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