If you search the internet for Christian views on spirituality, you will find a lot of controversy regarding certain doctrines and well-known T.V. preachers. Its really amazing that so many who profess to love God’s Word, the Bible, to love Jesus, to be in touch with the Spirit of Truth can have such major disagreements on so many issues and people. Somewhere someone is getting deceived. And if you think that only YOU cannot be deceived, you are already deceived. Jesus said, “Take heed that no one deceives you.” (Matthew 24:4). Only a fool thinks he doesn’t need to take the warnings our our Saviour and Creator seriously.
There is no doubt in my mind that the enemy of our souls is at work here, sowing confusion. It is my purpose to unmask one of the major ways he does this, so we can be wiser and avoid being swept up in the wrong direction – and many times there are extremes on either side of any issue which are both equally dangerous and destructive.Satan’s tactic is to mix the bad with the good. “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.” (Matthew 13:24,25). It is instructive to read the whole chapter, where you will learn that this enemy is the devil and the harvest is the end of the age – no doubt the time we are living in now.
God hates mixtures, because they confuse people and cause division. Mat 12:33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree rotten and its fruit rotten; for a tree is known by its fruit.” In other words, don’t make it a mixture.
In Leviticus 19:19 it says: “You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your seed with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you.” I believe that these commandments while part of the mosaic law by which we are not bound today, reveal an important principle. God doesn’t like it when we mix his truth with error in our doctrine, or when by our ways we welcome both God and the devil to get involved with our lives and ministries.
Why is mixture dangerous? It is because it will divide people and cause confusion. Some people will accept the good and swallow the error, while others, offended by the error, will reject the good they need to receive that is coming out of the same ministry.
If you have come to know something of God, you will know that there is a difference between satisfaction that comes from the Spirit of God and that which comes from direct excitation of the soul – the mind and emotions. It is true that when the Spirit of God moves God’s children will GENERALLY be uplifted and encouraged. There is a definitely a certain pleasure associated with being in God’s presence. “In your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
There is also pleasure that comes from natural things. These things are not always wrong in themselves, but when they become the focus, they take us away from the purity of devotion to Jesus Christ and quickly become corrupted. I can listen to some music which is pleasant but if I keep repeating it all the time and focusing on it because of the pleasure it gives me pretty soon I cannot be guided in my mind by the Spirit of God. So it can be with any of God’s gifts.
Sometimes evil spirits masquerade as the Holy Spirit. Just because something is supernatural and there are Christian leaders who believe in it does not mean it is of God. Neither does the fact that it is supernatural mean it is not of God. The Holy Spirit’s work is supernatural. He does surprising things above and beyond what can happen without His direct intervention. But not everything that is supernatural IS of God. So Christian leaders have a responsibility to regulate and judge what is going on it their meetings. It is so easy to shut everything supernatural down and have church meetings run like a well oiled machine, but this leaves little room for the Lord of the church to have a place. An equal and opposite error is to shut down the preaching of the Word of God and just wait for something supernatural to happen.
Many people today are dissatisfied with the kind of Christianity which is most popular today. There can be a serious mixture of truth and error in some churches. This actually matters – spiritual error CAN cause you to lose your soul. False teaching can make you feel secure in your sins when you would fear the Lord and repent of your sins if you knew the truth about salvation. Teaching rejecting the gifts of the Holy Spirit can deprive people of the living relationship with God they need in order to be strong in these last days. Many other false positions exist, and it DOES matter.
My best counsel would be to take Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and live according to Christ’s commands and promises found there. I know there are plenty of churches that write off the teaching of the gospels as being “not for us” but unfortunately for them, Jesus said it was according to His words we would be judged. “He who rejects Me and does not receive My words, has that which judges him – the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life.” (John 12:48-50).
“Do not believe every spirit but test the spirits whether they are of God”. We need to see if what preachers are teaching lines up with the Word of God, and also seek to discern whether it is motivated by a spirit of greed, or pride or carnality. NEVER become so adoring of a preacher that you swallow everything he says – especially a television preacher. We really need to discern what is of God and what is not. Take what draws you to Christ in dependence, prayer and obedience to God’s Word and ignore what seems merely sensational, novel or manipulative.
I believe that a lot of the things that are popular and fashionable in charismatic christianity today and over the last 13 years are false and need to be examined carefully. Many time psychology and salesmanship have replaced the preaching of the whole counsel of God. We must not be swayed by how popular a ministry is, or how other ministries speak well of it, but we must make Jesus our model and search the Scriptures (not apologetics websites) diligently to see if these things be so. The problem with a lot of “discernment” ministries on the web today is that THEY themselves are promoting mixtures and throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
There are false teachers today who believe in the Baptism in the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues, for example, but that does not mean that the Bible is against the doctrine of the Baptism in the Spirit with speaking in tongues. Instead a mixture has come in to divide and confuse people. We need to be all the more diligent that no one deceive us in the last days.Its good to have a read of 2 Peter 2 concerning false teachers. These people gain acceptance because they tell people what they WANT to hear. Giving people what they want is a great MARKETING principle but it is not the guiding principle for being a true servant of God.
Sometimes there will be some truth in what is taught by a false teacher. Don’t think that this means all the teach is right. Neither reject everything taught by someone just because they err on one or two points. You need to know the Word of God for yourself, and prayerfully consider things in the Lord’s presence. Remain humble and teachable. Only God can save us in these perilous last days.