Enticement or Demonstration? (persuasive is peithois)

Enticement or Demonstration?
Robert Wurtz II

And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:4–5 NKJV)

But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. (1 Corinthians 4:19–20 NKJV)

Reading these passages leaves much to be desired in what we often term as Christianity or even Apostolic Ministry. Clearly Paul was operating on a different level than what has been known for many hundreds of years. Our passages suggest that the power of God was the operating principal in all of Paul’s ministry. He did not stoop to function as did the Greek philosophers of the day who were forever measuring a man by his oratory skills and capacity for debate; he was moving in a prophetic unction. 

Paul told the Corinthians (who were taken up with eloquence) that my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom […].” The Greek word for persuasive is peithois and it is the rarest Greek word in antiquity. In fact, its only known use is in this 1 Cor. 2:4. It means that Paul did not work to persuade people to believe by using impressive rhetoric. He gives the reason why, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. Paul did not polish his words. His detractors said his “bodily presence is weak and his speech is contemptible.” No one was impressed by Paul’s eloquence; but everyone experienced the prophetic unction of God when he spoke. 

It is unfortunate that the word prophetic has been abused in modern times. One hesitates to use it because of all the misuse of it. nevertheless, Paul could sense when a person was operating in the power of the Holy Spirit. You will recall that he asked the Ephesians if they had received the Holy Spirit. Clearly he sensed that they lacked the inspiration or empowerment of the Holy Spirit when they spoke. This was something Paul always looked for in people. He told the Corinthians a few chapters later, But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. (1 Corinthians 4:19–20 NKJV)

The question is not merely whether our words are true, the question is “does God back the words.” This does not mean loudness or some other strange voice inflection. It is not uncommon for ministers to speak directly into a microphone or shout to the top of their lungs to give the impression of power (dunamis). It is false. Paul was not listening for wisdom, eloquence, loudness, or voice inflection when he tested the authenticity of ministry; he was identifying the power of God manifest in the words. 



Paul knew that if this prophetic unction was missing, something was seriously wrong. Why? Because if the people were right with God He would be inspiring and backing their speech. Not that their words are “inspired” in the same sense as scripture, but that there is a holy unction from God inspiring the speaker to say what God wants said. The old timers used to pray for God to superintend their mind as they ministered so they could be the very oracle of God when they spoke. If this is lacking and something else is being substituted for the unction, there is a serious problem. Why? Because the peoples’ faith is being made to stand on something else other than the revelation and power of God.  

 To move in the power of God like Paul is speaking of one has to approach ministry like Paul did. He was no weekend warrior for God — he lived the life 24/7. He stood before the Lord as did the prophets of old. He was continually conscious of God and depended upon Him for the grace needed to do His will. Pride takes matters into its own hands and speaks what it wants to speak. Paul did not do that. He didn’t try to impress people or tickle their ears. Whether he said it or not, his words were “thus says the Lord.” The authority was in the power of God revealing and backing the words. 

There is no substitute for the power of God in the preaching of the Gospel. If we seek to entice people to come to God with anything of man or this present evil world we are only fooling ourselves. A minister needs to be anointed of God to be effective. A lot of people are being won to a lot of different things today. In Paul’s day the risk was that people would place their faith in the wisdom of men. In other words, they were not being won to God, they were being won to the wisdom of men in the name of God. This is true in a thousand ways in modern times. People are being won to ______ in the name of God. Whatever lesser thing is used to “win people” that will be the thing people are won to. It is axiomatic. 

It is so much easier to employ man-made measures to “win people” than to simply pray and live close to God. This is why we have a pandemic of worldliness in the churches. It is what multitudes have been won to. It is what their faith is in. Worldliness in Paul’s day manifested itself in eloquent rhetoric. People would come out to hear it and even imitate it. That was the particular way the world was manifesting its pride and rebellion at the time. God sent Paul to destroy the wisdom of the wise.

