The ROCK
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Rock Report by Pastor Paul

This is a blog that comes from my personal devotions each day. It will also include sermons as I have to delete them from the audio section of the website. This blog will also keep you up to date with what is happening at the Rock in Strathroy Ontario 

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  •             Today I will be talking about just how ludicrous it is for the church not to believe in miracles for today and I don’t just mean a few here and there but the church going out in power just as scripture describes and doing as Jesus did. The term ludicrous means “amusing or laughable through obvious absurdity, foolish, ridiculous.” The church should have continued to look like the church Jesus started, instead its sits powerless and desolate. The bible makes it clear that the wonders of God have been present since the beginning of time and were to continue and will continue until the end of time. David said Psalm 40:5 “Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.” King Nebuchadnezzar said Daniel 4:2 “It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me. 3 How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.” satan seems to know this and the more ludicrous he can make it, the more people will follow him even though he is so arrogant he will tell you it is wrong. Remember that satan knows what’s going on. Luke 4:33 “In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34 “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” James 2:19 “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” More Christians should shudder and fear God. Why do you think that satan copies what God does to deceive people? At this point the church is so far off, he just has to sit back and watch it flounder.
                We were warned that this would happen. 2 Corinthians 11:13 “For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” The church is not waiting for this to happen as it already has. satan knows that the supernatural will deceive people but Jesus warned us not to be deceived. Matthew 24:24 “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” They imitate what God does by performing signs and wonders. As you saw with the Toronto Blessing and others like it, the church is very gullible for the supernatural. For a large part of the church, in ignorance, decided all signs and wonders were of the devil. No it is not that all signs and wonders are the problem, it is the falseness of those who perform them therefore those particular signs performed by false prophets are wrong. The imitation sometimes will look very similar and other times they look nothing like what Jesus did such as angel feathers, gold dust etc. One example that has deceived many in the charismatic movement is being slain in the spirit of which they say is a sign of the presence of God. This is not God’s presence. You will see people falling backwards, sometimes remaining still, sometimes convulsing on the ground but backwards not forwards on their face as you see in scripture. Similar idea but you don’t see this in the bible though you do see it in the submission of animals. To tell the difference between true wonders and false, you compare them to Jesus and His word.
                satan also works to deceive people by getting them to doubt God’s word and to follow false doctrines. Millions of Christians have been deceived by false teachings around the world. 2 Peter 3:17 “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.” 1 Timothy 4:1 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” We have been in the last hour for 2000 years. These are called doctrines of demons. One of these doctrines of demons is called cessationism. The opposite of cessationism is continuationism. These are terms that are used to describe the cavernous separation of belief when it comes to the gifts of the Spirit. That tells you right there that there is something wrong, especially when neither side is seeing what the bible describes in the gospels. This is because we are missing the Spirit of truth. John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” Now it is not either or, as one is a doctrine of demons and the other can also be wrong if you don’t follow exactly what scripture states. One group is the cessationists and the other is the continuationists. These words mean just how they sound as one means to cease and the other means to continue. Each group also has a broad spectrum of teaching from partial to extreme. One person defined cessationism as the “teaching that supernatural gifts (actually they are all supernatural but they specifically refer to healing, miracles, prophecy, tongues) have ceased either when the canon of Scripture was completed or at the death of the last apostle.” That would mean that not only have a portion of the gifts ceased, so have prophets and apostles. Continuationism is defined as the belief that the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit taught in the Bible—such as prophecy, tongues, interpretation of tongues, healings, and miracles—have not ceased and are available for the believer today.” That would also mean apostles and prophets have still been called.
                First of all let’s talk about cessationism. We have talked a lot about this false teaching down through the years. The gifts in question are prophecy, tongues, healing, and miracles. The strange part is that all gifts are supernatural but they just pick out these ones to have ceased mostly because they don’t fit with their end time doctrine. You can’t have an all-powerful kingdom if that kingdom is coming later, another false teaching. One writer also includes the discernment of spirits. I will just say it now, that’s ludicrous. How will you know a false teacher if you don’t have discernment? We are warned about false teachers so we need to discern if what they are saying is false or truth. 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories.” Well it’s actually easy to discern as I just quoted one because the bible does not say these gifts ceased. It really is that simple. Neither group seems to have discernment at this point. For example the Pentecostals wouldn’t have gone in the direction they did if they had spiritual discernment yet they believe in all the gifts so even on the side of continuationists there is something wrong.
