When something is desirable it becomes sought after. Things that are sought after become valuable. Things that have value come with a price. Often times the associated price tag puts that which is desirable out of reach for many – which again makes it all that much more desirable to acquire!
In order to satiate the demand that is created, many turn to an imitation or a “knock-off” counterfeit version of the product that in all regards looks the same but lacks the manufactures seal of authenticity!
Counterfeit culture has actually gone mainstream and no longer refers exclusively to fake goods and merchandise. The ever popular mantra “fake it until you make it” is indicative of the need to appear successful or trendsetting whatever the cost.
But cost is really what this all boils down to! And the question for Believers is a simple one: Is modern charismatic christianity prepared to pay the required price for the manufactures seal of authenticity or instead settle for the cheap imitation and embrace counterfeit culture in the Church?
The Problem in the Charismatic Church
We live in an age that craves supernatural manifestations. It’s not a ‘christian thing.’
One need only look at the societal barometer called Hollywood and investigate the genre of movies being produced to notice that super powers and super heroes are the order of the day! Hollywood doesn’t produce anything that there isn’t a demand for.
Our congregations want to see it too! Supernatural displays of power. Power encounters. Manifestations of the spirit world. Signs and wonders!
Is there anything wrong with that? Absolutely not. Joel prophesies about it. Jesus models it. Paul demonstrates it.
As far as I can determine, scripture is completely supportive of “signs and wonders”. I am no cessationist. I very much believe that the miracle power of Jesus is very much available to us right now as it was 2000 years ago and prior!
So what then, you ask, is the problem?
Well the problem my friends, is that when a people are hungry for signs and wonder – they often forget that the signs are supposed to point to something – or rather someone. That someone being Jesus!
The wonder is to cause men to marvel. It is not a ministry in and of itself. It is not purposed for entertainment value and it was never designed to promote a ministry or minister.
The purpose of signs and wonders is always to endorse the preaching of the Word of God – the Gospel of Jesus Christ which alone is the power of God unto salvation!
What’s Empowering The Power?
There are only three sources of power.
God. Power belongs to God. Any power that any other creature has could not even exist without God. Nothing exists apart from God. Power belongs to God.
Soul. The human soul is powerful because man is a spirit creation. Our words and thoughts which result in actions and expressions can be for good or evil. You don’t have to be a Christian to do good deeds. Nor do you have to be a jihadist to work great evil.
Dark. The god of this world, the dragon of old, the one who deceives the whole world was stripped of authority (which Adam surrendered to him) but not his original angelic powers. He still holds power (and command over his subjects) in this world until Jesus uses satan’s head as a footstool!
So the the big, grey, elephant in the room question then is – when we see displays of signs and wonders and supernatural manifestations today – whose power is empowering it?
Is it God? I believe the Scriptures. Fundamentally, I am a prophet that never deviates from the inerrant Word of God. If you can show it to me from Scripture – I will believe you for as long as other scriptures validate it. (‘it’ being the argument or case for something you are presenting to me)
Because I believe Scripture and the sovereignty of God the Father, I fully accept that God can change the execution of how He brings things to pass and how He unfolds events.
For example never in the history of the Earth had there been a flood and rain from the heavens – yet God did something unprecedented in the days of Noah while his community mocked him
When everyone in Israel was looking towards the eastern sky for the Messiah, God chose for the King of Kings to be born a helpless baby in a dirty stable without fanfare and trumpets.
Whilst God is sovereign and can do unprecedented things, God will never violate His character and nature, nor His High Laws and Divine Protocols.
I’m an emphatic believer in “unusual miracles” as described by Dr. Luke in the Book of Acts.
I’ve seen oil fall from the palms of ministers as they’ve laid hands on the sick. I’ve witnessed lights enter into the building and hover over a congregation and bring mass healings and spontaneous outbursts of joy. I have even had my car seemingly teleported over 20km on an empty tank when I ran out of petrol enroute to church!
But none of those unusual miracles and manifestations brought a reaction within my heart that made me yearn for more miracles or displays of supernatural. They made me ache for more of Jesus!
The more I longed for Jesus to walk into my life, the more the mysterious and the supernatural became frequent to the point where I accepted that the supernatural was just a natural part of Christian spiritual living or Zoe Life!
I was never yearning for the next angelic visitation, I was just hoping they wouldn’t show up in the bathroom – again!
So a big yes! Let us embrace everything that God wants to sovereignly manifest and supernaturally display. But let us discern between what is Soul and what is Divine! And between what is Divine and what is counterfeit!
Often times our passion for signs and wonders and supernatural overrides our level of discernment and suddenly without us knowing we begin to embrace a display that is not only a replication of something authentic but produced through dark powers and therefore counterfeit!
We’re so hungry for supernatural that we key into anything and everything without discerning whether it is soul power, dark power or truly God!
We’ve obsessed with signs and wonders and manifestations and encounters and satan knows it! And what is his strategy? It is to serve up an imitation that cannot be distinguished from the authentic unless you’ve experienced the authentic!
We need to become far more discerning as a people, far more mature as a Church so that we can guard against the spirit of deception!
Jesus already warned us as did Peter and John and Paul – that all of this will creep into the Church toward the end of days. And if you don’t believe that it hasn’t already – then you’re asleep!
We give preference to entertaining displays and Instagram moments! It’s what I call Counterfeit Culture. Sometimes we replicate in the flesh. Sometimes its dark power deception. But you know when it’s God!!
When its God my friends -‘ JESUS WILL ALWAYS BE GLORIFIED and you won’t have to tell anyone about it on Instagram! You won’t have to convince anyone! It won’t cause a division in the Church – because it will be so unmistakably Sovereign that people will come in from the highways and the byways.
