God agrees with Himself. The witness of Holy Spirit agrees with the written word because it was inspired by the Spirit of God. It is folly to ignore the Bible because we imagine we are ‘in the Spirit.’ Unless we are familiar with Bible teaching and sound doctrine we will not know ‘what spirit we are of.’ The spirit of anti-christ may not necessarily steep Believers in wickedness. This spirit is content to lead people in circles and deposit them in cul-de-sacs where they become clouds without rain.
Evan Roberts is said to have remarked near the end of His life, ‘If only I had taught them doctrine!’ A friend of mine experienced frustration in his role as a young persons’s chaplain recently. Speaking of members of a certain community of Believers he remarked, ‘ I wish they would teach them properly.’ He meant teach them ‘sound doctrine.’ Sound doctrine is simply who God is, what He has done for humanity and who we are in Christ.
‘They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer’ Acts 2.42 NIV.
Some years ago I read ‘The Shack.’ This book is pretty much current revelation in novel form. I noticed that the author included in the narrative most of the things others and myself - as gleaned from apostolic literature - believed Jesus was wanting to reveal to the church at large today. I shared some of the thoughts with a man from a fundamentalist denomination that had also ‘come into the Spirit.’ Unfortunately Bob had not left behind his fear and the false assumptions in which he had been steeped. He had simply bolted ’spirit-filled’ onto the compost bin of His old bad teaching. As a result he lived in the fear Jesus wanted him to be delivered from.
Nurtured in a thinly disguised ‘conspiracy theory’ that was really ‘another gospel’ Bob expressed fright at the possibility of ‘being deceived.’ It should not surprise us that those who live in deception are obsessed with ‘being deceived.’ This is the nature of the controlling spirit. In the culture in which Bob was raised, people already are deceived because truth has been suppressed and distorted in favour of a special identity that leaves them separate from Christ and captive to their own inbred teachings. Beware of those armed with ‘keys’ and ‘our perspective.’ Those who walk in Jesus will never walk in darkness but have the light of life. Should we be living in fear, we need to examine if we are walking in Christ or some other thing. Beware of false christs.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."John 8.12 NIV.
Mavis was a woman who had a strong ability in the Spirit. She had the potential to release prophetic words. But as it was, these were distorted because she had never exited her legalistic, old covenant assumptions. Consequently her ‘words’ were warped by unhealed emotional disease and a legalistic impression of of God.
Should our Jesus be perceived through the law and old covenant assumptions, we deny ourselves His healing power, the freedom to be ourselves and the gift of spiritual discernment. We grope around in a perverted religion that is often worse than no religion, such is its crippling effect on our soul. Mavis found it difficult to live with herself, to live in community and to correctly discern the word of truth. Legalism shrinks the mind and withers the soul - and leaves behind a sludge of judgement. But in Christ all are made alive.
‘When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins’ Col 2.13 NIV.
Recently I was in conversation with a dear friend who had seen an angel present when a certain pastor was speaking. Joe does ‘see’ such things. He sees in the Spirit as many Spirit-filled folks do. I was taken aback, however when Joe opined that seeing the angel was an endorsement of his message and the doctrinal culture the pastor represented. But the angels of heaven do not support teaching that runs counter to the achievements of God in Jesus.
The church the preacher belonged to was a church whose doctrine was steeped in law and old covenant. The least God does is to agree with Himself and keep in step with Himself. ‘If they speak not according to this word, there is no light in them’ Isa 8.20. Whatever the angel was present for, it was present for redemptive purposes - not for the task of supporting what God left behind at the cross. Jesus came to set the captives free - not to maintain them in their self-imposed prisons. This includes setting free those who have been robbed by the Enemy by specious doctrine that annuls the power of the cross, promoting law instead of the Spirit of Christ in Believers.
I did not think that Joe had not seen an angel. But I knew he was misguided in his assumption that heaven was endorsing the distorted of the gospel being preached. Angels appear because of love and grace. Not to affirm our belief in anything that muffles Jesus and dwarfs our being. They hope to draw us into the fullness of Christ.
‘May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God’ Eph 3.19 NLT.
Manifestations are not in themselves signs of Kingdom authenticity. If they are not in the frame of ‘this word’ there is not light in them. Neither is there life. This is why what we do must conform with new covenant reality. This reality is that we ceased living in shadows (religious motions) at the cross and exchanged this for the reality that is Christ in us. Today Christ is totally our life.