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. (1 Corinthians 1:27–29 KJV)

Key in on the last statement: That no flesh should glory in his presence. This is why God rejected the use of mens’ wisdom and any other self-glorifying contribution a man can try to make to the preaching of the Gospel. This is what God wanted avoided at all costs. He will not share His glory with another. On the other hand, a person who will seek God in prayer, live holy and depend completely on Him can be used of God in such a way that God receives all the glory. When people do dare to glorify them they will deflect all the glory back to God where it belongs. 

In the 21st century we don’t need a new gimmick. We don’t need people polishing their oratory or singing voice in order to stir faith in sinners. God never advertised a meeting saying, “come out and hear some great singing and preaching!” Had he taken that approach the Church would have never reached England. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:4–5 NKJV) Paul did not want peoples’ faith to be in him or anything he was capable of. He wanted their faith to be firmly planted in God. 


Waiting for the Wind (The Just Shall Live By Faith)

Waiting for the Wind
Robert Wurtz II

Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:30–31 KJV)

I will stand my watch And set myself on the rampart, And watch to see what He will say to me, And what I will answer when I am corrected. Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry. “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:1–4 NKJV)

If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11 NKJV)

I have taken the unusual course of having three separate, but related, texts for this entry. First, Isaiah reminding us that the energy of youth is not sufficient for the people of God. They must have what we may call a “perpetual renewable energy source.” Long before wind farms dotted the hillsides of modern rural countrysides, the prophet spoke of the eagle that mounted up and soared on the strength of the wind. 

Second, we have Habakkuk who had made a lamentation to the Lord and then stood, watched, and waited for God to speak to Him. Habakkuk lived in difficult times. He was moving in a very limited understanding of reality and needed insight that comes from God alone. Trouble and confusion is always a call to prayer rather than action. 

Third, Peter reminds us that when we minister we must speak the oracles of God. This means we are to serve God’s words to the people and not some other “words.” Ministers sometimes get into the pulpit with what amounts to human wisdom or psychology — but these words have no power to accomplish God’s purposes. Moreover, Peter adds, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. We are to minister with God’s enabling and not our own strength. 

Waiting on the Lord




Waiting on the Lord in times past has sometimes degenerated into an excuse for inaction. People have taken the attitude, “when God gets ready to move me — He will move me.” But this is not what waiting on the Lord is. The Hebrew word for “wait” is sometimes translated “to look.” This is not a passive attitude, but one of longing and anticipation. They who wait upon the Lord are watching as Habakkuk to see what the Lord will say to them. They earnestly wait for instructions from Him and then respond rightly.  

Think of the angels in heaven. How do you suppose they wait on the Lord? We have a clue in the Lord’s prayer, Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10 NKJV) Heaven is filled with creatures who long to receive God’s will and then perform it. Nobody resists God’s will in heaven. Everyone willingly performs His bidding. They know first hand that this is the right path so they don’t bother entertaining others. 

Waiting in the Wind

God will not long leave His people to wait for direction when they have determined to “wait” upon Him (serve Him). There is much to be done, but we cannot proceed in our own energy and our own understanding. We need God to supply both His oracles and ability (enabling) for His own glory. This is the pattern in the Kingdom of God. Men may bring their words in their own strength to accomplish their ends; but these are works of hay, wood, and stubble. We are working an eternal kingdom and so we must have resources that originate in eternity. 

When the wind of the Holy Spirit lifts us into His will we can soar like an eagle. Other birds may weary themselves in self-efforts — flapping their wings in a frenzy, but they who wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles. This is where the power resides. This is how the Kingdom comes. This is how God’s will can be accomplished on earth as it is in heaven. When we move according to the revelation of God and in the power of God we exchange our strength for His strength.   

  

False Evidence of Spirit Baptism

False Evidence of Spirit Baptism
Robert Wurtz II

“For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” (2 Corinthians 11:4 NKJV)

“Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:20 NKJV)

Other than gross carnality, the Corinthians had a reputation, in the words of Paul, for suffering fools gladly. (2 Cor. 11:19) They would put up with someone preaching a “different” Jesus and a “different gospel” and do so literally with pleasure. They seemed to enjoy being abused and taken advantage of. They had no respect for a minister like Paul who refused to receive money from them or lord it over them. It may seem shameful and absurd to us, but Paul had to spend a chapter demonstrating his “qualifications” (for lack of a better word) for the authenticity of his ministry, because pretenders were working at destroying his influence. More than pretenders, these people were agents of Satan who had “transformed” themselves into someone the people would accept as “spiritual.” There is always a genuine and a counterfeit; we have to know the difference. The Corinthian criteria for authenticity in ministry was wildly off and they were paying a heavy price for it.  

