Has a False Anointing Entered The Church?
This article is about highlighting some concerns I, along with many others, are having. In recent years, during church meetings, I have observed how many of God’s people have being exposed to a false anointing and a spirit of deception that is parading itself with pride and arrogance in the midst of our congregations.
The Word of God always shines it’s light on areas of apparent concern when leaders in the church are ministering out of a wrong spirit, no matter what name they place on themselves or their ministry or even when recognized leaders endorse their ministry.
During times of ministry in the church people will embrace the preacher, and his message because they believe he or she can be trusted to preach or teach the truth and to operate in an anointing that is of The Holy Spirit. We, as
The Church, should always expect a high level of integrity to be part of the preacher’s lifestyle. This is not something that should go unchecked by the church leadership, as often ministers are just expected to have a lifestyle that is godly, but today, as even in the biblical days, we just cannot take this for granted within our churches.
If we as leaders do not do our homework with proper due diligence and follow through, then we are in danger of exposing the sheep to a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing.’ The results of that exposure are what should concern us the most. We need to ask the question what sort of fruit will and does this anointing bring into the lives of The Church and the people and its possible influences in the midst of the congregation?
1. Gifts are not Fruit
The gifts of The Holy Spirit are the supernatural endowment that we receive for ministry service after the Baptism of The Holy Spirit. Spiritual gifts are talents or abilities given to every Christian, they manifest through their faith and service to God and their church and neighbour.
The fruit of the Spirit is the godly character we receive from The Holy Spirit and our renewed lifestyle and nature that we should anticipate once we are born again.
The fruit of The Holy Spirit can be described as nine facets on one diamond – but one fruit. This “fruit” is something God manifests through the life of faithful believers by His Holy Spirit. Yes, you can have gifts without fruit, however you cannot have fruit without a personal relationship with God.
We should ask this question about potential ministry within our churches. What is the fruit of the ministry received into the church “his fruit” the fruit of the minister? Is it meeting the needs of the people, are we seeing lives changed, salvation’s, healings, restoration, deeper relationships with God and people?
What does Scripture say? We read in Galatians 5: 22, 23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
These virtues are characterized as ‘fruit’ in contrast to ‘works.’Only The Holy Spirit can produce them, and not our own efforts. Another contrast is that, whereas the works of the flesh are plural, the fruit of the Spirit is one and indivisible. When the Spirit fully controls the life of a believer, He produces all of these graces. The first three concern our attitude toward God, the second triad deals with social relationships, and the third group describes principles that guide Christian conduct.
2. Paul exhorts us in public worship meetings. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22)
In 1 Thessalonians 5:19 – 22 “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, test all things: hold fast to what is good.Abstain from every form of evil.”
a) Do not quench the Spirit: We can quench the fire of the Spirit by our doubt, our indifference, our rejection of Him, or by the distraction of others. When people start to draw attention to ‘them-selves,’ this will quench the Spirit.
i. ‘Quench’ applies to the putting out of a flame of some sort, as that of a fire (Mark 9:48) or a lamp (Matthew 25:8).This is the only place in the New Testament where it is used in a metaphorical sense.” (Morris)
ii. Therefore, this command is based on the familiar image of the Holy Spirit as a fire or a flame. Though there is a sense in which fire cannot be created, we can provide the environment in which it can burn brightly. Yet a flame can be extinguished when it is ignored and no longer tended, or when the flame is overwhelmed by something else.
iii. And there is a quenching of the Spirit in others as well as us; people may quench it in their minister’s by discouraging them, and in one another by bad examples, or reproaching the zeal and boldness that they see in them. (Poole)
b) Do not despise prophecies: We recognize that the Lord speaks to and through His people today, and we learn to be open to His voice. Of course, we always test prophecies (following the command to test all things), but we do not despise prophecies.
i. It is very possible that prophecy was being despised because individuals were abusing the gift. There were idlers among the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12) perhaps who spiritualized their idleness with prophecy.
