Do not be drunk with wine in which is dissipation but be filled with the Spirit


by Mike Ratliff

15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God. Ephesians 5:15-21 (NKJV) 

In Ephesians 5:18 Paul commands, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit“. At first glance that may read or sound like Paul is saying, “instead of getting drunk, do these religious things,” which he lists in vv19-21. However, as we know, the proper way to interpret Sacred Scripture is by keeping what we are studying in context foremost. Here, the context tells us that the Apostle Paul is making a contrast that the Ephesians would have understood perfectly. Let’s go deeper. Continue reading

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh


by Mike Ratliff

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16 NASB)

What is Spiritual Formation and Contemplative Spirituality? Are these just another term for Christian spiritual growth or “the way or method” that God has designed for His people to grow spiritually? Or are they totally different from what the Word of God teaches us? A clear-headed and Biblically-based study of Spiritual Formation and Contemplative Spirituality will actually reveal that they are being introduced into the visible church via deception. The proponents of these non-Christian spiritual systems attempt to validate that they are Christian by taking passages from God’s Word out of context and attempt to force them to support their mystical paradigm. While these people do put a lot of emphasis on Christian Authenticity and what that means as well as becoming Christlike or like Christ and while I write about those things quite a bit, it is quite amazing and a bit surprising to see them take the passages from God’s Word I use to teach believers to deny themselves, take up their crosses daily and follow Jesus to mean something quite different. Continue reading

LETTER: ELDER FORCED TO LEAVE FOR STANDING AGAINST SPIRITUAL FORMATION


I received an email today from my friend and fellow CRN writer Amy Spreeman. It contained a link to a post on her site Stand up for the Truth. The link is a post that contained a letter that was sent by an church elder to his former church questioning its adoption of Spiritual Formation and Transformational techniques throughout all of its ministries. His treatment by the elder board and pastor brought back some very bad memories of my own clash at a former church over its going full bore into the Purpose Driven paradigm back in 2006. For me It was tough reading this letter and the aftermath, but as I have been teaching you for quite some time now, to stand for the truth and never compromise under the Lordship of Christ will be costly for the true disciple. God is sovereign and does allow his saints to go through these fires for his own purposes. Look at the book of Job for instance. Follow this link to the article. Be blessed in the Lord my brethren. – Mike Ratliff

Soli Deo Glora!

Spiritual Formation or Biblical Sanctification?


by Mike Ratliff

18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NASB)
The command by our Lord included in the Great Commission (above) to make disciples is part of the sanctification process ordained and controlled by God in the life of all true believers. However, in the current visible church there is much confusion between what we know of as Biblical Sanctification and a new term called “Spiritual Formation.” What is it? Is it a new way to do the same thing or maybe an improved way…? Can man come up with with a better way to disciple new Christians than that which God has given us? Here is what John MacArthur says.
I suggest you also carefully read the post by my good friend Ken Silva titled Dr. Gary Gilley On Spiritual Formation.
Soli Deo Gloria!

Are You Being Filled With the Spirit or Something Else?


Last evening my pastor’s Wednesday evening message was an in-depth exposition of Pneumatology or The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit. He did a very good job of differentiating the works of the Holy Spirit that so many professing Christians confuse and look at as the same thing or as something that is completely unbiblical. Not including the works of the Holy Spirit prior to and including Christ’s incarnation he is intimately involved in the salvation and life of believers. For instance, in 2 Peter 1:21 we learn that he inspired all Sacred Scripture. All believers come to Christ because they are first regenerated by the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:12; Titus 3:5; Romans 8:11). All believers are baptized into the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 6:3-4; Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5) and from this we learn of his permanent indwelling of all genuine believers. In the lives of all genuine believers, before they are saved and afterwards as they are drawn into walks of repentance, the Holy Spirit convicts (John 16:8). He sanctifies all believers (2 Thessalonians 2:13). He is the “helper” sent by Christ to all believers (John 14:16; 1 John 2:1; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:1; Romans 8:26). Lastly we come to the filling of the Holy Spirit. All believers are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is not the same thing as being baptized by the Holy Spirit. I wrote the following post August 29, 2010, but I believe it is just as vital for us to grasp now as it was then. – Mike Ratliff

Are You Being Filled With the Spirit or Something Else?

