Psalm 94:16-22 NIV
“Who will rise up for me against the wicked?
Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?”
Unless the Lord had given me help,
I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’
your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy.
Can a corrupt throne be allied with you—
a throne that brings on misery by its decrees?
The wicked band together against the righteous
and condemn the innocent to death.
But the Lord has become my fortress,
and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.”
Who are The Wicked?
Who are the wicked? Who are the evildoers? They are those who walk (live) in sin and who do not walk (live) according to the Spirit of God. They are those whose lives are given over to the lusts of the flesh, to doing what their flesh desires, and whose lives are not committed to walking in obedience to the Lord. They are those who make a practice (habit) of sinning against God.
But, can they be religious people? Can they be rule followers, like the Pharisees? Can they be those who make an appearance of righteousness, but who are secretly engaged in wicked behavior? And, can they be those who make a show of righteousness while they condemn the righteous? Yes, they can. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day are prime examples of this.
Can they also be those who profess faith in Jesus Christ? Can they even be teachers of the word of God, and pastors and elders in the church? YES! If they are making a profession of faith in Jesus Christ but they are walking according to the flesh, daily or regularly and habitually yielding to the flesh, then they are evildoers, according to Scripture (Matt 7:21-23).
Can they also be those who deny Jesus by denying the working of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives? For, there are many religious people, some of them pastors, who deny the working of the Spirit of God in our daily lives, who say that God cannot speak to us in our minds, or in our spirits, from the Spirit of God, but only directly through the written word of God.
But who is it that quickens our minds to hear and to understand the Word of God? How do we understand the word of God? These things that are written in God’s word are spiritually discerned. It is the Spirit of God who speaks to us and who teaches us the word of God. And, he represents Jesus, for Jesus sent him to indwell us in the place of Jesus who went back to heaven.
[Lu 10:21; Jn 14:26; Jn 16:13; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:17-18; Acts 11:12; Acts 13:2; Rom 8:14; 1 Co 2:14-16; 1 Co 12; Rom 12; Eph 4]
Condemning the Righteous
So, a religious person who follows the rules and who maybe doesn’t lie, cheat, steal or commit adultery, can they be guilty of evil if they deny the Spirit of God who was given to us to teach us all things, and if they deny the working of the Spirit of God in people’s hearts and minds and lives?
And, if by doing so, they quench the Spirit, for they rebuke those who are listening to the Holy Spirit? And, by doing so they condemn the righteous?
Now, I know there are a lot of “Holy Spirit” movements out there that are not of the Spirit of God, but are of the flesh of man, and where they confuse emotions with the Spirit. I get that totally! But we don’t throw out the Holy Spirit just because people abuse the Holy Spirit, but that is what many religious people are doing.
If we are not being led by the Spirit of God, the Bible says, we are not children of God. But how can the Spirit lead us if we deny that he can even speak to us? He has to be able to speak to us, to quicken our minds and hearts, to convict of sin, to encourage, to strengthen and to equip us.
Denying the Holy Spirit
These religious people also deny the gifts of the Holy Spirit, or some of them, but they have no biblical foundation for denying the gifts of the Spirit. They have just decided to cut out the gifts they can’t control in the flesh. That is really what it comes down to.
So they end up gathering together against those who are walking in the Spirit, and who are following the leading of the Spirit of God, and who are instructing people in righteous, holiness and godliness, and this is largely because they are denying that God can speak to us through the Spirit.
But, if what they are denying is the Spirit of God, then they are working against God, and against the Spirit of God, and thus they end up being those who are banding together against the righteous and who are condemning the innocent (not perfect) to death.
I have had a few pastors condemn me for following the Lord with my life. So, I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of that abuse. But the Lord was my support. He was my helper and my encourager. And, he kept pushing me to get back in there and to not let them discourage me.
Yet, if I believed God could not speak to me through his Spirit, and if I denied the gifts of the Spirit God has given me, I would be denying my Lord and his calling on my life, and I would be slamming the door shut in his face, and I can tell you with great certainty where that would have landed me.
So, what do the Scriptures teach on this subject? We are to test the spirits to see if they are of God, against the word of God, not against our own ideas of what the word teaches, and not against our own prejudices, and not against our own religious traditions.
“Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.” 1 Thess 5:19-22 NIV
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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