THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH AND THE SPIRIT OF ERROR
This Bible Study Outline has been developed for all leaders of the Cell Ministry, to serve as a guide for our Bible study meetings in the month of April. The subject is ‘The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error’,as taught by our man of God during the Bible Study Preparatory Class on the 29th of March. The topic is to be taught in 4 classes during the month.
The outline is in 4 parts:
- Part 1 gives clear insight to who the Spirit of Truth is, His characteristics, and how to recognize His voice. We also discover in this part who the spirit of error is, his characteristics and how to discern his voice.
- In the 2nd part, we begin to learn how people yield to the spirit of error, through deception, wilful disobedience and ignorance, citing examples from the Scriptures.
- Part 3 is a continuation on how people yield to the spirit of error, through desiring the wrong things, and wrong associations.
- We conclude our study in part 4, by reviewing some discussion questions and going through some of the lessons learned on the subject.
As emphasized by our man of God during the preparatory class, these teachings are an ongoing training for leaders, and also individual members of the ministry; therefore, ensure all your members are in attendance of the classes. Also be reminded to read through all the Scriptures provided in the outline during your meetings, and ensure your members look into their Bibles when the Scriptures are being read.
The purpose of this class is to help the individual member understand God’s Word on the subject, adding to their knowledge, thereby growing their faith, and expanding their acquaintance with the Scriptures.
TABLE OF CONTENT
- Part 1…………………………….3
- Part 2…………………………….10
- Part 3…………………………….19
- Part 4…………………………….28
– PART 1 –
At the end of this class, each member should –
- Understand who the spirit of truth is, His characteristics, and how to recognize His voice.
- Understand who the spirit of error is, His characteristics, and how to discern his voice.
Our theme Scripture, from where our topic is derived is 1 John 4:6, and it says: ‘We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error’ (KJV)
In some other versions of the Bible, the word error is translated differently. For example, the NIV translation reads, “We are from God and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood”. The word falsehood is used here instead of error, and is also translated in some other versions as deception or deceit, and in some cases, delusion; all these refer to the same word in the Greek language.
What does the Bible mean by the Spirit of Truth, and the spirit of error (or falsehood and deception)?
There are certain phrases that men construct, but there are others, which are clearly constructed from the Bible; and it’s important that when we lift an expression from the Bible, we go to the Bible to find out what it means. For example, there are some folks you ask – ‘are you born again?’ and their response usually is – ‘it depends on what you mean’. That’s wrong; it doesn’t depend on what we mean but what the Word says. The term was used by Jesus, so we mean exactly what Jesus meant when He said, ‘you must be born again’. Therefore, when we talk about the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error, we ought to find out what the Word says about the subject, and this should be the basis for our conclusions.
The Spirit of Truth:
In John 14:16, Jesus said, ‘And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
John 14:26, goes further to tell us who this comforter is: ‘But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you’
Important points to note from these Scriptures:
- Jesus prayed the Father for another comforter that would abide with them forever.
- This comforter is given personality; in other words Jesus was speaking of a person.
- This personality, who is the comforter, is called the Spirit of Truth – Verse 16
- The Comforter is the Holy Ghost (Verse 26); therefore, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth.
This is referenced again in John 15:26: ‘But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me’
The Characteristics of the Spirit of Truth:
- According to John 15:26, the Spirit of Truth testifies of Jesus. He bears testimony to the reality of Christ and His vicarious death, burial and resurrection.
- He guides us into all truth – John 16:13: ‘Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come’
- He shows us things to come.
- He glorifies Jesus – John 14:16: ‘He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you’.
All of these tell us the character of this personality we call the Holy Spirit – the Sprit of Truth.
The spirit of error:
2 Corinthians 4:4: ‘In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them’
The Scripture describes a personality here, which it calls the god of this world, who has blinded the minds of them, which believe not. This personality introduced to us blinds people to the truth, and stops them from seeing the light of the glorious gospel of Christ. Who could this be?
2 Corinthians 11:13-14: ‘For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works’ The characteristic thing here is that he calls the personalities mentioned, deceitful workers who transform themselves into apostles of Christ; and also states that satan does the same.
Matthew 13:19: ‘When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side’ The devil takes away the Word sown in a heart that doesn’t understand it.
1 Timothy 4:1: ‘Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils’ Seducing spirits are spirits that lure people into error. Verse 2 goes further to say, ‘Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry…’ The Scripture doesn’t say refusing to marry but forbidding to marry. This immediately tells us that the writer is referring to doctrines. Part of the doctrines of these folks is forbidding people from marrying. Verse 3 ‘…and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth’
These are doctrines of devils and the Scripture is saying; those who have been so deceived are giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.
