Test Everything - Rodney Howard-Browne
In our articles we have addressed how the gifts of the Spirit have ceased. No longer does God speak directly to each person individually, giving them instruction, revelation, or causing them to speak in tongues. That means of communication was done away with when the Word of God was completed. However, many people claim that God still works miracles among His people and that He also speaks to individuals directly. How do they justify this teaching with the Word of God? The answer is; many of them do not. Look at what Rodney Howard-Browne a famous charismatic evangelist said in one of his devotionals. "Whatever He Says To You Do It"
"The first miracle Jesus performed after being baptized in water and the Holy Spirit was to turn water into wine at a wedding. His mother told the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it!" The servants did not know what Jesus was about to do, neither did they understand how He did it, but because they obeyed and did not argue or question Jesus' command, the miracle took place. Jesus did not touch the water pots, He only gave the instructions. The servants poured water into the pots, the servants drew wine out of the pots, and the servants took it to the superintendent of the feast, who proclaimed it to be the best wine of the feast.
Jesus also wants to use us to do miracles, but it will not happen unless we are obedient. We cannot argue with Him or question His judgment; we must simply commit to obey what He tells us to do. Many Christians want God to use them in a mighty way, but they are too full of opinions, questions, reasonings, and arguments! They say that they have faith, but they really don't because they will not make a move without an explanation. They want to understand everything before they do what God is telling them to do. They want to give God their opinion. They want to tell Him why it won't work!
The greatest demonstration of your faith is when you simply believe that any word God speaks to you is true; when you trust God enough to do what He has told you to do without expecting Him to reveal everything to you first; when you trust God enough to do what He has told you to do without needing to have it all figured out in your head. The things God asks you to do may not make sense to your carnal mind and they don't need to. God may not be hiding anything from you, He may just be hiding what He is about to do from the devil!"
Look for a minute at the Scripture he used. There are two differences between the servants in this passage and us today. The first thing we have to recognize is that they were servants. Servants were not allowed to question any instructions they were given. While we are symbolically “servants” of Christ, we are not His hired servant or slave. We are children of God who have been adopted into the family, and with that we are treated as true sons and are heirs to all that He has to offer.
Gal 4:4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons . 6 Because you are sons , God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
There is another more important difference between people today and the servants of this passage. These servants were physically standing in front of Jesus, therefore they had no need to question whether or not He was the one who was speaking to them. Today however, people claiming to be getting messages from God can not physically see the one speaking to them. They have no way of really knowing who the message is from. Would it not be wise to question whether or not this message was from God?
Rodney Howard-Browne would like you to think that questioning a message that is given to you directly is a bad thing to do. He discourages you from questioning and using reason to try to determine if this message is or is not from God. Even when the message makes no sense he tells you to do whatever you are told to do. He claims that the greatest demonstration of your faith is to “simply believe that any word God speaks to you is true!” He fails to acknowledge that there is no way to verify if the message is even from God or not. He seems to assume that all messages given must come from God. The Bible however, warns us that there are false spirits and we are instructed to test them.
1 John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
In fact we are told to test everything.
1 Thess 5:21 Test everything. Hold on to the good.
While we must test everything we are only supposed to hold onto that which is good. How are we to know which ones are good or not? By comparing it with the Scripture. The Pharisees often tested Jesus. Did he criticize them for doing so? No. Look exactly at why Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees.
Matt 19:3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?" 4 "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female
The Pharisees were not admonished for asking Jesus a question, they were criticized because they should have already known the answer by having read the Scriptures. Another time he told them quite bluntly:
Matt 22:29 Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.
The Pharisees were wrong and corrected because they did not know the Scriptures. They were never told that they were wrong for reasoning or questioning what Jesus was teaching. In fact God calls us all to reason with Him.
Isa 1:18 Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD.
Look at the record of the New Testament church. The day of Pentecost is a powerful example that proves miraculous signs and wonders were not to be believed simply because they happened. When the apostles were baptized with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other human languages as the Spirit gave them utterance, did they demand that the people simply follow and trust them blindly as evidence of true faith? No! Peter stood up and reasoned from the Scriptures to prove that what they were doing was from God.
Acts 2:14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
He then quotes several Scriptures to prove what he was saying was true. Likewise, Paul did not go around preaching that men believe whatever they “felt” God told them to do. Instead, he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, proving that his message was from God.
Acts 17:2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead
And we know that the Bereans did not accept Paul's message as true until they verified that what he was teaching was really found in the Scripture. The Word of God did not say this meant that they had weak faith, but instead called them more noble because they searched the Scriptures every day to make sure what they were being taught was true!
Acts 17:11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Nowhere in Scripture are we ever told that the greatest demonstration of faith is to blindly believe anything that says it is from God. That teaching is not only false, it is extremely dangerous. If you simply believe any spirit you open yourself up to many false teachings and allow deception to take hold in your life. You could ultimately be placing your faith in a lying or even demonic spirit. You have no way of ever knowing if you do not test it to find out.
Instead of believing every spirit and every “message”, follow the instructions of the Bible. Test everything. That is the Lord's command. Those who try to stop you from testing such things are not teaching biblical principles and therefore are not speaking for God. Such men are false teachers and should be ignored. Test everything and only hold on to that which is good. To know which teachings are good make sure you read the Scriptures. Do not let Jesus' words to the Pharisees ring true in your life.
Matt 22:29 Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures...