Ecclesiology 034: Spiritual Gifts 14

Ecclesiology 034: Spiritual Gifts 14
Galatians 1:6-9 • Dr. Andy Woods • August 26, 2018 • Ecclesiology


Dr. Andy Woods

Ecclesiology 34: The Charismatic Movement, Part 1

8-26-18     Lesson 34

Father, we’re grateful for today, and grateful for Your truth in You Word and grateful for the things You’ve revealed to us in Your Word.  And You’ve put a pretty big calling on our lives to be stewards of these truths and to a steward is required faithfulness and so I pray, Father, that we would be good learners this morning and then this week as we live these things out we would be good stewards as well and we’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory.  We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said…. Amen.

Let’s open our Bibles if we could to Exodus chapter 7 and as you all know we’re continuing our study through the doctrine of the church, Ecclesiology, and we’ve been talking about the purposes of the church and one of the great purposes of the church is to equip the saints so they can use their spiritual gifts.  That took us sort of in a rabbit trail on the whole issue of spiritual gifts.  We’ve asked or we’ve offered about nineteen or so general observations about spiritual gifts and then part of this I just wanted to skip (to be honest with you) but if I did it would leave you with incomplete information.

Whenever you get into the issue of spiritual gifts at some point you have to deal with the question are all the spiritual gifts for today?   There are seven gifts, apostles, prophets, workers of miracles, tongues, interpretation of tongues, healing and knowledge that we, unlike the sector of Christianity called Pentecostalism or Continuationism of the Charismatic world, we believe that those seven gifts ceased in the first century.  And that’s our position statement at Sugar Land Bible Church and even beyond that I was giving you the reasoning for that.  And just to sort of make a long story short what we’ve said on that is the foundational gifts and the confirmatory gifts and the revelatory gifts have ceased.  But the sixteen or so edificatory gifts continue and we’ll be going through those remaining gifts in this series.

And since this is really the first time at this church I’ve ever addressed the charismatic movement I didn’t want to let it go too fast without dealing with a few other issues so I gave you a lot of citations and quotes from church history indicating that those gifts ceased and then I gave you this section as well; let’s pretend they’re in operation.  If they are in operation then Paul lays down very clear rules that have to be in place for those gifts to be used properly within the local church context.  So, we looked at the rules for prophecy, and then we also looked at the rules for tongues and their interpre­tation.  And part of the reason I did that is at some point in your life you might find yourself in a Pentecostal church because there’s no other church to choose from and so if that’s your predicament unless God is calling you to start your own church (which maybe you should think about that) you would pick the church that at least wants to follow the rules of 1 Corinthians 14.  So, to equip you to do that you have to know what the rules are.  Word of God we went through all of those.

Now I want to move into Roman numeral V and I wanted to spend just a little bit of time on this.  This is not popular teaching that I’m giving here but I wanted to explain what I believe is the true source of many of the things that happen in the charismatic movement.  In other words, if these are real experiences that people are having and yet much of it is unbiblical and not following the rule book, then where in the world is it coming from?  What’s the power source behind it?  And you’ll notice what we say here in our position statement on this.  We say, “We believe that the majority of what is termed miraculous within the contemporary charismatic movement is something other than the biblical gift of tongues and healing.

Now if that’s true and people are having very real experi­ences then you have to figure out if these experiences aren’t based on Scripture where are they coming from, because we’re sort of living in a culture today that basically believes something is true as long as someone has an experience.  And this gets into an issue, here is a fancy word for it, it’s called epistemology.  From that word, epistemology you recognize the word epistle which is a letter that reveals doctrine, do epistemology is the study of knowledge.  So, epistemology is the study of how we know what we know; you can imagine a whole branch of study dealing with that.  I mean, how do we really know what we know?  And what rules do we use to determine what we figure out what is true and what isn’t?

And this is a big deal because a lot of people’s epistemology is something is true if there’s an exper­ience they’ve had.  All they’re really looking for is an experience and if the experience is real, and I believe in many cases the experiences people have are very real, if the experience is there and the experience is real then it must be God… right?  And so much of our culture is being conditioned to accept an experiential epistemology.  And sadly, what happens is that culture starts to invade the church and Christians start to have the mindset, they accept something as true if there’s some kind of experience, if they’ve seen a healing, and as I’ve tried to explain carefully in this study we do believe God heals today.  We just don’t believe there’s a gift of healing.  But if someone claims to be an apostle and they’ve laid hands on people and they’ve gotten better or someone has spoken in tongues or if someone has had some kind of vision or prophecy, and this is why you can’t…it’s very difficult to talk to a charismatic because the temptation is to talk them out of their experience.  And that’s something that’s almost impossible to do because in many cases they’ve had an experience.

