Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals for today are provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (Ph.D.) who is the AMI Teaching Pastor. He and Insil have been married for 28+ years and they have three children: Christy (teacher), Joshua (grad student) and Justin (college freshman). They live in Philadelphia.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
When my kids were little, I would remind them how it was going to ruin their vision whenever they would read in a moving vehicle. It worked for awhile—until my oldest son showed me a research that disapproved it. Similarly, some things told from the pulpit may just be urban theological legends. Before proceeding, remember this: in order for the teachings in Acts to be deemed as valid for today, they need to be confirmed by the Epistles that delineate doctrines and practices normative for the church.
First, contrary to the doomsday prophets to whom no war is too small as a prop for their message of, “The last days are finally upon us,” it has been the “last days” since the 1st century when Peter applied Joel’s prophecy (800 BC) to what occurred at Pentecost. Later, the Hebrews writer confirmed this when he said, “In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (1:2). So live each day alertly!
Second, contrary to cessationism that posits that “the ministry of prophet . . . gradually died out . . . and their place . . . was taken by the regular local ministry of pastor-teachers,” prophesy—speaking the words prompted by the Spirit—is still operative, as long as the Spirit is poured out on His people. Later, Paul confirmed this when he distinguished between prophets and teachers (1 Cor. 12:29) and added, “Eagerly desire . . . the gift of prophesy” (1 Cor. 14:1).
Third, notice that the Spirit will be poured out on female servants who, as a result, will prophesy. Contrary to some (but not all) complementarians who forbid women to speak in the church (1 Cor. 14:34), women can prophesy—even in the church. Paul later confirmed this when he took it for granted that women would prophesy in the church while addressing a certain church matter (1 Cor. 14:5).
Folks, don’t just accept everything your favorite preacher tells you. Rather, be like the Bereans who “examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts. 17:11). On the flip side, though no one was better equipped to teach the Bible than Paul, he was okay being scrutinized—then so should we! Just be fair and loving.
Father, in awe of your Son Jesus, I praise and worship You this morning. Thank You for your eternal word written in my language so that I can always be blessed by it. Help me to be part of the effort to get the Bible translated so that those who still don’t have it in their own language, will soon have it. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 22
Lunch Break Study
Read Mark 7:3, 5, 9-13: “(The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. . . .) 5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” . . . . 9 [Jesus]said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. . . .”
Question to Consider
- In what ways are the erroneous teachings of the Pharisees similar to some teachings taught by, otherwise, good and sincere Christians today?
- In light of what Jesus said to the Pharisees, what would Jesus say to the teachers of today?
- What are some things that you used to believe sincerely but no longer (at least not that dogmatically) after discovering that they aren’t clearly spelled out in the Bible?
- Inasmuch as “excessive ceremonial washing” and “corban” were not biblical, “equating prophesy with teaching” or seeing the last days as futuristic (instead having already come) are not biblical either. These are stuff made up by men with an ulterior motive or who lack biblical knowledge or love their theology too much. (Complementarianism, however, is a result of genuine interpretative differences.)
- There may not be a single message that would fit everyone. To the doomsday prophets: “Stop stirring fear in people; stop fleecing them”; to some complementarians, “Several women have been featured in My Book: Judge Deborah; Priscilla who taught Apollos (Acts 18:26) and led a church along with her husband (1 Cor. 16:19); the following prophetesses: Huldah (1 Chron. 34:22), Mrs. Isaiah (Is. 8:3), Anna (Lk. 2:36) and four daughters of Phillip (Acts 21:9). So don’t be too shocked if I continue to use women in My work.”
- Personally: rapture, some form of inner-healing (that is, not the way I used to), demons as the spirits of the deceased unbelievers (which my old pastor taught me), etc. We need to study the Bible on our own.
How often do you read the Bible? What my old pastor taught me was a mixture of much good and some bad. One good thing he taught me was reading the Bible every day (that’s how I found out that his teaching on the origin of demons was unbiblical). Did you read Genesis 22 yet? Read it now. Also, read Palm 118. Remember John 17:17: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”