Two days ago, we learned of the certainty of the coming of false prophets who sneak into our midst. They will “follow their own ungodly desires.” “These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.” (Jude 1:17-19 ) Yesterday, we learned of the false prophets among the Israelites who have “ridden the wave of blessing” as they were the Israelites who God has chose to bless but in a day of reckoning, God “subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.” (Jude 1:5) WE remember,
Numbers 14:18 “The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished…”
Today, we must look at this world and “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” Jude 1:3
Ultimately to discern false prophets and their teaching, we must go back to the authority of Scripture and know the Bible for ourselves. We must make sure we know and teach correctly or we ourselves will be subject to judgment for our errors.
Not everyone who quotes Scripture is from Christ. Today, I have been reminded of that in my own life. A political blogger read yesterday’s blog and made some disparaging comments about me on his blog. I would like to quote from his blog:
OK. So using this example of a quoted scripture. What do we do with it?
Well, let’s look at what the New Testament believers did. The Jews just had the Old Testament. Now, Jesus had come and they were hearing that there was a new revelation from God. How did they authenticate it? How did they know it was God speaking to them? In Acts we see the Berean people, Paul says,
11Now these were more noble-minded than those in (A)Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
So, here we see that we are to
- “examine the scriptures daily to see whether these things are so” (Acts 17:11) and we are to
- “test the spirits to see whether they are from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 1:4) and most importantly
- see if the person “confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.” (1 John 4:2 )
12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:11
The Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary defines the word Christ as meaning:
- anointed, the Greek translation of the Hebrew word rendered “Messiah” (q.v.), the official title of our Lord, occurring five hundred and fourteen times in the New Testament. It denotes that he was anointed or consecrated to his great redemptive work as Prophet, Priest, and King of his people. He is Jesus the Christ (Acts 17:3; 18:5; Matt. 22:42), the Anointed One. He is thus spoken of by Isaiah (61:1), and by Daniel (9:24-26), who styles him “Messiah the Prince.”
So, let’s look at another religion that talks about Christ and run it against the test:
The Koran discusses Jesus and acknowledges Him as a prophet (5:110 Koran) and believed the Jesus was taken into heaven and will return alive at Judgement day (4:159). However, it specifically says that Jesus was not the Son of God and refutes the Trinity. (4:171) and also says Jesus wasn’t really crucified but was just made to appear so. (4:157) (All quotes from the Koran are from this scholarly article .)
So using this litmus test we see that although the Koran acknowledges Jesus and talk about his miracles — according to our beliefs, the Koran is false because it does not acknowledge that “Jesus CHRIST has come in the flesh.” (1 John 4:2 ) only that a man named Jesus came in the flesh. Big difference. That is all difference for us to note and remember.
1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
Here, again, we must remember there are not a few, not some, but many false prophets in the world (1 John 1:4.) Also, as Jude 1:4 says, that there are “certain persons that have crept in unnoticed.” That means they are in our church. These are perilous times (2 Tim 3:1) so we must search out God’s Word for the truth.
Back to the quote from Isaiah 42. We must remember to always look at Scripture in context. Isaiah 42 is one of the most pivotal books in Isaiah because it foretells of Jesus Christ in Isaiah 42:1-9 . In the remainder of the Chapter it praises God for the new covenant and then it rebukes the people of Israel who have seen these miracles of God and yet do not see God. God says through Isaiah in 42:18-20
Isaiah 42:18-20 (New International Version)
Israel Blind and Deaf
look, you blind, and see!
19 Who is blind but my servant,
and deaf like the messenger I send?
Who is blind like the one committed to me,
blind like the servant of the LORD ?
20 You have seen many things, but have paid no attention;
your ears are open, but you hear nothing.”
This fits in so well with our teachings from Numbers yesterday. God held them accountable because they had seen God’s glory and to put it simply — “they should know better.”
We must all be exhorted to take God’s word for ourselves. You are responsible for your own walk with Jesus Christ. You are responsible to test the spirits. You are accountable for yourself and what you teach to others!
Psalm 139:23-24 (King James Version)
23Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Every bit of criticism, every bit of scripture. I take it to my very heart — I ask God to examine me. I ask God to search me out. No one is right all of the time. No one except Jesus Christ. And we have a direct line to Him through prayer and through the Scripture. Our own feelings will lead us astray!
