Satan has strategies to thwart harvest season from occurring. We must examine Gods plan in more detail and expose the devices of the enemy that are used to cause Gods people to stumble and faint.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
The role of ministry is to
serve and not to lord over. A minister is not to dominate, be prideful, or
We as ministers are to LOVE and SERVE, We are to manifest Him, Who is the Shepherd of His sheep, and yet we are to always remain sheep ourselves. A minister not willing to wash the feet of the people should go into the desert of the Lord until he is ready to really lead God's people out of Egypt and through the wilderness and into the promise land. God gave us ministers to perfect us, and that word will not return to Him without accomplishing that task or mission as Isaiah declares. No matter how many foxes may have spoiled the vine, God says His vine will produce fruit and He intends on using His true shepherds to do it.
At times we feel like God's gifts are more like a curse. This is an area where we must mature. We are never under any obligation to receive any spiritual manifestation, or any word from a minister that the Holy Spirit is not revealing to YOU. Maybe it is just not God and it is bitter water coming forth, or maybe it is not the season for you to receive it. The Holy Spirit NEVER pressures you - He leads! It is the immaturity of Gods people that has allowed the false Shepherds to teach at their lovefeasts. God is saying that this is a day that the blame must be accepted by those that accepted the false doctrine, but I thank the Lord that the hurt we may have experienced because of our immaturity is healed because we serve a merciful God - Who draws near to us as we draw near to Him.
True ministry always causes completion. They always serve with the result that the body becomes more mature; and they plant and water, so that the seed will grow to fruit bearing. True ministry always edifies. Edifying means the BUILDING UP of the body of Christ. What are we building? The temple of Christ, and God uses ministry to do it, but they are never to be your mediator or go-between. Jesus is your only go-between.
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
This verse pertains to God's plan, plain and simple. God's purpose is for unity of the faith to occur in the church. It will happen. There are some that say "unity of the faith" is that we all get along. Jesus' plan is for a unity that is based on us being complete in Christ. If you are not pressing on to completion then you are not unified. A church with contrary doctrines is not in unity. Jesus prayed a prayer that we would come into unity and it will happen.
that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (NIV)
What glory and unity is
observed by the world when we differ on so many doctrines and teachings?
There is only one doctrine
and His Name is Jesus.
Every doctrine that does
not give a true picture of Him is false doctrine.
Over emphasis or under
emphasis of a series of teachings is NOT a TRUE PICTURE OF JESUS!
The Amplified Bible says UNITY "in the FULL knowledge of the Son of God". If we were really edifying the church, then we should see a church that has come into a knowledge of Christ and that we all see the same way. Amplified version continues; that we might arrive at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality that is nothing less then the standard height of Christ's own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ and the completeness found in Him.
I once went through a season of not serving God because of the disillusionment I found with the incompleteness I saw in this truth. God has set me in a place of grace where, if I am the only one on planet earth that believes these things that I see, and these things that I am persuaded of the Spirit by, I will continue to teach and walk, even if it costs me my own physical life. The children of Israel wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb for the good report, Steven WAS stoned immediately after giving His good report and we should not think it odd if we are honored to suffer the same fate. How can we do any less for Him Who bought us and became our dearest friend? We must be delivered from the fear of man and be only a God-fearing people.
Know this, that as you mature, you will obtain the character of Jesus. The character of Jesus is Love. Love is defined in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 and Galatians Chapter 5. However to become mature, God gave gifts. Gifts edify you. That is their purpose. When gifts are working in the Power and Wisdom of God through the Holy Spirit, then they will result in a building up that produces a temple held together by love. 1 Corinthians chapter 12 (the gift chapter) precedes chapter 13 (the love chapter). Paul starts chapter 12 with saying, "Do not be ignorant concerning gifts" and he ends the chapter with "earnestly desire the best gifts". Why? The gifts of the Spirit are an important part of the blueprint to build the temple of God.
