Monday, November 15, 2010

“GUARDIANS OF THE HOLY FIRE”




“GUARDIANS OF THE HOLY FIRE”
by Michael Edds


Mark 16:17-18, Jesus said to the Apostles, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

Matthew 24:24-25 “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.” 

Christians have entered the "perilous times" foretold by the Apostle Paul long ago.  Knowing that his time is short, Satan has declared full scale war against the Church.  In this time of the approaching Final Great Awakening, he is mustering his forces and polishing his arsenal of diabolical weaponry.  His goal is to stop or wreck the End Time harvest of souls.  Christ warned that false "christs" and false prophets would arise performing incredible signs and wonders and would deceive many.  Yet, He also said that signs and wonders would follow them that believe.  This requires great discernment!

Throughout the history of the Church, we discover that a reoccurring pattern.....  "when God moves, Satan counter moves."  Satan's greatest weapons are infiltration and deception.  Whatever God does, Satan creates a deceptive counterfeit. He does this to discredit what God is doing.

Many of the Awakenings in our historic past have been stopped by Satan infiltrating the movement with lying signs and wonders.  Confusion and reproach have resulted.  The faith of thousands have been overthrown.

Jonathan Edwards, one of the great leaders of the First Great Awakening, wrote...It is by the mixture of counterfeit religion with true, not discerned and distinguished, that the devil has had his greatest advantage against the cause and kingdom of Christ… It is by this means, principally, that he has prevailed against all reviving of religion....since the first founding of the Christian church."

John Wesley gave warning when he wrote, "At the first, revival is true and pure, but after a few weeks watch for counterfeits."

The great revivalist, Charles Finney, cautioned, "I have known some cases where persons have rendered themselves highly ridiculous, have greatly injured their own souls, and the cause of God, by giving themselves up to an enthusiastic and fanatical following of impressions."


The battle between the forces of God and those of Satan has escalated into ALL-OUT WAR!!  The move of God has begun.  True signs and wonders are being manifested. However, there has also been a massive increase in counterfeit signs and wonders. The Church must equip itself with great discernment in order to distinguish the difference between God's signs and wonders and those of Satan.  Thousands in many Charismatic churches have fallen into deceptive and Satanic signs and wonders.  It is astonishing!! 

How can we decide what is of God and what is of Satan?  The Lord has provided us with the wisdom to keep from falling prey to the enemy.  In the discernment of signs and wonders, we need to heed the following guidelines. 


HOW TO DISCERN BETWEEN THE REAL and     COUNTERFEIT SIGNS AND WONDERS.....



o   Is the manifestation the Holy Spirit or Humanism?  Humanism says “How does it bless, affect, gratify me? What’s in it for me?"  That of the Holy Spirit states “How does it bless, affect, please, or minister to God? 
   
o  What is the Focus?  Does the manifestation make me or God the focal point?   Is the focus upward or outward?  Does it draw attention to me or to God?
 
o  Edification:  Does the manifestation edify just me or the Church:   1st Corinthians 14:12 states “ Even so ye, inasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying."  The manifestation should be a blessing to others in the Church.

o  Orderly: 1st Corinthians 14:40   “Let all things be done decently and in order.”  Vs. 23 states that if we fail in this area,  people will think we are mad or crazy.  Orderly means that the manifestation is:
a.    Controllable:  Any manifestation that is beyond my control or that I cannot stop is not of God.  Paul states in  1st Corinthian 14:32 “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.” We are not puppets.  God will not violate our self will.

b. Confusion:  1st Corinthians 14:33 “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” A manifestation of God does not bring massive confusion in the Body of Christ.

c. Is the manifestation a "symphony"(a harmonious blending of different beautiful sounds)   or a "cacophony" (a harsh, repulsive,  discordant mixture of noise and sounds).  Does it draw people to God or repulse them?

o  Modest:   Is it decent, beautiful, holy, not extreme, not call attention to self, not ostentatious, does not violate moral code? 
 
o  Above Reproach: Are my life and my worship congruent? Does my lifestyle contradict the manifestation or am I living a holy life?  Like the disciples, will people say that they can see that "We have been with Jesus?”

o  Is it Scriptural?  Are there scriptural references for this manifestation in the Word of God? The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.  “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” His Word gives us direction and illumination in all things.  Psalms 119 warns us to  “try the spirits to see if they be of God.”  We test them based upon the Word of God. 
 
o  Private Worship or Public Worship?  There are intimate experiences/conversations that we have we have with our mates that are not for public display.  It would cause confusion and embarrassment.  Likewise, there are private encounters and experiences with God, which are not for public display.  It is for our personal edification.  Otherwise, in public it would not be understood and cause confusion. We must determine what is for private worship and what is for public.

o  I am following something or is it following me?  Mark 16:17   “These signs shall follow them that believe.”  Jesus Christ is the "Prime Product," while signs and wonders are the "By - Product."  Signs are a result or by - product of being with Christ.  Are we pursing Him or what He does?  Matthew 16:4  “A wicked and an adulterous generation seeks after a sign.  Our primary object should not be seeking signs but seeking Him.  Paul said in Philippians 3:10  “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” 

o  Do the signs and wonders lead people to Christ?  Do they draw people closer to God and to give God the glory or are they just drawing fascinated thrill seekers? 



Throughout the generations of the church, Satan has used the same weapons... that of infiltration and counterfeit manifestations to discredit and destroy the authentic move of God.  He is doing the same today.

During the time of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, Moses and Aaron would take censers and gather up holy fire that had descended from God, which had burnt up the sacrifice.  This holy fire would be mingled with incense and taken into the sacred space of the tabernacle.  They were guardians of this holy fire. 

Aaron's two sons tried to imitate this by taking "strange fire" or unholy fire and mingling it with incense.  Fire came from God and destroyed both of the men!  

We must be Guardians of the Holy Fire in this hour.  We do not want to inhibit true manifestations, signs and wonders from God. These are divine witnesses to a world collapsing under the weight of sin.   On the fringes of every move of God, Satan will commence counterfeit signs and wonders.  It is when these fringe elements seek to take control of the move of God that we must take a strong stand to stop it.  We cannot allow them to discredit and destroy this Final End-time Revival.  We must try the spirits to see if they be of God.  Otherwise, the entire move of God will be destroyed and countless souls lost.  

The Final Harvest is at hand.  God is restoring the church to the glory of the Early Church.  Satanic forces are gathering to oppose and stop this End Time Awakening.  He will infiltrate with lying signs and deceptive wonders.  He will deceive the very elect of God if possible.  We must discern all manifestations to see if they be of God.  It is "holy fire" or "strange fire?"  We are Guardians of the Holy Fire!   
  

 



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