As we bring in the New Year many people are making New Year’s resolutions to better themselves. 2020 has been without a doubt, a year unlike any other. 2020 has revealed many people’s true colors, whether for better or for worse. When it comes to the churches in America there is much to learn from 2020.
When the “COVID-19 Pandemic” hit the United States, we began to see the shipwrecked state the church at large is in, especially in the Charismatic circles. Churches that statement of faith states they believe in divine healing and the authority of the believer closed down immediately when ordered to by the government. If you genuinely believe in divine healing and protection, then why close your doors over a virus with a 99% survival rate for most people? I grant that some ministry groups may not own their building they meet in and may have had no other way to meet. However, there are many churches that failed to truly stand for what they believe.
I myself believe in the continuation of all the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, along with divine healing. However, I do not like to label myself as a Charismatic or Pentecostal because of how much abuse of the Gifts takes place in these circles. This is not just true when it comes to divine healing, but when it comes to other Spiritual Gifts and Spiritual Warfare. For instance, many churches who believe in deliverance ministry still celebrate Halloween in some way in their congregation or in their personal lives. How can we say we do spiritual warfare when we sleep with the devil at the end of October?
I have seen big names like Bethel cancel healing services over this pandemic. If there would be a time to have a healing service, it would be in the middle of a pandemic. We must really discern these big names. Do they really believe what they profess? Or do they operate with a counterfeit Holy Spirit?
Jesus warned us, 1 John 4:1 (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.”. The church at large has zero sense of discernment. Just because you see a book in a Christian bookstore or someone on Christian TV, does not mean that their message agrees with Scripture.
Sadly, too many people only go to church to only receive something from God. While it is Biblical to pray for people for healing, deliverance, and provision, we cannot neglect people’s greatest need. When we are born we automatically inherit the sin nature from Adam. Sin is what separates man from God. We must make it a priority to deal with the sinner problem. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 1:23 (NKJV), “but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness”. Jesus Christ paid the price for sin, disease, poverty, and death when He was crucified on the Cross and rose from the grave. (Romans 6:23, Ephesians 1:7, 1 Corinthians 6:20, 1 Corinthians 7:23, 1 Peter 2:24, Galatians 3:13, and Titus 2:14).
There are probably far too many people in healing lines who have never truly been born again. If we are going to preach healing and pray over people for healing, we better be sure we also preach about their greatest need. Far too often Charismatics and Pentecostals accuse other denominations of having no move of the Holy Spirit in their churches. You often hear them say if you do not have people praying in tongues or getting healed there is no move of the Holy Spirit. While I agree there is truth to that, at the same time if you only preach about healing and the miraculous and never preach about repentance and the Cross, your church is just as dead if not deader. The full move of the Holy Spirit not only includes the miraculous signs and wonders it also includes ministers being full of the Holy Spirit and preaching messages that bring conviction and cut the heart of both sinners and believers. Jesus tells us about the Holy Spirit in John 16:8 (MSG), “When he comes, he’ll expose the error of the godless world’s view of sin, righteousness, and judgment: He’ll show them that their refusal to believe in me is their basic sin; that righteousness comes from above, where I am with the Father, out of their sight and control; that judgment takes place as the ruler of this godless world is brought to trial and convicted.”.
Ministers when you preach include the Full Gospel. Preach the Bible in its context. Yes, there is a place for doing a sermon series on healing or on the Gifts of the Spirit. However, we must stay focused and in balanced. Jesus warned us in Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV), “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”. I believe this is one of the reasons Jesus warned us the way is narrow, and that few find it. Our culture makes it so easy to get off balanced. Too often people who profess Jesus Christ live a life just like the world. The Christian walk is about constant devotion to prayer, mediating the Word of God, Biblical confession, fasting, worship, and growing in sanctification. We cannot over focus in one area and neglect the other. If you are truly filled with the Spirit of the Living God, then you should have a desire to run from the sin you once loved and run toward the righteousness you once hated. It is nothing in our own strength but relying on Christ in us the moment we become born again.
May 2021 be a year that either we as believers stand up for what we believe in. Do we really believe that Jesus was the same yesterday, today and forever? If so, lets open back up our churches. Why on earth would we sit in the house of God with masks on our faces? What did the Apostles do when government leaders told them to stop preaching in Christ name? Did they submit to the government authorities? No, they continued. I don’t know how any church can properly preach the Full Gospel of Jesus Christ while at the same time shut down in person services for months at a time and/or require wearing masks when in the sanctuary.
If we want a fresh outpouring of the Spirit of God in 2021, then we need to stand for what we believe. Our nation needs the Full Gospel brought forth. Not some watered-down seeker friendly Gospel. The true Gospel that saves souls and heals and delivers people I pray that 2021 is the year of clarity for many churches. I pray that churches that continue to preach a false gospel with a counterfeit spirit either repent and turn from their wicked ways or that their ministries crumble. America can not afford another year with false prophets on Christian TV. We need well-balanced preachers on the mainstream! Are you going to stand for truth or you going to keep going along with the flow? Are you going to need peace of mind by getting a shot in your arm this year, or you going to trust in true peace that surpasses all understanding? This year will reveal who is a genuine believer and who is not. I pray that many will truly repent and believe this year!
I pray that God gives you a fresh outpouring of His Spirit today. I pray He sets your heart on fire for Him like never before. I pray that He strengthens you to seek Him daily in all areas of the Christian walk. I pray that He gives you Biblical boldness. I pray that His Spirit strengthens you to be a fruitful believer bearing much good fruit.
God Bless and Happy 2021!