Day 27: Poor Saps

                The definition of sap is “to make someone weaker or take away strength or an important quality from someone, especially over a long period of time.” It can also mean, especially when it’s time for syrup “the liquid that carries food to all parts of a plant.” When it comes to our beloved maple syrup we do not want poor sap flow. A third definition is “a unwise person who can easily be tricked or persuaded to do something.” Yesterday when talking about the beliefs concerning the Holy Spirit I said that many believe that after the Apostle Paul the power of the Holy Spirit was no longer available, thus we are poor saps with no strength and ignorant enough to not ask why. According the definition we have been left with no maple syrup. One person wrote one word – disaster! So why do we not see the disaster and desolation in the church as our strength has been sapped. Psalm 32:4 “For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.” Why does the church refuse to confess their sins? Psalm 32:5 “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.”
                The church started in the power of the Holy Spirit but went downhill in a hurry because man decided they could do it without the power of the Holy Spirit. This is called cessationism. Cessationism is the man-made “doctrine that spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophecy and healing ceased with the apostolic age.” You might as well include miraculous powers and casting out demons to that definition. This is just plain ignorance as to what prophecy is. Prophecy is not anything said in addition to scripture, as the bible is closed. It is speaking God’s word to a people who are stubborn and stiff-necked who refuse to listen just as it was in the Old Testament. You don’t change scripture based on what you see in the charismatics. Thus tongues have been misunderstood as Acts 2 tells us exactly what this means. No, tongues is not the gibberish you hear as most charismatics have been deceived into believing that gibberish is a sign of the Holy Spirit. Healing is simple. Jesus said He would give us authority to heal and not only to heal but cast out demons, so why do people spend so much time and energy trying to prove God wrong. How about spending that same amount of time in confession and then see the power move again.
                If people would just believe their bibles and do what it says, there is no argument because once power is displayed how can you argue but people will refuse to believe just as they did when Jesus moved in power. Just to show you one example of how ridiculous this is, one person had these two ludicrous theses. He said, “To the extent that we see discontinuity between the first century and the twentieth in terms of the sign gifts, to that extent we are cessationists and two, the more we see discontinuity, the more we affirm that the purpose of the sign gifts was authentication rather than a display of normative Christianity.” That does not line up with scripture. Just because we have not seen much of these sign gifts as they call them or power gifts in these last twenty centuries does not mean the bible is wrong. The very fact that they do happen in this world proves them wrong. Look at what a disaster the church has been especially North America and then compare it to the New Testament church. We should then repent of your sins for even listening to this garbage. Another said, “this word does not actually come from the Bible, but the doctrine does” but it doesn’t without some scissors and paste, therefore it is a doctrine of demons.
                Paul said 1 Corinthians 4:18 “Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. 20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?” 2 Corinthians 10:10 “For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.” 11 Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.” Power is the answer to this lack of knowledge. The lack of power simply shows that since the disciples, we have turned away refuse to turn back. 2 Timothy 3:5 “having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” The gospel is a manual for how the church is to carry out its mission. The way most describe the church is sending our military out to fight with no power. We all know how ridiculous that is. But this has been going on since Paul. He even said 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!” Yes people will be upset when you tell them this. They may or may not listen. Jesus said Luke 6:22 “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. 23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.” Matthew 10:22 “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.”
                Yes preaching against this powerless false gospel will not win you friends but does that really matter. We must side with Paul and stand strong. Galatians 1:10 “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.” The church turned away a long, long time ago and we have ended up with what we see now, a body separated from the head and grieving His Spirit. Isaiah 63:10 “Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.” They have turned the church into a powerless, man made entity. As the writer I quoted about said “the purpose of the sign gifts was authentication rather than a display of normative Christianity.” How sad is that statement that man has rejected the gifts of the Spirit, the very ones that build His church. Without them you have the church as it stands now; built on sand with whitewashed walls.
                I would prefer to go with scripture and preach and teach till I die that when Jesus said in Mark 16:20 that applies to us also. “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Yes I know they will say that passage does not belong but it says exactly what Luke 9, 10 and Matthew 10 says that‘s why it is in all our bibles. I do like this quote from Jonathan Goforth who said, “My conviction is that the Divine power, so manifest in the Church at Pentecost, was nothing more nor less than what should be in evidence in the Church today. Normal Christianity, as planned by our Lord, was not supposed to begin in the Spirit and continue in the flesh. In the building of His temple it never was by might nor by power, but always by His Spirit.” All throughout scripture when talking about the Spirit there was also power. It just wasn’t a matter of talk about the Spirit it was power. Judges 14:6 “The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat.” 1 Samuel 10:6 “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.” 1 Samuel 11:6 “When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he burned with anger.” 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. Samuel then went to Ramah.” Luke 4:36 “All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” 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.” 1 Corinthians 2:4 “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” Luke 24:48 “You are witnesses of these things. 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.”
                So yes what poor saps we are, weak and unwise for not asking where are all the wonders of the New Testament. We have been sapped of our strength and we remain desolate and powerless and defeated. We have accepted a gospel of weakness not strength. We accepted doctrines of demons and have walked away from the true gospel of Jesus Christ. 1 Timothy 4:15 “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” The church is supposed to be a powerhouse. The promise is “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah.” Deuteronomy 11:25 “No one will be able to stand against you. The Lord your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go.” Joshua 1:5 “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.” 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.”
                So to those who do not believe or desire to be clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit, we also as Mark 12:24 “Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?” But for those of us who do Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:33 “The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.” This is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Psalm 14:7 “Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!”