Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Witness of the Spirit

"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

When I first began to learn about Jesus Christ (having come out of a Catholic upbringing), I was cautious.  I didn't want to be fooled again and brought into yet another religious delusion.

I was learning about the Lord through a Bible Study hosted by a woman at my job and I also began to listen to taped sermons from her husband, who is a pastor.  Although I had never heard the truth of the Gospel before, somehow within me I knew I was hearing the truth.  There was some inner witness that what I was hearing was true.  Although I didn't understand that at the time, I now know that it was the Holy Spirit witnessing with my spirit about the truths of the Word of God as He began to draw me to the Father (John 6:44).

The first time I met the pastor, I told him, "I don't believe everything you say just because you say it.  I read the word for myself to see if it is true."  He responded, "That's good.  How has it been so far?"  I answered warily, "You have been far."  He got a good chuckle out of my comments, but I was dead serious. 

"This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth."  I John 5:6

I was reminded of this interaction recently due to a conversation with a commenter on this blog.  The commenter implied that they had been in agreement with a minister at one time.  Then they heard something reportedly said by that minister, causing them to consider that the minister was a false teacher.

Only one question stood out to me for that poster, "Where was the witness of the Spirit in their life?"

It was not of concern for me really whether the poster thought the minister was false or not.  What was of concern was that there didn't seem to be any inclination to find and honor truth.  If the Holy Spirit had once confirmed for them that this minister was preaching the truth, then why were they willing to so casually set that witness aside?  And if the Holy Spirit had never confirmed for them the truth of these teachings, then why were they following them?

Again, this is not about man, for no man is perfect.  It is about seeking to be led of truth in all things.  The standard for a Christian must be the witness of the Holy Spirit.  If not, we will fall into error every time.

No One Knows Their Own Heart

"He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered." Proverbs 28:26

We do not know our own hearts (Jeremiah 17:9, Hebrews 3:12).  As such, we will not know what is truly motivating us apart from the light of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 16:23; Luke 9:55).  We can fool ourselves into thinking we are serving the Lord, but really be moving away from Him.  This is why we cannot be led by what we feel, what we think, or what we want. The things which come out from us (words, actions, etc.) will be a product of what is in our hearts...whether clean or unclean (Proverbs 4:23; James 3:8-18).

Unclean spirits do not like to be found out.  They hide in darkness, which is why darkness is often a cover for sin, particularly for Christians (Ephesians 5:8; II Corinthians 6:14; I Thessalonians 5:5; I Peter 2:9).  One can outwardly appear to be a Christian, saying all of the right "code words" and posting Scriptures, but in the darkness of our hearts, what is really present?

This is what God desires to deal with, if we would but submit to His work (Psalm 51:6; Jeremiah 17:10; Matthew 23:27-28; Luke 16:15; Hebrews 4:12-13).  When we fail to submit to that inner cleansing, we have no choice but to run to a religious delusion.  We will deceive our own selves about our condition and God will leave us right there until we repent & submit to Him, so that He can take us further on the path He has for us.

Not only do we not know our own hearts, but others do not know their own hearts.  There may be times when the Lord will show you that an unclean spirit is at work in another person.  Even when confronted, the person may deny or justify, claiming that such is not the case.  Will you dismiss the word that the Spirit has given you or will you hold to the truth, even while praying for the other person to be set free?  There may even be times He tells you to break fellowship with someone because they do not want to give up an unclean spirit (I Corinthians 5:1-13).  Will we stand by what He shows us, even when it means us making unpopular or hard decisions?  Do we treasure God's acceptance over the acceptance of man or are we still seeking to be men pleasers (Galatians 1:10)?

As we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, we must be sincere enough before the Lord to examine what is really in our hearts.  By His Spirit, He will search our inner most parts so that we can truly be vessels of honor.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24

God has a Path for You To Follow

There is a path, a destiny that God has specifically for you...and it may not be the same as what He has for others.  You cannot afford to simply do what others are doing, say what you think others want you to say, or follow someone else's lead.

What if God calls you to go and do what He has not called from anyone else around you?   Will you still obey and follow Him?  We must be able to discern God's voice in order to know these things as no one else can speak them to us (John 10:27; Acts 17:28; Colossians 3:3).

I often think of Ananias, when God commanded him to go lay hands on Saul so that he might receive again his sight (Acts 9:10-16).  At this point, Saul was a great persecutor of the Church, attempting to imprison and sanctioning the death of many who named the name of Jesus Christ.

