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3. THROUGH INSPIRED BOOKS, OTHER LITERATURE AND MULTIMEDIA
Many true Christians have gifts from God to reveal some matters in the scripture in a more effective way than we would normally understand them on our own.
The gifts they have are normally categorized as gifts of revelation. Gifts of revelation include the gift 1) of wisdom, 2) of knowledge, and 3) discerning of spirits (1 Corinthians 12: 8, 10). Believers called to front-line discipling ministry (evangelizing, pastoring, teaching (including through books, other literature and multimedia), etc) have at least of these revelation gifts.
The gifts of revelation are usually given in combination thus usually function in combination rather than separately. It is a terrible matter when some called to such areas of ministry for some reason fail to sharpen their gifts.
They end up mixing scripture with extra-biblical (outside the bible) teachings and out of context interpretations. Such are like the Pharisees whom Jesus called “blind guides.” He added, “If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit,” Matthew 15:14. Some blind guides even attain high levels of popularity and many followers.
Some are even entire denominations that have teachings way outside the scriptures. So the same admonition is given here like ones stated on other matters that the Lord uses to speak to us. It’s important to have our minds of Christ switched on. It is helpful to avoid presumption by weighing the books, other literature and multimedia in their scriptural analysis and other worthy factors.
That said, blind guides are a minority in the body of Christ. They’re outnumbered by God’s servants who labor in ensuring their teachings are biblically reliable and not half truths mixed with half lies. They maybe slip in a few teachings yet not in the major areas that affect our walk with God.
Most are able to enable the Lord, through the Holy Spirit, to effectively allow him to work through them – for without him we can do nothing. Our gifts of revelation may still flow in us yet would easily be vulnerable to false teachings. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing,” John 15:5.
The Lord uses such vessels effectively submitted to him to be able speak to us on various matters, in the same way he spoke to those who wrote the Bible. The branches that remain in him bear much good fruit.
How many times have you felt empowered, inspired, challenged, or corrected after a church service or after learning from a topic covered by God’s servants through the various media -books, literature, audio/visio publications, internet, television and so on? Probably many times. God uses such individuals to speak to us in a clearer and more specific way- e.g. on prophecy, on family and relationships, on spiritual warfare, on deliverance and healing, etc.
However, it is not wise to take everything authors write as Holy Spirit inspired. Only the Bible is totally Holy Spirit inspired, thus free from human error. The rest have some degree of a human element in them. The more they’re mixed with personal beliefs, experiences without Biblical backing, the less Biblical they are.
One who is sensitive to the Holy Spirit will be able to hear on the areas that are truth and worth learning. The Spirit also informs us on true doctrine. For example, there’re many books written on money and wealth from a Biblical point of view. Some have wrong doctrine. A book that emphasizes on how one should be rich and enjoy earthly luxuries is teaching a wrong doctrine.
No matter how many Scriptures its author uses he/she is out of tune with the central teachings of Christ on money and material things. The same teachings of Christ are echoed by the teachings of the early disciples. Their key words are ‘dying to self,’ ‘denying the lusts of this world,’ ‘crucify the flesh,’ ‘strangers in the world,’ ‘be transformed,’ and so on.
Poverty shouldn’t be entertained but the other extreme of great wealth can be equally infectious to our concentration on the gospel. There’re of course some (very few) who’re called to great wealth into the ministry of giving to the gospel.
On the other hand one needs not deceive people that God wants us to be very rich so that we can be esteemed by unbelievers. Their language implies that Christianity is Richianity, were success is measured by tangible things. We have nothing in common with this world as our Lord said. What the world is busy chasing in order to find happiness should not be our preoccupation. Well, let’s move on before we start discussing another sub-topic.
The same Bible we use the enemy also used in tempting Jesus. He’ll also try to quote the Bible to try to give us false doctrine. The volume of Scripture an individual quotes should therefore not be the standard of measure though it is necessary.
For every topic, the enemy tries to use people to bring in false doctrine - on prayer, spiritual warfare, deliverance ministry, money, career and ministry, family and marriage, health, and so on.
Some authors are his agents. These are very easy to detect because we are Christ’s sheep with God’s Spirit dwelling in us. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me,” John 10:27. The voice of a stranger is made clear by he that is in us. He reveals what he has not originated. Scripture says, “We are not ignorant of his schemes,” (2 Corinthians 2:11)
For most servants that stray from the scripture it’s out of their lack of submission to the Holy Spirit that other voices are able to come in. Other voices include our personal perceptions through upbringing, through education and areas of training, through our limited knowledge, etc.
Our knowledge of truth is not perfect. It is colored by our own limitations which are voices from our own selves. That’s why many church denominations exist. The voices also include voices from the enemy.
There’re two ways to confirm the tune of doctrine from a book or some portions of it. One is to continue reading as many books as possible on that area and other matters. The more one reads the more she is able to have various tones of understanding.
The books are worth being read with prayerfulness so the Holy Spirit can be allowed to do his part. The Holy Spirit will use what the individual has deposited in him from the diverse teachings she has read to accept what is truth and reject what is error.
Books and other literature are inevitable for one to know the truth. We all need to be set free from all that tries to weigh us down in our race. Personally, an individual who does not bother to read literature or search for truth through all other avenues God has given us is a risky person to work with. He’s an empty vessel the enemy will be very happy to fill with his teachings. We need to be vessels for the Lord to fill us, not the enemy.
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Book on hearing from God:- Hearing from God: How to Hear God’s Voice in Your Life © 2008 Eric Gondwe