The ROCK
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Rock Report by Pastor Paul

This is a blog that comes from my personal devotions each day. It will also include sermons as I have to delete them from the audio section of the website. This blog will also keep you up to date with what is happening at the Rock in Strathroy Ontario 

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  • Jun7Sun

    Sermon: Guided by Truth

    June 7, 2020
    June 7, 2020
    Call to Worship: 
     Psalm 18:46 “The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God                                    my Savior!”
     
    Songs:   King of Glory - Passion & Kristian Stanfill
    Jesus Is - The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir   
    Great I Am - Phillips, Craig & Dean        
     
    Scripture:   Psalm 25
                           
    Song:  To You - Hillsong
     
    Sermon:   Guided by Truth
     
    Closing Songs:   A New Anointing - The ZOE Group       
    Light the Fire Again - Brian Doerksen       
     
    Benediction:    Isaiah 6:3 “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory. 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty. 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
     
     --------------------------------------------------------
     
    Sermon: Guided by Truth
                Our recent journey took us back to Pentecost but Pentecost is still a date on the calendar that has come and gone. Our journey was taking us to a date on the calendar but to where the church was meant to be in the power of Pentecost. Pentecost was the beginning of the church moving in power and this was supposed to continue. As we talked about the power of Pentecost, we saw in scripture that there was also proof of Pentecost, which was displayed in power through the disciples and to their disciples. This power was then passed on to all who would believe.  Peter said in Acts 2:38 “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” This power displayed in the disciples was meant to continue and not stop as we have seen. So what do we do about this lack of power in the church? The first is to observe and acknowledge that the power from on high is missing. Scripture then tells us the steps to take; we repent and then we wait for God to move in power. 2 Chronicles 30:9 “If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.” Isaiah 8:17 “I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my trust in him.”
                Today I want to talk about being guided by the truth. Psalm 25:5 “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” This is our only hope. Being guided by truth is the only way we will make it to life everlasting. This means we live by the word of God, Psalm 119:114 “You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.” Psalm 1:1 “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” This also means we never add or take away from the word of God. Deuteronomy 4:2 “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.” When we make an observation, there are two conclusions that can be made. The observation I am focusing on today is that the power of God is missing in the church. The first response is guided by reasoning, experience and tradition and the second is guided by the truth of God’s word. One way to answer is that God no longer moves in power and the other is to do whatever it takes for God to turn his face back to us. The first is based on deduction, which means “the act or process of using logic or reason to form a conclusion or opinion about something.” To deduce means “arrive at a fact or a conclusion by reasoning.” The first way is to ignore and manipulate scripture and use reason. Even though scripture is set before us, scripture has been set aside for reason, tradition and experience. When more emphasis is placed on these three, scripture is nullified.
                So what has happened is that an observation has been made. The observation in this case more specifically is ability to heal in the church. Based on reasoning, experience and tradition the desire for the gift of healing or the ability to heal is wrong and not even possible. This conclusion comes from deducing like this. My reasoning says that gifts of healing are no longer needed. My experience then tells me I have not seen what is talked about in scripture. According to my tradition, power gifts have ceased. The second response is to use sound doctrine, which is the doctrine laid out clearly in scripture and is guided by the Holy Spirit. When you are guided by truth, our minds are controlled by what we read in scripture. Scripture then governs everything, our experience, our reason and our tradition. By ignoring what scripture plainly states, the conclusion presented as fact is that the gift of healing is no longer available. Instead, sound doctrine tells us there is no power available because the church has disobeyed and the response should be repentance and turning back to the word of God and the gifts of the Spirit once again flow. Instead of repenting, doctrines and theology are produced to explain away the missing available power. Sound doctrine says power will once again be available. If God is to turn His face back to us, we must be guided by the truth.
                Let’s start with the truth. Jesus said, John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” So let’s start with Jesus. John said Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Before Jesus started His ministry He was baptized. Jesus receiving the Holy Spirit was shown to us when Jesus was filled in Luke 3:21 “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” After being tempted Luke 4:14 “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then we saw examples of the power of the Holy Spirit throughout the ministry of Jesus. That power was also described in the Old Testament so that when you talk about the Spirit of the Lord, power follows. 1 Samuel 16:13 “So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.” Then he later fought Goliath and said 1 Samuel 17:45 “David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.
                Then we saw the disciples also filled with the Holy Spirit. While they had been given power previously, they would now be filled with the Holy Spirit to go to the ends of the earth and do as Jesus did. John 7:37 “On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.  Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” Note that Jesus said whoever believes in me. Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” It was not just the disciples filled as those who listened and accepted the message were also filled. We saw the Holy Spirit fill those Peter preached to at Cornelius’s house. As Peter preached he said Acts 10:37 “You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” While he was still speaking the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” This is a crucial observation. Receiving the Holy Spirit just as they did meant power would follow just as the disciples had. We also saw the filling of the Holy Spirit when Paul preached to the disciples who had not yet heard of the Holy Spirit. Acts 19:6 “When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.”
