Throughout the New Testament we are taught the reality of the spirit realm, the power of the Name of Jesus, the miracle working power of the Spirit, and the need for the Body of Christ to know the difference between true and false manifestations.
But witchcraft in the Church? That should be easy to detect, don’t you think?
Yeah, you’d think so.
But not if you’re unaware of how it’s manifested.
Witchcraft is listed in Galatians 5 with a long list of “now the works of the flesh are…” It’s translated from the Greek word, “pharmakeia” which means to administer medication, magic, and sorcery. It refers to manipulation and deception, in connection with idolatry; the worship of man or things.
Witchcraft camouflages, or conceals, hides, the spirit behind the manifestation’s true identity. In other words, it medicates people so they can’t discern truth from error.
We understand how people, not walking in the Spirit, can yield to such things as sexual immorality, envy, even murder; things listed as the works of the flesh.
But we somehow skip over the notion that witchcraft is among those “works” listed.
The man or woman “performing” can become so dependent upon the performance (because they have a reputation as a prophet or miracle worker), they become the focus of trust, adoration and worship.
Which, of course, is exactly what the devil is after.
And if and when their performance begins to weaken, i.e. the excitement wanes, the temptation to “help God” can become too great to resist.
Yielding to temptation always results in walking according to the flesh. Which could include witchcraft.
Philip performed many miracles. So did Peter and John. But they never seemed to be enamored by them.
In awe, yes. Enamored, no.
Luke wrote of God working special, unusual, extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, “so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them” (Acts 19:11,12 ESV).
Not only were miracles wrought, but they were extraordinary miracles!
But Paul didn’t act as though the miracles depended entirely on him.
In Acts 28, while shipwrecked on an island, God used Paul to bring healing to many.
“Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him. And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured.” (Acts 28:7 – 28:9 ESV)
But Paul always remembered Who the miracle worker was.
He told of a time to come when people would give heed to seducing spirits, doctrines of demons, and lying wonders (1 Timothy 4).
A time much like today.
I’ve noticed something happening in the Church over the last, say, twenty to thirty years; even in “Pentecostal” churches.
There’s a separation, a dividing taking place. Three groups are emerging: those who have moved away from allowing (or seeking) any “manifestation” of the Spirit in their worship service, those who allow anything and everything (as long as it’s God – their words, not mine), and those who attempt to follow Paul’s admonition: “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:19 – 5:22 ESV).
The first group can end up missing out on what God wants to do or say because of their rigidity and misunderstanding of the Word.
The third group is one I believe the Lord wants each of His local churches to be like.
The second group, the subject of this series, can open the door to much confusion and guile within a local church.
To be continued…