Bible Study Notes:


Spiritual Weapons: # 14
Discernment, Part 1


These notes are from a transcript of the postings during Bible Study on Thursday Nights at 8 PM at Bible Study Chat at churchusa.com.
You are welcome to join us at any time!

Every trap has truth in it. The challenge is to be able to see the lie in it.


Praise the Lord! Father we praise you for you are worthy of all praise and adoration. Thank you for your Holy Child Jesus whose birth we are celebrating. Jesus we are so grateful that you emptied yourself and took on human flesh to die for our sins. Can we ever praise you enough for such love?

satan we bind you before during and after the study in all rooms on this site. We declare that you are a defeated foe and have no authority here in Jesus Name. We bind you rebuke you and command you to leave in Jesus Name.

Holy Spirit we look to you as our guide and teacher. Help us to focus on the lesson and put it into effect in our lives. Give us discernment so that we may mature and be fruitful for God's kingdom. We praise you God and thank you for your Word. We declare that it will notreturn to you void, but will prosper in our hearts if we receive it. AMEN

OlePappy - Father, I ask that You give us the wisdom to use the knowledge we receive here tonight in our daily walk. Thank You Lord in the name of Jesus AMEN

These are a continuing series of lessons on spiritual warfare that grew out of our verse by verse study of Ephesians. We have studied topics as: What is a Christian Soldier? The armor, preparing your heart for war, and so far 13 spiritual weapons. As I said the notes for these previous lessons are on my web site if you'd like to make use of them.

Last time we spoke about love being a spiritual weapon, both defensively and offensively. Now we are up to Weapon # 14 – Discernment or Testing of Spirits. This will take at least two weeks, maybe more to cover in depth.

First we will talk about using discernment to keep you from being entrapped by the devil, or using it as a defensive weapon. Offensively, we will talk about using discernment to do spiritual warfare on behalf of others. Then we will get into discerning false doctrine so we can avoid falling into its captivity.

You could call Weapon # 14 – Discernment, spying on the devil because it allows us to see his schemes and traps before he can trip us up with them! Discernment is the ability given to us by God to tell good from evil. We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to "Test all things; hold fast what is good." (NKJ) Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived, asked the Lord to give him discernment.

I Kings 3:9 "Give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people to discern between good and evil" In I Kings 3:11-12 we are told God’s answer: "Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart."

God was very pleased with Solomon's request. Many of us would have asked for riches, or long life, or revenge over our enemies. But Solomon realized that discernment was more important than all of these. In the book of Proverbs, Solomon tells us how important discernment is:

Proverbs 3:21-22 My son, preserve SOUND JUDGMENT AND DISCERNMENT, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.

Do not let sound judgement and discernment out of your sight! Preserve them, keep them active in your life, like an necklace that you wear EVERY day. They will bring life and grace to you. Sounds like something we need to know, doesn’t it?

Proverbs 3:23-24 Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Matt - so discernment is basically a characteristic of wisdom.

Yes Matt, part of wisdom. Knowledge is the accumulation of facts, and wisdom is the ability to put those facts to good use. Discernment is that part of wisdom that has to do with distinguishing good from evil. Now according to this verse, what are some of the benefits of having discernment?

OlePappy - safety; no fear
Matt - We will not put ourselves in dangerous situations that are unnecessary when we have discernment. We will also not be afraid.
Bro. Eric - Sweet sleep
Athie - We will not be afraid for one
Ginnie - A person would only have this discernment if they are walking in fellowship with the Lord, right? It would be a daily walk would it not?

Right Ginnie, we are talking about spiritual weapons which assumes that you are in right relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here are some benefits of discernment: direction, safety, protection, guard against fear, insomnia and nightmares. Solomon says you WILL go on your way safely, you Will not stumble, you WILL not be afraid, you WILL sleep sweetly.

Doesn’t this sound like something good to have? If you saw a commercial on TV for a product that would do all these things for you with NO SIDE EFFECTS, you’d probably rush right out and buy it!

Matt - insomnia....as in meaning to be afraid to go to sleep...right?? Because some people just can't sleep, whether they're worried about something or not.
Ginnie - There are many people saved who get so busy they do not walk closely with the Lord. Their discernment would be very limited I would think. Jesus said to abide in Him.

Right Ginnie, the closer we walk to the Lord and the more we read, meditate and memorize the Word, the more discernment we will have! Solomon continues:

Proverbs 3:25-26 Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the LORD will be your confidence and WILL KEEP YOUR FOOT FROM BEING SNARED.

So in these verses, what are some more benefits of discernment?

