Spiritualism and the Bible

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

A Bible student was excitedly telling me about a movie he saw where someone died and went to heaven and saw his dead loved ones. When I confronted him about the state of the dead, he told me, well maybe they did not actually die. Maybe it was a dream. “But you said he saw his dead loved ones in heaven,” I said. My student suggested it was just a future vision then. He was quite emotional about the movie and told me it had strengthened his faith in God. What could be wrong with that? Several things are wrong, but for now lets just look at one. What if he saw another movie validating evolution? Do we put our faith in movies? Do movies validate or discredit the Word of God? No! If my student had read the Word of God but only believed because a movie said the Bible is true then we have a very serious fundamental problem. We don’t go by appearances. We go by the Bible.

I’m not sure if it was Halloween or not, but Satan dressed up as a serpent. He offered Eve a treat, but it turned out to be a trick. Eve heard the Word of God concerning the fruit from a certain tree,

“If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”  Genesis 2:17 NLT

Well sure that’s what God’s Word said, but now Eve sees this serpent who not only ate the fruit and did not die but can also talk now. Pretty convincing evidence if seeing is believing. It appears that not only can you disobey God and not die, but you actually get special powers and advantages you never had before. If the serpent could talk after disobeying God then what possibilities were there for Eve? Eve decided God’s Word was not true since it did not go along with what she saw and heard.

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. Genesis 3:4 NLT

The serpent appeared to be more credible than God’s Word since the proof was right there in front of her. You can’t disprove something you see and hear right? Wrong! Eve ate the fruit and she is now dead. That serpent Satan used is dead too, and one day Satan himself will die. It may have appeared God’s Word was not true but it was very true!

In Matthew 3 Jesus is baptized and God’s voice is heard from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son.” In Matthew 4, after 40 days of fasting, Satan appears to Jesus as an angel of light. He tells Jesus there was an angel who was kicked out of heaven, and insinuates Jesus, in His humanity weakened by fasting sure looks like that fallen angel. “If” Said Satan, “You are the Son of God turn these stones into bread.” Jesus may not have felt like, nor in the wilderness appeared to be the Son of God, but He had heard God’s Word say, “This is my Son.” Jesus did not go by feelings or appearances. He told Satan He would live by God’s Word and God’s Word said “This is my Son.”

John the Baptist was there at the baptism and heard the Word of God too. However, John later found himself in prison, and while he wanted to believe God’s Word he struggled because it did not appear to be true, as he sat there staring at prison walls. He sent a message, asking Jesus if He was the Messiah. Why did he have to do that when He already heard God’s Word say “This is my Son?” John made the same mistake Eve and millions have made. They only believe God’s Word if it goes along with what they see. Eve and John the Baptist would have been kept safe if they would have trusted God’s Word instead of illusions.

During World War two, Arthur Maxwell wrote an article for Signs of the Times Magazine, assuring everyone Hitler would be defeated, as Daniel 2 says there will never be a one world empire in Europe again. His boss saw Hitler raging all over Europe invading one country after another, and told Maxwell to hold off on publishing the article as there was no way of knowing what Hitler might do. it appeared Hitler would indeed take over Europe. While Hitler was raging all over Europe setting up concentration camps and destroying his enemies, Maxwell knew it was impossible for Hitler’s army with all of their Flak Cannons to succeed. How did he know? Seven simple words in Maxwell’s Bible read,

they shall not cleave one to another Daniel 2:43

While Maxwell’s boss was joining Eve and John the Baptist at looking at appearances, Maxwell joined Jesus and trusted God’s Word. Maxwell published his article very confident that Hitler would fail in taking over all of Europe. Spoiler alert! Hitler lost the war. The Bible was right-again.

Jesus has warned us that in the last days that some..

shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:24

Spiritualism, insinuating that the dead are not really dead but can talk to us will be one of the greatest illusions. During the Religious Awakening, the Fox Sisters appeared to be communicating with the dead in their secret chambers, but Jesus warned in Matthew 24:26 that He would not be there. Even though it may appear that the dead can speak, just as it appeared a serpent can speak, the Scriptures will keep us from being deceived.

