Discernment: Miracles, Signs, Wonders, and the Kingdom of God

MagicQuestion: Are prophecy, casting out demons, and performing miracles enough to ensure us eternal life?

Eternal Sharing in the Kingdom:
These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name (Jesus Christ of Nazareth) they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues, they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will LAY HANDS ON THE SICK and THEY WILL RECOVER.” Mark 16:17-18

Authentic Kingdom – will call on the name of Christ Jesus for those seeking to be healed and have the Fruit or evidence of restored health. Simply put, those who pray with these individuals are healed of their ailments. Because the heart of these men and women are of the Kingdom of God, God answers their prayers and grants restoration of health (see John 15:7).

Eternal Separation from Kingdom:
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles”. Matthew 7:22

Prophesy alone, Casting out demons alone (see Acts 19), and performing miracles alone are not signs of the Kingdom of God.

God was performing extraordinatry miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick and the disease left them and the evil spirits went out. But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evils spirits the name of he Lord Jesus, saying “I adjure you by Jesus who Paul preaches.”…And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” And the man, in whom the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. Acts 19:11-13, 15

Counterfeit Kingdom – will call on the name of Christ Jesus for those seeking to be healed of various ailments (i.e. freed from demons, illness) but they show the Fruit or evidence of no healings. Simply put, those who pray with these individuals do not get healed. Because the heart of these men and women are not of the Kingdom of God, God does not answer their prayers (see Acts 19;John 15:7).

The PRINCE OF THE POWER OF THE AIR (Ephesians 2:2) can also perform miracles, signs, and wonders which is why God does not use this as the primary way of determining those in the Kingdom of God.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but HE WHO DOES THE WILL OF THE FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN WILL ENTER. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders, and every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. 2 Thessalonians 2:9

If prophesy, casting out demons, miracles, signs, and wonders alone does not ensure eternal life, what does?

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15

“I am the True Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear FRUIT, He takes away; and every branch that bears FRUIT, He prunes it so that it may bear more FRUIT. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear FRUIT of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the the Vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much FRUIT, for apart from Me you can do nothing. IF ANYONE DOES NOT ABIDE IN ME, he is THROWN AWAY as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and CAST THEM INTO THE FIRE and THEY ARE BURNED. IF YOU ABIDE IN ME, AND MY WORDS ABIDE IN YOU, ASK WHATEVER YOU WISH, AND AND IT WILL BE DONE FOR YOU. John 15:1-7

Salvation Prayer:
Dear Father God and Lord Jesus Christ:
This day I call on you (Romans 10:13; Acts 2:21).
I admit that I am a sinner (1 John 1:8-10).
I ask you to forgive me for all my sins (1 John 1:9).
I believe that you, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, died on the cross at Calvary as a sacrifice for all the sins I have ever committed and will ever commit (2 Corinthians 5:21; John 3:15-16).
You died for me, to save me (John 3:17; Romans 5:8).
I say that you, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, are my Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9).
I believe in my heart that God raised you from the dead (Romans 10:9).
I ask you to come into my heart and take control of my life (Galatians 4:6).
I want to start over again. I want a new beginning. I want to be in the family of God (Ephesians 1:5; 1:13-14).
Holy Spirit come and fill me with your presence and attributes (Galatians 5:22-23).
Thank you heavenly Father and all of these things I pray in the name and blood of Christ Jesus. Amen

Photo Credit: Bing

Discernment: The New Gospel

DiscernmentAs we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! Galatians 1:9

Just as in the days of the Apostle Paul, there were new “gospel” teachings being advertised. Paul was concerned that these “new teachings” were drawing Believers away from the Kingdom of God.

“I am amazed that you so quickly deserting him who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the Gospel of Christ”. Galatians 1:6

Paul understood that these “gospel” teachings were not from the Kingdom of God but clever counterfeits designed to lead Believers away from the Gospel teachings of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Paul warned that these teachings were confusing Believers and distorting the Gospel of Christ.

Abba presents the idea of the clever counterfeits in the book of Deuteronomy. He first warns of the sin of adding to and taking away from His published, ordained Word.

‘You not shall add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.’ Deuteronomy 4:2

He through the Apostle Paul repeats the warning in Galatians 1:6-9. Then goes again to issue a final warning in the Book of Revelations of the eternal price one will pay for the sins of adding to and taking away from the His Word. It is eternal.

