as would exist in today’s time (1 John 2:18-19)

Folks, the existence of false miracles is not something new, but has existed for many, many years. We find the exercise of false miracles periodically performed throughout New Testament church history.

The most important aspect of this teaching, for this study, is that these deceptive practices exist in today’s time. Because of this, we must take these prophecies seriously and always put the current day “miracles” to the test of God’s Word (Isaiah 8:18-20; Matthew 7: 15-20; 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 1 John 4:1-3]. There is no excuse for a Bible believing Christian to not seek out the truth concerning these practices. To naively accept modern day miracles as being of God is to show a lack of understanding of clear Scriptural prophetic warnings from God Himself.

We should all be like the Berean Christians who, after receiving teaching from God’s Word, took the time to check it’s accuracy by comparing it with the Word of God (Acts 17:10-12).  This same principles applies to the modern day accrediting miracles that are taking place around us. That is the purpose of this entire series of studies, to help us to clearly understand the teaching of God’s Word concerning spiritual gifts. This will give us the foundational information we need to properly judge that which is taking place around us.

False teaching and the use of false accrediting miracles is a big deal in the eyes of the Lord. It is such a heinous sin that, in the Old Testament scriptures these practices are deserving of death (Deuteronomy 13:1-8) and at the final judgment will result, apart from the Lord’s gracious forgiveness, in eternal death (Matthew 7:21-23; Revelation 19:20) . It is easy for us to understand why this is such a horrible practice… it is misleading many to eternal destruction and separation from God. And that is why there is such a grave need for all of us to take it upon ourselves to judge the validity of these practices.

You might be wondering why I have included this section under the heading of “When Did The Accrediting Gifts Go Out Of Existence?”. My thoughts centered on the need for us to understand that false miracles do exist in today’s time. There are those who argue that simply seeing these things take place proves that the Biblical accrediting miracles are still taking place in todays’ time and, therefore, they have not yet gone out of existence. My answer to them is this lesson.

Just because supposed miracles are taking place around us, there is NO SCRIPTURAL reason to assume that they are divinely originated, nor that they are of the same type of gifts as the accrediting miracles that were performed by the Apostles and other local church members of the New Testament accounts. There is another very Scriptural and plausible answer to these things…. they are simply the deceptive workings of Satan that the Bible clearly teaches will exist in our day and age.

Yes, I believe that all of the false accrediting miracles fall into three basic groups which all find their source in Satan and his workings…

1. If they are miracles that actually take place and supercede the natural laws of nature, then I believe they are the result of demonic enabling and oppression (or perhaps, possession). (Mark 5:3-4)

2. In many cases, I believe they are, in actuality, not genuine miracles at all, but simply illusions that are performed (much like that of a magician) purposefully to mislead others. If that is the case, they find their origin in Satanic workings. They are the result of Satan blinding and twisting the minds of the illusionist seducing them with the promises of fame and the riches of this world. (2 Tim 3:1-8)

3. Finally, there are some “miracles” that are performed by those who are misled, sincere in their beliefs and caught up in their emotions. But once again, these find their ultimate origin in Satan, who has kept them from the truths of the Word and is actively at work in their mind and psyche. It is this group of people that “two-fold more the child of hell” misled and unknowingly headed for the Lake of Fire, while believing they are secure in Christ. (Matt 23:15)

May the Lord graciously protect us from these workings of Satan as he lies in wait to make merchandise of our very souls through counterfeit teaching and miracles (2 Peter 2:1-3; Rev 18:12-13)

I would like to close this section of our study with two very sobering texts. They are found in Matthew 7:21-23 and Revelation 19:20…

Mat 7:21-23 KJV

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

In this text we see that there will be those who stand before the Lord at the final judgment making an argument for their acquittal. Their three part argument goes something like this… “But Lord, we HAVE DONE the will of your Father, and we can prove it! …
1. have we not prophesied in thy name? – we delivered a Scriptural message
2. and in thy name have cast out devils? – we successfully opposed Satan and His workings among men
3. and in thy name done many wonderful works? – we performed miracles that prove we were doing the work of God

Although all of these 3 areas of ministry appeared to prove their ministry was of the Father, in actuality they were lost individuals who would be cast into the Lake of Fire as rebellious, disobedient, lying, ministers of Satan. By God’s grace may He allow us to escape such an end.

