January 18, 2009 Discerning The Spirits Around Us

Yes, spirits are all around us. 

[youversion]Romans 8.14[/youversion] says that we, followers of Jesus, are led by the Holy Spirit. 

In [youversion]Hebrews 1.14[/youversion]., the Apostle Paul writes that angels are ‘ministering spirits’ sent to help us followers. 

But, Jesus warned about evil spirits around us for deceptive purposes; see [youversion]Matthew 24.24[/youversion].. 

John, the Apostle, also warned that demonic spirits had already gone into the world; see [youversion]1 John 2.18[/youversion]. and [youversion]2 John 7[/youversion]. 

Have you seen them? 
If not, why not?

Some demonic spirits are easily identified.

Paul lists some demons in his contrast of flesh from spirit in [youversion]Galatians 5.19-23[/youversion].

We read the stories about ‘flesh-driven’ demons in our newspapers and magazines. 

The base nature of mankind encourages the historic definition of news: dog bites man. 

We have seen ‘Spirit-led’ newspapers fold for lack of subscription and advertising. 
People like the salacious!
We watch the adventures of ‘flesh-driven’ demons in R-rated movies and in reality television, soaps, and dramas. 
We are told and believe that they portray real life. 
And, so, society follows their devolution.
Have we become so accustomed to the activities of ‘flesh-driven’ demons that we no longer fight back but, even, look forward to seeing their abuses of mankind?

Remember God’s standard stated by Solomon in [youversion]Proverbs 8.13[/youversion].

Some demonic spirits are not so easily identified. Paul says that this is so because we are not mature. 

Consider [youversion]Hebrews 5.14[/youversion].. 
Mature believers can distinguish good from evil demons because they learned the difference and practice/use/exercise the gift of discernment regularly.

What do mature believers use? 
John discusses this in [youversion]2 John 7[/youversion]. and [youversion]1 John 4.1-6[/youversion].

John was dealing with the problem of false teachers who had attacked the body of Christ. 

They gave enough of the ‘commonly known’ Biblical facts but warped these with their additional teachings, just like the serpent did with Eve. 

Paul condemned this in [youversion]Galatians 5.1-6[/youversion]. and [youversion]1 Timothy 4.1-7[/youversion].. 

Peter discusses this problem in [youversion]2 Peter 2.1-22[/youversion].. Luke commends the believers in Berea for searching the Scriptures for validation of what their teachers taught; see [youversion]Acts 17.10-12[/youversion]..  See [youversion]Revelation 2.2[/youversion]. for Jesus’ commendation.

How will we know if a pastor or teacher is ‘false’? 

Know the Word of God, especially [youversion]John 14.6[/youversion]., and compare what is said and written.

Still other demonic spirits are more subtle.

Remember Paul’s admonition in [youversion]Colossians 2.8-10[/youversion]. as you consider Jesus’ discernment in the following situations. [youversion]Matthew 22.15-22[/youversion].:

Jesus sees the demons in the Pharisees’ question about paying taxes to the Roman government. [youversion]Matthew 22.23-33[/youversion].:

Jesus unravels the demons teachings through the Sadducees’ question about marriage in Heaven. 
Read His similar argument in [youversion]Mark 10.1-9[/youversion].. [youversion]Matthew 22.34-40[/youversion].: Jesus outwits the demons in the lawyer’s question about the greatest commandment.
[youversion]Matthew 22.41-46[/youversion].: Jesus asked the Pharisees the ultimate commitment question, akin to the question in [youversion]1 John 4.1-6[/youversion]..

In fact, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount ([youversion]Matthew 5-7[/youversion].) is a confrontation with demonic spirits!

What are several lessons about discerning demonic spirits that we learn from Jesus’ exchange with them in [youversion]John 8.30-47[/youversion].?

Be in the world but not of the world, as Jesus said in [youversion]John 17.14-15[/youversion]., by following the Holy Spirit ([youversion]Romans 8.14[/youversion].) and by listening for His voice ([youversion]Isaiah 30.21[/youversion].). 

We hear what we listen for!

 

January 11, 2009 The Word of Knowledge

The Word of Knowledge

 
[youversion]1 Corinthians 12:8[/youversion]. tells us that another spiritual gift of the Holy Spirit is the word of knowledge.  The word of knowledge is illustrated in Scripture as very practical and strategic in its circumstance.