ii. There were date-setters and end-times speculators among the Thessalonians (2 Thessalonians 2:1-5), perhaps who backed up their speculations with supposed prophetic authority. (David Guzik)
c) Test all things; hold fast what is good: Evil and deception can show itself even in a spiritual setting, so it is important for Christians to test all things. When the test has been made (according to the standard of God’s Word and the discernment of spirits among the leaders), we then hold fast to what is good.
i. Between the time Paul last saw the Thessalonians and the writing of his letter, he had spent time in Berea (Acts 17:10-12). There, the Christians were of a noble character because they heard Paul’s preaching and diligently searched the Scriptures to see if what he said was true.
ii. Paul wanted the Thessalonians to have more of the heart and mind of the Bereans.
d) Abstain from every ‘form’ of evil: When the testing is made, any aspect of evil must be rejected. This includes evil that may come with a spiritual image.
i. The term ‘form’ (eidous) literally means ‘that which is seen,’ the external appearance. It points to the external form in which evil presents itself . . . They are to shun evil in whatever form or appearance it may present itself. (Hiebert)
ii. The meaning will be ‘evil which can be seen,’ and not ‘that which appears to be evil.’ (Morris)
If we are not allowed to test or hold a person to account there can be difficulties.
3. Perilous Times and the Precious Truth (2 Timothy 3)
As Paul lies in his cell, a prisoner of the Lord, Paul is still preoccupied with the future of the gospel. His mind dwells now on the evil of the times.
In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. v.2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, v.3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, v.4 Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; v.5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
a) In the last days perilous times will come: The word translated ‘perilous’ has the idea of troubles, difficulty, and stressful situations. This sort of atmosphere will be a mark of the last days.
i. The word ‘perilous’ was used in Greek is both of dangerous wild animals and of the raging sea. It’s only other New Testament occurrence is in the story of the two Gaderene demoniacs who were as savage and untamed as wild beasts and whom Matthew describes as ‘so fierce that no one could pass that way’ (Matthew 8:28). (Stott)
ii. The characteristics Paul describes speak not of bad times, but of bad people. We should note the hardness or danger of the time in Paul’s view to be, not war, not famine or diseases, nor other calamities or ills that befall the body, ‘but the wicked and depraved ways of men.’ (Calvin)
b) In the last days:This is a broad term in the New Testament, broad enough to where one could say that the last days began with the birth of the Church on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17).
The days of the Messiah mark ‘the last days;’ yet the term is especially appropriate to the season immediately before the return of Jesus and the consummation of all things.
i. There are optimistic brethren who are looking forward to everything growing better and better until, at last, this present age evolves into a millennium. They will not be able to sustain their hopes, for Scripture gives them no solid basis to rest upon. Apart from the Second Advent of our Lord, the world is more likely to sink into a pandemonium than to rise into a millennium. (Spurgeon)
ii. In Matthew 16:1- 4 Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of His day because they did not or would not understand the meaning of their times: “Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.” (Matthew 16:3). It is possible that Jesus would have the same rebuke for us today, are we unaware of the last days and the soon return of Jesus Christ?
4. A description of the human condition in the last days. (2 Timothy 3: 2-5)
In 2 Timothy 3: 2-5, “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
a) Men will be lovers of themselves: This is certainly characteristic of our present age, when men and women are encouraged to love themselves. People are told to love themselves unconditionally and that such self-love is the foundation for a healthy human personality.
i. We don’t need to be encouraged to love ourselves; we naturally have such a love. Neither should we be taught to hate ourselves, but as Paul said in Romans 12:3 “ We must see ourselves as we really are – both the bad of what we are in the flesh and the glory of what we are in Jesus Christ.”
ii. This love of self is the foundation for all the depravity that follows in Paul’s description: “But note that lovers of themselves, which comes first, can be regarded as the source from which all the others that follow spring.” (Calvin)
iii. “It is no accident that the first of these qualities will be a ‘life that is centred in self.’ The adjective used is ‘philautos,’which means self-loving. Love of self is the basic sin, from which all others flow. The moment a man makes his own will the centre of life, divine and human relationships are destroyed, and obedience to God and charity to men both become impossible. The essence of Christianity is not the enthronement but the obliteration of self.” (Barclay)
b) Men will be . . . lovers of money: The love of money is nothing new, but today people have the ability to pursue their love of money like never before. Today the world teaches find a mate that has as much money as possible?
c) Men will be . . . boasters, proud, blasphemers: Boasting, pride, and blasphemy are nothing new; but today, they seem far more unashamed than ever before.