 

Rev 19:20 KJV

“And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”

In this text we find the beast (ungodly political powers of the world) and the false prophet (false religious powers of the world) are facing their final judgment. Note how the false religions of the world are said to work miracles which deceived the nations. Once again, these miracles are proven to be counterfeit miracles that only add to their eternal condemnation (as those responsible for misleading multitudes of people).

In our next lesson we will take a look at several Scriptural principles to apply as we seek to judge the messages and miracles being performed by those who claim to be followers of Christ.

 

Additional Information(Verses Mentioned In This Study):

The Prophecies Of False Miracles In The “Last Days”:

Deu 13:1-8 KJV

(1) If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,

(2) And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;

(3) Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

(4) Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

(5) And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

(6) If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;

(7) Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;

(8) Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:

 

Psa 119:11 KJV

(11) Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

 

Psa 119:105 KJV

(105) NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

 

Isa 8:18-20 KJV

(18) Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.

(19) And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

(20) To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

 

Mat 7:15-20 KJV

(15) Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

(16) Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

(17) Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

(18) A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

(19) Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

(20) Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

 

Mat 7:21-23

(21) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

(22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

(23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

 

Mat 16:3-4 KJV

(3) And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

(4) A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

 

Mat 23:15 KJV

15) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

 

Mat 24:23-24

(23) Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

(24) For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

 

Mar 5:3-4

3) Who had [his] dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:

4) Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any [man] tame him.

 

Mar 13:21-23

(21) And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:

(22) For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

(23) But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

 

Joh 8:43-45 KJV

(43) Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

(44) Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

(45) And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

 

Joh 17:14-17 KJV

(14) I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

(15) I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

(16) They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

(17) Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

 

Act 17:10-12 KJV

(10) And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

(11) These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

(12) Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.

 

2Co 2:9-11 KJV

(9) For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.

(10) To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;

(11) Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

 

2Co 11:13-14 KJV

(13) For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

(14) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

 

1Th 5:20-21 KJV

(20) Despise not prophesyings.

(21) Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

 

2Th 2:8-12

(8) And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

(9) Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

(10) And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

(11) And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

(12) That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

 

2Ti 3:1-8 KJV

(1) This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

(2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

(3) Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

(4) Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

(5) Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

(6) For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

(7) Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

(8) Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16) All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Heb 1:1-3 KJV

(1) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

(2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

(3) Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

 

Heb 11:1-3

1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

2) For by it the elders obtained a good report.

3) Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

 

1Jn 2:18 KJV

(18) Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

 

1Jn 4:1-3 KJV

(1) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

(2) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

(3) And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

 

Rev 13:11-14 KJV

(11) And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

(12) And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

(13) And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

(14) And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

 

Rev 16:13-15 KJV

(13) And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

(14) For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

(15) Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

 

Rev 19:20 KJV

(20) And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

Spiritual Gifts: When Did The Accrediting Gifts Go Out Of Existence? (Part 2)

SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

“Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

 

In our previous studies we have seen that there are three basic types of Accrediting Gifts which include several gifts under each type. In the above passage, we find each type of Accrediting Gift is represented by one gift from each type …

Type Of Accrediting Gift Gifts Included In This Type Representative Gift Mentioned In1 Cor 13:8
Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth The Word Of Wisdom, The Word of Knowledge Word of Knowledge (or Knowledge)
Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth Faith, Gifts Of Healing, Working Of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning Of Spirits Prophecy (or Prophecies)
Supernatural Proclamation Of The Truth Divers Kinds Of Tongues, Interpretation Of Tongues Diverse Types Of Tongues (or Tongues)

Please note the above verse (1 Cor 13:8), which includes one representative gift from each group, makes it plain that each type of Accrediting Gift will come to an end at some point in time. We now will turn our attention to the question at what point in time will these gifts go out of existence?

