If you are in the habit of working out regularly, you’ll know that our bodies can become complacent when we always do the same routines of exercise. The same is true in our spiritual lives. We can get accustomed to living a certain way and communicating with or experiencing God a certain way, so that we eventually block ourselves off to new things in the kingdom of God.
The truth is that we know very little about God and how He works.
But the truth is that we know very little about God and how He works. There is so much more than what we know! We can easily get ruffled by change because on earth the ruling principal is control, whereas the ruling principal in heaven is peace. Experiencing the peace of God’s kingdom on earth requires us to give up some of our control.
Giving up some of our control and being open to change is uncomfortable, but Pastor Miles encouraged us to “want it all” – to want as much as we can get of God and to trust Him in those areas that are uncomfortable for us. We have no idea the spiritual blessings God has for us – so we need to ask Him!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3
As we begin a new series, we are going to ask God to come supernaturally as we’ve never seen before and to break us out of our routines. To kick off this series, today Pastor Miles presented a survey of questions that the listeners could answer in real time with text messaging. The survey is not a test or a judgment, but rather a means to find out what people believe and to challenge all of us to think about theological things that we may not normally consider.
1. Do you believe that a spiritual experience must be validated by a ‘direct’ teaching or example in the Bible?Ephesians 3:20
About 11% of the responders said “Yes,” while 87% of the responders said “No.”
This is an important question because if you believe every spiritual experience has to be evidenced in the Bible, that means that if something happens that is not in Bible, you will say it’s not from God. Does the Bile prescribe what should happen or describe what can happen?
2. Do you believe that the majority of your spiritual growth is the responsibility of others (i.e. pastoral staff, Sunday service, small group or your own efforts during the week)? Hebrews 10:24-25, 2 Timothy 2:15
About 92% said it was their own responsibility, while about 8% said it was a shared responsibility.
Whose fault is it if you don’t grow? Many people come to church expecting that this is the only spiritual teaching they will receive all week, that “their” seats should be available to them each time, and that all the workers and volunteers here are designed to meet their needs. Is that a realistic expectation?
3. Do you believe that only those who surrender their lives to Jesus will go to heaven? John 14:1-6
About 30% of responders were doubtful.
A lot of people don’t believe what you believe. That’s why its important to be a light all the time—even here in church—because you don’t know what the person next to you believes or what s/he needs to understand.
4. Do you believe that people who do not believe in Jesus go to Hell? Matthew 25:31-46
If someone hears about Christ and understands the Gospel message, yet stills reject Him, will s/he go to hell?
One third of responders said, “No,” or “I don’t know.” Don’t become a fat cat full of Biblical knowledge but lacking in compassion for others and what there is to learn. Come for ministry!
5. Do you believe that demonic influences can hold an aspect of a Christian’s life in bondage?
Of our survey responders, 98% said “Yes.”
If you believe that a demon can hold you in spiritual bondage, then you will know that the only way you can free yourself is with spiritual weapons. Demons will do things to you that you may try to fight with medicine or counseling (not that those things are not often appropriate), but spiritual issues must be battled with spiritual weapons.
6. Do you believe that the gifts of the Spirit are in use today? 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
About 96% said “yes."
These gifts are a supernatural enabling by the Spirit of God to give you supernatural abilities - wisdom, faith, healing, miracles, speaking in tongues, etc. If you believe that these gifts are relevant today, then you should be seeking to discover your gifts and use them to their potential, but if not, then you will live in such a way that you would not try to express any supernatural gifting in your life.
7. Do you believe that you were meant to live the miraculous life that Jesus lived?
In Jesus’ life, He healed the blind and the deaf, raised the dead, talked to the weather, and cast out demons. Do you believe that you and I were meant to live like that? Seventy percent said yes, while thirty percent were doubtful.
If you don’t believe that and you have been walking with God for a long time, maybe you have become complacent in your routines of coming to church and experiencing a lukewarm faith.
8. Do you want to live the miraculous life that Jesus lived?
If God wants you to live as He did, are you willing to change your heart? Or do you just want to blend in and be comfortable?
About 90% said “yes.” If you do want to live like Jesus, then are you doing anything about it?
9. Do you believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit or Holy Spirit filling is an event that ‘can’ happen after salvation (in addition to salvation)? Acts 4:8, Acts 4:31, Acts 13:9
About 93% said, “yes.”
10. Do you believe that we should ‘desire’ and ‘pursue’ spiritual gifts or not? 1 Corinthians 12:27-30
About 97% said, “yes.” Pastor Miles told us that if we mean that, we should be prepared to radically experience God, because He tells us that if we knock, the door will be opened to us. (Rev. 3:20)
11. Is your theology based on what you have studied or what you have experienced?
This is an important question because people often have experiences that can change the whole way they view God. These experiences should not trump the Bible, but help us to understand the Bible.
This survey was meant to simply question what we believe and to disturb us a little bit. If God is going to do something new with us, we should try to be ready. The danger lies when we believe we already know how God works and then when He does something new in our lives, we reject it.
If you want more of God, you need exploration and answers to these questions. Sometimes God “zaps” people out of their unbelief, but we know He is pleased by a willing heart who wants to know more about His truth. The goal of this new series is that you would live the life that Jesus intended you to live!