The Gong Show (an examination of love and the gifts of the Spirit)

The Gong Show
Robert Wurtz II

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1 ESV)

It may be inferred from our text that certain believers at Corinth believed that speaking with tongues was (is) the hallmark of true spirituality. Paul erases this notion without forbidding or disparaging tongues. He points to the fact that without the love of Christ, speaking with tongues will annoy people as fast as banging a gong in their ears.  

In the early 1900s, Classical Pentecostalism became a sect within Christianity teaching that speaking in tongues is “the initial physical evidence” of receiving the Holy Spirit. The fact that a case can certainly be made for this from the book of Acts is beside the point. Over the next 100+ years this “initial evidence” doctrine has been reduced to any kind of ecstatic utterance or gibberish that may come from a person’s mouth — regardless of whether or not the person’s life was radically changed by the event. Couple this with the shallow conversion experiences that have come into vogue along a parallel line,  and we live in an age where there are people who ” speak with tongues ” who may never have truly been saved — much less received the Spirit. It may be a radical thing to say, but many people believe they are spiritual and have at no time been born again. 

The Simon Generation

“And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money.” (Acts 8:18 KJV)

Around 50-60 years ago “moving in the supernatural” became so popular, that by the time we reached the 1980s and 1990s certain well-liked Pentecostal and Charismatic leaders were practically flaunting what they termed as “the power of God.” Knocking people down with their coat or their breath were common occurrences.   This enticed several generations to desire that type of power — in a similar way that many young men desired to be great athletes. There were even books written and sold to teach people how to get what was termed “the anointing.” The royalties from some of these books made the authors richer than Simon the Sorcerer could have ever hoped to become. For those who read the books but still fell short, they just tripped folks to get them on the ground — simulating being “slain in the spirit.” 

The full-Gospel movement (especially on TV) drifted into a murky mess that skewed and twisted hundreds of thousands — if not millions of peoples understanding of true spirituality. Like Simon the Sorcerer, the unsuspecting saw what appeared to be the power of God and lusted for it. From that time until now multitudes of people have their mind fixed on the lie that the supernatural is evidence that they are spiritual and there is no real sign that this delusion is being overthrown. 

But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.  (Acts 8:20–22 KJV)

Peter called Simon the Sorcerer’s misguided desire for the power of God, “wickedness.” He had one major problem, his heart was not right with God. He wanted to move in the gifts (as is sometimes said), and he was a hairs-breadth from blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Peter’s reply was a foretaste of what Jesus spoke of when He made clear, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21–23 KJV) In other words, you are not spiritual because you appear to be prophesying, casting out devils and doing miracles: you are spiritual when you do God’s will. Again as it is written, And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him. (Acts 5:32 NKJV)

False Experiences

Many people have learned about receiving the Holy Spirit through what we might call “on-the-job training.” They learned it from someone they trusted and watched  — who learned from someone they trusted and watched and so on.  Meanwhile, few have returned to their bible to see if what was going on is biblical. Apart from a few obscure proof texts, there is little for them to base what they are doing on. This is why ministers and altar workers try to pray people through to the Holy Spirit who haven’t even repented of their sins and trusted Christ. Their heart is not right with God and someone is trying to pray them into receiving the Spirit. This is madness, but it happens all the time and it has happened for decades. 

I personally have been in countless meetings where altar calls were given and there had not been enough Gospel preached to save a flea, and yet folks are trying to pray people through to the Spirit. The band starts playing and people are driven into near madness trying to somehow get to God. In many cases the music is so loud that the people can’t hear God. They are being carried along in some mindless music induced emotional state. What happens? They have a good cry, utter a few unintelligable words, and there is no change. Someone declares, “You got it! You got the Holy Ghost!” And they go back to their old ways. Why? Because they try to do with music and emotionalism what can only happen through total surrendering our will to God’s will. The altar workers are listening for the sound of a “tongue” rather then seeking to lead a person into total obedience to God. Tongues is the end-all. What is more delusional is that these type altar calls are believed to be essential to the furtherance of Pentecostalism and if we don’t have them, we have failed in ministry.

True Change 

How can we know if the goings on in meetings are producing fruit? First, turn the attention off of the supernatural and get it on Jesus. A person has to come completely under His authority. This can take days and weeks to establish. It all depends on the person and their understanding of what God is doing in them. Many people try to receive and resist the Holy Spirit at the same time. They want to receive His power– while resisting His Lordship and guidance. This is impossible. To dabble in this way is to open oneself up to demons and counterfeit spiritual gifts. 

When the Holy Spirit really comes in He pours in with the love of God (Romans 5:5). Compassion for all people floods into your being. This is what Paul was speaking if when he wrote, If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1 ESV) Speaking in tongues is wonderful, but if a person is doing it who does not move in the love of Christ it is only an annoyance to people. We may even want to question the source of the utterance. The Holy Spirit does not come in with just tongues or prophecy: He brings the full load of the fruit of the Spirit. This means compassion for people like unto what we find in the New Testament. 