Sandwiched in the middle of 2 Cor. 11:4 is this little statement that I wish to focus on, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received. This comes to us as a shock–insomuch that some commentators try to shift the remark to a rhetorical statement. But that does not make sense given the fact that it’s set in the middle of “another Jesus” and “another gospel.” Indeed, many apologists will laud the notion of another gospel or another Jesus, but they just can’t bring themselves to believe that a person could actually receive another spirit other than the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, we have to face reality. 

A Modern “2 Corinthians 11” Experience 

In modern times when fools are gladly received, and ears yearn to be tickled, there is a “Jesus” who is preached that exists to meet all our needs. He waits on our beckoning call and wants to bless us abundantly, make us healthy, exalt us in popularity, and give us the dream life. If you don’t believe so just listen to all the “prophetic words” that come to people about how he wants to bless us and make us great. Never mind the fact that we live in one of the darkest moral cultures in human history, this “Jesus” and “spirit” says all is well- peace, peace (Jer. 6:14, 8:11). He serves us, we don’t serve him. We worship him so he will give us more stuff and be inclined to give us what we ask for in our prayers. We strike up the band and we can feel him come in the room. In fact, we control him, he doesn’t control us. We switch on the electric instruments and he comes a running. 



The way we receive him is by hearing the good news that he died for our sins and we don’t have to go to hell now. In fact, he wants heaven on earth for us. We can repeat a five second prayer and he will come in to us and give us salvation and blessing. No matter how bad we are, we can start where we are and try “Jesus” out for a trial period. If he doesn’t bless us and straighten our life out, so we are told, we can change our mind (such is sometimes the sales pitch). It gets even better, we go to heaven when we die and receive a mansion and all kinds of rewards and stuff. We are queens and not widows and we will see no sorrow. (Revelation 18:7) 

We now come to the “receive the spirit” part. After hearing this “wonderful message” about how God wants to bless us, make our life better, and take us to heaven when we die its time to receive this spirit. But before we move on we need to ask some questions. Does this “wonderful message” sound even remotely like a biblical Gospel message? Does God really exist to bless man and make him happy (in this life and the one to come)? Was God created for our pleasure? (Rev. 4:11) Does this message sound like John the Baptist or Paul? (Luke 3:7; Acts 17:30-31) What happened to repentance and fruits worthy of repentance–a message Paul preached everywhere he went? (Acts 26:19-21) What about conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment to come? (John 16:8) What about taking up our cross? (Luke 14:26ff) 

So they have the “another Jesus” and the “another Gospel” now they need to receive “another spirit.” This spirit even comes with counterfeit manifestations! However, since we don’t have genuine repentance and faith to prepare the person for the real Holy Spirit, there needs to be a substitute, “weirdness.” That’s right, instead of repenting, the folks just weird-out, however long it takes, until they “receive” something and utter a few unintelligible words. This phenomena, perhaps the easiest of all for Satan to counterfeit, is trusted with absolute certainty. Then the minister or helper will declare, “you got it! You got the Holy Ghost!” Now the person is enabled to speak in tongues, prophesy and discern spirits! (at least they have been duped into thinking they can). The report says __ number of people were “saved” and __ number of people “received the Holy Spirit.” But what Jesus, Gospel, and Spirit were received? We need to ask this difficult question in an age of rife falsehood and compromise. 

No Change and No Fruit

What happens? The people walk out the doors of the church and act as crazy and carnal as ever. Nevertheless, because of some weird manifestations and acts of emotionalism, they believe they are both saved and spiritual. Never mind the fact that love, joy, peace, gentleness, etc. are as absent as ever and there is no real desire to truly conform to the image of Christ. The same old “publican” type of love prevails (love who you want to and despise the rest). They may even believe they can hear from God. After all, they apparently did “receive a different spirit which you have not received” in the words of Paul.

