Listen to the Spirit!
(a study in discernment between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error)
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1Jh4:1 (Test, try, examine, prove, scrutinize)
Today there is a movement afoot among professing Christians that advocate 'listening to the Spirit' over and above studying the Scriptures. They insist that the 'spirit will reveal to you the deeper meanings beyond the written Word, that knowing Jesus is 'hearing Him, through the spirit, not merely reading a book. It’s a form of Mysticism in that experience takes precedence over scripture and spiritual manifestations are sought instead of true repentance and a clean heart before God. Also personal dreams, revelations, visions are given priority over scripture as a means of guidance, interpretation and doctrinal understanding, which is always opened ended subject to intuition given by the spirit. Therefore they will seldom receive any correction or reproof from the scripture when you find them in error.
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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2Tim3:16-17
The strange thing about this movement is, I believe was most likely motivated by the 'dead dogma taught as doctrine in most churches, that is without life or spirit. So to bring back the 'life they turned inward for revelation instead of searching the scriptures to compare truth with error and then 'testing the sprits. As a result they 'separate themselves with others of like mind to find further enlightenment, BUT end up advocating the SAME fundamental errors concerning repentance, faith and redemption as the 'dead Churches they came out from! Sadly with all their 'revelation in 'hearing from the spirit, they STILL can not discern Truth from error as it applies to the 'once for all cleansing / purging that occurs in repentance when the old man of sin is put to death (destroyed, done away) and the New man of Righteousness is born. They will tell you to put away your Bible and listen to the spirit, but at the same time most of their emphasis is on 'Christians who struggle with sin and lust! Instead of the evil passions and desires of self-indulgence being crucified in repentance as the Scriptures teach, Rom6:4-6, Gal5:24, Col3:5 etc, (put to death once for all, Heb9:14) the 'spirit they're listening to has the old man dying out to sin gradually in a never ending struggle of sin-repent, revolving door of confession, in which the redeemed person inevitably fails but is sustained in Christ.
Here are some direct
quotes from one of their most popular Pundits, who is 'listening to the spirit:
All men are born into bondage to sin and to death and have no power to overcome sin
No one can change their desires until Jesus changes them
There are times as you walk the narrow way that you will fail and fall into sin because your heart is treacherous, and it is true we sometimes fall off the path into sin, I know myself I have fallen into sin because the flesh can get the better of you
If we take our eyes off Jesus and start looking at other things, we're going to, and can fall. But if you do want to go back, and you don't want to continue to choose this sin that part of you loves, then Jesus will accept you back: he will forgive you and you'll just continue walking where you left off
I can just follow the new way in my heart and crucify the old way daily. Because the old way is still there, and we have to crucify it daily and follow the Spirit, Rom 6, Gal 5:20, 24 Because if we say we have no sin we are liars without the truth, 1Jh1:8
So the 'spirit is
teaching them: 'You're born dead, in bondage to sin, powerless to change, that
you will sin as a Christian but you can just confess it and pick up where you
left off and He will accept you back and that the Rom6 and Gal5 passages teach a
gradual 'daily dying out to sin, because the old way (flesh, lust) is still
there and will inevitably trip you up from time to time because the heart is
still treacherous. I ask, HOW is this any different than the
dogma-doctrines they supposedly came out from in the Churches, you're still
'born in sin, saved in sin and never stop sinning! The heart is never made Pure
in faith. There's no real victory over sin, flesh and devil because the old man
is never put to death in repentance. So you're still subject to constant failure
and defeat, only with a 'promise of the spirit leading you guiding you if you
listen. But with it they take the 'spiritual high-ground over those of us who
stress digging deep into the Scriptures and dying once for all to sin. YET
it’s the scripture itself that states His Word has supremacy over all else.
For You have
magnified Your word above all Your name. Ps138:2.