The discussion needs to move along, instead of have you had the experience or have you not had the experience, let me see the doctor’s reports, let me see the X-rays, instead of going that direction the issue is: is that experience that you’ve had from God?  Because your Bible reveals, and I’ll be showing you the passages this morning, many experiences people have that have nothing to do with God.  In fact, it was my late Professor, Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost who brought this up in class and he was talking about the charismatic movement and he was basically saying this: if peoples experi­ences are not from the Holy Spirit and you can figure out if it’s from the Holy Spirit or not based on its conformity to this Book, but as we’ve tried to explain, a lot of people are having experiences outside the pattern of this book.

So, if the experience is not coming from the Holy Spirit at leaves only two other possibilities from which the experience can come. The first source could be the flesh or the fallen nature and the second source could be the realm of Satan and his fallen angels. So, if people can have experiences not just based on the Holy Spirit but also based on the flesh or based on the fallen angelic realm, then that changes your epistemology, doesn’t it?  In other words, you cannot accept everything is true if there’s some sort of accompanying experience since the devil himself and the flesh itself can give experiences.

So, I gave you this quote, I think, last time, and this was someone that claimed the ability to speak in tongues, and they say this, and here they’re criticizing the gift of tongues as it’s being practiced today in many circles.  He says, “Now before you sit down and write me a letter telling me how real your experience with tongues is, let me tell you about mine.  I’ve spoken in tongues on several occasions.  I’ve talked down the aisles, I’ve prayed at the altar, I’ve followed the instructions of spiritual leaders who were telling me how to speak in tongues and I spoke in tongues,.” and here’s the key line, “and it was very real. It happened, there was nothing unreal about it but it was not the Holy Spirit!  How do I know?  Because I wasn’t even saved at the time, that’s how I know.  I became convinced by the preaching I heard that I must speak in tongues to be right with God, I determined to do it and I did it.

So Satan masquerades as an angel of light and if he has to give someone some kind of experience to keep them away from the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ then he can do that and will do that.  And if he has to give Christians experiences to sort of alter their worldview and keep them away from truth, he will do that as well. So if that becomes a biblical possibility then you’re epistemology can’t mean experience equals truth.

So here is a slid that I used many, many semesters I taught at the College of Biblical Studies.  The College of Biblical Studies was a great place to teach, partly because you’re touching people that would never come to a traditional Bible church, like this church for example.  But at the same time the vast majority of the students that interacted with there were of the charismatic persuasion.  And they were people that believed they were apostles, they believed they were prophets, they would narrate their experiences about tongues, interpretation of tongues, receiving visions, and my response to their different stories was well, that’s very interesting, have you tested the spirits?  And they would look at me, what do you mean, “tested the spirits”?  Well, testing the spirits is a biblical command, I’ll be showing it to you a little bit later, it’s found in 1 John 4:1. [1 John 4:1, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”]

Well, why would I need to test the spirits?  Because an experience that you’re having may not come from God.  And they were assuming every experience had to be the Holy Spirit.  And your Bible, in this light, is telling you that’s not true; what it’s telling you is that God is in the miracle business but so is the devil.  And this is just my own accumulation of passages that I’ve run into over the years for an authentic miracle is transpiring, there’s no doubt it’s an authentic miracle, but God has absolutely nothing to do with it.

So let’s sort of, if we could, walk through this list because you have to sort of grasp this list to develop a correct epistemology.  The first example I have there is in Exodus 7 and 8, and you know that story, don’t you?  That’s Pharaoh’s magicians imitating the early miracles of Moses and I think it was Aaron.  So Moses and Aaron would do a miracle under God and Pharaoh’s magicians there in Egypt would duplicate it.  And they were able to duplicate it up to a certain point until, I think it was gnats if I’m not mistaken, until God created gnats through Aaron and Moses and finally Pharaoh’s magicians said well this is the hand of God, we can’t imitate that.  But before that miracle transpired what you’ll see in Exodus chapter 7 and chapter 8 is the example of Pharaoh’s magicians performing miracles and those miracles have absolutely nothing to do with the Holy Spirit.