For example, while Christ was on the cross suffering the worst injustice in the history of mankind He uttered these words, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34) The question is not whether a person speaks in tongues, but whether they can forgive like Jesus forgave. What about Stephen when he was being stoned to death at the hands of a merciless angry mob? And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. (Acts 7:60) How could he do it? Why didn’t he curse and swear as the pain and agony bore down upon his battered body? What about Paul the Apostle? He spoke of being stoned, beaten of rods, and a host of other disfiguring assaults. Nevertheless, he could raise his shirt, show you the scars on his back, and still exclaim, “I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh” (Romans 9:1-3 NKJV). 

No matter  how deep the nails probed into Christ’s hands or the spear probed into His rib and side — they still tapped love. Stephen was smashed to bits and as they stirred through his battered body nothing could be found but love. When Paul was beaten and stoned the scars left behind his testimony,  I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh. These are the words of lamentation because of the Israelites who had rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the love of God. This is what removes the clanging gong from the testimony of those who speak with tongues and move in the gifts. 

The disciples had desired to call fire down from heaven on the Samaritans, but here is Paul wishing himself could be accursed from Christ if it would save his people. Have you ever wondered why he would utter such things? What could be at work inside of him to make such selfless statements? He was not lying. He means it. His own conscience is affirming within that he is not faking these comments. This is fervent, unfeigned love. Could this be the same man that was breathing out threatening and slaughter against Christians some twenty years before? What could have possibly caused such a radical change in this man?

Simply put, he was baptized into Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit and that reality was demonstrated through his great compassion and labor on behalf of Christ. He was no noisy gong. He was the real thing, and he wanted the Corinthians to be that too. 

Hope For The Barren (A Dissertation)

Hope For The Barren 
A Dissertation
Robert Wurtz II

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:1–2 NKJV)

Our passage is a fascinating and sobering revelation of the relationship between the True Vine (Jesus) and true branches (the Saints). Understand that any work that the Holy Spirit is truly involved in will bear His fruit. Moreover, everyone without exception who is in Christ is enabled, by the flow of the Spirit, to produce the fruit of the Spirit. This means that the person’s life lines up with the basic teachings of Jesus as found in the Gospels. This is not to say that a true Christian is perfect, but the general and consistent walk of life, in public and in private, matches the teachings of Jesu
s Christ. This alone is where the evidence rests. 

When we think about Christianity and Discipleship, we are dealing with submission to Christ. Many want a savior, but have little interest in a Lord. This is quite strange, really. You will recall the Lord Jesus asking, “why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?” Even the disobedient understood how important it was to have Christ as Lord; this is why in pretense they say “Lord, Lord.” Nobody referred to Jesus as “Savior, Savior” (though this too is what He is). How can Christ save someone who refuses to come under His command? How can we be saved from Sin unless we are prepared to do what He tells us to do? Everyone who heard Christ understood that following the Lord’s word, will, and ways, are not optional. A metaphor used throughout the New Testament is that of fruit. 

Every living thing according to Genesis brings forth after its own kind. Apple trees produce apples. Fig trees produce figs. If there is no fruit on a mature plant during the time of harvest, something is very wrong. This is true also of Christians. Jesus said, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” (John 15:16 a KJV) In other words, God has determined that a Christian must yield fruit, and He will accept no substitutes. Talents can’t substitute; giftings can’t substitute; education can’t substitute; prophetic utterances can’t substitute; and divine miracles can’t substitute.” A tree is known by the fruit it bears. In fact, fruit is not an evidence; it is the evidence.


It has been said that “faithfulness without fruit is fraud.” In fact, there will come a day when the deceived will appeal to their miraculous works as evidence of their salvation, only to hear, “depart from me you worker of iniquity, for I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:13-27) Judas was a miracle worker, and yet he killed himself after betraying the Lord. This man loved money more than he loved people or the Lord Jesus; Yea, more than his own soul. He was numbered with the Twelve. He heard all the teachings of Jesus for three solid years, and was still under the delusion that he was right with the Lord. He was close in proximity, but his heart was far from Jesus. He had everyone but Jesus fooled, including himself. What was wrong? Jesus and Judas did not share the same values or concerns. God so loved the world that He gave, but Judas was a thief. This ought to settle forever the question as to whether miracles are evidence of salvation. Unfortunately, it does not. Many will agree with this principal, but in practical living, and under distress, they deny it.

The Bold Deception of Miracles

“Wonderful works” are acts of power, and are at best merely leaves on the olive branch. Miracles, signs, and wonders are not fruit and must never be confused with fruit. Many today are deceived by what appears to be “God moving among the people” — as if Jesus ever told anyone that was evidence of any ones spiritual state. God may move among people irrespective of their spiritual condition because of His grace. Again, this is not how “the trees” are known; this is how people are fooled. God is not trying to deceive people with His workings; He is trying to bring them to repentance. Sadly, people can experience God’s workings and go right out of the meeting and behave very badly; but because they still see Him trying to work in their life they interpret this as His affirmation of them. A tree is not known by its foliage, but by its fruit. Signs and wonders are about God’s grace; fruit is evidence that His grace is accomplishing its work. Keep that thought close to your vest as you read this entry.  

