Posts Tagged ‘apologetics’

Following on from my post on Biblical Preaching or a Self-Help/Motivational seminar disguised?, I found a post from Dan Delzell on the Christian Post addressing this very topic. Because it articulates the differences so well, I thought I would post the article in its entirety. Please read and then examine the sermons that you are listening to

There are tremendous differences between “motivational speaking” and “biblical preaching.” In America today, many churches offer one or the other. One approach leaves people “encouraged” in their emotions and in their “self-esteem.” The other builds up Christians in the Gospel as the Holy Spirit applies the Scriptures to the hearts and minds of the hearers.

Motivational speakers tell a lot of stories and seek to sway through emotion and pop psychology. Biblical preachers tell some stories, but above all seek to have people influenced by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. Motivational speakers may or may not throw in a few Bible verses to “salt” their main topic. Biblical preachers rely totally upon the Scriptures to “drive” the content and to feed God’s sheep. The Bible is the basis of their message.

Motivational speakers seek to never speak of things which might offend anyone in attendance. Biblical preachers seek to proclaim God’s Word with a loving heart as they rely upon the Holy Spirit to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” That is, to apply the message of forgiveness to those who are repentant….and to apply the weight of the Law toward anyone content to continue sinning. After all, if I am never offended by my own behavior, I am certainly not growing in Christ….and I am living in denial. Motivational speakers do not tend to think about the Law and the Gospel when presenting a message. Instead, they attempt to persuade people to change their behavior.

Motivational speakers are good at knowing how people think and behave….but not good at “rightly dividing the Word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) They reach the level of man’s emotions with their appeals, but they are not equipped with the proper biblical knowledge to lead people into the realm where souls meet God and then grow in Christ.

Motivational speaking tends to be man-centered and people-pleasing. Biblical preaching is Christ-centered and God-honoring. Motivational speaking is often aimed largely at unbelievers. Biblical preaching typically aims where St. Paul aimed in his epistles….that is, it aims mainly at believers.

New Testament worship services are designed for believers….with a loving and open heart for unbelievers to also attend in hopes of them receiving Christ as Savior. Motivational seminars are aimed at anyone who will help to fill the auditorium.Motivational speakers are reluctant to say, “The Bible says.” They realize that many of their hearers don’t believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. Biblical preachers have taught God’s people to trust Scripture to be the inerrant “God-breathed” message of truth from the Lord. (2 Timothy 3:16)

Motivational speakers need to have personal charisma. Biblical preachers need to be humble in order to be anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit. Charisma influences emotions in the direction of self-actualization. The Holy Spirit influences the soul in the direction of godliness.

Biblical preaching lifts up Jesus Christ. Motivational speaking tends to exalt man’s ability to fix his own issues. Biblical preaching proclaims the Gospel message of Christ’s death and resurrection for our salvation. Motivational speaking might tack on “the sinner’s prayer” at the end of a “how-to” message.

Biblical preaching produces a holy awe of God and a deep respect for His Word. Motivational speaking tends to be light, fun, humorous, and entertaining. It’s “showtime” when the motivational speaker steps to the podium. It’s “flow time” when the biblical preacher steps forward. He has spent much time in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to fall upon his hearers and speak to them when the Word goes forth.

Motivational speakers usually have a certain number of steps they want you to follow to improve your life. Biblical preaching is not that simplistic. St. Paul explained biblical preaching with these words: “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Cor. 2:1-5)

Biblical preaching freely discusses heaven, hell, and the immortality of the soul. Motivational speaking never addresses hell….and if heaven gets discussed, it is done so in a way that suggests most people of many religions will eventually make it to heaven.

Motivational speakers tend to deliberately or unintentionally place the spotlight upon the messenger. Biblical preachers want the hearers to celebrate Jesus and Him alone. As Oswald Chambers wrote, “Anything that flatters me in my preaching of the Gospel will result in making me a traitor to Jesus, and I prevent the creative power of His redemption from doing its work.”

Does this mean that every minister who attempts to engage in biblical preaching is doing so with a loving heart and a life filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit? No. If a minister is living “in the flesh” by intentionally feeding his sinful nature, his message will not be saturated and dripping with the grace of God and a Spirit-wrought love for the hearers. This is why St. Paul told Timothy, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16) Notice that his “life” was highlighted even before his “doctrine.” It is easier to present messages that are doctrinally correct than it is to live a holy life, but both are necessary in the life of a pastor and preacher.

