Sin is never in our long-term best interest. What is the relationship between Deception and Evangelism? Second Thessalonians says that the evil one deceives those who are perishing. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. Spiritual discernment presupposes proper motives. Discernment has one primary function: to distinguish between right and wrong so that we may pursue the right and avoid the wrong.
It is more a function of the Holy Spirit bearing witness to our spirit than it is of the human mind. Apart from God we are spiritually deaf, dumb and blind. Discernment comes through the Holy Spirit illuminating us as to what is consistent with the Word of God. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
The unregenerate person is deceived into thinking that one need not be saved or that salvation is by works and that salvation can be put off to some later day. All the world religions except Christianity believe this and they are all deceived. Salvation is by grace alone Eph. The regenerate person is most frequently deceived by thinking of themselves in terms of their old nature Rom. This is such an important issue that it demands a separate article for a fuller, clearer explanation. How can we sum up what we have learned on this important topic?
Ignorance is not bliss. The better we know what we are up against the more likely we are to recognize how and when the enemy attacks and the more likely we will be able to resist the fiery darts of the evil one in the strength of the Lord. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us.
Steven C. Riser Latest posts by Dr. Please note we are not able to get to every comment due to the number we receive. To speak with someone directly please use the form here. Decerning the truth as we educate ourselves through the word of God. Only the word of God. The vail is lifted off our eyes. The truth will set you free. Learn the did difference between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow. Guard your heart as it direct your path.
3 Ways to Distinguish Between God’s Voice and Satan’s Voice
WIP: work in progress. Help please God spoke through a prophet listen to voice of deception. I have been living with a man for 10yrs. Now and tonight I have come to see his true self by closing off the feelings for him from my heart. He has lied to me. Constantly cheated and decived me repeatedly. Fear of loosing a battle of games? Well a heart is not a game to play with. You are not crazy and you are not alone.
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Latest posts by Dr. Riser see all. Latest Posts by: Dr. Most reacted comment. Hottest comment thread. Recent comment authors. Tonya R Oliver. Kimberly chretin. Surprising these are the same methods used by Christians lies and deceit. Or, if they do point out the error, other people denounce them as heresy hunters" [Eugene, Oreg.
The diluting of biblical doctrine has conditioned today's church to desire only what will make it feel comfortable and satisfied. English minister Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, "Precise thinking, and definition, and dogma have been at a serious discount. The whole emphasis has been placed upon religion as a power which can do things for us and which can make us happy.
The emotional and feeling side of religion has been over-emphasized at the expense of the intellectual. Far too often people have thought of the Christian religion merely as something which gives a constant series of miraculous deliverances from all sorts and kinds of ills The impression has often been given that we have but to ask God for whatever we may chance to need and we shall be satisfied We have been so intent upon ourselves and our moods and feelings and inward states, that when we are confronted by an external problem that nevertheless affects us profoundly, we do not know how to think or where to begin cited by Ian Murray in David Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Fight of Faith, vol.
Because experience and emotion have been elevated above divine revelation, many who call themselves Christians have no biblical basis for doing so.
The Dividing Line: The Difference Between Discernment and Deception
For example, during an interview on a supposedly Christian radio station, the program host asked me, "How does a person become a Christian? He must believe that Jesus Christ is God's Son, whose death paid the price for his sins and whose resurrection proves his justification. One day I just got Jesus' phone number and knew where He was. Some say that doctrine divides. That's true! If you set aside biblical truth and remain silent for fear of offending people, opposition will disappear, but so will some other things like truth, holiness, and God Himself. Jude says we are to "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
For certain persons have crept in unnoticed Rather than seeing things as black and white—as right and wrong or true and false—it prefers to see things in infinite shades of gray. Lewis's satire The Screwtape Letters Screwtape, a senior demon, instructed an apprentice demon to keep his human victim's mind off the plain antithesis between true and false" [N. In reality, Satan uses that strategy very successfully, for today's church has failed to distinguish divine truth from error.
The Discerning of Spirits
Believers need to develop an antithetical, not a relativistic, mindset. Jay Adams wrote, "People who study the Bible in depth develop antithetical mindsets: They think in terms of contrasts or opposites. From Genesis to Revelation God's thoughts and ways are set over against all others. The Bible does not teach that there are numerous ways to please God, each of which is as good as the next.
Nor does it teach that various opinions are more or less God's ways. What it teaches—everywhere—is that any thought or way that is not wholly God's is altogether wrong and must be rejected. According to the Bible, a miss is as good as a mile. There is only one God, and there is only one way of life—His! Because they have a different mindset. Many of them have not known the Bible from childhood or ever made an intensive study of it later on, so their mindset is unbiblical With pastors and people alike growing up in an environment that stresses continuum thinking, antithesis is dulled as more and more people attempt to integrate sociology, psychology, and business management principles with Scripture" A Call to Discernment, pp.
