WHAT IS A SPIRITUALLY
Many Christian leaders either have a wrong worldview, ignore
the "hard" sayings of the Bible regarding spiritual maturity and
Satan's war against the saints, avoid teaching the full gospel, or do not
themselves understand or accept the idea that there is more to Christianity
than just coming to church occasionally and doing good works.
The Lord Jesus Himself established the minimum
qualifications for all believers in Mk. 16:17:
"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." This is the starting
point. Many will deny this scriptural
passage, especially those that are unable to meet its standards and will offer
excuses and justifications. Some claim
that the Holy Spirit left once the church was established. This excuses and justifies their lack of
compliance. Do not be deceived. There is nothing in the Bible that says the
Holy Spirit left. I have witnessed
thousands of Christians casting out devils, healing the sick and speaking in
strange tongues, and have been used by God many times to do the same.
Much of the church has seemingly taken a razor blade and cut
out scriptures that mention devils and evil spirits in sort of a mental block
or avoidance. One can only speculate as
to the reasons. Perhaps fear of the
devil plays a role, or maybe are attempts to excuse a lack of understanding
about the demonic kingdom or the inability to cast out devils is the
reason. If one cannot cast out devils,
heal the sick or speak in a strange tongue, it is easier to protect one's pride
by announcing that the Holy Spirit is no longer on earth and went back to
heaven once the church was established in the first century. Likewise, it is simpler to claim that Satan
doesn't exist or Christians cannot have demons.
The Bible is completely void of any such dangerous teachings.
Someone actually told me that since the Holy Spirit is no
longer on earth, I must be casting out devils and healing the sick through the
devil. This is blasphemy of the Holy
Spirit. (Mt. 12:31) We need to go back to the worldview that the
first century church had. In the Book of
Acts, the apostles and people of God cast out devils freely. Ac. 5:16; 8:7; etc. The writings of both Justin Martyr (153 AD)
and Irenaeus (190 AD) speak of Christians casting out devils and how the rulers
over the people are being incited by demons to kill Christians. This was long after the church was
established on earth.
The minimum standard for all Christians in Mark 16:17-18,
has not changed. God has not
changed. Heb. 13:8. It is important to ask yourself, do I meet
God's minimum standard? Please
understand that I'm not talking about salvation. I'm talking about spiritual maturity. Obviously, one doesn't cast out devils, speak
in tongues and heal the sick the moment he is converted. It is a growth process and a walk. Mark 16:17-18 is just a start. Rome
wasn't built in a day, as the saying goes.
Our walk is more like a marathon at times, than a hundred meter dash.
In the Book of Revelation, God reveals what He calls, “… he who overcomes.” Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21. Great rewards are promised to those who
overcome. What are we to overcome, and
how? Rev. 12:11 states, "And they overcame him by the blood of
the Lamb, and by the Word of their Testimony, and they loved not their lives
unto the death." The
“overcomers” will overcome Satan. How?
By the blood of the Lamb. This implies
that one must be strong in deliverance and faith in the blood of Jesus. Ro. 3:25.
The “Word of their Testimony” indicates that they live in
righteousness, faith and truth, and their very life is a testimony that the
Word of God lives in them and leads them.
Watchman Nee, the famous Chinese writer, puts it this way
(paraphrasing): “There are two great
gospels. The first gospel is that Jesus
died for us and we no longer have to die.
The second gospel is just as great.
Since Jesus lives in us, we no longer have to live.” Galatians 2:20 explains, “I am crucified in Christ;
yet I live, but not I. Christ lives in
me, and the life that I now live, ….”
Their very lives testify to the fact that Jesus, the Word of God, lives
in them and is reflected in everything they say and do. General Booth of The Salvation Army once
said, "Preach the gospel at all times.
And if necessary, use words."
“Love not their lives
unto the death” indicates the condition of their heart. They are unafraid
of death because they live for God alone.
They have eyes that see eternity and as the apostle Paul shared, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour:
yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two,
having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:24
Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” Phil. 1:21-24.
Living on earth is much less desirable than being with the
Lord in heaven for the overcomers. But
it is more profitable for the saints and the world that they continue the
battles on earth for the sake of the kingdom
of God. Nothing in the world has any hold on them,
neither riches, fame, power or any other treasure on earth.
In the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation, we find
three groups of mature Christians of the end times. The woman that is a wonder in heaven, shining
like the sun, the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head
is the true and mature church
of God at the end of
the age. Rev. 12:1-6. She shines like the sun because she is made
up of children of light that shine like the sun. Jn. 12:36; Eph. 5:8; 1 Th. 5:5.
The crown of twelve stars identifies her as spiritual Israel. Each Christian belongs to at least one of the
spiritual tribes of Israel. The moon is under her feet because she has
defeated the kingdom of darkness. “And it came to pass, when they brought out
those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said
unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, Come near, put your
feet upon the necks of these kings. And they came near, and put their feet upon
the necks of them.” Jos. 10:24. Putting someone under your feet or making
them your footstool means to defeat them.
The woman is not physical or historical Israel, which
was deep into sin and darkness. She did
not birth Jesus. She crucified Him. Revelation 11:8 called her Sodom
and Egypt. At the end of the world, God will have a true
church made up of spiritually mature saints that have overcome the flesh, the
world and Satan.
In Revelation 12:2, the true church travails, pained to be
delivered. She knows that Satan is about
to destroy the church and slaughter all Christians. She also knows that God will raise up His
mighty army to stand against Satan and his demonic kingdom. The devil knows too, so he stands watch over
the true church, ready to devour the army, called the “man child.” But as soon as the man-child army is birthed,
it is taken up to the throne of God to escape the dragon.
This man-child, which will rule the nations with a rod of
iron, is not Jesus. Rev. 2:26-27. Jesus did not run to heaven to escape the
dragon. He utterly defeated Satan, and
his principalities, and made a show of them openly. “And having spoiled
principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them
in it.” Col. 2:15. He returned to heaven in total victory over
the kingdom of darkness and not to escape the dragon.
The third group of mature Christians consists of the martyrs
of God who have the testimony of Jesus and obey His commandments. Rev. 12:17.
They love not their lives unto the death and bear testimony to the fact
that they willingly live the life and share in the death and of our Lord Jesus
Christ, as did the early apostles. These
three groups are the standard for spiritual maturity for the end times.