Boasting, pride, and blasphemy each acts as if I am the most important person. Each of them say, “You don’t matter and God does not matter.” There is more blasphemy apparent everywhere, especially among the superstars that our cultures worship.
d) Men will be . . . disobedient to parents: Since about the mid 1960s there has been an alarming breakdown in the behaviour by children towards their parents (Lawlessness, rebellion, and disobedience).
Today it is more common that young people simply disregard their parents, by displaying wilful disobedience and revolt.
e) Men will be . . . unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving: Ever since Adam, these things to one degree or another have marked humankind. Here, Paul is saying these things will be especially prevalent in the last days.
Unloving: (without natural affection, KJV) means, ‘without family love.’ Paul said that the end times would be marked by an attitude of growing disregard of normal family love and obligation.
f) Men will be . . . slanderers: Men have always told hurtful lies about other men; but today, in the media and in politics, slander has been elevated to both big business and big money.
In politics, candidates routinely and knowingly distort their opponent’s positions, just to make their opposition look bad – and they don’t feel immoral at all about the lying, if it helps them get elected.
In media, editors and news directors serve as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner to innocents who are wrongly suspected – and usually refuse to apologize when they are proven to be wrong.
g) Men will be . . . without self-control: The story of no self-control can be written across almost everything today – sex, drugs, alcohol, food and work. Whatever is done, is often done out of control.
h) Men will be . . . brutal: Cruelty and brutality are nothing new in the world; but Paul wrote by inspiration of the Holy Spirit that the ‘last days’ would be marked by a particular cruelty.
We would like to think of ourselves as more advanced than previous generations; but unquestionably more people have been murdered in our century than ever before; these are violent, brutal and unforgiving times.
i) Men will be . . . despisers of good: There are just too many examples of this in modern society. There was a time when most people thought letting people live were good and killing them was generally a bad thing. Today, we live in a culture when the simple good of ‘life’is now despised and attacked, through abortion, through the elevating of violence and murder, and through euthanasia.
j) Men will be . . . traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God: These characteristics are all about one thing: ‘Self ‘ Men are traitors because of ‘self,’ they are ‘headstrong’ because of ‘self,’ they are ‘haughty’ because of ‘self,’ and they are ‘lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God’because of ‘self.’
This attitude marks our current age. ‘Nothing is off-limits – live without boundaries.’ You make your own rules. You answer to no one!
In the Kingdom of God we don’t have to choose between pleasure and God. Serving God is the ultimate pleasure; in Psalm 16:11 it says, “At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Living for God will give you many pleasures, but this only comes as we love God first and refuse to love the pleasures themselves.
k) Having a form of godliness but denying its power:In our self-obsessed world, people feel very free to have a “self service bar” religion – we pick and choose what we want. We feel free to be very ‘spiritual,’ but sense no obligation to be Biblical.
When we refer to the ‘power’ of godliness, we think it means the sense of ‘power to give us what we want.’ But this is exactly opposite of what Paul said here. The power of godliness in the last days is the ‘power to guide our lives;’ the sense of rightful authority. Many, today deny that God has the ‘power’ to tell them what to do through His Word.
l) From such people turn away: The command is to ‘turn away’ from people described by the characteristics in the above list; this will be difficult in our present day.