In chapter 12 we also learn about love and unity. It is the cherishing of others who are in Christ. Most of us have learned how the human body is used to teach us unity. To teach how we are to love one another and that all of us have a place (concerning gifts) in the body. There are no useless body parts in this building project. You have a gift and you are called to edify. What we also need to see is a revelation of God's design for our human body. We understand the human physical body by observing the spiritual body. God's plan for the spiritual body, which is called the mystery of Christ and the church, was planned from the foundations of time. The mystery of the spiritual body concerning Christ and the church existed BEFORE ADAM! God designed our physical human bodies as a great lesson to communicate this TRUTH. Our physical bodies are to manifest the Purpose of God in the Earth. Observe the natural to see the spiritual and observe that the spirit of man and the body of Christ preceded this natural body in design. Therefore the unity in the body of Christ is observed through the unity of our physical body.
Unity is simply this, those who are in Christ, and have a relationship that is maturing in Him, Who is the Head; will then respond to the mind of Christ like our own physical body responds to our minds. When He moves we move, when He reveals - we will see, when He speaks - we cannot but proclaim. It does not matter as to geography, and it is something that cannot be obtained outside of maturity. Jesus is our head and He only has one mind!
When Paul wrote letters to churches that were immature like the Corinthian church, this does not mean the entire church there was immature, in fact there were some mature ones there. The mature ones still learned from the letters written by Paul that targeted the immature. So please do not tune out if an area discussed is not an area that pertains to you. There is still instruction for righteousness for all of us.
True maturity will manifest 1 Corinthians chapters 12 and 13. Not one chapter and leave out the other chapter. Our desire will become Jesus' desire and our desire will be to manifest Jesus Who heals the sick, Who speaks in tongues, Who speaks a word of knowledge that we could not possibly know, to clean the bathroom in the ministry of helps and to LOVE with a quality that cannot be counterfeited. It gave the apostle Paul great pain to have to teach certain elementary truths that the church should have already matured in. As a watchman who sits on the wall to sound a trumpet to warn Gods people, I am compelled by the Spirit to warn of doctrines that will hinder your maturity. Paul was the greatest example of this; just watch how he deals with the many false doctrines that found themselves into the early church. In this same way one should never have to teach on the importance of the gift of tongues but Satan has been at work in the last few years de-emphasizing its importance.
And they were all filled with the holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Tongues are not the issue in this discussion; its importance is the issue. In Acts chapter two we saw the baptism of the Holy Spirit and they spoke in tongues. At the initial start God set precedence. He intended tongues to be a sign or evidence to confirm that you are filled with the Holy Spirit. Though, tongues are AN evidence, scripture does not make it known that it is THE evidence. In experience some have been baptized in the Holy Spirit and other gifts manifested instead of tongues. This is where the debate begins that caused sedition in the church. The first sedition REQUIRES tongues to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the second sedition NEVER REQUIRES tongues in the life of the believer, nor do they encourage it though they believe in tongues.
The second sedition formed as many realized that the scriptures did not clearly REQUIRE tongues. Many in the church realized this truth, but now they have went to the other extreme. They think because it did not manifest on the onset - but they were able to receive another gift, then we should teach AGAINST the doctrine that requires tongues as an evidential proof. What has formed is DIVISION, where both parties have received error through assumption. If you have never seen these seditions that may be because the believer will secretly believe them. Secret beliefs will divide just like doctrine taught openly.
To come against the doctrine that requires the proof of tongues, the new sedition would de-emphasize the importance of tongues. This proved to be the worst of the two seditions because they diminished a gift from the church that God Himself was giving. With this new doctrine they prevented believers from receiving or exercising the gift of tongues, sometimes this was done in a subtle manner. The other side REQUIRES tongues and caused a bondage that the new sedition would rebel from. Therefore the new sedition formed its new doctrine of de-emphasizing tongues out of a motive to rebel against those that REQUIRE IT. I am included in one that required tongues as evidence to being filled with the Spirit and the result was many rebelled. What we should have done is emphasize the filling of the Spirit and let God give whatever initial gifts He wanted to give. Then later on we could separately pray for those that had not received tongues, but not accuse them of not being Spirit-filled. Our assumption has caused this new doctrine and hopefully we shall learn from what we did in error, but now we must balance the ones who accepted the new doctrine - with Truth.
These new doctrines have one thing in common they exclude you! They also prevent and hinder others from the exercising of the gift of tongues. 1 Cor 14:39 says, forbid not to speak in tongues, forbid means to hinder in any way. These new teachings explain how the gift of tongues is not always for everyone, sometimes tongues are de-emphasized and prophecy is over-emphasized. They teach you to seek prophecy and not tongues, tongues is given as God wills they say. They do not teach against tongues just in its importance. They usually never impart the gift of tongues like the apostles demonstrated but they have no problem moving in prophecy.