                I did a little reading on the subject and the biggest problem is that most have exchanged what the bible states for what they can see or what they have either experienced or have not experienced. What they read in the bible is not seen in the church so they change what the bible states as truth. Almost always when you hear someone talking about the ceasing of the gifts of the Spirit, they will include their disdain for the charismatic yet at the same time they will negate what scripture clearly states. You will see personal statements such as “the miraculous gifts I see and hear in the charismatic movement have only the barest resemblance to the New Testament gifts.” Soooo! The charismatics are wrong but the bible isn’t. They will also say “I know of no credible accounts of the kind of dramatic miracles we see described in the New Testament—a limb regenerating, a dead and decaying man being raised. Whatever “miracles” I hear of today are nowhere near as dramatic, visible, and instantaneous as the ones we see described in the ministry of Jesus and his Apostles. I know of no Christian who has been able to preach the gospel in a language he does not know.” Another said “There are indications that the miracle of tongues has ceased. If the gift were still available today, there would be no need for missionaries to attend language school. Missionaries would be able to travel to any country and speak any language fluently, just as the apostles were able to speak in Acts 2.” Yes they would! Soooo! Your lack of experience also negates scripture? Yes it should look the same, so why are you rejecting scripture and not praying that it will happen again and we will see those amazing miracles take place. Another said, “I doubt the gift of miracles and healings exists today, for it isn’t evident that men and women in our churches have such gifts.” Soooo! Just because you have not seen something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The bible says it exists so that means it can exist. Something else is wrong which is why we must repent. Mark 7:13 “Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
                Over the years scripture has been made equal to experience, reason and tradition to the demise of the church. If reason, experience and tradition do not agree with scripture, then scripture is changed and that is deadly with eternal ramifications. Revelation 22:18 “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.” This same person that doubted miracles exist today said, “Scripture takes priority over experience, for it is the final authority, (now he contradicts himself) but Scripture must also correlate with life, and our experiences should provoke us to re-examine afresh whether we’ve read the Bible rightly.” So basically what he is saying is because he has never experienced these gifts we should re-examine how we read the bible and set aside the truth of scripture for what we see. Since we do not see miracles, we must have read it wrong. That is ludicrous. If your life resembles captivity then you repent and beg for mercy. You reexamine your life and compare it to scripture, and then you seek what the bible sates and change your ways. If you don’t see the miracles you ask why are they not present just as Gideon said Judges 6:13 “Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about
                Another said, “I am not continuationist and do not believe that my experience of the Christian faith and life suffer on that basis. Instead of focusing on the drama of the miraculous I find joy in the beauty of God’s ordinary providence. The great drama unfolding in, through, and around us is foremost a story of God working through his careful, constant providence, his moment-by-moment means of bringing about his will.” That is ludicrous and sounds nothing the like the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we go through and look at the miracles of Jesus, there was nothing but the drama of the miraculous. The world was turned upside down. Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.” I’ll take that drama any day! I doubt there are very many people who wouldn’t want to be part of that drama.
                Another said, “There is no denying that God performs miracles. Some of what occurs in the Charismatic movement very well may be a true work of the Holy Spirit. However, the core truth is this: the Body of Christ does not need new apostles, nor new faith healers, nor self-styled miracle workers. What the Church needs is to return to the Word of God and proclaim the whole counsel of God in the power and love of the Holy Spirit.” Excuse me! You want to return to the whole counsel of God except you are going to leave some out to fit your beliefs? How ludicrous is that because here is what scripture states. 1 Corinthians 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” Ephesians 4:11 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:27 “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.” Then Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:1 “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.” I am pretty sure the church is still called the church, disciples are supposed to still go out, even though it looks nothing like these verses describe. It is ludicrous to think otherwise. How about we just believe what the bible says and stop trying to rewrite it.
                Most people will be like these examples I gave that will call these particular gifts in question the power gifts, sign gifts or charismatic gifts. This is a huge error to coin them as something charismatic, as if they were something evil. They are all called the gifts of the Spirit. You do not negate scripture due to the abuses of the charismatic church. The charismatics were right to believe the power of God continued. At the same time they were wrong because they did not test the spirits and seek truth, thus they have been greatly deceived especially when they started seeking more and more supernatural and ended up falling on the ground, barking like dogs, laughing like hyenas and staggering like drunks. Yes not everyone fell for that but many have and continue to fall for this deception. Another issue is that the cessationists pick out some gifts and say they have ceased yet they say other gifts have not. The get rid of prophets and apostles, yet keep teachers, evangelists and preachers. The ones that don’t line up with their own theology and doctrines, they set aside. Cessationism can also be described with this verse, 2 Timothy 3:5 “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” But we are warned, “Have nothing to do with such people.”