“For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise! For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face.” (2 Corinthians 11:19–20 NKJV)

The Corinthians gladly received ministers whom Paul referred to as “fools.” No doubt there were people who actually believed that this type of thing was the right path or as we sometimes call “the old paths.” It is not. The old paths is the faith that was once delivered to the Saints that we are supposed to be contending for–not some weird rendition of it that came along in the 20th century. Repentance and holiness are almost shunned topics in many Pentecostal and Charismatic circles. Again, there are genuine and conterfeits so we have to ask, “How could anything a minister says be legit if they ignore half the Gospel message?” If half the Gospel is missing from their message there is likely to also be a different spirit to receive. 

When a person truly repents, believes and receives the Holy Spirit they become children of God and behave like it. They don’t spiritually animate when the band is playing and then default into a carnal mind in public. They are always salt and light. They are to always be walking in the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is normative. What did Jesus say? You will know them by manifestations? Quite the contrary. “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:20 NKJV) Any lesser thing is a fraud and counterfeit at best and demonic at worst. 

   

   

The Making of a Headless — Fingerless god

The Making of a Headless — Fingerless god 

Robert Wurtz II

And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:18 NKJV)


Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. (Colossians 2:18–19 NKJV)


There have always been deceptions coming along to lure the saints away from our primary focus. For the Church in the first century, it was legalistic Judaism and dualistic Gnosticism; in the western world, it seems to be shallow decisionism and radical denominationalism. Anything that disconnects the churches of God from the Head of the Body (Jesus Christ) is usurping Christ’s preeminence. No amount of explanations or excuses can change this fact.  

Removing The Finger


It should be superfluous for me to say that decisions made in the Body of Christ must originate in the Head, Christ Jesus. Nevertheless, many churches have undergone a similar transformation of what the Jews suffered under the Rabbis. Soon after the Temple was destroyed in 70AD, a radical group of Pharisees created a religion that had almost no continuity with the Judaism prior to that time; we know it as Rabbinic Judaism. The goal of the religion was to usurp God’s authority by granting the Rabbi’s authority to snuff-out the prophetic voice of God. To use Rabbinic Judaism scholar Daniel Gruber’s characterization; the radical Pharisees turned rabbis had broken-off the Finger of God. 


By the time they were finished, a Rabbi could overrule a Prophet, an audible voice from Heaven (Bath-kol), and had authority to interpret all dreams. They effectively eliminated God from their religion. They would not admit as much, but that is what it boiled down to. The Rabbis have the Law of Moses and assumed the authority to interpret it. In fact, they believe they can over-rule God Himself. 

Removing The Head

Many Evangelicals do the exact same thing, but are more subtle about it. Like the Rabbis, Bible interpretation (hermeneutics) has replaced the voice of God. This ought not so to be. Good hermeneutics has always been an essential part of biblical instruction and revelation, but this did not negate the prophetic voice of God. In fact, the two were always complementary. The written word of God has always been the standard against which prophetic revelation was judged. Unfortunately, as with the Rabbis, many would rather stifle God’s voice than hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. This is a very serious problem of mortal consequence. It is all just another way of not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. 

Pathetic or Prophetic? 

Another group came along in the 20th century who claimed to believe in the prophetic voice of God, but corrupted it to the point that many can no longer take it seriously. Wolves dressed in sheep clothing used “prophetic words” to gain everything from filthy lucre and sexual encounters — to popularity and political clout. This is not far from the Corinthians who were calling Jesus accursed in their so-called operations of the Spirit. These abuses became so profound that many people distrust anything remotely labled as “prophetic.” Exaserbating the problem was the diabolic teaching “touch not the Lord’s anointed” and the stage was set to sever the Head from the Body under the pretense of speaking for God. So-called prophets riding in private jets and limousines to conferences. The time would fail to go into all the disgusting things that have gone on in the name of prophetic. Nevertheless, the solution for abuse was never non-use, it was right use. 