Paul warns turn away from these people – both personally and by ‘not allowing’ them to entertain us – they will influence us. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15: 33 “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits.”
m) From such turn away: Paul knew those marked by the spirit of the last days were present in Timothy’s day. Likewise, we should expect that they would be even more numerous and have increased power in the last days shortly before the return of Jesus.
5. The Greatness of Holy Scripture. (2 Timothy 3:16,17)
In 2 Timothy 3:16,17 “All scripture is given by inspirationof God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.v.17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
a) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God: Here, Paul tells us the source of Scripture, comes from ‘God’ (God-breathed), and it authorizes and displays His perfection, being inerrant and absolutely reliable.
False doctrine cannot exist where the sacred Scriptures are read, studied and taught. Error prevails only where scripture is withheld from the people or taken out of context. ‘The religion that fears the Bible is not the religion of God.’ (Clarke)
b) By inspiration of God: There is a ‘massive dividing line’ in our modern world today, between those who believe that the Bible is a book from God, given through men; or if it is it just a great book from men.
i. No one can deny the ‘greatness’ of the Bible; it is completely unique among all books ever written.
ii. The Bible is unique in its ‘continuity:’ Written over 1600 years, over 60 generations, by more than 40 authors, on three different continents, in different circumstances and places, in different times, and concerning scores of controversial subjects, but it speaks with one united voice.
iii. The Bible is unique in its ‘circulation:’It is the most published and popular book ever written – far and away; anything else is a distant, second.
iv. The Bible is unique in its ‘translation:’It was the first book translated, and has been translated into more languages than any other book in existence.
v. The Bible is unique in its ‘survival:’ It has survived the ravages of time, manual transcription, persecution, and criticism.
vi. The Bible is unique in its ‘honesty:’ it deals with the sins and failures of its heroes in a manner quite unknown among ancient literature.
vii. The Bible is unique in its ‘influence:’The Bible has had by far the greatest influence on culture and literature than any other book in existence. (David Guzik)
c) And is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: The Bible is good for us and it profits us. It gives us ‘doctrine’ (it tells us a truth that means more than our opinions). The Bible gives us ‘reproof and correction’ (it tells us when we are wrong in our ‘thinking or conduct)’. The Bible gives us ‘instruction in righteousness’ (it tells us how to live rightly before God and men).
d) That the man of God may be complete: When we come to the Bible and let God speak to us, it changes us – it makes us ‘complete and transforms us.’
i. One way the Bible transforms us is through our understanding. In Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” When we let the Bible guide our thinking, our minds are renewed and transformed. So we begin to actually think like God thinks.
ii. The Bible also transforms us, by a spiritual work, a spiritual blessing, which God works in us as we read and study the Bible and let Him speak to us. This is a spiritual work that goes beyond our intellectual understanding.
iii. For the Word of God is living and powerful (Heb12: 4).
· The Bible directs us to the Giver of eternal life (1 Peter 1:23).
· The Bible directs us to the One who spiritually cleanses us (Ephesians 5:26).
· The Bible introduces us to the Power of the name to deal with demonic spirits (Ephesians 6:17).
· The Bible draws us to the One who has spiritual power to heal our bodies (Matthew 8:16).
· The Bible is the Source of our spiritual strength (Psalm 119:28).
· Reading The Bible has the power to spiritually build faith in us (Romans 10:17).
iv. The Word of God operates at a spiritual level we don’t always understand; however it achieves an effective work in our lives. As we work at understanding the Bible and pray for revelation, and read it thoughtfully and wisely, it benefits us ‘spiritually’even when we don’t understand it all‘intellectually.’
