“…no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of or comes from one’s own [personal or special] interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” – 2 Peter 1:20-21 Amplified Bible (AMP)
When you drill down into the words, into what the Bible itself is communicating, the whole point is to understand what in heaven is God’s message, right? He is the Potter that created all that is!
It’s not a matter of how on earth do I wish God would have said it! Be careful when you start following a message that deviates from historical Christianity, following your “own [personal or special] interpretation” or that of some newly arrived teacher (new in relation to all of history).
It is never a matter of my message. Not your message. It’s God’s message! Not anything from me, nor you, nor any philosophizing religious person, nor some nut case — nor some exciting movement or “new message” supposedly newly revealed through a vision or fresh “word of the Lord”.
I want God’s message – clean and unadulterated. And, because He is all-knowing, He does not change his mind. No word of today can ever change His Word already given. The Bible is solid ground. “All other ground is sinking sand.”
It’s crazy how so many have tried in the past, and are still doing it – “re-interpreting” or discovering some “personal or special” interpretation, attempting to legitimize a new creative way to have it their way. If that is happening in your church – don’t believe it. Just walk away.
In order to stay faithful to God, I have to stay faithful to His Word. So what should I do to get down to having and teaching and living-out only God’s message?
First: I have come to believe that the Bible truly is the Word of God. The evidences are overwhelming, to the extent that I have faith enough in the veracity of this book of books – to read it’s words as a message from God Almighty. Kind of scary, eh? To get down into the mind of God Himself – through His words.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 Amplified Bible (AMP)
And we also thank God continually for this, that when you received the word of God [concerning salvation] which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of [mere] men, but as it truly is, the word of God, which is effectually at work in you who believe [exercising its inherent, supernatural power in those of faith].
Luke 21:33 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
Hebrews 4:12 Amplified Bible (AMP)
For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged [a]sword, penetrating as far as the division of the [b]soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Second: I must be extremely careful, to the point of “meticulous” in my study, to interpret these words from God without prejudice. I cannot allow myself, or some newly enlightened message, or any other teachings to enter into the interpretation of God’s message. I must keep out of the way — so that His true meaning speaks out for itself.
T.A. McMahon wrote: “Our faith can be childlike, but it is faith placed in God’s Word, not in anyone’s alleged “eyewitness” account, be they a child or an adult. Peter was an eyewitness to an incredible event. He saw Jesus supernaturally transfigured before his very eyes and heard the voice of God.
We can be sure that the personal experience he [Peter] had was true because it’s reported in Scripture. Nevertheless, he tells us that his personal experience (or anyone else’s) is not as trustworthy as the Word of God: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed” (2 Peter 1:19).”
– Source: Is “Heaven Is for Real” for Real?: An Exercise In Discernment, May 1, 2011, by McMahon, T.A.
Many want to repeat Peter’s experience of 2 Peter 1:16-21. But what they are doing is exactly what Peter warned against. They teach “cleverly devised stories or myths” (verse 16). They claim to have had a special prophecy or “word from the Lord” — but what they are creating is “by an act of human will”, just as Peter warns against here:
is a matter of or comes from
one’s own [personal or special] interpretation,
21 for no prophecy
was ever made
by an act of human will,
but men moved by the Holy Spirit
spoke from God.”
2 Peter 1: verses 20-21
Be very, very deep in your thinking. Don’t be fooled by fake “Holy Spirit messages” being taught in many charismatic churches. Just as the Spirit empowered acts of Moses were truly copied and actuated by Pharaoh’s magic men moved by Satan, so can Satan replicate today what the Holy Spirit does, to a certain point. (Remember: the magic of Satan could not do some of what God did through Moses.)
So don’t believe something is of God just because it is amazing. Satan is amazing also. But he will eventually go to Hell.
Needing something more than Jesus
I want nothing of man mixing into God’s message. I will not put my faith in something extra-biblical, be it an amazing “eyewitness” report, or supposed “word of the Lord”, or prophecy of today, or someone speaking from an altered state of consciousness.
