How do we know and follow God Part 2 by Pastor Don
We looked at Acts 26.
Acts 26:27-28 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.” Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”
Pastor Don told us that this is a casual passage about a conversation with King Agrippa, and yet King Agrippa makes a powerful statement with the word “almost”. King Agrippa was saying you ALMOST talked me into it. It implies he has an inner witness that he should be a Christian, but he rejects that inner witness. He is ready to do it, but rejects it. He claims he is not buying Paul’s argument, but Paul was speaking on the basis of belief, not debating the issue. The Spirit man grasps King Agrippa and King Agrippa knows Paul believes, but King Agrippa makes the choice not to believe.
We all know people like this. We can sense they are not committed. What is their inner witness telling them? What is preventing them? Do they just not believe anything? Some say, he’s a good person, moral and ethical, just not a believer. You can’t say you don’t believe anything – everyone believes something, even an atheist. You can ask a person, what’s the motivation to be good if you don’t believe the Ten Commandments? It is the law of God that defines what goodness is, so what is the motivation factor? You aren’t doing it for money, or for common good. Who then decides what is the right thing to do?
God gave all men a measure of faith, and man is without excuse. Why does an atheist have a moral code? They will say it is for social order, but they don’t believe in God, so they can sin not believing in God, and no punishment or reward motivates their behavior. God’s law has no basis for the atheist, so why would they desire to do good? There is no basis for what they do and what they don’t do.
The atheist may say what he does is because he wants to do what is best for mankind. But who decides what is best for mankind? For example, if an atheist has a new car, and I decide it is best for mankind if I take the atheist’s car and drive it around, the atheist will call me a thief. I would then say on what basis do you say this? I feel it is best for me if I drive your car and have your car. The atheist would disagree claiming that the car is his, calling me a thief, but on what is he basing that accusation? It feels good for me to have the car, so I should have the car. Obviously the atheist would have an opposite point of view.
Ethical behavior needs an absolute to lock in behavior. New agers try to claim gaia, an elephant, etc, and try to remove God. But even with these attempts they can’t ignore the fact that to get to absolute truth, there has to be an absolute truth maker.
Genesis 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
If we carry the philosophy of everyone doing what they think is right in their own eyes, we would have anarchy, and that is a disaster.
We were created in the image of God. Little kids do not have a problem with God, only when men are older do they want to disobey and thus question God. The inner witness of the person either creates obedience to God or disobedience. Many deny the existence of God on the basis of what we assume He did or didn’t do. (But that is based on our perception of what we think, not on who He is.) Heaven or hell is a choice. God will give you the desires of your heart. If you do not want to spend eternity with God, He will give you that desire.
People claim Christians do not have free will, and they claim that we are trying to take away their free will. The truth is, if a person is debating about free will or lack of free will, they have free will – for if they didn’t have free will they would be unable to debate about it.
If we have no free will, how can you debate?
God gives us absolute free will. God can control your choices on the planet if He wanted to, but He chose to give us free will. Yet at the same time there are things God did not put on the planet for us to choose. In this day and age God chose not to have man-eating dinosaurs roaming the planet.
To reject something is to choose something else. It is an act of will. We are thinking individuals with amazing capacity. At any given moment we are deciding to choose something or not to choose it. We are locked in tick tock time, but God is not locked in the same time frame as we are, so He knows our choice before we make it, but that does not mean we do not have the choice to make. We need to make a choice and determine to what consequence our choice leads us.
King Agrippa made a decision to not believe, although his inner man lead him to ALMOST make a choice to believe God.
Acts 27:9-10 Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.”
What was Paul’s career? He was NOT a sailor, but a tentmaker. This event occurred at he fall feast, probably Yom Kippur. Paul did not have a field of expertise in sailing, but he said, “I PERCEIVE.” He perceived in his inner man.
Acts 21:8-9 On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.
Pastor Don pointed out that in this passage four DAUGHTERS prophesied. Women can also prophesy and preach. Women have an inner voice or inner witness and know how to discern.
Acts 21:10 And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.
These people, the four women and Agabus have an inner witness of the Holy Spirit. It could be an inner voice or an audible voice, but there are five people with a prophecy.
Acts 21:11 When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’”
Did Agabus hear from the Holy Spirit? Yes, he interpreted from the inner voice or the inner witness. He had a pop-up (see previous post) and got a message in the Spirit. He gave what the Holy Spirit showed him. The prophetic voice is not to interpret, give ideas, what they like or dislike, but to deliver the message as presented by the Holy Spirit. (Heather’s note, it is often a short one line sentence, not a long dissertation.)
Acts 21:12 Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem.
The people looked at the prophetic word and came up with their own interpretation. They told Paul not to go to Jerusalem, that he would be bound and brought there.
Acts 21:13-14 Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”
The people tried to convince Paul to go with their interpretations, but Paul asked them to stop. While he would be willing to die in Jerusalem, he also knew that that was not to be his fate. When Paul was converted, Jesus showed him the SUFFERINGS He was going to face for Christ, and God told him his end would be in Rome. The people were in error and gave the wrong interpretation, trying to talk Paul out of his inner witness.
We have to be very careful who we ask to interpret our dreams or prophecies, and make sure that the interpretation agrees with our inner witness and the Word. God does not speak prophetically to tell you to go do something He hasn’t already talked to you about in your inner witness. He is not going to give us an instruction from a prophet that comes from left field. God put the Holy Spirit in us to guide us, and God will not ignore the Holy Spirit in favor of a prophet which does not agree with what God has told us.