Matt - sudden disaster won't scare someone with discernment because God has given them the confidence they need to get through it.

Right Matt! Solomon lists more benefits of discernment. You don’t have to be anxious and worry about disasters and ruin, because you will be prepared. You don’t have to worry about self-confidence, for the Lord Himself will be your confidence. And most of all, you will be able to escape the snares or traps that the devil has set for you.

Ginnie - I suppose it is like the servant of Elisha when he prayed that God would show him that many more were on their side. Then the Lord opened the eyes of the servant to see the army of the Lord surrounding their enemies.

Now a snare is a trap that was set to catch an animal, such as a wolf that has been harassing the flock. Bait would be placed on the ground and when the animal would step close to eat it, a hidden device, such as a loop in a rope, would trap him. Or he would fall into a pit. Or would eat poison.

Matt - Snares and traps?? Temptation is one of these, but we will have discernment to choose not to give in.

A snare is always hidden. If it were obvious, no one would get trapped by it. And it always has some sort of appealing bait that attracts the victim to sure doom. The devil’s traps are no different. But discernment keeps you from being deceived.

Ginnie - I guess, discernment is seeing the truth that sets us free but it is also seeing things through the eyes of God. The mind of Christ.

Right Ginnie - seeing the truth AND seeing the lie. Every trap has truth in it. The challenge is to be able to see the lie in it.

Neil Anderson in "The Bondage Breaker" says that: "True spiritual discernment is nearly a lost practice in evangelical churches. But in reality discernment should be our first line of defense against deception. It's that buzzer which sounds inside warning you that something is wrong."

Bro. Eric - And what sets off that buzzer? OLD TIMER
Watchman - The Holy Spirit

Right! The Holy Spirit does Bro. Eric. We must be sensitive to His leading. Discernment is more than a weapon, it is a survival skill. Discernment allows you to "spy on the devil" and thwart his stratagems and devices BEFORE he can put them into action. Discernment is basically being able to distinguish good from evil.

Ginnie - How does one apply this in a practical way?

Ginnie we're getting there! Precept upon precept, line upon line... Now you might say, I KNOW what evil is - stuff like murder, theft, assault, etc. So you think, "I really don't need to know about this one." But WAIT. Your enemy is much more clever, subtle and devious than that! We are talking about discerning the subtle, elusive, deceptive, crafty, cunning, sly, insidious, slight forms of evil that we swallow everyday and don't even realize it.

Bro. Eric - Oldtimer, like, Hook line and sinker.

We're talking about the tiny seeds of doubt, offense, unbelief, discord, lust, discouragement, hatred, defeat and violence that we take in via our senses unaware that we are falling into a trap.

Watchman - When I do have a "discerning " moment that not in the flesh, it always COMES with a WORD, usually scripture based on context.

We've talked about some of the benefits of discernment. What does LACK of discernment lead to?

Bro. Eric - Darkness
believe - being deceived
Savior's Servant - OT-being overcome by deception
cowgirl - you make a lot of mistakes if your not led by the spirit
Matt - How would we spy on the devil....is that basically seeing through his hidden traps and knowing what he's up to? Lack of discernment leads to foolish actions and getting caught by the devil.

Right Matt! You got it! Discernment is like joining the Christian Intelligence Agency! LOL What does LACK of discernment lead to? Compromise with the world, justification of sin, a lowering of resistance to temptation, giving the devil permission to defeat you.

believe - Isn't discernment not just knowing when the devil is working . but also other spirits

Yes believe that's part of it - realize that the devil AND his demons set all kinds of traps for us. So discernment sounds like something you need to know about BIG TIME, doesn't it? Well, is it possible to come to such a state of spiritual awareness that we CAN discern these things? Paul said you could.

2 Corinthians 2:11 "in order that Satan might NOT outwit us. For we are NOT unaware of his schemes."

t†t Micaiah - it also includes discerning the good...as you said earlier o.t."distinguishing both good and evil ( like Balaam's donkey saw the angel)
believe - isn't it also to know if God is showing us things. and know it's not just in our on mind?

Right Micaiah, because sometimes what we think is GOOD really isn't! In other words, satan won't outwit us because we are aware of his schemes, plots and plans.

Ginnie - I think discernment would also include discerning, revelation of the mind of Christ in a situation.
Matt - Yes, discernment is a good thing to have, but the real thing we need to do is act in accordance with our discernment. If we don't, than our discernment will be useless.
elijah - I hate to sound stupid but doesn't the Lord tell us not to allow satan in our lives.. I mean this in love. but sometimes isn't it just our flesh . just us that does the sin .. no temptation just us gnarly sinners.. and what about he responsibility to owning up to our sin and asking for forgiveness. how can we truly be asking for forgiveness when we are blaming satan for everything?? sorry don't mean to sound negative but I am curious. after all satan is not omnipresent and all knowing..