And you say well if God didn’t cause those miracles who caused them?  Well, let’s go back to what Dr. Pentecost said, if it’s not coming from the Holy Spirit then you only have two other possibilities, it’s coming from the flesh or most likely it’s Satan masquerading as an angel of light.  See that?

The second example, go over to the Book of Deuteronomy chapter 13, verses 1-3, and you ought to keep a record of these verses because these are epistemology changing verses is what they are.  Notice what it says here in Deuteronomy 13:1-3, here God is giving Moses and the children of Israel instructions just prior to the conquest of Canaan, which would happen under Joshua.

It says this: “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,” and look what it says here, [2] “and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ [3] you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”  [4] You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments,” etc.

So there’s a perfect example of a group of people that are performing a miracle that’s true and yet it’s obviously not coming from the Holy Spirit.  Why is that?  Because God can’t say something on Monday and completely contradict Himself on Tuesday because God cannot lie.  In fact your Bible says it’s impossible for God to lie, Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18 and many other passages.  [Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”    Titus 1:2, “in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,” Hebrews 6:18, “so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.”]

This can’t be God because God already spoke in the Decalogue, back in Exodus 20 and also once again to this new generation in Deuteronomy 5, and what are the first two command­ments?  No graven images, no gods before Me, so if a prophet or a dreamer or dreams or a giver of visions comes along and contradicts the foundation of the Decalogue that can’t be God.  So where did this miraculous power come from?  Obviously, it didn’t come from God because this guy, these folks are saying something that contradicts something that God already said.  It’s obviously coming from the fallen angelic realm.  And this is why God’s people are to test the spirits.  In fact, if I read this right God is using this to test them to see if they’re going to test the spirits.  All they have to do is compare the statement there in verse 2, “let us go after other gods,” to the first of the two command­ments and they can tell that this is a lying spirit, a false spirit.

And what God is saying here is He’s laying out an epistemology.  You don’t ascertain what is true by an experience.  And experience alone is a dangerous barometer to determining what is true because this miracle really would occur but it was coming from a power source other than God.

So, this is a principle, you don’t just see it in the Old Testament, you find it in the New Testament. Go over to Matthew, the very first book of your New Testament, take a look at Matthew 7 and notice verses 21-23, the Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father,” many will come, now if you follow along in our soteriology course I tried to explain that this verse is misquoted by a lot of people today.  They don’t understand that these are unbelievers here pleading their self-righteousness before God on the day of judgment.  These are unregenerated people.  “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not” here comes the self-righteousness, number one, “did we not  prophesy in Your name,” that would involve a miracle, wouldn’t it?  Number two, “and in Your name cast out demons,” that’s miracle number two, and number three, did we not “perform many miracles,” not just miracles but notice the adjective in front of miracles, plural, “many miracles.”

Verse 23, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you;” now why did Jesus never know these people?  Because these are people that thought that they could make themselves right with God through their own self-righteous acts.  And as we know, it doesn’t work that way; you come to God through the righteousness He provides in Jesus Christ.  Verse 23, “… I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you,’” never had a relationship with you, “DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’”

So, if these people never knew Christ how were they able to, number one, in the name of Christ prophesy?  Number two, in the name of Christ cast out demons (plural)?  And number three, in the name of Christ perform many miracles?”   How could people do that if they never knew Christ personally?  The answer is there obviously tapped into a source of power other than God because God is not the only source of power in the universe.  God, of course, is the ultimate source of power but there is also a high-ranking angel once named Lucifer that fell and took with him a third of the angels, and they’re capable of giving people all kinds of counterfeit signs and wonders as well, even in the name of Jesus Christ.

Take a look if you could over at the Olivet Discourse, Matthew chapter 24 and verse 24.  See what we’re doing here is we’re building a correct epistemology.  Matthew 24:24, Jesus is speaking and He says, “For false Christs and false prophets will arise” He’s speaking of the end times, and look what it says, “and will show not just signs and wonders but notice the adjective, first of all notice the plurality, “signs,” plural, “and wonders” plural, and then he even says “great signs and wonders.”  So as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.  So here you run into another group of people; they’re false prophets, they’re portrayed as people that have never known Christ personally and yet they have this tremendous ability to perform, not just signs and wonders but great signs and wonders.  So through which power source are these people tapped into if they’re not tapped into God?  They’re obviously tapped into an occultic source of power.