Revelation 12:9-10: ‘And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. Satan is called ‘that great dragon, that old serpent, the devil, the deceiver and the accuser; these are all his characteristics, and they immediately inform us that satan is the spirit of error (error is also translated ‘falsehood, deception or delusion).
Discerning the spirits:
Earlier on, we read 1 John 4:6; now let’s read the context of John’s presentation, from verses 1 to 5; he says, ‘Beloveth, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, (test the spirits), whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them’
Some major points to note from the verses above are:
- We are not to believe every spirit.
- We are to test the spirits to discern whether they are from God.
- Many false prophets and deceivers have gone into the world. ‘False prophets’ isn’t referring here to false ministers giving false prophetic utterances, but the spirits that speak to people, and are responsible for the words they speak.
- Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus is come in the flesh is from God.
- Every spirit that does not acknowledge that Jesus is come in the flesh is not from God.
2 John 1:6-8: ‘… This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward’
Verses 7 to 9 in the New International Version reads: ‘…many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son’ Anyone who does not acknowledge Jesus as come in the flesh is a deceiver and the antichrist; then in verse 9, the writer begins to explain to us what it means to not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh’ – it’s those who do not continue in the teaching of Christ.
The phrase used ‘come in the flesh’ is also very important. It doesn’t say Jesus came in the flesh or is coming in the flesh, but is come in the flesh, which is present tense. He is here in the flesh today through us who live in His doctrine.
Verse 10 says: ‘If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work’
How to test the spirits:
This is how we are to test the spirits: anyone who confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God; and anyone who does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God. To confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh means making confession to this truth, based on a lifestyle and way of doing things that brings glory to God. It’s not merely making a verbal statement. To confess means to profess; you profess with words and actions, and not words only.
For example, it’ll be worthless to ask a demon-possessed person: ‘Is Jesus come in the flesh; yes or no?’ You’ve got to understand that demons are deceitful, and you could find the demon responding in the affirmative to that question.
The Word confess in 2 John 1:7 is from the word homologeo; it means making confession, not just a statement. So in testing the spirits, there must be a consistency between what you are hearing, and the teachings and doctrine of Christ; that’s why Jesus said, ‘…by their fruits you shall know them’ (Matthew 7:20). He also said that the Spirit of Truth shall glorify Him, for he shall not speak of Himself. The Holy Spirit will always glorify Jesus, but glorifying Jesus is not a confession that Jesus is come in the flesh, it’s more than that. It’s words and deeds, and a lifestyle that glorifies Him, and is consistent with His doctrine.
Spirits talk to people:
When Jesus said, ‘believe not every spirit’, he was telling us emphatically that spirits talk to people, and you’ve got to put whatever they are saying to the test to know the force behind what they’re telling you.
A good example of this can be found in 1 kings 22:1-29 (read the entire reference). King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat had decided to join forces to go to war against Syria, and sought the Lord’s guidance before proceeding. The Bible says Ahab sought counsel from four hundred prophets, who said, all would be well. However, King Jehoshaphat, being more discerning, asked King Ahab if there was any other prophet they could also enquire of the Lord from. Prophet Micaiah was summoned and after a brief confrontation, he eventually told the Kings of the evil that would befall them if they went to war. He went further to explain by revelation that a lying spirit had taken over the mouths of the four hundred prophets, causing them to prophesy in error. Though Ahab and the prophets were not pleased with him, his words eventually came to pass.
These four hundred prophets told the two kings that they would win the war, but Micaiah said God put a lying spirit in their mouths. They were not false prophets; they were real prophets, but there was a lying spirit in their mouths. What went wrong; why did the prophets prophesy falsehood? It’s because they were in association with Ahab who was an evil man. We’ll discuss further on Ahab later on in our study.
So you see, we’re not dealing here with having a spirit speak to you through a demon possessed person; or a spirit talking to you in your sleep or in a vision; that’s not difficult for you to discern. What we’re faced with here is what we listen to on a daily basis; the people we relate with, and how we relate what we listen to with the doctrine of Christ. If you believe that Christ is come in the flesh, then you’ve got to act like him, otherwise you don’t really believe.
Another thing to note is that no matter the fulfilment you have when you hear a voice, it doesn’t mean it’s from God. Personal fulfilment is not a proof of God’s will. Some people say, when you feel good about a thing, then you know it’s from God. That’s wrong because feeling good about something has nothing to do with knowing the will of God. The teaching of Christ is what we use to test the spirits.
