Harvest Times

NEARER TO THE WORD

Late Professor H. Enoch, the Head of the Department of Zoology, Madras Christian College, and at one time President of the Union of Evangelical Students of India (UESI), had a pet saying, “Nearer to the word of God we are, the safer we are.” Personally I believe this is loaded with sound wisdom. Our spiritual safety and security lies in our being nearer to the word of God, always and in everything.

Sadly, some have drifted, and are drifting away, from this sound advice. There are some-

1. Who are blindly running after signs, wonders and miracles.

They are doing so without realizing that there are false signs and wonders (2Thessalonians 2:9). Even the magicians in the court of Pharaoh performed wonders by their secret arts (Exodus 7:22; 8:7). But their power was limited. They could not produce gnats and confessed that this was the finger of God (Exodus 8:18,19). Even Simon the magician claimed to be somebody great and impressed people by his magical powers (Acts 8:9-11). Our Lord will refuse to acknowledge those who prophesy in his name, cast out demons in his name and do many mighty works in his name, because they are workers of lawlessness (Matthew 7:22,23).

2. Who are running after so-called Apostles and Prophets.

They are doing so without realizing that there are false Apostles and false Prophets as there are false teachers and false christs (2Corinthians 11:13; 2Peter 2:1; 1John 4:1; Matthew 7:15; 24:11,124). Their writings cannot be included in the Scriptures as the Scripture is complete. Christians are built on the foundations of the New Testament apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20). Now there are no more apostles and prophets. We have the gift of prophecy but no more prophets. We have the missionaries (the sent ones) but no more apostles.

3. They are seeking fresh revelation, dreams and visions.

They are doing so without realizing that our fresh revelation, dreams and visions can be the products of our mind, and a delusion and an illusion of our deceitful heart (Jeremiah 14:14; 23:26; 17:9). And, these are subject to Scripture scrutiny. There are those who claim to have visited heaven and hell, seen Abraham, spoken to the three divine Persons of the Triune God and met patriarchs and apostles, etc. Well, they alone can authenticate/vouchsafe their claims. There are no objective facts to check the reality of their claims. And, do we need their testimony to believe that there are truly heaven and hell, Triune God, Patriarchs and Apostles?

Apostle Paul saw vision fourteen years ago. He never disclosed what he saw and heard for obvious reasons (2Corinthians 12:2-4). On the other hand, if we see a ‘vision’ last night, we proclaim it to the world the next morning. In 1Peter 1:8 the believers had not seen Lord Jesus, yet they loved him, believed in him and rejoiced greatly.

4. Who are seeking after the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

They are doing so without realizing that the believers are already anointed (1John 2:20,27). What they need for the anointing to be effective is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That comes – a. As we saturate ourselves with the word of God; b. As we saturate ourselves with prayer; and, c. As we saturate ourselves with obedience. The more we are filled with the word, the more we are filled with prayer, the more we are filled with obedience, the more we are filled with the Holy Spirit. And, more the anointing will be powerful in us.

5. Who are ‘tarrying’ before the Lord (Luke 24:49) for the Baptism with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.

They are doing so without realising that all believers are already baptised at the time of their conversion (1Corinthians 12:13). There are seven references to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The first five are prophetical (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5). They look forward. The sixth one is historical (Acts 11:16). It looks backward. The seventh is theological (1Corinthians 12:13). It gives meaning to the phrase. The baptism with the Holy Spirit is immersing a person in the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit.

And, as for the speaking in tongues, we must understand that speaking in tongues is only one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit which he distributes as per his will (1Corinthians 12:11). All do not speak in tongues (1Corinthians 12:30). We must beware of bringing ourselves in physical, emotional, mental and spiritual frenzy in order to speak in tongues.

Let’s always remember, nearer to the word of God we are, the safer we are. Let’s not go by other people’s experiences, prophecies, dreams and visions. Let’s always ask, “What does Scripture say” (Romans 4:3; Galatians 4:30)?

By Richard Masih

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When God is silent

 

It is easy to trust God when the bush is burning, the waters are parting and the mountains are shaking – it’s those silent years that are discouraging. But blessed is the person who does not interpret the silence of God as the indifference of God! It’s in the desert and not in the palace that God finds out the depths of our yieldedness. It’s when He’s silent, not when He speaks, that our faith is precious in His sight.

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LETTING OUR LIGHT SHINE

Introduction

It’s taken from Matthew 5:16. The whole verse goes like this, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Let’s observe 3 things in this theme.

I. It’s a command.

A. A command is meant to be obeyed implicitly, explicitly and immediately.
B. A command is generally disliked by us. We have more taste for promises than commands. We are like children who go for jam and cream, and leave the bread slice uneaten.

II. It’s a command to let our light shine.

A. But the light can shine only if there is light.

1. We are the light of the world if have repented from our sins genuinely and believed on Lord Jesus Christ wholeheartedly.
2. We are the light of the world if we are truly born again and thoroughly saved.
3. In that case we are the children of light, not of darkness. As such, we are expected to live as children of light, and not participate in the deeds of darkness but expose them (Ephesians 5:8,10,11). We are expected to manifest the excellencies of the One who has called us out of darkness into his marvellous light (1Peter 2:9).
4. But if we aren’t saved then we aren’t light but darkness. In that case there no light. There is no question of letting our light shine when it’s not there.

B. We can let our light shine through good works. V. 16

1. When we love God with all of our heart, mind and strength, we are letting our light shine before others (Deuteronomy 6:5).
2. When we love our neighbours, we are letting our light shine before others (Leviticus 19:18).
3. When we love our enemies, forgive them, bless them and pray for them, we are letting our light shine before others (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:28).
4. When we are living an exemplary life in the light of God’s word, we are letting our light shine for the glory of God.
5. When we share the gospel of salvation with those who are sitting in the darkness and the shadow of death, we are letting our light shine on them. It says in Matthew 4:15, 16, “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles- the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”

III. It’s a command, easily discarded.

A. We can hinder our light shining before others (Cf. Keeping our light under the basket).

1. Through hypocrisy.
2. Duplicity.
3. Dishonesty in finances.
4. False accounts.
5. False reports.
5. Sexual immorality, having illicit love affairs.
6. Deception.
7. Works of our sinful flesh (Galatians 5:19-21).

Conclusion

Are we letting our light shine before others through our good works? Or, are we hindering it through our deeds of darkness?

Are people glorifying God because of us? Or, are we a hindrance in their coming to faith?

Is God’s name blessed or blasphemed because of us? Is our light shining?

By Richard Masih, New Delhi

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