In this study, we will see that this question is answered by the Word of God using several different lines of teaching which all present the same answer for us. This will be the lines of teaching that we will be studying:
I.        The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”
II.        The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span
III.        The Death Of The Apostles
IV.        The Supernatural Beginning / Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings
V.        The Prophecies of False Miracles In The “Last Days”

Lesson:

The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span:

Our texts for this lesson are:

Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, andthere is nothing too hard for thee: (Jer 32:17)

I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. (Job 42:2)

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you…And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; … And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. … And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. (Exo 3:14, 4:1-8)

God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? (Heb 2:4)

To begin our look at the Scriptures, I would like us to quickly summarize the above passages in the context of our subject “Can the miracles of the Bible be believed?” Basically, we can draw from the verses above the following truths:

1. Our God is able to do all things…. This includes giving His followers the ability to perform miracles, as a sign of their ministries authenticity (1 Corinthians 12:8-11). If it is His will…. He can do these things! (Jeremiah 32:17, Job 42:2, Hebrews 2:4)

2. Both in the Old and the New Testaments, God’s motive for bestowing this miracle working power upon His followers was to accredit their message and the place of worship He had established. This is why these types of miracles are called “sign gifts” or “accrediting gifts” from God (Exodus 3:14, 4:1-8).

Over the years, studying the sign gifts of the Bible, I have noticed something very interesting. It seems as if these sign miracles of God were basically performed in three “groups” throughout Biblical history. Please notice the following basic, generalized table to help explain my point:

Miracle Workers Moses, Joshua Elijah, Elisha Christ, Apostles
Message Accredited Law Prophets New Testament
Worship Place Accredited Tabernacle Temple Church
Time Span*Dates Are Based Upon Martin Anstey’s Chronology 1530 BC – 1460 BC 835 BC – 765 BC 30 AD – 100 AD

It has been so interesting for me to come to an understanding of the Lord’s motives in these sign miracles that were performed. Note that the Lord, through divine miracles, accredited the messenger, as well as the section of Scripture written, and the worship place used at that time. In each case, the “sign miracles” were in existance for approximately 70 years. In each case, a “silent time” existed after each group of miracles, where no sign miracles and few, if any, other miracles were performed. Why? Once God established the validity of each of the above segments, there was no need for miracles until another segment was about to take place.

For example, following the accreditation of the tabernacle and the message of the law, there was no reason to accredit anything, or anyone, until the temple and the prophets came on the scene. Likewise, there was an extended period of “miracle silence” after the completion of the Old Testament. It was only when Christ came on the scene that we have a period of sign miracles taking place to validate the message of the New Testament and the church as the new place of worship for God’s people.

We have seen the end of the last period of miracles being described in 1 Corinthians 13:8-10…

“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. “(1Corinthians 13:8-10)

This verse is teaching us that the miraculous gifts of prophecies, tongues, and knowledge, shall come to an end. At the time of Paul’s writing this letter, the NT was not yet completed. This is why he makes the statement that “we know in part and we prophesy in part”. However, when the New Testament reached completion, bringing about the completed Bible (that which is perfect) then the revelation of His Word, bit by bit, (that which is in part) would be finished and no longer needed. The completion of the Word acted upon the sign gifts of prophecies and knowledge, immediately bringing them to an end. (Note:The sign gift of tongues died out as that generation of gifted men died and went home to their Lord, shortly thereafter.)

Also remember, prior to the Word’s completion, the church had already been established in Jerusalem as the worship place of the True God, through the sign miracles of tongues and healings etc.

This fits perfectly with the other times of accreditation that the Lord used. It was 70 years long followed by a period of silence. Since the completion of the Word and the accreditation of the local church (30 AD-100 AD), we find that there existed another time of “miracle silence” that continues on today.

Accepting the fact that the New Testament and the local assembly are established by God is now simply an issue of faith in His Word. In our day, we need no sign miracles to accredit anything… we have the Word that has recorded these previous accreditations for us to rely on today. In the last days, the working of counterfeit miracles will be on the increase, empowered by Satan, performed to mislead even God’s elect (if it were possible). (2 Thessalonians 2:7-10, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, Matthew 12:38-39)

Does the Lord still perform miracles? Absolutely everyday, spiritual and physical healing is common place in today’s time.

