When I went to Bible school in 1982, an elder in the body of Christ warned me. He basically told me that knowledge puffs up and makes one proud, and that I was going into a spiritual jungle and would hear many new things. I was only 18 months old in the Lord, and he was concerned that I would not discern between what was human, divine or even demonic. He was concerned that as a young convert, I would lack discernment to rightly divide the things of the soul and the things of the Spirit, or that which was "good" versus that which was truly born of God.
By the grace of God, I thrived in Bible school and cultivated a healthy, intimate prayer life with the Lord, and He kept me from stumbling and falling into error or pride. I learned great truths from a general in the faith, the late Kenneth E. Hagin, who had the deepest prayer life and love walk of any man I've known to this day. The supernatural followed his life and ministry, and even though he was a man of the Word, spectacular visions of Jesus marked his ministry. And yet to this day, he is one of the most misunderstood ministers, and many still fail to receive his ministry and the many truths and light he brought to the body of Christ.
When I survey the landscape of Christianity today, I have similar concerns to those the aforementioned elder had for me all those years ago. It is a vast spiritual jungle out there with many more false apostles, false prophets and false teachers than there were back in my earlier Christian days. There are many conferences and a host of celebrity-type ministers who are polluting Christendom with teachings and practices that are thoroughly unscriptural, and even some that border on the occultic.
We must familiarize ourselves with the real Spirit of God and be grounded in the Scriptures, or we could succumb to the spirit of error that is prevalent in this hour.
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1).
"But the anointing which you have received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. For as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and just as it has taught you, remain in Him" (1 John 2:27).
Be very careful, my friends. There are some popular names out there that are in grave error concerning doctrine and practice, and they even have questionable lifestyles. Some have a multitude of followers even numbering in the millions. Just because someone has a big name, a big ministry or a mega-following does not mean they are following God. Jesus warned us that we would know them by their fruits.
Where many miss it is that they judge these misguided leaders by the fruit of their ministries, their gifts, talents, popularity, size and influence of their ministry instead of by the fruit of their lives, their character, marriage, children, home life and so on. Who you are in the home is who you really are. Don't be fooled.
I could say much more, but this is sufficient for now. The safeguard against deception is to cultivate humility, teachability and a strong Word and prayer life as well as a love for the truth. Surround yourself with true fathers of the faith and elders in the body of Christ.
" Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with rejoicing, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen" (Jude 24).
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