Sure elijah, that is part of it. And we had a rather extensive study on preparing our hearts for war in which we addressed those issues. This lesson is to focus on one aspect of spiritual conflict, but not to exclude the others, OK?

t†t Micaiah - Isaiah 5:20 (spiritual dyslexia)
Ginnie - I believe Satan can only have a snare in our life if we have a sin that opens the door. So it will always be necessary to repent.

"Outwit us" in the Greek is pleonekteo {pleh-on-cek-teh'-o} meaning to make a gain [from, cheat], defraud, to have more, or a greater part or share, to be superior, excel, surpass, have an advantage over, to gain or take advantage of another, or to overreach.

cowgirl - you're right cause everything that comes at us isn't always from satan that's why we have to have a discernment

Paul is saying that there IS a way that we can keep the devil from cheating us, defrauding us, taking advantage to us, being superior to us, and defeating us. And what is that way? Becoming AWARE of satan's schemes by using the weapon of discernment.

t†t Micaiah - but discernment isn't the gift of being critical either....forgive!!!
Justme - Isaiah 7:15... Butter & honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good... thats another way to practice discernment, isn't it... to know the Lord so well, that anything else is immediately false to us?

Good point Justme. I'm told that bank tellers study REAL money so that when a counterfeit comes along, they know it immediately! So we must know the Word, know the Word and know the Word!

Schemes here is noema {no'-ay-mah} meaning mind, device, thought, a mental perception, or an evil purpose. So what is Paul saying? We can know what is on the devil's mind! Through discernment, we can be aware of his thoughts, schemes and evil purposes towards us, and outwit him!

Bro. Eric - Discernment - A prim. root; to separate mentally (or distinguish), i.e.(gen.) understand: - attend, consider, be cunning, diligently, direct, discern, eloquent, feel, inform, instruct, have intelligence, know, look well to, mark, perceive, be prudent.
t†t Micaiah - 2 Corinthians. 2:10-11(forgive) through thy precepts I get understanding therefore I hate every false way ( not person) Psalm 119:104
Justme - also...thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you.... the cry of the psalmist... But there are "back door" demons... like self pity, or rejection, ... those are some sneaky ones that steal our joy... Knowing our place in Christ, though... that would wipe out a few right there...watchful?

Right Justme, it's those sneaky ones we need to learn how to see! We are told to be on ALERT because our enemy is on the prowl, seeking to devour us:

1 Peter 5:8-9 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

What does "be alert" mean? Alert means to be awake, sober, focused, intent, aware, wise, vigilant or on guard. "Alert" here in Greek is gregoreuo {gray-gor-yoo'-o} meaning to watch, wake, be vigilant; metaphorically to give strict attention to, be cautious, active, or to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one.

Ginnie - The more we know and apply the truth the less doors will be open to demons in our lives.
Justme - those that were chosen at the waters with Gideon... they were the ones who took the watchful stance, weren't they?

That's true Ginnie. Yep, good point Justme! How do you stay "on alert"?

Justme - By meditating on his word, pray without ceasing.... in all thy ways acknowledge him and he will direct our paths.....
Ginnie - On the other hand if there is truth that we are aware of and do not apply it, then we are open to attack. We need to gird our loins with truth and fill our minds with truth.
Joy - Is spiritual discernment a gift? to stay on alert, you need to have the full armour of God on.
Ginnie - Being renewed in our minds, filling our minds with the Word of God will give us greater discernment. We will be aware of the ungodly thoughts that try to lodge in our minds.

Good points,meditation, prayer, applying truth. How do you stay "on alert"? You must be self-controlled, nepho {nay'-fo} in the Greek, meaning to be sober, to be calm and collected in spirit, to be temperate (balanced and moderate in speech and behavior), not subject to passionate outbursts, and circumspect (cautious, watchful, prudent, guarded, mindful, and wary).

Justme - let the peace of God rule in our hearts.... when we feel a lack of peace, we need to stand back and evaluate..
Bro. Eric - Old timer, is there not just two weapons in are warfare and all the rest is armor?

Eric, there are many weapons in our arsenal, which is included in the Word of God or sword of the Spirit. The Lord has revealed about 21 to me so far... Well we've covered 14 so far and they are on my web pages.

