- Religion and Philosophy
What is a Christian?
MIRACLES & PROPHECY
If a man or woman can perform miraculous signs and wonders, does this automatically mean that they represent the Kingdom of God? What if they love their friends, does that make them Christians? Read on to find out what Jesus says about what separates His people from others.
Is it miracles? If a person can heal the sick, make the deaf to hear, and raise the dead, are they automatically a Christian? Can false prophets perform signs & wonders?
Hebrews 2:4 says God performs signs & wonders:
“God also bearing [them] witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”
However, servants of Satan also perform signs and wonders:
2 Thessalonians 2:9 “[Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,”
Conclusion: A miracle does not necessarily show the presence of the Kingdom of God. The miracle you witness might just be a "lying wonder", as Paul described it in his letter to the Thessalonians.
Some true servants of God prophecy as a tool to display the power of God. Other true servants of God have other gifts.
1 Corinthians 12:10 “To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:”
So, some Christians will prophecy, but not all will be able to display the power of God by declaring the unknown as if it is known.
However, there will be those who do not know Jesus, and do not know God, but will prophecy. Some of these are "psychics", who work with demons and claim personal possession of power. Others will claim to be be Christians, calling themselves by that name, but really, they operate under some other power:
Matthew 7:22 “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?”
But, Jesus replies:
Matthew 7:23 "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity"
So, we see that some who do not know the true God will prophecy, yet will be fakes. So, we cannot look to prophets, even those who are 100% accurate, and have a guarantee that we have found the true Body which belongs to God Almighty, the one true Creator of Heaven and Earth. Because Paul warned us these are actually "lying wonders", these acts of false prophets may actually be deceptions, as in Todd Bentley, who claimed thousands of healings, and even the dead raised to life. But, when challenged by ABC, could not produce even one person who would testify of a healing.
CASTING OUT DEVILS & SPEAKING IN TONGUES
CASTING OUT DEVILS
Deliverance ministry is on the rise. Many are casting out devils. This, too, is not a sure-fire way to determine the presence of the real God. I have heard true stories of Muslims casting out devils. I have received dreams from non-Christians in which they cast out their own devils in their dreams. I have met a Pakistani Muslim whose sister was healed when a Muslim cast out her demon. Scripture in the Bible tells us
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7, KJV).
A person need not be Christian to resist spirits of alcoholism, smoking or lust. He only has to be strong and resist. Devils will leave when they are starved out. The more important part of James 4:7 is "submit... to God." How can a Muslim or unsaved person obey God? There are people who live according to God's law- and they have never heard it.
Matthew 7:22, quoted above, also shows that casting out devils guarantees nothing about the one who exorcises.
SPEAKING IN TONGUES
Some today insist that one is only saved into the Body of Christ if speaking in tongues manifests. Scripture does not support this.
Acts 18:25 “This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.”
This man, Apollos, had not received the gift of tongues. This means he had not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He had only the Baptism of John, a water baptism unto repentance. However, he was preaching about God fervently.
In fact, the Holy Spirit only came 50 days after Jesus died on the cross. Everything the disciples did: casting out devils, healing the sick, and cleansing lepers was done without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which they received later, on Pentecost.
Speaking in tongues or not speaking in tongues is not a guaranteed indicator of who is a Christian or who is not a Christian.
PREACHING & WORKS
Looking at the same testimony of Apollos in Acts 18, we see that Apollos did not preach exactly right. Some other believers took him aside and instructed him:
Acts 18:26 “And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto [them], and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.”
So, Apollos did not preach perfectly at the outset of his ministry. However, he was a true servant of God and taught about the truth of God, the true God of Abraham. So, preaching perfectly does not mean someone belongs to God or not. One false pastor can sit before a true servant, and later repeat the entire sermon, word for word. It will sound perfect. However, the spirit behind it will not be the same, and the effect on the sheep will not be the same, either.
A Christian will perform works. Jesus performed the greatest service of all: he laid down his life and was crucified to serve as a recompense for all who have sinned. He stands as an example to hold others above ourselves. This spirit of service and esteeming others is natural to those with the same Spirit.
But, look again at Matthew 7:22 above: “…and in thy name done many wonderful works?” (KJV). Some perform good works. They proclaim Jesus. But, they do not know Jesus. If you want to find Jesus, the Son of God, through whom we may know God, you cannot simply look at their kind works.
Elisha had the spirit of Elijah. He performed miracles very similar to the miracles performed by Elijah. Within moments of receiving a "double portion" of the spirit of Elijah, Elisha parted the waters of the River Jordan, just as Elijah had done the same day.
Our works should show the spirit within us. If our living fails to show some of the works of Christ and the disciples, do we have the same spirit as them?
What Spirit is in You?
TRUE SIGNS OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD
TRUE SIGNS OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD
Jesus tells us how to know the true people of God:
John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
Mat 7:16-20 “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
DOES THE WILL OF OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN
Mat 7:21 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
Pro 3:11 “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
Zep 3:2 “She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the LORD; she drew not near to her God.”
Those who desire God will receive correction. Those who do not desire God continue in their way. Consider Apollos, mentioned in Acts 18. Apollos received correction. King David, chosen by God, received correction and repented. King Saul did not repent from his heart. Saul only made a show of repenting.
The city in Zephaniah 3:2 is "cut off" because she corrupts justice, and does not repent of it.
OBEYS THE COMMANDS OF JESUS
John 14:15 “If ye love me, you will keep my commandments.”
Mat 22:37- “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
PRAYS FOR ENEMIES
Matthew 5:45-48 "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."