Today We hear of people testing the supernatural, by what they hear or see, by their
experience, or by their feelings. If it feels good or right they "bear
witness." Another way is by just accepting it by faith, since whatever is happening is
inside the church, and therefore must be from God. NONE of these are a biblical measure for
Truth and has more in common with the way the world operates, than the Church.
A.W. Tozer once said "It is no sin to doubt some things but it may be fatal to
John the Apostle agrees. He wrote in I Jn. 4:1-3: "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. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses
that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess
that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the
Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world."
1 John 4:1 tells us to try or "test the spirits." Why? Because
there are false prophecies given by false spirits not only outside the Church but inside.
This mandate is for our protection. The way to test a false prophet was by doctrine, not by
what they would actually say, because in Deut. 13 God says it can actually come to pass,
but that he is testing you whether you love the Lord.
Jesus said, "If you love me you'll continue in my word." We need to be
cautious in hearing spiritual"stuff".
In Ezekiel there is an interesting Scripture Ezek. 13:2-3: "Son of man, prophesy
against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy out of their own
heart, 'Hear the word of the LORD!'" Thus says the Lord GOD: "Woe to the foolish
prophets, who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!" God says one can
actually say they are hearing from the Lord, but it really is their own spirit.
False prophets speak under a different spirit, to test them is for our own protection. 1
Jn.4- "Jesus has come in the flesh" means God came by Jesus as a man. He was
raised in the same body and continues living in it. In 1 John 4, he is addressing those who
denied that Christ (God) actually came as a human being, and has risen in the same body and
will return in that same body. Those who deny this are anti-Christ. (see 2 Jn.7-9) this was
one of the doctrinal tests applied to the prophets.
There is to be a order for prophecy, 1 Cor.14:29: "Let two or three prophets speak,
and let the others judge." Prophecy is to be judged by others who have the same
gift or discernment. This guideline stresses accountability reduces the margin for error it
also prevents someone from becoming a leader in prophecy. In the O.T. this is how they knew
false prophets from true ones by those who really heard from the Lord and knew God and
could discern whether they represented him correctly. Paul also writes in v.32 "And
the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets." Which seems to imply the old
Testament prophets as well. Do they line up with the already revealed word.
l Thess. 5:19-22 V.19: "Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise
prophecies.2l Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of
evil." We are to be open to what God may have to say but not naive'. The
word "prove" (Gr. doldmazo) means to discern or examine in order to prove whether
or not a thing is acceptable. There is spiritual evil as well as a worldly evil.
To Test all things means to test miracles as well as prophecy and teaching.
What I hear today is that only God heals the Devil destroys. This is nonsense! Would
anyone say the true God healed someone in the Mormon church or in some cult? What
about the gurus who boast of healings and great miracles? How do we discern that
something is from God or not? Certainly to hold the position that God ONLY heals is
disastrous for the reasons already mentioned. There are counterfeits and if they can take
place outside the Church, there is no justification for anyone to say they can't take place
inside as well.
Mt. 7:1-2: "Do not judge lest you be judged. "For in the way you judge, you
will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. "
Those who do not want to be tested in their teachings use this verse as immunization
for any scrutiny of their faulty theology. Notice he says not to judge by our standard.
Why? Because we all have different standards. But, there is a greater, more ultimate
standard for all - God's word. Vs.2 clarifies what Jesus is saying: if we make judgments on
others, then we are to submit to be judged by the same standards. In other
words if we judge another's teaching by the word of God, then our teachings must also
coincide with the truth of Gods word. How can we help another if we don't receive
correction or truth in our own life? We cannot judge another for their sin if we are
guilty of the same. If we want to be a help, first remove our own sin. Then, we can operate
on theirs. We can't say someone is wrong in something while we practice the same, that
would be hypocritical. The main point is that we are all subject to the same authority and
standard- the word of God.
We are to submit to each other in love so we can walk in humility. Those who do not want
to be discerned in their teachings, use this verse out of context to protect their own
flawed theology, and prove they are walking in pride.
Matt.7:16-24 vs.15: "Beware of false prophets that come to you in sheeps
clothing. "False prophets were the enemy of the people in the O.T (Jer5:23) by
listening to them they were brought them into bondage. They look like everyone else on the
outside, the only way to tell is by the word, because inside "they are ravenous
wolves". They eat sheep. David the Shepherd killed the enemies of the
flock he took care of, and would not think twice of allowing something inside the sheepfold
that would bring harm.
Mt.7:16-17: "You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns,
or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree brings forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree
brings forth bad fruit... "therefore by their fruits you shall know them." So he
is actually saying by the way someone lives, acts and says things, you can know him or her.
What someone believes will be shown on the outside, we cannot judge the persons heart, but
we can determine their teachings and practices.
We are to judge and distinguish between good and bad fruit from a tree. The fruit speaks
of the outward display of what kind of life is inside. The tree would be the doctrine of
what one believes that will produce either good or bad fruit. If there doctrine is
false it will show in what they teach.