In war times, when the bulk of the army is resting, guards are posted to watch the perimeter of the camp. The safety of the unity depends on the vigilance, diligence, training and ability of those guarding them.

Ginnie - Good point OT. This is I believe body ministry and we need the body of Christ, fellowship so that we and others help each other with discernment.
Watchman - Amen, so as to "sharpen each others sword".

It takes very intensive training to be able to be totally alert for a lengthy time span and to be trained to detect the slightest movement or sound, or to discern something that seems to be "out of place". Likewise we are told to TRAIN our senses to be able to discern between good and evil.

Hebrews 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish [discern] good from evil.

"Trained" in the Greek is gumnazo {goom-nad'-zo}, our root word for gynmasium, to exercise vigorously, in any way, either the body or the mind. Notice that discernment takes CONSTANT and vigorous training.

Distinguish or discern is diakrisis {dee-ak'-ree-sis} meaning a distinguishing, discerning, judging from diakrino {dee-ak-ree'-no} meaning to doubt, judge, discern, contend, waver, to separate, make a distinction, discriminate, to prefer, to learn by discrimination, to try, decide, to determine, give judgment, decide a dispute, to withdraw from one, desert, to separate one's self in a hostile spirit, to oppose, strive with dispute, contend, to be at variance with one's self, hesitate, doubt.

t†t Micaiah - soldier,athlete,and farmer in 2 Tim. 2:2-7.sorry o.t. too many words for me to type.

So discernment is a VERY strong word in the Greek and is a process of doubting, weighing and judging, disputing, making a judgement on a thing that leads to a process of separation and even hostility. Now we are not told to do this to PEOPLE, but to make discernment against good and evil. And when we have weighed a thing and found it to be evil, we are to separate ourselves from it.

Ginnie - Separation, like the children of Israel were to be a separate nation from the rest of the world.
t†t Micaiah - but when they are so closely attached to the falseness that is when it can get messy...
Justme - OT... it's religion that causes us to separate from people... but Christ never separated from people... he said it was the sick that needed the physician... amen?

Neil Anderson comments: "If we would learn to be more spiritually aware in our churches and homes, God could keep us from plowing head-on into so many disasters. In the Western world our cognitive, left-brain orientation all but excludes discernment as our essential guide for navigating through the spiritual world."

In other words, because we do not use discernment, because we do not lean on the Holy Spirit for guidance, we get into a lot of messes! Anderson continues: "But the writer of Hebrews identified discernment as the foundation of a good systematic theology: "Solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil" (5:14)."

Some teach that Jesus said to "never judge", but He said, "By their fruit you shall KNOW them". We are told to examine a person's fruit. So what is the difference between discernment and condemnation?

Ginnie - You are judging an action without judging and condemning the person. Also, was not this scripture talking about leaders. We are all responsible for who we follow.

Discernment is letting the Holy Spirit show you truth, and condemnation is letting the flesh speak from the devil’s viewpoint. Discernment is differentiating between good and evil. Condemnation or judgement is acting as judge and jury, and passing sentence on someone, usually before you even know the facts. So we are to exercise our senses to be able to discern between good and evil, but not to be judgmental or condemning.

Neil Anderson says that: "The motive for true discernment is never to promote self, to amass personal gain, or to secure an advantage over another person-even an enemy. The Greek word for discernment-diakrino-simply means to make a judgment or a distinction. Discernment has only one function: to distinguish right from wrong so the right can be promoted and the wrong can be eliminated."

Let's look at this verse again: Hebrews 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish [discern] good from evil.

Watchman - Yep, here's where I fall into it every time, not discerning through the Holy Spirit...FRESH...but falling back on my studies and then using the fleshy mind and my own wisdom mixed with His word, that leads me to jump up and want to start cutting off heads, like David, but the one I'm Fighting is not Goliath, must move in a FRESH moving to discern at that PARTICULAR time & with that certain circumstance. Lord Jesus, I AM WRONG when I don't look for your Words, before I speak or ask, thanks for the forgiveness of God.
Justme - A good safe way to practice is to remember that Christ died for whoever you are talking to/judging... remember how precious that person is in his sight
suebq - been quiet because I was praying ...but have to say this one thing...many think they have discernment and hear God when all they have is what many minister friends of mine call the "Gift of Suspicion"
OlePappy - hehehehe, suebq, that is a fact

LOL suebq, and that would be a gift from the WHAT kind of spirit? Notice that discernment not only takes constant training, but is a sign of Christian maturity and evidence that you are ready for "solid food", deeper doctrine and profound revelation from God. God does not reveal mysteries to those who are not ready for them, and part of the maturing process is discernment.

t†t Micaiah - but separating them from their pet doctrine is hard because they cling to it so hard.

The reason we need training in discernment is because the things that we are looking for are not readily apparent to us. We receive the seeds of doubt, lust, discouragement, hatred and so on through our senses: what we see, what we hear, what we feel and what we taste.

suebq - God never...and I mean never gives you anything about another person if He knows you have the potential to hurt that person and He only shows things to allow you to be protected by being surprised and He expects you to be on your knees on the behalf of the other person or persons
Watchman - justme. thanks, so right, for there WAS I, and people were a blessing to me, not a curse to me, when I needed it most.
t†t Micaiah - like when Dagon fell over in front of the ark of the covenant...the head and hands fell off (all the 5 senses are in the head and hands)

Amen suebq, God has to be able to trust us with His secrets! Good point!

Ginnie - Discernment is seeing things in the spiritual realm and we need the Holy Spirit to reveal these to us.
suebq - one more thing ...we need to be strongly rooted and grounded in the Word to rightly discern
Justme - Does anyone know the two reasons we are given knowledge about someone else?

Just me I would say to protect us from them, and/or to pray for them.

Ginnie - To pray and not to be lead astray.
Justme - 1) to pray for them and 2) it's something he is dealing with us on.....
suebq - Justme...one to pray...two to be able to stand and not be surprised by what that person may do..so we can walk in love with them...and walk them out of the problem if possible

So we need to learn how to "filter" what we receive to keep evil seeds from being sown in our life. Jesus talked about evil seeds being sown by the enemy (satan): Matthew 13:25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. Jesus went on explain in vs.38-39 that "The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil."

Here Jesus is talking specifically about evil people, but the same applies to evil seeds sown in your own life. While you are "sleeping", that is you are not on guard, alert, sober and focused, the enemy will come and sow evil seeds in the garden of your heart, which will produce an evil harvest.

OP told me that in World War II, the coast watchers were given silhouettes of enemy aircraft to memorize so that they could instantaneously detect when an enemy was approaching - even from a great distance. Likewise we can glean silhouettes or patterns of evil from the Scriptures so that we can "see it coming" from afar off and prevent entry into our hearts and lives.

suebq - God is in the salvation business...not only salvation when we receive Him as our Lord...but in salvaging the gifts that are in each of us...and by discerning and praying for others we can do that...many many ministers would be salvaged from the trash heap of error if we would only pray
Justme - amen suebq... it's our ministry to hold up our pastor & leaders in prayer

Right suebq! We need discernment to love our fallen brothers and sisters back into the kingdom.

suebq - and OT...if we have discernment we are walking in the light of the truth and we do not need to fear others or what they may do

Now I’ve been asked to give practical examples of discernment in action. Be forewarned that I’m going to step on your toes, and mine. These are things that the Lord is showing me and trying to perfect in me, but have I been able to achieve victory in all these areas I’m about to share? Well, I’m working on it!

For example, we all know that violence is not a good thing. The Bible says that: Psalms 11:5 The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates. Now we don't want to be a part of something that God hates, do we?

The end of violence is fearfully portrayed in Ezekiel chapter 7:11, 23, 25-26a "Violence has grown into a rod to punish wickedness; none of the people will be left, none of that crowd--no wealth, nothing of value…Prepare chains, because the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of violence… When terror comes, they will seek peace, but there will be none. Calamity upon calamity will come, and rumor upon rumor…"

Now this doesn't sound like something we would willfully and knowingly participate in, does it? Yet TV, movies and even music today is full of violence. But this violence is "justified" by some premise or plot, and we glory in watching Stephen Segal, Van Damme, or Bruce Willis "kick butt".

Violence ever breeds more violence, and when seeds of aggression are planted in our hearts, we tend to become aggressive, less able to handle conflict peaceably, and more prone to selfishness.

t†t Micaiah - I use the gift of discernment in leading others to the Lord.he will show us what is holding them back from receiving...or as the pool hustlers say rule #1 is know your opponent

Another example of seeds of violence is found in TV wrestling. I realize that a lot of the violence is staged. However, the seeds of hatred and vengefulness, you know their constant screaming for "pay back time", these seeds are planted in your heart every time you watch.

Told you I might step on a few toes! LOL If I haven't stepped on yours yet, please be patient... LOL What does the Bible say about a vengeful attitude?

Romans 12:19 DO NOT TAKE REVENGE, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.

t†t Micaiah - and even "Christian musicians that haven't separated themselves from the world...it comes through their music . Steven Seagal is a Buddhist...that spirit can swerve us subtly if we open ourselves to that form of media.

