October 29, 2020

Spiritual Gifts Training: faith & Discerning Spirits (2020)

Spiritual Gifts Training: faith & Discerning Spirits (2020)

Spiritual Gifts Training: faith & Discerning Spirits (2020)


  • Most bible scholars see three different kinds of faith represented in scripture.
    • Conversion faith
      • The faith of salvation
      • “Saved through faith” Eph 2:8-9
    • Continuing faith
      • The faith to live out the Christian life
      • A fruit of the Spirit for life Gal 5:22
    • Charismatic faith
      • This is spontaneous faith for the miraculous and impossible
      • John 14:12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
      • In this context Jesus is talking about miracles.
      • It’s the verb form of faith.
      • It’s an active participle
      • In 1 Cor 12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit,
        • It’s the noun form of faith
        • But connected to the Spirit, “by the same Spirit
      • Like so many of the gifts this can be ongoing or situational
        • Faith in the moment for healing or for a crisis.
      • We all have and exercise faith, but some will have this as a gift.
      • All of of the gifts require faith, but some people will have this as a gift. (Smith Wigglesworth)
        • Some people will just have this as a unique gifting, as an ongoing gift
        • Today the danger I see in the church is hyper-faithism.
          • Looking at the saints of old and failing to recognize that they truly had a gifting but now trying see their same fruit in our day trough hyper-faithism.
          • So we need to be able to discern that.
        • Faith is also key to all of the spiritual gifts.
          • James 5: 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well
        • Often times people will have the gift of faith for certain kinds of works or ministry
          • Faith for money (George Mueller)
          • Faith for outpouring
        • Faith: The ability to discern with extraordinary confidence the will and purposes of God for His work. They act in confidence of God’s ability to overcome obstacles. They advance the cause of Christ because they go forward when others will not. The ask God for what is needed and trust Him for His provision. It is trusting until He brings it to pass. 1Cor 12:9; Heb 11; Acts 27:21-2

Discerning Spirits

  • When I taught on healing, I mentioned that some people will have the gift of healing. But for the rest of us, we can expect to see healing if we pray with some wisdom proper perspective.
  • The same applies here. Some will have the gift of discerning spirits, but the rest of us can still have some success seeing spirts if we go about it with some wisdom and discernment.
  • 1 Cor 12:10 to another distinguishing between spirits,
  • This is perhaps the most misunderstood and most neglected of the gifts.
    • The enemy doesn’t want to be discovered so he will push against this gift more than any other.
    • But the church desperately needs this gift operating.
    • One third of Jesu’s earthly ministry was driving out demons.
  • The Greek word here for discerning is diakrisis and comes from the verb krino which means to judge.
    • But the concepts of distinguishing and discerning are contained in this word as well.
  • But people who have this gift also often “see” things in the sprit realm.
    • On the negative side, people can see things that look like spiders, rats, shadows, outright demons.
      • On the positive side can see angels.
    • But this gift is also discerning
      • The ability to compare something with the character and nature of God.
    • Sometimes you can discern that a person has demons by their physical actions.
    • As part of discerning this is also the ability to tell when someone is lying.
      • Example: Acts 5:33 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land.
    • This gift often works very closely with other gifts, especially prophecy or words of knowledge.
      • This gift can be used to judge and discern prophecy or words of knowledge.
        • Whether it was from God or not. (1 Cor 14:32; 1Thes 5:20)
      • This gift can tell you the nature of a prophetic vision.
      • This gift can also help when praying for healing.

Other Scripture to support: 1 John 4:1-3. 1 John 4:1  Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  2  This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,  3  but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

  • John doesn’t talk about it in terms of a gift but he does tell us to discern spirits.
    • First, John talks about recognizing that not every spirit is from God.
    • Second, he goes on to say not every prophet is from God.
    • This passage confirms that there is a discerning process that must take place.
      • Paul tells us that some people will have this has a spiritual gift.
    • John also tells us a simple way to help in this process, if it agrees with Jesus.
      • The problem is that many spirits are deceptive, mimic other things.
        • We won’t be able to easily use that as a test.
        • 2 Cor 11:14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
      • When Jesus tells us the parable of the wheat and the weeds in Matt 13, He tell us that the enemy sows weed seeds while everyone was sleeping to emphasize the hidden nature of what the enemy does.
    • This is where this gift comes in, being able to see what is hidden in the natural.
      • Seeing into the Spirit realm so to speak.
    • Then John also says that the spirit of anti-Christ is already in the world.
      • So clearly John is going beyond just talking about the prophetic.
      • Those spirits that oppose Christ are already in the world.
      • Therefore, we need help to be able to discern them and deal with them.

What does this look like in Scripture? Acts 16:16-18-1  Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

  • On the surface it would have appeared that this girl was legit. She is saying “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”
    • That sounds like it agrees with Jesus.
    • But Paul was able to discern or distinguish spirits so he could tell that this was not from God.
    • In fact, she had an evil spirit that came out of her at his command.

Acts 13:8-12  But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun. “Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

  • This one is less definitive but Paul again seems to be able to see more than just the physical realm.

Acts 8:17-24 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.  18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”  20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!  21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.  22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.  23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”  24 Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”

  • In the story it is not apparent that this man was bitter.

This gift is not just to see evil spirits but also to see what God is doing.  Acts 14:8-10 In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.

  • Paul could see that God was at work in his life and had faith to be healed.
  • I can only do what I see the Father is doing. And healing is the Lord’s.

Why do we need this gift?

  • The enemy likes to work in secret and in hidden ways.
    • People who can operate in this gift can blow the lid off of what the enemy is doing.
    • 2 Cor 11:14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
    • 2 Cor 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
    • 1Timothy 4:1The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
    • Which means there are demons out there teaching things and twisting scripture.
    • We need to be able to see and discern this stuff
  • On the positive side we can see what the Holy Spirit is doing

If I see a spirit or discern that something is not of God what do I do?

  • This gift just like all the rest never comes for our entertainment. Power always comes with purpose.
  • If you are seeing something or discerning something God is alerting you to what He is wanting to do.
  • Here are some simple steps and context for what to do.
    • If you see or discern something in the context of a church service tell the pastor or elder.
    • If you see something in the context of praying for someone in a group tell the group leader.
    • If you see or discern something in the context of praying for someone yourself, begin to pray based on what you saw.
    • If you are praying for healing and you discern something, that may be cause of the illness or injury.
      • Pray against that first, then return to praying for the healing.
    • If you see or discern something in a public place use that for intercession.
      • Don’t take on any territorial spirits yourself.
      • See Unnecessary Causalities of War John Paul Jackson
      • Acts 19:15 [One day] the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
    • Often the best thing you can do when you see or discern something is to ask the Lord what do you want me to do with?
      • Again, if in the context of a church setting tell the Pastor or an Elder.
        • Can cause disunity if not.
      • Also, demonic spirits always respond to authority
    • When you pray: You will often get immediate confirmation

Spiritual warfare, courage and persecution

  • People who operate in this gift tend to face a lot more spiritual warfare.
    • This is probably because that can blow the lid of what the enemy is doing.
  • It also takes a fair amount of courage to speak up what you are seeing.

One third of Jesu’s earthly ministry was driving out demons.