A child of God can discern between spirits:
A child of God has the ability to know the difference between truth and error otherwise Jesus wouldn’t tell us to test the spirits. We can test the spirits to discern truth from error and right from wrong. Filling your heart with the Word of God will enable you to know the difference between truth and error. In addition, whatever the Spirit of Truth says to you will be consistent with God’s Word and not your own opinion.
The Spirit of Truth also leads you in God’s perfect plan for your life; while the spirit of error causes you to stray away from God’s Word, just like Jehoshaphat who followed those four hundred prophets who strayed from God.
– PART 2 –
- At the end of this part, each member should begin to learn how people yield to the spirit of error, through deception, wilful disobedience and ignorance.
How do people yield to the spirit of error?
Matthew 16:13: “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men’
This is a very interesting encounter. Peter by revelation had just declared that Jesus was the Son of God; then verse 21 says, Jesus began to show His disciples that He was going to be killed and on the third day rise again. The only way Jesus could have shown this to them would have been through the Scriptures, because the Bible does tell us that a lot of times, Jesus referred to the Scriptures. However, Peter’s reaction was different this time; in verse 22, he took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him for making such a statement. Isn’t it amazing that He was rebuking Jesus: the Son of God? He had been praised for His revelation in the previous verse, so now he thought that qualified him to rebuke the Master for making such ‘negative confessions’ Jesus’ response is so vital to what we’re learning. First, He praised Peter for the revelation He got, saying this was from God; but in this next instance, His response is different; He looked at Peter and addresses satan. He didn’t say get thee behind me Peter, but get thee behind me satan. Peter was just being a nice disciple but Jesus didn’t see it that way; He saw where that thought was coming from. At the first time, his words were from God, but this next time, He addressed the spirit that was talking through Peter.
How was it possible for Peter to get into that situation? Let’s examine now how people yield to the spirit of error.
- Deception: People yield to the spirit of error when the adversary deceives them. This was what happened with Eve, in the garden of Eden.
Genesis 3:1-4: ‘Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said to the woman, Ye shall not surely die’
The serpent challenged the truth – the Word of God. This is just like Peter’s case. He had declared Jesus to be the Son of God; however, the Son of God had to die for man’s redemption. He didn’t realize this when he rebuked the Master for talking about His death, burial and resurrection. This was actually the enemy challenging the truth that Jesus was the Son of God who had to die for mankind.
The serpent challenged the Word that God spoke; in other words, He was telling the woman that God lied to them. This is the scheme of the devil; he has never changed. He told her if she ate of the tree, her eyes would be opened. There are many who have said, ‘I used to be a member of that Church, but my eyes opened and I left’ How sad? Their eyes opened in the wrong direction. How can your eyes open and you leave the Church? Who opened your eyes? You were being blessed, your faith was growing, beautiful things were happening in your life, you had testimonies; then your eyes opened and you left the church where you were being blessed. It shouldn’t be difficult to tell who opened your eyes; it’s obviously the same one that opened Eve’s eyes.
Genesis 3: 5-7: satan is talking here, and he says: ‘For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons’
Once they disobeyed God, they suddenly realized they were naked. Were they blind before then? No; previously, they lived in the realm of God’s glory and everything was beautiful. But now, their eyes were opened and they realized they were naked. This speaks of self-consciousness. They had been conscious of God and His eternal presence and glory, that they didn’t know whether they had anything on or not, but they became self-conscious after sinning and were trying to cover themselves.
Verse 8: ‘And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat’
Prior to this time, they were always in God’s presence and but now they were hiding from Him. This just tells us they didn’t know God anymore, because if they did, they would know that a man couldn’t hide from God. They suddenly saw God Almighty like themselves, and this is what happens when the spirit of error misleads people.
Let’s look at Peter’s example again. We thought he knew Jesus, the son of the living God, but he turns and starts rebuking the Christ; the anointed one. When Jesus met the woman at the well in Samaria, she said to Him, when the Messiah comes, he will tell us all things (John 4:25); at this time she didn’t know she was talking to Him. However, her statement was remarkable; she knew the Messiah would know all things. Peter should have known that the Messiah knew all things and therefore could not be wrong. This is what happens when the spirit of error takes a hold of someone; he doesn’t trust the anointing. Such people don’t mind saying nasty things against their pastors and leaders, because they have been taken by the spirit of error, and lost reverence for God. The spirit of error leads men astray.