                So I ask why are so many in the church fighting so hard against the power of God. Yes they are against the charismatics but in doing so they are also rebelling against the word of God. The answer is simple; they don’t discern the spirits. You have to ask yourself who would benefit most from the power gifts not being available to the church? Why does the church think today these gifts are not needed if satan is still masquerading as an angel of light? By the way satan is still destroying the church and we desperately need power to defeat him because he is winning. The church at present is pathetic which is not how it is supposed to be. Being clothed with power from on High is the only way to defeat satan. He still exists, so how is it they think the works of the devil will be defeated if the gifts of the Holy Spirit are rejected. According to their teaching, then there are no works of power by satan either and we know that is not true. Yes every now and then there is a miracle but you also see miracles with people who don’t even go to church such as being healed from cancer. God set up the church so that disciples would go out and harvest. Luke 9:1 “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” This is what the church should look like. Matthew 9:35 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” If you want to be a worker in His harvest field, you have to have power.
                We are at war but we are loosing the battle because the church refuses to repent and stand on God’s word. Paul said in Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.” We also know that this is the last hour so we had better get this right. 1 John 2:18 “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” We are near the end of the last hour. These antichrists have been here since this verse was spoken. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing.” To have something counterfeit you have to have something real. They would also have to say satan is no longer displaying power if God’s gifts have ceased. If God’s gifts have ceased that would mean satan no longer has power and we know that isn’t true. His power didn’t stop at the cross but we were given power to carry on the work of Jesus and defeat satan with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. Ephesians 1:8 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead.” Instead they give more power to satan than to God. I will say again that cessationism is a doctrine of demons even though the proponents of this teaching would call it sound doctrine. Remember that those who teach this doctrine are mouthpieces for satan. 1 Timothy 4:1 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” This teaching is coming from pulpits. 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” There are definitely a great number of teachers that will itch ears. By following these doctrines of demons Deuteronomy 32:17 “they sacrificed to false gods, which are not God— gods they had not known, gods that recently appeared, gods your ancestors did not fear.”
                Nowhere does the bible say that the gifts of the Spirit have ceased. It is only through the slicing and dicing of scripture that they can say these power gifts ceased thus distorting God’s words. You can make the bible say anything by scissors and tape (cut and paste) as someone once told me. Acts 20:30 “Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” This verse applies to both cessationist and continuationist. Lamentations 2:14 “The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading.” Jeremiah 23:36 “But you must not mention ‘a message from the Lord’ again, because each one’s word becomes their own message. So you distort the words of the living God, the Lord Almighty, our God.” There are false prophets in both groups. If there are false prophets, then there must be prophets of God. Meanwhile because of this their churches are filled with sick and possessed people who need power to change their lives. This pandemic has exposed the powerless church. The cessationist is right in saying there are no gifts presently but not because the gifts are not available. These gifts are not available because the church has ceased obeying the word of the Lord. As generations continue to fly by, the church gets further and further from the truth. Isaiah said Isaiah 59:15 “Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.” This is why we must turn from our wicked ways. John 4:23 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
                The bible does not spend time going over and over the miracles as you go through the New Testament but they are there. The gospels are about Jesus and then after this the rest is about the disciples going out and it’s also about the early church. The church was to continue doing as Jesus did just as the disciples continued. Wherever the gospel was preached miracles followed even if they were not all listed. In fact Jesus did many that were not included. John 21:25 “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” Acts 5:12 “The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” Stephen and Philip were just two of the disciples that had their power from High described. We don’t see all the specifics with what happened to those following these two but we do see Saul who became the Apostle Paul and later in Acts we see the gift of the Spirit continue with the daughters of Philip. Acts 21:8 “Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. 9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.” We are also not told what specifically happened with those Peter had laid his hands on in Samaria but we do know they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Scripture tells us when filled the Holy Spirit, power follows. Acts 8:15 “When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” Most of what we see concerning Stephen was his preaching that got him killed. Acts 6:8 “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.” Another argument many use is that only the Apostles performed signs but we see signs with Stephen, one who waited on tables. We see a little more detail with Philip. Acts 8:6 “When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.” Can you honestly say our cities don’t need that today?
                The bible clearly shows that as the church grew the miracles followed because that is what Jesus said would happen. It is ludicrous not to believe that others were filled with the Holy Spirit and went out to harvest. Acts 6:3 “Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” 5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.” We see the progression of miracles from Jesus, His disciples and then the disciples that followed. That was supposed to continue. When truth goes out, miracles follow. Mark 16:20 “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Paul said to the Galatians, Galatians 3:5 “So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?” These miracles are there, just not described in detail. All the wonders Paul performed were not written down either. Acts 19:11 “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.” As the gospel went out, signs and wonders were part of the kingdom of God they were preaching about. Hebrews 2:4 “God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” Remember that even with Jesus, there were few miracles in His hometown because of their lack of faith.