They will flood into your church building and take your favourite seat from you – because the world will want the Jesus that the signs and wonders must always point to!
I know that Jesus divided Israel over his claims. But that is no case for division in the Church! A display of God’s sovereign power and unusual miracles, manifestations and supernatural encounters always and only results in one thing: Honour and Glory to God. And also that word modern preachers hate using: Fear!
Yet in the New Testament scriptures we read that great fear came upon the people when they realised that you can’t play around with the Holy Spirit and that the Apostles carried both authority and power!
Before that we read that great fear came upon the people and they glorified God when Jesus raised the young man from his funeral bier!
What does that mean? Fear is the same as awesome reverence or holy esteem! It is not a fear or dread or cowering out of sight, scared and petrified – but a holy attitude exhibiting respect and honour!
Counterfeit culture in the Church which is all about reproduction, replication and imitation exists because Saints are not willing to pay a price for the genuine article carrying the manufacturers seal of authenticity!
This culture has been brewed over many millennia since the days of Elijah and the prophets of baal and is a work of the spirit of deception.
The soul of man longs for the supernatural. Our souls long for displays of the Glory of God. It’s designed that way. But there are protocols in place, configured and established by God Most High for interactions between Heaven and Earth.
When we ignore these protocols, satan uses the vacuum that results to step in and offer a deathly imitation that looks so close to the real thing that even the very elect can be deceived by it!
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.” ~Jesus– Mark 13:21–23
Be On Guard!
The Scriptures identifies satan the “father of lies”. But the Greek root used in John 8 means deception. Satan is the originator of all deception!
If he is able to disguise himself as an angel of light and infiltrate the Church, then how simple is it to display false signs and wonders to lead the Body of Christ astray and divide us. Once divided, easily conquered.
This is wake up call for all of us! Just because some famous brand church or big ticket name preacher with a million Instagram followers says that an angel dropped feathers on their bedside table – does not mean that the “angel” was from God!
Many of the so called signs and wonders that we hear of and become aware of today through social media and hearsay results in fracture and dispute and introduces division and discord into the Body as to their authenticity! How is that a work of the Holy Spirit ?
The Problem is the Culture we’ve Developed in the Church!
Signs and wonders and manifestations is not the goal! Yes we want them. Yes they are meant to be a part of our spiritual lives. But they are to accompany the Word! They are to endorse the Word of God. They are not for our entertainment. They are certainly not for our self aggrandisement.
And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. AmenMark 16:20 (KJV)
But in the culture we’ve allowed to creep into the Church – a culture where few are willing to pay a price for things of value but eagerly copy and imitate – we don’t even bother to discern what we are being presented with. Counterfeit culture is the breeding ground for the spirit of deception.
Is Your Church Embracing Counterfeit Culture?
Jude is a pretty short book. All of 25 verses. It comes right before the last book of the Bible – the apocalyptic book of Revelation.
The epistle of Jude deals a warning against counterfeit teachings. He attempts to encourage the early church to recognise the authentic and thus avoid the counterfeit.
In Jude verse 3, we find the author expressing the urgency of his writing. He actually wanted to write about something else but the prevailing situation compelled him to focus on this issue of counterfeit culture!
It had secretly slipped into the culture of the church and was corrupting it. We find ourselves pretty much in the same boat today. There is a mixture of culture. The authentic and the counterfeit.
But do you realise that you can only know what the counterfeit is when you have been exposed to the authentic. And the authentic expression is found in one and only one place – the inerrant Word of God.
Recognising the Counterfeit
Bank tellers have to handle very large quantities of physical cash.
When I was younger I was head teller of bulk deposits at a local bank. Back then we did not have all the new technology to automatically detect fake notes apart from an ultra violet light to reveal the watermark. But it would take very long to check each note when you are dealing with over a thousand notes in an hour.
Our training consisted of only being exposed to the genuine notes of various differing denominations until even the feel of the paper was something we were trained to recognise.
After a time, counterfeit notes were randomly introduced into batches of authentic notes. It was our complete exposure to what was genuine that helped us identify the counterfeit!
The same applies to us in the Church as well. If we immerse ourselves in the inerrant word of God i.e. the Holy Scriptures, then we will recognise the counterfeit or false teachings. It may not be easy – but you will feel the paper so to speak and sense when something is amiss!
The struggle with us is that we hardly spend time in the Word, even if we do it’s more of a duty fulfilment. The net result is that we are blind and helpless when confronted with the counterfeit. It becomes easy to get lost and confused and swayed – particularly when everything seems to be endorsed by our own elect.
Jesus once said this Matthew 24:4 Take heed that no man deceive you!
No man. Even if they are the very elect. Paul says to the church at Galatia that even if a supernatural manifestation of an angel appears to endorse a message – unless it lines up with inerrant scriptures – do not be deceived!
It’s time to shrug off counterfeit culture and take a stand against false teachings and deceptive signs and wonders!
The Authentic Is Costly
I’m declaring to you that God has saved the best wine for last! God has reserved the greatest outpouring of supernatural signs, wonders, manifestation and unusual miracles for this time! Do you know why?
It’s the same challenge that Elijah issued! It’s the same challenge that Moses and Aaron threw down!
God has reserved a generation to “throw down” against the magic of Jannes and Jambres and their fake imitation is going to be consumed by the authentic expression of God in our time!
But it is going to cost us!
The Price is circumcision. Circumcision of heart. Circumcision of ears.
The Price is the cup of Christ. Drink from it.
The Price is Truth. Your quest for it. Your hunger for it. Your stand for it.
Are you willing to pay that price?