Eve realized that she has been deceived but by then she had lost everything. Most people don’t realize until they have lost everything. 1 Timothy 2: 13-15 says: ‘…For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety’
- Willful Disobedience: another reason people yield to the spirit of error is willful disobedience.
In 1 Timothy 2:11; ‘Paul the apostle tells us: ‘Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression’
It’s clear from the Scriptures that Adam, who was there when the serpent spoke to Eve, was not deceived. His problem was willful disobedience; he followed what his wife said rather than what God had said. Adam ought to have taken charge of the situation and told his wife that we won’t do this because God said so. That’s why Paul said in 1 Timothy 2:11, that a woman should learn in silence with all subjection to her husband. She ought not to dictate to the man. Let’s see God’s response to the situation:
Genesis 3:17: ‘And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life’
There are some men, whose wives convince them not to go for Church service, and just because they want peace in the house, they yield to the persuasion; that ought not to be. It only means the woman has usurped authority over the man, which is different from what the Word of God says. A day will come when God will take action against that man.
You may say, what about Sarah who told her husband, Abraham, to send her servant Haggai away; after all Abraham did as she said. Could we then say that Sarah usurped authority? Well, the Bible does tell us that God told Abraham to do as Sarah said. You may wonder why God told the man to do what the woman said. The reason is because the situation was already wrong. God had promised them a son, and in the process of time, Sarah figured out how it was going to happen and gave her servant to Abraham so that she could have a son through her. Haggai became pregnant and gave birth to Ishmael, but this was not God’s will; it was Sarah’s idea, and at that time, Abraham did not enquire of the Lord whether to take that step or not, he went ahead and did it. He already made the mistake because God said the son would come from Sarah. So when Sarah eventually gave birth to her son, she wanted Haggai and her son out. However, the Bible did not say Sarah warned Abraham to send them or else there would be trouble. Sarah was a submissive wife. The Bible says she yielded herself to Abraham and called him Lord (1 Peter 3:6). When she asked him to send Haggai away, she left the matter with Abraham. It was God who convinced Abraham to send Haggai away because having a son through Haggai was not His idea in the first place; it was Sarah’s idea. Abraham got into trouble for not doing God’s Word when Sarah gave Haggai to him to raise a child for her. That led to the spirit of error and brought deception to the whole household.
This does not mean as a wife you can’t advice your husband about something or make suggestions; you can, but it’s left for him to take or leave it; and don’t make trouble if he doesn’t take it, just pray about it and leave it in the hands of God. The Bible says ‘casting all your care upon him; for He careth for you’ (1 Peter 5:7). That’s wisdom!
Adam was not deceived but obeyed the voice of deception when he should have rebuked it. That’s willful disobedience and that’s why the Bible says death came into the world through Adam’s disobedience (Romans 5:12;19). God needed the second Adam who will obey God. The second Adam obeyed God in all things and that’s why we have salvation today. Praise God!
Another person who willfully disobeyed God was King Saul. 1 Samuel 28:7-8: ‘Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.
Saul, the king of Israel, went to someone with a familiar spirit, knowing fully well the law of Moses in that regard.
Leviticus 20:27: ‘A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them’
This was the law in Israel in the days of Saul, but he ignored this, and went to seek a woman with a familiar spirit. That was willful disobedience. On another occasion, he was asked to completely destroy the Amalekites and all that belonged to them, but he didn’t do it. He kept some of the best things: the sheep and the goats, claiming he had fully obeyed the Lord, and that it was the people who brought the animals to sacrifice unto the Lord. This led to his rejection by God, as king. In rebuking him, Samuel the prophet said, ‘to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams (1 Samuel 15:22).
We see God’s response to Saul’s actions in 1 Chronicles 10:13: ‘So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it;’ That’s what led to Saul’s death – willful disobedience.
- Ignorance: the third thing that causes people to yield to the spirit of error is ignorance. David was ignorant of God’s will when he attempted to move the ark of God to the city of David.
2 Samuel 6: 1-9: ‘Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the Lord of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims. And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart. And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark. And David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals. And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. And David was displeased, because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perezuzzah to this day. And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and said, How shall the ark of the Lord come to me?’
David had good intentions when he attempted to move the ark of God, but the Bible says the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah. This means all the time they were on that journey, the anger of the Lord was there and they didn’t know it, because they were ignorant of the Word of God.
In verse 10, the Bible says the ark was taken to the house of Obededom and God blessed the house of Obededom. The same ark that had killed someone, brought blessings to another, and this caused David to begin to think of what might have gone wrong. By searching the scriptures, he found out.