This is a biblical reality, this is why a miracle, even if it can be documented, in and of itself should not impress you as a Christian.  To be impressed just by a miracle is a very shallow simplistic epistemology.  It’s actually an unbiblical epistemology.

Let’s keep on marching, go over to the right, past the Gospels if you could and we go into the book of Acts just for a minute and we run into a man named Symon, the Sorcerer, so that shows you a little bit about his vocation in life.  And it says, “Now there was a man named Simon,” the Sorcerer, “who formerly” now this is in Samaria, “Now there was a man named Simon, the Sorcerer, who formerly was practicing”  not just an occasional miracle but this was a practice, he “was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria,” now look at what it says here, “claiming to be someone great;” does that sound very Christ like to you?  I mean, I thought John the Baptist, Jesus said, “He must increase and I must decrease.”  I mean, I thought Jesus made Himself of no reputation.  So one of the things to look at when you test the spirits is not just does their doctrine match up with what God has already revealed, you look at their character.  What kind of character do you see in the person.  In other words, you don’t accept something is true just because there’s a miracle; you look at the character of the miracle worker and you also look at the content of their doctrine.  That’s what it means to “test the spirits.”

So this man had abilities to do all kinds of things; he obviously didn’t possess the fruit of the Spirit.  By the way, did you know God is a lot more impressed with fruit of the Spirit than He is with gifts of the Spirit and powers and signs and wonders.  See our culture wants to see the power and the signs and wonders.  God says show me the character.

Now when you go down to verse 13 it says, “Even Simon believed after being baptized.”  So Simon doesn’t get saved, and a lot of people doubt whether Simon was ever saved here; I’m not of that persuasion, the Bible says he believed.  He just hadn’t had a lot of time to grow as a new Christian but I think he’s an authentic Christian.  So, I want you to see that he doesn’t become a Christian until verse 13 but prior to trusting in Christ, back in verse 9, he had a capacity to perform signs and wonders, he was astonishing a whole city to the point where everybody was attributing greatness to him.  So the question is well if he didn’t believe until verse 13 how was he performing the signs and wonders in verse 9.  Well the answer is very simple, he was tapped into an alternative source of power.

Take a look if you could about eight chapters to the right, over in Acts 16 and verse 16.  This was the Apostle Paul and Silas in Philippi, I believe on missionary journey number two, and it says this in verse 16: “It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us,” look at what it says here, “who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling.” So here is a slave girl, she has, it says it right there, “a spirit of divination,” I would take that to be some kind of demon inside of her.  And because this demon was inside of her she had the ability with certain accuracy, because Satan can predict the stock market just like anybody else, probably with greater accuracy than the rest of us because Satan has been around a lot longer than we have and understands economic patterns.

So Satan and his demons were giving this little slave girl the capacity to foresee the future, that’s what fortune telling is; that’s what a spirit of divination is.  And it was obviously a very real power because (A) there was a spirit inside of her, and (B) this was gravy train, I mean the psychic hotline is a pretty lucrative business.  So all of these people were kind of lining up to get their fortunes read and all these kind of things.  Same kind of thing goes on today.  Some of the things that go on today I think are shams, others I think are very real, I just don’t think God has anything to do with it.

And Paul, she was going around and she was disrupting their ministry and Paul got tired of it and cast a demon out of her and so the spirit of divination leaves her and what else leaves?  The gravy train rolling in and that’s what got Paul and Silas thrown in jail.

So, here’s another example of it, where a miracle was happening, fortunes, predicting the future, these are all very real things and yet the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with it, it’s rather a spirit of divination.  So do you accept something as true just because there’s a miracle?  Obviously you can’t do that as a Christian once you understand these passages.

Go with me if you could to the Book of Galatians, chapter 1, just go past those big books, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, and then go to God’s Electric Power Company, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians or Go Eat Pop Corn, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians.  And by the way, after you Go Eat Pop Corn then you run into the T’s, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, the Thessalonian books are in there, so that’s just an easy pneumonic to remember when someone says flip to this passage or flip to that passage.  And most pastors don’t take the time to explain those things to people and so they’re kind of rushing all over the Bible real nervous, I hope nobody sees that I can’t find the book when in reality there’s a very… people are going to question my salvation if I don’t even know where the Books of the Bible are.  That’s just a very easy way to remember those and by the way, that order that I just gave you is the canonical order, it is not the chronological order.  If we get into the chronology of Paul’s letters, you would put Galatians first but your New Testament is not organized that way, it’s organized in canonical order, not chronological order.  So, how’s that for confusion.