‘I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book (Bible): if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.’ Revelations 22:18-21

Abba understands there is so much information out there and it can be hard to know what is truly from Him and what is not. God expressly states that what is in His Word is finished. There is nothing new to be added and there is nothing to be taken out of or omitted from the Word. God’s command for every Believer is to be discerning, as we will one day give an account for our activities or negligence.

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22.

Okay, what if a “super saint” or hey “angel” came with a new gospel. This angel or super saint tells us that God gave new teachings in addition to the Word. Well…God has an answer for that too?

“But even if we or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” Galatians 1:8

The prince of the air was an angel as well. He was in fact the most beautiful angels of them all. His character is to counterfeit the works of the true creator. He is very good at creating beautiful things and attractive ideas in teachings that ultimately lead to the eternal pit. This is a call for Believers to clean house. Be discerning of what we are promoting. What we promote or share with others as seen in the Book of Galatians seals our eternity. Be careful.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23

“I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book (Bible): if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” Revelations 22:18

Resources: Critical Issues Commentary
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Spiritual Warfare: Battling the Opposition – Nehemiah Rebuilds a City

The ArmorIn continuation of the Old Testament character series, Pastor David gave a phenomenal, prophetic message from Nehemiah Chapters 4-6. The background is Nehemiah was on the journey of rebuilding the walls of the city and was met with fierce opposition. In each trial, Nehemiah countered the opposition with Godly character.

The Opposition
• Ridicule (4:1-3): “…What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves?…”
The Response
• Cry (4:4-5): “Hear, O our God, how we (you God and we your people) are despised! Return their reproach on their own heads…”
The Opposition
• Threats (4:7-8): “Now when they heard that the repair of the walls of Jerusalem went on, and that the breaches began to be closed, they were very angry. All of them conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause a disturbance.”
The Response
• Cry & Bear Arms (4:9, 13): “But we prayed to our God, and because of them we set up a guard against them day and night…then I stationed men in the lowest parts of space behind the wall,…I stationed the people in families with their swords, spears and bows.”
The Opposition
• Discouragement (4:10-12): “…The strength of the burden bearers is failing…”
The Response
• Encouragement (4:14): “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, yours sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.”
The Opposition
• Financial (5:1-5): “…We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our houses…we have borrowed money…we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves…”
The Response
• Cry (5:19): “Remember me, O my God…”
The Opposition
• Trickery (6:1-4): “They sent a message to me, saying “Come let us meet together at Chephirim in the plain of Ono”. But they were planning to harm me. So I sent messengers to them saying “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” They sent messages to me four times in this manner, and I answered them in the same way.”
The Response
• Stayed on task (6:3)
The Opposition
• Slander (6:5-7): “It is reported among the nations, and Gashmu says, that you and the Jews are planning to rebel; therefore you are rebuilding the wall. And you are to be their king, according to these reports.”
The Response
• Call for courage (6:9): “For all of them were trying to frighten us, thinking, They will become discouraged with the work and it will not be done. But now, O God, STRENGTHEN MY HANDS.”
The Opposition
• Counterfeit counsel (6:10): “Let us meet together in the house of God…for they are coming to kill you, and they are coming to kill you at night.”
The Response
• Discernment & Cry (6:12-14): “Then I perceived that surely God had not sent him. He was hired for this reason, that I might become frightened and act accordingly and sin, so that they might have an evil report in order that they could reproach me. Remember, O my God, them according to these works of theirs, and also the (false) prophetess and the rest of the (false) prophets who were trying to frighten me.”

Summary:
Nehemiah was commissioned by God to do a particular work. He kept his mind on the task at hand in spite of repeated, mounting opposition. He was ridiculed, threatened, discouraged, financially bound, tricked, slandered, and given false counsel but still pressed on. He called upon God throughout the various trials and trusted in God’s ability to guard him and see the task finished. Nehemiah demonstrated enduring character and trust in God, inspiring us to also endure the various trials and trust in God’s ability to see the task he has given you completed. If God gave you the task to begin, God will give you the tools to finish it. Amen

• “So the wall was completed on the twenty fifth of the month Elul, in fifty two days. When all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations surrounding us saw it, they lost their confidence; for they recognized that this work has been accomplished with the help of our God.” Nehemiah 6:15-16

• There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD. Psalm 21:30

Resource Credit: Pastor David Smith