The True Spirituality

Posted on 11/29/2009 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***

Public Prayer Requests:

Please keep my middle sister and her husband in prayer.  He had a heart cath today and next tuesday he goes in to have the carotid artery opened then bypass surgery on Thursday.  He's been having chest pain and trouble breathing.


Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.



What a mighty God we serve
    what a mighty God we serve
Angels bow before Him
    heaven and earth adore Him
What a mighty God we serve!


He is the King of Kings
    He is the Lord of Lords
His name is Jesus, Jesus,
    Jesus, Jesus
O, He is the King!

His name is Jesus, Jesus
    sad hearts we've no more
He can heal the broken hearted
    open wide the prison door
And He's able to deliver evermore!


Take me past the outer courts, into the holy place
     past the brazen altar, Lord I want to see your face
Take me past the crowd of people, and the priests who sing your praise
     I hunger and thirst for your righteousness, and it's only found one place

Take me into the Holy of Holies
     take me in by the blood of the Lamb
Take me into the Holy of Holies
     take the coal, cleanse my lips, here I am

*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***

Last week, we talked about some of the things that have crept into the Church for the purpose of destroying it, including false prayer, called Contemplative Prayer, that is really transcendental meditation.

There are many spiritual practices in the Body of Christ which aren't Christian and which, contrary to how they might make you feel, do not bring you closer to God.

Last week's message title was "The New Spirituality," and this week, I'd like for us to take a look at the real deal, not the fake stuff the enemy has brought into our midst, but what the spiritual walk God intended for us really looks like.

And today's message title is, "The True Spirituality."

Today, I'd like for us to cover two main areas of spiritual practice: meditation and prayer. These two things have been the most frequently misunderstood and, therefore, the most frequently counterfeited.

First, let's talk about meditation.

Last week we talked a little bit about Eastern meditation, which always involves some variation of focusing on one thing, often your breathing, clearing your mind of everything else, and relaxing.

Through the experiences of so many people who have dilligently practiced this type of meditation, and even by the statements of a demon writing through the hand of Alice Bailey, we know that Eastern meditation makes it easier for us to hear whispering spirits, to be influenced by the seductive words of demons.

Of course it's true that if you sit quietly and relax on a rainy day, listening to the sound of the rain falling all around you, you could very well naturally enter into a meditative trance.

The same is true for many of the atmospheres God has created, from the waves of the ocean to the trickling of a mountain stream to the sounds of crickets and tree frogs and a crackling fire at night.

The Bible says that the creation of God declares his glory, and we know that there are many natural settings in which we could "accidentally" enter some level of meditative trance, as our brain waves slow down to a therepudic Alpha rhythm.

The purpose of last week's message was to warn you about the meditative practices of various Eastern religions that have crept into the Church disguising themselves as ways to connect with God.

Indeed, many of them do make you much more sensitive to the spirit world. But don't forget who is the Prince of the Air. Spirit guides, personal angels who become your buddy and advisor, revelatory whispers of wisdom from a higher plane, the feeling that you are one with everything and everyone, and supposed words from God which are somehow foreign to the Holy Scriptures or the way the Holy Spirit operates, are all examples of dangerous and deceptive results of Eastern meditation.

The two main things we as Christians need to be sensitive to in the spirit realm are:

1. The Leading of the Holy Spirit, and
2. The Presence of Demons

Let's open the Word of God and take a look at these two things.

1. The Leading of the Holy Spirit

Someone once asked me how we can know when God is speaking to us. At the time, I didn't really know how to answer. It might help for us to think about it like this:

When someone you know very well and talk with every day calls you on the phone, you don't have to ask who they are. You recognize their voice, maybe even the sound of a cough or a giggle.

In John 10:27, Jesus says, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." He said that his sheep will not follow the voice of a stranger.

How do the sheep recognize the shepherd's voice? The same way you and I recognize the voice of those we love: we spend time around them. We talk with them, not just speaking our mind, but listening to what they have to say as well.