A person who looks to the supernatural as evidence of spirituality is deceived of Satan. In fact, every course of action that a person takes that is contrary to the fruit of the Spirit is actually evidence that the “wonderful works” a person is working are false. If a person continues to drink in God’s Spirit, and yet are not moving in love, joy, peace, gentleness, etc.; they are on a dangerous path. One can only grieve the Holy Spirit so long before His Spirit lifts off of them. Since they are used to being carried along by a Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:2), they risk coming under the influence of a demon. This is how “miracles, signs and wonders” can continue in a person’s life for long periods after the Lord is departed. Again, you have to look for the fruit of the Spirit in the life. 

In the Absence of Brotherly Love

It is sobering to know that every true New Testament Saint was capable of moving in the Gifts of the Spirit. In fact, the supernatural was commonplace in the book of Acts, even among sinners. This is why it was essential for the Saints to be looking for the fruit of the Spirit. Miracle workers were a dime a dozen. This is why God placed the emphasis on fruits, so we would know the true from the false. God does not long enable a person to work His miracles while they treat others like trash (rubbish). That is straight talk, but understandable. In this crisis hour, we do not need eloquence, we need to understand clearly what God has said to us. He does not anoint people with supernatural gifts to glorify themselves or to use those signs and wonders as a means to personal gain. In fact, the Holy Spirit doesn’t even glorify Himself; why would He allow Himself to be used to glorify a man or woman? (John 16:17) These are additional warning signs. 

Nevertheless, one cannot continue grieving the Holy Spirit and moving in His power at the same time. This is common sense. Nevertheless, the deceived operate their lives focused on foliage (as it were) — as if foliage were somehow the primary evidence of spirituality. It is total deception; and when a person is in that state of mind for long periods of time, they have to be radically awakened from it or their soul may be lost. 

The Blinding Power of Pride

People who look at sign gifts as evidence of spirituality are almost inevitably blinded by pride. Satan convinces them that they, and people like themselves, are somehow closer to God than others because they operate in signs and wonders. Derek Prince once said that “Pride is the only sin for which Satan will not make us feel guilty.” He used examples of people like William Branham who started out well, but ended up moving in clairvoyance. Add to that teachings about “touch not the anointed” and we have a dangerous recipe for a person’s soul to be lost and a host of others to be deceived. What happens? They become a law unto themselves, and are virtually untouchable, unteachable and unreachable. Why? Because they convinced themselves and others that only they or someone of “their caliber” could hear from God. As a result they were destroyed. 

Humbling Ourselves

We have to guard ourselves against pride by refusing to allow ourselves to be exalted. The enemy will work tirelessly to puff us up. And saying we are humble or humbling ourselves does not mean we are doing it. Our words and our actions have to match. 

Always remember that the fruit of the Spirit does not tempt a person to pride. Have you ever heard of a person seeking the fruit of the Spirit? It is not a sin to desire the best gifts; nevertheless, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13 that there is a more excellent way. He expressed to them how gifts without fruits are nothing more than a banging gong or a clanging cymbal. In other words, people who want to move in the gifts of the Spirit without first moving in Christian love are asking for ministry in vain. The prospect of fruits does not appeal to the carnal man who wants to be noticed. Moreover, Jesus reached out to the unlovable and societies outcasts. There was nothing to glory in. The flesh cannot exalt itself when you minister in love and long suffering to people who the world has forsaken. In fact, there is nothing about the fruit of the Spirit that enables the flesh to boast whatsoever, because the fruit of the Spirit is the opposite of the works of the flesh. When you see what appears to be the “gifts of the Spirit” performed by a person “living in the flesh” you need to flee for your life. 

Where is Boasting?

For example, have you ever heard a person boast that they had more fruit of the Spirit than anyone else? It is highly improbable. Why? Because nobody becomes a “rock star” by yielding the fruit of the Spirit. When was the last time someone was asked to speak at a conference or appear on TBN because the fruit of the Spirit in their life was so abundant? Would you travel to see a preacher or teacher who was known for the fruit of the Spirit? Most people would not. Conferences don’t sell out on the fruit of the Spirit — but on people coming to see folk operate in the gifts. In fact, some gate keepers will not invite a person to speak in their meetings unless they can come with words of prophecy. Is this not strange that when ministerial worthiness is measured that the fruit of the Spirit is often the most minor element? An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign. It is a sign of the times when talents and spiritual gifts (so-called as it is often clairvoyance) are the qualifiers for invitations to preach, etc. People who are deceived in this way have a stronghold of the enemy that must be broken or they become the gate-keepers for deception in the churches. 