Be very, very careful not to get caught-up with extra-biblical teachings and personal accounts of those who say they have a word from the Lord, or have visited heaven — and say what they have is of God. I will trust in the established Word of God, the Bible — not “shifting winds of doctrine”.
These two passages go together, so I will repeat Peter’s:
Ephesians 4:14 Amplified Bible (AMP)
14 So that we are no longer children [spiritually immature], tossed back and forth [like ships on a stormy sea] and carried about by every wind of [shifting] doctrine, by the cunning and trickery of [unscrupulous] men, by the deceitful scheming of people ready to do anything [for personal profit].
2 Peter 1:19-21 Amplified Bible (AMP)
19 So we have the prophetic word made more certain. You do well to pay [close] attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and light breaks through the gloom and the [a]morning star arises in your hearts. 20 [b]But understand this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of or comes from one’s own [personal or special] interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
I will go to extreme measures to faithfully interpret the Bible in order to understand Him. I will not allow any man’s thoughts or personal accounts or experiences to adulterate the Word of God for me.
I hate religion – all those rules and regulations and lording-it-over the sheep, with leaders assuming they know better than anyone. They try to tell me how I should live the life God has given me charge-over. I want to serve God, not get caught-up in religiosity.
I never want to misunderstand God, and somehow start down a path that is not God’s way. Don’t be wooed by Satan as Eve was with the Devil’s promise of becoming divine: “…you will be like God…” (Genesis 3:1-6). Satan tempted Jesus, and Satan will certainly try to get you to deviate from Scripture also. Don’t take the bait.
Be like the Bereans of Acts 17:11 Amplified Bible (AMP)
11 Now these people were more noble and open-minded than those in Thessalonica, so they received the message [of salvation through faith in the Christ] with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Third: Since I believe these words of the Bible actually come from God, a message from Him to the world, and more specifically— a message for me, for you, then I, sure as Heaven better heed His message. I will gladly do His expressed will, but not so much the will of others.
And I extremely resent religious traditions that religious people try to foist onto others, as if it were of God — when it is totally a thing of man. I don’t want to be following a thing of man!
I’ll follow the sure ways of Eternal God. And I’ll make sure what I follow is true. And I want to follow the entire counsel of God’s Word, not deviantly, conveniently, leave-out passages that I don’t want to follow, like some religious folk tend to do.
Source: Is “Heaven Is for Real” for Real?: An Exercise In Discernment, May 1, 2011, by McMahon, T.A.
“The critical issue for discernment is not “how it works” but “what is being communicated.” All that a Bible-believing Christian can do in ascertaining the truth of a matter is to be vigilant by “searching the Scriptures” to see if what is being presented is true to the full counsel of God’s Word (Acts 17:11).
If we don’t do that, whether we are young believers or mature in the faith, we are just as vulnerable to false teachings as those whose circumstances have directly opened them to deceptive experiences.
Source: Is “Heaven Is for Real” for Real?: An Exercise In Discernment, May 1, 2011, by McMahon, T.A.
“A believer’s life in Christ is shaped by a great many experiences that the Lord allows for our growth in Him. It begins with one’s believing the gospel, to which sound doctrine is added.
As we abide in Christ’s teachings, our discernment will increase, thus protecting us from “being carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). Let us therefore take to heart Paul’s warning: 1 Corinthians 3:10 Amplified Bible (AMP)
10 According to the [remarkable] grace of God which was given to me [to prepare me for my task], like a skillful master builder I laid a foundation, and now another is building on it. But each one must be careful how he builds on it…”
I’ll dig deep into God’s truths. Not at all allowing the teachings of puny little mud men to direct my path. Why would I heed the teachings of mere men, when I have the Message of God? God has given us such clear words of His own to follow and obey. I do not need more supposed “revelations” than that.
How about you?
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