The Spirit of Discernment II
Synopsis of Bible Study 0415/15
Delivered by Bishop Joseph Walker III
Phil 1:9-10 – (key verse) 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,
When looking at discernment, we are not trying to determine between good and bad spirits. We realize that people have the gift to call out spirits, but with discernment, we are really trying to have the ability to distinguish between truth and error.
With discernment, you got to make sure that you are thinking biblically. If we think biblically in life, we will apply truth, thus magnifying every lie.
I. Faith and Wisdom
a. When you act out of faith, you act out the ability to discern things of God.
b. We have to have faith and wisdom other otherwise we leave stuff unchecked. You can have discernment without wisdom, but if you do, you will find yourself doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. To operate in discernment, we must have the word, wisdom, faith, and discernment.
c. Wisdom can be given to someone that is not necessarily educated.1 Cor 1:18-31 says 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:”I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
d. No human being can boast in his presence. – We don’t have it, if He don’t give it!
e. The more I get in Word of God, the better my relationship with Him. The better my relationship with Him, the more faith I have. The more faith that I have, the more wisdom I have, and this will give me strength.
II. How do you test discernment?
1 Tim 4:1-2 says 1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,-In later days, some people will depart from their faith and subscribe to demonic doctrines.
a. Discernment is also the ability to know what God is saying and when false teaching is emerging- What is the best way for Satan to attack discernment? The best way is for him to create an attack on the word in my life, so that my faith, my wisdom, and relationship with God has no power. After all, all these things are based on our interpretation of the word.
b. If Satan can make you think wrong is right, he has you. There can be no faith that is built on unsound doctrine.
c. Attacking your word will also make it difficult for you to see truth or to notice when Satan shows up.
III. A.W. Tozer wrote 7 things to ask when receiving teaching
a. Ask does this teaching magnify your relationship with God?
b. How does the teaching strengthen your view of Jesus Christ?
c. How does the teaching change your attitude towards scripture?
d. How does it affect my self-life? These are things like feed pride or humility.
e. How does this teaching affect our relationship to other Christians? Ask does it cause me to be arrogant?
f. How does this teaching affect our attitude toward the world system? Does it cause you to crucify the world? Teaching should always be balanced.
g. How does it change your attitude towards sin? – You know it’s right when you want to be a better you when you leave.
IV. Testing and discernment
a. You have to live life without compromise – In the story of the Prodigal son, he had an inheritance, but asked for it too soon. As a result, he ended up losing everything. Some things we pray for, God doesn’t give, because it is not time for us to have it.
b. What happens if God doesn’t deliver it when we want it? Because God knows what is going to happen down the road; we should add the following statement to our prayer, “If it is not time for me to have it, then give me patience until you feel I am ready for it”. You got to trust God’s timing.
c. See more and stumble less- We stumble because we can’t measure things that go against the word of God. We are not armed to stand strong against erroneous teaching. Ex- People ask all the time what is the chore reason for the successful growth of the Mt Zion Church ((Nashville). Bishop simply responds to them, it is bible study. This is why Bishop’s heart lies with Bible Study. People that come to bible study are serious. If you look at Buddhism, Muslims, Christianity, Judaism, and other religions, and match them with other educational systems of the world, you would have to agree that America is low on the totem pole as it relates in science. When it comes to Biblical literacy, which of these religions would you think would know more about their faith? It is Christianity that would be low on the totem pole when compared to the other religions. We have got to focus on learning Gods word, because when you don’t know the Word of God, you will fall for anything. Just to prove a point, turn quickly to the book of Hezekiah! …. See this is our point. There IS NO book of Hezekiah!
1. 2 Peter 1:3 says 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,- There is nothing we won’t know, if we know His word.
d. The ultimate goal of discernment is your destiny. The steps of a godly man are ordered by the Lord -Psalms 37:23 says 23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.- Some of you have taken years off of your life, because of your wasted steps. Every step we take must be a step toward destiny. You got to get somewhere and get rooted in the word of God.
V. Got to get to a place to discern over desire
a. You a good person, you love people, your heart is big, and you give everyone a chance. The problem is, the Holy Spirit sends you notifications that something ain’t right, but you refuse to acknowledge the notifications, because you think you can save them. Because you are a good person, you keep taking them in, regardless of the pain they have caused you. Satan wants to keep you in this cycle of hurt, so you won’t trust anyone and so you will remain bitter. The Holy Spirit gives you these notifications, but you got to trust it.
b. You have to learn to love people from over there. Ex-In college there was a dissertation done of fellow student. He was arguing that since Jesus was omniscient, he knew all the disciples issues before he called them, but he needed them to fulfill his will. Judas was problematic, because why would he choose a betrayer to be among your group of followers? Why would Jesus keep Judas around so long? It was because he needed him. When Jesus dealt with Judas, it deals with discernment. It was Maundy when Jesus had communion with the disciples, revealing that he was about to die. They were eating at the table. At the table, he said to the disciples, somebody was going to betray him. Knowing he had discernment, everyone wanted to know if it was them. He waited until he got to the table, to reveal his betrayer. The lesson in this is, everyone can’t be at the table with you. It is all about timing.
Will you testify that God has been giving you warnings and you’ve been ignoring them?
VI. Things to remember
a. Discernment prepares you to be a leader – Dan 1:4 says 4 young men in whom there was no blemish, but good- looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.- When you choose people to serve around you, you will chose them rightly.
b. Keeps you from being ruled by emotion. Phil 1:9-10 says 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,
c. Prepares you to know the will of God – Pro 10:13 says 13 Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding, But a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding.- When you have wisdom, it is clear when you open up your mouth.
d. Preserves you from error in all practices.
e. Prepares you to be a faithful steward of your time and gifts- Ex- You have to be clear that this is where God wants you to be when you go to preach. Ex2- When Bishop Walker first started working on the Second location at Mt Zion, he had to be clear that God wanted him to do it. You got to be clear about God wants you to do. God will give you the grace to do only what he desires. You don’t burnout when you only do the things that God wants you to do.
f. Preserves you from the extremes of isolations- He prepares you to bless your life and others. 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.
How do you recognize false ministry
a. One way to recognize false ministry is by observing the fruits. Matt 7:15-20 says 15 ” Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.- The fruits you produce don’t lie! Ex- In the south, they used to have a watermelon truck. If you are from the Deep South, you know not to pick the biggest or prettiest watermelon on the truck. What you do is tap it and test it. The biggest and prettiest isn’t always ripe. The worst thing you can do is invest in something and get home and find out it ain’t ripe.
b. Anyone that refuses to acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ-Mark 9:39 says 39 But Jesus said, ” Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me.- He that speaks of only of himself and never Christ is a false prophet.
c. Unfulfilled prophecy- Deu 8:15 says 15 who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock;- He who speaks prophecy and it never comes true, can be a false prophet.
d. When you are enticed to follow another God- Deu 13 says he won’t share his glory with anyone. People of today, try to dilute His word. The bible is not historically, it is a living word.
e. Preaching another gospel- Beware of people teaching the word of God that is not in the word of God. We should only say amen if it is good sound teaching. Amen means so be it. Ex- Bishop explains that one of the greatest compliments he could get is when a person says they get fed every time they go to Mt Zion. Bishop further shares that he knows he is on the right track after hearing people say, “Not only am I feed, but I know what he is putting in the food. This is how you compliment a chef.