Focal Passage: 1 John 4:1-6
Discernment is not one of our strengths in this age. Ours is a day where most people give toleration the pride of place among virtues. While there are many benefits to toleration, it can also numb us over time to the importance of standing for truth. It is not unloving to stand for truth. In fact, it is in the context of teaching about loving one another that John mentions the necessity of discernment.
Our adversary is not dormant. Just as he was a real threat to the health of the first-century church, he is active and trying to deceive our churches. You cannot trust every preacher you hear on TV, regardless of his/her popularity. Do not believe everything you read – even if the book is a best seller and came from a Christian bookstore.
Several years ago I attended a special service in a church on the Gulf Coast that claimed to be experiencing five years of ongoing revival.
I had to witness it, but afterwards was greatly disturbed.
They claimed miraculous works of the Spirit were taking place, but it was a chaotic spectacle. I left confused and wondering, “Is this of God?”
How do we know when something is truly of God? There is no substitute to learning God’s Word.
The more we know truth, the better prepared we are to discern error. In our passage John gives us the clearest test.
Ask yourself, “Does this teaching or activity magnify Jesus or detract from Him?”
J.I. Packer compares the work of the Holy Spirit to a well-placed floodlight focused on Jesus. On the front of our church property we have a beautiful white cross as the focal point in a rock garden with a bench.
At nightfall floodlights beneath the cross illuminate it. When you drive by in the dark, it’s hard to miss the cross. You don’t see the actual lights because they were not placed to draw attention to themselves. They bring your eyes to the cross.
Remember, concerning the work of the Spirit, Jesus said, “He will glorify me” (John 16:14).