Now you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts. -- 1 Cor 12:27-31
How much Scripture are we willing to throw away for our favored leaders? To be sure MacArthur uses a small piece of 1 Cor 13 to claim that gifts are dead. The thing is in doing so he completely ignores the intent of what Paul was saying, because Paul goes on to explain that these things will disappear when perfection comes. Now this word actually has completion in mind. In other words, Paul is saying these things will pass away when all things are complete. Are all things complete? No. So, we can know that what MacArthur has said is in error.
The Spirit is not so inept as to have Paul encourage us to seek His gifts in Chapter 12 of Corinthians only to deny them to us in Chapter 13. Neither would the Lord have promised us we could move mountains if He had not intended for us to do just that (Mar 11:23). But the greater issue lies with John 14:
"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it." -- 12-14
The literal translation here is that the "one believing in Me the works which I do that one will also do". In other words, this was not spoken just to the disciples; but rather, to all those who truly believe. There is no time frame on it, and this is the Lord speaking. Even if some are willing to believe the lie against Paul, surely, they will not accept a man's words over the Lord's.
Here's the thing: Anytime we are gifted by God we are expected to use that gift. We are not given gifts to let them sit on a shelf. They are not given to us to hoard to ourselves. No, they are given to us to exalt Him. To not use them is to insult Him. And that is the comfort of MacArthur, not having to stand like we believe the Lord strongly enough to act on His words.
The only reason we do not have greater things is because we do not ask for them. We do not ask for them, because we don't honestly believe Him. It is just much easier to claim none of these things were meant for us than to live like we know they were.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites; 'I AM' has sent me to you.'" ‒ Exo 3:14
This is one of those statements that some today just do not comprehend. God is not bragging here. No, this is a statement of fact, a "wake up and smell the coffee" moment. He is saying to Moses ‒ and by extension the Israelites and anyone who has ever earnestly sought to discover Who He is ‒ that He is not some insignificant quasi-would-be-god to be taken lightly; but rather, the Absolute Ultimate Supreme God of all time over everything and everyone forever. He is saying:
"This is ME talking here. So, pay attention and do not take My words lightly. Tell the people that you are speaking for Me and that they had better pay attention, too, because I absolutely will know and I most certainly will hold them accountable!"
This is who the God of the Bible actually is. I know He's been portrayed as this lovingly impotent, patient-to-a-fault, wimpy, ineffectual god; but that is not Who He is nor is it Who He ever was. No, the God of the Bible is the flood bringing, hailstone slinging, language changing, nation destroying, frighteningly holy do-not-disrespect-Me-or-else, Magnificently Supreme God above all other gods. He is the God that everyone ‒ regardless of what they do or do not believe ‒ will answer to. He is also the God that no one ‒ regardless of how superior they see themselves as being ‒ ever has or ever will get the best of. He cannot be beat. He cannot be thwarted. He cannot be governed ‒ not in the past, not now, not ever. He is now, He has always been, and He will always be absolutely and completely in control, because He is absolutely and completely Supreme over all that is.
Friday, February 20, 2015
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one you obey -- whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. -- Rom 6:15-18
Here Paul assures us that we are obligated to be obedient. There's none of this "the cross freed me" from the need to abstain from sin with him. We need to remember and turn back to the holiness we are called to.
Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Yeshua the Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." ‒ 1 Pet 1:13-16
How great a witness there will be against those who have claimed God's love protected them from His holiness while they continued in their sins. Do not be one of them. Flee unrighteousness and seek His grace while it still abounds. The time is coming soon when darkness will overtake take the land. Truly it already has, because few realize how estranged from the Lord we are as a nation.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
In writing this book the Lord has reminded me of many things He has shown me through the years. Some of these things are in the book, because they truly relate to our current position before Him. That is the purpose of the book -- to clarify what He has said and how I know that it has been Him speaking. Of course the book is also about how amazingly awesome He has shown Himself to be, and the wealth of love and compassion He has had on me even while assuring me of the judgment to come. Truly it is part reality check and part love song.
In sharing how He has revealed what He has said, one thing has puzzled me. It is how certain well-thought of leaders could come against His continued interaction with those who are His. John MacArthur, in particular, has come strongly against any sort of miraculous interaction with God, denying certain Scripture to do so. Yet, to many he appears to be truly speaking for God.