                When Jesus was filled, power flowed. Before I read these next verses about the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through Jesus, remind yourselves that Jesus lives. Mark 16:6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.” Don’t move on from these verses to quick. Let it sink in. Matthew 4:24 “News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” Matthew 8:16 “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.” Matthew 9:35 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.” Matthew 12:15 “Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill.” Matthew 14:36 “People brought all their sick to him and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.” Mark 6:56 “And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.” Luke 8:47 “Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.” Luke 4:40 “At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.” Luke 5:15 “Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses.” Luke 6:17 “He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.”
                These were just a few examples of Jesus healing and casting out demons of all that came to him. John 21:25 “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” I would suggest reading the gospels and taking note of all that Jesus did, again remembering that Jesus is alive, not dead. Then Jesus gave some of His authority to His disciples and sent them out. Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” Jesus also appointed seventy-two to go out Luke 10:17 “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
                Then the day of Pentecost came and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit just as Jesus was. Ephesians 2:22 “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” John 14:23 “Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” They were told Luke 24:49 “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” The church would then go out with the presence of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:15 “In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty)” Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Notice it was all of them being filled. Following Pentecost we see the same power Jesus had and then we see the disciples doing what Jesus did. We then see a group gathered again who prayed Acts 4:29 “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” Acts 4:33 “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 3:16 “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.” Acts 5:16 “Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” Sounds just like the verses we read about with Jesus.
                We then see more disciples added and you can see the church growing. We saw three thousand added after Pentecost but then we see some specific examples. Acts 6:1 “In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” 5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. 8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.” Stephen then gives His life preaching the word of God. This was a mighty man of God. It was Saul (Paul) who gave approval to his death.
                We then see Phillip, one of the chosen seven do phenomenal things through the power of the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:1 “On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison. 4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.” Mark 16:20 “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” We then see a few more specific examples of about Philip. Philip continued to preach. Acts 8:2 “But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Simon (the sorcerer) himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.” 14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” This then meant more and more disciples would be going out to do the same even though like others we don’t read their accounts. Then Phillip was sent to the Ethiopian. Philip then explained the scriptures to him. Acts 8:38 “And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.” We then see Philip again in Caesarea. Acts 21:8 “Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. 9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.”
                Notice that Acts doesn’t give every specific detail of all those scattered. Yet “those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” We hear detail about Philip but omission doesn’t mean others were not doing as Jesus did like Philip. Just as with Jesus, not everything he did was written down nor was everything the disciples did written down. Paul did amazing things but they were not all written down. So I trust you can see the progression of power here. First Jesus came and showed us what to do. Then the disciples, not just the twelve were sent out to do the same. Then we saw two examples of men filled with the power of the Holy Spirit who were disciples of the disciples. We saw not just healing but demons cast out, even Philip being transported to another location. That’s amazing. We also saw that happen with Elijah. Obadiah said 1 Kings 18:12 “I don’t know where the Spirit of the Lord may carry you when I leave you.” We also saw this happen with Jesus. John 20:26 “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
               The church believes that Jesus lives but refuses to believe the power that is available to all who believe because they have not seen it. Scripture has been ignored and faulty deductions have left the church in desolation, even though as we read, scripture is very clear about the available power to those who believe just as Peter said. Because the church has rejected the word of God, church became a form of godliness and continues to deny the available power. The church praises God at Easter saying He lives; He lives yet the church has no power. We operate as if Jesus is dead like all the other great leaders of the world. By saying the church no longer heals or casts out demons is saying Jesus does not live. The church continues to fight against the Spirit just as Stephen said just before he died. Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!” Isaiah 30:9 “For these are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction. 11 Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!” We also must remember that even Jesus had limited power when there was unbelief. Matthew 13:58 “And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” Since Jesus is alive, and by faith we believe, everything would be the same, but actually it was supposed to be better because Jesus went to the Father. We are told by Jesus, John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. 15 If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.” We then are told in 1 Corinthians 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” 1 Corinthians 12:28 “And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.” We saw this happening with the disciples and not just the twelve.
