According to Matthew, Chapter 7, there are counterfeit gifts, imitations so like the original that even the possessors may not know that they are fake. Listen:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven; but 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 prophecy in Your name and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'”

Matthew 7: 21-23

This idea is soul-jarring but it is also enlightening for it explains why so many believers have had trouble with the spiritual gifts. They could not believe that many of the so-called evidences of spiritual gifts were of the Holy Spirit.

Scripture tells us that Satan appears as an angel of light. His purpose is to deceive the elect. What better way than to give counterfeit gifts. Such a deception gives two-fold results. It seduces into error those unstable souls among us who look for signs as evidence of their right standing with God and it causes many of the faithful to close their minds and hearts to the validity of the gifts. Either way Satan wins.

What is the solution to this dilemma? First of all, stop being afraid of the gifts. And second, know when to run for your life.

DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE GIFTS

Don’t be frightened of the gifts of the Spirit. For the One who bestows the gifts is the One who drew you to Jesus. If you are a Christian, this One is living with you now. He is your comforter, teacher, guide.

What are the gifts? They are simply the manifestation of the Spirit, a showing forth of His Presence in the physical world in which we live. “Why is it that He gives us these special abilities to do certain things best? It is that God’s people will be equipped to do better work for Him, building up the Church, the body of Christ, to a position of strength and maturity, until finally we all believe alike about our salvation and about our Savior, God’s Son, and all become full-grown in the Lord – yes, to the point of being filled full with Christ. Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different, or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth. Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times – speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly – and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the head of His body, the Church. Under His direction the whole body is fitted together perfectly, and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (Ephesians 4: 12-16)

Jesus has given us these gifts. “The Psalmist tells about this, for he says that when Christ returned triumphantly to heaven after His resurrection and victory over Satan, He gave generous gifts to men.” (Ephesians 4: 8, 9)

You want to be part of all this, don’t you? You don’t want to be left out because of your unbelief or fear, do you? It is helpful to realize that the misgivings that you may have are the result of the teachings of men. Know that those who claim that the gifts have ceased are afraid just like you are. Know also that many times those who receive the gifts distort them or misunderstand them, giving rise to error. You may have seen believers become arrogant, critical, and all knowing after being given a gift. And you may have witnessed some with counterfeit gifts, given by the great counterfeiter, Satan.

In spite of all this, open yourself up and desire the spiritual gifts that you may take your proper place as a member of the body of Christ. For God has not given you the spirit of fear and timidity. Trust Him to perfect that which concerns you.

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE

When you find yourself in the company of religious groups that “teach” speaking in tongues or tell you to begin making utterances on your own and the Holy Spirit will take over.
When someone promises you healing, prosperity, and miracle living if you plant a “seed” in his coffer.
When someone offers to pray for you, claiming a special prayer power on your behalf and encloses an offering envelope attached to your prayer request card.
When the emotional build-up of religious services or religious entertainment captivates your soul like disco madness, making you feel so good, so inspired, so warm, so in love with LOVE.
When someone attempts to mass-produce Spirit-filled Christians through quickie weekend seminars.
When in response to your questions about being filled, a multitude of strange hands rush to “lay” themselves on you.
When someone tells you that the gifts are a measure of your spirituality.
When you see evidence, unsupported by Scripture, of power such as people falling backwards in a stupor as the result of someone’s touch or suggestion.
When illnesses are revealed in a healing service through divination – the leader pretending that the Holy Spirit has revealed to him in this way, who is to be healed.

For all these ways are attempts to “take the kingdom of heaven by force” and are acts of violent men. “So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence; it takes away the life of its possessors.” (Proverbs 1: 19)

“Every peculiar precious spiritual gift is always necessarily linked with some peculiar danger. When the spiritual world is opened to a soul, both the good and the evil meet it there. Do not be discouraged by this. We must not be deterred from embracing the blessed privilege of divine guidance by the dread of the dangers that environ it.”

Hannah Whitehall Smith

Opening up to the truth about spiritual gifts may give us a few frightening moments but closing ourselves to them may be fatal.

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