Galatians 1:6-9, notice what Paul says, “I am amazed” as he’s speaking to the Galatians that he’s   just won to Christ, led to Christ, built up in Christ, about a year earlier, “I am amazed that you are    so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;” so if it’s a different gospel it cannot be God’s gospel, right, because God can’t say something on Monday and contradict Himself on Tuesday.   [7] “which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ,” now here’s the key point, he’s laying down an epistemology, [8] “But even if we,” that would be myself Paul says, and “we” there is plural,    first person, the rest of us apostles, “even if we or an angel from heaven,” if it’s not of God how could it be “an angel from heaven.”

Well, to you it appears to be an angel from heaven because Satan comes as an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.  [ Corinthians 11:13-15, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. [14] No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. [15] Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.”]

So there are many people that have visitations from angels, the angels don’t come with a red cape and a pitchfork, Satan is not that dumb, he’s not dressed up in… like a Halloween costume.  Why would Satan come that way that would be obvious to recognize?  Well, Satan comes as something beautiful and attractive.  And in fact, when you study the origin of Satan in Ezekiel 28:12-17.

[Ezekiel 28:12-17, “Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.     [13] “You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx and the jasper; the lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; and the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you.  On the day that you were created they were prepared.  [14] You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.”  [15] “You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrigh­teous­ness was found in you.  [16] By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence, and you sinned; therefore, I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God.  And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.  [17] Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.  I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, that they may see you.  [18] By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteous­­­­ness of your trade you profaned your sanctuaries.  Therefore, I have brought fire from the midst of you; it has consumed you, and I have turned you to ashes on the earth in the eyes of all who see you.  [19] All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have become terrified and you will cease to be forever.”]

You’ll find him described in complete beauty, almost like all the different colors of the rainbow are represented.  That’s why he comes as angel of light because that’s what he is.  And it’s very interesting to me to listen to these stories of people that have had contacts from the other side and it’s almost in every story I’ve ever heard, it’s always this tunnel that they’re going through and there’s this beautiful light at the end of the tunnel and they’re just drawn to this light.  And I keep herring the story over and over again from people and everybody is assuming that the light is God.  Well that’s not a biblical epistemology.  Why would you think the light is God when Satan himself comes as an angel of light?  Have you tested that spirit, which is what we’re commanded to do?

The Apostle Paul goes on and he says, “But even if we, or an even if we or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary” so there it flunks the test, God can’t contradict what He said earlier, “contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed.”  [Galatians 1:8] Now that word “accursed” is very strong in the Greek language, it’s the Greek word anathema and I think what he’s basically saying is that false demon is hell bound.   To you he looks very attractive but he’s actually on his way to hell because we know from Matthew 25:41 that hell itself was created for Satan and his angels.  [Matthew 25:41, “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;”]

Verse 9, “And we have said before, I say now again to you, if any man is preaching to  you a gospel contrary to what you have received, he is to be accursed.”  Notice that Paul utters not just a single anathema but a double anathema.

So there was a young man named Mohammed who actually believed that he had a visitation from the angel Gabriel, which they call Jibreel, and it took me a while to figure out that’s what they were talking about when I would converse with Muslims, they would say Jibreel and finally the guy looked at me and he knew I didn’t understand it and he says “well, like Gabriel.”  And I said “you mean like Gabriel in the Bible?”  “Yeah, that’s the guy that showed up.”  Well, I believe this, that Mohammed probably did have a visitation that appeared to him like the angel Gabriel but I do not believe it was the real Gabriel of the Scripture.  I believe it was a demon impersonating Gabriel.  How do I know that?  Because the teachings of Islam are completely contradictory to the Bible.       I mean Islam, they don’t even believe that Jesus died on the cross, they think that was a substitute.   I think they think it was Judas that died on the cross and it was a great deception.  I mean, how in the world could I believe that that kind of doctrine came from the Holy Spirit?