Today, I want to share with you that I am convicted that God wants to change the world through virtual missions teams. There is an article in the Commission Online about Ordinary Housewives praying to reach the Banta Themne people .
As strategy coordinator, Lori explained this team was experimental. Missionaries cannot go to many places due to war and rebel activity, but Christians still have a responsibility to find a way to minister. Prayer would be the main means of ministry for Lori’s team. Members would communicate through letters and e-mail.
“It all seemed too simple,” Mary Sanders says. “It isn’t a great sacrifice to pray from the comfort of my home. But the fruit of concerted prayers is amazing.”
The team researched the Banta Themne on the Internet and interviewed people from Sierra Leone. Eighty-year-old Earline Ellis bought a computer so she could do research from her Louisiana home. The first two years the ministry was based on prayer and research.
Then the team enlisted nearly 3,000 prayer warriors. Mary says it’s impossible to tell how many people were praying, since most read the weekly prayer points in their Sunday School classes. Churches from across the United States helped by producing prayer brochures, prayer calendars and prayer cards.
“It’s hard to believe that through prayer I ended up loving and caring for a group of people that I would most likely have never met,” Donisa Page says. “Prayer is a mighty and powerful thing.”
The article goes on to say that in less than 2 years over 300 of the Banta Themne people have come to Christ!
As I read this article I feel several things:
- An overwhelming, compelling jealousy –– not a jealousy in the envious way but a jealousy to be part of the prayer movement, to pray in concerted effort with thousands of other Southern Baptists. I want to be a part! I want to be on mission for Christ on my laptop. I need to come along side other believers. It is time. Do you?
- A compelling desire to join in. God gives us all gifts! He listed the many gifts in the Bible, but mine is a product of the current times. He has gifted me with the ability to understand technology. I cannot explain how He teaches me to use software that I’ve never used but it has always been something He has used for His kingdom.
- A desire to tell everyone. Jesus is the way the truth and the life. It is the greatest message ever told using a new medium. I have a dream that every Southern Baptist would take to their laptops and mobilize prayer groups. Not just to pray for the sick in our communities but to begin to pray for the lost and dying souls around the world. To unite in prayer for causes and to share in rejoicing over God’s answers. To become the church God made us to be! I love my denomination and want to give more than my money and time — to unite in laser focused prayer efforts in ways that are pleasing to God. Not so we can get the credit but so that the world can see publicly what happens in the name of Jesus Christ, the name above all names! To be a praying people reaching a lost world!
Today, I ask that we pray for three things:
- the Banta Themne people
- The Tuareg people of Africa – the translations of the Bible into the Tuareg language. Pray for the Tuareg teen who has given up his noble status to follow Jesus Christ. Tuaregs are beginning to come to Christ, we must pray!
- The unknown blogger known only as soupy.
Lord, we pray for the Banta Themne and the home missionary as he preaches. We pray for you to open their eyes and to exalt the name of Jesus Christ as we witness the power of the Name above all Names!
We pray for the Tuareg. We pray that you will make the Gospel available to them in a language that they can understand. We pray that you will be with the Tuareg teen that has given up his nobility to be a follower of Christ. May this young man reach thousands for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Will you put your hedge of protection around him and around others who are working with the Muslim people for they too are the seed of Abraham. I know it is your will that all will come to you. Give all Christians the vision to pray for Christians around the world. Be with my own denomination, just one of your group of followers on this earth. Give the Southern Baptist leadership vision and insight to follow Jesus Christ and exalt Him as Lord and Savior. Let us not lose sight of our mission on this earth by sideline issues. Please be with soupy today. I ask that you bless him. I ask that you speak to him and reveal Jesus Christ to Him. I pray that he will see the love of Jesus in someone today. He seems to have such anger, Lord, and I do not know why but you do. Minister to him in his hurts. Let me always treat others with the kind forgiveness that you’ve treated me. I love you, Jesus. You are my hope and my peace and my answer in a world of turmoil. Thank you for loving me! Call out a new people of prayer. Let us unite in our prayer closets with folded hands that encircle the world with the love of Jesus Christ. Forgive us when we get in the way. I love you Jesus. During this new year, help me to test all spirits. Search me and know my heart. Reveal to me what I need to change and give me your strength to do it! I love you, my Jesus, my Christ. Amen.