Sometimes in our lives, we don’t know when things go wrong because of ignorance; ignorance can lead a person into error. Speaking to the Jews, Jesus said, you err because you don’t know the scriptures (Mark 12:24)
1 Chronicles 15:1: ‘And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent. Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the Lord chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever’ He had found out how it ought to be done; only the priest were to carry the ark of God.
1 Chronicles 15:11-13: ‘And David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, and Joel, Shemaiah, and Eliel, and Amminadab, And said unto them, Ye are the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it. For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order’
They got into trouble because they didn’t carry the ark in the prescribed manner, and only found out after it had cost someone his life. Ignorance gets people into the spirit of error and ignorance is no excuse, for doing the wrong thing. Jesus didn’t say, if you’re ignorant, the Father will make sure you don’t err; no, He said, ‘you err because you don’t know the scriptures’
– PART 3 –
At the end of this part, each member should learn more about how people yield to the spirit of error through desiring the wrong things, and wrong associations.
- Desire for the wrong thing:
The fourth reason people yield to the spirit of error is when they have a desire for the wrong thing.
The Word of God is so important that it doesn’t matter what level you attain in Christianity, if you ignore the Word of God, you will go into error. Never measure the rightness of your thoughts, words or your actions by how you feel. There are people who do whatever they do as long as they feel good about it. If it feels right to them, then that’s it. The Bible describes this as idolatry – self-worship; but that’s not the way your life should be. As a Christian, Jesus is the Lord of your life, and you have to yield your opinions to Him. Your opinion should the opinion of Christ, which is His Word.
Although the serpent deceived Eve, she also desired the wrong thing, because the Bible says, when she saw that the fruit was good for food, and desirable for gaining knowledge, she ate of it. She allowed her desire to rule her and it got her into trouble.
The children of Israel also desired the wrong thing when they asked Aaron to build them a calf, having become impatient when Moses had not returned from the top of the mountain where God spoke to him (Read Exodus 32: 1-8).
In Exodus 20, God had given them commandments, the first being that they were to have no other gods before Him. He told them not to make any graven image, or bow down to them, and yet they disobeyed God and convinced Aaron to make them a calf, which they worshipped as god. How sad that was; and the Lord was angry with them
Many years later, they did exactly the same thing again in 1 Samuel 8: 1-5.
‘And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment. Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel when they said: give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord’
Samuel’s reaction was different from Aaron’s; Samuel prayed to the Lord when the people made this request, whereas Aaron yielded to the voice of error and gave them what they wanted.
1 Samuel 8:7: ‘And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them’
God said they rejected Him in requesting for a king. This was the mind of God but the children of Israel didn’t know it because God spoke to Samuel. They complained that the sons of the priest were not faithful in their roles, and they came with a solution, rather than seek a solution from the priest of God. Their solution was to have a king like other nations.
You have to realize that when you come into Christ, Jesus becomes the Lord of your life, and this means you have submitted yourself to His Lordship. You aren’t submitted to His Lordship if you’re not submitted to the Word of God. The Bible says ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works’ (2 Timothy 3:16). This is what He gave us the Word for: to mould our lives. Our salvation came when we proclaimed the Lordship of Jesus Christ over our lives. Lord means master; so He’s the boss and controller of your life, and the only way He can be Master over your life is through the Word.
Don’t desire the wrong thing in life, because you may get it, and the problem is when you get it, you may not be able to change it. The Scriptures are replete with information of this nature. Balaam, for example, repeatedly asked the Lord if he should go with Balak’s messengers, even after God had asked him not to go, the first time he asked. But he went on asking till God said, ‘go’. Why did he ask again after God had expressly said no? It was because of greed; he saw what he could gain because he loved money, and it almost destroyed him (Read Numbers 22). He was just like Judas, who went to the high priest and asked for 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus – the desire for money (Matthew 26:15-16).
What spirit is speaking to you? What spirit is convincing you? What are you listening to? Use the doctrine of Christ in the flesh to test the spirits.
Sometimes people make choices in life just so they can be comfortable among their friends. Remember the Words of Jesus, ‘what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his soul?’ (Mark 8:36); if everybody supports you and God is against you, of what use is it?
- Wrong Associations:
Another reason why people yield themselves to error is wrong associations; they keep the wrong company. Let’s take two examples from the Old and New Testaments.
Proverbs 22:24-25 ‘Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul’
The Scripture is telling us not to make friends with a hot-tempered person, or else you’ll learn his ways and become like him; this means, choose your friends. Don’t just go with just anybody. Ask yourself; does this person have that character of Christ? What spirit is speaking through him? Test the spirits!
