Friday, February 15, 2019
It seems that just about anyone can make a video of some fantastic spiritual experience, upload it to YouTube, and within a few short weeks receive dozens if not hundreds of views and comments. What's wrong with that you ask? Isn't God getting all the glory from this?
He may, but only if these spiritual experiences can be thoroughly tested by scripture! And here lies a very big problem. Many of these so called visions, dreams, and visitations just don't line up with scripture. I'm not denying that these people are having such experiences, but I do question where they're coming from.
When a Christian goes looking for God outside of scripture that Christian is at risk of being deceived. The truth of the matter is that this is happening all the time in Christendom. We've been given the bible for a reason. It is our road map to Godly living, revelation, and instruction in righteousness. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
Together with the indwelling Spirit of the Lord, the bible is all we need to get to know and experience God. Christians who bypass the bible and go looking for God through ecstatic spiritual experiences, usually end up spiritually shipwrecked. Even worse, Christians heading for shipwreck will inevitably take others with them.
It's a great shame that many Church leaders don't emphasize the importance of the written word of God to their flocks. I would like to emphasize that I do believe that spiritual experiences can and do happen among God's people, but the problem is many times they're not tested by scripture. I wonder how many experiences would stand the test of scripture these days?
Lets be like the Bereans and search the scriptures daily! These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so, Acts 17:11.
One of the best examples of giving priority to scripture would have to be The Apostle Peter and the transfiguration account of the Lord Jesus. Here's what Peter said:
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, 2 Peter 1:16-21.
Now consider for moment just how awesome this spiritual experience was for these three disciples: Peter, James and John were taken up the mount of transfiguration and witnessed Jesus transform into glorious splendor, saw Elijah and Moses talking with Jesus, were overshadowed by a cloud from heaven, and heard the voice of the Father speak.
You'd be hard pressed to top an experience like that, and yet the Apostle Peter says that we have a more sure word. Why would he say such a thing? He knew how important the scriptures were! Basically Peter is saying that even though he had such an incredible experience with the Lord he still viewed the scriptures as more important.
Peter knew that the Christ would carry much glory, which he got a glimpse of on the mount of transfiguration, and he knew this from old testament prophecy. The experience that Peter, James and John had with Jesus could be tested and validated by scripture. In fact, if you do a thorough search in old testament scripture, you'll see that all of the supernatural things Jesus did had already been prophesied. So Peter could say with confidence, "we have a more sure word of prophecy."
I hope you're seeing how important the scriptures are, and how important it is to test every supernatural experience with scripture. A diligent search of the 'more sure word' is what is most needed in the body of Christ today. It is the only thing that will stop a Christian going off into error, being deceived, and deceiving others along the way.
When Peter penned his epistle (2 Peter) he only had the old testament, the new testament had not yet been put together. There were various letters circulation at that time which later became canonized as our new testament bible, but Peter only had the old testament scripture to test his experiences.
Today there are many Christians professing supernatural experiences, some are authentic others are not. It is up to us as believers in the Lord to test all things we see happen, or that we experience ourselves. We must be diligent, at all times, to test all things like the Bereans did. This includes not only supernatural experiences but also preaching, teaching and all writings, and yes I include this blog also.
To conclude this post I'd like to leave you with two scriptures to ponder:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success, Joshua 1:8.