His Word, LOGOs, Christ, the full essence of God, the Way, Truth
and Life in God, the reason and logic through which we can know and understand
Him! Yes, the Letter kills and the Spirit gives Life, but will the Spirit not
confirm itself in what is written by the Spirit. The Spirit speaks to our minds,
intellect not our emotions, whims or feelings. When you 'Test' the
spirits, you do with the double-edged Sword of the WORD, Heb4:12, in that
you find confirmation.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Peter says the Holy Scriptures are Not open to private interpretations:
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 2Pet1:19-21
Do you really think he was running around telling people they didn't need the Holy Scriptures, just 'listen to the Spirit? When it is the SPIRIT who Wrote the Scriptures! How foolish can anyone be to discard the Bible as 'just another book about Jesus, but its not the final word', when Christ Himself used it to defeat the devil, Matt4:1-11, (It is Written!) Prove He was the Messiah, Lk4:17 and quoted it time and again to answer His critics. Even at the very end of Luke’s Gospel we find Him using the scriptures: And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Lk24:27. Are not the Apostles (who wrote the gospels and Epistles) equal to Moses and the Prophets, Peter said they were: as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 2Pet3:15-16
What did they use in Acts as their source of Truth to preach Christ as the Promised Messiah! They went into the synagogues and 'reasoned from the Scriptures, Acts17:2, 18:4, Stephen preached unto them Moses to Christ, from the Scriptures as witness against their unbelief, Acts7, Philip, sent to the Ethiopian eunuch, used the Book of Isaiah to show him Christ, Acts8:26-40, and the Bereans diligently 'searched the scriptures' to confirm what they had been told by Paul and Silas was true, Acts17:10-15. WHY didn't Paul tell them to chuck out the scriptures and just 'Listen to the Spirit', like these present heretics are doing, surely he was 'hearing' from the Spirit and 'moved' to speak and record what he heard. The most telling evidence against these present mystics 'hearing' from the spirit is 'WHAT they are hearing is NOT in line with the WORD, they use the word, but 'twisted to their own destruction' just as Peter said! And then they turn around and tell you not to use the Bible as your final authority because there are many things not written the Spirit is yet to reveal. BUT 'The testimony of Jesus Christ is the Spirit of Prophecy', Rev19:10!
You do not add to or take away what has already been revealed, are these Mystics present day Prophets … 'hearing the audible voice of God … so they think, but yet they preach 'another gospel'! Gal1:6-9, based on the same age old fallacies bought in centuries ago by deceiving spirits working through people who have never crucified their lust. There are many spirits who call themselves 'Jesus, Acts13:6, but are full of deceit and lies, appearing as 'angles of light, ministers of righteousness' 2Cor11:13-15, speaking 'some truth, but never crucifying the old man of sin once for all in repentance.
Without a precise and correct (sound) knowledge of the Word you will easily be lead astray by deceiving spirits mixing truth with error, because you have nothing to test them by. The Word says:
Be diligent (Study) to present yourself approved to God, a
worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Study-be diligent, endeavor, labor, make every effort, be 'diligent that you may be found of Him in peace, without spot and blameless' 2Pet3:14. Despite what men may do to twist and conceal the Word the solid foundation stands having this seal: 'That everyone who names the Name of Christ must depart from iniquity!' 2Tim2:19, anything or anyone who comes along with another revelation in favor of sin or gradual dying out to sin, instead death to the old man once for all, Rom6:6, resulting in a New man of Righteousness, godliness and self-control, is of the 'spirit of error', a perfect example of this is expressed in the understanding of James1:21-22
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
'Deceiving yourself in this passage means: coming to the wrong conclusions through false reasoning, and reckoning the truth based on your faulty assumption. The passage says Clearly that YOU must first lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness BEFORE you can receive with meekness the engrafted Word that is able to save your soul, otherwise you will 'reckon' yourself a doer when you are really only a hearer. Yet it is commonly understood by most professed Christians (including the mystics hearing from the spirit) that you first receive the engrafted word and THEN you can lay aside the wickedness and become a doer through a process of dying out to the old man, as the spirit teaches you how to overcome sin. The complete OPPOSITE of what it says! So instead of falling in line with the Doctrine in accord with godliness and self-control, the wholesome words of Jesus Christ, 1Tim6:3, by listening to the ‘spirit they fall in line with the common fallacy heard everywhere, ‘you get saved first and repent for the rest of your life. How do we know ‘test’, (examine, prove, scrutinize) they are being lead by the spirit of error, by comparing the 'spiritual with the spiritual', 1Cor2:13, from a 'crucified' (Gal5:24) perspective! In other words unless you have put to death the self-indulgent lust of the flesh in repentance, you will NEVER be able to discern truth from error on the most basic level of a person coming from darkness to light from the power of Satan to God. Those caught in the half-way world of sin-confess, dying out gradually to the old man, thinking they are lead of the spirit in such condition
are still in the 'Natural (physic, sensual, Jude1:19) State unable to discern the harmony between the written word and the Spirit itself, 1Cor2:14. Because it is he who is 'spiritual (dead to sin) who Judges all things (by the word) yet he himself is rightly Judged by no one', 1Cor2:15. Thus a 'spirit speaking of itself, or through a mystic cannot deceive him because he is 'lead into all truth by the Holy Spirit, John16:13.
The Lord said its ‘Repentance for remission’ Lk24:46, not remission first and repentance later. The same holds true of Rom6:6 ‘Knowing this that our old man WAS crucified with Christ that the body of sin might be done away (destroyed) that we should no longer be slaves to sin’, ‘was crucified’ is in the Past tense, not present or ongoing, so again only the 'Natural' (sensual) man would discern these passages from an opposite perspective, regardless whether he's hearing from a spirit or not. Keeping the old man alive, dying out daily to sin in a sin-confess revolving door routine, is NOT what the Spirit teaches! Therefore anyone teaching it is of the spirit of error and as a newly converted, crucified follower of Christ you must learn to discern this vital truth least you also be 'blown by every wind of doctrine' and lead astray by deceiving spirits. This is where the importance of Sound Doctrine comes into play, being grounded, steadfast and immovable in your crucified state.