And we have another individual in history, Joseph Smith, who started the Mormon belief system; he claims as a very young person that he had a visitation from the angel Moroni; he believed it was a biblical angel that gave him essentially the doctrine of Mormonism and I could tell you flat out that Moroni was not a biblical angel because first of all I never see the name “Moroni” in the Bible.  But you say oh, come on Andy, there’s ten thousand times ten thousand angels, couldn’t there be one angel named Moroni.  Okay, well maybe so, but you test the spirit by the doctrine that this angel supposedly gave Joseph Smith.  I mean, what are the teachings of Mormonism?  Almost at every juncture you look it contradicts the Word of God.  Mormons believe you’re saved by works, the Bible says you’re saved by faith alone in Christ alone by God’s grace.  Mormonism believes that Jesus is kind of a spirit brother of Lucifer.  That’s not what the Bible says; the Bible says that Lucifer is a created being, he’s an angel and Jesus is the eternally existent second member of the Godhead.  We could go through this on and on and on and see here’s what Christianity says, here’s what Mormonism says.  Here’s what Christianity says, here’s what Islam says.

And so by basic mental discipline you test the spirits and therefore you reject both Islam and Mormonism as false teaching because you have matured to the point of growth in Christ where you have a correct epistemology and you do not accept something is true just because there’s a miracle behind it.  I believe that both Joseph Smith and Mohammed probably had very real encounters but so what?  That doesn’t mean anything because the Bible is very clear in making us aware of another power source outside of God.

Take a look, if you could, at 2 Thessalonians 2:9, this is the coming antichrist and what does it say here about the coming antichrist?  Paul says, “that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders.” So, the antichrist has nothing to do with Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ is not behind the antichrist obviously.  So, if Jesus Christ is not behind the antichrist then my question is well how in the world can the antichrist come with “power, signs and false wonders”?  The answer is right there in verse 9, it says Satan, Satan is giving the antichrist the ability to do these things because the world system at that time will have a false epistemology.  The knowledge of the Bible following the rapture of the church is basically erased from the hearts of people; they don’t have any clue what this Book says.  And so they have been conditioned for so long to believe something is true because there’s a miracle behind it they follow the antichrist.  See that?

And this is why the kind of teaching that I’m doing right here is contrary to the culture.  I mean, most of the culture won’t embrace what I’m saying.  In fact, a lot of the church world won’t even embrace it.  Why is that?  Because this world is being set up for the antichrist, for Satan to get this world to accept the antichrist he has to shift the epistemology of the world.  He even has to shift the epistemology of professing Christians.  That’s why this book is always under attack, everywhere you go.  I mean we can teach Islam in the public schools, we can teach religious humanism in the public schools, but don’t you dare bring the Bible in here because we don’t want people to have a correct epistemology because we’ve got to get this world ready for the antichrist.

Now a lot of people look at this, verse 9, and they say well these aren’t real miracles, this is just sort of hokum the antichrist is doing.  [2 Thessalonians 2:9, “that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,..”]

Well notice this chart here, I give you the three Greek words that are used to describe the miracles of the antichrist: the word “Powers” is translated Dynamis, where we get the word dynamite, or even dynamic.  The word “Signs” is translated Semēion.  [John 20:30, “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;”]  And the word “wonders” is translated Teras [Acts 2:22, “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—“]

And what I want you to see it those identical three words are the same words used to describe Christ’s miracles; Dynamis is used to describe Christ’s miracles, Matthew 11:20.  [Matthew 11:20, “Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent.”]  Semēion is used to describe  Christ’s miracles, John 20:30.  [John 20:30, “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;”]  Teras is used to describe Christ’s miracles, Acts 2:22.  [Acts 2:22, “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know.]

What your Bible is saying is when the antichrist shows up he will do miracles that will look exactly like, and will be just as real as Jesus Christ’s miracles. And you can see how people would fall for that.  But they’re not from God because there’s a power source out there other than God that can perform miracles.  Obviously, Satan, as a created being, can’t do everything God does.  The dupli­cation of the miracles up to the gnats (I think it is) in the Book of Exodus prove that.  However, there’s an awful lot of stuff Satan can do.  So therefore, a miracle doesn’t mean something is automatically true.

And we’re not even done yet, are we.  Let’s go to Revelation 13:3, and what does it say here about the beast; this is the antichrist that Paul just talked to us about in 2 Thessalonians 2:9.  John says, “I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was…” look at this, not part of the earth, “the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast.”  So you obviously have some kind of slaying, here it says one of the heads of the beast, it was slain and it comes back to life and its of such a caliber that the whole world is astonished at this.  And because they don’t have a correct epistemology they say this is Jesus.