There seem to be many more Americans today who hunger for motivational speaking than for biblical preaching. A taste for the Word can only be developed by regularly feeding on the Word….and by holy living….and most of all, by a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. A love of the world produces no such hunger. We are all sinners, and prone to love the world far more than we love the Word. D.L. Moody said this regarding the Bible: “This Book will keep me from sin, and sin will keep me from this Book.”

The temptation for the minister in America today is not only to water down the message….but to change the message altogether. The test for all of us who have been called by God to preach the Word is to do so faithfully and with a heart full of love for God, for believers, and for the lost. If we do this the right way by God’s grace, then unbelievers will be moved by the Holy Spirit to believe….and believers will be moved by the Holy Spirit to love the Lord and to serve others with their gifts.

When we get charged up by a motivational speaker, the results tend to be superficial and flimsy. When you and I are motivated by the Holy Spirit through the faithful proclamation of His Word, the results are spiritual and eternal.

God will help us to rely upon “the sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17) rather than upon a slick and popular presentation of humanistic moralism. One approach equips the saints for works of service. The other approach strokes the ego of the speaker and the attendees.

God is not interested in our ego. He wants His children to “live a life worthy of the Lord” so that we “may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened will all power according to His glorious might.” (Colossians 1:10,11) There is no room for ego in biblical preaching. There is plenty of room for ego in motivational speaking.

Humanistic motivation cannot produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Only God can do that….and He does so largely through the teaching and preaching of His Word, as well as through one-on-one encouragement, assistance, and prayer.

St. Paul instructed Timothy: “Preach the Word.” (2 Timothy 4:2) This is what is needed in America today….preachers of the Word whose hearts are filled with the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

God will help those of us who are pastors and preachers as we proclaim the message of the apostles. Not one of us is sufficient for the task. Only His grace can accomplish the work in us and through us. Here is tip for all of us….read Paul’s letters….and then go forth to motivate people with those words and with that approach to encouraging the saints. The world is filled with motivational speakers….God’s church deserves to have biblical preaching. That’s why He ordained it for His people.

Notice how Paul’s letters tend to always begin with many examples of what God has done for us in Christ….rather than jumping right into a “quick-fix” of what we get to do for Him. That’s the right order. That’s the biblical order and emphasis. God’s work is what matters….both in our salvation, as well as in our Christian life of discipleship. It’s “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27) Motivational speaking jumps right into what you need to do to get right in your behavior. The Bible presents a far better approach than “self-help.” The Scriptures deliver Jesus to us. The Bible is the “manger” in which Christ is laid before us so that we can gaze upon Him and be filled with the life of God.

Self-esteem is sought by those who have not yet “died to self” and risen to live for Christ. Healthy believers, on the other hand, hunger for God’s Word like a baby hungers for food. “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:2,3) Jesus never seeks to build up a person’s self-esteem. That is a dead end street as far as God is concerned. St. Paul said it best: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20) That experience is a far cry from a life of self-esteem that needs to be constantly propped up by a motivational speaker.

May the Lord open our eyes to see the huge difference between these two approaches….and may He then empower us by the Holy Spirit to do God’s work in God’s way. Anything less is just a cheap counterfeit, and is has no business being performed in the church of the living God.

If you haven’t noticed, a lot of what is known as preaching today is no more that ‘self help seminars’ masquerading as the gospel. A lot of this self help is how a person can have a financial breakthrough and will tell lies about supernatural wealth transfers and/or debt cancellations as can be sen below

Unfortunately when things do not materialise, many Christians turn a blind eye and do not ask questions.

On the BBC, there is a story titled ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ where it states:

In these tough economic times, thousands are flocking to wealth creation seminars and purchasing their products in the hope they will unlock the key to becoming rich and “financially free”, like their gurus. But are these courses costing attendees more than they are worth?

“According to the plan, I will be a millionaire in 10 years’ time.

“I owe £4,000 on my credit card, but I will be financially free. It’s going to happen,” says Janice Geddes, a 38-year-old nursery nurse from Ilford, Essex.