‘Sound Doctrine means ‘free from any mixture of error, taken from a Greek word for hygiene or Wholesome, to be well in good health, metaphorically; Good, wholesome teaching, 'The Wholesome words of Jesus Christ, the doctrine in accord with godliness and self-control' 1Tim6:3 (as noted) Didache is Greek for Doctrine simply meaning ‘teaching, instruction, something studied by route and confirmed in spirit, the spiritual with the spiritual, line upon line, precept upon precept, Isa28:13. Paul told Timothy to: Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. 1Tim4:15-16 According to the Mystic heretics Paul should have told him to 'listen to the spirit' you don't need the Word, its just ink on a page. True enough, the Bible is ink on a page to most folks, like any other book, without the Spirit in you, the flesh crucified (dead) you're open to every fowl spirit out there today. Paul warned about anything 'contrary to Sound Doctrine, 1Tim1:10, to carefully follow Sound teaching, 1Tim4:6, and to avoid anyone who will not consent to it in 1Tim6:3, so you may be able with Sound Doctrine refute and exhort those who contradict, Titus1:9. How is anyone going to do this if the Holy Scriptures are not our final authority in all maters, that would leave every argument open to never ending debate and speculations, to contradictions falsely called knowledge! 1Tim6:20. No wonder the ranks of the professed are filled with people who will no longer endure Sound Doctrine, but have turned their ears away from the truth aside to fables, taught by 'spirits, 2Tim4:2-5, fables that you can be in Christ and in Sin at the same time, that the old man can remain alive, that the heart of a Christians remains desperately wicked and their righteous acts are filthy rags to God. Are these contradictions the 'Wholesome Words of Jesus Christ', would His Spirit 'teach them as truth to the Mystics! By no means, but another spirit would indeed do so. You have no hope of correcting error or rebuking wrong doing without a Sound spiritual comprehension of the Scriptures, from a firm foundation. (departure from iniquity) Again, the mystics have no foundation because they base everything on intuitions, not revealed Truths. They call you a Bible idolater for digging deep into the scriptures, while they write their own scriptures on tablets made of slime.
Before Jesus departed He promised His disciples they would not be left in the world alone as orphans, but be sent a Comforter, paraklētos, literally: 'called to be at one's side', (Jh14:12) He will teach you all things, bring them to your remembrance, guide you into all truth and always testify of Christ. (Jh14:26, 16:13) He will also Convict the world of 'Sin, Righteousness and Judgment', Jh16:8. Being 'endued with the Spirit, doesn't mean He is suddenly going to start holding audible conversations with you in your bedroom. Endued means to 'Put on', as in the sense of sinking into one's garment, 'be Clothed, arrayed in', 'Put on the Full armor of God, Eph6:11, the Breastplate of Righteousness, Eph6:14, the New Man created in righteousness and true holiness, Eph4:24, Armor of God, Eph6:11, 14, Breastplate of faith, 1Thes5:8 and the Putting on of the Wedding garment, Matt22:11, and of course this 'putting on' doesn't happen until you have 'Put Off' the old man in repentance. So as it requires an effort to lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, it also requires the same effort in the spirit to Study, Add to you faith, Work out your salvation, Run the race with endurance and make your calling sure! With the Spirit indwelling, the flesh crucified these things should be a 'reflexive (spontaneous) action, in that condition the 'Spirit will lead you into all Truth as promised and it will never be contradictory of the revealed word. Yes, the Spirit can communicate with us through dreams and visions but the acid test is always to what PURPOSE does the vision or dream serve. It is so stated that the 'Purpose of the Commandment is purity, sincerity and love, 1Tim1:5, therefore the Purpose of any manifestation must achieve the same Principle in the promotion of sin destroyed and Righteousness exalted as the end result of repentance proven by deeds. Any teaching, spirit, prophetic dream-vision or slight of hand miracle that diminishes the base truth of a once for all putting to death the lust of the flesh, eye and pride of life in repentance, is not coming from God, but the wicked one. It’s the manner in which they speak, Lk8:18, that exposes them as frauds. If you are standing on a firm foundation in Christ, dead to sin, it should be obvious to you these mystics are dangerous liars. In Christ you must move on from the elementary principles of repentance and faith into the Meat of the Word so you are fully equipped in all things and able to met the challenges that will come. This goes far beyond 'listening to the Spirit into the Commands of Christ to 'Dig deep, count the cost, Strive and endure to the end.
'So that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped and prepared for every good work!' 2Tim3:17
You Cannot separate God's word from the Word made flesh, they are inseparable because the Son of man, the only begotten of the Father is the WORD. The Spirit is NOT going to contradict the written Word because He testifies of Jesus who is the word and the Scripture cannot be broken!
by Mike D