23 Aug Has Spirit-Filled Ministry Ceased or Continued?
Ephesians 4:1-3 – I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
As a college freshman at a state university, God saved me largely through just reading the Bible that my girlfriend and now wife Grace gave me. I got plugged in to a healthy, Bible teaching church that was a huge help to establishing my faith in Christ. As I got to know other Christians on campus, they would invite me to their various college ministries and churches, and I quickly realized that different Christians do things differently.
In worship, some groups raised their hands in song while others did not. In some ministries, people were speaking out loud in a language I had never heard that they called “tongues”, and I was not sure what was happening. In one group, someone took the microphone and said they had a word from God that they wanted to share with the group. I’d never seen anything like these, and numerous other things, in the Catholic Church I stopped attending in my teen years.
I started studying spiritual gifts in the Bible trying to make sense of what was going on in the lives of others around me, and then some supernatural things started to happen in my own life. At my first men’s retreat, God spoke to me audibly on a hike telling me to do four things: 1. Marry Grace 2. Preach the Bible 3. Train men 4. Plant churches. I did not know God still spoke to people like this, so I asked my pastor what he thought. He was and is a very godly, humble, wise man of God that I am grateful was my first pastor. He said it was a word from God for me and that was the calling on my life – so I’ve been doing those very things every day since and God has been supernaturally gracious and generous every step of the journey.
Before long, I also started to have demonic manifestations, sometimes alone and sometimes with Grace also present. Throughout my now 25 years as a senior pastor, preaching and teaching through books of the Bible, I have had prophetic words from God for groups ranging from one person to a stadium filled with people. I have received visions while awake, seeing events that I will explain later in this book. I have also had numerous prophetic dreams while asleep that was like watching a movie of the future that comes to pass exactly as I saw it. I will also explain these events more thoroughly later in this book. I had no background in the supernatural, was not seeking it, and did not, at first, understand it when it happened. So, I spent a lot of time studying the supernatural and consider it a tremendous honor to seek to help your understanding as well. Thank you for that honor.
In hearing about these kinds of experiences, if they trouble you or cause you concern, you are probably more familiar with teaching that is called cessationism. If this all seems rather normal to you and part of your Christian experience, you are probably more familiar with teaching that is called continuationism.
Spiritual gifts are sometimes divided into the categories of sign gifts and service gifts, or the categories of sign gifts, service gifts, and speaking gifts. Within the church, there are two categories of belief with regard to whether all of the spiritual gifts continue to function in the Church today.
Do you have much experience with the demonic or unseen realm? If you want to learn more, you can go back and watch the Win Your War series on legacy.realfaith.com.
To find the 100+ page study guide and sermon series that accompanies this devotional series, or to find a free mountain of Bible teaching, visit legacy.realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.