Jesus Christ is Lord of All

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Unity # 40: The Discernment of the Saints

Unity # 40: The Discernment of the Saints
Dear Father,
     Please help us to receive Your Word and treasure Your commandments within us, to make our ears attentive to wisdom, and to incline our hearts to understanding. For if we cry for discernment, lift our voices for understanding, seek for her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures, then we will discern the fear of You, Lord, and discover Your knowledge. Lord, You give wisdom and from Your mouth comes knowledge and understanding. You store up sound wisdom for the upright. You are a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice, and preserving the way of Your Godly ones. Then we will discern righteousness and justice and equity and every good course. For wisdom will enter our hearts and knowledge will be pleasant to our souls; discretion will guard us and understanding will watch over us. (Prov 2:1-11).
Jesus Christ, who has become to us wisdom from God, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Cor 1:30), in His Name we pray, Amen

Dear Beloved,

     God has brought us here to the last unity letter. Henceforth I feel the Lord’s leading for my writing to be devoted towards individuals. Presently, there are scores of people who have come my way whom the Lord would have me to preach the Gospel to, disciple, or to encourage/exhort in the Lord. And my writing ministry will be turning towards them. I may write to you all from time to time as He leads.
     This letter is about the discernment of the saints, His beloved ones. The state of the present age is one of spiritual chaos. Spirits, both good and evil, dwell in the heavenly realms. Deceptions reign in the midst of the church buildings and the public arena of our nation. Many will be falling away from us. Many will be pressing on in a powerless Gospel. Many will slander us and the other saints. The Truth is thrown to the ground. Godlessness is the ocean in which the people drown even now. But He is our Breath of Life. God writes His Word to us in 1 John concerning those who are trying to deceive us. As for us, the anointing which we received from Him abides in us, and we have no need for anyone to teach us; but as His anointing teaches us about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught us, we abide in Him. Now we, the little children, must abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. (1 John 2:26-27).

     It is the last hour, and just as we heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. But we have an anointing from the Holy One, and we know all. We do know the Truth and no lie is of the Truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies that Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. As for us, let that abide in us which we heard from the beginning. If what we heard from the beginning abides in us, we also will abide in the Son and in the Father. (1 John 2:18-24)

    Oh dear saints, our gracious Father will grant us discernment that we may not be deceived unto damnation. God tells us that if any of us lack wisdom, let us ask of Him, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him (James 1:5). King Solomon prayed that God would grant His servant an understanding heart to judge His people to discern between good and evil. He understood the awesome task of judging the great people of God. (1 Kings 3:9) God gave King Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore (1 Kings 4:29). Similarly King David commended Abigail by calling her discernment blessed, for it kept him from bloodshed and from avenging himself by his own hand (1 Sam 25:33).

     Those who worship idols and who do not have the Holy Spirit are not a people of discernment, therefore their Maker will not have compassion on them. And their Creator will not be gracious to them (Is 27:11). They claim to be wise, but once again God will deal marvelously with them, and the wisdom of the wise men will perish, and the discernment of their discerning men will be concealed (Is 29:14). We too were as them at one time, but in His New Covenant, the mind of the hasty will discern the Truth, and the tongue of stammerers will hasten to speak clearly (Is 32:4).

10 Who is among you that fears the Lord,
That obeys the voice of His servant,
That walks in darkness and has no light?
Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.
11 Behold, all you who kindle a fire,
Who encircle yourselves with firebrands,
Walk in the light of your fire
And among the brands you have set ablaze.
This you will have from My hand:
You will lie down in torment.

     We must be ready to discern those among us for many will join us in hypocrisy (Dan 11:34). Christ told us to beware of the false prophets, who come to us in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. He promised that we WILL know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes not figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, we will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Him, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of the Father in heaven will enter. Many will say to Him on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and in Your Name cast out demons, and in Your Name perform many miracles?’ And then He will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS’. (Matt 7:15-23)

     Dear saints, there is a greater and more perfect discernment that we must have. Solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil (Heb 5:14). For many will speak about Christ, and seemingly cast out demons and perform miracles, but He never knew them. For the sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment. Their Godlessness is obvious and their coming judgment is evident to all. For others, their sins follow them. They are among us with an aura of spirituality, but they do not belong to us. Christ is not exalted in their hearts. Likewise also, deeds that are good are quite evident, and those which are otherwise cannot be concealed. (1 Tim 5:24-25)

     The discernment of the saints is theirs and will not resonate with those who lack the Spirit, yes, even many among the modern day groups of professing believers. For we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND WHICH HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 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. 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, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining Spiritual thoughts with Spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are Spiritually appraised. But he who is Spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ! (1 Cor 2:6:16)

Truths about Discernment from Scripture

1.     Those who are born of God practice righteousness. It is not as though they are morally perfect here in this earthly life, but they have a life’s practice of righteousness, a harvest of the fruit of the Spirit (as cousin Nirmal reminded us yesterday). God tells us to abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If we know that He is righteous, we know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him. (1 John 2:28-29) Whoever is wise, let him understand these things: whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them. (Hos 14:9)

2.     Everything that is of God is centered on Christ and the Gospel. The Person and work of Christ are not a peripheral to what comes from Him, but rather, they are the basis and foundation for all good things. All good things bring glory to and exalt Christ. All such things makes much of Christ and the Gospel. Whenever the focus of a person’s message or work is not ultimately on the Person and Work of Christ, there is something amiss. For in all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. (Eph 1:8-10)

3.     Every inclination in us that is of God involves the fleeing of the soul from the world and the gazing and clinging of the soul to Christ. Prov 14:7 tells us to leave the presence of a fool, or we will not discern words of knowledge. We must not be conformed to this world, but must be transformed by the renewing of our mind, so that we may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom 12:2)

4.     The transformation by renewing of our mind by the Spirit and Word of God results in discernment. (Rom 12:2)

5.     The abounding of Christ’s love within us results in discernment. Paul prayed for the Philippians that their love would abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that they may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Phil 1:9-11)

6.     It has been granted to us to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. When the disciples asked Jesus why He spoke to the people in parables, He answered them saying that to them has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to others it has not been granted. (Matt 13:10-11, 14-16) In the latter case, the prophecy of Isaiah was being fulfilled, which says,

[f]You will keep on hearing[g]but will not understand;
[h]You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
15 For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.’
7.     We are abundantly blessed to see and hear Christ. Christ told us that blessed are our eyes, because they see; and our ears, because they hear. For truly He says to us that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what we see, and did not see it, and to hear what we hear, and did not hear it. (Matt 13:16-17)

8.     Outcomes over time will reveal more to us. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him (Matt 13:12). There are some professing believers who do not seem to understand core doctrine properly today. Are they saved? Are they false converts? They preach a repentance-less Gospel. Are they wolves in sheep’s clothing? In many cases, we will know by observing the fruit of their lives over time and their responsiveness to the Word when it is taught. Are they growing in knowledge and understanding of the Truth? Are they becoming more like Christ? Christ said that His sheep will hear His voice (John 10:16). Do they respond in humility and repentance when taught the Truth or are they hard-hearted? Do they desire to know the Truth? Jesus said that everyone who is of Truth hears His voice (John 18:37). Even if they do not understand today, do the seeds of Truth which have been sown take root in their lives over time?
Tears for the Present and Love Forever inChrist,

Some Links:
Transcripts of my last two Awana Messages (no, I did not know at the time that they were the last, but God knew)

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