She has an unshakeable belief that the wealth creation courses she has paid thousands to attend will teach her the skills and mindset she needs to be rich.

Every day she wakes at 05:45 and spends her time doing a series of exercises known as “wealth conditioning”, before leaving for work at 07:00.

If you want to read the full article and see the video, click here.

The sad thing about this is that though this article is nothing about Christianity, you could easily go to a christian conference and you wouldn’t notice any difference. You will be told to decree and declare, and to speak positive confessions which in most cases give people false hope.

Unfortunately, there is truly a famine for the word of God all over the world. Yes we have many churches and yes we have many sermons but it really does take discernment to wade through the mess to know what is truly a word from God and the only way to recognise the fake is to know how to study the truth

2 Corinthinans 11:12-15 makes it VERY clear that Satan will come in the Christian arena disguised as the real deal with all the christian jargon etc but under it all, Christ has nothing to do with it.

12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

This is why one of the best litmus tests that I use is when someone is preaching, who is at the center stage. With the ‘gospel of you’, it is very man centered and even though this is expected in the secular world with their self help gurus and seminars, this should not be the case with biblical preaching and teaching.

One of the worse offenders of motivational speaking disguised as biblical preaching is Joel Osteen and you just need to put his name in the search bar on this blog to see some of my blogs about him. But if you think that his (and other self-help/motivational messages are biblically sound, click here to take part in a bible quiz.

Remember, at the end of the day, its all about Him and NOT you.

To be continued……

Did you know that you make the bible say anything you want? One of the main problems that we see from the pulpit and from Christians in general is that we used eisegesis instead of exegesis. What do I mean? What many people do is start with THEIR thoughts and their views and then read that INTO scripture instead of starting with scripture and read OUT of it, not having any pre conceived thoughts or ideas and letting the scripture speak for itself, taking into account the historical context. A typical example of eisegesis is with Pastor Clarence McClendon in this clip at the 1:15 mark

Here he starts with a view of the prosperity gospel and then reads INTO 3 John 2 where it states that:

” Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”

But you only need to go back one verse to see who he was talking to

The Elder,

To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth:

John was not trying to make a doctrine about prosperity here. All he was doing was greeting Gaius. It would be the equivalent of us today writing a letter saying “I hope everything is going well with you”. That is all

However, if I told them that the White Camelia Knights of the Klu Klux Klan use the same process to justify doing what they do, I’m sure they would not agree. For example on their website which can be viewed here, they have started with their racist views and then use scriptures such as the below to justify their views

Exodus 33:16 “So shall we be separated: I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the Earth”

Leviticus 20:24 ” I am the Lord they God which have separated you from other people”

Now some may say that this is extreme but it really no different than what is preached Sunday after Sunday in many churches. It is so easy for us in the western world to imprint our western thoughts INTO scripture which is where many false doctrines begin.

Francis Chan explains the difference between eisegesis and exegesis below

I saw this video below which is mainly for those who are preaching sermons but the general princple here should be used by every Christian when interpreting the scriptures and I would encourage every Christian (not only preachers) to use these very useful tips and guidelines when studying the bible. It could put a lot of fasle teachers out of business.

So next time you hear your preacher talking of Blessings, Breakthroughs and Divine Favor and your destiny which seems to be the norm now, ask yourself, are they reading that stuff INTO the scripture or OUT of the scriptures?

One of the things that really frustrates me about Christians sometimes is that we sometimes believe that we above non-christians. We think that somehow that we are exempt from some of the troubles that life throws at us. Yes, we expect to ‘go through’ but there are some things that we don’t expect to go through because we are the ‘King’s kids’. And at one point early on in my Christian life, I used to think like that but then my check engine light came on. Things didnt ‘work’ as I was taught on the pulpit. I started to ask questions. I gave tithes but never saw blessings (in what I thought was blessing) happen to me that was any different to those who didn’t give. I saw those who didn’t give tithes who were getting ‘blessed’ above me. However, I looked at the scriptures and looked at the the life of the main person (apart from Jesus) in the New Testament and that was the apostle Paul. Did I see him being exempt from certain trials as a believer? On the contrary. This is what I saw in 2 Corinthians 11:

But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?