 

Definition: The word of knowledge is the Holy Spirit’s understandings of some fact or event that could not possibly be known by the servant He tells, which is to be told to the one who needs to know.

[youversion]John 14:26[/youversion]. [youversion]Isaiah 11:2[/youversion]. [youversion]Isaiah 11:9[/youversion]. [youversion]Ephesians 4:13[/youversion]. [youversion]Romans 8:14[/youversion].

 

Illustrations of the Holy Spirit telling someone what he did not know and for the benefit of someone else

[youversion]2 Kings 6:8-12[/youversion]. [youversion]2 Kings 5:20-27[/youversion]. [youversion]1 Samuel 10:1-9[/youversion]. [youversion]Daniel 2:17-23[/youversion]. [youversion]John 4:17-18[/youversion]. [youversion]Acts 4:36-5:10[/youversion].

 

What are your illustrations of the Holy Spirit giving you a word of knowledge – some fact needed for your school, work, home, or relationships with family or friends?

 

What does this tell us about God?

 

How do the following verses help us to prepare to hear a word of knowledge?

 

Praise God!!!

January 04, 2009 The Word of Wisdom

The Word of Wisdom

In our world of tolerance for another’s beliefs, a fundamental question is: how do we know whose opinion is wisdom? Just listen to the differing philosophies the next time you are in Starbucks or Panera Bread. This was the debate in sinful Corinth, in ancient Asia Minor, that prompted the Apostle Paul to write his first letter to them. So, I ask you this question: who do you listen to for wisdom?

 

Natural versus Spiritual Wisdom

[youversion]1 Corinthians 1:20-25[/youversion]. [youversion]Jeremiah 13:10[/youversion]. [youversion]Jeremiah 8:8-9[/youversion]. [youversion]Hosea 14:9[/youversion]. [youversion]1 John 2:15-16[/youversion]. [youversion]Matthew 15:3-9[/youversion]. [youversion]1 Corinthians 1:2[/youversion]. [youversion]1 Corinthians 2:14[/youversion]. [youversion]Acts 17:30-31[/youversion].

 
Paul is not dismissing the philosophies of the Jews, he is dealing with the fundamental issue: they did not recognize the Messiah they were looking for.
[youversion]John 14:11[/youversion]. [youversion]John 15:24[/youversion]. [youversion]Deuteronomy 18:18[/youversion]. [youversion]Exodus 34:10[/youversion]. [youversion]Acts 23:6-10[/youversion]. [youversion]1 Corinthians 2:6-8[/youversion]. [youversion]John 3:16[/youversion]. [youversion]John 14:12-14[/youversion]. [youversion]Ephesians 3:10[/youversion].

 
Paul states in [youversion]1 Corinthians 1.24-25[/youversion].: Christ Jesus is the power of God and the wisdom of God!  Man’s wisdom comes nowhere close! 

[youversion]1 Corinthians 2.4-5[/youversion].

 
‘But we have the mind of Christ’

([youversion]1 Corinthians 2.16[/youversion].)!

 
What does this mean?

Paul explains in [youversion]1 Corinthians 2.12-13[/youversion]. [youversion]1 John 2.27[/youversion].

 
The advantage we have Paul explains in

Ephesians [youversion]4.14-15[/youversion]. [youversion]Colossians 2.8-9[/youversion]. [youversion]Romans 16.17-18[/youversion].

 
Jesus reassured us of His abiding and powerful presence, in

[youversion]Matthew 28.20[/youversion]. [youversion]Mark 16.20[/youversion].

 
As He said, make your joy complete; see

[youversion]John 16.24[/youversion].

 

The Holy Spirit is the giver of ‘the word of wisdom’

([youversion]1 Corinthians 12.8[/youversion]).

 
for the common good

([youversion]1 Corinthians 12.7[/youversion]).

 
Wisdom is simply seeing things from God’s perspective.
 
God’s wisdom is THE absolute standard for judging all thoughts and deeds.

[youversion]2 Corinthians 10.3-6[/youversion]. [youversion]Hosea 14.9[/youversion]. [youversion]Jeremiah 7.23[/youversion].

 
Therefore, see from God’s perspective and follow His instructions

([youversion]Isaiah 30.21[/youversion].)

 
Praise God!!!!