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Big Mistake: Wrong Source


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I mentioned that we are binge watching The Amazing Race, a series about teams that must find clues and complete challenges as they race around the world to win a prize. As the race takes place, it isn’t uncommon to have teams follow other teams to the next clue. Sometimes it doesn’t work out for them as the team they follow doesn’t know where they are going or, in some cases, they don’t realize that the team ahead of them has completed a challenge and are going to the next clue already. In one case, a team found a clue that they needed, and they told the team following them that they HAD NOT found the clue, causing the team following to try a different route. The teams have not learned that they should trust better sources than the teams they are competing against.

Within the Church we have developed a similar problem in that Believers have started to follow other Believers- most notably pastors, in using Scripture to find ‘clues’ to the Gospel of Grace. Doctrine is warped as one generation after another goes astray because we are following man instead of who our true source of the ‘clues’ is- the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes in the race, teams find someone local that volunteers to go with the team to help them find clues and that is what we desperately need within the Church today. We need Believers to remember we already have a person who has volunteered to stay with us and help us find the ‘clues’ we need:

And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17

Jesus even told us the reason He was giving us the Spirit:

But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning. John 14:26-27
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. John 16:12-15

How amazing is it to have the exact source of truth? He is the Truth and He is in us, yet often we fail to listen to Him. Why is that? Perhaps because we have been led to believe that the main purpose of the Spirit is to convict us of sin and that is not the case (see yesterday’s “Big Mistake: Bad Breaks” for more on this specific topic). The Spirit is trying to help us find the truth we need to trust Christ and let Him live through us, we just need to listen.

Let me give you some practical steps that will help you start to listen to the Holy Spirit instead of being led astray by the errors taught so often today.

1) Question everything you read in Scripture.

We covered this a few days ago in Big Mistake: No Context. I am not saying to question everything as in challenging its validity, or being skeptical, but learning to read Scripture and ask questions from what you read. Here is the important part- ask those questions to the Spirit and listen. Let’s look at a passage and find a few questions to ask:

When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. 2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Matt 8:1-4

I just picked this random section as an example and my intention is not to provide answers but as I read this here are a few questions I would ask.

-Why did the leper ask about Jesus being willing?

-Why did Jesus tell him not to tell anyone while a big crowd had seen it?

-Why did the leper need to go to the priest?

When we ask questions as we read, we open the door for the Spirit to teach us truth. Questions are the key to being willing to learn. When we read and don’t ask questions, we show our mind is closed and that makes it difficult for the Spirit to teach us.

2) Question everything you hear from others.

Now, I do mean to be skeptical. I would almost go as far as to say don’t believe anything you hear from others (perhaps with the exception of what it takes to be Saved, but even then you must be careful as some throw in the idea we must turn from sin {repent used wrongly} when the truth is that when we change our mindset {true repentance} and trust Christ, the Spirit leads us from sin). When you are listening to others, ask the Spirit to reveal what is truth and what isn’t. Go home and break open the Bible and let the Spirit guide you. We must learn to be open to the fact that many good people teach wrong things because they were taught wrong.

3) Question whether you need other sources than the Bible and the Spirit.

I used to be very dependent on commentaries and notes written by smarter people than myself and learned that was a big mistake. I learned that I didn’t need smarter people, I needed the Spirit to make me smarter. I am glad we have resources we can learn from but here is the key- let the Spirit guide you with those too. Learn to understand what sources are benign like maps and historical accounts and what could be malign like commentaries. The only time I use other sources is when I want a better understanding of the history that was taking place, the cultural impacts, and the geographic significance. For example, I did a good research study of the Exodus. Allowing the Spirit to lead me, I realized that God had the people of Israel turn INTO the Red Sea roadblock. Had God not turned them around they would have made an end run around the Red Sea and would not be trapped. Why did God lead them into the trap? To show His glory and power and to eliminate the enemy. Use other sources but do so carefully and make sure you are listening to the Spirit.

I firmly believe that if we just let the Spirit do His primary mission for Believers we would begin to drift back on course and find ourselves on solid ground. Many of the differences that have separated the Church would be resolved and we would be the Church we are called to be. It seems like a big task, but that task gets smaller every time one Believer begins to trust the Spirit- could that one Believer be you?

Tomorrow we will conclude this series with one big mistake that someone suggested- misusing the Bible.

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