Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;
But after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers,
Having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth,
and shall be turned unto fables” – 2 Timothy 4:3, 4.

       From ancient times people have always had a certain fascination with the supernatural such as predictions of the future, either their own personal future, or the future of the nation in which they live, or the future of the world. Ouija boards, fortunetellers and mediums, astrology, ancient prophecies, visions, dreams and even “modern prophecies” represent only a small part of the occult “bait” on Satan’s “hook” to lure seekers of hidden knowledge and the supernatural into his trap. What is amazing to me are the large numbers of people professing to know Christ who are also openly involved in some form of the occult. What you usually hear is the broad use of the term “spiritual.” As long as whatever they are involved in is “spiritual” whether it be extra-biblical beliefs and practices, or any of the endless branches of the New Age—just so long as it can be called “spiritual” it’s supposedly okay with God. My question is “which God?” Certainly not the God of the Bible!

      Indeed, the time has come when there is so much wrong with the “spiritual” demonic delusion that’s sweeping through both the secular world, and the religious world that one hardly knows where to begin. The word “spiritual” can mean any of the following depending on a person’s point of view: mystical, divine, unworldly, psychic, nonphysical, and transcendent. Thus, if a born-again Christian and a “Christian in name only” engage in a conversation about “being spiritual” each will have his or her personal own definition or understanding of what it means to be spiritual. In fact, the problem of semantics is one reason uninformed and undiscipled Christians become confused, disarmed, or deceived by the seemingly “spiritual” language of New Agers, Universalists, Manifest Sons of God, and members of cults, etc. When having a conversation centering on spiritual matters, you need to determine (discern) the intent (spirit) and meaning behind the words people are using. Take the word “God” for example. You can hear almost every cult, cowboy, ghost buster, politician, playboy, movie star, athlete, agnostic, chief and chef use the name “God.” False religions, cults, the occult, secret societies and so forth speak of “God” but the question is which god are they talking about?  Most Christians are confused in this area, especially when it comes to Islam. The fact is, Allah is NOT God—he is the pagan crescent moon god of Mesopotamia, Baal Hadad. As Christians we cannot afford to become careless and assume that everybody is on the same page when it comes to God. The God of the Bible is the Majesty in the heavens. He is the Supreme Being, the Creator of heaven and earth and all that is both visible and invisible. “Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein…I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me…For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else” Isaiah 42:5, 8; 45:5a, 18. The next time you meet someone who appears to be “spiritual,” or who even claims to be a Christian, ask him or her to give you his or her testimony. If no mention is made of the person coming to a point of belief in whom Jesus is, of His death on the cross for sins, His resurrection, and how he or she came to true repentance, followed by receiving Jesus as both Lord and Savior, then you cannot assume that he or she is truly born again.

      The time has come where many people fail to realize that Satan, being an angel, is a powerful spiritual being who can appear as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). I shudder every time I hear a “Christian” being flippant and cocky about Satan, and my spirit has been sorely grieved when I was unfortunate enough to hear people (who were jumping up and down) singing at the top of their lungs, “Well, I went to the enemy’s camp and I took back what he stole from me.” Nowhere in the Bible does it tell us to chase after the devil! The Bible says, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” James 4:7, 7. [Emphasis added.] The real Christian stands firmly on biblical truth, and knows that true spirituality according to God is revealed in His Word, and in Jesus Christ who is the Word, and anything that does not line up in spirit and truth to God’s Word is a dangerous lie that we must not toy with. Remember what happened to our first parents in the Garden of Eden. Just because something is compelling, spellbinding, and beguiling through the mystical, psychic, otherworldly, transcendent, nonphysical phenomena, or supernatural doesn’t mean it originates from God. Satan and his demons can be defined as “spiritual” since they are unseen, spiritual entities that operate in the unseen realm as the Bible teaches. Christians who are led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14) are “spiritual” because they have “through the Spirit mortified the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13) “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” Ephesians 2:2. Note what Paul is saying here—that Satan was working even then, as he is today, “in the children of disobedience.” If there was ever a time when people who claim to be Christians are walking “according to the course of this world,” it is now. And, a big part of that worldly course and disobedience involves the occult and the supernatural.

      The time has come where this fascination with the supernatural outside of biblical boundaries is leading multitudes of people of all ages into an altered state of consciousness that redefines reality according to whatever supernatural or mystical experience they may encounter. In the beginning such an experience may be exhilarating, beautiful, powerful, mesmerizing, and subtlety addictive. However, once the door is opened to receive another spirit “so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” the person is in danger of demonic oppression, and in some cases possession. “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” 2 Corinthians 11:4.