The Spirit and the Word Agree

Where the Spirit of God is flowing genuinely, truth will be flowing with it. Always remember that the word of God and the Holy Spirit always, 100% of the time, agree. God does not lead people to do things by His Spirit that are contrary to His word. There will always be a scriptural basis for the action. This is why a full knowledge of God’s word is essential. In the Old Testament there were “schools of the prophets.” In fact; prophets, priests and kings were expected to have a working knowledge of God’s word. This would have prevented their misleading the people.

When it comes to God’s revealed word, there is no need to pray about whether or not to obey it. Many Christians pray about things that God has already commanded them to do or not do. Any spirit, no matter how subtle and peaceable, who leads us to compromise God’s word is not of God. For example, consider this passage:

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans 16:17–18 KJV)

Paul begged the people to mark out a particular group of people who were causing division and offenses and avoid them. This is two things: mark them and avoid them. The challenge would be found in the next verse, by good words and fair speeches (they) deceive the hearts of the simple. These offenders literally beguile the simple and lead them astray. The simple are people who don’t know any better. They don’t really have an opinion about what is happening because they don’t comprehend what is going on. They are not unintelligent, they are uninformed and innocent. The offenders are suave smooth-talkers who use their charm to talk the simple into allowing them to hang around. 

Charm is not charis (grace); it is a power that makes you admire the person. If you admire someone; ask yourself if you have been charmed by their smooth flattery. It was said of Franklin D. Roosevelt that he could charm a person into believing they were greatest person on earth; but they whist not that five minutes after the conversation he had no use for them. He used people for his political agenda and he used his charm to win people over. Paul begged the Romans to not only reject their flattery and charm, but mark them and avoid them. The Holy Spirit is going to agree with this word. No need to pray for direction. You have direction.  

Walk in the Word

The Holy Spirit is here to convict of righteousness and truth; why would He then lead us contrary to God’s word? It doesn’t make sense. This is why many Christians are locked in deception; they are following a spirit who has fooled them into believing that they can walk contrary to God’s word and still be spiritual. They are looking at the “leaves” in their life and not the fruit of the Spirit. 

Christ is the Living Word. His life was a fruitful life because of the life that is in Him. If His life is in us, we will bear the fruit He bore. His teachings are signposts to help us examine ourselves to see if His life is in us (emphasis on if). The sermon on the mount beginning in Matthew 5:1 is a great place to start. If a person is not in line with that sermon, they are not a Christian. They may have some kind of man-made religion, but they are not a child of God. God’s children do by nature those things contained in the teachings of Christ. This is the character of God (love, joy, peace, gentleness, meekness, etc.) in written and oral communication. Any branch who is in Christ and does not produce this fruit is eventually taken away and burned.

The Danger of Barrenness 

And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. (Matthew 21:19 KJV)

When Jesus visited this fig tree and found no fruit, He pronounced upon it that it should never bear fruit again. Here was a fig tree growing conspicuously along the lane for everyone to see. It gave every impression at a distance that it was a healthy fig tree; however, it was void of the fruit that God designed and expected it to be producing. It had the limbs and the leaves, but it had no fruit. So the Lord Jesus spoke a word of death to that plant. I know we are used to Him speaking words of life, but death? Why?

Imagine going through your life thinking you were spiritual because you did all kinds of religious exercises. You fast three times a week; attend meetings every time the doors are open; give tithes of all you possess; function in the gifts of the Spirit and many other like things. Then one day, at a season of your life, the Lord passes by and finds no fruit. It happened at Corinth. The people were gathering together not discerning the Lord’s Body. Many were sick and some had died. Why? Because of the trivial things we often focus on as major sins? No. Because He found no fruit on them. 

If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. (John 15:6 KJV)

The fig tree was courting observation from those who passed by, loaded with leaves and promise. It stood out along the road as if it were a means by which men and women might satisfy their hunger. Nevertheless, it was all a show. John the Baptist warned the people that every tree that does not bring forth good fruit will be cut down and cast into the fire. Trees are used figuratively of people in scripture. In fact, it was “people” John was speaking to and “people” who 
were expected, through the life of Christ available through the New Covenant, to bring forth fruit.

For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God;but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:7-8)

This is one of the most fearful passages in the Bible. Though it is written in picture language, it is a very real revelation of God’s estimate of spiritual barrenness. What is being said? In some terms, no matter how much God pours out His Spirit, the person still behaves like an unbeliever. For example, while in public they put on a show of love, but in private they treat their family rudely and abusively. Not all family members, just the ones they can get away with bullying or the like. In fact, bullying in families is one of the greatest sins 
that a person can commit. Not only does it show an absence of the fruit of the Spirit, but even of natural affection (astorgos). If a person can’t treat their own family 
with kindness and love consistently, then they are not saved, no matter what their proclamation or supposed position. In fact, if we can’t love everyone in this way we are not saved. 