Does the Lord still give men the ability to perform the “sign gifts” listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11? Absolutely not. He used the sign gifts to accredit the ministries He had ordained. There is no longer a need for these gifts to be exercised by men. We have a written record in His Word of the accreditation of these ministries.

In our next study, we will be examining the times of the Apostles’ deaths and how that affects the ending of the accrediting gifts of the Spirit.

Additional Information (Verses Referred To In This Study):

The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span:

Exo 3:14

(14) And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Exo 4:1-8

(1) And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.

(2) And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.

(3) And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

(4) And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:

(5) That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.

(6) And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.

(7) And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh.

(8) And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.

Job 42:2

(2) I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.

Jer 32:17

(17) Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:

Mat 12:38-39

(38) Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

(39) But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

1Co 12:8-11

(8) For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

(9) To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

(10) To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

(11) But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

2Co 11:13-15

(13) For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

(14) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

(15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

2Th 2:7-10

(7) For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

(8) And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

(9) Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

(10) And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

Heb 2:4

(4) God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own

 

 

 

 

The Importance Of The Local Church -11 “The Membership and Attendance Of The Assembly”

SIH TOA ICON“…The house of God, which is the church of the living God,

the pillar and ground of the truth.”   (1 Timothy 3:15)

In this eleventh lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the teachings of the Bible concerning the importance of church attendance.

We will be looking at this subject from three different standpoints:
1.  The command to attend the assembly
2.  The examples to attend the assembly
3.  Our responsibility to others to attend the assembly

THE STUDY:

The command to attend the assembly

Perhaps Hebrews 10:25 is a command for every believer to join, and faithfully attend the Lord’s local assembly… “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” 

Here, the Christian is exhorted to not “abandon” or “permanently walk away” from the assembly of believers.  This can hold one of two meanings:

1.  This is speaking of the assembly of believers in the Lord’s church.

In this case, this text explains the need for Christians to not abandon the attendance of a local assembly where God’s people meet.  It seems to go further and explain that as the second coming of Christ draws nearer, the need for faithful attendance to the assembly will increase.

This interpretation is the historical interpretation that is held by most Godly men of the past.  Also, it seems to apply in today’s time that we see more and more Christians forsaking the assembly. This could be why we are told to attend so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Could this be said because, in the latter days, there would be a forsaking of His assembly?

If someone does walk away with no intention of every returning to the place of worship, prayer, praise and fellowship there is a real question as to whether his faith is a persevering, genuine faith.  This is the point John made in 1 John 2:19 – They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

However, there is another possible interpretation of this text as well…

2.  This could be telling the followers of Christ to not forsake belief, nor concentration, on His second coming when He will “assemble” His people to Himself. 

A true genuine faith will not lose hope in the second coming of Christ and the entrance of His saints to glory.  Col 1:27-29 makes it plain that the indwelling Spirit and His second coming are inseparably linked and a source of great encouragement for the people of God… To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”

 

Why do many believe this is the interpretation of this text?

The phrase “assembling together” comes from one Greek word “episunagoge” it carries with it the idea of “a gathering from all areas” or “a complete gathering”.  This same word is only used one other time in the Scriptures in 2 Thess 2:1 where it is speaking of the assembling of God’s people at the second coming of Christ.  This word for assembly NEVER spoke of God’s people assembling in a church meeting. There is another Greek word “ecclesia” that is normally used to describe that type of assembly.

Lastly, Peter related a denial of His second coming to lost mankind in the days before His coming in 2 Pet 3:3-4…. Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,  And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”

 

This can explain the phrase so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

These are the basic reasons why some believe this text is speaking of not forsaking a belief in His second coming and the deliverance of His people from a sinful world.  But to further explain the confusion on this text….