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:15-21 ESV)

In Ephesians 5:18 Paul commands, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit!“ At first glance that may read or sound like Paul is saying, “instead of getting drunk, do these religious things,” which he lists in vv19-21. However, as we know, the proper way to interpret Sacred Scripture is by keeping what we are studying in context foremost. Here, the context tells us that the Apostle Paul is making a contrast that the Ephesians would have understood perfectly. Let’s go deeper. Continue reading

Are Spiritual Disciplines the same as Spiritual Formation?


by Mike Ratliff

[4] “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. [5] You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ESV)

The very last thing I want for my own Christian walk is to get off the narrow way and fall into some form of deception following after some sort of false teacher that promises a way to get closer to God if we only follow him (or her) only to find out that we are like the blind following after blind guides. Any who is truly born of God is in Christ. They are new creations. They were once dead in their trespasses and sins and now they have been made alive by God himself (Ephesians 2:1-9). All through the Bible we are commanded to draw close to God, to repent, to be holy even as our Heavenly Father is Holy, et cetera. This is for the mature in Christ, not the immature. How do we grow from new Christians into those who are those living sacrifices Paul spoke of in Romans 12:1? Continue reading

Are You Being Filled With the Spirit or Something Else?


by Mike Ratliff

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:15-21 ESV)

 

In Ephesians 5:18 Paul commands, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit!“ At first glance that may read or sound like Paul is saying, “instead of getting drunk, do these religious things,” which he lists in vv19-21. However, as we know, the proper way to interpret Sacred Scripture is by keeping what we are studying in context foremost. Here, the context tells us that the Apostle Paul is making a contrast that the Ephesians would have understood perfectly. Let’s go deeper. Continue reading

The Dangers of Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Disciplines


by Mike Ratliff

If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations– “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)–according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. (Colossians 2:20-23 ESV)

As we have been seeing, in the attacks on the Church by what is now called “Progressive Christianity,” what the enemies of God’s Truth are actually constructing is a Spiritual Labyrinth whose complexity is designed to confuse and deceive. At the core of these attacks and replacement of genuine Christianity with “Progressive Christianity” or “A New Type of Christianity” is an emphasis on Spiritual Formation. What is this? I contacted Bob DeWaay at Twin Cities Fellowship for any help he could provide in direction and information so I could get a better handle on this and so present this to you that we may all know better what is really happening in our churches and what God would have us do in response.  Continue reading

What Does It Mean to Walk by the Spirit?


by Mike Ratliff

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16 ESV)

In my research yesterday into Spiritual Formation and Contemplative Spirituality I became amazed at the ease with which the Emergent writers would take passages from Sacred Scripture out of context and attempt to force them to support their mystical paradigm. There was a lot of emphasis on Christian Authenticity and what that means as well as becoming Christlike or like Christ. While I write about those things quite a bit I was a bit surprised to see them take the passages from God’s Word I use to teach believers to deny themselves, take up their crosses daily and follow Jesus to mean something quite different. Continue reading

No Other Gospel


by Mike Ratliff

For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:1-4 ESV)

In the recent attacks on John MacArthur and his ministries by some bent on claiming that he is in league with Rick Warren and perhaps isn’t even a Christian, I have learned what it is like to be considered guilty by some using the method of “guilt by association” as sure-proof evidence of one being false. It is very easy to make a case against someone or their ministry if this sort of method of “discernment” is 100% valid in every case. I have seen discussions get started on our discernment blogs that devolve into creating “isms” in which this or that person is categorically assigned by those who have not taken the time to investigate what he or she really teaches or writes about. I doubt that God is pleased with us when we do that. I have received the very same treatment by some who have categorically assigned me to the camp of ‘fundamentalism’ even though I reject much of what that ism stands for and the way they go about doing what they do.  Continue reading