Someone may say to you, “Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.” But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead? Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. Isaiah 8:19-20 NLT

A friend of mine was visiting some friends when their young son went missing. Tragically they found him face down in the pool. As they rushed him to the hospital, the mother was frantically praying to Mary to save her son. Mary could not save her son. She was dead. Sadly the boy died. In times of trouble shall we call upon the dead, or Jesus Who is alive and has conquered the grave? Shouldn’t we have a personal relationship with Jesus instead of dead people?

Saul lost his personal relationship with God and was so desperate he called upon Samuel who was dead. Saul seeks a medium and according to 1 Samuel 28:14“perceives” he is talking to Samuel. When I was 5 years old, I was at the mall with my parents, and went to one store with my dad while my mom went to another store. When my dad and I came out of our store I saw a woman with some bags who I “perceived” to be my mother. I ran up to her and hugged her, but as I looked up, instead of seeing my mother I saw a very surprised stranger. Hopefully she needed a hug that day, but she was not my mom even though I “perceived” her to be. Samuel was not talking to Saul just like the serpent wasn’t really talking to Eve. It was an illusion created by Satan. Further more, why would Saul be seeking comfort from a dead person instead of the living  God and the Scriptures?

 

Saul should have sought counsel from God’s Word instead of an illusion. Today we should seek counsel and courage from the Bible instead of movies based on spiritualism. Movies appearing to prove spiritualism to be true should not be our source of encouragement. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 Paul describes the second coming and resurrection. Then Paul says,

“Encourage each other with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:18

When we lose a loved one, our encouragement does not come from the words, “They’ve gone home to be with the Lord.” Those words are never insinuated in Scripture. Paul did not tell us to encourage each other with those words, or with exciting tales about after death or near death experiences. He described for us how those who are dead and sleeping in Christ will be raised at the resurrection at the second coming and will meet the living in the air to be with Jesus to live forever. He tells us, encourage each other with these words.

You may study this week’s SS lesson and more here.

Worship: Conformity, Compromise and Crisis in Worship

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Sunday’s section of this week’s SS lesson asks, “What are some things your own society does not condemn that are clearly condemned by the Bible? More important, how much has society impacted you and the church in regard to these issues? That is, what things clearly condemned in Scripture might the church take too lightly, directly as a result of the influence of society?”

Things that used to shock the world several years ago are now freely accepted by the church. This makes me wonder, is the church following the Word of God, or just trying to stay a few paces behind the world in paganism? In 1939 the world (not the church, the world) was shocked when Rhett Butler told Scarlett, “Frankly my dear I don’t give a d—n” on the silver screen. Today it takes a lot more than that to shock not just the world but the church. Satan is smart enough to make a small gradual effect on the church. Before you know it, things that the world once saw as sinful, the church within time freely condones. It seems as though sin is relative. Well that’s not a bad movie compared to this movie which is even worse. This swimsuit is not that immodest once you consider what they wear on South Beach. Smoking marijuana is not as bad as Crack.  So, are we trying to follow Jesus, or just make sure we are not following the world too closely? Is our goal to be like Jesus, or is it to just not be too much like the world? Could it be that our goal is actually somewhere in between Jesus and the world? Is the Bible our guide, or is society and the Bible our guide?

Being a single Christian man in my forties I am surprised at how many older Christians believe sex outside of marriage is okay. People will not come right out and say it, but I believe many in the church today think the “no sex before marriage” rule only applies to teens. They bend the teachings of the Bible to agree with what is socially acceptable instead of the other way around. Even homosexuality is gaining acceptance in some churches. We are satisfied with the explanation that they must be born that way, totally forgetting the words of Jesus that we must be BORN AGAIN! Fact is, we all are born sinful so we must all be born again, including the homosexual. Of course the sex and entertainment world is not the only area we have let society dictate. I once heard a pastor in Texas say, “a homosexual church is not in any more open rebellion against God’s Word than is a church that keeps Sunday instead of the Bible Sabbath.”