If you jump down to verse 14, same chapter, it says, “And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast” look at this, “who had the wound of the sword and has come to life.”  [Revelation 13:14] Came “to life” there is the Greek verb zaao, and you know what is interesting about that verb?  It’s the exact same verb used to describe Christ’s resurrection in the same book, in Revelation 2:8. [Revelation 2:8, “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:  The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this.”]

I don’t know how you interpret this.  Here’s how I interpret it: The resurrection of Jesus Christ is going to be imitated by the devil himself in the tribulation period.  The devil does not have as much power as God has but he obviously has an awful lot, giving a man even the ability to die and come back to life.  That’s what your Bible predicts is going to happen.  And Paul says if they won’t accept the true Christ then they’re given over to delusion… here’s the false Christ that imitates what Jesus does right down to a bodily resurrection.

And I bring that to your attention because a lot of people in our camp, even some of my heroes like Dr. John F. Walvoord in his Revelation commentary goes on and on about why this is not a real miracle here.  Well let me tell you something; it’s the exact same Greek verb, the same Greek verb used here is the same one used in Revelation 2:8.  And so I think this is an authentic resurrection; it’s an imitation of what Jesus did.

If you go to the same book, just a verse later, this is talking about the false prophet,  it says “He performs signs” notice the plurality of the “signs” there, “He performs” not just signs but “great signs so that he even makes…” now tell me who this sounds like in the Old Testament, “so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men.” [Revelation 13:13]

Does this sound like anybody you remember in the Old Testament?  It starts with an “E,” it kind of sounds like Elijah doesn’t it, with the prophets of Baal.  I mean, was that a real miracle that Elijah did.  Everybody thinks it’s a real miracle. Well, Satan is duplicating that miracle because apparently Satan has an awful lot of power working ability himself.

So the people on the earth in that day, they don’t have the right epistemology, they’re not testing the spirits, they’re not looking at the character of the miracle worker through the lens of the fruit of the Spirit, they don’t even know what fruit of the Spirit is.  They’re not testing the doctrine of the miracle worker based upon doctrine because God can’t contradict Himself, they don’t even know what prior doctrine is.  You can see how fast the world would fall for this kind of deception.

One more for good measure, go over to Revelation 16:13-14.  These are all the verses I have found in the Bible that talk about miracles that don’t come from God; maybe there’s others that you know of that I didn’t even mention here but you get the drift.

Revelation 16:13-14, “And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon” who is the dragon?  The dragon is Satan.  How do I know that?  Because the Book of Revelation interprets itself.  You’ll see Satan is identified as the dragon in Revelation 12:9 and Revelation 20:2. [Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”  Revelation 20:2, “And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;”]

“And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs;” frogs, that rings a bell doesn’t it?  I mean isn’t that, if I’m not mistaken one of the miracles that Pharaoh’s magicians imitated?  So here we’re being reminded of that.

But verse 14 tells us the power source behind these miracles, “for they are spirits of demons, performing” what? “signs” plural, “which go out to the kings of the” what? part of the world?  No, “the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.”  Hey, let’s gather in the Middle East and let’s fight the return of Jesus.  Satan is not going to say that!  He’s going to deceive them through occurrences that apparently are very real and probably look like God Himself.  And it’s probably going to shock these people more than anyone else to learn that in the end they’ve been set up to fight against God.

So having said all that that’s why we have the injunction (there at the bottom of the screen and I’m not going to go through all those verses again because I’ve been through those with you before.     [1 Corinthians 14:28, Deuteronomy  13:1-5; Isaiah 8:20; Acts 17:11; Galatians :8-9; 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21; 1 John 4:1; Revelation 2:2]

The injunction to test the spirits, it says it over and over and over and over again, it says to test the spirits.  It says it in the context of receiving prophesies in church, 1 Corinthians 14:28,                    [1 Corinthians 14:28, “but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God.”]

It says it there in Deuteronomy 13:1-5 relative to the false prophets that will exist in the land of Canaan in the days of Joshua.  [“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, [2] and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ [3] you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. [4] “You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. [5] “But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So, you shall purge the evil from among you.”