Seven or Severed?

All too often the connection between the Head (Christ Jesus) and His Body (the churches of God) is severed, and there is no real communication at all. This is catastrophic. We are told seven times in the Revelation to, “…hear what the Spirit says unto the churches.” Paul wept and wept in Acts 20:32 because he knew men would come in to sever the Body from the Head (Christ Jesus). This is what has happened in modern times. Many have commended themselves to men, systems, programs, organizations… anything but the Head. We are to commend ourselves to God and not to men; to the Word of His grace and not to the strategies of man. This is what Paul did with the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:32 — he commended them to God. The word commend is the same as is used by Jesus when he stated, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” We must as individuals and as the churches of God set ourselves before the Lord and allow Him to deal with us in a real way. 

Hearing From the Head

We must hear from the Head if we are to function as a Body. This requires that we come together in a Spiritual frame — not to strategize, but to wait upon the Lord until we ascertain what is the mind of the Spirit. God is not an absentee landlord. He is walking in the midst of the lamp stands (churches). He is watching and He is listening. He sees all and knows all. We ought to tremble to think we could operate independent of Christ’s absolute Divine direction. In Acts 15 the saints came together until they could say with conviction, “It seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us…” If a modern democratic denominational approach would have been taken in Acts 15, the gates of Hell would have prevailed against the Church. Those Godly men came together and talked through the issue under the superintendence and guidance of the Holy Spirit — until there was unanimity. Then they declared, “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements” (Acts 15:28 ESV)

The Only Hope

We need to hear from God in this crisis hour. The only hope for this present evil world; the only hope for the churches; the only hope for the Christian is to ascertain the mind of God. We must hear what the Spirit is saying unto the churches. Then, and only then, will we begin to see the Church turn the world upside down. God is calling us to lay down, as it were, the books of Babylon and the plans for a Tower, and pick-up prophetically the God breathed book — with absolute conviction that it contains the Blueprint for this desperate hour. We cannot continue on our own orders — we need to hear from our Heavenly Head Quarters. There is no other hope.

Obstacle to the Outpouring (Part 2)

Obstacle to the Outpouring (Part 2)
Robert Wurtz II

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. (James 3:16)

This entry is a follow-up to Obstacle to the outpouring (Part 1) and is intended to be applied on an ‘as fits’ basis. It is intended to serve as a devotional piece that we might prayerfully and openly search our hearts as God seeks to pour out His Spirit in these desperate and difficult times.

  

At the risk of being redundant I wish to speak to this matter of unity a second time. In our previous entry we examined how God refuses the offering of those that knowingly harbor ill-feelings towards their neighbor. God has shown repeatedly that His primary concern is that we love one another with a pure heart- fervently. This means that we cannot isolate individuals from our love and expect God to pour out His Spirit upon us. It is not OK, it has never been OK and will never be OK. It is sin, has always been sin and will always be sin. It is folly to try and excuse the behavior. 


Refusing to be reconciled


Spiritual people seek reconciliation. Carnal folks just go on living like sinners harboring grudges and all manor of evil bitterness. Those two sentences are as simple of thing that a person can say along these lines. A person cannot please God when they do not love. In fact, they are not even saved no matter what they attempt to do for God- practical or supernatural. One of the more troubling things in our times is that many things are passed off as ‘spiritual’ and most of them a demon possessed person can do. Consider what our Lord said;


Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works? And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness! (Matthew 7:22-23 MKJV)


A person can prophesy, cast out devils, work miracles and still end up in Hell in the end- having never known Christ. The sad thing is, the people in this passage act as if they never saw it coming. Keep in mind that Jesus is prophesying here about what will happen at the White Throne Judgment. He states emphatically that many are going to say this to Him, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works? They mistakenly believed that the evidence of their right standing with God was that they moved in the supernatural in spite of how strongly He told them otherwise. Nothing could possibly be more false than to equate the supernatural with spirituality. In fact, this passage renders moving in the gifts as almost meaningless when it comes to a person’s spiritual state. A person can do all of this and not even be known of Christ. In fact, many people throughout the ages have believed that they are known of Christ because they move in the supernatural. That is truly sobering. Based on our passage, many people are therefore seriously deceived and are going to continue to be deceived in spite of teachings that alerted them even to this passage. Somehow folks look at it and say, “It’s not talking about me.” Well, the only way we can know that for sure is if we are moving in the Fruit of the Spirit. 