30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.

A gospel full of Blessings, Breakthroughs and Divine Favor, is not a gospel at all. If this is all you are hearing in your church, then I would say that you need to run from such teachings and don’t be blinded by false promises. You cannot plead the blood out of a situation. Life is life. Here are some issues that Christians sadly have had to go through in life

- Rick Warren’s son committing suicide
- Tedashii (the Christian rapper) losing his one year old son
- Marvin Sapp’s wife dies of cancer
- Rev David Wilkerson dies in car crash

Then Hebrews 11 goes on to talk about some who…

….were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”

When we have a false view and expectations God and Christianity based on some of the rubbish that is perpetuated on many pulpits, when stuff happens, we have just set ourselves up for a fall.

So lets be real Christian and not give others this false impression. We will go through EXACTLY (and maybe more) problems than a non Christian but know we have Christ with us THROUGH the trial.

Taken from Wretched:

When I am married, then I will be happy…. until you tie the knot.

When I have children, then I will be happy…. until you have kids.

When my children are more self-sufficient, then I will be happy…. until they are out of diapers.

When my children are in school, then I will be happy…. until they ride off on the bus.

When my children leave the home, then I will be happy…. until you are an empty nester.

When I retire, then I will be happy….until you don’t have to wake up to your alarm clock.

Happy

A Syllogism

Here is a syllogism that is trustworthy and true: Satan is a liar and the father of lies. Satan is in control of the world system. Therefore, the world system is a lie.

The world system tells you that happiness lies just around the corner. Happiness is not where you are, but where you think you should be. Happiness is anything but this. That is a lie.

Perhaps you have purchased the lie. Perhaps you are in a funk because you are not living this God ordained moment with joy. Perhaps you have worked yourself into a state of frustration because today is not tomorrow. You need a Biblical re-orientation.

“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Ps.118:24) So how do we do that?

Good theology

Once again, our worries, problems, anxieties, frustrations and confusions have a solution in good theology.

1. The doctrine of sovereignty reminds you that the day you are living is exactly the day that God has ordained for you. (Ps.37:23). You are supposed to be in the season you are in. You will NEVER be content with any season until you realize that you are in the season that God has pre-arranged for you.

2. The two verses before Ps. 118:24 give us our reason to be glad today, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” (Ps.118:23,24) Knowing that we have a Savior allows us to rejoice today, not tomorrow when we perceive that things will be easier or better.

If you have grown discontent because you perpetually long for tomorrow, re-orient your thinking. Today is the day God wants you to live, and He wants you to live it for Him because He has provided a cornerstone for you.

A few years ago, I posted an article called The Sad State of Gospel Music today. Well I saw an article by H B Charles Jr which also talks about this and also touches on the current trend of Christian reality shows.  I have posted the article below and added some of the videos that he is talking about as well

I love Gospel Music. Traditional. Contemporary. Praise & worship. Choirs. Groups. Solo artists. Old and new. From Rev. So-and-So Presents… albums of the 80s to today’s Bishop So-and-So Presents… albums. I have even started to listen to some quartet and Christian hip-hop.

I love music. And I especially love music that exalts the Lord Jesus Christ. But my true love for Gospel Music has broken my heart.

In two ways…

First, I am grieved by the excessive commercialism of contemporary Gospel Music. I can cite various examples of this illicit love affair with the world. But there is an explicit seduction of the world on Gospel artists that burdens me: reality TV. What is this about? Why are Gospel artists joining the ranks of these mind-numbing reality TV shows? Don’t you now know that “reality TV” is an oxymoron?

Mary Mary

The Sheards

Of course, Gospel artists are not the only ones joining this parade of worldly foolishness. It’s also preachers, preacher’s wives, and preacher’s daughters. More and more religious personalities are nakedly pursuing fleeting celebrity. We want to be famous, rather than promoting the name, message, kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Sisterhood

Preachers of LA

Please to tell us you are doing this to expand the influence of Christ in culture. If that’s what you think, you are extremely confused. Deceived. Out of touch with “reality” (pun intended!). It is easier for the world to pull you down than for you to pull the world up. And in leaning over to reach the world, the church often falls in. And we are dragging the precious name of Jesus down with us.

