False Ideas We have about People God Can (or Can't) Use
PART 5 in the series on The Supernatural in the Church
by Terry L. Craig
©2008 & 2015
The following are some of the false ideas we can have about the people God can or can’t use--along with what the Bible says about such people:
False idea number one: If someone can prophesy or perform miracles, this is a stamp of God's ultimate approval, of His blessing, and it's a sign of that person’s continuing holiness or purity.
Christians want to believe this! We want to think there is some pinnacle, some point here on earth where a person can become completely immune to the sin, doubt, and darkness all around us -- but it's just not so. Jesus is the ONLY person who never slipped, never sinned (and He will still be the only one when the last day of earth has elapsed).
Scripture says, for freedom, Christ set us free. If you are "free" that means you are free to believe and do whatever you want. While Father God wants you to choose Life, to choose to let the Holy Spirit work IN you not just through you, you are still free to choose sin. It was that way in the Garden and it's still that way now.
The most dangerous place any Christian can stand is on the ground of pride, thinking he or she can become immune to sin or be untouched by its allure. While most people see this as generally true, they are often all too willing to exalt a mere man or woman onto some lofty pedestal of admiration, not thinking about how all the catering, protection, insulation, and adoration make these people even bigger targets for the enemy and more prone to fall. How many "famous" Christians have to plummet into the muck (and take the good name of the Lord with them) before we wise up?
Accountability is a good thing, but keep in mind that the larger the audience, the larger the venue, usually the less TRUE accountability is in operation. The higher a pedestal we've placed someone on, the less likely they are to be honest with "peers," or even to think they have true peers!
Although we can and should look at the person and the fruit of someone as we consider their ministry, it is very important to test the MESSAGE, not just the messenger. Walk with me for a bit of road here and see if the Lord might be speaking to you about something.
False idea number two: When a righteous person falls into sin, it automatically discredits everything they've done in the past.
In the Old Testament, Moses, the chosen leader of all Israel, disobeyed God before they reached the promised land. Because of this, he lost the privilege of escorting the people into that land. Yet his place as a Patriarch of faith remains. His place remains as the one through whom the Lord delivered Israel, who brought them the commandments of the Lord.
False idea number three: If someone falls into sin, they won't be used by the Lord in the future.
Adam and Eve gave into sin and were cast from the Garden of Eden, yet the word of the Lord to Eve (in the midst of her correction) was that her Seed (Jesus) would ultimately conquer Satan. Peter the apostle denied even knowing Jesus on the night the Lord was betrayed, yet after he had repented he was used mightily by God, beginning on the day of Pentecost. Was this the only time Peter fell down on the job? No. I hope you're getting the point that we're all human, and as such we are all imperfect and will remain that way as long as we're in this flesh. This is not an excuse for sin, it's a reality check.
False idea number four: To be used in bringing forth a mighty work, a person must be perfect first.
Such thinking led to the idea that the Virgin Mary had to be without sin in order to give birth to Jesus, which led to the thought that she had to be miraculously conceived (born without original sin). But, in scripture, Mary herself said the Lord was her Savior. In other words, she didn't have salvation outside that which Jesus provided.
False idea number five: If a person is used mightily by the Lord, they can pass this "gift" onto their children.
This idea has a small seed of truth in it. God has made promises to certain believers regarding their children. But this is no blanket guarantee that our children will inherit our ministries or that they will be faithful with what God gives them.
An example would be the people of Israel deciding that they wanted a king to rule them because the prophet Samuel's sons, whom he appointed as judges when he grew old, were completely corrupt. The people told Samuel that, because his son's didn't walk in his ways, they wanted a king (instead of Samuel's sons) to rule over them. [1 Samuel 8] Let's ponder this a moment.
Samuel was a prophet but his sons don't appear to have moved in his gifting. Even though Samuel selected them as "judges" they didn't fulfill their calls to this post.
Instead of going to God with the problem and believing He could set it right by either removing these men or bringing them to repentance, the people of Israel decided to demand a king. It was a sad turning point for Israel. They claimed they were rejecting corrupt men, but their "solution" showed the deeper issue was that they didn't trust God to protect them. They wanted a man as king instead of the Lord. This demand grieved both Samuel and the Lord (who took it as a personal rejection!)
Although the Lord is immensely interested in you and your children, each person (including your child) has to come to God as an individual. Being related to a person with a gift doesn't guarantee you will have the same gift. Even if the hand of the Lord is upon you in the same way it was upon your mother or father -- you can choose to use the gift for God's glory, use it for your own gain, or choose not to operate in it at all. God will be the judge of your trust in Him and your faithfulness to Him.
False idea number six: God will only work through those who are "in authority."