6. Have we forgotten the motive of our ministry call: (1 Corinthians 13).
The complete chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 is on love and Paul explains the absolute necessity of love and defines the essence of love in 14 of its characteristics (v.4-7) and contrasts the eternal perfections of love with the temporal imperfections of gifts (v.8-13).
a) Love: suffers long; is kind; does not envy; does not parade itself; is not puffed up; does not behave rudely; does not seek its own; is not provoked; thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity; rejoices in the truth; bears all things; believes the best; hopes all things; endures all things. (v.4-7)
b) In 1 Corinthians 1:31: “that, as it is written, he who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”
Paul does not say glory is in signs, wonders, miracles, visions, experiences, in fact Paul says:
In 2 Corinthians12: 1-6 “It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: v.2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago–whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows–such a one was caught up to the third heaven. v.3 And I know such a man–whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—v.4 how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.v.5 Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities. v.6 for though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.”
c) Paul goes on to tell about the: ‘messenger of Satan’ given to Paul to buffet him and so he would not be v.7 “exalted above measure by the abundance of revelations.” (2 Corinthians12: 7).
The apostle Paul also goes on to say there were signs and wonders that followed his ministry. The difference is this … the one exalts man and the gifts and the strengths – Paul and true followers exalt Christ FIRST and boast in their weakness!
7. False Prophets and teachers can do miracles. (Matthew 7:15 – 23)
In Matthew 7:15 – 23 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.v.16 You will know them by their fruits.Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? v.17“Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. v.18 “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor [can] a bad tree bear good fruit.v.19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.v.20 “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
a) We need to be very cautious: because their pretences are very plausible, and will deceive us, if we are not on our guard. Every ‘hypocrite’ is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, not a sheep, but the worst enemy the sheep has, that comes to tear and devour, to scatter the sheep, (John 10:1 and 12).And will drive the sheep away from God and from one another, into crooked paths.
They come ‘in sheep’s clothing,’in the practice of prophets, Elijah’s mantle the Septuagint calls ‘heµ meµloteµ’ — a sheepskin mantle.
We must take notice of men’s dress and clothing, as that of the scribes, who ‘desire to walk in long robes,’ (Luke 20:46). This may be taken figuratively; they pretend to be sheep, and outwardly appear to be innocent, harmless, and meek.
They pretend to be just men, and for the sake of their clothing are admitted among the sheep, which gives them an opportunity of doing damage to the sheep, and many are not aware.
b) Satan turns himself: ‘into an angel of light,’ (2 Corinthians 11:13,14)The enemy has ‘horns like a lamb’ (Rev. 13:11). ‘Faces of men’ (Rev. 9:7,8).Seducers in languages and demeanor as ‘soft as wool,’ (Romans 16:18 and Isaiah 30:10).
They ‘produce false commissions,’ and pretend to have immediate authorization and direction from God, and claim to be divinely inspired, when they are not.
Though their doctrine may be true, we are to be ‘beware’ of them as ‘false prophets’.False apostles are those who say they ‘are apostles,’ and are not (Rev 2:2); these are false prophets.
c) We are to be cautious of those who pretend to have new revelation, without sufficient proof. Be sure of their accountability, they should pass our close scrutiny, least they deceive many.
They seem to give an appropriate impression of ‘pseudo-propheta,’ a falseor pretending prophet. Beware of them, suspect them, try them, and when you have discovered their falsehood, avoid them, having nothing to do with them.
Stand against this temptation, which will be common in the days of reformation.
When God’s work is revived, Satan and his agents are busy deceiving.
8. Jesus clearly said: “you will know them by their fruits” not signs and wonders: (Matthew 7:21-23)
In Matthew 7:21-23 “not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.v.22 “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in your name?” v.23 And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”
The people Jesus speaks of here have impressive spiritual accomplishments. They have ‘prophesied, cast out demons,’ and have done many ‘wonders.’ These are amazing things, but these signs mean nothing without true fellowship.
Jesus does not doubt their claims of doing the miraculous. He doesn’t say, ‘You didn’t really prophesy or cast out demons or do miracles.’ This leads us to understand that sometimes miracles are granted through pretended believers, reminding us that in the final analysis, miracles prove nothing.
Significantly, they did these things ‘in the name of Jesus.’ Yet, they never really had a relationship of love and fellowship with Jesus.
A prayer for each one of us:
“And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Luke 11:4).
Eagle Ascend Ministry
Len and Linda Buttner