So when we participate in vengeance, even though it seems not to be real, it will plant evil seeds in our heart. Then we will have a greater tendency to demand our "rights", be more likely to take offense at people who we believe are violating our rights, and will seek revenge on them, in direct disobedience to God's Word. From such a tiny seed….

And how about soap operas? What kind of evil seeds do they sow in your life?

uncaged_dove - I understand many people do not know soap operas are fiction,and so for them it is confusion..
Justme - discontent, for one, OT
t†t micaiah - lust, self-pity,
Justme - big ole long list....
t†t micaiah - that's why we call self-pity the soap opera spirit!!

How about lying, adultery, infidelity, manipulation, greed, emphasis on outward appearance, being "seen of men", lack of true repentance and change?

How about adventure programs such as Xena and Hercules?

t†t micaiah - lesbianism, female domination, fetishes, occult activity.

Here violence again is offered as the means of resolving conflict, but with an added twist - dependence on the power of "gods" and "goddesses" to achieve victory. The Bible is very clear that these gods and goddesses are backed by demonic power:

Revelation 9:20 The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood--idols that cannot see or hear or walk.

suebq - OT...have one thing to say..."Garbage In...Garbage Out" what we feed our spirit man is what will produce ....good or bad fruit

Amen suebq - that is correct! Not too many of us have actual statues of the gods and goddesses in our homes, but we have their images on TV, in movies, magazines, and in our minds. What influence do the demons backing them have on us? Don’t we want to look like them, dress like them, revere them? More people have Hercules as a hero that Jesus. And Hercules is a myth. What Jesus achieved for us is REAL.

1 Corinthians 8:5-6 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

destined - Amen!!! My kid is deleting a channel now that is unacceptable for us to view!!!
t†t micaiah - family, friends, ministry, career, sports people can all become idols.
uncaged_dove - i guess I am a little lost, how did we get from vengeance to media condemnation...? I missed a step here

Dove we're talking about evil seeds that are planted in our hearts through our senses - giving practical examples from the media right now.

We need to keep in mind that although there are many gods and goddesses in mythology and on TV and in the movies, including new myths that are created every day in Hollywood, for us there is ONE God and ONE Lord, our creator, redeemer and source of life. And we need to guard our hearts against any "lord" that would try to take Jesus' place.

Watchman - That's right, every time one of these "movies" come out, geared towards my children, I look to see, and almost ALWAYS do see, signs of occult, or pagan idol, false god worship, and there are no "Happy" meals, no rental of the video, etc...and Praise God, the Children Never complain, they want NOTHING to do with it , once I show them, they KNOW Jesus only is our affection to go to.
t†t micaiah - there can even be pride and arrogance attached to a spiritual gift...why would anyone want to touch God's glory?
suebq - OT...we become like those we spend the most time with...sorta a law of association....that is why spending time with Jesus and in prayer and the Word is so important

I Corinthians 10:14-15 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. What does "flee from idolatry" mean?

t†t micaiah - if you sleep with a dog you wake up with fleas!!!
Justme - we're either feeding our spirit man or our flesh... no in betweens...
suebq - TV and Movies should be for a special time with family...not an everyday babysitter of our minds
destined - Amen Watchman! We find that giving an explanation (scriptural) usually makes them more aware and they catch it sometimes before we do!
OlePappy - course if you get involved with ministry you don't have time for TV
Watchman - YES, Micaiah, I get a VERY strong sense, when someone even says thank you for a prayer or other gift that comes OUT of me FROM God, I immediately say, thanks to Jesus, out loud, or in this case, in type, giving HIM all HONOR that IS DUE HIM.
t†t micaiah - that's it right there watch...lot of people tooting their own horn...that's God's gift through us for the body.
Justme - flee from idolatry, OT... to run away from quickly?

What does "flee from idolatry" mean? We need to run as fast as we can in the opposite direction. I’ve often puzzled as to how Israel could forsake God so easily and fall into the idolatrous practices of the other nations. But because they traded and intermarried with them, they became blind to the evil of their customs, and in time adopted them. Ask yourself: what power do the evil customs of MY culture have on me?

Justme - Complacency dulls the senses... we get tired because we try to go in our own strength and that's when we can get overwhelmed....
Watchman - OldTimer, Amen to that, we are so used to it, we are blind to it.

Pastor Steve Perdue of World Aflame Ministries says: "Every society communicates its values. The secular media is unrelenting in its pressures and values training. Images flash across our screens which challenge our faith--perfumes and obsessions, cars and cash, tanned bodies sunning on a resort beach, Reebocks and Calvin Kleins. Values are transmitted by films and the novels which beget them, by magazines as well as TV soaps. How do we protect ourselves from a gradual washing out of our values?"

suebq - Amen Watchman...the only way God can truly use us is for us to be unselfish...and to be dead to our will and desires and wants...and to have compassion for a lost and dying world out there that needs Jesus...we are sons and daughters...but we in being that are Servants first and foremost always

I Corinthians 10:19-20 Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.

When we participate in idolatrous worship of ANYTHING, we are participating with demons. One thing that concerns me today in our culture is how many "fans" there are of various things, from rock idols to baseball stars. Where do you draw the line between interest and worship?

suebq - right now OT...the media has many in depression due to all the Christmas hype.....and our inability as humans to have that perfect life style at this time of year
t†t micaiah - the santa claus,Jesus is a lottery ticket gospel is about to come to an end.

Right suebq, but we pray Jesus peace upon this land! Let our nation become hungry for the TRUE meaning of Christmas!

It is amazing that to many people, Elvis Presley is an idol. They spend all of their time collecting mementos, pictures, records, etc. They talk about him as if he were still alive. They define their lives by Elvis. And he’s dead, and cannot save them from their sins or give them eternal life! And Elvis isn’t the only idol, but you get what I’m saying.

suebq - we get anxious over lack of time...lack of money...having to outgive the others...etc
t†t micaiah - fan=root word "fanatic"
Justme - Christ must be our all in all... let the peace of God rule in our hearts & minds... endevour to keep a conscience void of offense toward God & man...
Watchman - Amen, suebq, as living sacrifices, our Lord gave HIS ALL, and we would be hard pressed to meet 1%, Praise the Holy Lamb of God, an example of true Godhood, serving and loving to the death, unlike this world, being served and killing with a word.

I Corinthians 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons.

suebq - amen...OT...and let us remember the Greatest Gift is to Share His love and Give others a chance to receive eternal life
Justme - Walk in the spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh... yes, suebq... time is so short and there are so many people that Jesus would like to have...

Right sue, and what a wonderful gift to share! The "Lord’s table" refers to the Lord’s Supper, one of Christianity’s most important times of worship. Idolatry has its rituals and customs too, and Paul is saying you can’t have both.

So am I saying that you can't watch TV, movies or listen to music if you are a Christian? No, I'm saying you need to filter what you watch or listen to - you need to discern what is evil and do not get involved with that, or evil seeds will be planted in your heart - and when they take root and grow, then you will have to deal with a harvest of evil in your life.

Of course, the same goes for reading material - because what you allow into your mind is what determines your actions and reactions in life. If you feed on garbage, garbage will flow out. Or what you spend your time talking about to others.

Jesus said in Matthew 15:18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man `unclean.' [evil]

So discernment involves training your senses to distinguish between good and evil and filtering out what may plant evil seeds in your heart. Discernment in this sense is a defensive weapon - you defend yourself against the evil seeds that the devil has plotted to plant in your heart and life.

Watchman - So discernment involves training your senses to distinguish between good and evil
Justme - Seeking him early in the morning, like the scriptures say... well... it really helps with discernment... spending time with him FIRST thing… You'll be surprised what time with him first will bring about in your day...
Preacher - I believe there is discernment that God supernaturally gives a believer to direct them in life and a discernment that comes from knowing His Word.

Right watchman - it is part of our maturing process as Christians as we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit's guidance and training Yes, justme, that's a great way to start the day!

So how is discernment used as an offensive weapon? When we are doing spiritual warfare on behalf of another, we need to be able to discern what spirits are controlling and blinding that person. First of all we are told that ALL unbelievers are to some degree blinded against the gospel of Jesus Christ:

2 Corinthians 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

And it may be necessary when praying for the salvation of someone, to bind these spirits and cast them out. You could pray something like this: "Blinding spirits I come against you in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in ___________'s life, I rebuke you, bind you, and cast you out in Jesus Name. Father God, I ask you to open the eyes of __________'s understanding so they can see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ and send people across their path to minister salvation to them in Jesus Name. AMEN"

jeffrey - OT That's why it takes the power of God to call certain ones out and take the blinders off!

Of course you'd put the person's name in the blanks! There may be more demonic spirits binding that person's life. This part of discernment is a gift - a glimpse given by God into the spiritual plane so that you can pray more effectively.