3. Could this text be referring to the assembling of believers in BOTH ways we have previously described?

We need to study the root word from which we get “episunagoge” which comes from the Greek word “Episunago”  this root word is used as follows:
1. Christ gathering Jerusalem like a mother hen to protect them – Matt 23:37, Luke 13:34
2. Christ gathering His people at His second coming – Matt 24:31, Mark 13:27
3. Citizens of a city gathered to see miracles of Christ – Mark 1:33
4. Multitudes following Christ to hear His teachings – Luke 12:1

In EVERY case the Greek word “episunago” and it’s derivative “episunagoge” is used to described people gathered TO CHRIST.  There is no exception to this.   This is a very important point.

In Hebrews 10:25, a way to transliterate this verse would be “Not abandoning the assembling ourselves to Christ, as the manner of some is…”

If this is the case, then either event could apply to this text…
1.  You see, when God’s people meet to worship Him, He promises to be in their “midst” in the person of the Holy Spirit.  (Matt 18:18-20, 1 Cor 5:4).
2.  And as we have seen previously, we will all be gathered together to be with Him at His second coming. (1 Thess 4:13-18).
Could it be, that this verse is written on purpose to be vague, and both ways of understanding it are in alignment with God’s Word?  We have seen in this short section, Scriptural foundation laid that support both views.  In my own personal studies, I believe this dual-view of the text is the closest interpretation to its intended meaning.

4. Basic Principle Summarized…
To summarize this verse… Whatever was meant by the phrase “assembly” the principle is basically the same.  To encourage (exhort) other believers, and ourselves, we need to be sure we are living out our beliefs.  This can be done by not forsaking church membership and by not forsaking our hope in the second coming of Christ.  This is the last great sign of a living faith that will affect the lives of others.

 

The examples of attendance of the assembly

 
Here are a few, of many texts, that set a clear example for believers to join and attend the local assembly…

1.And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.”   (Luke 4:16)

Jesus set the example for us by consistently (“as his custom was”) attending the place of worship chosen by God. (Which was during the first stages of His ministry, the synagogue).

 

2.  “Now the first [day] of the [feast of] unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?  And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.  And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.  Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.  And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.  And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?  And he answered and said, He that dippeth [his] hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.  The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.  Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed [it], and brake [it], and gave [it] to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.  But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.   And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.”   (Matthew 26:17-30)

Here Jesus met with the first church members (His apostles) as they met to observe the Lord’s Supper PRIOR TO His death.  This is one of many examples showing us that Jesus continued to set the example for us of attendance to the new place of worship, the local assembly.

 

3.  “Then the same day at evening, being the first [day] of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace [be] unto you.  And when he had so said, he shewed unto them [his] hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you.  And when he had said this, he breathed on [them], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:  Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; [and] whose soever [sins] ye retain, they are retained.  (John 20:19-23)

Following Christ’s death we find the church continues to meet on the first day of the week.  Again, this is setting the example for us.

 

4.  “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls.  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.  And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.”   (Acts 2:41-43)

Following Christ’s ascension, the Lord’s church continued to meet on a regular basis.  This can be seen throughout the book of Acts and the Pauline epistles.

These verses, and others, clearly establish that the followers of Christ joined together forming an assembly and then continued to meet together for instruction, encouragement, and fellowship.

Our responsibility to others to attend the assembly

There are many texts that help us to understand that all of us have a responsibility to join a local assembly, and by doing so, show our love to our brethren (John 13:34-35).  This is done by giving them support, encouragement and strength.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.   (Romans 12:3-5)

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.  For the body is not one member, but many.  If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?   And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  If the whole body [were] an eye, where [were] the hearing? If the whole [were] hearing, where [were] the smelling?  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.  And if they were all one member, where [were] the body?  But now [are they] many members, yet but one body.   And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.  Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:  And those [members] of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely [parts] have more abundant comeliness.  For our comely [parts] have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that [part] which lacked:  That there should be no schism in the body; but [that] the members should have the same care one for another.  And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.  (1 Corinthians 12:12-27)

As every man hath received the gift, [even so] minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”   (1 Peter 4:10)

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”   (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.  Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”   (James 5:14-18)

When we come to understand the role that we can play in the lives of our brethren within the context of local assembly, we can see it is our duty to join the assembly for the sake of our love to them.

