The Gift of Discernment
"...To another discerning of spirits;" I Corinthians 12:10 (See John 4:1-4)
I. Examples of Discernment in New Testament Days
A. Peter recognized that Christ was deity. (Matthew 16:16-17) "...Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father..."
Note: Later, when Jesus rebuked Peter for talking about His coming death, Jesus discerned the satanic source of Peter's words. "Get thee behind me Satan..." (Verse 23)
B. Discernment enabled Peter to see through the deception of Ananias, Sapphira. "...Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost..." (Acts 5:1-10)
C. Peter discerned evil in the heart of Simon of Samaria when he sought to buy the power of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:20-23)
D. Elymas was stricken with instant judgment when he tried to keep the governor from hearing the gospel. (Acts 13:6-12)
E. Paul recognized the girl in Philippi was possessed with a spirit of divination. (Acts 16:16-22)
F. The church of Ephesus tried professing apostles and discerned them liars. (Revelation 2:2 they received a commendation)
Note: The church at Pergamos and Thyatira were rebuked for allowing false teaching to continue in the church (Revelations 2:14,20)
G. Discernment may have had greater significance
in the apostolic age.
II. The Need for Discernment Today
A. Scriptures clearly teach the existence
of a spirit world.
1. The U.S. currently has over 10,000 full-time,
and 175,000 practicing astrologers.
B. Believers are forbidden to traffic in
spiritism. (Deuteronomy 18:9-14)
Note: This is done by the scriptures that change not, that way you have a final authority for faith and practices.
III. Areas in Which Discernment Operates
A. The prophets ways (his life)
Note: In the first century A.D., one would be marked as a false prophet if he stayed more than three days in one place, took anything with him except bread, or asked for money from his host. Even if he spoke the truth he was stilled marked as a false prophet.
B. The prophets words (his teaching)
2. Multitudes of people have been drawn to trust in a lie. (Jeremiah 28:15)
3. Peter warned of false prophets. (II Peter 2:1-3)
4. false prophets will never identify themselves as such. (Matthew 7:15-16)
5. Paul promised there would be false prophets in the "latter days." (I Timothy 4:1)
C. The Acid Test to Determine Truth and
Note: In the above verse, "Jesus" refers to the historical person, "Christ" refers to His Deity, (I John 2:22-23) "is come" refers to His preexistence, "in the flesh" refers to His human nature. Relegating Jesus Christ to an inferior position less than the incarnate Son of God identifies that spirit as not being of God.
2. Christ (His Person and work) provides the crux of truth found in I Timothy 3:16.
"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh (incarnation), justified in the Spirit (deity declared through the resurrection), seen of angels (resurrection attested), preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory (ascension and glorification, the divine seal of his finished work)".
3. Paul uses the strongest language imaginable concerning those who would preach another gospel. (Galations 1:8-9)
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