It is to be noted that it is a whole lot easier to speak in tongues and know its God then to prophesy. Prophecy sounds a lot like us, tongues always sounds like heaven. Satan has a strategy here; if he can get the church to stop praying in tongue then he can unarm the weapons of our warfare. The people cannot receive the gift of tongues in faith because they are never sure whether it is Gods will for them to have it. IT IS ALWAYS GODS WILL FOR ALL BELIEVERS TO RECEIVE TONGUES. It is a lie that excludes you from this gift - to believe otherwise. Peter and Paul imparted the gift of tongues. When Peter imparted the gift of the Holy Spirit, they knew they had received it because they spoke in tongues, it is clearly written and set precedence that tongues SHOULD accompany the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Let us observe the importance that was diminished. This is the place we must get doctrine from the example set by the apostles. In the book of Acts we see the gift of the Holy Spirit imparted to believers alongside the salvation experience. Scripturally it should be more normal for us to minister receiving salvation, baptism in water and then the Holy Spirit with the gift of tongues - all at the same time. We make what the apostles did as abnormal and we separate what the apostles did not separate.
There are certain denominations that twisted scriptures and accepted the extremist view that tongues and other gifts have passed away.
Pray without ceasing.
This is a short verse, but concerning the edification of God's temple, it is an important one. Without the gift of tongues, you will be hard pressed to accomplish "pray without ceasing". The gift of tongues will enable you to abide in His presence without ceasing. If you have received the gift of speaking in tongues, then DO NOT STOP! Anyone that de-emphasizes the exercising of Gods gift of speaking in tongues is lacking maturity in their own life and causes others around them to lack maturity. Even though you may have never met a Christian that would do that, this deception has moved in the church and tries to thwart Gods purpose in His gifts. Use that which has been given to you. The gift of tongues will edify you. The origin of what is coming out of your lips is from heaven. Heaven is literally coming forth from your mouth, as you pray in tongues, so don't stop.
Quench not the Spirit.
Another short verse. But there are anti-tongues doctrines that will try to quench the Spirit. There is a false doctrine that says, speaking in tongues has been over emphasized. Let me say once and for all - you cannot speak in tongues too much! You cannot pray too much. The problem with the church is that we do not pray enough. A pastor would love to have a problem of having a church that prays too much. There may be a perversion of this truth but not an overemphasis. Most, which have accepted the false doctrine of "not using the gift of God of speaking in tongues" are again the same ones that will lack God's edification. Sometimes these teachers will read out of 1 Corinthians where Paul is teaching about divers kind of tongues. Paul is talking about these tongues in conjunction with interpretation gifts. Paul is not talking about the gift of tongues that was received in Acts. The divers tongues is towards edification of others, the tongues that are given to ALL believers is used primarily for your personal edification. There are wolves that would like to EXCLUDE you from that which has its source in God.
He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 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." After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. (NIV)
Are they following?
If you are a believer then what follows should be casting our devils, speaking in tongues, divine protection, and impartation of healing through your hands.
The passage about tongues in 1 Corinthians chapter 14 talks about the use of tongues towards the ministry of others, which Paul discourages. Why? It does not take a whole lot of common sense to understand that the receiver of ministry will not understand a syllable that is spoken in tongues. Interpretation of tongues and prophecy is what is edifying to the entire body, in public utterance. On the day of Pentecost those from other countries heard God being glorified in their own language. Paul in teaching doctrine about tongues does not show that tongues are understood at all unless there is one who interprets.
1 Cor 14:18
I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:
1 Cor 14:14-15
For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
In verse 18 we see the use of tongues in Paul's personal life, which is encouraged. To follow Paul's example is to examine what edified him. If I want to walk in the maturity that I see in the apostle Paul, then I will not ignore how much he prayed in tongues or any other spiritual activity in his life. Here we also see clearly that our spirit prays separately from our understanding. You choose by your will to do either, or to do both. Both are important to personal prayer but only praying in the understanding is important to public prayer. You choose to pray in tongues, you choose not to. You turn it on and you turn it off. I know some that struggle with praying in tongues at any moment. That is part of the function of this particular gift and it does not function like gifts to the rest of the body. No one can walk down the street and heal a blind man by choosing to do so but tongues are available to every believer to exercise for personal edification and prayer at any moment we choose. It is simply a form of prayer that God uses mightily. Do not let Satan steal its use from you.
