by Mike Ratliff
Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:3-7 ESV)
A careful survey of any Scriptural expository of the ministry of the Holy Spirit will reveal that the writers of the New Testament usually tell us about ο παρακλητος, the Comforter, and His ministry in the context of Christians remaining obedient, Christlike Christians in the midst of persecution and in the face of the hatred of the World. This resistance to God’s Truth often takes the form of apostasy and heresy. We see this in our day within what has become a “new and improved” form of Christianity forged in the hands of men such as Brian McLaren and those who follow him. In order for them to attract and keep their followers they must necessarily attack God’s Truth and those who accept it, live by it, and have it manifested in them because they are truly saved.
Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post, which is 1 Corinthians 12:3-7. What is it to profess that Jesus is Lord, but to declare agreement with the Biblical Gospel? What is to profess that Jesus is accursed, but a declaration of rejection of the Biblical Gospel? Therefore, understand this my brethren, those who are attempting to restructure Christianity, to do away with the doctrines of Justification by Faith, et cetera, are doing so not speaking in the Spirit of God, but within a different Spirit. This different Spirit expresses itself in attacks against God’s Truth, the doctrines of the Church, the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and all aspects of Christian Orthodoxy.
Let us look at part of our Lord’s words that He poured into His disciples the night before His crucifixion and death. We will focus on John 15:18-27.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ “ (John 15:18-25 ESV)
In his review of Brian McLaren’s new book A New Kind of Christianity, Tim Challies has stated that McLaren has shown clearly that he loves Jesus but hates God. Isn’t this the same mindset that our Lord encountered in His earthly ministry when He confronted the Jewish religious elite? Our Lord clearly states in the passage above, “Whoever hates me hates my Father also.” From this we know that the mission and focus of Jesus Christ and God the Father are the same. The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is really what is under attack here my brethren. I am amazed at the number and variety of attacks on the Gospel that I deal with daily. Some focus on some sort of inherent righteousness in man that, if true, would negate the doctrine of Justification by Faith alone. Others seem focused on confusing Justification and Sanctification, what each is and what each does and what the role of the believer is within them. Our Lord is telling us plainly here that to oppose Him and His Truth is to hate Him without a cause. These same people and those who follow them will, through their hatred of Christ, also hate those who truly belong to Him and follow Him.
Not long ago I listened to John MacArthur talk about his book The Gospel According to Jesus at the end of one of his online sermons. He shared that when he started in the ministry it never occurred to him that in just a few years, we would be fighting a battle within the visible church itself on the very definition of the Gospel. He did not anticipate the backlash to that book, neither its vehemence nor its utter lack of depth of scriptural understanding. I have the first edition of this book and read it right after it was published in 1988. I have reread it recently and I am amazed at how much worse things have become since then. MacArthur does a fine job in this book of showing through clear exposition of Sacred Scripture what the genuine Gospel is and what it is not. He shows that there is no wiggle room here. We may indeed disagree about many things in the Church across churches and denominations, but not when it comes to the Gospel. Where does this truth come from and how do we know it is the truth?
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.” (John 15:26-27 ESV)
26οταν ελθη ο παρακλητος ον εγω πεμψω υμιν παρα του πατρος το πνευμα της αληθειας ο παρα του πατρος εκπορευεται εκεινος μαρτυρησει περι εμου 27και υμεις δε μαρτυρειτε οτι απ αρχης μετ εμου εστε (John 15:26-27 WHNU)
When might come the comforter whom I will send to you from the father, the spirit of the truth who from the father travels out, that one will testify about me; also you but testify, that from the beginning with me you are. (John 15:26-27 word-for-word translation from Koine Greek to English)
Take this passage and, with it in the forefront of your mind, read this post. This is very clear my brethren. To profess that Jesus is Lord based within the truth revealed to the heart by the Holy Spirit is the fruit of truly being in Christ. On the other hand, no matter what one professes, if it is based in that which is outside of the truth presented to the heart by the Holy Spirit, then it is the fruit of not being in Christ, but being of another spirit. Let me state it another way. We are not basing our doctrines on anything manmade. No, we have God’s Word and through it, the Holy Spirit gives us the wisdom and knowledge of God because we have the Mind of Christ. Therefore, when some come along with their ideas of A New Kind of Christianity, which is rooted entirely outside of the truths within the Mind of Christ, we must reject them as apostates and their teachings as apostasy. Never forget my brethren, these people are exhibiting their hatred of God and all that is of Him through this. We must not embrace these people as brothers in Christ and we must make sure that we warn the Body of Christ about it.
Soli Deo Gloria!