1 Corinthians 15:33 says, ‘Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners’ The NIV translation says, ‘Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character’ The Living Bible puts it this way: ‘Don’t be fooled by those who say such things. If you listen to them you will start acting like them’
If you find yourself in a place where someone is criticizing a minister of God, turn away from there. Ministers of God are sent to be a blessing to you, and so all you should know is that they are a blessing to you. If someone starts telling you something negative about them, take your ears away because it could destroy you. Many times, all the things people say about ministers of God are false, because they are sponsored by satan, and you have to be wise. Remember, the Bible tells us that these ministers are called of God not by man. Romans 14:4 says, ‘Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand’ So, turn your ears away, don’t be a part of such evil communication, and you’ll find your life continually moving forward.
Christians who are sad, bitter and angry always have one thing or the other to say about one minister of God or the other. Their lives are in frustration; they are angry and they don’t know what they are angry or bitter about. Then the anointing of God starts working against them because they are in the wrong place. So separate yourself from there; don’t be misled! In our ministry, we don’t talk against ministers of God; this is our training; we’re cultured differently, so when you notice someone acting this way, you ought to know something has gone wrong, and you should separate yourself and report the matter to your leader or pastor. Don’t allow your mind to be polluted by such things.
2 Peter 3:1-2: ‘This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance’ This is beautiful; he said, ‘…I stir up your pure minds…’ Many have pure minds but what satan does is to try to pollute their minds. What is your mind like? Do you have a pure mind? In his writings Peter tries to stir up their pure minds. But what does Satan do? He tries to pollute and produce impurities in your mind. Now how do you know when impurity comes into you mind? It’s very simple; in Hebrews 12:15, the Bible says, ‘Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled’
Impurities produce bitterness, and when someone is bitter, it spreads like cancer. A bitter person never keeps the bitterness to himself, but always transmits it. Bitterness is an evil spirit, and when an evil spirit comes into an individual, he creates his character in that individual. The person becomes bitter, and that bitterness starts spreading; every time the person has an opportunity, he spreads the bitterness. The way to know it’s the spirit of bitterness working through that person is that everyone who hears from him becomes bitter, and then it multiplies and the bitterness continues. It’s only the one who is submitted to the Word of God, and rebukes it that can stand against it successfully.
The way to get rid of bitterness and anger is to refuse to act it out. Someone could say, ‘whenever I am angry, I take my actions right away and then I calm down’; that’s the voice of foolishness and it’s satanic; it means your anger controls you. You ought to control the anger and get rid of it.
Let’s take a look again at King Ahab. Jehoshaphat was a man who feared God, but who was his friend? Ahab: a man who did not fear the Lord, and this was the problem. How could a man who feared God have such close ties with one who didn’t fear the Lord? You may say, ‘what if Jehoshaphat didn’t know that Ahab didn’t fear the Lord?’ No; Jehoshaphat knew; and there was enough evidence to show he knew.
1 Kings 16:30-33: ‘And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him’
This is the man that Jehoshaphat made friends with; a man who married the daughter of a king given to the worship of Baal. The law in Israel stated that they were not to marry from other nations, yet Ahab did otherwise. This was Jehoshaphat’s friend; no wonder it almost destroyed his life.
This wrong association didn’t end with Ahab and Jehoshaphat. After the two kings had died, their sons became kings of their respective nations, and because of the friendship of their parents, Jehoshaphat’s son married Ahab’s daughter; let’s see what it produced. 2 Chronicles 21:4: ‘Now when Jehoram was risen up to the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself, and slew all his brethren with the sword, and divers also of the princes of Israel. Jehoram was thirty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the house of Ahab: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord’
How terrible; he killed all his brothers and other princes of Israel. This was Jehoshaphat’s son, but the Bible says he had Ahab’s daughter as a wife, so he acted like the kings of Israel, particularly Ahab. The same Ahab that was said to have done more wickedness and provoked the Lord to anger more than any other king before him. This was Jehoshaphat’s friend, and he made him his in-law by taking Ahab’s daughter for his son. But his son did not turn out like him; he turned out like Ahab, his father in-law; very sad indeed.
If you study the Scriptures you’ll see several other examples of those who yielded to the wrong voice like Aaron and Miriam when they opposed Mosses in the book of numbers. God was angry with Miriam and she was struck with leprosy because she rebelled against the Word of God.
David also found himself in a situation in 2 Samuel 24:1: ‘And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah’. Verse 10: ‘And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.
