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Sermon: “Examine the Scriptures”September 11, 2022
Last week we looked into asking questions and why it is so important not only for this present life but for eternity to come. As I said last week, I ask lots of questions. Earlier this year my bike gears were acting up and would not change when I wanted them to. Makes it interesting on the hills. On my bike, the thumb shifter will change either one or two gears at a time, but at this point nothing was happening. The lever would go to where it was supposed to, but the chain would not follow. I was at a bike shop but since the mechanics were busy, I asked a young guy who was working the store what he thought the problem was. He confidently said I would need a tune up ($100 plus) but more than likely I would need new cables. At this point other than the shifting, my bike was running perfectly so no I did not want to pay for a tune-up. So, I started my own research. After searching I found that there was a little set screw where I could put some lubricant into. After doing this simple fix, my gears have been working perfectly. Now that is a simple example, but it also shows just how easily people can follow the advice others, even though it was not right.
Now bike gears when talking about eternal life are completely irrelevant but it does show the need to ask questions. For many in the church, asking questions is something many do not even do, but you should. Acts 17:1 “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.” Instead, they just assume that the person standing at the front of the church or the one they see online or the book they read is leading them in the right direction because they have some credentials in front of their name. Questioning them or what they teach never crosses their mind nor are they taught to question. In many cases people are taught that you never question the authority and that has led to serious problems over the years. There are also many who want to ask but are afraid and for good reason. Questions that actually question what is happening are not wanted and are usually shot down. If you point out something that doesn’t seem to make sense, you will be going against the mission of that particular church and labelled unsupportive. That can lead to people going elsewhere. You also have people who are just shy and don’t feel like their question are worthy of an answer, so they don’t ask. I had someone ask me how to ask questions to leaders in meetings. Some of that fear is warranted but some is simply because they are embarrassed or afraid to ask. Usually, the person at the front knows their scripture well enough which makes others insecure, but this is a problem.
As you know, when something is counterfeit, it looks like the real thing. Someone could be ninety percent right but still wrong. Most people who go to church, joined somewhere that reached them, connected to them or some were born into it and they just accept what is being taught as truth. They may be a Catholic or Baptist or Reformed etc. Then along the way you will have people change groups and go somewhere that has better programs, better worship and preaching. The church growth movement was just people transferring from one church to another. Many who do that, don’t really know what they believe other than they like the music or preaching. If you were to ask them what they believe, they would have a hard time telling you other than the church they go to has great worship and preaching and they love Jesus. So out there in church world you have all kinds of people who should be asking questions or testing the spirits, but most do not. Today I want to equate asking questions with testing spirits. 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” This tells us two things. The first is there are many spirits out there so be warned and two there are many false prophets and teachers out there with these spirits in them.
Though there are many deceptions in the church, one of the big deceptions is the denomination / independent church (just a denomination in disguise), each with its own distinctive doctrines. They say they believe in Jesus, but they all believe something distinct from the other. Division in the church has been happening since Paul preached about it. Romans 16:17 “I urge you to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” 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! 10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:13 “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?” Peter said 2 Peter 2:2 “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.” Don’t be deceived by success. Just because a church is large or the minister seems successful does not mean God is blessing them especially when they teach another gospel. satan said to Jesus, Luke 4:6 “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Many leaders have fallen or this trap.
Knowing the scriptures when asking questions is key. Another element that is crucial is discerning spirits. It still boggles my mind that many have been taught that only a few of the gifts of the Spirit exist, even though scripture plainly states. 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.” Yes, a false teacher will tell you most of these gifts are not available to the church because they have ceased after Paul. See video. There is a video of a false prophet named John MacArthur in this website that will show you what I have been talking about. This man has followers around the world who will not see eternal life because of him. That is not what scripture states.
