Posted in discernment, theology

They hate souls

By Elizabeth Prata

The Pharisees lived scrupulously for God. They said they loved Him. They lived a moral life. They did all the rituals. They vigorously protected the Temple. They howled prayers in the streets. They attend all the feasts. They seem humble. Looking at them, you’d think they were the picture of religious perfection.

Here is the truth. They did not love God. They hated God. They did not repent. They were unteachable. They loved money. They were prideful. They hated salvation. They made others into sons of hell twice as bad as they are. They hated souls. They killed Jesus.

Believers would agree with the above, I think. A Christian of any level of maturity, any age in their walk reading the Bible, can see the Pharisees were God-haters. ‘Sure’, you say, ‘they were hypocrites’. Notwithstanding that Jesus called them hypocrites, Bible readers can see that many in the Pharisee group did not live as they preached.

The scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you — but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. (Matthew 23:2–3).

We can tell they hated God because they rejected every sign Jesus did, signs that they demanded. We can see that they knew the Law but did not practice it. They rested on their knowledge of the Old Testament but did not love the people. They didn’t help the people know more of God. hey were not a light. ‘Sure! easy-peasy to see that!’

Yet it is hard for today’s believers to see that their favorite Bible ‘teacher’ is also a Pharisee-type person. When you point out the same things, they say, ‘Nooo, she says she loves God! She lives for Jesus! She’s so moral! She’s so vigorous and passionate! He is so humble, he even says so! He preaches every week and does all the right things! How can you even say they hate souls!!

Jesus explained in Matthew 23:5-7, in His warning against hypocrites,

Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

So how can you tell if someone claiming to love Jesus and teaching His word is a true believer or a hypocrite? One way is that the Holy Spirit gives illumination of His word to your mind. If you’re in the Word, you will know truth from error. When something wrong is taught to you, you can detect the difference. Then you can check the difference in His word.

Staying in the word also hones your discernment. Hebrews 5:14 says,

But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

The Spirit also dispenses spiritual gifts to all He sees fit, and one of those is the gift of discernment. (1 Corinthians 12:10). In your congregation you’ll have someone or several someones who possess an extra dose of discernment and who is highly sensitive in detecting truth from error. Seek them out, ask, pray it through and then regroup to train your own discernment by being a Berean. (Acts 17:11).

Finally, here is a helpful article from Founders Ministries on 5 ways to see The Difference Between the True Christian and the Hypocrite, talking about the true nature of conversion from the Puritan book The Christian’s Great Interest by William Guthrie.

I know we all have blind spots. Sometimes while living in the moment we’re in, we can’t see outside of it. I know sometimes it’s easier to see the past false teachers than today’s because of our myopia. But the Spirit points us to all truth, so read the Bible, stay in close fellowship and submission in your congregation, listen to others further along in your walk, and pray for wisdom. He is so generous he will give wisdom without reproach! (James 1:5, Psalm 51:6, Proverbs 3:6).

discernment

Posted in discernment, theology

Being led by the Spirit: What does it mean exactly? Should I expect to hear directly from Him? part 2

By Elizabeth Prata

Yesterday in part 1 I’d examined the fact that women for generations now have been taught from so-called Bible teachers and book & devotional authors that we hear directly from God. Whether these revelations or direct contacts are in the form of whispers, prompts, visions, impressions on our heart, ‘told me,’ or audibly, we’ve been taught that it’s supposed to be normal to have a relationship full of lively, direct communication.

I’d said no, that is not the normal method of communication from God, He speaks from the Bible and the Bible alone. Continue reading “Being led by the Spirit: What does it mean exactly? Should I expect to hear directly from Him? part 2”

Posted in discernment, theology

Being led by the Spirit: What does it mean exactly? Should I expect to hear directly from Him? part 1

By Elizabeth Prata

On Facebook recently I’d posted a mini-discernment lesson regarding a tweet a well-known self-described Bible teacher had written advocating a process for distilling whether a prompt from the Holy Spirit is legitimate or if it’s your own imagination. Continue reading “Being led by the Spirit: What does it mean exactly? Should I expect to hear directly from Him? part 1”

Posted in discernment, theology

My friend listens to false teachers and goes to events where there are false teachers

By Elizabeth Prata

The false teachers and events draw many thousands of people. I was astounded in 2011, when attending a Beth Moore Living Proof Weekend event, 20,000 women filled the stadium. The pillars shook with thunderous applause when she walked out on stage. Yet the teaching was completely ‘Me-centered’. We didn’t learn about God when Moore ‘taught’ from Deuteronomy, we learned about Beth Moore.