Why was David repenting, when it was God who moved him to number Israel; how could you sin by doing what God told you to do? This means it was not God that told him to number Israel because the Bible says the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David to say, go number Israel. Why didn’t David know that what he was doing was wrong? The Bible is really telling us here that this happened as a result of God’s anger and so he got the children of Israel in a situation where they were going to be judged for their error. You know in the Old Testament language, everything that happened was said to be from God, whether good or bad; they had no revelation of the devil. It’s like saying it was God who sent the lying spirit into the mouths of Ahab’s prophets. That was the language used but it wasn’t God who sent the spirit; God permitted it to happen because of the evil of their action, but He didn’t send the spirit.
So the Bible says God moved David and after he had done it, he became sad. Let’s read 1 Chronicles 21:1, which gives us the same account but in a clearer form. ‘And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel; now we find out who the real culprit was. Verse 7-8: ‘And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel. And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly’ His act led to the death of seventy thousand men.
Why didn’t David know that it was wrong to number Israel, after all Joab whom he sent to carry out his instructions knew and warned him. This is what we discussed earlier, when several things pollute the mind, one of which is pride. David’s problem at the time was pride. He had come to rely on his soldiers and the number of his army for war and decided to count them, contrary to God’s instruction.
Test the spirit; don’t just accept everything. Do the things you hear increase your love for God and for His people? If it does, that’s great, but if not, let it go, because one of the responsibilities of a Christian is to increase the love among God’s people. It’s your responsibility to see to it that brotherly love continues. Be a part of the process of letting brotherly love continue. This is not a passive action; you should actively work at ensuring that anything, which is inconsistent with brotherly love, is removed from our midst. So insist on brotherly love in the church, not by preaching it, but by doing it and walking in it.
Don’t encourage tale bearing and don’t be a talebearer yourself. Proverbs 20:20 says, ‘Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth’ Anytime there is prolonged strife in a group, no matter how large or small the group is, then there is a tale bearer in that group, because the Bible says where no wood is the fire goeth out, and where there is no talebearer, the strife ceases. When strife continues it means there is a talebearer. Talebearers don’t tell the truth; they only twist the truth and pollute the minds of others. Proverbs 18:8: ‘The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly’
What is the spirit behind a talebearer? It’s the spirit of error; the spirit of destruction, it’s satan, the accuser of the brethren.
The Bible says, don’t be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is; don’t allow talebearers in the church because they are usually sent by satan.
Proverbs 20:19: ‘He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips’ This is what you do to the talebearer: meddle not with him. Talebearers always act like they love you; they flatter with their lips, but the Bible says don’t make friends with them, run away or rebuke them. If you have authority over them, rebuke them, but if you don’t have authority over them, separate yourself from them.
Leviticus 19:16: ‘Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbor; I am the Lord. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him.
One of the reasons why these teachings are coming to you at this time is to save you from heartache in the future, because what you sow, you reap. If you find yourself sowing discord and falsehood, it means you’re going to reap the same somewhere later on in the future and when it happens to you, you’ll be defeated because you walked with the same principle, and therefore you cannot win. But for those who don’t sow those kind of seeds, it doesn’t matter when or how satan comes against them, they will win.
– PART 4 –
- Should a wife be submitted to a husband who is not submissive to Christ? Since Christ is the head of the husband.
1 Peter 3:1 says, ‘Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear’
The NIV puts it this way: ‘Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives’
In the Amplified version, it says, ‘In like manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives, When they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him—to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband]’
God is wise and He knows that this is the way to act. If you do otherwise, trials and troubles await you and you’ll only get frustrated. The more you try, the less good you’ll get out of it, and you’ll be frustrated and frustrating others. If anyone ever advises you on what to do outside of the Word of God, don’t take the advice. The Bible says in Psalm 1:1, ‘Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly…’ Don’t follow the counsel of the ungodly and you’ll be blessed, but if you don’t follow the counsel of the Word, you’ll get into trouble.
- How does one respond to a husband whose instructions are not scriptural? Can a wife submit to such instructions?
There are instructions that are directly against the Word of God, which you should not act on. Several years ago, a certain lady came to Pastor saying she was told to go to the village to carry out some sacrifices, and that the sacrifices were necessary so she would never run away from her husband. Her husband also insisted that she must follow him to the village to offer the sacrifices to the ancestral gods. This was a difficult situation for her. Pastor advised her not to do it, showing her God’s Word on the subject. The Bible says the sacrifices that are offered to idols are offered to demons. That’s what the Word says, so once he was able to show her from the Word, she refused to offer the sacrifices and God saved her marriage.