 

THE SUMMARY:

Through these verses we are given an understanding of the importance of membership and attendance in the Lord’s local assembly.  May we all remember the Lord’s command, His example, the example of other New Testament believers, and the great opportunities that await us to show our love for others, to motivate us to find a local assembly of the Lord, enter into its membership, and serve Him among our brethren.

Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is an act of obedience to the Lord, and it is an act of love towards the other spiritual brethren in your area.

Just a quick note…  Please keep in mind, this study as all the rest of the studies, is only speaking about our responsibility to the Lord’s local churches that exist throughout the earth.  These principles do not apply to other houses of worship that hold to false doctrine and are not sanctioned by Christ.  The idea that “it is better to attend a false church than no church at all” is unscriptural and can actually harm a child of God’s testimony, growth and communion with the Lord.

What happens if there is no church of the Lord in my area?  The best way to handle this situation is to find the closest church of the Lord and explain your situation and your desire for an assembly in your area.  They will then examine your particular situation and find the best remedy for you.  Normally, most church will accept your membership under these conditions, minister to you through the mail or internet and also seek to establish a sound body that you are able to attend.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.
 

For a free study guide for this series in .pdf format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.pdf
For a free study guide for this series in .docx format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.docx

 

 

Personal Experience Or God’s Word, Which Is Our Standard? #2

SIH STSTA ICONShould we trust the Word instead of our life experiences?

Throughout our lifetime, we are called upon to choose between trusting the revelation of God’s Word or placing our faith in our life experiences. Phrased another way, are we to make our life decisions based upon what our senses have revealed to us, or do we look to God’s Word as the only unquestionable standard by which our life is to be directed?

This is study I would like us to come to an understanding of God’s will on this all important issue. There will be three parts to our study for us:

1. Should we trust the Word when we lack life experiences?
2. Should we trust the Word instead of our life experiences?
3. Should we trust the Word based upon Biblical revelation?

THE SCRIPTURES: 

And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast [it] before Pharaoh, [and] it shall become a serpent. And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. (Exodus 7:8-13)

Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, [there is] a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me [him] up, whom I shall name unto thee. And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die? And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, [As] the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel.
And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou [art] Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form [is] he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he [is] covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it [was] Samuel, and he stooped with [his] face to the ground, and bowed himself. (1 Samuel 28:7-14)

The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, [It will be] fair weather: for the sky is red.
And in the morning, [It will be] foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O [ye] hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not [discern] the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. (Matthew 16:1-4)

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here [is] Christ, or there; believe [it] not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, [he is] in the secret chambers; believe [it] not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. (Matthew 24:21-28)

And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha. And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side. (Mark 8:10-13)

For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ: (Ephesians 4:11-15)

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:8-14)

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all [men], as theirs also was. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of [them] all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them]; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:1-17)

I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-6)

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
(Jude 1:3)

And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which [sword] proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. (Revelation 19:19-21)

THE STUDY: 

Can our senses, and the events that take place in the physical world around us, be reliable sources to discern, and validate the will of God? This is a very important question that deserves a careful, comprehensive study of the Word of God for its answer.

With the establishment of the Lord’s churches on earth came the clear declaration of the existence of false teaching and purposeful attempts to deceive God’s people….

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:… That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;… (Ephesians 4:11-15)

We must pay attention to  the descriptive phrases that are used in this passage to describe the attempts that are used by Satan to deceive the people of God. For it is in these phrases we can clearly see willful intent, the motive of this deception, and the basic way in which the deception is brought upon Christians.  Please notice:

1. “sleight of men” – this phrase refers to seducing those who are unskillful. It was a term used to describe the experienced taking advantage of naive youths in games of chance.
2. “cunning craftiness” – this phrase refers to trickery, or cleverness, that misleads. It is speaking of the ability to lay plans ahead of time to mislead and take advantage of others.
3. “lie in wait to deceive” – to stay among travelers, or a well-traveled path, for the purpose of taking advantage of the travelers. It is describing something like a lion, who crouches along a much-used path waiting for an innocent animal to appear.