Scripture doesn't record that God made an announcement to the general church body that Saul was to be converted.  Yet in a vision, God gave this message to Ananias.  I am sure there could have been questions from other believers about what Ananias was setting out to do and whether he was really being led by the Lord, and maybe not all agreed.  But he went anyway.  Sometimes, the path God has for you is for you to walk alone because he is developing your faith in & dependence upon Him.

This is not to say that God cannot speak through people, for He surely can.  However, even then we must seek the confirmation of the Spirit to know what is truly from the Lord and what is not.  Years ago, God was leading me to minister to a particular young woman who was in sin.  He had me working on a series of articles which would help to open her eyes and draw her closer to Him.  However, a brother in the Lord rebuked me for not confronting the woman and demanding that she change.  Out of a false sense of submitting to authority, I followed this brother's advise and as a result destroyed the testimony the Lord was using me to build with this young woman.  It matters not what this brother intended in his rebuke.  All that matters is that I rejected the leading of the Spirit in order to adhere to man's impressions of what I should do. 

The word from others - including fellow brothers & sisters in the Lord - may not be God's word for you...and we must know the difference  We must never expect any man or woman to do what the Holy Spirit alone can do - be the purveyor of all that is true. There are various men/women of God to whom I listen, but I always run everything I hear by the Holy Spirit.

If we are to follow God, then we must get used to knowing and heeding His voice as it is He alone who directs our path.

In These Particular Days, Deception is Rampant

Article from Gay Christian Watch
Satan is a deceiver and he likes to mimic the things of God, even to the point of appearing as an angel of light to try and deceive the very elect (II Corinthians 11:14; Matthew 24:24).

We need to make sure that the "spirit" we are receiving is actually the Holy Spirit.  For example, the Scriptures warn specifically of "silly women" in the latter days, ever learning but not able to actually submit to the truth because they are filled with diverse lusts (II Timothy 3:6-7).  Yet, these same are being raised up as "teachers" and  "ministers" of the faith today, leading others down the path of damnation.  They have a "spirit", but it is a false religious spirit.

One example of this is the recent testimony of Juanita Bynum where she acknowledges her previous life of sin, including fornication, drugs, and lesbianism.  She then uses these experiences to promote her "inspirational" gospel about the "power of purpose."  How does she move forward from trauma, tragedy, abuse, and sin?  Was it through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ?  No.  It was by finding her "purpose & destiny" in learning that she has the power to change her own life.

If asked what spirit inspires her, Bynum would surely say that it is the Holy Spirit - and she may even believe this to be true - but it is not (II Corinthians 11:4).  How do I know this?  By the message she preaches.  If we do not yield to the Holy Spirit in repentance from sin, then God will send us a strong delusion whereby we fall for a lie (II Thessalonians 2:10-12).  This is where every religious delusion comes from, even in the world of Christendom.

Am I criticizing Bynum for being honest about her sin?  Not at all.  Do I mean to imply that the Lord cannot deliver even from lesbianism or any other sin?  Of course not!  He is much more than able to deliver us from all sin.  However, I am trying to point out that - as the Scriptures say - if we do not turn from and on those perverse lusts that dwell in man's heart, then we will turn to a false "Christianity" as a cloak for our sin and ultimately deny Christ.

The telltale sign of one still filled with unrepentant lust is that they will not receive the truth, but will instead run to religious activity.  They do not want the truth because they are not yet through with sin.  I am not speaking about having issues in sin that you are seeking to overcome.  I am talking about deciding to stay in sin and not being willing to turn from it.

You don't have to know what is going on "in the dark".  Simply examine the word being spoken. Is the person promoting prosperity, kingdom living, self-empowerment, and a "purpose driven life" centered on our existence in this world?  Then they are trying to pamper the flesh and its lusts.  Why?  Because they still love themselves.

Instead of denying self, they want to exalt it, being consumed with self-love and a selfish perspective on life (which is the essence of the sodomite nature).  This is particularly an issue with the spirit of homosexuality and lesbianism because such is the fullest expression of self-love.  Instead of turning from this sodomite nature, many are taking it to the pulpits (in churches and on the Internet) as they become self-proclaimed teachers of "the word".  It is a road to reprobation that every single individual is on according to Romans Chapter 1, unless they have been born again in Christ so that God can renew the spirit of our minds.  Even after salvation, we must continue to deny self or we cannot be a disciple of Christ (Luke 14:26-27; John 12:25). 

Be careful who you receive from in terms of those speaking for the Lord.  We cannot be in rebellion against God, disobeying what He puts His finger on in our lives while jumping up to be His "minister" or "prophetess".  Can God do a "quick work" in delivering us from the bondages of sin?  Yes, but such is directly tied to our willingness to submit to that work. 

