The Gifts Paft 48
It takes but a moment’s inspection to realize that within the house of God there are different philosophies at play, all equally detrimental to a balanced growth in the faith. There are those within the house of God who would accentuate spiritual fruit, all the while dismissing the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the teachings of the Bible, negating the need for a strong spiritual foundation. Likewise, there are those within the house of God who would accentuate teaching or doctrine, all the while dismissing spiritual fruit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. There are also those who would accentuate the gifts of the Holy Spirit and altogether dismiss doctrine, Biblical teaching, and spiritual fruit. All these are detrimental because they lack balance, they lack completeness, and they lack wholeness when it comes to the things of God.
Yes, we need sound doctrine in the church, but we also need the fruit of the Spirit to be evident, and we likewise need power which comes by way of the Holy Spirit and the gifts thereof. We cannot dismiss one in lieu of the other, because they are equally important for us as believers.
If these three aspects of our faith grow in us simultaneously, if doctrine, fruit, and power grow in concert, then we will not be lacking in any area of our lives when it comes to spiritual things. We cannot hope to be all that God desires us to be if we forsake doctrine, nor can we hope to be all that God desires us to be if we forsake the fruit of the Spirit or the gifts of the Spirit.
For some reason we like extremes, we tend to gravitate toward extremes, and I have met my share of individuals who had doctrinal knowledge but no fruit of the spirit, those who focused on gifts but had no doctrinal knowledge, and even those who believed that once they raised a hand in church their fire insurance was paid in full, and they would never have to worry about being cast aside from before God’s face, because they were told, and vehemently so, that all they had to do was come forward and mumble a few words.
It is in extremes that unhealthy doctrines and teachings fester, and take on a life of their own, it is in extremes that we have the overwhelming tendency to place the words and thoughts of men above the word of God, and it is in extremes that we are most likely to stray from truth and the narrow path of faith.
We do not judge the word of God through the prism of prophecy; we judge prophecy through the prism of the word of God. The purpose of prophecy within the household of faith is not to dictate, to rule authoritatively, to mandate and command, but rather to edify, exhort, and comfort the household of faith. I have seen too much abuse of prophecy throughout my life to hold my tongue on this matter. Yes, I have witnessed the destructive nature of unchecked prophecy within the church, prophecy that was not filtered via the word of God, and I have also witnessed men who claimed the office of prophet abuse it, and attempt to lord over the brethren taking upon themselves glory and praise not rightly theirs.
Even for those of us who have taken Paul’s exhortation to heart, and do not quench the Spirit, and do not despise prophecies, we are often lacking in the last part of his counsel, which is to test all things.
1 Thessalonians 5:19-21, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.”
We are so hungry for a word from the Lord in our day and age, we are so eager to hear prophecy, that often times we fail to take the time and test it to see if it is of God. Paul encourages and exhorts us to test all things, not just some things, not most things, but all things, and words of prophecy are likewise included in this broad word ‘all’.
Some falsehoods are easier to spot than others, like the time a lady attempted to rebuke me after a church service for teaching that Jesus was the only way into the Kingdom, because she’d had a dream of Jesus, Mohammed, and Buddha sitting together at one great table, and to her this meant that whatever god one happens to believe in, as long as they believe, they will enter paradise.
Others however, are more insidious, attempting to bring honor to themselves, while minimizing and even denying the Christ who bought them, all so that they might fashion for themselves kingdoms on earth.
Without a deep and true knowledge of the word of God, without taking the time to test all things, we will most likely receive that which we ought to have rejected, and reject that which we ought to have received. God has put all the tools we need at our disposal, He has, time and again exhorted us in His word to be wise, to amass knowledge of His word, to discern the truth from the lie, to be as the Bereans of old and examine the Scriptures to see if what men say is true.
Between the two extreme opinions that exist within the church today one being that we no longer need prophecy because we already possess all that we need, and in and of ourselves are able to steer our own ships, the other being that prophecy is everything and nothing else matters, there is the balance that we spoke of, wherein we do not quench the Spirit, wherein we do not despise prophecy, but also wherein we test all things to see if they are of God, and receive in our hearts only that which agrees with His word.
When it comes to prophecy, dreams or visions, or any of the other gifts of the Holy Spirit, one thing is certain, God keeps His promises, and in His loving kindness He pours into the hearts of those who believe that which He promised He would.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.