                When God turns His face back to shining on us, as long as the true gospel goes out there will be signs and wonders that accompany it. What happened with the new disciples was not described. Here is the crucial element that has led us to our desolation and this is the part the cessationists missed as the true reason why the church today looks nothing like the gospels. The church almost immediately began to turn away and has turned away ever since and refuses to turn back. The wonders of God did start to cease but not because they were not available but because of disobedience. All through scripture we see the devastating results of disobedience. Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden. Israel was vomited out of the Promised Land and Jesus warned us in Revelation 3:5 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.”  Paul describes this early disobedience of the church when he said Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” By turning to another gospel, God turns from us and we loose the available power.
                I borrowed this quote that said, “We cannot expect an abnormal inrush of Divine light and power, so profoundly affecting the emotions and changing the lives of men, without remarkable results. As well expect a hurricane, an earthquake, or a flood, to leave nothing abnormal in its course, as to expect a true Revival that is not accompanied by events quite out of our ordinary experience." But though we speak of the manifestations at Pentecost as being abnormal, yet we maintain that Pentecost was normal Christianity. My conviction is that the Divine power, so manifest in the Church at Pentecost, was nothing more nor less than what should be in evidence in the Church today. Normal Christianity, as planned by our Lord, was not supposed to begin in the Spirit and continue in the flesh. In the building of His temple it never was by might nor by power, but always by His Spirit.” Now having used this quote, we need to make sure that the Pentecost power is actually the same. Many in the charismatic church would totally agree with this statement yet still are deceived by speaking in false tongues just as many have been deceived by false signs. Acts is our example to follow and yes language should not be a problem wherever we go. Acts 2:7 “Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” The utterances you hear in most charismatic circles are just blah, blah, blah; just noise. Paul concludes that 1 Corinthians 14:22 “Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers.” The tongues you hear with the charismatics serve no purpose but to deceive.
                Unfortunately the true gospel is not going out into the world, instead false gospels are being spread and millions have been deceived. The cessationists do not believe in prophets or apostles because of what they have seen in the charismatic circles. Yet they have been led astray by their understanding of what a New Testament prophet is. A prophet only speaks the word of God; they do not add to scripture. We are not talking about fortunetellers but true prophets of God. Just a warning! Stay away from anything that involves new age, witchcraft etc. Having said that true prophets of God as we see in Acts can also predict events. Acts 11:28 “One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world.” Yes the canon is closed but a true prophet speaks the words the church does not want to hear but they are already in the bible. If someone shares a vision God gave them but doesn’t line up with scripture, it is not a vision from God. Last Sunday I heard a preacher say God told him to open His church in California against the government’s orders to limit the virus from spreading. Everyone cheered for him yet God is not cheering, as His word from the Lord doesn’t match scripture. Romans 13:1 “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” There is no persecution saying to denounce Jesus or to stop preaching. Now if the prophet and apostles don’t exist, the verses I used above (page 4) about God calling and placing prophets and apostles makes no sense to the church today. This shows clearly why the church is desolate because we are not equipped and there is no unity and too many need a bottle to suck on. Hebrews 5:12 “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” Paul said Ephesians 4:11 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” He then goes on to say that if we follow God’s plan for the church  “14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” Sadly the church has fallen for the scheming. How different the church would be if we would just follow the commands we have already been given.
                Another argument they use is to say, “I see that those miraculous gifts were given for a specific time and purpose—they were given to accredit the message of the gospel when it was first going forth and before the Bible had been completed. As that time and purpose drew to a close, so too did the gifts.” The bible does not say that or even imply that. That’s ludicrous because the gospel was supposed to go to the ends of the earth and the promise as Peter said was also for those who were far off in the future. Acts 2:38 “Peter replied “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” What happens when you truly receive the Holy Spirit: you are clothed with power from on High as Luke tells us. So if the bible was not completed, then why are those gifts  still listed after completed if they are not available. Their argument is actually an argument for continuationism. If the purpose was to go to new places and the power of God revealed in those places showed the power of God, then what about all the new places after. What about the promise Peter gave us. Honestly take a look at most churches and especially behind the scenes and tell me we don’t need the power of God in the church today. To say it was only for that time and place is ludicrous. The word is still going out and to use these verses again Jesus said Mark 16:20 “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Disciples will be going out till Jesus returns to take us home. Hebrews 2:4 “God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
                The spiritual gifts are all listed, if they had stopped, then they would not have been listed. That would mean we have to start deleting other passage like James 5:13 “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” Therefore because scripture tells us this, then go to the elders or whoever is in charge and the sick person will be well. Then ask why is it not happening, even in the continuationist church. So this verse also should not be in scripture because this power is not here to do what Jams said? Notice it was go to the elders and notice that Elijah was a human being. I prefer to keep this verse here, repent and see those healed once again.
