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God Grants Discernment (1 Corinthians 12:10)

Updated: Dec 26, 2019

Sermon on Sunday 15 Sep 2019 by Pastor Justin


The Corinthians church was in deep trouble. It was divided because of abuse of spiritual gifts, infested with sexual immorality, and people dragged one another into court. The apostle Paul used stern words on the church of Corinthians. He pointed out the root of the problem - (i) pride, and (ii) lack of love. These are still relevant today. There is division because of pride and lack of love.


It is important for us to have the gift of discernment. The Greek word for "gift" is "charisma". It means favour and gift of grace.


What is discernment?

Discernment is a supernatural revelation gift that God bestowed upon each and every one of us. The word is living. When you read the word deeply and humbly, God will reveal Himself to you. God reveals to you through the Holy Spirit, for you to properly discriminate, to distinguish, to determine whether something is from God or from a different spirit. It is easy to discern between something godly versus something demonic. But for you to be able to be discerning, you must abide in Jesus. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. That means you will say no to sin. You will walk freely in the Lord and have victory over sin. John 8:31-32 - To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." 


First, you must abide in Him. What does abiding in Him mean? 1 John 2:6 - He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. If you do not walk the way He walks, you are not really abiding in him. 


Matthew 7:15 - "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves." Jesus Christ told us to beware. He told us in Matt 24:24 that false Christians and prophets will perform signs and wonders to deceive us. 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 - Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. The end is at hand. We have to be very careful, vigilant in prayer, be innocent toward all evil things, but excellent at doing what pleases God. Hold fast to what is good. If you have no confidence of not sinning, stay away. 


The apostle John warned us to test spirits, because there are many in the world. 1 John 4:1 - 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. 


As a new covenant believer, discernment is not an option, but is a requirement. Paul warned us in Ephesians 4:14 - Then we will no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 


Spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit dwells in you. This is permanent. He will reveal to you if you are humble. The gifts of the Holy Spirit should not be misunderstood. Do not be ignorant and prideful of your gifts. We are different gifts, but they from the same Spirit, the same Lord. 1 Corinthians 12:1 - Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant. 


1 Corinthians 12:4-7 - There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.


There are 9 gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 - To one there is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:11 - But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. 

Of the 9 gifts, there are 3 revelation gifts (word of wisdom, word of knowledge, the discerning spirit) , 3 power gifts (faith, working of miracles, healing) and 3 vocal gifts (prophecy, diverse kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues). 

1. word of wisdom - Godly wisdom.

2. word of knowledge - the ability to communicate the truth to one another. 

3. faith - the ability of having patience to endure extreme hardship.

4. healing - when you lay hands on someone, he will heal.

5. miraculous powers

6. prophecy - it is not about predicting your future. This is about people speaking with edification.

7. distinguish between spirits -  Your discernment is important. Is someone speaking for God?

8. speaking in different tongues - this is about speaking in an unknown / little known language.

9. interpretation of tongues


The discerning Spirit 

The discerning Spirit is important for us to discern between the truth and error. Without it, we will become disobedient. 


1. Don't naively accept the words of all who claim to speak for God

Is someone speaking for God or from his carnal mind, trusting his own knowledge and research? It should be a direct revelation from the Spirit. If God wants to speak to you, he will talk to you personally, because he is your Father. He will not communicate with you through another person. Do not believe everything you hear. Test every spirit. This is a commandment, not an option. (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, 1 John 4:1). 


2. Discernment does not come through intelligence, bible knowledge or experience. It is given by God by those who have a sincere heart.


We have to read the bible. But do not rely on your human knowledge. Those who truly want to know God and love God will abide in Him and love their brothers and sisters. 

Remember the thief on the cross? He teaches us how we can have discernment. 


Matthew 27:37-44 - Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!" In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him."

One criminal was very clear in the mind that Jesus Christ was innocent. Luke 23:41 - "We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." How did he, in the midst of so many qualified people, discern that Jesus Christ had done nothing wrong and was the Messiah? God granted the criminal this discernment. Jesus teaches from the heart. Therefore the thief, who did not have head knowledge, was able to understand from his heart that all the scholars were wrong. 


3. The secret of discernment

Psalms 119:11 - I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. 


4. Discernment gives you the ability to see whether a man is sincere.

God grants discernment to those who are sincere. 


Acts 5:1-10 - Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet. 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? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God." When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?" "Yes," she said, "that is the price." Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord/ Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also." At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.


Spiritual gift is not a symbol of spirituality. We are here for the work of the ministry. Work humbly. 1 Peter 4:10 - As each one has received a git, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

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