Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Good News vs fake news: God takes back His gifts?

15 Now let me remind you, brothers, of what the Gospel really is, for it has not changed—it is the same Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then and still do now, for your faith is squarely built upon this wonderful message; 1 Corinthians 15:1 TLB

13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do. Mark 7:13 NKJV

 We've been in an extended study contrasting the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Good News of God's Amazing Grace, with the fake news of religious tradition. As we've established, people are not our enemy. This is absolutely essential to keep in mind as we examine the traditions of men. 

Sharp Divides

 As we begin to uncover yet other areas of traditional religion, I thought it best to begin by making an honest, sincere assessment of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. It may be uncomfortable to hear, but it's true nonetheless. The Church is sharply divided concerning certain theological points. 

 Here are the major areas of disagreement. Methods of water baptism. Do we sprinkle? Do we immerse? Do we baptize in Jesus name only? Whole church denominations are created on this division. The biggest theological divide is the Calvinism vs Arminianism debate. Whole denominations and seminaries are founded on one or the other. 

 I'm sure some would wonder where I stand on that debate. My view is easy, I disagree with both schools of thought because they are performance-based and not Grace based.  One of the other great divides is the issue of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Are they active today or have they ceased? 

Let's frame this debate another way. Does God give gifts then rescind them? I believe we should let the Word of God be the final authority. There is no passage in Scripture that states these Gifts have ceased. There also is certainly no passage that suggests any of the Gifts of the Spirit operated in modern times are the work of satan or demonic influence. 

Now, why am I so confident about this? Because of the goodness and faithfulness of God.
29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29 NKJV
 God is a giver. He isn't taking away what He gave to equip the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ to walk in power. 
and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 1 Corinthians 2:4 NASB
 God's Spirit has continued in power and in demonstration throughout the Church age. 

 As a word of wise counsel, we must be mindful that flowing in the Gifts of the Spirit is not necessarily a sign of maturity, and definitely doesn't make one a superior Christian. In other words, we should never be looking down at others. Instead, we should always be looking upward at Jesus, the source, and supply of all good things.

 As a believer, do you desire to flow in these gifts? Simply ask God to fill you with His Spirit. Receive it and then begin to flow with God, asking for His wisdom in exercising these Gifts. As you flow with God, you soon discover love and compassion are the true motives for flowing in the Gifts. You also seek to make Jesus name renowned and never your own. 

 Allow me to share a testimony as it will open it up to an area I sense the Lord really desires to minister. Some friends of mine, A husband, and wife had a wonderful ministry of sharing this beautiful Gospel of Grace. Through challenges and surely the opposition of the enemy (he hates Grace), it seemed this door of ministry was closed for them. 

 As I was communicating with them the Spirit of the Lord began flowing through me in the gift of prophecy and word of knowledge. Words of edification, and exhortation were given to them. I began sharing specific words that were for them personally. God wasn't done with them and His gift and calling hadn't changed no matter the opposition. needless to say, this blessed and strengthened them. In fact, they had been discussing the work of the ministry among themselves. 

 See how beneficial these Gifts are? Now, this leads me to this point. No matter what, the gifts, the calling, the purpose God has for you has not changed or ceased. 
29 For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. Romans 11:29 NLT

 Tradition for too long has told believers that because of their sins, their disobedience or unfaithfulness, His calling or giftings will be taken away. Some have been told if you don't use the gift, God will take it away. That is a lie. God's gifts are irrevocable.

 Even if years have passed and it looks like nothing has changed, know He never takes back what He gave. No matter how long it's been, no matter if it looks like there are no opportunities, rest knowing His plans and purposes, and giftings and call are never withdrawn. God thought enough of you to invest in you and He knows you're worth it. 

 Don't allow tradition to keep robbing you. Even if you've failed, God isn't finished with you yet. His plans and purposes are unchangeable. Look again at what He called you to. Don't quit. Your gift is an asset to the Body of Christ. There is someone who needs what you have to give. There is a smile, a hug, a kind uplifting word that only you can share. Don't listen to the enemy saying you're unworthy. You're the righteousness of God in Christ. 

 Yes, we as the Church are sharply divided concerning some theological points. As true as this is, we as the Body of Christ are so much more than that. We have Jesus as our Savior and His Spirit living and abiding in us. We are the recipients of His great Grace. We are a Family, the Family of God.

 In summation, know that His Spirit is still moving in power today. Know His goodness hasn't ceased. He wants to show Himself strong to His Church, not just a selective few. His power and Gifts are available to as many as will simply ask in faith believing.

 Know also that God has not forgotten you. His plans for you have not ceased. He who started the work in you will be faithful to complete it. His plans and purposes for you are unchanging. His Grace is greater than any sin. He is the restorer of broken dreams, shattered hopes and, desires dashed. You're engraved in the palm of His hands and what He promised will surely come to pass. He is faithful.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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