HOW THE LORD CONFIRMS THE ACCURACY OF CHRISTIAN TEACHING: A DIALOGUE
“Look. Here’s the problem. It’s like we have to follow a script. It’s like we are limited in what we can do in ministry because of Scriptural parameters.”
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“What are you suggesting?”
“Well, I don’t feel I am suggesting anything, I don’t think, but merely pointing out the problems that arise from always having to keep reverting back to Scripture, as in, well, ‘the Bible says this’ or ‘the Lord said we must,’ or ‘we have to apply this Biblical directive…’”
“You think your ministerial work is suffering because you invoke Scripture?”
“No, no, not necessarily, but because, well, because I think there are other applications that probably work better in some instances, and…”
“But don’t you realize that the application of Scripture, especially the teachings of Jesus, is exactly that which provides solutions?”
“But does it always? Sometimes I’m not so sure. I’ve seen…”
“Are you having a personal crisis regarding your faith?”
“What? No, no, I just think that, that, well, that sometimes I want to help someone get through whatever they may be dealing with and show, you know, my heartfelt sympathy or concern, and, I think that trying to quote Scripture at such a time is, just, not working, or won’t work, like it’s being cold.”
“My goodness. How long have you been doing this?”
“What do you mean?”
“You’ve obviously been attempting to minister to people while also holding a clear lack of faith in Christian teachings. Do you not see this?”
“No! No, that’s not it. I know the Scriptures are the Word of God but I feel like I’m hitting people with a book, like I’m merely parroting verses and passages instead of reaching them at the point of their need, and showing sincere concern, and…”
“Did the Lord engage in ministry in such a way?”
“Well the Lord was certainly right there and touching hearts, and…”
“Yes! Yes, that’s it. He showed compassion. He granted mercy, He…”
“He watered-down the Law of Moses because that might help people not feel offended?”
“The Law! What?”
“You have a problem with the Law!”
“Wait. We’re Christians! We honor the New Covenant not the Old! We…”
“The Lord Jesus was never against the Law of Moses! The Lord actually fulfilled the Law of Moses! What is wrong with you?”
“Why are you getting so upset?”
“Because you have obviously gone off the deep end and need strong correction! How long have you been carrying this lack of respect for the Law?”
“But Paul was always talking about the deficiencies of the Law. It’s throughout all his writings.”
“You’re exaggerating. Paul spoke of the New Covenant superseding the Old Covenant but he also strongly defended the Law of Moses! Yes! The Law as delivered originally by God through Moses was certainly not deficient but was simply in need of its final fulfillment which could only be done by the future Messiah. To state that the Law was deficient or that there was a problem with the Law is grossly incorrect.”
“Okay… I’m thinking… I’m wondering where I picked this up…”
“It could be through a simple misapplication of Scripture.”
“Yes… But no. I must have received my understanding of the Law through those New Testament passages which refer to the Law in a negative sense.”
“Then you have an incomplete understanding of Scripture and need further teaching. Or you could have received it through the teachings of others in that regard.”
“But that, that would indicate that there are Christian teachers that get it wrong.”
“Yes. And what else is new?”
“No, I don’t mean… I mean, that they are doing it deliberately…”
“Which would mean exactly that or that they also have been deceived by a false teaching regarding the Law. They are doing what they think is right or…”
“Or they are not deceived at all but are deliberately teaching something that opposes the Scriptures…”
“Yes. Some are deceived. But some are agents of the enemy who have infiltrated our schools and churches.”
“How do we… What do we do?”
“First of all I appreciate the respect you are showing an elder. All real ministers of the Gospel at some point come across this sad state of affairs, this deceptive invasion, usually when they’re relatively young, as yourself. I discovered it when I was a young minister but I had no elder to help me out. I’m glad you came to me. Secondly, what we do is what any real minister of the Gospel would do. You know the answer…”
“Study to show yourself approved.”
“Exactly. Paul knew so much, so much more than he could readily share. People have to be able to receive it… When he wrote those words to Timothy he knew that Timothy, though relatively young, had gained enough maturity to know what to do.”
“Even if he didn’t fully understand. Like me. Right now…”
“But again, Paul knew Timothy would know what to do and he knew he would work very hard to succeed. And would do anything he must.”
“Timothy had to study. He had to read the Word. He had to pray.”
“That’s right. Real ministers know they often don’t know so they work very hard so they will know. That’s how they learn. It’s an ongoing process. The Word of God is Truth. It is filled with spiritual truths. It is our job to work hard at finding those truths. Then we can apply them.”
“That’s what I thought I was saying at the beginning of our conversation.”
“Well, you were seeing that merely relaying Scripture or quoting verses was kind of, kind of wooden, in some instances. You want to connect with people on a heart level instead of simply give directives toward the written Word.”
