Job 5:13 π Psa. 94:11 π Isa. 28:13 π Isa. 29:13 π Isa. 29:14; 2nd π Isa. 40:13 π Isa. 64:4 π Jer. 9:24 π Hos. 9:7 π Mt. 5:3 π Mt. 11:25; 2nd π Mt. 20:25-26; 2nd π Mt. 23:8 π Mt. 23:8-10 π Mt. 24:4 π Mk. 10:42-43 π Lk. 10:21 π Lk. 22:25-26 π Jn. 14:26 π Jn. 16:13 π Acts 17:2-13 π 1 Cor. 1:18-2:16 π 1 Cor. 1:19 π 1 Cor. 1:26 π 1 Cor. 2:10-14 π 1 Cor. 3:18-20 π 1 Cor. 13:13 π 1 Cor. 14:26 π Eph. 4:11; 2nd π Eph. 4:11-13 π 1 Ths. 1:5-9 π 1 Ths. 4:9-10 π 2 Tim. 4:3-4 π Tit. 2:1-15 π Jas. 1:22 π 1 Jn. 2:18-20 π 1 Jn. 2:27; 2nd; 3rd π 1 Jn. 3:8 π 1 Jn. 3:16
John wrote, "But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him." ( 1 Jn. 2:27; top ) This passage strikes at the very heart of clergyism - the exalting of one group of believers over other believers - because it is not written to a "superior" class of believers but, instead, it is written to everyone who believes.
Just prior to this verse, John had written, "But you..." (in contrast to the many antichrists who "went out from us, but...were not of us") "...have an anointing from the Holy One and you know all things." (or "...you all know it." - margin) ( 1 Jn. 2:18-20; top ) Let us note this carefully: any and all who are not an antichrist and who continue to remain with Christ have an anointing to know the mind of Christ.
Again, this is striking at the very heart of clergyism because who is an antichrist? The Greek is very specific whereas the English is somewhat ambiguous. The English "anti" means "against" or "opposed to." But the primary meaning of the Greek is: "in the place of" or "instead of." The Greek carries the full meaning of "being against or opposed to by replacing the original through means of guile or deceit." Thus, any man (whether he takes the title of clergy or not) who takes upon himself priestly and/or sacerdotal functions of any kind of mediator between God and men is, by definition, an antichrist because he has placed himself in a place that rightly belongs only to Christ.
The usual dismissal of the plain truth of this passage is usually delivered by a man who continually teaches (the exact tense of the verb used in 1 Jn. 2:27 which John says that none of us needs) the Bible to a group of people (most often a "mixed multitude") over whom the man regularly, whether subtly or overtly, exercises authority (something which Jesus expressly forbids - see Mt. 20:25-26 ; Mk. 10:42-43 ; Lk. 22:25-26; top ) and his argument runs something like this:
"Christ Himself gave us teachers (see Eph. 4:11 , etc.) and I'm a teacher. Therefore I should keep continually teaching you in spite of what John says in 1 Jn. 2:27 ."
The circular reasoning behind this should be apparent to all. What we must do is find out exactly what Jesus gave to men ( Eph. 4:11 ) and what He has forbidden ( Mt. 23:8-10; top ) for, on the surface, this would seem to be a glaring contradiction.
When Jesus says, "...do not be called Rabbi (Master, Teacher)..." ( Mt. 23:8; top ), we must recognize the background against which He is speaking. Rabbis, like Nicodemus, Gamaliel, Hillel, etc. were the recognized rulers over religious thought in Israel. There is no place for the authoritarian connotation of that word "Rabbi" on any believer because all believers are brothers of equal standing before Christ, the eldest brother. Though there is a place for teachers (experienced leaders and instructors) to assist younger believers to reach spiritual maturity as Paul says ( Eph. 4:11-13; top ), John clearly warns us that this place of needing instruction is a temporary thing. Why? Because once you are instructed and you know both
1) how to abide and
2) to abide in (remain in, dwell in, never leave)
Christ, how much more instruction do you really need? Do you really need to know who Hezekiah, Ahab and Jedidiah were? Will those names be on a surprise pop quiz on judgment day? No! And worse, if you do know all the "Bible trivia" answers but you don't know how to or even to abide in Christ, of what value is your Bible knowledge? None.
Our value system is so skewed because we place a premium on knowledge whereas God places the premium on faith, hope and love. (see 1 Cor. 13:13; top ) It is the strategy of the evil spirits of religion (Babylon) and antichrist (error) to cause us to value Biblical knowledge over spiritual obedience to God. This is why we so faithfully gather in "churches" or run to our "personal pastor" or "personal prophet" or to our favorite teacher to have our ears scratched by the antichrists, the men who stand somewhere between us and God, usurping some rightful place of Christ in our life.
Let us examine some of the Scriptures that will confirm these truths. Jesus, after having made some very deep and significant statements about coming judgment and the authority of the believer over the things of Satan, said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to babes." ( Mt. 11:25 ; Lk. 10:21; top )
Paul expounds on this theme when he writes:
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.'" [ Isa. 29:14; top ] "Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
"For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God - and righteousness and sanctification and redemption - that, as it is written, 'He who glories, let him glory in the
LORD.'" [ Jer. 9:24; top ]
"And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
"However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.'" [ Isa. 64:4; top ] "But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For 'Who has known the mind of the
LORDthat he may instruct Him?'" [ Isa. 40:13; top ] "But we have the mind of Christ..."
"Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, 'He catches the wise in their own craftiness'" [ Job 5:13 ] "and again, 'The
LORDknows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.'" [ Psa. 94:11 ] ( 1 Cor. 1:18-2:16 ; 3:18-20; top )
Of the many, many things we could glean from this extensive passage, let us note carefully the distinction between the wisdom of this world and the wisdom of God. Let us note that God, who sent Christ to destroy the works of Satan ( 1 Jn. 3:8 ), has also promised to destroy the wisdom of the wise and to bring to nothing the understanding of the intelligent. ( 1 Cor. 1:19 ; Isa. 29:14 ) Not many wise in worldly wisdom are called. ( 1 Cor. 1:26 ) The Spirit of God reveals the things of God to the spiritual man and not to the natural man ( 1 Cor. 2:10-14 ) and the natural man, steeped in sin and enmity against God, will consider the spiritual man to be foolishly insane (see Hos. 9:7 ) The Father chooses to bypass the wise and intelligent and instead reveals His secrets, His mysteries to babes, to the meek, the humble, the poor in spirit. ( Mt. 11:25 ; 5:3 ; etc.; top)
But who is it that we find in the pulpits and in positions of leadership in our fellowships? The wise and the intelligent! Only those studied in the letter of the Scriptures and recognized by other men (and who have enough ear-scratching charisma) are permitted to regularly speak and to wield authority (in spite of Christ's prohibition against such things! - Mt. 20:25-26 ) over believers. And where are the babes and infants to whom the Spirit is revealing the deep things of God? If they haven't fled the institutional "church" system, they're forced into silence (or at least subservience to the system) in the pews (in contrast to 1 Cor. 14:26; top where every believer is to have something to share) where they may not say or do anything for or to anyone else! Three strikes, we're out!
To further confirm that our modern teaching methods are virtually devoid of the Spirit of God, let us consider the example left to us in the Thessalonicans. And this will also answer the question about what the Spirit teaches those who will learn from Him. Paul traveled to Thessalonica and
"...for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, 'This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.' And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.
"But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, 'These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king - Jesus.' And they troubled the crowd and the rulers of the city when they heard these things. So when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.
"Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thesslonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds." ( Acts 17:2-13; top )
This town is hostile to the traveling apostles of Christ - especially Paul! Paul never returns to Thessalonica and we are given no names of anyone who stayed to disciple them. As far as we know, these Thessalonicans were taught only by the Spirit. At any rate, when Paul writes to the Thessalonicans some years later, he praises them highly when he says, "For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out,, so that we do not need to say anything. For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God..." ( 1 Ths. 1:5-9; top )
They became examples to Macedonia and Achaia and the word of the Lord went out from them to all places! That's really great results from three weeks of preaching and teaching! So why is there so little change in so many "church"-goers after years and years of sermons and teachings and words? Something has changed!
Paul gives us the real reason for the powerful changes wrought in the Thessalonicans. He writes:
"But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia." ( 1 Ths. 4:9-10; top )
They had been taught by God! What had they been taught? To love one another - and they need no further teaching on the subject from Paul, only encouragement to not grow complacent in their attainments.
John gives a bottom-line definition of genuine, Christ-given, agape love. He writes:
"By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." ( 1 Jn. 3:16; top )
If our acts of kindness, compassion, mercy and gentleness never reach the level of laying down our lives - in terms of costliness, humility and rejecting our own agendas to take up Christ's agenda for our brothers' lives - then we have not yet learned what we ought to have learned. We have learned mere knowledge from men and spurned the deep things of God that are taught by the Spirit - our reverence for God is a mere precept of men ( Isa. 29:13; top ) and we have not learned to reverence God by personal encounter with Him - and we are very close to trading in our glorious eternal inheritance in Christ for what, in comparison, can only be called a mere bowl of soup. There is a vast distinction between agape love and charity - and the dividing line is found in the source. If our source for giving is our self, we will be exalted, puffed up and/or flattered in some way by our "charity." If our source is Christ when we give or serve, He will be honored and glorified and His body, His called-out people, will be inseparably knit and joined together.
In the last days, by embracing the ear-scratching teachers, men will reject even the notion that they, as individuals, even need to be taught by the Spirit of God and they will reject the need for the things taught by the Spirit, what Paul called "sound doctrine." (see 2 Tim. 4:3-4 ; Tit. 2:1-15; top ) Instead they will attend teachings and conferences that build "precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little" until they all "go and fall backward, and [are] broken and snared and caught." ( Isa. 28:13 ) They will be ultimately deceived because they are, for the most part, only hearers and not doers of the word of the Lord. (see Jas. 1:22 ) Jesus first and foremost warning about the end times is still most important: "Watch out that no one deceives you..." ( Mt. 24:4; top )
If we routinely reject the instructions of the Spirit of God who will teach us to abide only in Christ and to lay down our lives - a rejection clearly demonstrated by our lawlessness, following our own agenda, and our refusal to truly serve our brothers' needs - let us not deceive ourselves into thinking that we are being saved from the wrath that will come upon all human wickedness.
Jesus said, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you." ( Jn. 14:26 ) He also said, "However, when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come." ( Jn. 16:13; top )
As we conclude this study into the teachings of the Spirit of God, let us at least recognize that God's Spirit must have an active, primary role in teaching us how we should live in order to truly follow Christ. Jesus promised that the Spirit would teach us all things, reminding us of what He has said to us. The Spirit will guide us into all truth, telling us the things God wants us to hear and know.
If we are able to concoct a structure of religious knowledge or moral requirements that have no need of the work of the Holy Spirit, we can be fully assured that we have grabbed onto only yet one more form of religious deception and have lost our grip on the high calling which is found only in Christ Jesus.
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