Mathew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Today many people attend charismatic meetings. Many are surprised by what they see and hear. At such meetings you may experience wonders, healings, miracles, shouting, screams, speeches you do not un-derstand, faintings on command by symbolic touches, hypnotic repetitions and suggestive words, hysteric and uncontrolled laughter, speechlessness, raised arms and ecstatic behaviour. The strong emotional feeling is, by the adherents, interpreted as a proof of the presence and workings of the spirit of God.
Do you dare to question any of the above-mentioned manifestations? It is not for us to judge anyone. We have no right to do that, but it is not wrong to evaluate these things to see what forces are behind these manifestations.
The Bible urges us to examine and be on guard. In 1 John, chapter 4 and verse 1, we read: "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God."
The problem today is that when someone starts to examine and ask questions, one is often labelled as being a "critic," belonging to a "fragmented movement," or as lacking a "spirit of love." But those who label you as such would probably never buy a house or a property without seeing the place or checking out the house. Let us therefore simply investigate the charismatic movement and compare it with the word of God.
Since there are wonders and miracles in these meetings, and since the Bible repeatedly tells us that both Satan and God can do miracles through their human agents, it should be in our interest to find out whether this is from God or from Satan.
FAITHFUL SERVANTS or DECEITFUL WORKERS?
From the New Testament we have several examples of how Jesus and the disciples healed people.1 The disciples healed in the name of Jesus. The Holy Spirit worked through them and healed paralyzed arms and feet.
But the Bible also reveals that Satan too is able to perform miracles through his human agents. In Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, chapter 11 and verses 13-15 we read: "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
MIRACLES, SIGNS AND WONDERS!
Many people now understand that the great changes and upheavals in this world, and other signs of the times, indicate that Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, soon will return. But before Jesus returns, the Bible calls our attention to the fact that Satan will deceive the people with all kinds of signs and wonders. We read: "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders."2
The Bible also describes how the rulers of this world, just prior to Jesus' second coming, will be seduced by unclean spirits that perform signs.3
The Bible also describes how the rulers of this world, just prior to Jesus' second coming, will be seduced by unclean spirits that perform signs.3
the truths of the Bible that are being preached?
Jesus himself says: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter unto 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."4
Today many are claiming that their message and wonders are from God. But please do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God. Jesus tells us that we are to know them by their fruits.5 Do their lives reveal the Biblical pattern of life?
As we have read, the Bible declares that many will heal in the name of Jesus, prophesy in the name of Jesus, cast out demons in the name of Jesus, perform miracles, signs and wonders in the name of Jesus, but Jesus will say to them on that great day: "I never knew you."
WHO RECEIVES THE SPIRIT OF GOD?
Miracles in themselves do not reveal their source. In order to distinguish the false from the genuine, what is from Satan and what is from God, Jesus urges us to seek the kingdom of God first.6 First we have to learn to know the will of God through the study of His Word, and then see if these men are doing the will of God. Are they, in the daily life, walking in the footsteps of Jesus? Are their lives and preaching reflecting the life and preaching of Jesus? This is the test!
But what kind of message do these teachers preach? Does it lead you to fear and love God? Are you filled with a longing to reveal your love for Jesus Christ by faithfully living according to His commandments? The apostle John writes: "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."30 People who do not realize the great importance of the moral law, that look down on and deliberately break and violate the commandments of God, even if it is only one of them, and teach other people to do the same, are looked upon as unrighteous in the eyes of God.31 Then we know that their teaching is not from God. They carry on the same work as the prince of darkness started, he who is the enemy of God.
There are those who believe they are right when they are in the wrong. While they proclaim that Jesus is their Lord and declare that they are doing great things in His name, they are really doing what is evil. "And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness." 32
It is no use pretending to be a Christian. You rarely hear it being preached about the faith in Jesus that saves and changes a man. Just believe, they say, then you do not need to keep the law. But a faith that does not lead to obedience, is a dead faith.33
Therefore the spirit of God is not given to everybody. It is God who decides who will receive His Spirit. It is He who decides who He will work through. It is He who decides who will be His ambassador. Therefore the Bible says quite simply and clearly that those who are doing His will and are obedient to Him, will receive the Holy Spirit.7
Besides, a godly man or woman will not accept money or gifts for miraculous healings that come from God. They will declare that God alone is the One to receive honor and glory.8 This will, also today, characterize those who truly heal in the name of Jesus. But today we see many healers and their coworkers readily accept a "quiet collection."