Ancient Israel did not want to be governed by God’s standards, but rather wanted to have a king and be like the other nations. Today some churches want to gauge their success as though it is a worldly business. Instead of comparing themselves to the Word of God, they like to look at growth graphs and charts to gauge success just like worldly businesses do. When we gauge our success the same way the world does, we then try to use the same means to achieve success. I would like to point out at this time Dueteronomy 13:17-18. “He will increase your numbers, as he promised on oath to your ancestors—because you obey the LORD your God by keeping all his commands that I am giving you today and doing what is right in his eyes.” Success comes from the Word of God and not being socially accepted by society. In modern society we have the same challenge as ancient Israel. Are we going to follow God’s Word, or just stay a few paces behind the world?

There is another and more important question that should engage the attention of the churches of today. The apostle Paul declares that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” [2 Timothy 3:12.] Why is it, then, that persecution seems in a great degree to slumber?—The only reason is, that the church has conformed to the world’s standard, and therefore awakens no opposition. The religion which is current in our day is not of the pure and holy character that marked the Christian faith in the days of Christ and his apostles. It is only because of the spirit of compromise with sin, because the great truths of the Word of God are so indifferently regarded, because there is so little vital godliness in the church, that Christianity is apparently so popular with the world. Let there be a revival of the faith and power of the early church, and the spirit of persecution will be revived, and the fires of persecution will be rekindled.  {Great Controversy, p. 48}

The Scriptures in Light of the Cross

Ginger

You can download a printable copy of the complete set of In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides for free here. You can purchase a copy for your Kindle here.

The Scriptures 

Brief overview: The Scriptures are inspired by God to lead us into a relationship with Him that will give us eternal salvation in heaven and a prosperous life here on earth. See 2 Timothy 3:15-16, John 20:31.

Why it is important to know the truth about the Scriptures:

Years ago I lived on a ranch helping out occasionally with the horses. The ranch had a very nice swimming pool just up the road from the mobile home where I lived. One evening I invited a family to go swimming. As we walked back on that road towards my home it was dark and a big juicy spider had made a web between the trees on each side of the road. Fortunately we had a flashlight that exposed the spider right before we walked into it. The children were terrified of the spider and walked around the trees to avoid this “monster.” When we returned to the house, I shared with the family Psalms 119:105, “Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” I shared with them that just as our flashlight saved us from the spider’s web, God’s Word saves us from Satan’s webs. It is because of Satan’s webs that so many different beliefs and doctrines abound about the Bible. Satan has done his best to confuse people’s understanding of the Bible: not so our understanding of doctrine will be confused, for Satan knows we are not saved by doctrine but by God’s love and grace. Satan has worked hard to corrupt our understanding of God’s love and grace for he knows that is where salvation comes from and he does not want us to be saved. We needn’t worry. The same Holy Spirit that inspired the Bible is the Same Holy Spirit that will teach it to us, if we just ask.

Why understanding the Scriptures in the light of the cross is important:

Many people ignore the Bible and many of those who do read it, read it only out of curiosity as a fairy tail book or some science fiction novel. The Bible is more than just prophecy or ancient stories. It is a love letter from God Himself. The Bible helps us develop a loving relationship with our God who showed us on the cross that He loves us more than He loves life itself. See John 20:31 and 2 Timothy 3:15.

For further study on the Scriptures.

What is the origin of the Bible?

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:21

What does Jesus call God’s word?

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. John 17:17

How much of the Bible is inspired?

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:15-17

What is the word of God to be to us?

Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105

What is the reason the Bible was written?

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:31

What are we to do with the Scriptures?

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. John 5:39

How are we to study it?

For precept [must be] upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little: Isaiah 28:10

What do some do with God’s word?

As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 2 Peter 3:16

What must we never do?

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 2 peter 1:20

Who will guide us in Bible Study?

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. John 16:13

How often should we study the Bible?

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:11

Click here to search the Bible.

 

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