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The Discernment of the Spirits: Facing Today's Christianity and Other Secular Movements

The Discernment of the Spirits: Facing Today's Christianity and other Secular Movements

I.       Prologue

A.     "For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect." (Mt 24:24)

B.     "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  You will know them by their fruits.  Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles?" (Mt 7:15-16)

C.     "And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.  Their end will correspond to their deeds." (2 Cor 11:14-15)

D.     The differences in essence result in the differences in external manifestation.  Since God's spirit differs in essence from Satan's spirit, they also differ in their manifestation.

II.    Spirit of God/Holy Spirit

A.     The Essence of the Holy Spirit

1.        "Spirit of the holy God" (Rm 1:14; Dan 4:8,9,18).  The Spirit who leads man to sanctification and salvation (Rm 15:16; II Thess 2:13; I Pet 1:2) through self-examination and repentance (Jn 16:8)

2.        The Spirit of Truth (Jn 14:17, 15:26, 16:13)

3.        The Spirit of power, love, and self-control (2 Tim 1:7)

4.        One Spirit (Eph 4:3-4; Ez 11:19; c.f. James 3:17-18)

5.        The Consolation and Joy in affliction (I Thess 1:6; Rom 14:17, 15:13)

B.     People Who Were Filled by the Holy Spirit

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control"(Gal 5:22-23)

1.        Stephen (Acts 6:8-7:60)

 a.      Performed great wonders  and miracles (6:8)

 b.      Spoke with wisdom and the Spirit (6:10)

 c.      His face was like the face of an angel (6:15)

 d.      Forgave those who persecuted him with love (7:59-60)

2.        Barnabas (Acts 11:24)

 a.      Son of Encouragement (Acts 4:36, 9:26-27, 15:37)

 b.      Humble; see others as better than himself (Acts 11:24-26,13:1-3)

3.        Peter

 a.      "We must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29)

 b.      Rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name (Acts 5:41)

 c.      "... you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money?" (Acts 8:20)

 d.      "Stand up; I too am a man." (Acts 10:26)

4.        Paul

 a.      “ I am the foremost of sinners" (I Tim 1:15)

 b.      "We also are men." (Acts 14:11-18)

 c.      "... in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God" (I Cor 2:4-5)

III. The Spirit of Satan

A.     The Essence of the Evil Spirit

1.        Proud (Ez 24:17; Is 14:13-15; I Tim 3:6)

2.        Jealous (Jam 3:14-15)

3.        Cunning (II Cor 11:3,13-14; II Thess 2:9-10)

4.        Lying (Jn 8:44; Mt 5:37)

5.        Filthy (Rev 16:13-14, 18:2-3)

B.     Examples of Those Who Were Deceived by the Evil Spirit

1.        Saul (I Sam 15:1-35, 18:6-9)

2.        Eve (Gen 3:1-7)

3.        Judas (Jn 12:4-6; 13:2, 21-30)

IV.  "Speaking in tongue"- A Historical Perspective

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  And I will pray the Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you."  (Jn 14:15-17)

"For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.......He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church."  (I Cor 14:2,4)

A.     The Apostolic Church and the Mid-2nd Century

1.        The Apostolic church on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2)

2.        The manifestation of the Holy Spirit in Apostolic church.

3.        The Crisis of misunderstanding of the Holy Spirit/Speaking of tongues in Apostolic church.

 a.      Simon (Acts 8:1-24)

 b.      The Church in Corinth (I Cor 4:6-7;12:1-14,40)

4.        It has been noted that beyond the New Testament the earliest writings (with the exception of Ignatius) preserve for us  almost no evidence of ongoing speaking of tongues.

5.        Gnosticism: nomina barbara/garbled Greek

6.        Montanism

 a.      The imminent coming of Jesus at Phrygian

 b.      Desire for leadership

 c.      Combination of Asian cult of the Magna Mater and Christianity.

 d.      Associated with two prophetesses, Priscilla and Maximilla.

7.        Tertullian of Carthage (d.c. 200)

B.     There is little evidence of any form of glossolalia during the Middle Age in either East or West.

C.     From Reformation up to the Beginnings of Pentecostalism

1.        The Reformation (See attachment)

2.        Moravian Brethren, 18th century

3.        John Wesley (1703-1791)/The Holiness Movement

4.        Shakers

D.     The "Spiritual Movement" in the 20th Century

1.        The Pentecostal Movement

 a.      Charles Fox Parham

 b.      Azusa Revival

 c.      The Assembly of God

2.        The Charismatic Movement

3.        The Third Wave of Spiritual Movement.

 a.      Positive Thinking.

 b.      New Age Movement

 c.      "Chi"

V.     The

Right Way
to Receive the Holy Spirit

A.     Obey the Truth (Jn 14:6,15-17)

1.        Belonging to the TrueChurch (Is 2:2; I Cor 3:16; Eph 1:23; Rm 8:9; Acts 19:1-7)

2.        Obey the Commandment of the Lord (Jn 14:6,21,23)

B.     Be Baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38-39; I Cor 12:13)

C.     Humbly Repent (Ps 51:1,10; Prov 1:23; Mt 5:3)

D.    Pray with importunity (Lk 11:5-13)