And the longer we know someone and the more time we spend in their presence, the more we recognize their voice even from afar.

And not only that, but the more we will be able to distinguish between their voice and the voice of a clever impersonator.

A person skilled at impersonating voices could imitate the president, or some famous actor, or a well-known radio personality, and we could very well be fooled. But just suppose that same person were to call you and imitate the voice of your husband or wife, or someone else very close to you with whom you spend a lot of time and have known for awhile. How long would it take for you to realize something just isn't right?

Satan has been impersonating God for thousands of years. He's had a lot of practice. And as we look around us at the Church today, we can see just how many people he has fooled.

2 Corinthians 11:14 tells us that satan transforms himself into an angel of light. To fool those in the Church, he usually doesn't say, "Hey, I'm satan, and I'm here to lie to you." Instead, he and his demons hide behind things that look attractive, and they speak with the voices of angels.

You'd better make sure you're spending time with God every single day. And you'd better make sure you're doing so as the Bible instructs, not by using some spiritual tradition passed to us by those who worship false gods. Sure, they work for hearing from those false gods, those demons, but the Bible tells us how to hear from God, and other ways of hearing simply don't work.

Let's take the example of Jesus. He said in John 12:49 and 50 that he only speaks what the Father God tells him to speak. And as we read about the life of Jesus, we see that he would get up early, while it was still dark, and would pray.

For Jesus, prayer was not a relaxing little add-on to his day, something he did only before meals or before bed. For Jesus, prayer was his lifeline. It was so important to him, that he got up before everyone else so he would have enough time to pray.

On the night Jesus was betrayed by Judas, he took some of his disciples up a mountain, then left them at a certain place and went off by himself to pray. Several times, he came back and found them sleeping, and he asked, "Could you not watch and pray for one hour?"

So, from his own example, we see that Jesus was a man of prayer. Yes, Jesus was God in the flesh, as God says in Isaiah 43:11, "I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior." So for Jesus to be the savior of the world, according to this verse, he had to be God. And yet, he prayed to God.

After all, Jesus was setting an example. And, being in a body of flesh, he kept his spiritual ears finely tuned to the voice of God.

He didn't say things such as, "Since I am God, I go deep within and listen for my inner voice." And yet that's what some supposedly Christian leaders tell us to do.

Instead, Jesus says this about prayer, in Matthew chapter 6 and verse 6. We'll come back to this in a minute when we talk about prayer, but let's take a quick look at this verse now:

Matthew 6:6 (NKJV)

6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

How many of you have heard "the secret place" described as a place inside you that you can reach by some type of meditation?

And yet, this is a "secret place." It is a place the world cannot reach. After all, it is a place in which we talk with God, and Jesus said that no one can come to the Father except through him.

If your prayer time or your time of hearing from God consist of going into some realm that people from all religions can reach by their spiritual practices, then I'm here to tell you today that you are not going into the secret place.

No, the secret place is a place whose path is Jesus, and it is paved with his precious blood. The Buddhist cannot go there. The Muslim cannot go there. The Hindu cannot go there. The New Ager cannot go there. And the professed Christian cannot go there taking the paths that lead non-Christians to hear the voices of their false gods.

The secret place is a place reserved for those who worship God in spirit and in truth. It's a place where you talk with God, where you worship God, and where you wait upon the Lord, listening for his voice.

And during that time, it just might be a good place for true Christian meditation.

The first three verses of Psalm chapter one are a good picture of Godly meditation:

Psalm 1:1-3 (KMV*)

1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the path of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.
3 And he will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, who brings forth fruit in season; his leaf also will not wither, and whatever he does will prosper.

Do you realize that Eastern meditative practices are the counsel of the ungodly? And this says that, instead, his delight is in what? It is in the law of the Lord, and in His law, he meditates day and night.

The word translated here as "meditate" means to speak, to imagine, to utter, to ponder, to think about. Not in an attempt to go into a meditative trance, but in an attempt to make the Word of God a part of us, to hide it in our hearts so we might not sin against God.

