All of us go through certain things in our lives that cause us to think and believe in different ways. I have been in churches of about 40 different denominations, and everybody seems to think and believe differently. What is the standard that we should go by in order to believe what is right?
I grew up in a church that claimed to believe the Bible. One preacher told us that everything they believed and practiced was based on the Bible. When he made that statement, I felt I was with the best church in the whole world. However, many years later, the Holy Spirit started teaching me things, and I discovered that lots of the things they believed and practiced was actually opposite to what is written in the Bible.
The Holy Spirit also led me to go way beyond the Bible. For example, I had a vision of the coming of Jesus, where the Holy Spirit said to me: “The Lord cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones.” In the Bible, Jude is quoting from the writings of Enoch, but we don’t have his writings in our Bibles. (Jude 14).
Many years later, I had a dream where the Holy Spirit showed me the names ‘Jannes and Jambres.’ When I went looking for their names in the Bible, I found them in 2 Timothy 3:8, and Paul is quoting from a different Bible.
Lots of things that the Holy Spirit has taught me are different to what everybody else believes, yet everything is written in the Bible. So I don’t fit into the regular churchianity.
I have to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, and He will guide us into all truth. (John 16:13).
About 40 years ago, when I was a minister of a church in Canada, the Holy Spirit led me to run down the street to deliver a book to a guy we had met. On the way, a man in a wheelchair was flagging me down. I ended up pushing him in the wheelchair and prayed for him. Then he got out of his wheelchair and pushed it down the sidewalk himself. That is one of the many exciting things that I have experienced in my life. Then he asked me a favour. He asked me to buy him a cup of coffee, but I didn’t have any money.
As I walked back up the sidewalk where he pushed his wheelchair, I thought of Peter in the Bible, how he didn’t have any money, but the guy at the gate beautiful got healed and was walking and leaping and praising God. (Acts 3:1-9).
That made me so excited, and I shared what happened that night in church. Then one woman came against me. In the arguments, one word came up in the Bible that she disagreed with, and she turned the church against me. The word was “perfected” in Luke 13:32.
The leader of the church then came against me and told me that the King James Bible was “no good” and the Greek Interlinear Bible was “wrong.” When he told me that, he took the rock out from under my feet, because Jesus said that if we hear his words and do them, then we are like a man who builds his house on a rock. (Matthew 7:24-27, Luke 6:47-49).
Since then, I have been trying to find the right Bible. There are so many different translations, yet none of them even have the right books in their Bibles. Translations vary greatly. Every writer in the New Testament quotes scriptures from a different Bible. Even Jesus quotes scriptures that are not found in the regular Bibles. So the term “scripture” is a very broad term. So I am just searching for the truth. I am not perfect, I have lots of faults, but I think everybody does. So we all just struggle along and do the best we can.
Jesus said we are supposed to love one another. (John 13:35). I gave a sermon once in a church where I read Paul’s letter to the church in Laodicea, because that is what he said in the Bible. (Colossians 4:16). The next week, a man was shouting at me in the face, because he said I don’t believe in the cannon of scripture. I was just following Paul’s instructions. It is not my fault that the Church didn’t include that writing in the Bible.
It seems like one word can cause a lot of trouble. Here are some verses in the Bible where Jesus talks about words. (The quotations are from the American King James Version).
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36).
For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Matthew 12:37).
But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. (Matthew 18:16).
Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. (Mark 7:13).
If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; (John 10:35).
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (John 12:48).
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. (John 15:3).
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (John 17:14).
I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35).
(Paul is quoting from a different Bible).
When I was little, my mother took me to church, and I grew up hearing lots of words that are associated with church, but are not in the “right translations” of the Bible. Jesus said that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word should be established. (Matthew 18:16). So there needs to be two or three credible witnesses to back up words. I have tried to arrange them alphabetically:
Apocrypha, Bible, Bible school, Calendar, Catholic, Children’s meeting, Chorus book, Christian, Christianity, Christmas, church benches, church building, church clothes, church member, committee, December, denomination, Easter, evangelical, Good Friday, Head office, Hymn book, Jacket and tie, January, Ladies meeting, Pentecostal, piano, prayer room, prayer meeting, Protestant, sermon, Sunday, Sunday school, Three point sermon.
The ONE WORD (“perfected”) that caused the big blow up in the church, was from the writings of Luke. Luke also wrote the book of Acts, and I will share with you one thing that caused me to do some thinking, and can give ammunition to those people who love to fight over words in the Bible. Back in the 70’s I did a little picture comic story of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus using the Revised Standard Version.
Acts 9:7 said:”The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.” So I did a picture of Saul lying on the ground, and the other guys standing around.
Then in Acts 22:9, when Paul gives his testimony in Jerusalem, he says: “Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me.” So, did they hear the voice or not?
Then in Acts 26:14 when he gives his testimony before King Agrippa, he says: “And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hurts you to kick against the goads.” So now, did they all fall down or didn’t they?
So, for those people who love to fight, go for it. Fight your way to hell. My conclusion is this. Maybe they all fell down, then the other guys got up while Saul (Alas Paul) was still down. Maybe they heard a voice, but didn’t understand Hebrew, and therefore didn’t understand what Jesus said.
There is a story in the Gospel of John where Jesus speaks to the Father and the Father answers him. Some people heard thunder, but John heard what the Father said. (John 12:28-29). “Father, glorify thy name.” Then came a voice from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it “thundered”: others said, “An angel spake to him.” So everybody hears differently.
There is one very exciting story in the Bible where different people heard different things. In 2 Kings chapter 7, there is a story of how the Syrians had besieged Samaria. Four skinny starving lepers walked towards the Syrian camp, and the Syrians heard the sound of a mighty army coming towards them and ran for their lives. The people in Samaria never heard any army. So God used selective hearing to win the war. That is impossible in the natural.
Some people see in the spiritual realm. Elisha could see angels and chariots surrounding the mountain, but his servant couldn’t see them, until God opened his spiritual eyes. (2 Kings 6:17).
So beloved, we must all just do the best we can, and trust the Lord to show us the way we must go. Go in peace.