Don Aitken writes, “In my own life, there’s frequently a cleansing and softening that goes on in me whenever I am brought to tears of brokenness. Emotions, feelings, and unique manifestations often play a role for those of us who belong to a supernatural God. However, these things do not establish us. We need to be ﬁrmly established in Christ, our Redeemer in Zion, as revealed in Scripture, not manifestations.”
If we are not living in our new covenant inheritance we are not in Christ. We have remained in ourselves. Not only do we need to be in Christ. We need to be in Him in the new covenant mode in which He comes to make Himself one with us in our lives. Jesus is here to impart Himself - not the law, the commandments or a Christian agenda. He Himself is our life.
‘This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God’ 1 John 4.2 NIV.
NEW COVENANT FACTS
1 In new covenant mode we are competent to minister the Kingdom and grow in the fullness of Christ.
2 In the new covenant realm, the presence of God is never somewhere else. He is in you, in those who have received Him, incarnated in house wives and laboratory workers. He has come in our flesh to be present in our being. There was a most Holy place in the old covenant temple. Today that most holy place is you and every band of praying believers.
3. Our new covenant inheritance transcends time and place because it is the person of Christ who is the fullness of God and the completeness of man. He is all and in all.
‘And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself’ Eph 4.10 NLT.
3 You are in the Alpha and Omega. Today time, place and the presence of God have coalesced in Christ our life. He is never some place else. He is also always present in the place and the moment where you are. The trinity have made their home in us. There are no holy times and holy places apart from Christ. There is no sacred or secular. He fills all creation with His presence. It’s not more holy in church or at the front of the church or more holy in church than it is in your home. Neither is it more holy on Monday than it was on Sunday. There is a Sabbath rest however. Firstly it is Christ and secondly this rest is you!
4 In the new covenant Jesus is with us and in us as is Holy Spirit and our Father. He is not present because of much praying. God is present because He is - because He is I AM, because He is incarnated in His people and because we are not orphans but one with our Father.
5 There is no more of God among us because we prayed 24/7 rather than for one minute. The essence of our life today is union with God. Because Christ is our life, our daily living is worship. The truth of God today is incarnation. God is not asleep because we are. We need not find ourselves badgering Him to do what He has already done - come to live in us and placed all things under His feet. So lets not strive to gain a victory over the devil that has already been won. Did you know we can actually attract evil spirits by the kind of intercession that assumes that Jesus is somewhat incapable and in need of our help, together with the notion that Satan is not a defeated foe?
I went to a conference once at which a well-known world intercessor spoke. The hall was surrounded by sentinel like intercessors. It was as if Jesus was not capable of being who He was and enforcing His victory over Satan by Himself. Christ is either all in all He is not.
6. We need not attempt to institutionalise what God has already made freely available in the Spirit, which is unbound, un-coagulated and readily available anywhere people for whom Christ is life pray in His name.
I have encountered people who think intercession is presenting a shopping list to God. I have participated in prayer ministries that are supervised by those without discernment and burdened with old covenant culture and assumptions. Prayer is not authenticated by great effort. Prayer is the simple reality of that we and our Father are one and that we celebrate all of our living in His life and His grace. To live in this latter made is to be doing what Father is doing. It’s to live in worship as a worshiper who is alive with God in spirit and in truth. Beware of ministries that hope to gain a name and authenticity by trading on a general ignorance of the new covenant. In the old covenant we are children of Hagar, captive to the law and living in ignorance of our inheritance as the sons and daughters of God. In the new covenant Christ is our life. We are sons and we are led by the Spirit of Christ.
Jesus listens to those who are the expression of His person and His life. Today we are not only joined to the trinity. In Jesus we and Father are one. So anyone who lives in new covenant union with God in the Spirit participates in the the One Spirit and can know what Father is doing now. Prayer ministry belongs to all and is neither the province or monopoly of the self-appointed or the confusion of the misguided. Don Aitken writes,
‘Every member of the body of Christ is privileged to carry the apostolic genius within him, and is therefore responsible to practice His presence and to walk in His Spirit. We do not need to
pray Him down. He's here! We do not need to labor or tarry to get into His presence, He is alive in us, and always available to us.’
7. We are not reliant on those who are striving to have a ministry. We minister from the life that is within and the multiplication of Jesus in the diversity of the Body. Christ is your life. He is in you and with you. The three personed-God has taken up residence in you and in all who take Jesus’ name. This life flows spontaneously from you because it is infinite and eternal life!