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the holy Ghost,
This admonishment was given in the context to keep us from falling into error. If your desire is to get out of false doctrine and keep from falling into more false doctrine, pray in the Holy Spirit. In my experience, it is the times when I have put down the flesh and prayed in the Holy Spirit with perseverance, until I heard the voice of God; it is at those times that He has spoken to me the things that changed my life forever. If I had chosen another activity over praying through, I would have not heard from the counsel of God.
If you were witness to some abuse of a gift of God, let that not discourage you from what you know is from God. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians chapter 12 for this reason, to let you know that the origins of the gifts are of God. Throughout the passage Paul says that the gift is of the same Spirit, the same Lord, the same God because the emphasis to you is that God is the author of the gifts; though as we saw with the life of Balaam, He is not the author of how they are always used. To really stress this point; we see in scripture that the number twelve means Gods divine order and Gods divine government; the purpose of the teaching in 1 Corinthians 12 is to show us Gods divine order concerning His body and concerning the gifts that pertain to Gods body. Paul makes twelve references that the source of the gifts - are from God Himself. The last two references say this:
1 Cor 12:13
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (KJV)
The purpose of the gifts is to be baptized
into one body and to drink into ONE SPIRIT. Those that de-emphasize the
gifts are those that desire to separate the people of God. Do not fall
into the enemys trap. Observe what quenches
you from speaking in tongues, and other gifts, and refrain from it. Do not
neglect your relationship with the Holy Spirit - He is God.
until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. (NAS)
You are to become perfect, which does not stop when Jesus was a babe, or when He was 12 in the temple giving answers, but you have attained when you have reached the FULL stature of Jesus. You have attained when the last stone is set on the temple. You have attained when the tree bears ripened fruit to be eaten by all. You say impossible! We are talking about a place of growth where Paul and Peter and others have already been, a place in God where we are always walking in the Light, always walking in Love, always abiding in Him. God is no respecter of persons, what he does for the one He will do for the other. What God did in Paul and Peter concerning maturity, He will do the same work in you. This is a place where you know the Truth and it totally sets you free.
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
What happens to one who is not mature in Christ? They grow up in Christ or they become victims of false doctrine. This is especially seen in the last generation. We must grow up, we must be edified, and we must edify others in these last days.
How do we edify?
Speak the one true
doctrine in love, and then maturity, perfection - will happen!
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
It is the job of every minister to teach Jesus, and to present to Jesus, perfected saints. What type of saints are we presenting to Jesus? Christian perfection in the Word and our natural thinking of perfection may differ, but the perfection that the Word talks about is an attainable perfection that we must yearn towards. We may as Paul said, "I have not attained it", but the hope in us must run towards it as in a race, not so we can boast of anything we accomplished, but it is by His grace. For we are a people that yearn to be with our Father and to be like Him, and to teach others to attain our inheritance found in Christ, which is none other then Christ Himself and everything found IN HIM.
Perfection as you define it, may not be the
perfection that the Bible teaches. The statement we make constantly is
"Nobody is perfect". True in that we are not
"ALL-KNOWING" as God or "all-powerful" and we never
will be, nor should we desire to be; but you are destine to be perfect in
regard to being complete IN CHRIST experientially. We re-iterate this
point so that our aim in this race will only settle for the finishing line
and this point will build a hope in us that will not faint before we cross
the line. Why is this so important? There is a time of trouble ahead that
will cause many to fall away from the faith. If your hope is in Him and
you understand His hope for you then you will not faint you will run
with purpose you will rely on His grace and ability to perform this
word in YOU! We must not however, define what maturity is except by the
Word. Maturity is NOT that we will have TOTAL revelation of ALL Gods
word, it is NOT that we will FULLY know all that can be known about God,
it is NOT that you will be able to perform ALL that God can perform. It
is - You running YOUR course, with what is revealed to you,
with the ability that God told you to build with perfectly!
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