                The church began at Pentecost. Everyone who believed would be filled with the Holy Spirit and go out in power with the gifts given by the Holy Spirit and people would be healed and demons cast out and signs and wonders would follow. Acts 4:30 “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” The dead would be raised and the kingdom of God would come near. Healing is healing, casting out demons is casting out demons, salvation is being saved, signs and wonders are just as described throughout scripture and these were all happening as the Kingdom of God came near.” Don’t confuse healing with salavation. Matthew 11:5 “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”
                The Apostle Paul wrote many letters to the church. He emphasized that we must follow the truth of the gospel. He said, 1 Corinthians 15:2 “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” This was not the case for the Thessalonians as they imitated the word preached to them. He said to the Thessalonians 1 Thessalonians 1:6 “You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. 14 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus:” Sadly the church no longer imitates the word of God nor does it look anything like the gospel of Jesus Christ and therefore there is no power.
                Our Journey to Pentecost is a journey back to the beginning. The disciples were told to wait for the power from on high just as we are told to wait. They waited and the power of God flowed among them in ways unimaginable. Jesus is still the way, the truth and the life and nothing was supposed to change yet instead of following the way, the church turned to their own ways and by doing so rejected the power of God. We see what happened to the church as described when they went into the Promised Land. They were told Joshua 1:3 “I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” They were told 8 “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” King Solomon said, 1 Kings 8:5 “Now Lord, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me faithfully as you have done.” Later God said to Solomon 17 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.’ 19 “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’” All they had to do was obey.
                After they attacked Jericho and defeated them, they moved on to Ai but then something completely unexpected happened; they were routed by them. Joshua cried out to God and said, Joshua 7:8 “Pardon your servant, Lord. What can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? 9 The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?” 10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.” It should have been obvious that the only way defeat would have come was someone disobeyed. Later Israel and Judah were taken into captivity and the land remained desolate just as they were told would happen when they disobeyed. If they obeyed, a land of milk and honey, if they disobeyed that land would vomit them out. They were warned ahead of time just as the church has been warned over and over again.
                The observation that there is no power, miracles, signs and wonders, healing or casting out demons should lead to repentance because the church has not obeyed and is in desolation because of it. The exact same thing that took place in Israel has happened to the church because of our disobedience. We have not remained true to God’s word and have turned away, bringing on us the onslaught of the enemy. Ezra said, Ezra 9:6 “I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens. 7 From the days of our ancestors until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword and captivity, to pillage and humiliation at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today.13 “What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins deserved and have given us a remnant like this.”
                Due to God’s promise to David, there is only a remnant of the church left. The abomination that causes desolation is upon us and we are defeated by our enemies. Jesus warned us not to be deceived and as Paul said 2 Thessalonians 2:4 “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”  2 Peter 2:1 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. 17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.”
                Now I want you to think back to the verses we talked about at the beginning where Jesus healed and cast out demons, then the disciples did the same as did the disciples of the disciples. Just to drive home the point a little further stop here and follow these two links. I just typed in heal and demon into Bible Gateway NIV. Spend a moment and read the verses and you will see that the gospel of Jesus Christ is powerful and how the gospel should be. Paul said 1 Corinthians 4:20 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.”
                The church today is totally void of power just as this pandemic has exposed. Many have justified this lack of power with pathetic doctrines and theology and doctrines of demons like ceasationism have infiltrated the church. Many say that being saved is the only miracle necessary but what have you been saved into if you worship a false gospel in vain and don’t know the difference. There are thousands of differing beliefs throughout the church as truth has been thrown to the ground just as Daniel said. Daniel 8:12 “Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.” The Spirit of truth is nowhere to be seen and the church is no longer guided by it. Everyone does as they see fit, charging in the wrong direction, saying what have I done? God has turned His face from shining on us and we are powerless. Many say they are filled with the Holy Spirit yet there is no power and the little power there is, is false. satan masquerades and people are non the wiser, worshiping satan instead of God. They don’t know because they are under delusion and have been deceived. (2 Thessalonians 2) Jesus said in Matthew 24:22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” Millions upon millions have been deceived and worship in vain and will never know the truth, only to hear Jesus say away from me I don’t know who you are.