A good example of many spirits is found with the prophet Micaiah. In this account you have all the prophets saying the same thing. 1 Kings 22:12 “All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious,” they said, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.” But then you had Micaiah who actually was prophesying for God saying something completely different. Now someone may think all the prophets are saying the same thing so I should listen to them, and many would. In this case you would also have to test what Micaiah said at first. He was told by 13 The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the other prophets without exception are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably.” 14 But Micaiah said, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what the Lord tells me.” 15 When he arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or not?” “Attack and be victorious,” he answered, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.” 16 The king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” Even Ahab knew there was a different answer. So Micaiah tells him. 17 “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the Lord said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’” 18 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?” 19 Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. 20 And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’ “One suggested this, and another that. 21 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ 22 “‘By what means?’ the Lord asked. “‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. “‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’ 23 “So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.” Now look at what Paul told Timothy. 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 happening everywhere. We are also told that due to unbelief, 2 Thessalonians 2:10 “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”
For the most part people who ask questions will receive an answer based on the teaching of that particular group. If it is Baptist, it will be their doctrines and theology as that is how they view the bible. The answer given will reflect their belief system. For example, a Baptist might ask about something Pentecostal and the answer would be based on what the Baptist views are concerning the Pentecostal, not necessarily what the bible states. The reality is they are both wrong based on scripture, so you are not going to get a true answer unless you turn to God’s word. Most people are not going to turn away from what they have been taught all their life unless God intervenes and opens their eyes and ears. Jesus warned us, Do not be deceived, but most have not listened and have been deceived. He also warned us about these people. Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” The internet has really sped that travel up. There have been many recruited for hell who thought they were secure. Each group in the church have a lot of converts but as Peter said 2 Peter 2:18 “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. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.” We are told that God said Jeremiah 23:1 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. 11 “Both prophet and priest are godless; even in my temple I find their wickedness,” declares the Lord. 12 “Therefore their path will become slippery; they will be banished to darkness and there they will fall. I will bring disaster on them in the year they are punished,” declares the Lord. 13 “Among the prophets of Samaria I saw this repulsive thing: They prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray. 14 And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that not one of them turns from their wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me; the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah.” Jeremiah 5:12 “They have lied about the Lord; they said, “He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine. 13 The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; so let what they say be done to them.” 30 “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?
We are also told Jeremiah 23:16 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’ 18 But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word? 19 See, the storm of the Lord will burst out in wrath, a whirlwind swirling down on the heads of the wicked. 20 The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly. 21 I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.”
Sometimes it is easy like with the Jehovah’s witness. Every bible states, John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Their bible, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures says, John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” That would make them a cult. They believe in the 1000-year reign in some form. You also have the Mormons and they too have their own extra bible called the book of Mormon. Even though they use the bible, the book of Mormon is more important. In the Introduction it states, The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel.” I was told one time by a young Mormon that the Book of Mormon brings clarity to the bible. They say “When God teaches an important principle, He sends another source to confirm it. The Book of Mormon is a second witness to the Bible’s teachings.” That would make them a cult by making another book equal to the bible. They too believe in the 1000-year reign.
This next cult may be a little hard for many to swallow. This would be the man-made church. Yes, they use the bible but distort it, add to it and remove from it to suit their own needs. Most churches have done this. Revelation 22:18 “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.” Deuteronomy 4:1 “Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. 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.” It really does not get any clearer than that. Each church group, like the Mormons have their own book / manual, even though the bible was supposed to be the manual. These books lay out the distinctions of each group as opposed to the others. These books declare this is what we believe about the bible as opposed to the other group. Most also believe a 1000-year reign of Christ coming way off in the future and there is much confusion about the end-times. If God was dwelling in the church, there would be no confusion about truth and He would confirm His word with power. Scripture tells us John 16:12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 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. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
Because the church has rebelled against God’s word, God has allowed the enemy to take over the church just like Israel lost the promised land. We were warned about this. 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.” Daniel 9:27 “And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” 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.” Daniel 7:21 “As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.” This again warns us to be very careful who you listen to. Jesus warned us this desolation would happen. Mark 13:14 “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let no one on the housetop go down or enter the house to take anything out. 16 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 17 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 18 Pray that this will not take place in winter, 19 because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again. 20 “If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. 21 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23 So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.”
False prophets and teachers along with their gospels are everywhere in the church today. 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.” That has happened! 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” That time is already here just like there is a famine of hearing the word of God. Amos 8:11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” I said earlier how people will seek out worship at a different church. They think that God is dwelling because the church has a great worship team with all the effects, but Amos also tells us Amos 5:21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. 22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. 23 Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. 24 But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” Isaiah said Isaiah 1:12 “When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. 14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!”
When you ask questions, prepare to test the answers and don’t be afraid to turn away from them. Yes, that means leaving unless God would have you stay. Since the church is desolate, you can’t really expect to get a sound answer without a bias to one doctrine or another so be careful. Turning away from man is difficult for most. People don’t seem to be able to read the bible and have it as their source of truth. 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Preaching points you to scripture, not towards the person’s next best seller. Jesus is your mediator, not man as some teach. You do have access to God through Jesus. Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” 1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.” The minister is supposed to be a true and faithful teacher. Malachi 2:5 “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin. 7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. 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. 9 “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.”