We are aware that several charismatics use NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), a hypnotic technique that sales representatives, politicians, charismatics and others use in order to sell their products or win adherents or followers.29
The charismatic movement emphasizes experiences of the spirit. But it is not screaming, faintings, repeated shouts of "hallelujah" and so on, that prove whether they have the Spirit of God or not. God wants conscious human beings, not unconscious, half-fainted and knocked out individuals that lie on the floor kicking their legs and writhing in ecstatic laughter. The devil is an expert on debauched experiences, while the Bible says: "Let all things be done decently and in order."9 It is Jesus Christ and Biblical truth that are going to set us free, and give a true revival - not emotional and sentimental mass meetings.10
TRANSFORMATION - TRUE REVIVAL
There are many kinds of revivals. A true revival appears when we say Yes to Jesus. Then we will receive the Holy Spirit as a source of power in our life, and this will bring about a change in us. There will take place a reform, a change or a transformation in our minds and lives. It will involve not letting Self control or rule us. Then we will say no to the lust of the flesh and worldly pleasures and temptations, and yes to the Spirit. The sinful nature of the flesh will be a part of us as long as we live here on this earth, but we are not to let it control our minds and lives. We must let the Holy Spirit enter our minds, so that we will be partakers of the divine nature. And we will be partakers of the divine nature as long as we stay close to Jesus, and do His will.11
When we let the Spirit control our minds, we will turn away from impurity, cheating, adultery, lust, envy and everything that has to do with sin. We will not love the world and the things that are in it anymore, but rather love Jesus and everything He represented in His life and teachings. We will receive a new mind, new purposes and new motives. People will notice that a change has taken place. The fruit of the Spirit will be shown in our lives, such as love, joy, peace, goodness, patience and so on.12 In other words, a character change takes place in our lives. It is a pleasure to let Jesus be represented in our daily lives, by not taking part in the pleasures and the lust of this world. This we can not do alone, by ourselves, but in our efforts to resist the temptations of the devil and live for Christ, we can unite our weakness with the strength of Jesus.13 It is this kind of revival and transformation that Jesus and the Bible are speaking about, totally different from faintings on command, hypnotic repetitions of words, ecstatic and uncontrolled laughter and so on.
When the born-again Christian learns to know Jesus and the unlimited love He has shown us, in order to save us, then this person will love Jesus dearly. He or she wants to be a disciple of Jesus, and will by the guidance of the Holy Spirit try to help others on the path to heaven.
Dear reader! Remember that even if you feel unworthy to come to God in humility and prayer, even if you have fallen very deeply into sin, Jesus stands there like the father of the prodigal son with arms opened wide, ready to accept us, as long as we are willing to repent and forsake our sins. The Holy Spirit calls on you to make this decision now. If you still doubt whether Jesus accepts you or not, then remember His own words: "him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."14 This is Jesus. Such is His love for human beings.
THEY WILL PREACH A CORRECT BIBLICAL MESSAGE
Those who have humbled themselves before God, repented from their sins and accepted the salvation of Jesus by faith, will receive forgiveness for their sins. They will be partakers of baptism, and by the grace of God receive the Holy Spirit as the source of power in their lives. They also will go out and preach a correct Biblical message.
- They will preach that Jesus is the only one who can save us, and that it is up to you and me if we will accept this gift of salvation by grace through faith.15
- They will preach that if we forget to stay close to Jesus and then sin, God will only look upon us as righteous if we wholeheartedly repent of our sins and accept the gift of salvation.16
- They will preach that - just like Jesus, who came to this earth as a degenerated man, had to receive power and strength from God in order to obtain victory in every temptation,17 so we, too, can - by God's help - have victory in every temptation that we meet.18
- They will not only preach that God is love, but "this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments ( not the commandments you find in the Catechism, but God's Ten Commandments in Exodus 20: 3-17) are not grievous."19
- They will preach that Jesus was one with the Father. He was God. He was the Creator. When Jesus came to save the human race from sin, He clothed His divinity with humanity. For 4000 years the race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power and in moral worth; and Christ took upon Himself the infirmities of degenerate humanity. He was tempted in all points as we are, but He did not sin.21 Only in this way could He save us.
- They will preach that if we are wholeheartedly surrendered to Jesus Christ, we will "be partakers of the divine nature" - by His Spirit.22
- They will preach that we will receive all the power and strength we need (by the Holy Spirit) in order not to sin, and that "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."23
- They will preach that the change in our lives has to happen now, before the coming of Jesus, so that we may be clean and prepared when Jesus returns in the clouds of heaven. For "there shall in no wise enter into it (in heaven) any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life."24
Do you doubt that Jesus can give you victory in every temptation? As long as we stay close to Him and have a constant relationship with Jesus, like the branch to the vine, we will receive the help we need in order to gain victory over sin.25 When do you hear this being preached?
A MESSAGE OF SALVATION AND A MESSAGE OF WARNING
Dear reader! It is important that we place ourselves on the side of Jesus now, so that we may receive the Spirit of God and be a part of the last movement that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are behind, before the return of Jesus. The Bible, in Revelation chapter 14, verses 6-12, mentions three special messages God's faithful servants will preach just before the coming of Jesus. We are also strongly urged to LEAVE all false religious systems and revivals, so that we will not have a part in their apostasy and sins.26 Will you accept this challenge? Remember that those who place themselves on the side of Jesus, have the strongest one on their side. Jesus says: "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations"...27
Let us come to a conclusion: We must be aware of the fact that the charismatic movement is a global movement, a movement that is seeking to unite the world under false manifestations, a movement that unfortunately is one of the means that Satan is using in order to gather "Christianity" and different religions into one. Protestants that have thrown off the shield of faith, will - together with Catholics and worldly people indiscriminately - unite in the last times. Satan will strengthen his cause by seducing them all into the camp of spiritualism. Many will regard this alliance as a great movement that will unite and convert the world and finally proclaim the much longed for Millenium. This will be a fulfillment of the prophecy of the Bible that tells us how the world will unite through spiritualism. And we see the prelude to this fulfillment now. 28I pray that we all will take our stand completely and totally on the side of Jesus, so that we may receive the Holy Spirit. Only then can we be able to discern the false from the genuine. Only then can we be ready when Jesus soon returns to gather His people and take them home to heaven. May you and I be among them!