As we read the Bible every single day, we think about it. We think about areas in our life which don't line up with what we're reading, and we think about how that area will change, how we will act or react the next time that situation arises.

Godly meditation involves cognition. It is not an emptying of the mind, but a filling of the mind with the Word of God.

Those who empty their minds of all thoughts and reach for thoughtless inner silence generally start coming up with beliefs that are contrary to the Word of God.

But those who, instead of clearing their minds of all thought, fill their minds with the Word of God and bring all their thoughts captive into obedience to that Word, they will begin to recognize the voice of God when he speaks to them, and they will be much more likely to recognize the counterfeiter when he tries to deceive them.

So this is true, profitable meditation that is acceptable to God and which will cause you to be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, as you bear fruit in season, and your leaf does not wither, and you prosper in whatever you do:

Meditate upon the Word of God. Think about it. Imagine how it applies to every area of your life. See your thoughts, your actions, and your reactions changing to line up with the Holy Scriptures and the nature of God behind those Scriptures, and your life will change.

The second thing we were going to talk about relating to sensitivity to the spirit realm, was recognizing the presence of demons so they can be dealt with.

This subject can prove to be rather involved, so perhaps we can save this for a message all by itself.

But discerning of spirits is one of the gifts of the Spirit, and is listed in 1st Corinthians along with the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, tongues, and interpretation of tongues.

And just as tongues and interpretation are not learned skills but spiritual gifts, so there is a gift of discernment which is not learned, but is given by God, and then can grow by exercising it.

So above all, pray for discernment. We can learn things that can help us recognize demons when they follow certain normal paths, but true discernment comes from God.

And if you want a spiritual gift, you need to live a spiritual life. If your days consist of trying to please yourself, then don't expect God to dish out large helpings of spiritual gifts on you.

Instead, meditate daily on the Word of God, and as you walk each step of your life according to that Word, praying and seeking to worship God in all things, then at the right time, God will pour out spiritual gifts upon you, and discernment is a very good one to have, one that I believe we should all pray and believe for.

And even if God does not give you the spiritual gift of discernment, remember that spiritual gifts are above and beyond what Christians without those particular gifts might have. I believe every single Christian should grow in discernment, whether or not they have a special gift of discerning of spirits. And as you grow in the Lord, you will grow in discernment.

Some time later, I encourage you to visit the link I've provided in the notecard concerning discernment.

Let's move on to the next and final thing for today, and that is Prayer.

We talked about false prayer last week, and I'm not going to repeat much of that today. If you missed it, you can go to some time later today, click the Audio Archives, and listen to it there.

But very simply put, false prayer is any kind of prayer besides the kind Jesus modeled for us.

Contemplative Prayer, saying a word over and over again for about 20 minutes, is not prayer, it's Eastern meditation; more specifically, transcendental meditation.

I was about to say that Jesus never mentioned such a thing, but he DID... He said, "When you pray, do not use vain repetition as the heathen do." So yes, Jesus did mention Contemplative Prayer, and he said not to do it. It's a heathen practice, and it will NOT connect you with God.

How about reading a prayer from a book? Well, we know how powerful it can be to pray the Word of God. Do you want to super-charge your prayer life? Then learn the Word of God well enough to pray it.

But what about memorized prayers? Such as the Rosary?

Well, let's take a look at the Rosary.

If my count is correct, it consists of 53 "Hail Mary"s, although some literature claims it contains 150 of them, and 6 instances of the Lord's model prayer, or 15 according to other descriptions. Mary, or "Holy" Mary, are repeated almost twice as often as the name of Jesus, who is mostly refered to as the offspring of Mary's womb.

If you want to talk about vain repetition, you might want to consider whether the Rosary fits that description. And my intention is not to offend those of us who are Catholics, but to examine our spiritual practices in light of the Word of God.

