Is It True?

summary of a message preached by Pastor Dele Oyeleru of TCBC, Ejigbo

Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so (Acts 17:11 NASB).

It’s your responsibility and right to check what if what a preacher says is what God has said in His word. Don’t believe the heresy that you can’t question or verify a sermon you heard in church.

The Bereans searched the Scriptures to confirm if what Paul was teaching was true, according to the word of God. They were not intimidated by Paul’s person, title or position. They didn’t look at Paul’s person but at the word of God. Paul himself asked people to confirm what he preached. judge ye what I say.(1 Cor 10:15).

What the right response to the word of God? How do I receive the word of God?

Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so (Acts 17:11 NASB).

Do not quench (suppress or subdue) the [Holy] Spirit; Do not spurn the gifts and utterances of the prophets [do not depreciate prophetic revelations nor despise inspired instruction or exhortation or warning]. But test and prove all things [until you can recognize] what is good; [to that] hold fast (1 Thess 5:20-21 AMP).

 1) Be teachable – the Berean Church received the word with all readiness of mind (Acts 17:11). Despise not prophesying (1 Thess 5:20).
Have a teachable spirit. Be open to what God says. Have a mindset of – if God said it then I accept it. Don’t reject or accept a message based on whether you like the speaker or not or you think you know more than the preacher. Never forget that God can use anybody.

You don’t accept a message as true just because it agrees with the doctrine of your local assembly or based on economic gain to you.

2) Scrutinise – examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true (Acts 17:11 NASB). Test and prove all things (1 Thess 5:21).

Scrutinise means asks questions, inspect closely. You scrutinise because fake things look genuine. Confirm from the Scriptures if what is said in church is true. Don’t examine based on your disposition, what you already wanted, your local assembly’s doctrine but based on the word of God.

Don’t be intimidated by positions or titles. “All things” includes the sermons by your pastor, Sunday school teacher or your general overseer.

3) Embrace – the Berean Church received the message (Acts 17:11). Hold fast to what is good  (1 Thess 5:21).
If it’s according to the word of God then receive it and share with others too (2 Tim 2:2)

Why do I need to check if what I hear in church is true?

1) What spirit is talking?
Truth is not truth except it originates from God, who is the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). Unclean spirits pretend to say the truth but deceiving you is their target. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness (2 Cor 11:14-15 NASB)

Beloved, 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 (1 John 4:1).

2) False prophets exist…. even in churches
But also [in those days] there arose false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among yourselves, who will subtly and stealthily introduce heretical doctrines (destructive heresies), even denying and disowning the Master Who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction (2 Pet 2:1 AMP)

3) God knows that His servants are not perfect and that’s why He asked you to verify what is said in church.
Your pastor may be sincere but wrong.
So let two or three prophets speak [those inspired to preach or teach], while the rest pay attention and weigh and discern what is said (1 Cor 14:29 AMP).
1 Cor 14:29 says let the preacher speak and let others judge, weigh carefully, evaluate what you have heard preached.

4) God judges both false prophets and those who listen to them
Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds. Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who are prophesying in My name, although it was not I who sent them—yet they keep saying, ‘There will be no sword or famine in this land’—by sword and famine those prophets shall meet their end! The people also to whom they are prophesying will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and there will be no one to bury them—neither them, nor their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters—for I will pour out their own wickedness on them (Jer 14:14-16 NASB)

‘Shall I not punish these people ?’ declares the LORD, ‘On a nation such as this Shall I not avenge Myself?’ “An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so!  (Jer 5:29-31 NASB)  

5) God Himself said there’ll be heresy at the end of time so that those that are true and approved may be known
For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you (1 Cor 11:19).
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock (Acts 20:29).
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Matt 7:15).

6) God’s word will judge you and you should judge yourself according to the word. Rom 2:16, James 2:12

I do not have the gift of discerning of spirits spoken of in 1 Corinthians chapter 12, so how then do I judge?
The discerning of spirits spoken of in 1 Corinthians 12 is a specialised gift characterised by identifying the spirits behind things said or done. Every christian is expected to discern (1 John 4:1-3, Matt 7:15). Discernment is a discipline you develop by intimating yourself with the word of God (regular study) and God Himself.

You judge by:
1) What is said
Beloved, 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. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world (1 John 4:1-3 NASB). Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is  accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:3 NASB)

2) Who does it glorify? Who does it point you to?Who is it speaking of?
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you (John 16:13-14)

3) What does it tell you to do?
If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.  It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. (Deut 13:1-4 NIV)

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits…. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Matt 7:15,16,20).

Conclusion
brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it (Phil 4:8-9 AMP)

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