The question becomes, authority given by whom? How do we sort this out? This calls for wisdom.
God tells us to live godly lives and submit to the (worldly) governmental authorities over us -- unless they demand that we directly deny Him. Jesus told his followers to pay taxes to a corrupt Roman government (that used some of its resources to crucify innocent people). HOWEVER, Jesus stood against church leaders who would make a bargain with that government in order to keep their empire. The Church is called to answer to (and represent) God -- who has a higher authority than that of worldly government. Any church that becomes dependent upon the world for its continued existence must abide by what the world decides is truth—in other words, in exchange for security, that church has surrendered its mandate to be salt and light. By the same token, any Christian who glides along with a passive ("just doing what I'm told") attitude without seeking God's guidance, or who fearfully submits to political correctness (in exchange for security) has also surrendered their call to be salt and light.
An example of godly resistance to authority would be when the Pharisees of the Council in Jerusalem forbade John and Peter to preach in the name of Jesus. Their response was "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." John and Peter were called to BE salt and light and wouldn't surrender that call regardless of the cost.
False idea number seven: God will only work through those who are formally trained.
Examples that disprove this are numerous. The primary illustration would be that there is no evidence that Jesus had any training from the men who were considered the "teachers" of the day. Of the apostles, only Paul had formal training (before he became a follower of Christ) -- but he was willing to set much of it aside to become a man who pointed to the simplicity of the cross of Jesus Christ.
False idea number eight: God can't use that fruitcake (weirdo, tattooed man, or makeup slathered woman) that people see on "Christian" TV.
Listen, I'm probably just as bugged as you when I see some of these strange peacocks gliding around with entourages and body guards (!) or strutting around on stages. What's with these folks??? But, we have to remember God can use ANYbody -- even these guys. Think of it this way: It's not that the Lord is honoring them or their methods. Despite all the hype, showmanship, (and yes, sometimes the false front) God occasionally may be honoring the desperate NEED of someone out there in the audience and using what you or I think is a jackass to do it. Always keep in mind that God isn't interested in efficiency or frugality over a human life. So what if it took a million dollar program to reach one soul who wouldn't have come to your church meeting? God has all the time and money in the world.
I will stop here and say to those in who are using "miracle ministry," prophetic claims, or accounts of angel visitations to promote themselves: Know that God MAY use you on some occasion, but if that doesn't humble you and bring you to a place of seeking Him with your whole heart, you will stand one day and be asked to account for it. If you "market" miracles (or even the possibility of them) in order to draw people to yourself or to sell your works, know you are grieving God and you will be held accountable for that as well. Further, if there is "power" moving through you, but God isn't getting the glory, you need to consider whether or not it's really the Lord who is using you.
False idea number nine: Only those who belong to God can work miracles or prophesy.
What did Jesus say?
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers." [Matt. 7:21-23 -- NIV]
"For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect -- if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time." [Matt. 24:24-25 NIV]
Anything that exalts something other than Jesus will eventually fail
What I said at the end of PART 4 bears repeating here, so I will do so.
Testing the message is often a more effective tool than what we think we know about a messenger. We may or may not have the ability to "know" the person claiming authority or power to work signs and wonders--but we CAN test the message he or she brings. If it encourages the exaltation of an experience, angels, or people instead of Jesus Christ, it is a false message. If it preaches a message contrary to the gospel (If it adds some sort of work or law to the simple grace of Jesus Christ) it is a false message. We don't earn salvation before we're saved and we can't pay for it or add to it once we are.
Jesus is the ONLY person who never slipped, never sinned --
and He will still be the only one when the last day of earth has elapsed.
In the New Testament, at the church at Cornith, people were reportedly arguing over whom they should follow (some said it was a teacher named Apollos, some said Paul). Paul wrote the following to them:
"After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God's servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It's not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What's important is that God makes the seed grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building." [1 Cor. 3:5-9 NLT]
The key to eternal life isn't a manifestation, an organization, a denomination, a physical location, an angelic visitation, an "apostle" or even a fellow believer. Any crusade or experience with one of those things as the hub of it will eventually lead people astray. Anything that exalts something other than Jesus will eventually fail.
1 Timothy 2:5-6a For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men . . .
Copyright 2008 & 2015 Terry L. Craig
This was PART 5 in the series on Prophecies, Visions, Angels, & Miracles
Previously in the series:
Next in the series:
Other articles that you might find of interest are:
Feel free to print a personal copy of this article out or post a link to it. All we ask is that you keep the entire article (including the copyright notices) intact, that you don't sell it or use it for commercial purposes, or as part of a commercial work.
You may contact the publisher regarding this article by clicking on the Contact link.
Scriptures marked NIV are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Scriptures marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)