Isaiah 8:20 says the false spirits that mutter are to be tested by the testimony of God which is the law of Moses, Isaiah 8:20, this is a practice that the Bereans did even putting the Apostle Paul to the text, Acts 17:11, which I hope you’re doing with me right now.  [Isaiah 8:20, “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.”  Acts 17:11, “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”

I hope everything I’m saying you’re listening to  and saying is that really right with the Word of God.  And by the way, how can you do that when you’re sitting in a church every Sunday that’s giving you three points and a poem and is not teaching you inductive Bible study skills?  How can you do that if you’re not a Bible reader  yourself you don’t have any ability to test the spirits.  You’re just sort of a sitting duck for anybody that has the three “G’s”.  You know what the three “G’s” are?  The gift of gab, good looks and a guitar.  It’s amazing the people that will follow other people as long as they have the three G’s.  But if you’re a Berean you’re not antagonistic to the teaching but you’re screening everything through the Word of God.  That’s a biblical command.   That’s what God tells you to do.  This is what Paul exhorted the Galatians to do, Galatians 1:8-9. [Galatians 1:8-9, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! [9] As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”]

We’re told to “test all things, hold fast to that which is good”  [1 Thessalonians 5:21, “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;”]   Skipping 1 John 4:1 just for a minute, over in Revelation 2:2 as we know from our study in the Book of Revelation that the church at Ephesus put the apostles to the test and found them to be liars.  The key verse on this, take a look at if you could, 1 John 4:1, and I give you all these verses to show you this is a consistent command throughout the Bible. But here’s the key one, “Beloved,” so he’s writing to who?  Believers.

“Beloved do not believe every spirit,” now isn’t that interesting, because we’re lectured all the time in our culture about being broadminded and open to everything.  That’s an epistemology called postmodernism which your kids and grandchildren are being hit with every single day in their education.  You have to be open to everything and certain of nothing and the moment you’re certain of something you’re called arrogant and the only thing you can really be certain of is your own uncertainty.  If you want to be uncertain you can be certain of that. So you see how it collapses on itself.  That’s how you recognize false ideas, they contradict themselves.  It’s like when someone says there is no absolute truth.  My in-laws tell me that all the time, there is no absolute truth which myself and my wife, usually my wife says and you know that absolutely, right?  Just loving revealing that they’re in a worldview that’s self-defeating.

1 John 4:1, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit but” what? “test the spirits” how do you do that?  Look at the doctrine and look at the character of the miracle worker because Satan himself, as John has detailed in his writings, can perform miracles.  “Beloved, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God,” well why should I do that?  Look at the next clause, “because many” not a couple, not a handful, “many” what kind of prophets, “false prophets have gone out into the world.”

At some point in your Christian life you’re going to leave a sanctified environment like this and  you’re going to be hid head-on with false teaching.  In fact, that false teaching might even be so completely and totally persuasive that everybody thinks you’re crazy because you haven’t bought into it.  And in fact, the people under that false teaching might even start giving testimonies of the miracles that they’ve seen and experienced. And you know what, they could be real miracles, but you are under an injunction from God (I believe the Greek here is in the imperative) this is an injunction from God, this is not a suggestion, you have to “test the spirits.”

We, as Protestant Christians, believe in the five Solas, we’ve done our Protestant Reformation series on this, and the first on the list is Sola Scriptura.  This is the authority; these sixty-six books are the authority.  The church is not the authority, the board is not the authority, your pastor is not the authority, the church fathers are not the authority, people with the three G’s and also performing miracles are not the authority.  This is always the authority in the of the child of God, every single time.  And so when teachers or churches or pastors or boards or church fathers depart from this book you depart from those individuals, because those individuals are not your authority.  But because of mental and intellectual laziness and because people have never really taken the time to investigate the Scripture for themselves that vast majority of people out there, even within professing Christianity are not doing this.

And I’ll close with this, I found this from Creation Scientist stuff, Jonathan David Sarfati.  I just thought this kind of got the point across.  There’s an arrow coming in saying God gave me a fresh revelation, and it’s coming up against a big balloon that says Sola Scriptura, Scripture by itself, and you can see how that incoming missile is crushed under the proper epistemology of Sola Scriptura.

So what is the source of the charismatic movement?  I think it’s something other than God, it doesn’t matter if miracles are actually happening. And the next time we’re together I’ll be explaining why is this movement so popular and I think we’ll do one lesson on that and the following week I’m planning on just opening it up completely for questions and answers.  We have a minute or two left, does anybody have a quick question over what we covered today.