      The time has come to expose some of the ways Satan is working today in many Christian churches where sound doctrine is no longer endured: 1) Reincarnation. Simply begin to explore the claims of those who have lived past lives, and open up your mind to the possibility that you have lived before in another life, and Satan will give you an incredible, believable experience of “déjà vu” that “verifies” it. 2) Journaling, or automatic writing. Learn how to sit quietly, open up your mind and “listen” to beings from another plane of existence as they write “spiritual” thoughts through you. This is how mediums “channel” messages from familiar spirits. Automatic writing and channeling is divination (see Deuteronomy 18:10), and the source is not the Holy Spirit who gives His people inspiration when using their gifts and talents which is a different thing altogether. Automatic writing and channeling is demonic, yet there are gullible Christians who think it is the Holy Spirit “talking” to them. This is the source behind such books as God Calling, Jesus Calling, A Course in Miracles (which is the New Age bible), The Shack (which is blasphemous), and the dangerous occult book, Urantia. 3.) Become involved with Yoga: ”Yoga is the very heart of Hinduism. It is sold in the West as science but in fact is religion. It is promoted in the West as beneficial to health, but in the East it is a technique for dying. The goal is to reach moksha, allegedly escaping the world of illusion (maya) of time and sense into liberation from the endless cycle of birth and death and rebirth through reincarnation.” (Quoted from The Berean Call). Open door to demons. 4.) Learn Contemplative Spirituality and Spiritual Formation. Both open the door to wrong spirits, just like TM (transcendental meditation). Two of the largest movements that are narrowing the gap between the New Age and Christianity are defined by (and I quote Lighthouse Trails) “Contemplative Spirituality: A belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is rooted in mysticism and the occult but often wrapped in Christian terminology. The premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all). Common terms used for this movement are “spiritual formation,” “the silence,” “the stillness,” “ancient-wisdom,” “spiritual disciplines,” and many others. Spiritual Formation: A movement that has provided a platform and a channel through which contemplative prayer is entering the church.  Find spiritual formation being used, and in nearly every case you will find contemplative spirituality. In fact, contemplative spirituality is the heartbeat of the spiritual formation movement.” 5.) Ignore personal sin and disobey the Word of God. Consider this, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” 1 Samuel 15:23a. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil” Ephesians 4:26, 27. “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” Revelation 3:15, 16. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” Matthew 6:24.

      The time has come to wake up and remember that Satan is the “god of this world” and his purpose for the swelling river of deception flowing through the churches in these end days is to condition Christians, if possible, to receive the one-world spiritual ruler called the antichrist. (Jesus warned us that he will perform great signs and wonders to deceive.) This is being methodically accomplished through false doctrine taught in many liberal Bible schools, in “emergent post-modern churches,” and in much of the hypnotic, contemporary music (remember, music teaches theology as much as preaching does); through watered-down Bible “versions,” and “soft preaching” that convicts no one; through the mountains of so-called “Christian” best-selling books, films (including the Passion of Christ with its Roman Catholic and occult overtones), and other media, and through the overabundance of end time false prophets “littering the landscape” (to quote Johanna Michaelsen, author of The Beautiful Side of Evil.)

      The time has come to reflect on how Jesus spent a great deal of His time on earth casting out demons. It is sheer folly to assume that there is no such thing as demons in the world in which we live today. On the contrary, demonic activity is on the rise around the world as the time grows shorter. We are told in 1 Timothy 4:1, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” In 2 Peter 2:1, 2 we read, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. Many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” The time has come. We can see it everywhere if we would only open our eyes and look.   

      The time has come to admit that one of the greatest tragedies of our day is the lack of solid, sober, sincere, truly saved Christian youth in fundamental churches. The time has come where there is a scarcity of real Bible-believing churches. I say “Bible believing” in the sense that the whole Word of God (not just selected parts) of the Holy Bible (God’s Word from the original texts, not perverted so-called “versions” from the Alexandrian texts) is actively believed, faithfully taught, memorized, lived and walked out in the lives of the people; Churches that have not lost their first love, where everything is Christ (not man) centered, and whose goal is to make disciples of Christ according to the great commission; Churches that fear and love God, and who worship Him in Spirit and in truth, not just on Sunday mornings, but every day of the week; Churches that will not tolerate unbiblical or extra-biblical beliefs and worldly, immoral lifestyles; Churches that are evangelistic, and train the people to go out and be the “salt” and the “light” to lost souls, and Churches that invite the presence of the Holy Spirit to come and minister to the people.

      The time has come to ask, what has happened? Isn’t the real Jesus enough? Could it be that the popular Jesus that has been mainly presented for the past fifty to 100 years is a different Jesus than the One the Bible portrays? The Jesus most youth want is not God incarnate, who tells them to deny self, pick up their cross, and follow Him, but a culturally relevant version of Jesus—somebody who isn’t threatening to their lifestyle, and who endorses their love of the world, immorality, attitudes, pride and rebellion, and their loud pagan “worship” and, yes, I am going to say it, extreme Satanic music and entertainment. Over fifty years ago A. W. Tozer said, “I have in my office a well-used Methodist hymnal that goes back more than a century. In that hymnal, I have found 49 hymns on the attributes of God. I must confess that every day in my office I get on my knees with that hymnal, or one like it, and sing comfortably off-key a great hymn that honors and glorifies God. I think I would have fit in with those old Methodists….In my old Methodist hymnbook, there are 1,100 hymns. As I meditate on them, I am amazed at the depth of theology in those old hymns. When those old Methodists congregated on a Sunday morning, they were singing theology. I would hazard a guess that most of them knew what they were singing, and it was a strong doctrinal medicine for the soul. I wonder if many Christians today on a Sunday morning know the theology of what they are singing?” (From My Daily Pursuit, pg. 93.)

      The time has come to “seek for the Lord while He may be found,” repent of our dullness of hearing, lack of zeal, absence of vision, slothfulness in prayer: The time has come to seek the face of the Lord for His Spirit, His perspective, His will, and His power to be His witnesses until we leave this life and enter into the presence of the One who died for us and purchased us with His own blood.

      The time has come.