By Dee Raptor
On Nov 5, 2020
Building on our previous blog post where we saw that a true work of the Holy Spirit will oppose worldliness. We will go through the second test in the following paragraphs;
The Second Test: Does The Work Exalt The True Christ?
From, 1 John 4:2–3, Jonathan Edward identified that a true work of the Spirit exalts the true Christ. In contrast to false teachings, those who are truly empowered by the Holy Spirit place the primary emphasis on the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thus, a true work of the Spirit shines the spotlight on the Saviour, pointing to Him in an accurate, exalting, and preeminent manner. False teachers, by contrast, diminish and distort the truth about Him.
The Apostle John wrote, “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God” (1 John 4:2–3). The apostle’s point was unmistakable: if someone preaches a false version of Jesus, that person shows himself to be a false prophet whose ministry does not come from God.
In other words, the yardstick by which these spirits are to be tested is their attitude toward the incarnate person of Christ. Any teaching that distorts the image of Christ by either questioning/casting shadows about His deity or Humanity exposes the spirit of the antichrist.
Jonathan Edwards articulated the broader principle— namely, that a true work of the Spirit always and necessarily points people to the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ. He wrote, “When that spirit that is at work amongst a people is observed to operate after such a manner, as to raise their esteem of that Jesus that was born of the Virgin, and was crucified without the gates of Jerusalem; and seems more to confirm and establish their minds in the truth of what the Gospel declares to us of his being the Son of God, and the Saviour of men; ’tis a sure sign that that spirit is the Spirit of God.”
By contrast, those ministries that distract people away from Christ, or distort the truth of His nature and gospel, or seek to diminish His glory are certainly not empowered by the Holy Spirit. The devil seeks to twist, confound, and suppress the truth about the Lord Jesus; he wants to draw people’s attention away from the Saviour by any means possible. A true work of the Spirit does exactly the opposite: It points people to the biblical Christ and affirms the truth of His gospel.
The glorious priority of the Holy Spirit is to point people to the Lord Jesus Christ. As Jesus told His disciples, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.. .He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 14:26; 16:14). This verse is addressed to the apostles. The context limits ‘’all things’’ to the interpretation and significance of His person and work. Hence, the Holy Spirit worked in their minds, reminding them of His teaching and giving them insight into its meaning.
The Spirit’s work is always centred on the Saviour. Any ministry or movement He empowers will share that same priority and clarity.
In contrast to this, an emphasis on the person and work of Christ is not the defining feature of ‘’contemporary mainstream Christianity’’—where an intense fixation on a caricature of the blessing and gifting of the Holy Spirit has instead taken centre stage.
As charismatic authors Jack Hayford and David Moore affirm, “In the Pentecostal potpourri only one thing is the same for all: the passion they have to experience the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. This emphasis on the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is what defines the ‘charismatic century.’’’
Ironically, a misplaced priority is being celebrated. While claiming to honour the Holy Spirit, Christians have been taught generally to ignore the very purpose of the Spirit’s ministry—which is to draw all attention to the Lord Jesus.
As Steve Lawson rightly observes, “The Holy Spirit’s desire is that we be focused on Jesus Christ, not Himself. That is the Spirit’s chief ministry. He is pointing us to Jesus. Bringing Christ more clearly into focus. When the Holy Spirit becomes an end in Himself, then we have misunderstood His ministry.”
Excerpted from Chapter 3 of Strange Fire by John MacArthur, pp. 39-43.
D. D. KUYET alias "Dee Raptor" is a Christian HipHop Artiste/Rapper. He is also a graduate of Food Science and Technology. He is a contributing writer at lightwk