Due to the severity of the deception in the church today, we all need to ask God for great discernment as we test the spirits and seek truth. Everyone, from leaders to children should be asking for discernment. 1 Kings 3:5 “At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 6 Solomon answered, 9 give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” We are all called to be a holy people so we must know the difference. 2 Chronicles 12:8 “between serving God and serving the kings of other lands.” Leviticus 11:45 “I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.” It is really important that the truth is taught and sought. Ezekiel 44:23 “They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.”
So starting with leaders and with this warning in mind, James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly,” we must follow and teach the word of God wholeheartedly. Malachi gives us this warning. Malachi 2:1 “And now, you priests, this warning is for you. 2 If you do not listen, and if you do not resolve to honor my name,” says the Lord Almighty, “I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor me. 3 “Because of you I will rebuke your descendants; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. 4 And you will know that I have sent you this warning so that my covenant with Levi may continue,” says the Lord Almighty. 5 “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin. 7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. 8 But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the Lord Almighty.” Here we have an example of what the priest is to do and what not to do.
In our day just as those days, 1 Timothy 1:6 “some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.” 2 Timothy 3:7 “always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.” We have enormous responsibility to teach and preach the truth. Sadly many continue to hand the empty ways of life down from one generation to the next, but we need to stand for truth. Hosea 14:9 “Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” We must walk in the way and pass truth on from one generation to the next. Psalm 71:18 “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.” We must continue to declare the power that is available to all who believe whether we see it or not. We can declare this because that is the gospel message.
This is not only the responsibility of the teacher but of the listener. You will also be accountable for what you hear. The last couple of days this verse has stood out. Colossians 2:6 “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” We must be very careful as to what we hear and believe.
2 Peter 3:17 “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.” James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” We need to make sure we do know what it says so that we can follow wholeheartedly. Many are following other gospels and do not even know it. Moses gives us this warning. Deuteronomy 32:28 “They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them. 29 If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end will be! 30 How could one man chase a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless the Lord had given them up?” This could be said of many Christians in our day also. Since there is a lack of discernment along with a lack of fear of God, we are seeing the results of captivity through hollow and deceptive philosophies. This is not how it should be and this is why we are praying to be revived again so that the remnant will once again “bear fruit above and take root below.” We join with this prayer and ask the same. Psalm 119:125 “I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.” Proverbs has much to say on discernment. Remember Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 18:15 “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.” Paul said this, Philippians 1:9 “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” Many decisions are causing Christians to veer off the highway of holiness.
It is so important that we continue to live by the word of God. 2 Timothy 3:14 “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” James 1:25 “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” 3 John 1:3 “It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
We are committed to humbling our selves before God and turning from our wicked ways so that once again the church will be the bearer of truth once again. Paul said, 1 Corinthians 2:4 “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” Right now there is lots of wise words but no power. Paul continues 1 Corinthians 2:14 “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” We have leaders and people following human wisdom today who do not discern truth by the Spirit of God. It is interesting that many leaders consider the power of the Holy Spirit is still available to all who believe foolishness and even of satan.
I want to include the rest of what Paul said about wisdom as an example to live by. “6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love him—10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
As you continue in your faith, ask for discernment so that you will be able to distinguish between what is true and what is false, what is holy and unholy and what is clean and unclean. As I have said many times, just because someone is preaching does not mean they are teaching truth. We are warned many times throughout scripture to “be careful” (look them up -“be careful”) Deuteronomy 5:32 “So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Deuteronomy 6:3 “Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. Joshua 1:7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” 1 Corinthians 10:12 “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” Hebrews 4:1 “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” Stand firm!