So, I have been doing what I always do when something puzzles regarding the Lord. I have been asking, and seeking -- putting Mat 7:7-8 into some very dedicated practice. Now, in Matthew it is the Lord speaking, telling us to ask, seek, and knock. He assures us that when we do, we will be answered. But according to John MacArthur God no longer speaks to us and miracles have ceased -- meaning that ask, seek, and knock are invalid to us now.
Now I have been practicing Mat 7:7-8 for most of my adult life. So, I know it works, because I've seen it in action countless times. To be certain this is not the only Scripture that MacArthur has disavowed, because he comes strongly against Paul to promote his teaching as well. So, 1 Corinthians is out from about Chapter 12 to 14. Further, He has even gone so far as to label anyone who still believes in these things as a "mystic", and cautioned his followers to ignore them as of the devil. This, brothers and sisters, is his attitude regardless of how clear the evidence is that it is indeed by the Spirit of God that these people are led.
It is obvious to me that no one who has truly experienced the gifts of the Spirit or heard from God would ever come so directly against these things. Certainly, no one who truly fears God would put their own teachings so clearly ahead of Scripture, but it is exactly what MacArthur has done. Literally, his followers must take his word over Scripture. In the case of Mat 7:7-8 they must take his word over the Lord's though the Lord Himself tells us His words will never pass away (Mat 24:35). This is also true of Mar 11:23 and Joh 14:12-14.
So, as I have sought the Lord, while finishing up the book, I have looked at this man and his teachings. Certainly some of what he says seems sound. However, the issue is that when man -- and I do mean any man -- comes along and invalidates Scripture as not useful to us, they have literally put themselves in charge of what is. If MacArthur is the one we are to listen to -- in preference even to the Lord -- then he has set himself up as above God. (Certainly, if God no longer speaks, then MacArthur has set himself up to replace the Lord in our lives.)
Now, I realize that in saying this I will have offended some. But I ask you to consider this: When did the Spirit of God become so inept that He could not say what He intended to? Do you not know that not everything that came out of the Lord's mouth was recorded? Neither all that the Lord said nor all that the disciples said nor all that Paul said was recorded in Scripture. No, but what was recorded was written for us.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, and correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. -- 2 Tim 3:16-17
This is another of many that we have to throw out to believe MacArthur. He may be well loved and respected, but he told you the truth up front. He does not hear from God, because his god no longer speaks. No, the god he follows hinges on MacArthur's own words, because he is the authority he actually believes.
Do a little research. Did you know MacArthur is setting up mega churches the world over? Did you know he appears to be anti-Semitic? (This per Jews who claim anyone can have a MacArthur mega-church except a Jew.) Did you know he doesn't believe we are redeemed by the Lord's blood? Do you realize that it is cultish to demand followers believe you without reservation, taking your word as the true gospel?
I originally thought the man misguided, and stated in the book that he clearly does not and has not heard from God. Now, I believe him far more sinister. And it occurred to me that this is the way it always is. The serpent probably came to Eve speaking as one who knew and understood God. He probably spoke eloquently and with authority. So, she believed him.
For myself, I know miracles still happen. I know God still speaks. I know and fully believe that the Bible does not have things recorded in it that are not useful to us. Just because we do not understand them does not mean they were not recorded for us and of use to us. It just means we need to seek Him for understanding.
You may choose to believe MacArthur. You may honor his teaching and accept his word. But know this, I do not and will not. He has come against the Holy Spirit with a vengeance. He has come against the word of the Lord as though the Lord needed him to keep from misspeaking. He has segmented out large pieces of Scripture and set himself up as the one to decide what is and is not of God.
Listen! Anyone who values their own word more than God's is not of God. God is our Authority. Either Scripture is correct or it is wrong. Once we toss out these Scriptures that don't suit MacArthur, what's to keep him from coming back and tossing out more? To believe MacArthur you must first be willing to discount God's ability to say what He means. No real God would ever be that inept. If we believe God created all there is, we must also believe Him quite capable of saying exactly what He meant to say. If these Scriptures were not for us, they would not have been recorded. It really is just that simple.
I'll not take man's word over the Lord's -- regardless of who that man is.