False Love

Even sinners act lovingly towards people when it’s advantageous to them. This is what Jesus taught all through His earthly ministry. The greatest test is can we love the unloveable? Can we love people sincerely and without pretense? If a person is not loving towards others and are not compassionate, then they need to be born again. The life of Christ is not in a person who does not love his or her brother or sister. This is the clear teaching of John’s epistles. A Christian has a heart of compassion towards all people (emphasis on all). Indeed, you and I may make excuses for why a professed Christian or even a leader acts unlovingly, but that cannot change their barrenness. Ministry titles don’t come with a full cluster of fruit. When a person has a pattern of acting rudely, unloving, and over bearing towards people — God doesn’t overlook it. The normal, everyday disposition of a believer, who has the life of Christ, is Christ-likeness. Just like He didn’t overlook the fig tree. At some point The person will be cut off all together.

The Diagnosis

“Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell 

My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek Me daily, And delight to know My ways, As a nation that did righteousness, And did not forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice; They take delight in approaching God.   ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’ “In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers. Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, To make your voice heard on high. (Isaiah 58)

The people who were called by God’s name had gotten so hardened that there was almost no hope. The remedy was matched to the condition they were in. They were caught up in their religious exercises to the point that they were almost unreachable with truth. They may have even said, “How dare you challenge me!” Nevertheless, the challenge had to go forward. This was almost a last ditch effort to see the people changed. God has been known to give last ditch efforts. He gave Pharaoh ten of them before finally destroying him. 

It was a light thing for God to tell the prophet literally, “Cry with full throat, hold not back; lift up thy voice like a bugle, and proclaim to my people their apostasy, and to the house of Jacob their sins. And they seek me day by day, and desire to learn my ways, like a nation which has done righteousness, and has not forsaken the right of their God: they ask of me judgments of righteousness; they desire the drawing near of Elohim.” That is to say, with all the strength of the voice, lifting up the voice like the shōphâr (not a trumpet, which is called חַצֹצְרָה, nor in fact any metallic instrument, but a bugle or signal horn, like that blown on new year’s day: see at Psa 81:4), i.e., in a shrill shouting tone. With a loud voice that must be heard, with the most unsparing publicity, the prophet is to point out to the people their deep moral wounds, which they may indeed hide from themselves with hypocritical opus operatum, but cannot conceal from the all-seeing God. (Keil and Delitzsch)

Why would God have the prophet “cry loud, spare not, and lift his voice like a trumpet.”? Sounds very extreme. Because people who are self-deceived can deal treacherously and without compassion without pain of conscience. A person asleep needs no awakening. These people are asleep in their sins and are in danger of being eternally lost. However, they were real spiritual while being ungodly. They even fasted and prayed in order to further their ungodly attitudes. As if God is going to help them as they plot to act in an unchristlike way. Fasting for strife and debate? They fast to be heard, rather than to hear. This is how self-deluded 
a person can become. What do they need? A trumpet in their ears that will not spare for their excuses. After all, better to have a trumpet in your ear than hear the words of death, like the fig tree did. Or as the church of Ephesus faced, to have the lamp stand removed. Cry loud and spare not was the next stage of treatment this people to whom Isaiah was sent. Definitely not for the faint of heart. 

In summary, it is far more evident that the Lord will not tolerate a Christian who pretends to represent Christ, and does not yield the fruit of the Spirit. Religious exercises, talents, gifts, miracles, are nothing more than leaves and foliage in the absence of fruit. The question is, where is the Christlikness? Where is the evidence of the life of Christ indwelling a person? Where is the compassion for real people. Not imaginary “souls” that have no name. How are you treating real people? All people? It is well that we examine our own selves lest we be deceived and on that fateful day be cast as empty branches into the flames. God has poured out His word and His Spirit. Has it yielded fruit? If not, why not? 

Testing the Sweetness

Testing the Sweetness
Robert Wurtz II

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).

In our previous entry entitled, “I’ve Been to the Mountain” we discussed the importance of going on with God through a process of “walking”. We employed the Ark of the Covenant motif as our illustration. The Ark was to be carried on the shoulders of four priests and not on a cart. We said that a “cart” represents the machinery of our times that men employ to simulate a move of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Bear in mind that the Holy Spirit is not a tingle or a mystical feeling, but a person with a character. A false presence of God cannot provide the people with love, joy, peace or unity among the brethren. When the sensation lifts there will be strife and confusion. This is how we know it is false. It is an impotent spirit. The true Holy Spirit cannot come lest He bring His fruit with Him. In this entry I wish to take this phenomena to its next faze and examine the dangers of such practices.

The spirit of the meeting

There is a spirit that when manifest dispels the sweetness of the Holy Spirit and leaves in its wake confusion and division. This spirit will seek to strong-arm God’s people by utilizing the dreadfulness employed by the Old Testament Prophets, upon New Covenant Christians. What did James say? “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17 ESV). These are eight things we can use to test the spirits of the prophets under the New Covenant. This dreadful Old Testament attitude that has no place under the New Covenant, sought to infiltrate the Disciples as they ministered in Samaria. What happened? When the people did not respond to Jesus, they desired to “call fire down from Heaven.” This can be both literal and figurative; for James had already said in the preceding verses; “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell” (James 3:6 ESV). The “fire of hell” sometimes imitates “fire from heaven.” It is an impostor. There is a spirit that imitates the Old Testament Prophets, lacking the gentleness, mercy and good fruits associated with the dispensation of the Grace of God (Ephesians 3:2). It is the spirit that drove the Disciples when Jesus told them, “You know not what manor (sort) of spirit you are of.” They were moving in a destructive spirit. If this spirit ever gets a foothold in the churches of God we are doomed. 

