The Spirit of Discernment
Synopsis of Bible Study 04/08/15
Delivered by Bishop Walker III
Phil 1:9 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,
Discernment means the ability to decide between truth and error; right or wrong. With discernment comes much responsibility. When discerning, you got to be both strategic and careful when discerning what truth really is.
Discernment is also the ability to think biblically. The problem is you got to know the word of God in order to be able to discern.
1 Thess 5:21-22 says 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.- In other words, examine everything carefully. We should examine all things that come to us. Ex – Most of us let anyone into our lives without question. It is important to test everything!
1 John 4:1 says 1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. – Test the spirits that you encounter, including people you come in contact with. Remember our spirit is the essence of who we really are.
I. How do we know this?
a. Our body is not really who we are. Our spirit is the essence of who we are. How do we prove this? When we die, our body goes back to the dirt, but your spirit goes to God.
b. God makes transactions to your spirit and not to your flesh. The only way to commune with God is in spirit and in truth.
c. We have to know also that the devil is a spirit. The devil is attracted to your flesh; God is attracted to your spirit. Whatever is attracted to God, will be attracted to your spirit. Whatever is attracted to Satan will be attracted to your flesh.
II. The devil is a counterfeiter.
a. If you must test the spirit to know if it is of God or of the devil, know that it won’t be easy. The devil will show up looking and sounding like God. This means the only way to test it is by not relying on our flesh. The flesh can be deceived, but the spirit can’t. There is a still small voice in your spirit that tries to tell you when something isn’t right.
b. The spirit inside of you is like the GPS in your car. After programming it, the moment you get off course, the GPS is going to say something about it. Just like the GPS, God programs you by his word and the Holy Ghost will start speaking to you the moment you get out of line.
III. Gaining the discernment is based on your willingness to wait, learn, and listen
a. Wait – You need wisdom to undertake this one. James 1:5 says 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.- Wisdom is your perspective on life , your sense of balance, your understanding.
b. Spiritual discernment is calling on the Holy Spirit to lead or give you direction on matters. We must call on the Lord and ask him to speak to us about what we are about to do.
c. When you discern you don’t always discern a person solely on their actions. Remember it is their spirit that makes them who they are. Their actions sometimes make us forget this.
d. We have the Holy Spirit in the unemployment line. We subconsciously want to do things on our own.
IV. Jesus and his teaching on discernment
a. Learn to ask the right questions – Luke 11:9 says 9 ” So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.- We ask other people for their advice more than we do the Holy Spirit. The devil wants you to be led by emotion and not the Holy Spirit.
b. Learn how to determine time and seasons – Matt 16:3 says and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening. ‘ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.; Ecc 3:1 says 1 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:- You can have a good thing at a bad time. Ex- There is nothing wrong with having a mink coat, but there is something wrong with wearing on a sunny day. You might see a good opportunity, but it doesn’t mean it is the right season for you to have it. The devil could be trying to trick you.
c. Got to learn how to use wisdom and judgment- John 8:16 says 16 And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me.
1. Heb 4:12 says 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two- edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.-
i. Ex- What you have is the word of God. Then you have your Pastor. In preparation of the presenting the word to you, your Pastor must consecrate himself, pray, and move himself out of way, thus allowing the Lord to use him as a vessel as he speaks a word into your situation. This is how the Spirit of God connects to your spirit. God tells you everything you need to hear, because you sit under a Pastor that he has assigned to you.
ii. Ex2- Bishop Walker says one of the greatest compliments he could get is for someone to say to him, “Every time I come to your service, you talk right into my situation”.
V. Discernment vs. delusion
a. Matt 7:15-16 says 15 ” Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? – You got to beware of false prophets assigned to your life. Without discernment, you will not be able to tell the difference.
b. The gift of discernment – We have to learn how to use this gift.
c. Beware of false prophets – Many people taught you the wrong meaning of false prophets. A false prophet is simply a person that taught you the wrong thing about word. Matt 7:15-16 says 15 ” Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. – Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? You have to know the word.
d. You got to know false prophecy is erroneous teaching. You don’t just take somebody’s word at face value. You should take whatever someone says and go to the word of God and it should line up.
e. The word of God should inspire you to speak. When you got the word, it is hard to keep it to yourself.
f. The gift of discernment needs to be cultivated- 1 Kings 3:9 – 9 Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
g. This gift must be done with the heart of God – Proverbs 15:14- 14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, But the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.; Acts 16:16-17 16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”-Divination was a fortune telling spirit. Notice that though she was practicing something demonic, she said all the right stuff. She proclaimed that Paul and Silas were “men of God”.
a. Acts 16:18 says 18 And this she did for many days.- Though she were calling Paul and Silas men of God, she did not have good intentions. Everything that sounds sanctimonious and righteous is not of the spirit of God. The only way to discern it is to be so in tune to God, you can just call it for what it is.
VI. How do you know you have it (discernment)
a. Do you desire it? 1 Co 14:1 says 1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.
b. Do you love God’s presence?
c. Do you have sensitivity to the spiritual atmosphere? – Bishop explains that he is so sensitive in the spiritual atmosphere that he can go into a particular realm, when he preaches. In this realm, he can see spirits while he is preaching. This is why he often keeps pushing when he extends the invitation to Christ. He can actually see the spirits trying to keep souls from coming to Christ.
d. Do you feel different than other people? Do you often see things other people don’t?
e. Do you see unusual signs?
f. Did you have childhood salivation signs?
g. Do you have the ability to know what lies behind a person’s words or actions? Ex- Doris Harrison, Bishop’s grandmother, really had this gift. You would think you had Mr. or Mrs. Right, but grandmother could sense when something wasn’t right about them. Many elders even today share this gift.
h. Confirmation by others and leaders- Lots of people with this gift has heard this prophesied over your lives.
VII. What to do
a. Always begin with data.
b. Begin with what is factual.
c. Let your heart educate your mind.
d. Have a soft heart, but a hard head. Even though our heart is soft, will think critically through our decisions. Just because you are feeling a certain way, don’t mean you can’t think through a decision. When faced with a decision, ask does it make sense according to God’s word. Ex-If you are 3 mths behind on rent, do you think God would want you to sign up for a 300 dollar car note?
e. Does it line up with God’s word? Our senses, our values, God’s word, and our circumstances, should all line up. – When God moves, he has things worked out. Don’t operate in your mind.
VIII. Imaginations vs facts
a. Images are created in our mind. 2 Cor 10:5 says 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, John 8:32 says 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”- In Matthew 4, Jesus had fasted and all the things that Satan showed him was in His head. He responded continuously to Satan, “It is written…” In this phrase, he demonstrated that he allowed God’s word to take precedence over his imagination. We have to remember that we shouldn’t allow our emotions to get past our spirit.
b. We have to turn our emotions over to God. Psa 34:18 says 18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit., 1 Cor 2:10 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. – We need to know what the Holy Spirit is saying to us and not be led by our emotions. Your emotions can change on us. If you allow your emotions to take control, then our will begins to take control. .
a. Luke 22:42 says 42 saying, ” Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”; Psa 119:11 says 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.-The word inside our heart blocks our flesh. You got to make sure the word inside of you has greater authority in your life than “your will”.
c. Your actions vs. wisdom. – First it gets into your head, then your emotions, and then this results in actions which causes conflicts. When you have wisdom you think about your actions. 1 cor 4:5 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.-Ask the Lord to show you if it will benefit you to do this:; Pro 4:7 says Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom.- Make sure you get wisdom.
d. Your spirit and your flesh are always competing for your attention.