Yes, I believe the Word of God is a love letter and instructions from God to us, but I also believe because of it and because the Word IS God (John 1:1) much of how He teaches us to live and the ways He blesses us are always intended to be Christ-centered and to glorify and point to Him, not man.
Three ways man used scripture to birth false teachings by making it self-centered instead of God-centered and glorifying
I. Matthew 16:13-18, “When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
Context: Jesus is asking His disciples who they believe He is.
Way man made this self-centered instead of God-centered: There is a false teaching out there that says Peter is the rock on which He will build His church. Incorrect interpretation. This is why we must fully rely on the Holy Spirit to help us interpret the Word, so we cannot boast and He gets all the glory.
So, what is the Rock?: Let’s re-read verse 16, “Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Going back to context, they are discussing who Jesus is. Peter answers by revelation from God the Father (not of himself, so he could boast), and Jesus tells him that on that revelation from the Father that Jesus “is the Christ, the Son of the Living God” is the Rock on which He will build His church. THE Messiah and Savior of the world had come and is the Rock of all we as His believe to this day and forever.
II. “Healing, the gifts and signs of the Holy Spirit are no longer for today.” Firstly, I can find literally zero verses to support this false teaching. But it states that all manifestations of the Holy Spirit died with the last apostle and that they were only intended by God to confirm the apostles.
Context: Entire God-inspired Word.
Way man made this self-centered instead of God-centered: This false teaching makes all that God did in His Word point to a small group of men and is man-centered and not at all God-centered and glorifying.
What does God say?:
Mark 16:20, “And they [the disciples] went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the Word through the accompanying signs. Amen.”
God used and continues to use His Holy Spirit in us, working WITH us, to confirm the Word which IS Him (John 1:1). This is God-centered and glorifying as He intended and still does.
Hebrews 2:3-4, “How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.”
“Spoken.” Jesus spoke what? Words. Words about how to be saved, and God confirmed His Word, thus confirming and glorifying Himself using signs, wonders, and miracles, not the confirmation of man.
Isaiah 44:26, “Who confirms the word of His servant and performs the counsel of His messengers.”
God is He that confirms His own Word for His glory, so that we come to saving faith and heal the sick, etc. It is Him and Him alone who performs.
Dear Lord forbid that any man being used by God as a vessel of the Holy Spirit say God is confirming his or her words or power but His Word, power, and the words He gave them through His Spirit.
III. 2 Corinthians 12:7, “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.” To gain very important understanding and background of this controversial verse, you can also check out my post, The Thorn in the Flesh False Doctrine and Healing. The Holy Spirt is our absolute best Teacher for understanding the Word in a revelatory way as He intended. Not just knowing it secondhand from anyone else, including pastors which is where these false teachings come from to begin with.
Context: Entire God-inspired Word.
Way man made this self-centered instead of God-centered: This one requires a much more in-depth, Holy Spirit dependent study through the Word, but I tried to summarize it the best I could prayerfully and with God’s help.
Paul’s thorn in the flesh wasn’t a sickness, and he wasn’t at all concerned about himself but that the demonic spirit was hindering him getting the Word (Jesus) to the people that he so loved and wanted to reach for Christ.
What does God say?:
By the goodness and the grace of God, the Holy Spirit gave me a very powerful revelation on this regarding Paul’s thorn in the flesh.
The TRUE WHY behind him persisting in prayer to be relieved of the thorn, a demonic messenger that stirred up persecution to hinder the gospel, is not about him but all about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul’s asked three timed for God to remove the thorn in the flesh that was stirring up so much hindrance and persecution against him that it was very difficult for him to preach the gospel and for it to take root in people.
If we read Pauls’ writings, we see his heart and character come through. Asking God to remove the demonic messenger that hindered the gospel was all about Jesus, His true gospel (salvation, healing, and deliverance), and his love for people (also a command of God).
Additionally, in his writings, we discover him to be a selfless man who didn’t even care if he died and who was heartbroken when the people he loved and taught the gospel of grace and word to strayed from it. To say that Paul was overly concerned about a thorn, the demon, attacking him directly would greatly discredit and downplay his character that shines through and who he was as a person in Christ. Not perfect but far more about Jesus and others than himself.
Acts 21:10-14, “And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ ”12 Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”
Then if we also read the book of Galatians, we see the heart and character of Paul as well, that it’s all about the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, thus Jesus, thus God-centered not self-centered.
The thorn being removed is about the gospel to Paul and not how he was affected directly but because he was persecuted and hindered that the RESULT was people were kept from the gospel. So, that’s why he really persisted in asking for the thorn (demonic messenger) to be removed – he couldn’t stand that the gospel (Jesus) was being hindered/kept from people. He loved Jesus and people that much.
Also, Paul and the disciples had the irrevocable power and authority to heal the sick in Jesus’ name. No need for Paul to beg God to heal him. The thorn was a demonic spirit stirring up persecution/hindrance of the gospel (Jesus) to the people, Paul’s TRUE heart concern, not himself.
I pray this brief study blessed you.
All of these things are about God and God-centered but man making the Word about themselves, in these instances, has caused and created false teachings that have led people astray. God always gets the glory, and we are called to glorify Him. Man can dangerously misrepresent God to people by making things in the Word intended to be about Him incorrectly about themselves.
The Holy Spirit is your best Teacher,
His Warring Handmaid
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