The character of  the Holy Spirit
When Paul left Ephesus he commended the church to God and to the Word of His grace. Paul had absolutely no confidence in those that were converted under his ministry. In fact, he warned the leaders day and night with tears that after he left, chaos and destruction would move in. He wrote; For I know this, that savage wolves will come in after my departure, not sparing the flock. Also from among you yourselves will arise men speaking things having been distorted, in order to draw away the disciples after them (Acts 20:29-30 ESV). Notice he said “savage wolves” that would not spare the flock. This is the antithesis of the role of a pastor/shepherd. Ambitious men will come in and exert their will at the expense of the blood-bought flock of God. The flock would diminish as the shepherd pursued their own aims. Paul continues, “They will speak ‘distorted things'”. The solution? Paul commended them to God and to the Word of His grace. 

 The Holy Spirit is a gentle Spirit that moves in the sweetness of love, joy, peace, gentleness, temperance, meekness, etc. of a shepherd watching over the flock. He convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment to come and sometimes goads; but when a person stops resisting Him He pours in love and joy (Romans 5:5). But there is another spirit that seeks to control the people rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work. Returning briefly to our last several entries, we are not at liberty to “put our hands on the Ark of God.” What does that mean? People have to learn to be led of the Spirit so they can follow God on their own- independent spiritually of others that would be their spiritual counsel. 

I recall hearing the story of a woman that had turned her life to Christ, but she was a smoker. The elders of her assembly, wanting her to learn to hear from God herself, trusted God. One day she came to them and said, “The Lord told me it is OK to smoke.” They did not correct her. They did not give her a “directive prophesy”. They simply trusted God to lead her. A number of months later she came back and said, “I’ve been talking to the Lord and He said it is time to stop smoking.” The attitude of those elders is exemplary. We need to allow God to establish His authority in a person’s life. If she had been subject to controlling people she would have never learned to be led of the Spirit. It’s a bitter pill, but we need to swallow it in this crisis hour. The sheep need to learn to be taught of the Shepherd. We can touch that Ark in a person and wound them for life if we are not careful.    

 Modern day destroyers

Like the church at Ephesus, the churches of God have suffered a great many fads over the last 100 years. This is largely due to some specific errors that the enemy has employed to disable the churches warning systems. One of those is a general attitude that we should not judge (discern) manifestations or ministers. Add to that Psalm 105:15 (touch not the Lord’s anointed and do my prophets no harm) and you have a recipe for total devastation. Although Jesus commended the Ephesians in Revelation 2:2 for testing the false apostles Paul warned them about in Acts 20; finding them to be liars, there came a generation in he 1990’s that made exposing false prophets and teachings a damnable sin – worthy of the judgment of God. These fads, false teachers and falsehoods left carnage of immense proportions. Why? People like to chase some new thing. The stories are a dime a dozen. Some of these falsehoods and fads get picked up and recycled from time to time when folk don’t know the history or they are looking for something novel. From the so-called “Holy Ghost Bartender” to the would-be healing ministry of a man that boasted of kicking a woman in the face with his biker boot at the Lord’s direction, we have seen it all in the last 25 years. One common denominator: there was an evil spirit that dispelled the sweetness of the Holy Spirit from the room and all that was left was to manufacture a sense of presence of God that fooled the masses. And fool many they did. One thing I noticed, it always divided the churches.

Bubbling up the bubbly

I recall once waking up in the middle of the night having fallen asleep on the couch. The TV had been playing on a popular Christian network. On the screen were people lying on their backs as if dead, all over the floor of a church auditorium. The speaker was walking around mumbling things that I cannot recall. A fear seized me; not a holy or Godly fear, but a fear similar to if I had woke up and an evil horror movie had been playing. I knew that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and a sound mind. This man was a very popular speaker at the time in Charismatic circles and I may have had one of his books. I can’t recall as it has been almost 18 years ago. But at that moment, I knew something was amiss. There was an evil there that should not have been. And when someone shows you who they are, you should believe them. Many people just pretended it was not happening and warned not to touch the Lord’s anointed. I have written along this line in the past, but Derek Prince once said that Charismatics are particularly vulnerable to demonic spirits because they think that everything that happens supernatural is of God. It is not. The problem is that it is impossible for some people to acknowledge that something is not of God once they have been involved in it. But evil spirits have been known to fool even the very elect of God’s people.  

I’m gonna fire somebody!