Watchman - that's right, MANY different forms of oppression, like different parts of a war machine, air, land, sea, battalions, proper discernment is critical to win the victory in the battle, to receive proper logistical support , and penetrate the enemy and vanquish it, IN Jesus Name.

1 Corinthians 2:14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

suebq - we also need to hear on behalf of others when and what to do when we discern things...like I am now discerning my hubby needs me to go!! lol

1 Corinthians 12:10-11 … to another [is given the gift of] distinguishing between spirits… All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

Neil Anderson says: "In I Corinthians 12:10 discernment is the divinely enabled ability to distinguish a good spirit from a bad spirit. It is one of the gifts of the Spirit which is to be utilized to edify the church."

"Discernment is not a function of the mind; it's a function of the Holy Spirit which is in union with your soul/spirit. When the Spirit sounds a warning, your mind, which is designed to deal with clear objectivity, may not be able to perceive what's wrong."

"In fact, if your mind tries to interpret the warning objectively, you will probably miss the point of the warning. When you discern that something is wrong, simply say to those with you, "I sense that something is out of order here. Let's ask God to help us." Then allow God to bring conviction as only He can."

There is some knowledge that is not readily available to us in the sense world that we physically live in. It is knowledge that people without the Holy Spirit cannot know or see.

One of the gifts of the Spirit is called Discerning of Spirits (I Corinthians 12:10), and like the other gifts here is given by the Spirit as HE wills and as it is needed. When we do spiritual warfare on behalf of another, we need to seek the Spirit for discernment of the spiritual forces that may be binding them.

Justme - amen OT... I always reserve the right to refuse on grounds of Holy Spirit "checks"!!! My daughter has been reigned in many times by those checks and I feel sure somehow saved by them....

So as you are praying for someone, the Holy Spirit may allow you to discern the spirits that are binding or tormenting a person and pray for deliverance. Now some things are pretty obvious. An alcoholic for example most likely has some spirit of addiction upon him. But other things may not be so obvious, for example a spirit of rejection.

I John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Watchman - Satan ALWAYS endeavors to do evil, it is God that can alter what he does and make a good come from it to teach, edify, comfort, or exhort,....there is NO good in satan, he is now evil incarnate.

Another from of discerning of the spirits is to test doctrine or prophecy to see if it is genuine. The Apostle John in I John 4:1 tells us to "try the spirits" to see if they are from God. Sometimes the deception in a prophecy or doctrine is well hidden and it takes spiritual discernment to root it out.

I've read a lot of literature from what I would consider to be unscriptural beliefs. I found if you read the document from the front to the back, it often seems "reasonable" and "truthful and the lie is slipped in a little at a time - and is hard to discern. But if you read those same documents from the back to the front, you'll see the lie glaring out at you and won't be trapped.

t†t micaiah - every demon has a false doctrine that goes with it.

I stand on Romans 8:28 - That God makes all things work together for the good of them that love Him and are called according to His purpose.

t†t micaiah - but all things aren't good!!!!
Justme - Amen, OT... remember the needlework... from the back it looks like a mess but on the front, it's a beautiful tapestry...
SOLDIER - I Think the WORD itself is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart if taken spiritually...

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

If we don’t use discernment to examine every doctrine or philosophy, what can happen? We can be taken captive and will do the will of the one who has captured us instead of doing God’s will.

Don’t think that because you’ve been brought up in Church, or know something about the Bible that you will automatically know when you are being deceived. If you KNEW, you wouldn’t be deceived, right?

OK, we've talked about how we can exercise our senses to discern good and evil through practise, and we talked about some practical ways to apply it as a defensive weapon to keep us from being snared by the devil.

Watchman - "even the very elect" shows how much we better be hearing GOD's voice only, in our walk...

Offensively, we talked about the GIFT of discerning of spirits given by the Holy Spirit, and that sometimes in ministering to others, the Holy Spirit will reveal what blinding and/or binding spirits are at work. And we began to talk about using discernment to distinguish false from true doctrine. This section is quite lengthy and we will go into it in depth next time.

If you ask to receive the Holy Spirit, believe by faith that you have received. And discernment is developed as you walk with the Holy Spirit, read, meditate, pray and memorize the Word.

Father thank you that you have given us the Mind of Christ, and as we devote our hearts to you, the Holy Spirit teaches us how to discern good from evil. May this lesson take root into our hearts and bear fruit this week we pray in Jesus Name AMEN

 

Remember, whenever God gives us a revelation, the devil tries to steal it from us. Guard your hearts and meditate on what you've learned! And put it into practice.

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Original lesson 12/17/98
Revised: May 03, 2001