I'm going to make some very bold statements, but they come from what the Bible teaches. So before you get offended and leave, please hang with me for a little while, and let's examine the Word of God with an open heart, knowing that everything it says is completely trustworthy and true, and anything that disagrees with it is a tool the enemy wants to use to separate you from God.

With that being said, let's take a quick look at the origin of the rosary.

While the origin of the Catholic rosary is disputed, it is undenyable that both Hindus and Buddhists use a form of the rosary.

With the Hindus, there are mantras for specific dieties.

With the Buddhists, there are specific afflictions related to the six senses, reactions to those senses, the 18 resulting feelings, and the 36 related passions.

With the Catholics, there are five mysteries, a number of Lord's Prayers, and even more Hail Mary's.

If we were to cut out the older uses of the rosary by false religions, which would make us suspect them as the true origin, and if we were to just accept the Catholic story of its origin, we'd hear the following:

Supposedly, Mary appeared to Saint Dominic and gave the rosary. In the 15th century, Saint Alanus had a vision of Jesus who stressed the urgency of reinstating the rosary as "His Blessed Mother" had requested.

Sadly, to accept that these visions not only really happened but that they were from God, would be to say that Jesus' own teaching about prayer was not sufficient, nor was all of it true, and he had to appear to someone pleading that his mother's teachings be used instead.

Now, as I said, I realize that some of you may be Catholics, and it's not my intention to offend you. But we need to take a very careful and honest look at this, because if these visions were not of God, then they were from the enemy; and if they were from the enemy, then there is great danger in doing what they said.

In the banking industry, tellers are taught to spot counterfeit money by studying the real thing. So let's take the same route, and see what Jesus taught about prayer.

Matthew 6:6-13 (NKJV)

6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
9 In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

So first Jesus tells us not to use vain repetition as the heathen do. Earlier, we applied this to Contemplative Prayer, which is repetition of a single word.

But the second part of that verse says, "for they think they will be heard for their many words." Saying "Hail Mary" up to 150 times certainly seems like an aweful lot of repetition. Will we be heard for our many words?

I don't know about you, but it seems rather odd to me that God would send Mary, a human being just like you and me, who married, had kids by her husband, died, was buried, and decayed into dust -- that she would come down and tell us to say "Hail Mary" over and over and over again, and not only that, but to say "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners."

No angel has ever told us to pray to them, at least no angel from God. No apostle has ever dared to make such a Godless request. And if some spirit comes to me or to you or to someone considered a saint and tells them that it's urgent that they instruct the people to pray to them, then from Biblical example, we should know that we should rebuke that demon in the name of Jesus and shut our ears to anything else it might try to say as it is cast away from us in Jesus' name.

And yet, not even in the so-called New Age, but from centuries past, even as early as the second century A.D., Christians have been using Hindu and Buddhist methods for connecting with God, praying as the heathen do, thinking they will be heard for their many words, and even praying to the "Holy Queen of Heaven," which we could argue is not the mother of God, but is taken from pagan religions.

You see, as Exodus 34:14 says, our God is a jealous God. And when we pray, he expects us to pray to him alone, not to Mary, or the apostles, and not using the same words over and over again hoping we will be heard for our many words.

And when Jesus told us how to pray, he didn't mean we are just supposed to repeat his example prayer word-for-word; after all, he had just gotten done saying that the heathen use repetition, but we're supposed to get alone with God and talk to him.

So we can see the Lord's model prayer as an outline. There are many great teachings on this, and if you can get hold of Larry Lee's video series on praying the Lord's Prayer, I strongly encourage you to do so.

I was unable to find any place you can order it, but I did provide one link to an outline you may find helpful, and it's in the notecard for you to look at later.

But very briefly, here is the outline Jesus gave as he taught us how to pray:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.

This is a time of worship, worshiping God for his holiness, and for who he is. To "hallow" his name is also a term of adoration.

