It seems like the closer we come to the return of Christ the farther more believers move away from faith. The Apostle Paul exhorts believers to "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith..." Paul was not exhorting believers in a nebulous general faith that stops at the day of rebirth, but a true faith in the gospel as well as faith in Jesus Christ, and in the promises of God through him. Paul also tells us that the gospel is the power of God to us who are being saved. Everyday in a believers life the power of the gospel should be experienced in a tangible way, being saved, delivered, healed, preserved, being made whole. But is this true for most believers? Are most believers "in the faith" as Paul is exhorting? Let's be honest, most believers in the USA are not functioning in the faith that Paul is talking about.
Test all things; hold fast what is good. (I Thessalonians 5:21) There are two important principles in this short verse of scripture that believers need to consider at all times. We will consider "Test all things" first. The Apostle Paul exhorts the church not to believe everything that is spoken through prophecy, teaching or preaching but to examine what is spoken. We examine these things through the weapons of our warfare that are mighty in God, His Word. The apostle John tells us, Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
(I John 4:1) The word spirit here is used to express the man who was teaching as to whether his teaching was influenced by the Holy Spirit or his human spirit.
Unfortunately today there is more teaching and preaching coming from pulpits filled with the human spirit than with the Holy Spirit. How can we know this? Let's look at Mark 16:20...
And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. When the Word is preached by inspiration of the Holy Spirit then it is confirmed through signs.
About four years ago I became frustrated and discouraged because church had become dull and I wanted to know why. The LORD spoke to me and said, "Preach my word, not your word, tell people of my plan not what you think my plan is or what you want my plan to be and you will see my works". Naturally I took a look at what I was teaching and preaching to get a better understanding of what the LORD was saying. I noticed that I was teaching and preaching from the Bible, but adding things that I had learned or thought to be true. I came to realize that I was actually inoculating myself and other believers with concepts that did not build faith, which brought me to repentance. From then my eyes have been opened to see a spirit of error that is growing in the USA that works at twisting Gods Word and is deceiving many believers especially leaders. It stands against the teaching and preaching of faith, because faith, faith in the name of Jesus is what releases all the promises of God. Satan knows this an is hard at work using his arsenial of deception to keep believers from having great faith.
And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise.
(Hebrews 11:39) Do we see what is here? The Old Testament believers believed God but did not receive the promise of Christ. In Christ believers have been given everything that the Old Testament believers were only promised. Today, the promises of God are avaiable to every believer because they are a reality, they are fact! The world needs to see believers who truly put actions to their faith. Faith without corresponding actions is dead! Just because a teaching sounds good or preaching gets you excited does not mean it's the Word of God. So beloved, it is time to listen and "Test all things."