                What I want to do now is to show you what has happened. For many in the church the observation was made and the conclusion was God does not do that any more. We can see that this deduction was influenced by satan. We are told in Deuteronomy 32:17 “They sacrificed to false gods, which are not God— gods they had not known, gods that recently appeared, gods your ancestors did not fear.” We are warned all through scripture not to follow other gods and we were warned not to be deceived. Revelation tells us that Revelation 12:9 “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” 1 Timothy 4:1 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” This is how it happens and it can be very subtle but at the same time you should be asking how in the world do these men and woman get away with their theological nonsense. When you read scripture, you will see quite easily what they are saying is not of God yet people follow their every word as if they were God.
                Earlier we read just a few accounts of the power of God. I want to show how the right observation can produce the wrong deduction because worldly reasoning is used and not sound doctrine although what they teach falsely they will call sound doctrine even though what they say is not scriptural. We read what the bible clearly states about healing, casting out demons and the kingdom of God coming near. Jesus himself said Luke 11:20 “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” This happened, so the kingdom is here. To show you how this happens I am using a sermon by John MacArthur called Does God still Heal? I was going to go through the sermon and show you the contradictions to scripture and the false deductions but instead I am just going to point out one area where his deduction is false because he overrules scripture by his faulty reasoning. I use MacArthur simply because he is so blatant with his beliefs, so much so it is easy to see this false deduction. John MacArthur is a huge proponent of ceasationism and very anti everything charismatic. Much of what he states about the charismatic is true but his unbiblical deduction leads to faulty conclusions leading himself and others astray. MacArthur states that there is not the gift of healing today and even no casting out of demons. He does this by deducing from what he sees, not on what the bible clearly states. The main area I want to point out is that he separates the gifts of the Spirit into two categories. One group is the permanent gifts and the other is the temporary gifts. The permanent ones are the ones that fit his theology while the temporary are the ones that don’t. He says “In other words, divine enablement’s given by the Holy Spirit, for a temporary period of time as a sign for a very special purpose. These are listed for us in scripture. They are miracles, healings, tongues or languages, and the interpretation or translation of those languages.” He then goes through and deduces why the gifts stopped instead of repenting so that the gifts would start again. Again the observation he made that they are missing is correct but the deduction is wrong. Here is why. Scripture makes absolutely no distinction in temporary and permanent gifts of the Holy Spirit. I read them earlier and there is no distinction. Those are the thoughts of ignorant men who distort scripture. Instead of believing what scripture says, he makes the deduction that the gift of healing is no longer available or necessary. The danger here is that MacArthur contradicts scripture in his efforts to denounce the charismatic movement. Although his observation is correct, his deduction has rendered him a false teacher and an antichrist. I say antichrist because if you listen to him he is against the power of the Holy Spirit because it doesn’t line up with his theology. He stands against Jesus himself. 1 John 2:18 “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”
                MacArthur’s deductions are based on reason, experience and tradition and not on scripture. Sadly his deductions do not lead to his own repentance nor is he leading others to repentance. I though this was interesting. At one point in his sermon he says. “If I could wish for anything, I could certainly wish that I could do that, heal all those people. Think how thrilling it would be. Think how rewarding it would be to have that gift. Think of what it would be like to go into a hospital, among the sick and the dying, walk up and down the hall, touch people and heal them like Jesus did. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go into the cancer ward and heart disease ward and the AIDS ward and all the other places and just heal everybody?” I realize he was mocking the charismatics because they are not doing that but I think anyone would want to see that happen. He then said, “The gift of healing was a temporary sign gift for the authenticating of those who wrote the Scripture and those who preach the message in that first century. And once the Scripture was completed and that authenticity was established, the gift of healing ceased.” No where in the bible does it say that.  How ludicrous, absurd, preposterous is that? This is satan at work in the church!
                How can I say that? Easy – scripture does not teach what MacArthur and others like him are teaching. In fact Jesus states very clearly that John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” We saw earlier how that took place. Now it is very obvious that the only way for this to happen is for the church to turn away from teachers like MacArthur and return to the word of God. Just because we observe that there is no healing power does not mean it is not available. Just because we may not understand it completely does not mean it is not available. Nowhere does the bible say any of the gifts of the Spirit ceased. These are empty ways. Paul prayed that our eyes would be opened to the power of God. When we set aside the words of God for the ideas of men, desolation takes place.
                Today’s church is a disaster. Yes people like MacArthur states the church no longer needs miracles, signs and wonders yet the church remains powerless, broken and empty. Tell me again why the church doesn’t need these power gifts when there is so much sickness and demonic activity in the church? If Jesus walked into any town, the sick and those troubled by evil spirits would flock to Him. Look at the chaos the world is in and the church remains powerless. Why are there so many ways in the church? The true reason to say there is no longer a need to authenticate the word of God is that miracles, signs and wonders contradict their own doctrines and theology and they refuse to repent and turn from their wicked ways. Pentecost was proof of the resurrection power and healing and casting out demons is proof of Pentecost. Can you imagine someone having to admit they were wrong and all the books they had written and sermons were wrong? Can you imagine all the people infected by their teaching? Actually you can. First think of Paul and then the results of His preaching. Acts 19:18 “Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. 20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.” Let’s just say there would be quite the bonfire today of all the writings of man. If MacArthur would just listen to himself he would find the way.
                Again in an effort to mock the charismatics, he mocks Jesus instead. In MacArthur’s sermon he summarizes  “Let’s look at Jesus; and if anybody is healing today, then – and if Jesus’ healing is the pattern, and the apostles is the pattern, how did they heal?” And I’ll simply remind you of it. We’ll make a comparison and see if today it works like that. First, Jesus healed with a word or a touch. That’s all it took. Secondly, Jesus healed instantaneously. Thirdly, Jesus healed totally. Fourthly, He healed anybody. Fifthly, he healed organic disease. He didn’t just go around Palestine healing lower back pain, heart palpitations, headaches, and other things like that. Sixthly, he raised the dead. And you need to note, by the way, that Jesus did virtually all his healing and raising the dead in public before vast crowds of people. Why? Because the gift of healing was real, and it was an authenticating gift. He used it to confirm the claim that He was the Son of God in a way that displayed His power and compassion. Then we ask the question, “How did the disciples or apostles heal?” How did they heal? How did the Twelve and the 70, and others who worked with them like Barnabas and Philip and Stephen – and those are the only ones; it didn’t just run rampant through everybody in the church – but those people who had that gift, how did they heal? How did they do it? Well, the same way. They healed with a word or a touch. We see that in the book of Acts. They healed instantaneously, immediately. Remember at the temple gate, Peter and John? The man immediately went to his feet and started leaping, walking, praising God. They healed totally - not partial, total. They healed everybody. In fact, people who got under Peter’s shadow got healed. They healed organic disease, not just functional, psychosomatic, symptomatic problems. And the apostles even raised the dead. Now, nobody is exhibiting those six traits in a healing ministry today. So, if this is supposed to be the recapturing of the apostolic era, it’s really out of sync with that.” I found it interesting that he says the church did not have the power yet it tells us that it did from Jesus to the disciples to the disciples of the disciples. He actually cannot say there were no others because scripture doesn’t say. He just assumes there were no others contradicting what he just said.
                Now in MacArthur’s ‘s effort to condemn the false healers, he condemns himself. His deductions are false even though his observations are correct. When he said those were the only ones he doesn’t know that. Many were sent out like Philip and Stephen but they were the ones talked about. Yes there is no healing or miraculous powers or signs and wonders but not because they have ceased permanently. People go to these false teachers hoping that God will heal them. It is inside us to believe for healing but we must search for truth but we must be careful as satan can masquerade. Please note something that is counterfeit comes from something authentic. It doesn’t make sense to counterfeit a $9 bill. The charismatic movement was supposed to be a return of the power of God but instead they were deceived. Instead of prophesying like the disciples, they babbled thinking they were filled. Many fell to the ground thinking they were under the power of God but it wasn’t God. Many convulsed and gyrated but satan was making fools out of the church. Miracles, signs and wonders took place and even healings but most did not look like Jesus. Remember satan can do all these things. What MacArthur misses is that there is demonic power taking place, it is not all fake but it is counterfeiting something that is real.
                What MacArthur just talked about is the power available to the church and how it is supposed to be. It was never meant to stop as scripture does not tell us that. When the church went off track Paul said even back then Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” There are those like MacArthur who are dead set against what the word of God actually states. They choose to believe words of man and doctrines of demons over God’s own words. There are others who desperately want to believe the words of God but are not seeing them so they are left confused and don’t seek. Then we have others who just don’t even look into it all, content to be left in the dark. For the most part people in church just believe what they are told without ever testing the spirits.
                 We were warned not to be deceived. Matthew 24:10 “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Acts 20:30 “Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” Isaiah 3:12 “My people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path.” Isaiah 9:16 “Those who guide this people mislead them, and those who are guided are led astray.” Jeremiah 23:32 “Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the Lord. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the Lord.” Malachi 2:8 But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the Lord Almighty.” Matthew 18:6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.”
                We are supposed to test the spirits so we are not deceived. Ephesians 4:11 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” How absolutely ludicrous is it to think that the church does not need everything God intended for us. Paul also said to the Galatians 3:1 “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 4 Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?” Again not all those miracles were listed. This teaching from MacArthur comes directly from satan because satan knows power from on high defeats him. Paul was told Acts 26:17 “I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” Paul did not go out in His own strength. Hebrews 2:4 “God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
                God said return to me and I will return to you. Psalm 37:5 “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. 7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Hope in the Lord and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.” The only conclusion we can draw based on the truth is to repent, turn from wicked ways and the kingdom of God will come near.