By Jim Allen
Shortly after I became a believer, a fellow coworker invited me to a house meeting to hear a prophet from India speak about a divine visitation from Jesus Christ. Of course, I was attentive and made it a priority to attend. After listening to what the prophet had to say and while conferring the next day with another believer about what the Bible really had to say (Acts 17:11), we agreed the prophet from India was not the real deal. I never went back.
But, the most surprising part about this true story is the coworker (and most of those in attendance that night) believed the words of the prophet without question. His words were golden, as though from Jesus himself. They believed the prophet's account of the visitation as a true wonder, a divine visitation no less. They hung on every word spoken by the prophet, and did so for many years to come. They obeyed him without question and were faithful to his beckoning.
But, things are not always what they seem. The point is people will always find it easier to adopt another person's faith to avoid plowing deep furrows through the good soil of God's word. As a result, the coworker was eager to live from someone else's revelation of Jesus without examination, and herein the caution. Twenty years later the coworker called to tell me he had awakened from his long and unprofitable slumber to see the lies and deception and madness of the cult. He left the prophet after many years of faithfulness.
What my former coworker did not grasp was that he had to get his own revelation of Jesus Christ and not depend on someone else's (John 17:3). By the grace of God he was eventually led to plow through the Bible to uncover nuggets of truth that would forever expose his endeared and celebrated cult leader for what he was…a false and dangerous guide. The coworker learned his faith was not only a borrowed faith but vain faith.
The Bible really does encourage believers to plow through the good soil of God's written word to uncover the meaning of their salvation (Philippians 2:12). In doing so, believers grow in knowledge and wisdom and understanding to discern the true from the false (Hosea 4:6); and then, to learn and discern the good and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2; 2 Timothy 3:14-17).
Relying solely on the revelation of another is like going on a long journey using hand-written notes from a dear friend. While the friend means well, the hand-written notes may be unclear, incomplete, and nearly useless when the light of day gives way to darkness of night.
A more recent example of the need for believers to get their own personal revelation is Burnett's movie entitled the Son of Man. While the movie was a grand slam and accolades flowed unceasingly, the movie glossed over sin as nothing more than a bad cold that would go away with the medicine of brotherly love and good works. Worse yet, the movie portrayed Jesus as a handsome world changer instead of the sacrificial Lamb of God (John 1:29).
After close analysis, it became clear Burnett's portrayal of Jesus was based on a personal and compromised interpretation of Jesus' ministry and not the Bible's true depiction of His ministry. Burnett and his heretical advisors portrayed Jesus as a prophet without his divine claim to be one with the Father (John 10:30). Nevertheless, this movie is both true and false and that makes it another gospel (Galatians 1:8-9). While this movie is wonderfully crafted and appealing to the emotions, it is injurious to undiscerning souls (Galatians 1:8).
Got Questions' forceful retort to the movie's colossal departure from the Gospel is published on Blogos. More specifically and to the point is "the fact that Jesus' resurrection proves His victory over death and sin and guarantees a resurrected eternal life for all who believe in Him is nowhere to be found (1 Corinthians 15)." [Source]
The point being made is that the false prophet from India and the Son of God movie are instances of not having a personal revelation of Jesus Christ.
The consequence of adopting another's faith is it may be wrong, and if wrong then of no value, the result of which is vain faith (1 Corinthians 15:1-2). A wrong revelation of the Savior is as bad as no revelation and perhaps why the five foolish virgins were not ready. Instead, they were unprepared virgins who did not (for whatever reason) receive the love of the truth that they might be saved (2 Thessalonians 2:10).
The coworker knew scripture but it was made unclean by the unholy prophet. He was sincere in his vain faith but sincerely wrong. He was committed to obey but wrongly obeyed. He believed obedience to the prophet would give him great favor with God never realizing he was following the words of dark guide (Matthew 15:14).
As the end of this age approaches, many believers are looking to the words of others to shine light on the path laid out before them. The midnight call will happen once and never again, emphasizing the need for believers to get it right the first time, ensuring they have oil in their lamps to safely pass through the darkness. To live from someone else's revelation of Jesus Christ is a common theme today in the church. They are foolish virgins who slumber and neglect to embrace God's word and draw near to the beat of His heart (2 Thessalonians 2:10).
Ironically, believers can give away most everything they own, but the one thing they cannot give away is the relationship they have with Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17). For those who have no relationship, they will need to purchase it by opening their heart to learn and come to know him in an intimate and personal way (Revelation 3:19-19).
In closing, the Bible is our primary source of instruction for attaining oil in the time of grace. The Bible is God-breathed, an inspired gift, simple and complex, and yet deep in meaning and able to provide guiding values to young and old alike (2 Timothy 3:16-17). From it the Holy Spirit reveals the true Savior to believers in a personal and engaging way (John 15:5).
The Bible (coalescing with the abiding inward witness of the Holy Spirit) is the oil that flows into the heart revealing a personal Savior (1 Peter 1:23). This is how believers come to possess oil for their lamps. It is here (in the heart) where the Holy Spirit transforms written truth into flowing oil for igniting the flame of faith that will shine before all men (Matthew 5:14-16).
Image Credit: AJ Cann; "Followers"; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Salvation | Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | False-Teaching
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