Where did we get the idea that Christ wants us to help him be relevant in this God-ignoring society? The Lord commands us to be holy, faithful, obedient, wise, and loving. The Lord does not want us to show the world that we are regular people just like everyone else. The world already knows that! That’s why they don’t respect the church. We need to be different. Light. Salt. Our influence in the world happens by the difference Christ makes in our lives, not by blending in. The world cannot see our good works and glorify the Father in heaven by watching so-called Christian leaders divas argue, boast, shop, covet, date, lust, and complain on TV. Get real!

My heart is broken for another reason.

Not only are Gospel artists fallen in love with the world; even worse, they have fallen in love with Word of Faith theology. Prosperity Theology used to be on the fringes of the Christian landscape. Now these faith teachers are the mainstream. And many prominent Gospel artists have digested their unbiblical teachings and regurgitate them in their music.

As I listen to the new Gospel Music released, I am blown away by how talented Gospel artists are. The music, singing, and production can rival anything “secular” project. Unfortunately, I am hearing more thoughtful reflection in some Pop and R&B music than among those who claim to sing for the glory of God.

I buy a lot of Gospel Music. But I can commend very little of it for worship, private or corporate. Too much Gospel Music has too little gospel in it. It is not God exalting, Christ focused, or biblically saturated. It is fixated with self.

“It’s my season…”

“My harvest is coming…”

“What’s to come is greater than what’s been…”

“I don’t look like what I’ve been through…”

“Praise him till you get your breakthrough…”

“Speak those things that are not as though they were…”

“I’m taking back everything the devil stole from me…”

“Speak it into the atmosphere…” “

“I’m claiming my destiny…”

On and on it goes.

Just because you use biblical phrases does not mean you are communicating biblical truth. Cults play that game. Christian musicians and singers should not.

We need music that teaches truth (Col. 3:16), not just cherry-picks phrases that sound good. We need Gospel Music that proclaims the gospel! We need reverent, bible-rooted music that will lead worshipers to think deeply about Christ. We need musicians to record music that will lead us to sing to the glory of God, not just cheer-lead to get an emotional response.

Don’t look now, Gospel Artists, but the upstart Christian hop-hop artists are lapping you. Now, I am not a big hip-hop fan. And I don’t know any of these artists personally. But I am encouraged by their willingness to rap about God and Jesus and the gospel and holiness and doctrine. They are daring to compose and perform truth-driven messages, not mere foot-tapping music.

Gospel artists, please wake up! We are in a storm. And you are playing the Jonah, sleeping your way to Tarshish when you should be headed to Nineveh. The church – and the world – needs you to wake up and give up music about the true and living God!

It is for this reason that I hardly listen to the new gospel music today. I would rather listen to some old Commissioned songs than listen to the unbiblical Christian lyrics that I hear today. I also listen to Christian hip hop which to me are like the hymns for this generation as a lot of it is saturated with sound theology and doctrine.

Am I saying that all gospel music today is bad? No. But it needs a discerning ear. If you cannot discern the false doctrine coming from the pulpit. You will not discern it in the ‘gospel’ music lyrics.

I have heard this so many times but have never really seen it as something that new testamant believers have been instructed to do. Even though this is used for a variety of decisions, it seems to be predominantly when it comes to relationships and choosing a life partner. The person then waits to ‘get a confirmation from God’ so that they know if their partner is ‘the one’.

Now let me make this clear. I am NOT saying that God cannot give a confirmation, but what I AM saying is that we are not obliged, required or instructed to wait for one. It is this REQUIREMENT that has become a tradition of man. Some people refuse to make a decision until they get a confirmation or a sign from God.

I have tried to find the scriptural basis for this for myself and cannot find any so did a bit of research to see where other people are finding it from.

One came from 2 Corinthians 13:1 - “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established”

Here Paul quotes Deuteronomy 19:15 which was to be used in the case of a crime where a single witness was not sufficient. If we look at the context of 2 Corinthians 13, we have to go back to chapter 12:20-21 and see that he was talking about how he would deal with sin in the Corinthian church. Compare this with Matthew 18:15-21. It is not saying that we must ask God for a confirmation before we do anything as some teach.

