Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Wolf in Sheep's Clothing (11/21/13)
TITLE: Exposing and Sifting
By PamFord Davis
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The Apostle Paul wrote much of the Holy Spirit inspired New Testament. I trust his exhortations that have passed tests of time and accuracy; yet, even Paul had his critics. I am wise to consider carefully the words and ways of those I adhere to today. Is their persuasiveness a result of Holy Spirit equipping, empowering and enabling or merely pretentious clatter? Today, I peruse through Paul’s Scripture passages with the aid of power points; power is the focal point.
• Kingdom Power/1 Corinthians 4:20-21
•Personality Power Deceptive/2 Corinthians10:8-10
•Bereft of Spiritual Power/2 Timothy 3:4-6
I. Kingdom Power
“For the kingdom of God consists of and is based on not talk but power (moral power and excellence of soul). Now which do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of correction, or with love and in a spirit of gentleness (1 Corinthians 4:20-21 Amplified Bible).”
II. Personality Power Frequently Deceptive/2 Corinthians 10:8-10
“For even though I boast rather freely about our power and authority, which the Lord gave for your upbuilding and not for demolishing you, yet I shall not be put to shame [for exceeding the truth], Neither would I seem to be overawing or frightening you with my letters; For they say, ‘His letters are weighty and impressive, but his personality and bodily presence are weak, and his speech and delivery are utterly contemptible (of no account). (2 Corinthians 10:8-10 Amplified Bible).”
III. Bereft of Spiritual Power/2 Timothy 3:4-6
“[They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be [lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God. For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all such people [turn away from them]. For among them are those who worm their way into homes and captivate silly and weak-natured and spiritually dwarfed women, loaded down with [the burden of their] sins [and easily] swayed and led away by various evil desires and seductive impulses (2 Timothy 3:4-6 Amplified Bible).
Using the power of God’s sword, I am able to discern and cut away the facade of sheep’s clothing worn by conniving false prophets. “For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12 Amplified Bible).” He tells us to test the spirits behind the message and messenger.
“Beloved, do not put faith in every spirit, but prove (test) the spirits to discover whether they proceed from God; for many false prophets have gone forth into the world. By this you may know (perceive and recognize) the Spirit of God: every spirit which acknowledges and confesses [the fact] that Jesus Christ (the Messiah) [actually] has become man and has come in the flesh is of God [has God for its source]; And every spirit which does not acknowledge and confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh [but would annul, destroy, sever, disunite Him] is not of God [does not proceed from Him]. This [nonconfession] is the [spirit] of the antichrist, [of] which you heard that it was coming, and now it is already in the world (1 John 4:1-3 Amplified Bible).”
In conclusion, I am to be wise, habitually inspecting the fruit of anyone leading sheep out to feed. Do they abide in Jesus, the Vine? “A good (healthy) tree cannot bear bad (worthless) fruit, nor can a bad (diseased) tree bear excellent fruit [worthy of admiration]. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. Therefore, you will fully know them by their fruit (Matthew 7:18-20 Amplified Bible). ”
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