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Saturday, November 14, 2015

I Opposed Him to His Face

Now playing as the unopposed main attraction in some assemblies: dancing, displays of euphoria and ecstasy, notions of speaking to God and other displays of piety and devotion. Some saints are intimidated and silenced when they see these things. They assume that since they cannot understand it, it must be something which can not be understood. Therefore, it must be a mystery from God which can not be understood

things we say and do

Often it is so much easier to put on a grand display of so-called piety and devotion rather than to understand. Can the saints know whether what another saint does or says is from the Spirit or a self-delusion? How does one know? Does the mere claim from one who says and does those things that he/she is in the Spirit make it so? There are things, such as demonstrations of love, which we say and things which we do for others and for ourselves. When we say and do things to or direct those things, such as with unknown or ulterior motives, at someone they may be with good or evil intent. Then there are those things which we say and do because of someone else, that is, we are inspired or motivated by someone else in those things which we do.


a politically correct spirit

Clearly, there is room to be misguided perhaps because of a misunderstanding. American society in recent decades has come to be largely swayed by what is called pc or political correctness. The only basic understanding required even if one has never heard the term is to not say or do anything lest someone be offended. Even though the cry of the church and the saints in Christ is one of disdain as concerns political correctness; the truth is the church has come to be dominated by a similar mentality. It is called, and is mistakenly attributed to, “being in the Spirit.” Saints who profess to do things and speak things as being in the Spirit hold sway. No one dares to oppose them. No one wants to appear be or to be opposed to the Spirit.

Definitely, no one wants to appear to be or to hear the dreaded accusation that they are unspiritual; the equivalent of political correctness in the body of believers.

promoting ignorance

It is under that same dread and their own ignorance that the best response some who lead, teach and preach have in response to such displays is to promote ignorance. They wonder out loud: Who am I, who are we to resist or suppress the Holy Spirit? It’s a rhetoric often accompanied with a display of their own in the form of a little laughter so as to lighten the moment and make little of it. It is a reflection of their little understanding and little faith.

a teachable moment

The truth is the reason saints who might do or speak as they please without ever being questioned or opposed is because of a lack of understanding and knowledge of the scriptures and the confidence and conviction by other saints of whom it is no less true that God dwells in them. The worship assembly of the saints becomes a spectacle and a grandstand for the wild and the outlandish. Yet, the instance in which the apostle Paul opposed Peter to his face is a clear and powerful lesson for our learning. The action of opposing a brother whether or not it is in the assembly, such as Paul did with Peter, is not a license to create a spectacle or to lash out in the name of the Lord in a display of self-righteousness. Instead, it is the opportune moment to model teaching as much towards the individual as for other saints who are present. So, what is it that we are to teach in that moment?

the spirit is subject (see I Corinthians 14)

When the saints in Christ in the assembly in Corinth reveled in what was nothing less than what they thought was the festiveness of the Holy Spirit the apostle Paul was quick and clear in his admonishment to them. Although there were several men and women who did possess the gift of prophecy there was no excuse, - or tolerance, for the chaos and spectacle which they had created and were fomenting all in the name of the Lord and “in the Spirit.” Seemingly, as they and like some some today explain it today, they just couldn’t help themselves because they were overcome by the Spirit. However, Paul cut through such flakiness and informed them that, the spirit is subject to the prophets.

the spirit speaks without confusion

The words of Jesus bear a striking significance: It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. (John 6:63) Note the fact that the Spirit speaks. He speaks with words. He speaks for our understanding and edification concerning our God and his will for us and those to whom the Spirit leads us to draw them to the kingdom of heaven. It may be a great sensual pleasure to revel a moment of blissful ecstasy as one’s expression of devotion to God, but it speaks nothing to the believers and nonbelievers who witness such a spectacle.

the spirit speaks for our edification

As previously stated, the Spirit speaks for the edification of the saints. If what is said or done is not for the understanding and edification of those who hear it may not necessarily be wrong or demonic, but the message from Paul is sit down, keep it to yourself and keep silent.

conclusion

There is a vital need for the saints to not only understand and be confident about the indwelling deity in them, but to demonstrate that confidence and oppose wrong and ignorant notions of piety and devotion mistakenly attributed to the Spirit by some saints. This is not a call or an invitation to revel, engage or create a carnal spectacle in the assembly when confronting a brother or sister. It is a call for the saints to take up the opportunity to admonish that individual, but to also teach and enlighten those who see these things in the assembly. The apostle Paul saw fit to oppose the apostle Peter to his face. The saints in Christ can do no less with a brother or sister who has unknowingly or unknowingly become enmeshed in a hypocrisy. It is hypocrisy because inasmuch as they can not or will not express what they say and what they do for the knowledge and edification of others is two-faced and not of the Spirit.

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