Do you long for revival, to have God’s fire burn in you?
Do you want to do more than sit in a church pew?
I know that I do, but sometimes opportunities for ministry are few, especially in churches which don’t allow for spiritual gifts such as tongues, prophecy, or miracles. At least, that’s what I’ve experienced.
I’m not trying to put anyone down. I know there needs to be order in a church service, but the doctrine of cessationism, which says that so-called “charismatic” or “Pentecostal” gifts aren’t for today, causes more things to cease than tongues. It causes hope to cease and the power of God’s Word to lose its relevance. When there’s no expectation that God will step into the meeting place and do something really awesome, then people start to leave. They start to get bored.
“I didn’t come to church for this lukewarm bath!” I can hear them say.
But oh, we must be careful of the wolves in sheep’s clothing, for what Bible-believing Christian isn’t familiar with Jesus’ warning that not everyone who calls him Lord will enter the kingdom of 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 they name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 8:22-23)
I Corinthians 8:3 tells us that “if any man love God, the same is known of him.”
In other words, it’s not the use of spiritual gifts such as casting out devils or prophecy that Jesus is against. It’s that they never loved him. They never really got to know him. If they prophesied truth, it was not in love. They might have cast out devils, but welcomed bigger devils into their homes. Judas is a prime example of a disciple who went out with all the rest to heal the sick and cast out devils (see Luke chapter 9, verse 2). He was involved in wonderful works, yet he had no true love for Jesus and in the end betrayed him.
It’s people like that who make others wary of spiritual gifts. So do those who operate in false gifts. Ahab, the evil king known for caving into his flesh, had four hundred false prophets who claimed to speak for God but who spoke lies in His name. You can find the story in I Kings chapter 22. There was only one man who spoke truth to Ahab, and Ahab had him thrown in jail.
Micaiah, who gave a true prophetic word, was persecuted for it. If Jehoshaphat, the godly king of Judah, had ignored Ahab and heeded that word, he wouldn’t have gone to battle with Ahab and nearly gotten himself killed. True spiritual gifts – in this case, prophecy – can save lives, yet some people insist on preaching against such things. The number of anti-charismatic sites on the web is astounding.
Spiritual counterfeits cause people to be disillusioned with spiritual gifts, but think on this: Satan is below God, not above him. He can’t counterfeit anything of God that isn’t real. When he couldn’t stop Jesus from casting out devils, he had men accuse Jesus of doing the devil’s work. Now he uses the doctrine of cessationism to accuse Jesus’ followers of the same thing.
After all, if gifts such as tongues and prophecy have ceased from operating in the church, then God can’t be behind them, can he?
I’m not saying we should accept every tongue or prophecy that comes our way, but we need to use discernment because for every four hundred false prophets there’s liable to be at least one true one. The same goes for tongues, as well as for every other spiritual gift. We shouldn’t let Satan scare us away from spiritual gifts that are still for today.