                There isn’t really as much to say on continuationism. We need to just read and believe what the bible makes very clear. We would see that the wonders in scripture were to continue because nowhere does it say they have ceased, nor does it even imply these gifts have ceased. This is what this Lenten journey is all about, a return to scripture. What we do see is as Paul said were people, “so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel.” This happened almost immediately. We were warned over and over all through scripture to stand firm on the word of God and not turn to other gods. We were told Acts 20:9 “I (Paul) know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” We must adhere to the true gospel. 1 Corinthians 15:2 “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” 2 Corinthians 11:4 “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” Jesus warned us to not be deceived. Matthew 24:4 “Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Because the bible does not say the gifts ceased, this is a doctrine of demons, which comes from the father of lies, satan. Again he knows that power is how he is defeated If we would just listen to scripture, we would know that all the spiritual gifts would continue.
                But having said that, many who believe continuationism really do not believe that we can actually do as Jesus did even though. They believe that there can be miracles but don’t really believe we can do as Jesus did. They don’t really believe what James said because they have not seen it even though they would like to see miracles take place. Most have resolved that this lack of wonder in the church is just how it is. Yet Jesus said, John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may, and I will do it.” Matthew 21:21 “Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” They will say they believe that miracles are possible but don’t actually seek them to be present in every day life as they were in the gospels. I liked how one writer described himself. He said, “I have always been a theoretical continuationist. That is, I have always believed that the gifts of the Spirit continue to this very day. I have never adopted the cessationist viewpoint that certain spiritual gifts ceased when the apostolic age came to an end. Even though I have always been a theoretical continuationist, I am far too often a functional cessationist. In other words, I am a continuationist in theory, but I look a lot like a cessationist in practice. This gap between theory and practice pricks my conscience. It was a little shocking to see how much my attitude is actually rebuked by Scripture.” I liked his self-evaluation because it describes many who do not consider themselves to be charismatics and not cessationists. They won’t go as far as saying gifts have ceased but they do not repent and seek the miracles to be everyday occurrences or they don’t know these gifts can actually return. This covers a very large percentage of the church. They have been taught like the cessationists that if God so desires to heal then it will happen but the prayer lists are still a mile long. Again read what James said.
                If you are like me, I grew up in the church and did not even know what cessationism was but I did wonder what the charismatics were up to but at the same time I was very much against them, even though I did not know why. It wasn’t until during my journey back to scripture that I was at a church that actually had written down cessationist’s beliefs. They actually stated in the documents of faith that God doesn’t do that anymore. I was supposed to sign and agree but I couldn’t. I believe the Holy Spirit said no, so I didn’t sign and what a journey it has been ever since. Let’s just say there is much opposition to the wonders of God returning. The more you return to scripture the more you become aware of how far the church is from scripture. I have seen both cessationism and continuationism in their extreme forms. Since then the journey has been about seeing what God has for His church and waiting to be clothed with power from on High. I don’t care how intellectuals try to explain away the power, nowhere in the bible says that power cannot be available for today. That has not happened yet but God’s word states that it will. Luke 11:9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
                Today’s desolate church needs to pay attention to this because we too have been taken captive just as Jesus warned us and Daniel and Revelation describe. Jeremiah 29:10 “This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” We also need to pay attention to King Hezekiah’s words. 2 Chronicles 30:7 “Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. 8 Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. 9 If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.”
                As we return to God we cannot be afraid of His power. Yes the continuationists have been deceived as have the cessationists but there is truth coming. Don’t be afraid because of the nonsense you see in most charismatic circles; it is not the power of God. Instead stand firm on God’s word. What you will see when God turns His face back to us is the true power from on High and it will look like the gospels and Acts. What we see in scripture will once again be normal Christianity. If you are part of cessationism, run. If you are part of continuationism that is not seeking gifts, run. If you are part of the charismatic movement and it does not look like Jesus which most do not, run. Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” This pandemic has made fools out of many charismatics and when God turns His face back to shining on us and pouring out His wonders, cessationists will also be made fools of. The best place to be is to have a repentant heart and wait for God to pour out His wonders among us once again.