By THIS shall all men know


 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:35)


When was the last time a crowd was drawn to a person because they loved everyone and exhibited the fruit of the Spirit? You’re right, probably never. The reason is that men and women are drawn to the sensational. When was the last time you heard someone say, “We really believe this person is the ‘real deal’ because we have witnessed how they love the brethren?” We don;t hear it. It even sounds strange for me to infer that spirituality is determined in this way. It’s as if for the last 50 years man and God are working from different playbooks. Many are not even on the same page with God. It seems that while God is looking for men and women with evidence of love, joy and peace- men are looking for people that prophecy, cast out devils and are miracle workers. Amazing. This is why they are ripe for deception. Sadly, many are looking for the supernatural and don’t bother to discern what spirit a thing is of. For example, we need to know certain things to listen for when a word of knowledge goes forward or a sermon is preached. Does it cause a shrill in your spirit or does it draw you to God? What did James say?
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. (James 3:17-18) Notice that James says categorically that Heaven speaks with words bathed in the fruit of the Spirit. Yet a person can angrily make comments and get more ‘amen’s’ than when another person is speaking the truth in love. This is because folk are entertained by bitter envy and strife. What spirit is the thing of? That’s what we need to know. What is the energy source backing the comments? Anger is not the same thing as anointing and it does not work the righteousness of God. 

Sobering conclusions 

In our mini series we have examined in part 1 how God does not accept the prayer, worship and praise of those that regard the iniquity of non-love in their hearts. If I have ought against my brother or sister the Lord will not hear no matter how dramatic I get. In this entry we have explored the importance of ministering from the Spirit of God and the fruit of the Spirit rather than some other spirit. The devil can counterfeit many of the things that we see go on in Charismatic circles, so we need to know the source of inspiration. As one writer has stated it, Anybody who shrugs off that warning or treats it lightly does so at the risk of his own soul. The greatest single danger in this end time is not sickness, nor poverty, nor persecution. It is deception. If anybody says, “It could never happen to me,” it has already happened to that person, because that person is saying something could never happen that Jesus said would happen. That is a sufficient indication that such a person is deceived. “ If there is bitter envy and strife in the house, everything becomes suspect no matter how radical or supernatural. Many will spend eternity in Hell after doing ‘many wonderful works’. They overlooked the teaching of Jesus as if it did not apply to them preferring to be deceived by the works of their own hands and the words of their own mouth. 


This is akin to Zedekiah the prophet of Ahab, But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee? And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself. (1 Kings 22:24-25) We must guard against the spirit of Zedekiah that says that God only speaks through me and my friends. Paul sought to thwart this very attitude when he told the Corinthians that though he moved in the spuernatural in a host of ways- if he did not have love it profited nothing. (1 Cor. 13). Why? It is the main thing God is concerned about. If there be bitter envy and strife in the house the ‘gifts’ of the Spirit are at risk to become weapons in the hands of the enemy spilling the very blood of the saints in the midst of the congregation. We cannot allow the wrath of man to try to work the righteousness of God. If the people do not react to your ministry- give it to God. Don’t get upset and take it out on people or get a bad spirit and want to quit. It is not about me- it is about the glory of God. We need to truly walk out that reality. 