“Then don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. You can minister all day long but it will be worthless without the Word of God. And I specifically mean the teachings of our Lord. His teachings were pure and they were purely delivered. He never ministered without the Word. It would have been impossible anyway. He is the Word.”
“So I need to study. Wait. Can I see your Bible?”
“Okay… I need to read this… Here it is: Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”
“There’s a lot there.”
“He has given us His Word.”
“He trusts us with it.”
“It’s a high calling.”
“And I feel ashamed, but not like, I mean, I know He understands. But I must work harder. I must be diligent.”
“It’s the only way. We only have so much time. And we have to get it right.”
“I need to focus more on the Word than on someone else’s teaching of the Word.”
“Well, there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors. We just need to always make sure that our primary Counselor is the Lord Jesus. He will confirm the truth but also reveal untruths. For every untruth there is a lack of spiritual freedom. If you collect too many they act as chains tying you down. You came in here with a burden. We had to fish out its cause.”
“Thank you. I thought I knew what I was talking about.”
“You got a hold of some bad information. It wasn’t intentional. You see, if a believer gets some bad information in the context of Biblical teaching but doesn’t know it’s bad, and accepts it as truth, the only way to ferret it out is by reading and studying the Word. The more you read and study the Word the more likely it will get exposed. It is the Living Word you know. The New Covenant Scriptures were divinely inspired by the Lord and are actually alive. They will do the work as long as we do ours.”
“They didn’t even have written New Testaments in the beginning…”
“But they had Spirit-filled anointed preachers and teachers. There were a great many of them. They came to maturity rapidly.”
“And they handled the Word of truth accurately…”
“That’s right. And when they got it right the Lord confirmed what they taught with signs and miracles. Those miracles had a dual purpose. They acted as endorsements—a sign of approval.”
“That was the proof.”
“And if they were somehow wrong…”
“No miracles. No attesting signs.”
“Wow. The written Word is a deliverance mechanism…”
“Well, yes. That is why it is so important that we get it right. We are charged with delivering the Gospel as He delivered it. When we do we get the results He got. The originals got it right.”
“On a colossal scale.”
“So you see why it is so important to never let anything foreign or false enter into our curriculums because they act as a drag on the power of the Word.”
“So a great many ministers want to get it right and many are very strong about teaching what they believe is Scriptural truth. They insist on their versions and doctrines. But they never test their teachings against the only proof that would confirm them. They are satisfied without proof.”
“Yes. Many Christian teachers never put their teachings to the Scriptural test. Instead of seeking God’s confirmation they get their confirmations from others. They seek the approval of others.”
“They mainly seek the confirmation of the congregation. Oh boy. You don’t want the church folks on your back. Or they seek the confirmation of their betters, their higher-ups. Whoever’s paying you. Whoever’s giving you permission to preach. That’s who most ministers are trying to please. …Yes, I get it. We must seek only the Lord’s confirmation. It’s the only way to know we’re getting our teaching right.”
“You mean His teaching.”
© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
THE EFFECTUAL WORKING OF MIRACLES
I once had a pastor who didn’t care for doing any counseling. He stated this from the pulpit. He didn’t like sitting down with people from his church and going over the usual problems. He once stated that the devil “can only get you in so many ways,” meaning, of course, that the devil had a limited repertoire of mayhem-causing temptations. In this regard, we often hear preachers list the same relatively few things we, as Christians, must deal with, and they, as pastors, must attend to with counsel, and they say this because it’s pretty much all they ever hear. The short tabulation usually involves the following:
(1) Money problems
(2) Relationship problems
(3) Health problems
I don’t fault that former pastor. I am pretty sure one of the reasons he cared little for counseling is because many people do not respond to it in a positive way. There are often solutions to the above three legitimate and often overwhelming difficulties put forth in Scripture that are rarely applied and this can frustrate a counselor, in that they give good advice designed to assist but the advice is not taken. It is not respected. Counselors know that much of the time people only want to talk. They need someone to talk to. That’s what they really want. They don’t necessarily want to do the work to eliminate the problem.
The Lord is the greatest of counselors. Isaiah called Him a Wonderful Counselor. But even the Lord probably gets somewhat tired of hearing prayers when He knows we will not apply the solutions. So, in that light, I am going to dedicate the rest of this post to those of you who want to do whatever it takes to fix whatever the problem is.
A MIRACLE WAITING TO HAPPEN
I stated at the end of my last post the very words of the Lord Jesus when He said that with God, all things are possible. This is obviously a true statement. The truth of the matter, however, is that there is a whole lot of stuff between the problem and His relatively straightforward solution. It should not be this way. I think we often make it far too complicated, which messes up the process.