Further examples where God gave a confirmation was when Samuel anoints David to be King (1 Samuel 16: 1-13), when Jeremiah is instructed to buy a field (Jeremiah 32: 6-9), and with Gideon asking about saving Israel. (Judges 6:36-40) but we must remember that Samuel, Jeremiah and David did not have what we have today and that is the Word of God and the Holy Spirit residing in us so we cannot compare our situation directly with theirs. Nor can we take those narratives to say because they got one, that we must do it as well.

The problem with seeking confirmation or sign from God is that both Matthew 12:39 and Matthew 16:4 tell us that “an evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign“.

So if we shouldn’t wait for a confirmation or sign from God, what should be done instead? This is one of the main questions that many Christians ask when it comes to knowing God’s will in a situation and it seems as if it is a minefield. First of all, please read the answer given below from Got Questions

Question: “How can I know God’s will for my life? What does the Bible say about knowing God’s will?”

There are two keys to knowing God’s will for a given situation: 1) Make sure what you are asking for or considering doing is not something the Bible forbids. 2) Make sure what you are asking for or considering doing will glorify God and help you grow spiritually. If these two things are true and God still is not giving you what you are asking, then it is likely not God’s will for you to have what you are asking for. Or, perhaps you just need to wait a while longer for it. Knowing God’s will is sometimes difficult. People want God to tell them specifically what to do—where to work, where to live, whom to marry, etc. God rarely gives people information that direct and specific. God allows us to make choices regarding those things.

To hopefully answer this question practically, I will give some scenarios and examples (including the relationship question), which I know are not exhaustive, but I do believe that sometimes we can complicate things. I think the principles can be used in almost every area.

Scenario 1 : “I have been praying about dating this person who is not a Christian and want to know what God’s will is”

My Answer: No need to pray. God has explicitly told us in scripture that we should not be yoked with unbelievers so dont try to get God to come down yo your standard. Go up to his. Oil and water will not mix. No matter how much you shake it.

Lesson learnt: There are some things where God’s will are explicitly explained in the bible

Scenario 2 I am looking for a spouse. How do I know if they are “the one”?

My Answer: ‘The ‘one’ is normally a myth. But God have given us some guidelines. Questions to ask yourself would be things like, are they a Christian? Do they love God and is this shown by their fruits? Do they encourage you to get closer to God or further away from him? Are they interested in prayer and the bible? And last but not least, are you attracted to them? If so, make yourself available and go for it!! Now as you can see, there will probably be more than one person in the world who might fit that description, so I believe that God says, be prayerful and YOU make a choice and YOU pick. Difficulties down the line is not necessarily proof that it wasnt Gods will but can be just God shaping our character and conforming us to Jesus’ image. All relationships will have their ups and downs.

Lesson learnt: There are some things where God has not given us specific instructions, but has given us enough guidelines and principles to work with

Scenario 3: How do I know which school to send my child to?

My Answer: As there is no scripture verse which tells you the exact school, get all the relevant information taking into account distance, reputation, league tables and then again, be prayerful and based on that information, choose a school

Lesson learnt: Again, there are some things which are not explained in scripture at all and are not within themselves sinful and God has allowed us to make our own wise decisions based on the information that you have at your disposal. I’m sure many of you do not pray everytime you go shopping asking God which products to choose.

We must remember that as Christians, the Holy Spirit is constantly guiding us, and the fact that we may go through some ‘stuff’ is no indication that it was not God’s will or that it happened because we didnt seek God for a confirmation first of all. It was God’s will that Jesus should be tempted of the devil, it was God’s will that Jesus suffered and died on the cross, it is God’s will that those who live godly will suffer persecution.

As I have stated above, there is no biblical basis that believers MUST get a confirmation before making any decision. Jesus never instructed us to do so, the disciples were not instructed to do and Paul was never instructed to do so.

BUT DONT TAKE MY WORD FOR IT. CHECK OUT THE SCRIPTURES FOR YOURSELF

Related Posts:

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect - Introduction

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 1) : Pleading the blood

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 2) : Tithing

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 4) : Getting slain in the spirit

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 5) : Armor Bearers

For those of you are not familiar with ‘pleading the blood’, see two example videos below

You will see in both cases, they have used ‘pleading’ in the context of a court case and it sounds palatable but the question is, is pleading the blood biblical? Can we find it ANYWHERE explicitly or even implicitly in the bible.