Remember Jesus is explaining how to determine a false prophet. He then goes into a
description of what they do and say to validate themselves. Power is exhibited in
miracles and exorcism's, signs and wonders. Yet Jesus said he never knew them, he had no
relationship, with them. It was one-sided because they were lawless; they didn't
submit to the head of the body, Christ.
Fruit is described in Gal. 5:22: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such
there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the
affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the
Spirit." James says: 3:17 "But this wisdom that is from above is first
pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits. without
partiality and without hypocrisy."
Mt. 12:33: "a tree is known by its fruit." The fruit of the Spirit shows the
life of Christ. Fruit is not how big ones ministry is or even how effective it is. All this
can be misleading. If that's all it meant than whoever has the biggest church or
denomination would be the most fruitful- even those who teach things obviously counter to
To be filled with the Spirit means that someone will act spiritual- that they are
under the control of the Spirit and the fruit of his presence will show.
They will go to God's word for guidance and understanding for matters
in their lives, not to an a so-called anointed teacher for the last say.
Jn. 7:24: "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous
judgment." Here, Jesus tells us to judge. In the same chapter, he
previously said the only way one can have a righteous judgment is to have it based on the
word- not according to their own prejudices or feelings nor looking to the outward.
We don't judge the heart or motives, or even the style, but their teaching (content) and
actions." Jesus certainly did, and was quite strong against those who knew better, who
claimed to be teachers of the law, and lead others astray.
1 Cor. 2:15-16: "But he who is spiritual judges spiritual
judges (appraises all things, yet he himself is judged by no man. For who has known the
mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
True humility shows by ones dependence on something greater and is willing to yield to its
1 Cor. 14:29 says that a prophecy is to be judged by others who prophesy. The Greek word
for judge is diachronic and means to doubt, discriminate, or separate
thoroughly. This guideline stresses the importance of truth accepted and error rejected.
It also stresses accountability, for what one says is to be judged, which reduces the
margin for error.
Acts 17:11 tells us that when Paul came to the Berean's, they reacted to his teachings
by searching the Word of God to see if Paul was preaching the truth. Paul called them more
noble than the Thessalonians because they were concerned with discerning Truth, using
Scripture as the standard. Paul did not discourage them from questioning his teaching even
though he was an apostle. He approved of it.
If those who are teaching would preach the Word in purity, they would not have to be
concerned or afraid of their listeners or others checking their teachings with the Word of
God, because they would be on target and accurately conveying the Truth of the Bible. Only
those who know they are off-course will cry, Don't discern or judge!
A full examination of what is being said is the safest course for every believer in
Christ. All supernatural events must be tested before they can be embraced as truth. Don't
be intimidated by big names saying not too. It's your spiritual right, even your
obligation, for your own protection.
To sum it all up...The spiritual man can discern all things. This shows maturity as
Heb.5:13-14 says. II Jn 9 speaks to us about deceivers and tells us the only way to know is
by doctrine: Whoever transgresses (goes beyond the boundaries set forth and already
established) and does not abide (live in, trust, stay in remain in) the doctrine of Christ
does not have God.
Heb. 5:11-14 says that we are to discern the good from the evil in a person's life and
behavior. This applies to teachings inside the body of Christ and outside.
1 Cor. 2:15 says: But he that is spiritual (or a spiritual man) judges all things,
yet he himself is judged by no man. Why does the spiritual man discern or judge all
things? Verse 16 says because he has the mind of Christ.
The word judge used in 1 Cor. 2:14-15 means that one is to use discernment to see
a thing's true value or to examine something (Gr. Anakrino). In Mt. 7:1, the word
judge means to determine or call into question (Greek Krino).
Training ourselves to hear the Shepherds voice, his word keeps us from harm. When the
Bereans heard what seemed like new truth from Paul, they went directly to the word.
God wants to protect his people. There is even a supernatural gift of testing the
Spirits that goes beyond the normal way of discerning by the word. This is one gift that is
not be sought after in the Church. In 1 Cor. 12:10, there is mentioned the gift of
discerning spirits. One is to distinguish, judge, or discriminate whether a spirit is from
God or some other source--possibly evil (Gr. Diakrisis).
Most importantly, the Word of God is available to everyone, and, is quick to discern
the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Heb. 4:12). So we are to use it for
ourselves and others to discriminate concerning a teaching or what exactly is transpiring
in a supernatural service.
The Word must have its correct interpretation or one finds himself wandering from the
original intent of the author which would put them outside the truthfulness of the
Scriptures. They would then be believing in a false concept of the Word which God never
intended. This is something the Holy Spirit cannot honor, validate, or communicate. God
does still speak today, but it certainly is not new doctrine.
If you had a child who came home from school and said he was taught 2+2 = 5 would you
correct him? Would you go to his teacher to find out why he is being taught this?
Would you being doing this because you are judgmental or out of love? If you didn't do any
of this could you say you are a good parent! If we judge things which are non spiritual,
how much more important are the things pertaining to eternal verities.
Rom.16:17-18: Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary
to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve
our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech
deceive the hearts of the simple.
These men have a appetite and we need to not be naive'. We identify these people
for the brethrens own safety, we are to identify false teachers for the purpose of
protecting the sheep in Christ's Church, and we certainly dont need to apologize for it.