We must all seek to become vessels fit for the Master's use through sanctification from sin as empowered by His Spirit (II Timothy 2:19-22).  In this way, we can be sure that the spirit within us is in fact the Holy Spirit of God and He will likewise confirm those who are speaking for Him (Acts 5:32).

We NEED the Witness of the Holy Spirit

We must never forsake seeking the witness of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Such witness is needed in order to:
  • Acknowledge even what is in our own hearts so that we can turn and be cleansed from evil
  • See what spirits are in operation around us so that we can be protected from deception and be an effective witness/intercessor to those who are bound
  • Know the path that He has laid out for us so that we can fulfill His purposes (not our own) in this life
  • Discern which spirit we are of by knowing God's voice from the voice of the enemy which aims to lead us away from Christ
Above all, do not take lightly compromise with sin.  Do not grant an open door to the enemy by thinking that God's words are just not that serious, that we can always change tomorrow, or that God will have some emotional attachment to us that will cause Him to overlook our stiff-necked rebellion.

In the Wilderness of Sin, many whom God brought out of Egypt died unable to receive the promises, except for Joshua & Caleb.  Why?  Because they possessed a different spirit (Numbers 14:24).  While the others still nurtured the spirit of the world, Joshua & Caleb were filled with the Spirit of God.  As a result, they were able to possess the land.  Be honest before the Lord, and He will show Himself faithful to do all that He has promised in your life as He transforms, fills, and leads you by His Spirit.

You may also benefit by reading the following from David Wilkerson Ministries: A Different Spirit


  1. Amen sis!! I am very thankful for this article! My mother and I were discussing being HONEST before the Lord and how when we are, God honors us and delivers us!!

    I was reading a story about a pastor out in California who has been accused of having a relationship with a 14 year old girl. He has been in the relationship for two years, so since she was 12. Now I have a problem with that simply because the bible says: "For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?" Now to me this is telling me that I have no excuse before God about what's inside of me. I know full well what lies within and so does every human being.

    I say that to say this pastor knew he had a spirit of lust and even a perverted spirit because he likes children. He knew that, but pride would not let him confess that before the Lord and so he ends up in total HUMILIATION before everyone, including his wife and family. God allows time for us to repent and to tell Him what we are dealing with and He doesn't embarass us and tell us that we must tell everybody, He just wants us to tell Him. I am so grateful for that because I have dealt with some hard things before the Lord and am so thankful that He allowed me to handle it with Him before I was humiliated or before I brought reproach to His name!! Honesty and repentance goes a long way with God! He will deliver you from all uncleanness when you are honest and desire to turn away from it! I am a witness to that!! Much Love!!

  2. Dear Latterdays,

    My husband and I attend a church in a small town and recently our church has become a foursquare church and within the last 2 years we've seen marriages collapse and families under attack by Satan. My husband believes that it has to do with the church's new affiliation with the foursquare church because we noticed a sift in the messages that are being preached to a more prosperity gospel and if your pastors sin don't leave the church but stay and pray for them type message. We did a little digging into the foursquare church and we found a wikipedia article about the woman who founded the foursquare church that she had possible extramarital affairs and deception about certain events that she claimed happened in her life but since it's from wikipedia we know that everything in wikipedia is not true. My husband it's a former Catholic and he doesn't want to be under a ministry involved with deception. Could you help us, my husband loves your articles and thank God for your honesty from the Holy Spirit, we are new to the faith and desire God and accurate ministry and please help us. Thank-you for be a blessing. May God bless and keep you in Jesus name Amen.

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      I am sorry, but I am not familiar with foursquare churches. If you and your husband are concerned about your current church, then it may be appropriate to fast and pray together to seek God for direction.

      There is something to be said for growing together as a Body of believers, tolerating in love each others weaknesses, and learning to intercede for each other instead of just severing long as people are sincerely seeking the Lord. If so, then God will change our hearts and continue to perfect us.

      That does not mean that we should stay in a fellowship which is going into error. Maybe the Lord would have your husband to raise his concerns to the elders? Maybe He would lead you into intercession for the church? Maybe He would tell you to leave and even start your own local bible study? Only God knows the right answer there, so seek Him and I am sure He will move upon your hearts with what He wants you to do.

      I will say however, don't be discouraged! God can work just as mightily in small towns/congregations as in larger ones. :-) You can trust Him. He will not lead you astray nor will He let you just walk off into error.

      God Bless You!


In an effort to reduce the amount of spam received, Anonymous posts will no longer be accepted. Comments are still moderated and will appear once approved.

If you have a personal message to relay, please use the "Contact Us" form at the top of the blog. Thank you!