Before we endeavor to do anything for the Lord we ought to ask ourselves some probing questions:


1. Am I angry at someone?

2. Do I hold bitterness in my heart towards __________?
3. Am I wanting to strive with __________?

4. Am I motivated by God’s love at this moment?

5. Am I sowing the fruit of righteousness in peace?
6. Am I behaving peaceably and gently?
7. Are my motivations pure? 



    

  

Gladly Receiving the Word

Gladly Receiving the Word
Robert Wurtz II

Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. (Acts 2:41)

Our passage holds the key for all peoples everywhere desiring to go on with God. This key is encapsulated as a group among the hearers that were distinguished from the rest of the crowd. There was a group who gladly received his word. Before hand they had obstinately refused the word, but now more revelation has come and they see the truth for what it is. But more than seeing the truth, they gladly received it. The Greek word underlying gladly is only used twice in the New Testament and is exclusively in Luke’s writings in Acts. That word is ἀσμένως (asmenōs) and is derived from hedone meaning pleasure. This is insightful because the passage is essentially saying that the people found pleasure in receiving the word of God. By implication they had come to agree with the word of God in such a way as to gladly embrace it as if they were doing their own will. Simply put, they wanted and were pleased to obey God. 

Evidence of Pleasure

The proof that these people were pleased to receive the word was that they were eager to obey God’s revealed will. This is evidence of change. The carnal mind cannot please God because it is not pleased to hear what God has to say. The spiritual mind eagerly desires to know and do God’s good pleasure. We have an interesting passage related to Jesus, Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. (John 4:33, 34 NKJV) A careful look at our Lord’s comments are instructive. While the disciples were concerned about where their next meal was coming from and whether or not Jesus was going to eat, He was concerned about doing the will of God. It was a perfect teaching moment for Jesus. They knew He had to be hungry so they urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” (NKJV) This is not just instructional it is sobering. The disciples at this stage in their experience could not relate to what Jesus was saying, but the day came at Pentecost where they could relate. In the mean time they were left with the impression that the desire of Christ and subsequently those that will be baptized into Him will find pleasure in doing God’s will in the same measure that the natural man finds pleasure in eating when he/she is hungry. In other words, they will receive God’s word like a starving man receives a hot meal.

Not By Bread Alone

The natural man desires natural food, but Jesus walks out the desire of the spiritual man in flesh and blood. Satan in the wilderness attempted to appeal to the natural man in getting Jesus to turn the stones into bread. Yet, He was so utterly bent on doing God’s will that He utterly refused to please Himself unless He knew it was part of God’s plan. He is our example. What did He tell Satan? It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4) This is one of our very first lessons predating the sermon on the mount. This is what distinguishes Christ and they that are in Him from the rest of the world. They live by every word that is proceeding (verb is present middle) from the mouth of God. It is their food. Satan tried to get Jesus to turn from this rule on more than one occasion.

Pity Thyself

When Jesus spoke of going to the cross Peter stepped in under the influence of Satan. He spoke words to Jesus that were designed to snare Him and keep Him from doing God’s will. We read in Young’s Literal Translation, And having taken him aside, Peter began to rebuke him, saying, ‘Be kind to thyself, sir; this shall not be to thee.’ (Matthew 16:22 YLT) Literally he told Jesus to, “pity Himself.” Jesus reacted in the strongest of terms calling out the influence that was behind the words. He added this comment, for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. The KJV translators have opted to translate phoneo as savourest or ‘to savour’,** but the word literally means to be mindful. In other words, Peter you are not being mindful of the things that be of God, but the things that be of men. Why? You are still being influenced by Satan and the natural man. But the day will come when you will receive the word with pleasure and you will obey it. Until this change comes it will be impossible to be anything other than a natural man.  
The Key to Revival

In modern times it’s almost impossible to speak of hearing the word of God in the New Testament sense without being viewed as a flake or suspect by certain people. They very thing Jesus did and set forth the possibility of the Disciples doing is disregarded in many cases. God wants us to know His will and to obey His will. Oswald Chambers in My Utmost For His Highest captures this great truth when he states, “If you debate for a second when God has spoken, it is all up. Never begin to say – “Well, I wonder if He did speak?” Be reckless immediately, fling it all out on Him. You do not know when His voice will come, but whenever the realization of God comes in the faintest way imaginable, recklessly abandon. It is only by abandon that you recognize Him. You will only realize His voice more clearly by recklessness.” Oswald Chambers










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** This entry has been amended to reflect the Greek definition of phoneo as opposed to the English rendering of Savour.   

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