In the above, we can see the nature of Satan’s workings as he makes plans to use trickery and deceit to mislead the people of God. What was God’s remedy that He supplies to us? He graciously has given us the different offices of teachers that will share His Word, whose principles give us the ability to discern and resist Satan’s attempts at misleading us. These offices are listed in this text, “apostles” , “prophets”, “evangelists”, pastors and teachers”

So from this text we learn two very important truths…

First, as Christians, Satan is out to deceive us during our physical walk on earth. He will try to deceive us using various tricks and false teachings.

Secondly, the Lord has given us His Word, and those who minister His Word, both past (Apostles and Prophets who gave us the completed Word) and present (Evangelists and Pastor/Teachers who now minister that completed Word), to us to enable us to overcome the trickery of Satan.

In this text, He establishes the principle that His Word, when used as our standard for living, will thwart any deceitful plans of Satan that are sent our way in an attempt to mislead us. This principle is also presented in 1 John 4:1-6…

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world… Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:1-6)

Please notice that Satan’s use of false teaching (and false teachers) is emphasized. We are told in this passage that we must “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God:” How are we to try the spirits? We do this by comparing the truth of God with the teachings that come our way. This is presented to us in this text in two different ways:

First, teachings concerning the person of Christ are used as the basis of recognition of the deceitful teaching of Satan, “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” This tells us that we need to compare the teachings of man with the truthful and reliable truths of Christ found in the Word.

Secondly, please note the closing sentence of this text, “Hereby know we the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, and the SPIRIT OF ERROR.”  What is the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error?
This is further explained in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15…

“For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

In this passage we see emphasized the deceitful nature of Satan’s plan. His teachers claim to be sent by Christ. They claim to be doing the works of Christ and they even appear to our senses to be the servants of the Most High.   In these two texts, Satan uses the proclamation of error through false teachers, false prophets etc. in an attempt to deceive the people of God. This is the “SPIRIT OF ERROR”.

In the 1 John 4:1-6 passage, the term “truth” refers to that which is genuine, actual to fact, verifiable truth. It is this very body of truth that is contained in God’s Word. The Word is the only source of absolute truth that is available to man…

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
(Jude 1:3)

Here we find the need to stand fast and defend the set of doctrinal truth (or “the faith”) God has given to man is found in His Word.  This is the “SPIRIT Of TRUTH”.

Notice what is said about “the faith”…
1. it was “once delivered” – in the original language this phrase means “to be delivered in its entirety once and for all”. This clearly refers to the Word of God, once handed down and brought to completion in about 100 AD.
2. it was delivered “unto the saints” – it was given to those He had selected to be the writers of His Word…. the OT prophets and NT apostles, and their associates. These men were inspired by God to write down the very Word of God recorded in the Bible, which now makes up “the truth” and “the faith” that upon which we base our entire system of beliefs and teachings.

It is this “SPRIT OF TRUTH” that is in a constant spiritual struggle with the “SPIRIT OF ERROR” we have previously seen.

But the Bible goes farther.  As it looks ahead in time, we find that we are told that this struggle will increase and be brought to fruition as the last days draw closer…

… Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

… Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here [is] Christ, or there; believe [it] not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, [he is] in the secret chambers; believe [it] not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. (Matthew 24:21-28)

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come… Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all [men], as theirs also was…. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them]; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:1-17)

… And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which [sword] proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. (Revelation 19:19-21)

In the last three passages, please notice that Satan’s attempts to deceive the people of God are not limited to the use of false teachers and error filled teaching.  We see also the usage of “great signs and wonders” (Matt 24:); misleading miracles, “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth:” (2 Tim 3: and Exod 7:8-13); “wrought miracles” (Rev 19:).

Both in the days in which we are living, and in the days which must yet come, we can see the Bible is warning us about Satanic use of “miracles” and “signs and wonders” which will be used in an attempt to mislead God’s people.

Think about it, our physical senses observe that these false teachers are able to perform great acts that mirror the acts of the Godly men in the days of old. Based upon our senses, we are tempted to accept Satanic teachers based upon their display of “supernatural powers”. Then on top of it all, we hear with our ears messages that scratch “our itching ears” (2 Tim 4:), in other words, the messages are be pleasing to us and bring satisfaction to our sinful, fleshly, nature.