For example, in the case of Scriptural miracles, our eyes may glaze over as soon as someone brings them up, because we have heard them countless times and they do not appear applicable whatsoever to what we may be dealing with at the moment. But at that time the solution was clear-cut:
There was Peter and John seeing a lame man who had been there for decades. Thousands and thousands had seen this man there over his lifetime. He always asked for money. Some would give him money. Most probably ignored him. He had a great problem and had it since birth and people were tired of seeing him. What could they do about it anyway?
Well, in the case of Peter and John, they had just been gloriously filled with the Holy Spirit. They were charged up with the power and authority of the Lord. With their new status came a ton of spiritual boldness. So the next time they saw that man Peter had a completely different attitude. He suddenly had a solution to the lame man’s problem. He didn’t simply look at the man as usual and think, “Sorry. I feel bad for you but have no answer. Later.” Instead, this is the way it went down:
Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms.
But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us!” And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.
But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!”
And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. [Acts 3:1-8]
HOW IT WAS DONE
First of all, Peter would be the first to say he was nobody special and that the Lord did the work. In fact, he did say that. But let us not forget that Peter experienced Pentecost. He was one of the 120 gloriously filled with the Spirit of the Lord. So that is the main condition here. But the infilling was not limited to the apostles or the 120. It was limited to no one. It is still not limited to anyone, provided one fulfills the conditions of Acts 2.
Second, Peter demanded the man look at him. He demanded the man’s full attention.
Third, Peter used the powerful Name of Jesus, the Name above every name, and the Name with full authority over all things, including an otherwise impossible-to-cure medical condition.
Fourth, Peter reached down, physically grabbed the man’s hand, and pulled the man up! Peter was fully confident in everything he did because he had plenty of faith and confidence in the Lord, His Name, and His spiritual power.
But what about the lame man? He also had conditions to fulfill. He had to respond to counseling correctly. He had to obey Peter’s counseling or the miracle would never have happened.
First, when Peter demanded his full attention the lame man looked directly at him and shut everything else out.
Second, the lame man did not object to the use of the Lord’s Name.
Third, when Peter took hold of his hand and began pulling him up, the lame man never fought against him, but allowed Peter to do all he did with no opposition of any kind.
From this we know that miracles are always the result of a collaborative effort.
The Lord does His part, which He is always faithful to do, and the recipient does his or her part. This is why a person acting properly on faith and correctly obeying the Lord’s counseling completes the circuit.
ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE
The Lord put the healing of the lame man miracle right there in the very beginning so anyone and everyone all through the centuries could look back at it and see that all things truly ARE possible with the Lord. It was also a great miracle at the time for the members of the early Church to look back on to build their faith and act on their faith. They saw that the Lord’s miracles could be worked through them and not only by the Lord exclusively, as in the gospels, or through a chosen few, such as the apostles. This is extremely important. As a result, greater numbers of people had their prayers answered and more life-changing miracles were performed by the Lord working through countless Spirit-filled believers the world over. This expanding dynamic continued as well by involving onlookers as witnesses, which further spread the news of the miracles and produced faith in the Lord, salvation, and more disciples.
And all the people saw him walking and praising God; and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. [Acts 3:9-10] 
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Isaiah, Chapter Nine
But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.
You shall multiply the nation, You shall increase their gladness; they will be glad in Your presence as with the gladness of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian.
For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, and cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.
For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
The Lord sends a message against Jacob, and it falls on Israel.
And all the people know it, that is, Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, asserting in pride and in arrogance of heart:
“The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with smooth stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will replace them with cedars.”
Therefore the LORD raises against them adversaries from Rezin and spurs their enemies on,
The Arameans on the east and the Philistines on the west; and they devour Israel with gaping jaws. In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away and His hand is still stretched out.
Yet the people do not turn back to Him who struck them, nor do they seek the LORD of hosts.
So the LORD cuts off head and tail from Israel, both palm branch and bulrush in a single day.
The head is the elder and honorable man, and the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail.
For those who guide this people are leading them astray; and those who are guided by them are brought to confusion.
Therefore the Lord does not take pleasure in their young men, nor does He have pity on their orphans or their widows; for every one of them is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth is speaking foolishness. In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away and His hand is still stretched out.
For wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briars and thorns; it even sets the thickets of the forest aflame and they roll upward in a column of smoke.
By the fury of the LORD of hosts the land is burned up, and the people are like fuel for the fire; no man spares his brother.
They slice off what is on the right hand but still are hungry, and they eat what is on the left hand but they are not satisfied; each of them eats the flesh of his own arm.
Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh, and together they are against Judah. In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away and His hand is still stretched out. 
© 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.