We have to be careful that we don’t get involved in anything that will compromise our salvation. Jesus said‘…what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?’ (Mark 8:36) So there are just some things that you should not do; but a wife should not use the scriptures to become disobedient at home. However, it’s important that you know those definite things that you have to stand for in your faith.
- Does a believer lose his authority over satan and his demons, when he sins?
No, he doesn’t lose that authority because it was given to him by the Lord. However, why should you sin and be in submission to Satan? Since you have authority in Christ, why do you displease the Lord? You should walk in love towards the Lord and seek to please Him; this is the reason we don’t sin, because we love Him and we want to please Him.
- How do we restore a loved one who is caught in the spirit of error and who believes the Bible is just a historical book?
The Bible says we should restore those who are in error with the spirit of love (Galatians 6:1). We ought to show them love and not condemn them. This means we should counsel and encourage them with words of love, and not isolate them.
- Is it wrong for a woman to make suggestions on what should be done in the family, especially when the man is making a mistake?
No, it is not wrong for the woman to make suggestions. She can do it prayerfully and with love and respect. If you do it without trying to dominate him, he will accept your suggestion. Men only reject suggestions from a spouse who is trying to be domineering, or who makes him look like he’s a fool. If you don’t act like that, he’ll listen to you.
- Is a wife who is the Pastor of her husband, exempted from the instruction of not usurping authority in the home?
The wife is his Pastor in Church and not at home so she is expected to submit at home, just like any other wife would. He didn’t marry a Pastor, but a wife and likewise she chose to marry him as a husband. Their relationship is a husband and wife relationship; therefore, each one should play their role.
However, when she is fulfilling her role in Church as a Pastor, issues of their marital relationship should not be allowed to affect her ministry. A female Pastor does not have a husband in Church matters. When you stand before God, you’re going to stand for yourself; this is very important. So for a lady, her husband is not the husband of the Church, just because he is the husband of the Pastor. His role as a husband does not give him authority over the things of the Church. He doesn’t even really have a right to advice the Pastor because pastoral leadership is not based on human advice. So if he is going to make suggestions or share with his wife on things that have to do with the Church, it also has to be done in faithfulness to the Word of God, as a brother in the Church, and not as the husband.
- How come our offerings cannot restore what we lose through disobedience?
Our offerings cannot restore what we lose through disobedience, because only the blood of Christ can remit disobedience. Sin can only be wiped out by the blood of Christ. Remember, our offerings are not to get God to do something, but are an extension of our faith. Even if you do something wrong, and then pray to the Lord, and give an offering, your offering does not assure your forgiveness. Your forgiveness comes from Christ. Your giving of an offering is a release of your faith. For example if you sin against God and take the Holy Communion, it doesn’t take away your sin because Jesus died long ago. It’s not the Holy Communion that you take today that will purge your sins, but taking the Holy Communion is an act of your faith. Water baptism is also a release of your faith. All of these things are acts of faith and righteousness, but will never make us righteous before God.
God has given us His Word to live by, and if we would fill our hearts with His Word, we would always have the ability to discern right from wrong, Truth from error. The Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth, such that we never err, and we fulfil our purpose in Christ.
Lessons learned from our study:
- The Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth; while the spirit of error is the devil.
- The spirit of error also means the spirit of falsehood, deception or deceit, and delusion.
- The characteristics of the Spirit of truth are: He testifies of Jesus and glorifies Him; He guides us into all truth; He teaches us all things; He shows us things to come, and brings all things to our remembrance.
- The characteristics of the spirit of error: he blinds people to the truth and stops them from seeing the light of the glorious gospel of Christ; he is the deceiver and the accuser.
- We are to test the spirit to see if they are from God.
- Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus is come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge that Jesus is come in the flesh is not from God but is the spirit of the antichrist.
- To confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh means making confession to this truth, based on a lifestyle and way of doing things that brings glory to God. It’s not merely making a verbal statement.
- Not acknowledging that Jesus is come in the flesh means not acknowledging or continuing in the teaching/ doctrine of Christ.
- When Jesus said, ‘believe not every spirit’, he was telling us emphatically that spirits talk to people, and you’ve got to put whatever they are saying to the test to know the force behind what they’re telling you.
- The Spirit of Truth will always speak in agreement with the Word of God, while the spirit of error speaks contrary to the Word.
- Personal fulfilment is not a proof of God’s will.
- A child of God has the ability to know the difference between truth and error.
- People yield to the spirit of error through deception, willful disobedience, desiring the wrong things, ignorance and wrong associations.