by Jims | September 28th, 2009
Marks of a Movement of God: Part I
The distinguishing marks of a mighty movement of God in the life of the believer, as well as the church, were presented by Jonathan Edwards in the mid 1700’s. The first mark is found in I John 4:1, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” The Apostle gave warning to the church regarding false teachers promoting false movements of God. Encapsulated within the warning is a checklist of sorts, helping the church to determine the authenticity of a movement.
The first mark believers will see in their lives as God begins to move is an increase in their love and respect for Jesus. “Confess” in I John 4:2 does not simply imply saying, “Jesus is Lord” with one’s mouth. This act of confession is moreso a confirming of one’s belief that Jesus is Lord by testimony and an increased esteem and love for Him. As we begin to transfer control of every area of our lives totally to the Lord Jesus, and His Spirit begins to move in our hearts, this work of God will be evidenced in our lives by an increase in our love for Christ and in our testimony of His work in our lives.
It is a true sign that God is at work among people when they are convinced that Jesus appeared in the flesh, is the Son of God, was sent to save sinners, is the only way to heaven, and that the world is in great need of Him. God is surely moving in our lives when our thoughts of Jesus not only increase in frequency, but also are elevated in quality to the point that all we do becomes about bringing glory to His name. In short, when God begins to move in our lives, all we do is about Jesus.
If this mark is not evident in your life, please prayerfully consider committing to the following this week: 1- Pray and fast through one meal a week, praying specifically for God to cleanse you of sin and to move in your life; 2-Using Romans 12:1-2 as a guide offer yourself (your mind, your hands, your mouth, your feet, etc.) as a living sacrifice to be used by God in whatever way He desires; 3-Share your personal salvation testimony with one person each week.
Marks of a Movement of God: Part II
Jonathan Edwards provides wonderful insights on I John 4, which details the distinguishing marks of a genuine work of the Spirit of God in the life of a believer. Last week we looked at the first mark of an increase in their love and respect for Jesus. The second mark that serves as evidence of the Spirit’s work in one’s life is, a definite opposition to the work of Satan in the believer’s life and world. In I John 4:4-5 we see John describing the difference between those that have been influenced by the true Spirit of God and those who have been deceived by false spirits.
The Apostle’s use of the word “world” refers to anything that gives its attention to the interest of sin. Anything we do, say, think, desire that is contrary to God’s Word is of the world. Anytime we do not follow a command that God’s Word calls us to obey, it is an act of the world.
As we open our lives for a movement of the Spirit of God, and He begins to sit on the throne of our hearts, there will be a decrease in our appetite for worldly pleasures and pursuits. In like fashion, as the Spirit of God begins to work in our hearts, there will be a genuine seeking after the kingdom of God and His righteousness. The Spirit of God convinces us of the dreadfulness of sin and the joy of walking in obedience to Christ’s command in our lives.
In short, a genuine work of the Spirit of God in our lives will be evidenced in our desires turning from the things of this world towards the things of God. God’s moving in our lives is revealed as our language moves from words that divide to words that unite; from words that confuse to words that direct the lost to Jesus and the saved to a deeper walk with Christ. A genuine movement of God in our lives will be evidenced by a change of activities from what is world-centered to visible activities that reveal our passion for the holy things of God.
Marks of a Movement of God Part III
We continue our series this week on the marks of a genuine work of the Spirit of God from I John 4. According to Edwards, when the Spirit of God is genuinely at work, one evidence in the life of the believer is a greater respect for the Word of God. This respect is not only a heart-felt devotion to God’s Word, but a life purposefully directed by the Word.
We see this principle in the life of a believer who begins to search the Word for decisions great and small. It is a sure sign that God is moving in the life of a believer when the first question asked in making a decision is, “what does God’s Word say about this matter?” As a believer begins to yield to the stirring of the Spirit of God in his heart, he will see a greater passion for God’s Word than ever before. Morning will not be complete without a healthy diet of Truth. The day’s duties will simply be undone if His Word is not prevalent in thought and perpetuated in speech.
A high regard for God’s Word changes the way we make decisions; it redirects our passions so that what once upset us no longer does, and what once did not matter suddenly is worth a fight. In short, we no longer get stirred up over what is according to personal comfort, temporal, and subject to change, but are stirred up when God’s Word is not honored in our lives, family, church and community. This increase in devotion to His Word will primarily be evidenced by a daily hunger to meditate on and proclaim the wonderful words of Life.
Marks of a Movement of God: Part IV
We now come to the conclusion of our series on the Distinguishing Marks of the Work of the Spirit of God, as given by the great preacher of the 18th century, Jonathan Edwards. The final mark of a genuine work of the Spirit of God in the life of a believer is an increase in love for God and man. Genuine love always demonstrates itself. In I John 4:7 John writes, “Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God: he that loves not, knows not God; for God is love,” The practical implications of this active love are revealed in verses 12-20.
As we have examined the marks of a genuine work of God, we must now examine our hearts and ask, “have I experienced a genuine work of God or have I just been immersed in church life; have I been changed in a manner that God’s Word says is evidence of a movement of God in my life, or have I just changed some lifestyle habits such as where I go on Sundays?”
Take some time this week and allow God to search your heart as you search through
I John 4. Look at yourself in light of these 5 marks of a genuine work of the Spirit of God:
- Love and respect for Jesus is elevated.
- A separation from worldly lusts is occurring.
- A greater appreciation and adherence to the Word of God.
- A deeper understanding of the Truth is being gained.
- A spirit of love for God and man is evident.
May we find at the end of this self-examination that our hearts have been changed by Jesus, and our lives are a reflection of our Lord and Master.