On a different occasion I was attending a large meeting of another popular healing evangelist. I had followed this person’s ministry very closely and attended many crusades even traveling out-of-state. In the middle of the meeting, just after the worship service, something happened that changed my perspective forever. Over the platform there was a little light that kept going off and the people in the sound booth would press a button and it would come back on. I had a unique view of it from where I was sitting. It was obviously a technical problem. Suddenly the popular evangelist stepped to the front and said in a mean spirited voice, “I’m gonna fire someone if they don’t get that fixed! Because Je-sus deserves our best…” I was taken aback and in total disbelief. Here was a man that was leading the people in worship and yet “just-like-that” he turned on a dime into this “person” that was anything but Christlike; and all over a little light bulb. He showed me who he was and I believed him. Needless to say, that that was the beginning of the end for that as far as I was concerned. What happens? People live double lives. They are “the nice guy” on the stage and are ruthless in private. I wondered after that what his employees must suffer? Talk to people that have worked with him in ministry behind the scenes and see what kind of reputation he/she has. Talk to unbelievers and see what the report is (1 Timothy 3:7 ESV). If we would do that, we would stop a lot of trouble at the gates before it ever became a problem.

The outcome of their life

There is a passage in Hebrews that is insightful; “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith” (Hebrews 13:7). Notice the phrase, consider the outcome of their life. Watch and see what happens. I have known on many occasions for Christians to be in disagreement and even split-up friendships because the one saw the error and the other did not; but when the “minister” in question was caught in scandal we were able to apply this Hebrews 13:7. What does it say? “Consider the outcome of their life.” This is tremendous wisdom. I have personally sat under ministers in meetings that were very questionable. The elders would even question their actions. Some have backslidden and are no longer a minister at all. How did they get under the radar? Sometimes it is due to friendships or relationships. People are often blindest to those that are closest to them. It’s not until they get angry at them that they take off their blinders and spill the beans. Some of the time people are duped because they were performing miracles, prophesying and a host of other things; but there was a serious problem all along in these situations. There was something in the inner man of certain leaders that was shouting, NO! No! No! This is all wrong. Their warnings went unheeded. What does the scripture teach? In the multitude of counselors there is safety. When the deck is stacked to run a person through the ropes disaster is looming.

Acknowledging the signs

How could a host of people fall for a Todd Bentley? He dressed himself like the Hell’s Angels biker gang and nobody thought anything of it. Unlike the days of old when men would get saved and try to cover the evidences of their past sinful life with long sleeve shirts, this person flaunted it. That is how deeply they desired to distance themselves from a sinful identity. They were ashamed of their old life. What did the followers say about Bentley? “Don’t judge!” Why? Because in Charismatic circles miracles trump everything else. I tremble to say it, but I am persuaded to believe that a person could dress like the Devil himself: red suit, horns and all and some people would say, “Don’t judge!” If you give a word that is “on” you are considered legit. My advice? If you would not trust the person to watch your children you probably should not trust them to speak into your life. Would it surprise you to know that William Branham was said to have never once given a false prophesy? We know how that ended. Some people were so duped that they believed God would raise him from the dead after he died. Derek Prince in his book, “Protection from Deception” described the situation well. But that is the danger. Warning sign after warning sign and they are overlooked one by one. Before it is over with a person has to totally rearrange their belief system to accommodate the person. The attitude becomes, “If they make mean spirited comments? No problem. Kick a woman in the face with your biker boot? No problem”. And to think that well intentioned Christians divide over whether these type people are legit. It is a simple thing to say, but if you have to abandon your common sense when you come to the meeting, that is usually a good sign something is amiss. Better to obey God and discern rightly in these things than it is to become a statistic.

What about the sweetness?

One of the first signs towards Jesus Christ was that the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descended upon Him. The Holy Spirit was at His ear. And when the Holy Spirit is truly at work there will be a holy sweetness to His ministry; the fruit of love, joy and peace will permeate all that He does. Christ-likeness will be manifest. But are these the criteria in our times? When was the last time you heard of a meeting being promoted on the basis of the love, joy and peace that is manifest in the meeting? When was the last time you heard a testimony, “Oh, how they love one another!” as in the book of Acts? I said in the beginning; “There is a spirit that when manifest dispels the sweetness of the Holy Spirit and leaves in its wake confusion and division.” It is the spirit that sought to infiltrate the Disciples and Jesus rebuked. Something is wrong when the “spirit” we are of does not promote the unity of the Brethren. If discord and confusion are the fruit, we know God is not the author. Selah. 


Fruit: The Ultimate Test

Fruit: The Ultimate Test
Robert Wurtz II

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. (Matthew 7:15ff)

Our passage is insightful, simple and straight-forward. Jesus is warning us to beware of wolves that would seek to come in to our midst under the guise of the prophetic, but lack the fruit of the Spirit. No doubt the enemy can counterfeit certain aspects of the prophetic through the use of clairvoyance. This is supernatural power or revelation that does not come directly from God. People that move in these realms may be defrauded into thinking that what they are experiencing is the Holy Spirit, but in reality it is not God revealing things it is the enemy. How can we know the difference? One way is to pay very close attention to our passage; Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. You cannot flip back and forth from the Spirit to the carnal mind like we often think people can. We are fooling ourselves to think such things. A tree don’t bring forth apples one day and thorns and briers the next day. In other words, you can’t move in the prophetic one minute and act as mean as a junkyard dog the next. If a person cannot discern what spirit they are of, how are they going to discern the spirit that everyone else is of? This is what Jesus told the disciples that wanted to call Fire from Heaven. You know not what manor of Spirit you are of. Paul’s litmus test for all of the spirituals (Spiritual gifts) was does it edify (the believer or the body)? Does it build them up in the faith or does it harm the church or the believer in their walk with God? Is it spoken in love or in bitterness? False prophets get mad and then start putting words in God’s mouth that are not so. 