Unfortunately, most ministers are distorting the gospel knowingly and unknowingly. Acts 20:29 “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” 2 Peter 3:16 “He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” These distorters are everywhere and no they don’t wear a name tag saying they are false teachers. Some are easy to spot like the Christian Nationalism advocates you may have seen on the news. While other are much harder to spot, if you look, you will find them as satan is arrogant and always announces his presence. Paul said he operates differently. 2 Corinthians 4:2 “Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” There are many leaders who are pedaling the gospel for profit and for the glorification of their own name. 2 Corinthians 2:17 “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.” They use the bible to make large amounts of money. They also make the bible say what they want and then use the bible against those who do not fall into line. You also have another group which is a very large number that have no idea they are distorting the gospel. They just teach what they have been taught.
When I felt the call to ministry, there were hoops I had to go through, so you did them. I had to go to seminary and then I could go into ministry. I went to a school that was approved according to the book (the one in addition to the bible) and when I graduated, I then went to a church. I then was expected to teach everything in the book (the one in addition to the bible) and then all would be well even though as I talked about last week, I could not get a straight answer on entire sanctification. That lasted a while but then God opened my eyes to His word and let’s just say I was led on a journey that I am still on. Though challenging, I am glad God opened my eyes to what is available to the church if we would turn from our wicked ways. I learned what was available by reading and believing God’s word. I started to see that the church looked nothing like scripture as there was no power. This is why many have gone the route of cessationism as it explains their pathetic powerlessness. (video) You may not call yourself a cessationist but most are content with the powerless church. They have bought into the lie that this powerlessness is how the church is supposed to be. It will not be until God turns His face back to shine on us that power will once again flow. The church will then look like the gospels. You should be seeking that same power of Pentecost because Jesus is still alive. What we saw then should be happening today. John 20:30 “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” 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.” Read the Gospels and Acts and you should come away astounded by what you just read. It is not a storybook but a manual. Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 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.” Acts 8:4 “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.” Now let me ask you a question. Is Jesus alive? The answer if you are a Christian is a resounding yes. 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.” Acts 2:32 “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.” 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. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” I am pretty sure infirmities and diseases are rampant today! At this point you should be asking yourself this question; if Jesus is alive, why isn’t this happening? Here is a quick test. Go to your elders and ask to be prayed for and look for immediate healing as we see in the gospels. James 5:14 “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” It should look like this. Mark 6:12 “They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.”
True power from on High is what we should all be seeking. At this point you should be questioning and then waiting for God to turn back to His people. God promised that if we would seek Him, we would find Him. Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” This means obviously that we must seek Him and trust God’s word. We are not seeking what man says about God but what God says about Himself. When you come to terms with the fact that the church is not what it is supposed to be, you will then see the desolation and repent. Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” When the kingdom comes, so does power. satan has decimated the church but there is still hope. God will turn back to us as we turn to Him. The power from on High will once again flow just as scripture tells us it would so do not give up. Jesus told us Mark 16:15 “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 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.” 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.” He also said 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.”
Don’t be content with the church as it is because it sits in desolation. Look to God’s word and be hopeful. Be dissatisfied with what you know to be the church because it is not as it seems. There is much more available to all who would believe. Millions of people are dying believing that they have been set free but will only hear depart from me I don’t know you. Those who taught them lies will see blackest darkness. Jude 1:11 “Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.” So listen to God’s word and test the spirits. Isaiah 8:11 “This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people: 12 “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. 13 The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread. 14 He will be a holy place; for both Israel and Judah he will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare. 15 Many of them will stumble; they will fall and be broken, they will be snared and captured.” 16 Bind up this testimony of warning and seal up God’s instruction among my disciples. 17 I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my trust in him.” 1 Peter 2:8 “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.” Matthew 21:42 “Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” 1 Peter 2:6 “For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
Don’t be afraid to seek God through His word. The bible is the living word of God. Begin to read the Gospels and Acts without the doctrines and theology of the man-made church. Don’t be afraid to test the spirits but be ready for satan’s whispers. Most of all do not be afraid to turn from your wicked ways. Wicked ways are ways other than God’s way. Don’t be like these people. Instead of listening, they just kept going their own way. Jeremiah 18:11 “Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’ 12 But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’” Don’t do that! God told us 2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” Ezekiel 18:30 “Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” Trust God and He will make your path straight.