Pastor Don talked about a woman from a major ministry that came to our area, and saw Pastor Don on TV. She called him and told him that God had shown her that he was to leave Living Word Chapel and start his own church. That agreed with Pastor Don’s flesh, but not with his inner witness. He could have said, okay, I’ve got 30-35 people coming to my house for a Bible study, let’s go, but instead he waited, checked his inner witness and conferred with his wife. Neither of them felt that was where God was leading him, so he did not leave and start his own church. (Heather’s note, and I am glad he didn’t because by staying and listening to God, he is now pastor here, and that would not have happened if he had left the church because of what that prophet said.)
Paul was given a right message, that he was going to go bound to Jerusalem, but the wrong interpretation. Pastor Don got a right message in that he was going to pastor a church, but the wrong interpretation was that he was to leave Living Word Chapel. We need to listen to what God is saying, but don’t interpret it through the flesh. The flesh could color the message and you might end up missing God.
God told Abraham to go to the place God would show Abraham. Abraham loaded his camels and waited for the next part of the prophecy. He didn’t pick the place he thought God was planning on sending him. We have to do the same with our shopping, with our friends, with what we say in church, where we serve, etc. We have to wait for God’s green light. If we miss God by one degree we can end up in another country.
Acts 21:14 So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”
In wisdom, once Paul spoke, the people ceased and began to support Him, praying the will of God. If Paul was missing it or if he was wrong, it was right for them to pray the Will of God in the situation. We need to release the Will of the Lord into our situation.
The next step is the most difficult one to do, and that is to have patience. Know that the Lord also has the best timing for what He has shown us. God will finish His perfect work in us.
Acts 22:17-20 “Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’ So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You. And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.”
Paul was in a trance, and his Spirit Man was elevated to the point that it seemed as if he was in a dream, walking, talking and doing stuff. There are two types of visions, one when you are awake – an open trance. Your eyes are opened and you are seeing things as if watching a movie. The other is a closed trance, where your eyes are closed and you are seeing the vision on your mind’s eye. Pastor Don had us close our eyes and put the image of a red rose in our mind’s eye. It can be very vivid, even with your eyes closed, and it can feel very real.
The natural man is suspended when you are in a trance. You are not aware of where the natural man is, but you see yourself or feel yourself physically in that vision. The difference is that it is supernatural, and you are opening up a communication with the spirit man. The inner man is sensing the REAL you in operation in the supernatural. We are out of it, but know it is so real when God speaks to us in dreams. Inwardly we participate in the supernatural. We can’t make it happen or pray to make it happen. The devil would be happy to imitate that inward state.
In these end days, Joel prophesied that the Spirit world would grant dreams and visions and pour out His Spirit on all. We are not to chase after angels or ask God to send us an angel.
A real angel visitation is either to 1. Correct you and save you or 2. to congratulate you for informational purposes. If you are having regular visits from angels you are deceived, for these are appealing to the flesh and satan can easily imitate. Mary never saw another angel after Gabriel. She was a 14-year-old girl being told she was going to be impregnated with the Messiah by the Holy Spirit. When she accepted and agreed to this she knew she may well be stoned to death. The angel was sent to encourage her.
We need to ask what is the fruit of our visitations and visions? God does not show off to show off. Sometimes we can sense angels by our inner witness, or feel we are not alone. God does miracles through the inner witness.
Pastor Don shared about a woman who was experiencing her dead grandmother giving information that was accurate. But her grandmother stayed at a distance. The information was true, and the woman was gaining notoriety in the content of her information. Pastor Don told her to tell this grandmother figure, “In the Name of Jesus reveal who you are.” The “grandmother” turned out to be an ugly demonic thing that progressively became revealed as the being drew closer to her.
Only God can open the doors of the supernatural. We do not want to open them ourselves for it may be very difficult to close the doors. God will reveal in His own time, at the right time, what we need to know. Our job is to fine tune the inner witness and recognize if what we are hearing is from God or not.
Paul was told by God that he would have to go through stuff, and he knew that the interpretation of the prophecy was not to avoid conflict, but to confirm what Jesus showed him.
In Acts 27, Paul was not a fisherman, had never earned his living on a boat, yet he was able to say to seasoned sailors.
Acts 27:10 saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.”
We know from the Scriptures that Paul had to go to Jerusalem and Rome. He was not afraid for his life. The inner witness in his heart knew he would survive this journey. He didn’t have an angel, a vision, or a trance here, just his inner witness. “I perceive”
We can perceive the outcome of our actions and activities of others. God wants us high tuned to the inner witness, He is not wanting us to always have to turn to prophets for direction.
God wants us to perceive His will and way for us in our daily life, when our spirit touches the Spirit of God. God wants to send us pop-ups. It isn’t necessary to fast 14 days to hear from God. You fast for power or for a different anointing. He can give us information in our inner witness regardless of what we do or whether we fast or not.
Acts 27:23 For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve.
Paul had a peace on that ship. This was not a trance, not a dream, it was a visitation. The Lord showed up. Paul had 2 or 3 visitations. Kenneth Hagin had 4. It is not common to have many.
Acts 27:22-25 And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.
Believe God, just as God told Paul. Believe God through the difficult turns. Paul relied on the inner witness, holding onto the fact that God told him he was going to go to Rome. Jesus sent an angel and told him it was going to be OK.
We don’t get to where God wants us to go if we let someone steal what He has told us in our inner witness. We do not look to circumstances, to failure, disappointment, people’s objections to discourage us from what we knew God has told us. Don’t get sidetracked by circumstances. If the Holy Spirit tells us something from God, it has to be God. Take God at His Word. Stand on the promises of Christ.
Oh this lesson spoke volumes to me. Sometimes it is easy to see circumstances and let doubt come in. I am glad to learn to trust the inner witness more, as long as it agrees with what God has shown me and with what the Word says.
Have a blessed day!
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