Dangerous people

Notice how Jesus describes them; false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Wolves are notorious for killing and carrying off sheep. We have the wolf motif in Ezekiel 22:27ff, Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain. Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, “Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD had not spoken. (Ezekiel 22:27-28) Here they were taking advantage of the people speaking things that God had not said, divining lies, seeing false visions, plastering them with untempered mortar; that is to say, they were not preparing them for the destruction that was coming. They were suiting themselves and seeking their own ambitions. They seek dishonest gain while the people are about to be carried off by their enemies. They are thinking about their own plans and have no clue of what God is doing right now, though they truly,truly think they do. Ambition and desire for dishonest gain are always a deadly combination and is one of the reasons God had to deal so strongly with Ananias and Sapphira. Their greed caused them to hold back a part of the price, but their ambition was the beach head on which the enemy charged into their life with a lie to cast them in a favorable light in the church saying they gave the whole amount. They wanted favor with the people and were willing to lie to the Holy Ghost to get it. People moving in these and similar things are toxic to the churches of God. This is why God smote them dead. The whole story is exemplary. 

Deadly ambition

There is a sobering pattern in Jeremiah’s writings that is summarized in one verse, How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart. (Jeremiah 23:26) This is a staggering thing to consider that they are the prophets of the deceit of their own heart. Notice that the false prophet is deceived himself (or herself) and is articulating from that deception when they prophesy. They believe things that are not true and put a false construction on events based upon that deception. For Ananias and Sapphira, Satan had filled their heart to lie to the Holy Ghost. A person with ambition is blinded by their own desires until they may actually believe they are the only person they know that is truly hearing from GOD. They have so confused their own will with God’s will, that unless what transpires in their life is what they want, God’s will is not being done. This is madness and dangerous. Pretty soon the whole flock is in an uproar and confusion because the wolf in sheep clothing is prophesying the deceit of their own heart. What do they do? When those things do not come to pass they cover it by saying that God’s will is not done. This is nonsense. In the Old Testament when that happened a funeral was held for the prophet. But there it is.

By their fruits you will know them

If a person does not live in such a way that they consistently display a Christlike Spirit, they are not qualified to preach or prophesy. God can speak from a whirlwind, a donkey, rock, or anything else He may choose; but we have this passage from Jesus that gives the normative way of things, namely; Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. Don’t even bother hearing the person if they don’t display the fruit of the Spirit. Moreover, if the Spirit in which the prophetic message is delivered is not Christlike, but bitter and angry, consider our passage. A prophet in modern times (if there were such a thing) should be expected to yield the same Fruit of the Spirit as everyone else that ministers before the Lord. Moving in the gifts is no excuse to act out. This is why there are so many offenses in the churches of God. I dare say that in some circles, if we had everyone back that were foolishly and carelessly offended out, we would probably not be able to contain the people. Why pray for revival if we can’t act right? In fact, if a person is mean and spiteful, you already know what fruit they are of. Watch the fruit of the persons life. Do they live holy lives? Do they have a good reputation among unbelievers as an honest person? Are they universally loving or do they love just those they wish to love? Do they act hateful? These are all valid common sense questions that take little to no discernment. 

The gifts as a weapon?

It should go without saying that the prophetical gifts are not weapons to be used on people that we are in conflict with. If we are upset at a person, we had best leave God out of it and not be putting words in His mouth or the Holy Spirit’s mouth in order to inflict harm to a person. The spirituals (spiritual gifts) are to be approached with great soberness, reverence and love. They are for the perfecting and building up of the Saints, not for the furtherance of the agendas of men. God warned Israel through the Prophets and the Disciples through the Lord Jesus. When Israel was deep in sin their prophets still thought they were hearing from God. Amazing! In fact we read in 2 Chronicles 18:23, Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near, and smote Micaiah upon the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee? Here is a man punching or slapping the true Prophet, while he was a false prophet. This tells me that sometimes people don’t even know that they are moving at enmity with God when they are prophesying, etc. To operate in the gifts purely and with no spurious input from either the enemy or our own mind of deceit, you and I have to come out of the world and draw near to God. We have to be being filled with the Spirit in such a way that we walk in love and speak the truth in love. Otherwise we risk being the very thing Jesus spoke of. The saddest thing of all would be to think we were sheep and shepherds, when in reality we were deceived totally, had no real fruit in our lives, but still believing we were right with God. 


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