In these life experiences, our senses will certainly be working hard to mislead and deceive us. The only hope for us is clearly presented in the 2 Tim 3: passage, “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them]; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

It is only through the use of the completed, inspired Word of God, that we can possess a standard to compare all teachings and workings of man.

In closing let’s notice a few things about the Word of God from the 2 Tim 3: passage:

1. The Word is what we have “learned” – to come to acknowledge and understand as genuine truth
2. The Word is what we have “been assured of” – to be trustworthy
3. The Word is “known of whom we have learned” – Godly, reliable men have given us this Word.
4. The Word is “able to make thee wise unto salvation” – was applied to our heart when we were saved.
5. The Word is “given by inspiration of God” – spoken by God Himself, it is “breathed out” by God
6. The Word is “profitable for doctrine” – it benefits us by supplying the truths of God
7. The Word is “profitable for reproof” – it benefits us by supplying warnings from God
8. The Word is “profitable for correction” – it supplies direction on how to correct error in our life
9. The Word is “profitable for instruction in righteousness” – it supplies truths on how to live a Godly life
10. The Word causes us to be “perfect” – it supplies what we need to be spiritually mature
11. The Word causes us to be “throughly furnished unto all good works” – it is ALL WE NEED to be furnished to please God in every aspect of our life.

The above description of God’s Word reveals several important facts to us about the Word. Of these facts let me emphasize four of them:

Notice we have learned it is trustworthy… our physical senses, which are touched by sin, are not trustworthy witnesses of that which is Godly and that which is against God. But the Word can be relied upon to reveal the true nature of what we may experience in this life.

We also saw that it was the Word that has revealed the way of salvation to us. If we can trust this Word to give us reliable discernment that affects our eternal destiny, surely we can trust it to give us Godly discernment our experiences in life.

The Word through its own testimony, and the examination of men for over two centuries, has been proven to be perfect, without error, and absolutely trustworthy. Surely, we can continue to rely totally upon this Word to lead us from error as we seek to serve the Lord.

Finally, in the last sentence of 2 Tim 3:, we are told that the Word is ALL THAT WE NEED to become spiritually mature and to perform “all good works” that we are called upon to do. This statement confirms for us the need to rely totally on the Word of God to discern to true nature of our life experiences. We do not need our life experiences, apart from the Scriptures, to show us the will of God. But we need the Scriptures for Godly discernment of all that our senses perceive as we experience life on earth

The revealed Word, as found in the Holy Scriptures is all we need and ALL WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN by God to give us a standard for comparison of all teachings and works of the men that minister unto us.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Getting to the heart of our study for today…

The Word is our completed guidebook for Godly discernment and leadership as we seek to serve our Lord on earth. If we rely upon our physical senses and physical experiences alone to discern the Lord’ will for our lives, we are headed for doom.

How does this apply to us in a practical way? Here are just a few examples….
1. When we hear teaching on spiritual things we must run to the Word and compare its teachings with the teachings we have heard. Any teachings that are in alignment with the Word we can cling to as much fine gold, and any teachings we hear that are in opposition to the Word we must cast aside as chaff.
2. When we see works performed by those who claim to be God’s messengers, we are to grasp our “gold standard” of the Word to see if these works will stand up against its teachings. Does God say that these works will be used by His ministers? Does God say these works will be done during the time in which we are living, or have they fulfilled their purpose and no longer exist? Are the works accomplishing the proper end? Etc etc
3. When we see methods being employed by churches and ministers we must not be caught up in the idea that “the end justifies the means”. Just because a certain method APPEARS to have great results for Christ, it does not justify their use. We are to take the Word, and see if the methods being used are glorifying to the Lord and sanctioned in the Word.

It is these type of issues that Satan uses to reap havoc and chaos among God’s people. It is only through the use of God’s Word as our final authority concerning the teachings, works, and methods of ministry that we can see the true nature of the ministries and ministers that may come our way.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth concerning this very important subject.

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May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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