10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

This can be a time of surrendering to God, and seeking for his Lordship, his kingdom, and his will to be done in our life, in our home, in our families, in our communities, and in our land.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

God knows what you need even before you ask him; but Jesus said "you do not have, because you do not ask, or you ask so you can consume it on your own lusts." So Ask God for what you need. And not just physically, but spiritually. Jesus said he is the bread that has come down from heaven. Pray for spiritual bread from heaven, that supernatural strength that you will need to get through the journey of today.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Jesus later says that if you do not forgive others, God will not forgive you. So we need to make sure that every day we ask God to bring to our attention any unforgiveness we might be holding against anyone, and to choose to forgive them and release them to God. And then we need to ask God to forgive us for our sins against him, as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.

13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

After we ask forgiveness for our sins, we need to change. And it is God who changes us, by his Holy Spirit, as he changes us from glory to glory into the image of Jesus.

And then we worship some more...

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

There's nothing in there about counting beads, or praying to Mary, and there's only negativity about repeating words or memorized prayers over and over again.

So, by the Word of God, and since the pagan ritual of repetition is taught against by Jesus, we can clearly identify the visitation to Saint Dominic as that of a demon impersonating Mary, and the vision to Saint Alanus as being delivered by a demon, simply by comparing it to the Holy Scriptures and what Jesus himself said about prayer. Not repetitive prayer like the false religions practice, but a living dialog with God, one that no one can have outside of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Now don't think I'm suggesting the Bible says you can pray only by using Jesus' outline prayer; there are plenty of examples of prayer, including crying out to God on behalf of a people or a nation or an individual, or for a need or a desire of our heart. And Romans 8:26 talks about the Spirit making intercession with groanings that cannot be uttered;

But the recurring theme is that we are getting real with God; not by using rituals, repetition, or methods that the world uses, but by talking with him, and pouring out our heart to him.

You see, it's not through repetition or by praying to Mary that we have fellowship with God, but by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. And it is not Mary or the saints who pray for us, but as Romans 8:34 says, it in Jesus who is at the right hand of God making intercession for us.

The false religions and religious practices of the world are composed of rituals, and some of them seek for forgiveness and prayer through some type of priest, saint, or "mother of God."

But it is Jesus who interceeds for us, Jesus who bought our forgiveness with his blood, and it is Jesus and Jesus alone through whom we can come boldly into the very presence of God, where we can fellowship with him as our closest friend and our most reverenced master -- spiritually face to face, talking with him plainly, and praying mysteries with the gift of tongues, as the Scripture says.

I'd like anyone here today who's on the ministry team to please come stand at the front, as we prepare for a time of prayer and ministry.

Have you trusted in your rituals? Have you trusted in the prayers of a saint or the supposed queen of heaven? Have you trusted in the doctrines and traditions of men? Or have you put your whole trust in the Word of God, and in the work Jesus did on the cross?

I invite you to lay aside all the doctrines of men, and the rituals devised by both man and demon alike, and put your whole trust in Jesus and in his Holy Word, the Bible.

It is Jesus alone who can make you right with God, Jesus alone who has purchased your forgiveness by his blood, Jesus alone who has opened the way so that, through him, you can fellowship with God.

If you have never surrendered your life to Jesus, or you have put some of your trust in other things, then I invite you to either come to the altar, or in some way, make an action to kneel before God right where you are, and with your hands lifted in surrender, give yourself completely to him -- all your hope, all your trust, all your confidence placed in your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Don't wait until you can confess your sins to some priest, asking for him to forgive you; instead, confess your sins to God and ask his forgiveness right now, and by his blood, he will wash your sins away, and will make you more white and pure than the freshly-fallen snow.

For those who need to answer this invitation, and for everyone else too, this altar is open; and I'd like to invite all of you to get out of your seats and come gather at the altar.

If you'd like someone to pray or speak with you, just connect with one of us on the ministry team, and we'll stand together with you for what you need.

Whenever you need to leave, you're dismissed. If you can stay, you're all invited to gather together afterwards in the room to your left.

Come, and let's seek after God, choosing to lay aside all the junk that would masquerade as the truth, and instead walking in the True Spirituality the Word of God teaches.