2 Necessary Commands 4 Today's Church
"The one point of all moral investigation is, does it please God?" - Vincent's Word Studies
"The right of 'trying the spirits' belongs to every Christian, and is inalienable." - Pulpit Commentary - New Testament
"Our whole walk should be directed to finding out what things are pleasing to Christ, rejecting at once everything that is not so, and clinging to all that is."
- Pulpit Commentary - New Testament
"We must not only dread and avoid that which is displeasing to God, but enquire and consider what will be acceptable to Him, searching the Scriptures with this view..."
- Matthew Henry
"In difficult situations, therefore, the true casuistry(rationalization) of life is to ask - Will this action be well-pleasing to Christ?"
- Pulpit Commentary - New Testament
"No one should be received as a religious(Bible) teacher without the clearest evidence that he has come in accordance with the will of God, nor unless he inculcates the very truth which God has revealed."
- Barnes' Notes
"Do not be forward to believe every teacher to be a man sent of God."
- Adam Clarke
There are two specific commands in the Bible which are very necessary for the Christians of today to heed. They are found in Ephesians 5:10 and 1 John 4:1 and say -
"Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord."
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
Both of these Scriptures deal with testing something.
The first deals with testing everything in your life by the light of God's Word. As "light in the Lord" and "walking as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8), you are to put every thought, word, and deed to the test. Every area of your life - your conversation... standard of living... clothes...books...business...pleasures...entertainments...music...friendships...vacations...cars...and sports - must come under the searchlight of - What does the Lord think about this decision or choice of mine? or How does this appear in His Presence? You must ask yourself what effect any given course or habit will have on your life - Will it draw me closer to the Lord or push me further away from Him?
You are to make it your highest scope or supreme practical rule to please God by doing what He requires in His Word. When you have this as your end, you will find yourself on a passionate pursuit to find out all that pleases Him and then to prove it unto others. This proving denotes great diligence and care to know His mind on everything.
Right now, stop and take an inventory of your life. Are you - by your godly lifestyle - "proving what is acceptable unto the Lord"? Are you aware of the fact that people are reading your life every day to discern what exactly is "pleasing" unto Him? Your life is either telling the truth or feeding people lies concerning what God considers "acceptable." The heathen may never read a Bible. However, they are reading you because you claim to be a follower of its Author. Can people point to you and say that they know what is or what is not "acceptable unto the Lord" by reading your life? Just how close a match is your life to the Bible?
The second command requiring testing for the believer is in relation to the various ministers of the Gospel and their doctrines. As a Born Again believer, you are to "test the spirits." That means that you are to put every preacher and teacher of the Holy Scriptures to the acid test of truth. The basic conclusion that you want to reach is simple. You want to determine - "whether they are of God."
Are they teaching what God taught in His Word? Do their lives correspond with His requirements? Does their doctrine match up with what has already been ingrained by those acknowledging to be true prophets? Are their claims to teach under the influence of the Holy Ghost true or false? Have they been qualified and sent by Him? Do they bear His credentials? Do they speak His truth...maintain His cause...and promote His glory?
Pretenders always proceed from a motive of vainglory...a thirsting after fame...or self-love. Generally speaking, they are disobedient to any rule or order and display a contempt for lawful authority. Based on this information, are the ministers in your life pretenders or are they truly "of God"?
"The one point of all moral investigation is, does it please God?" "The right of 'trying the spirits' belongs to every Christian, and is inalienable."
You are commanded in the Scriptures to "prove what is acceptable unto the Lord" and to "try the spirits, whether they are of God." Both require "testing" on your part. You cannot be nonchalant or passive in carrying out these orders. Nor can you be ignorant of God's Word.
If there was ever a time in the history of mankind when people needed to know what is pleasing to the Lord or who His true ministers are, it is in this day and hour.
With the Bible in your hand as your searchlight, go forth and "prove what is acceptable unto the Lord." And be sure to "try the spirits, whether they are of God."