How to discern a move of God by monkey6

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How to discern a move of God

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									                        How to discern a move of God
I have been a pastor and theologian for more than two decades, and during that time have
both observed and participated in many „revivals‟ and „moves of God‟. Often I have felt
ill at ease in my spirit, but I was always reticent to speak out because I did not want to
gainsay any possible genuine activity of the Holy Spirit.

But now the level of disease has reached the point where I can no longer remain silent!
Men are brazenly asking for large donations and claiming that „God told them‟ that the
first few hundred to respond would become millionaires! Another „man of God‟ kicks an
elderly woman in the face because, once again, ‟God told him to‟! As he recounts the
details of this outrageously brutal act, the audience applauds and laughs! An angel with a
sinister Buddhist names reportedly appears to him, gold dust materializes, the man on the
platform laughs maniacally, and the children of God scream for more! Dear God, what
have we come to! What are we doing! Are we crazy!

Jesus warned us that „…many false prophets will appear and deceive many people’
(Matthew 24:11). Peter also warned us when he wrote that there would be false teachers
who would introduce destructive heresies into the church. He told us that they would
follow shameful ways and bring the truth into disrepute (2 Peter 2:1-3). It‟s happening
right now. Can‟t we see it!

The moment anyone sounds the warning you can be sure that many will howl; “Don‟t
touch the Lord‟s anointed!”, and “judge not lest you be judged!” O please! Who do we
think planted those deceptive seeds into the soil of our minds? Why the very false
teachers we should be judging! The reference to the Lord‟s anointed comes from 1
Chronicles 16:22 (Psalm 105:15) and refers to the warning God gave to king Abimelech
not to touch Abraham or his wife (Genesis 20:6-7). Jesus certainly did tell us not to judge
lest we be judged (Matthew 7:1). He seems to be referring only to hypocritical criticism
of each other, because there are numerous scriptures that instruct us to judge a man‟s
ministry to determine if he is a true or a false prophet - here is one; „Dear friends, 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)

False Criteria

How are we to „test‟ a supposed work of God? The usual answer is „by the fruit‟
(Matthew 7:16). But the „fruit‟ to which Jesus was referring in His analogy is not the
product of a person‟s ministry – the number of people who apparently responded in some
way to an altar call, or the number of supposed healings and miraculous signs. The „fruit‟
are identified in Galatians 5:22-23 as the evidences of character and lifestyle. Judge that
fruit.

Signs and wonders are not valid criteria either. Jesus said that „false Christs and false
prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect — if
that were possible‟ (Matthew 24:24-25). I suspect that most of the healings performed by
these „super prophets‟ aren‟t real. Most are probably the temporary results of psycho-
suggestion and trickery – Simon the sorcerer is a fine biblical example of this (Acts 8:9-
11). But, even if some of the signs and wonders are real, that still does not mean that they
are of God (Refer Matthew 24 again).

Neither is preaching in Jesus‟ name a true criterion, because Jesus Himself said that
“Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in
your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I
never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (Matthew 7:22-23). Not even the
preaching of the „gospel‟ is a valid criterion because Paul observed that many will preach
a gospel that isn‟t The Gospel (Galatians 1:6-9). Interestingly, he added „…even if we or
an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let
him be eternally condemned!‟

True Criteria

So what then are valid criteria? I have already mentioned the „fruit‟ test, but here are
some others:
    Who is „lifted up‟ (John 12:32), the man, his ministry… or Jesus? Where does the
       man direct his audiences‟ attention? To himself, his calling, his angelic
       visitations, his anointing… or Jesus?
    Is the ministry dependent on methods and techniques, or on the Holy Spirit?
       Much of what I have observed is simple psychic technique. Cold-calling, so
       favoured by psychics, masquerading as „words of knowledge‟, mass suggestion,
       sensory overload, and so on. God doesn‟t need psychological techniques.
    Does the man, and his method of ministry, present the nature and character of
       God? God does not degrade His people. God does not brutalise, bamboozle, or
       bully. Look for grace and truth, for these are evidences of the presence of God
       (John 1:17).
    The most telling test of all is, „would Jesus do and say this?‟ Jesus is the full
       presentation of the Godhead to humanity (Colossians 1:15-19). Would Jesus
       create gold teeth in a rich man‟s mouth, or would He feed the poor? Would He
       kick an elderly woman in the face and laugh about it? Would Jesus repeatedly
       bang a person‟s injured legs on the stage as though they were baseball bats, and
       then brag about it? No. No. No!

I do not want to stir up controversy with this article, but I desperately want to warn
everyone – beware, there are wolves in sheep‟s clothing around and they are feeding off
the flock! We are called to be people of faith, not gullible and gormless sheep to the
slaughter. I cannot say it better than Paul when he asked the Galatians; „You foolish
Galatians! Who has bewitched you? (Galatians 3:1). My plea is that we wake up, rub the
gold dust from our eyes, and exercise godly and biblical judgement. Would Jesus say or
do this? If the answer is „no‟ then walk away… fast!

								
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