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Summary: Wisdom and discernment are great gifts of God.

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Discerning the Conflict

Aug. 30, 2009 (PM) FBC, Chester Dr. Mike Fogerson, Speaker

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,10 and to another the effecting of miracles , and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. 1 Cor 12:4-11 (NASB)

A There are at least 9 gifts of the Spirit, and I believe ALL are still God’s gifts to the believer.

1 People pursue gifts (nothing wrong, very right)

a I believe the first gift you pursue/pray for is wisdom.

b In fact, wisdom is mentioned as the first of several gifts of the Spirit.

aa Love isn’t a gift-fruit

bb Your gifts operate out of the fruit

2 Wisdom is to the gifts of the Spirit as love is to the fruit of the Spirit.

a You don’t turn the keys of your $30,000 vehicle to a 16-year-old kid without first knowing he’s been trained, & has experience & time behind the wheel.

aa Why not? We’re afraid they’ll make a wreck of things.

b If you’re entering into the spiritual arena, operate in fruit, gifts, spiritual warfare...you’re gonna have to pray for wisdom & discerning of spirits.

aa Why? Not every bad situation, circumstance, or spiritual battle is caused by a spirit.

bb You don’t want to become a “demon chaser.”

cc You can open doors for them without realizing it! You expect the enemy to show up, & he’ll oblige you.

B You talk about demons, they’ll show up; talk about Jesus, He’ll show up.

1 Discernment is necessary to keep the balance.

a In Southern Baptist church life, we’ve ignored spiritual warfare, leave that to the charismatics.

b They can go too far...balance.

2 Discerning-discerning what?

I Dissecting discernment For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God...1 Cor 2:11-12 (NASB)

A Paul spoke of the discerning of spirits, because there are 3 realms of discernment necessary: discerning the Spirit of God, spirit of man, & spirit of Satan.

1 Many times, people will go to church & something happens & they comment, “That’s not of God.”

a Often, that’s more of an opinion than a discerning of the spirits.

aa They judge something as “not of God” because it runs against their religious or denominational traditions.

bb I was raised to be skeptical of any show of emotion in worship (clap, cry, laugh, raise your hands).

cc For years, I’d label outright anything that looked like that.

b What I labeled as “not of God” was just really “not of me”.

2 Discerning the things of the Spirit of God means being able to hear & obey the voice of the Holy Spirit & separate His voice from your own voice...the spirit of man.

a When I hear His voice I’ll say, “The Holy Spirit is telling me”; when I simply feel something in my spirit, “I feel in my spirit.”

b God should never be blamed when I mistake my own zeal for a word from God.

B It’s important we are able to discern the heart/motives of those we surround ourselves with.

1 People have married out of God’s will because they discern the spirit of man.

a God would’ve told them, “Wrong person!”

b Sometimes people don’t want to know, so they don’t ask! They’re scared they’ll get a word they don’t want to hear.

2 Finally, we must discern the presence of Satan, evil.

a Don’t blame everything on an evil spirit.

b These excesses can put more attention on the enemy than on God & His Kingdom.

II Discerning demonic possession

A I believe a Christian can be depressed, oppressed, suppressed, but never possessed by a demonic spirit.

1 Possession is when a demon is in total control of a person’s mind, spirit, & body.

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