Lesson 02
Introduction: The Scriptures versus “Experience”

 

Many people, even Christians, elevate an “experience” over the Scriptures. We all will come into contact with this mindset at some point. It might even manifest itself in our churches.

 

Different scenarios where we might see this in our society:

-The individual that claims to be able to “communicate” with the dead. People will vouch for these people because, “He talked to my deceased relative, and told me things that only they would know.” Or, “I could feel the presence of my loved one. He gave me such closure.”

-The individual who claims a “near death” experience.

-Those who claim to have been visited by extra-terrestrials.

-Those who claim to have seen visions.

-Individuals, perhaps even in a good Bible believing church, that know that speaking in tongues is a gift for today because they have “experienced” it.

-Individuals who claim that they have been healed by someone whose doctrine contradicts the Bible. They might say, “He has to be true because of my experience with him.”

 

When faced with people that have experienced something that to them seems very real, it can be difficult to counteract. It could even shake the faith of someone who has not been grounded in the Word of God. Here are some biblical principles to consider when dealing with someone like this:

          -The apostle Peter elevated the Word of God above his experience. II Peter 1:16-21, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

 

Peter was saying that even though he was an eyewitness with Christ on the mount of transfiguration, he trusts more assuredly in the inspired Word of God than any human experience.

 

          -Anything that contradicts the gospel as revealed in Scripture is clearly false. Paul warned in Galatians 1:6-8, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”

 

          -Satan is a deceiver who Paul said “is transformed into an angel of light.” He said this in II Corinthians chapter 11:13-15 about those who tried to deceive these babes in Christ, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” He is a deceiver that will do everything in his power to contradict and confuse when it comes to the clearly revealed Word of God. He began getting believers to question God’s Word in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:1 when he said to Eve, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”

 

          -We are expressly told by John to “try the spirits.” 1 John 4:1-6 says, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”