Spreading The Gospel

Personal Experience Or God’s Word, Which Is Our Standard? #3


SIH STSTA ICONShould we trust the Word based upon Biblical revelation?

 

Throughout our lifetime, we are called upon to choose between trusting the revelation of God’s Word or placing our faith in our life experiences.  Phrased another way, are we to make our life decisions based upon what our senses have revealed to us, or do we look to God’s Word as the only unquestionable  standard by which our life is to be directed?

This is study I would like us to come to an understanding of God’s will on this all important issue.  There will be three parts to our study for us:

1.  Should we trust the Word when we lack life experiences?

2.  Should we trust the Word instead of our life experiences?

3.  Should we trust the Word based upon Biblical revelation?

THE SCRIPTURES:

 

And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,  When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast [it] before Pharaoh, [and] it shall become a serpent.  And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.  Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.  For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: (Exo 7:8-13)

And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.  And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou [art but] a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.  And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:  And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered [it] out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught [him] by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.  Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.  David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.  And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.    (1 Samuel 17:32-37)

 

Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they [are] ever with me.  I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies [are] my meditation.  I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.  (Psalms 119:98-100)

 

And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?  To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.   (Isaiah 8:19-20)

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.  We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.  (2 Peter 1:16-21)

 

 

THE STUDY:

In our study, so far, we have seen through the use of examples from the past, present, and events which are yet to take place, the need for us to use the Scriptures as the standard for us to judge all of our life experiences.   If we lack an experience, we are to trust the Word and follow our Lord. If, on the other hand, we have just had an experience, the Bible is the sole standard for the Christian to use to discern the true nature of that experience.  We are to never take either of these for granted.

Apart from the examples we have looked at, we will now being looking at declarations from Scripture that reveal to us the need to recognize that the Bible as the only authorized instrument we are to use to understand the character of our life experiences.  In 2 Peter 1:16-21, we find a shocking Scriptural truth that is taught to us.  If this truth is taken to heart, we will never again rely upon any life experience to reveal to us the will of God.

Note what Peter says:

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables,…”

Here, we find Peter emphasizing that the truths he has presented in his past teachings were not wisely constructed tales of fiction.  He was not lying to his readers in an attempt to mislead them.  This shows us that, even in the times of the writing of the NT, believers understood the existence of false teaching and the grave danger of accepting that teaching as truth.  Peter is assuring them that what they have heard from him was the truth of the Word.

“…when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount..”

What past teaching of the Apostles was Peter describing? It was the account of the transfiguration of Christ upon the mount.   Peter is assuring them of the truthfulness of this event.  He is assuring them that this great miracle was genuine and above question.

Now for the shocker….

 “…We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed,…”

Peter now makes the statement that, although this great miracle of the transfiguration of Christ was genuine, we have an even more stedfast, reliable and firm proof from God concerning the person of Christ.  What was that “more sure” standard?  It is the “word of prophecy” (ie God’s Word).

Please understand what is being said.  The Word’s teachings on Christ were more reliable revelation about His person than the miracle of the Transfiguration.  Here, Peter has just placed the reliability of God’s Word above that of a known, proven, incomparable miracle performed by God Himself.

In my mind, if there was ever a life experience that could be relied upon, and used as a standard for truth about Christ’s person, it would be the divine miracle of the Transfiguration.  And yet, Peter clearly tells us that the truths found in God’s Word are “more sure”.

Folks, if there is ever a text that declares to us the need to use the standard of the Bible as the only standard for our judging our experiences of life, this is it.  It says what it says.  There is truly nothing that can be added to it.   And nothing can be taken away from it.

 

“…as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:…” 

The Word will shine in this sin-darkened world clearly revealing the true nature of the events taking place around us.  This role of the Word will continue on until Christ comes back, He takes us home to be with Him, gives us a much greater understanding of truth, and removes us from the presence of sin.

Therefore, when we go home to be with the Lord, there will no longer be a need for us to discern between good and evil because we will no longer be in evil’s presence.

 

“…Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.” 

Peter continues by teaching us that the Bible was given for all God’s people to use and understand.  It can be used by ANY OF HIS PEOPLE to discern good from evil, the things of God from the workings of Satan.  No one must rely upon the testimony of others to recognize truth from error.

Why is the Word so reliable and able to be understood by all believers?  It is because it was literally spoken by God and then penned by men through the intervention of the Holy Spirit.  The same God that spoke the Word, and the same Spirit that intervened in its writing, is the same One that indwells all believers and gives them an understanding of the truths of the Word.

But the truth of the Word does not stop there…

Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they [are] ever with me.  I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies [are] my meditation.  I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.  (Psalms 119:98-100)

When we come to understand the supreme place of importance that the Word of God should have in each of our lives, we can come to understand the need to use the Word as the ultimate standard of discernment.

Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies:

How is the Christian to gain wisdom for His life?  How is he to gain the victory over the enemies that will attempt to overcome him?   It is not through carefully examining the events that have taken place in his life… it is through coming to know, understand and apply the Word of God to his life.

 

for they [are] ever with me. 

It is this same Word, whose principles are written upon the tables of the Christian’s heart and mind, that forever become a part of his person.  With the Word in the Christian’s heart and the Holy Spirit applying God’s Word to his life, the Christian finds himself “thoroughly furnished unto all good works”.

 

I have more understanding than all my teachers:

The Christian, through a comprehensive understanding of God’s Word, finds they able to properly discern the proper response to any situation that may come his way.  The advice found in God’s Word transcends any counsel that he may receive from those who were active in his education and nurturing.

 

for thy testimonies [are] my meditation. 