In the first video, he quotes 1 John 2:1 where it states “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”. He then uses this to equate it with the (western) justice system that we have today where the accused has to normally plead innocent or guilty. So he says, when the question is asked “how do you plead?”, the Christian states ‘ I plead the blood’. Can we use 1 John 2:1 as scriptural authority to plead the blood? A plain reading of the text would suggest not.

Now in the second video, the lady said that ‘pleading the blood’ was one of the best fighting tools that the Christian has but even she admitted that she didnt have her scriptures but she knew what she said was true (See my post Emotionalism and Experience versus Sound doctrine). And with the scriptures that did come up on the screen, ALL do talk about the blood but NONE mention ANYTHING about pleading the blood. Lets take a look at each one

Matthew 26:28 – For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Ephesians 1:7 – In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace

Ephesians 2:13 – But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Leviticus 17:11 – For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.

To try to make it out that this is scriptural proof is eisegesis (making your point to fit the scripture) instead of exegesis (making the scriptue speak for itself). In this series, you will see this happen over and over again. She even said what I stated in my introduction how this tradition came from generations and how it had been ‘forgotten’.

Another context that you will see people ‘pleading the blood’ is in the context of spiritual warfare. An example of this maybe if someone is moving into a new house, they may go into each room and ‘plead the blood of Jesus’ to cleanse the room of any demons. Or if they think that Satan is involved in any part of their life or anyone elses life (e.g demon possession), they will plead the blood or say something like ‘The blood is against you’ as if it is a type of exorcism or some type of spriritual ‘abracadabra’ that will get rid of evil spririts. Some may even use the Exodus 12 where it talks about the passover where the Israelites had to put blood on the door posts but that would REALLY be stretching the scriptures to say that somehow, that means that we as new testament believers should ‘plead the blood’ (even though I’m sure it hasn’t stopped others from doing so).

The bottom line is this and I will quote Got Questions:

Pleading the blood of Jesus” has no basis whatsoever in Scripture. No one in the Bible ever “pleads the blood” of Christ. Those who “plead the blood” do so as if there was something magical in those words or as if by using them their prayer is somehow more powerful.

If anyone can show me ANY scripture that tells believers to ‘plead the blood’, I really would like to know and I’m willing to be corrected

As I wrote on ‘Yo mama’

A text without a context is a pretext. It simply means this: Scripture without context will be used by people to try and get the Bible to say whatever they want it to say, instead of (with context) what it actually says”. When we quote scriptures out of context, we do not only dishonour those very scriptures but more importantly, we dishonour the God of those scriptures.

BUT DONT TAKE MY WORD FOR IT. CHECK OUT THE SCRIPTURES FOR YOURSELF

Related Posts:

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect - Introduction

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 2) : Tithing

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 3) : Getting a confirmation from God

1Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?”.He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men —the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”—’ (that is, a gift to God), 12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, 13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” – (Mark 7:1-13)

In the scripture text above, the Pharisees thought that their religious acts was something that pleased God. These traditions were passed down from generation to generation. It had become the norm and nobody questioned it or the motives behind it. I mean, it must have been OK, right? Wrong. Jesus rebuked them for a number of reasons. As well as their hypocrisy, he stressed the fact (many times) that they had held up their traditions above the commandments of God. What they thought was pleasing to God was actually done in vain.

Well things have not changed. In Christianity today, there are many traditions that Christians have accepted as the norm from generation to generation and have not questioned it even though there is no biblical basis for them. It has become so entrenched in Christendom that we accept it on the same level playing field as the scriptures.

Capture

Well I have decided to address some of these traditions in my next series of posts. My goal is to challenge you not to ‘go with the flow’ of what everybody else is doing but to try and find these traditions in the scriptures yourself.  Start questioning what you have been taught and start studying (not just reading) the bible for yourself like the Bereans (Acts 17:11).

Related Posts:

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 1) : Pleading the blood

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 2) : Tithing

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 3) : Getting a confirmation from God

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 4) : Getting slain in the spirit