Charismatic healing or prosperity events often fill huge amphitheaters, for example, the South Africa Mighty Men events Angus Buchan hosts or the Benny Hinn ‘healing’ events seen around the world Continue reading “My friend listens to false teachers and goes to events where there are false teachers”

Posted in theology

When we’re ‘up there’, will we know/see what is happening down below?

By Elizabeth Prata

Some believe that the souls in heaven have absolutely, not one iota of a visual of what is happening down below (John MacArthur). Others, for example, Catholics, (a false religion) think that the souls in heaven hear our prayers and intercede and even visit down below. The Catholic stance, I believe, has led to the popular culture’s opinion that the souls in the heavenlies are “looking down on us”. Certainly their false notion that we can pray to the dead saints and they will intercede for us adds to the misperception. Let’s explore this a bit more. Do dead saints know or see what is happening on earth? Continue reading “When we’re ‘up there’, will we know/see what is happening down below?”

Posted in theology, word of the week

Sunday Word of the Week: Fruit of the Spirit, Kindness

By Elizabeth Prata

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

kindness here in Greek (xrēstótēs) means a useful kindness, referring to meeting real needs, in God’s way, in His timing (fashion). Hence 5544 (xrēstótēs) is listed as a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). With the believer, 5544 /xrēstótēs (“divine kindness”) is the Spirit-produced goodness which meets the need and avoids human harshness (cruelty). Strong’s.

Continue reading “Sunday Word of the Week: Fruit of the Spirit, Kindness”

Posted in G3, theology

Last impressions of G3: Conclusion

By Elizabeth Prata

Sitting here in the rainy dark, I have unpacked from my three days away at the 2020 G3 Conference in Atlanta. G3’s tagline is Gospel-Grace-Glory. It is a heavily Christian conference, focusing on preaching, doctrine, and more preaching. The theme this year was “Worship.”

I attended with two younger ladies from our church, and also attending from our church was our teaching pastor and his wife, and one of our teachers in the church. Also a friend who I haven’t seen in a long while who I used to go to church with but is now a pastor somewhere else. He brought his son to the conference on the last day. The young boy wore his best suit coat, held his Bible tightly, and asked “Can we meet John MacArthur?” Continue reading “Last impressions of G3: Conclusion”

Posted in encouragement, theology

Why didn’t God stop Eve from eating the fruit?

By Elizabeth Prata

I was listening to a Grace Community Church Question and Answer session. I always appreciate how John MacArthur can sum up complex theological thoughts and issues so succinctly. I also enjoy the variety of questions. There came a question from what sounded like a very young boy.

Q. [W]why didn’t Jesus stop Eve at the garden of Eden when she ate the fruit? Like, I mean, pow, He can just stop it like that. Why didn’t He?

The audience laughed in delight at the boy’s voice, obviously filled with pique and awe, and the profundity of his query. The answer was equally profound. Follow the link above to listen or read.

I got to thinking more about that moment. We often field a question such as that one. We also tend to ask why didn’t God erase Adam and Eve and start humankind over again? But it occurred to me that this next question isn’t always asked, ‘After the Fall, why did God continue to reveal Himself?’

After the Fall He could have turned His back on humans, and returned to His perfect communion within the Trinity. He could have shrugged, left us to our own devices on earth all our lives and then pow, when we die we wake up in hell, not knowing it even existed.

God didn’t do that.

We often field the question, ‘If God is so loving why does he send people to hell?’ He does that so that His power and holiness and justice and righteousness can be magnified. But He doesn’t do so as a bait and switch or a trick. He has revealed Himself to us in His word, in His creation, in His Son, and in His elect through the Spirit. They know hell exists. They know they deserve to go there. (Romans 1:21-23).

Our God, your God whether you believe He exists or not, loves His world and continues to work His sovereign plan of salvation in it upon those whom He has foreknown. He will be glorified. (Isaiah 49:3, Ezekiel 28:22, Haggai 1:8, John 12:28).

He will be glorified. And He chose to do it starting with a snake, a piece of fruit, and a woman.

Therefore glorify the LORD in the east. Extol the name of the LORD, the God of Israel in the islands of the sea. (Isaiah 24:15).

Further Reading:

Sermon related to this issue: From Dust to Glory