By remembering and reflecting upon God’s Word throughout the day, the Christian will be in a constant state of readiness to face any obstacle that this fallen world may place before them.  Once again, there is nothing that can replace this role for God’s Word in our lives.

 

I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. 

With the Word of God being the ultimate source for knowledge and instruction, we can rest assured there is nothing the men of old know that we cannot come to understand as well.  What a blessing it is to know that, in the Word, we have the complete set of truths that God has desired for mankind to possess.

The principles of the above verse are echoed throughout the pages of the Scriptures.  The Christian is to look to the Word for the knowledge, understanding and wisdom that they need for any circumstance that they will have in life.    Nothing more is needed, nor is anything else recommended as the source of all spiritual discernment for the Christian.

So what about our life’s experiences?  What role do they play in our lives?

We have seen in our previous studies that if we rely upon our life experiences to give us discernment of the will of God we can be very easily misled and suffer spiritual defeat.   However, in 1 Samuel 17: we find the perfect example of the proper role of our life experiences…

David, as a shepherd boy, is preparing to face the giant Philistine, Goliath. Many of us are familiar with this story, but if you are not, please take a moment to acquaint yourself with this historical event by reading the entire chapter of 1 Samuel 17:.

For our study please notice, the use of a life experience by David to convince King Saul, and prepare David’s own heart for the coming battle…

Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:  And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered [it] out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught [him] by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.  Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.  David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. (1 Samuel 17:32-37)

David used a past life event to:

1. reinforce the principles of God’s Word.
For example, the principles of the Lord’s enabling of His servants,  the Lord’s accompanying of his servants, the Lord’s sovereignty and His grace, among many others are clearly displayed and reinforced in this event of David’s life.

2. find encouragement for service.
David, as he recalls all that his gracious Lord has done for Him , then finds inspiration and strength to fight the upcoming battle.  Many times, remembering previous God-given victories in life will encourage us to take further steps to obey the Lord.

3. persuade others of their need to obey God.
David uses these accounts to persuade Saul to trust the Lord in this situation, thus allowing David to face the giant Goliath.

Folks, please understand the basic principle that we find in this passage.  David’s life experiences only display and reinforce the truths that are presented in God’s Word.  There is NEVER a time when our experiences will lead us to truth from God that is not found in Word.

From time to time there are those who desire to proclaim “a new truth from God” that they claimed to have received from their life experience.  DO NOT LET THIS CLAIM LEAD US ASTRAY.  One of two things has actually taken place:

1.  Either it is actually an old truth found in His Word of which they are not aware

2.  or else, it is a principle that does not come from our Lord, but finds its origin in the darkness of the world.   In this case, it is a part of the Satanic plan to mislead us.

It is through comparison of their claim with God’s Word (as our ultimate standard) that will allow us to try the spirits and come to a genuine Godly discernment of their claim.

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world….We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth  (the doctrines of the Word Of God), and the spirit of error (the false teachings of the powers of darkness).   (1 John 4:1-6)

So, the next time we think upon a life experience ask ourselves the question, what principle(s) from God Word can I see being placed on display in this event?

The Lord allows us to experience many life events for the purpose of reinforcing a principle of the Word that we will need in our future service for Him.  Let us all be aware of His workings in our lives and learn from our life experiences the principles we have been given in His Word.  His truths of old are recorded within the pages of His Word and brought to life everyday of our life.  May we all recognize these truths in our day to day walk with Him.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

So what is our conclusion in this entire matter?  ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS use the Word of God as our standard to judge each, and every, life experience.

It does not matter how “miraculous” the event may be, how sensible the revelation might seem, or how wonderful the results of an action might seem, if they do not align themselves with the revealed Word of God (the 66 books of the Bible) they are to be set aside, ignored, and marked as false and dangerous.

If our experiences lead us to a conclusion that differs from God’s Word, this proves that we have misinterpreted our life experience or we facing an attempt to be misled of Satan.   There are never any exceptions to these principles.

The only value of our life experiences lies in their ability to remind us and reinforce in our minds the truths of God’s Word.  Any life experience that would lead us away from the truth of the Word can be proven to be positively dangerous for the Christian and a tool that Satan has used to try to cause us to be shipwrecked in service to our Lord.

One of the greatest examples of this type of human experience is found in the historical event being described Exodus 7:8-13.  In this event the servants of God, Moses and Aaron perform a genuine miracle to help persuade the Pharaoh to let the Israelites go and to prove they possessed genuine, Godly authority, but in response the servants of Pharaoh, through Satanic empowerment, performs the exact same counterfeit miracle that was meant to deceive and mislead …

And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,  When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast [it] before Pharaoh, [and] it shall become a serpent.  And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.  Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.  For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: 

If our account ended with this event, there would be utter confusion and great harm would be done to the cause of Jehovah. This is because it would appear that Pharaoh, and his hosts, possessed as much power and authority as the servants of Almighty God.  It would cause confusion and conflict among the very nation of Israel itself.

But thanks to the Lord our account continues…

but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.  And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. 

Here, we see the Lord actively intervening to undo the workings of the Satanic servants of Pharaoh.  By Aaron’s rod swallowing up the rods of the Egyptian magicians, the Lord was making it plain that He was the Ultimate Authority over all.

Just as the Lord gave the Israelites a way in which they could discern the true nature of the servants of Pharaoh, He has done the same thing for us in today’s time.  He has given to us the completed word of God which we can use as the standard to judge our every life experience….

And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.   (Isaiah 8:19-20)

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth concerning this very important subject.

 

Please visit…

Settled In Heaven Ministries Home On The Web: http://www.settledinheaven.org

Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Settled In Heaven Ministries Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email Us At: settledinheaven@gmail.com

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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