Instead of integrating worldly ideas with God's truth, the psalmist made a clear distinction between the two: "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
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But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night" Ps. Titus says we are to refute doctrinal error by "holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching. Since today's church believes it must win the lost to Christ by winning their favor, it no longer teaches the biblical doctrines of sin, hell, repentance, or the cross because those would offend the lost or make them feel uncomfortable.
Instead it markets itself as a benevolent, non-threatening agency whose primary goal is to achieve prestige, popularity, and intellectual acceptance among the lost. Its premise is, "If they like us, they'll like our Jesus. While the true church is to be loving and gracious in its evangelizing, it should never mitigate the teaching of God's Word. Martyn Lloyd-Jones "saw that the elements of warning and of opposition to error were essential parts of any true commitment to the Bible and, therefore, believed that the 'disapproval of polemics in the Christian Church [was] a very serious matter'.
Accordingly he expected no approval from those who accepted the prevailing attitude which put 'love' first and treated arguments over doctrine as unchristian. It was that very attitude, he believed, which was responsible for the removal of the note of authority from the pulpit: the charge of 'dogmatism' and the dislike of reproof and correction were criticisms of Scripture itself" The Fight of Faith, p. Note the example of the apostle Paul.
He gave a stinging rebuke to the church of Corinth for its preoccupation with image: "Who regards you as superior? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and I would indeed that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you. For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.
To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things" 1 Cor. True believers are an offense to those who reject the truth.
Christ said to His disciples, "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master. Hebrews says believers are "made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations.
That's because, for the most part, it is indifferent toward God's Word. Some teachers in the church are not trained to study God's Word and end up with a wrong theology. Some are trained, but opt to tell stories or mix man-made ideas with biblical truth. Others are simply too lazy to interpret God's Word accurately. Still others arrive at what they believe is truth by some mystical intuition, experience, or emotion.
In addition, today's church has elevated nearly everyone to the level of an expert in interpreting Scripture. The following letter, written to an acquaintance of mine, illustrates the wrong but prevalent attitude of indifference toward Scripture by so-called believers: "The greatest experience in love I have ever had was at the foot of the cross as the blood of Jesus Christ poured out over me.
He filled me with His Spirit. He brought me across the veil into the City of Jerusalem into the Holy of Holies. There I beheld myself in Him, and He in me. I received the baptism as by fire and from this His love dwells in me. From this I have communion daily. I do not feel the need for the study of the Scriptures, for I know Jesus as He has revealed Himself to me within; and as He dwells in me, there is the Word Scriptures are a secondary source.
Interpreting God's Word is an exacting science that requires skill and precision. Unless the believer has sat under good teaching, is well-read, or has learned to interpret Scripture from someone who knows how, it's unlikely he or she will be able to interpret Scripture accurately. Here's how Christ said it's to be carried out: "If your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.
And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile [an unbeliever]" Matt. The church is to have a high standard of holiness. The apostle Paul admonished the church at Corinth for tolerating sin: "It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father's wife. And you have become arrogant, and have not mourned instead, in order that the one who had done this deed might be removed from your midst.
For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? The absence of church discipline will kill spiritual discernment and destroy the holiness of the church.
Confronting sin effectively puts a wall of division between the world and the church by separating those who obey the Lord from those who don't.
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It's essential that believers draw the line between right and wrong. The church should be sending a message to the lost that says, "We are a holy people. It's what I call "Baby Christianity. Similarly, the spiritually immature are apt to swallow wrong teaching because they've not been taught to discern between divine truth and error.
Ephesians says, "We are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ. An in-depth understanding of God's Word is the key to spiritual maturity.
Hebrews says, "Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
Many of you are discerning in the everyday affairs of life. You read nutritional labels because you want to be healthy. You read the fine print of the stock market report before making financial investments. If you need surgery, you'll carefully select the right doctor.
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Maybe you're highly analytical about politics and can accurately assess the domestic and foreign issues. Or maybe you're an armchair quarterback who evaluates offensive and defensive strategies. All that is fine, but can you discern between divine truth and error?
Prophecy Followed by Judging
If you seek only to be happy, healthy, and wealthy, you will not be spiritually discerning. You must be humble enough to admit your need to develop discernment. Proverbs says, "Make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding; for if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the Lord, and discover the knowledge of God.
King Solomon prayed, "Give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people to discern between good and evil" 1 Kings The Lord replied, "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, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you" vv.
James says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. Some in the early church were specially gifted to discern between divine truth and error 1 Cor. That gift was essential since false teachers tried to destroy the early church with their teaching.
First John says, "Test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. Does that gift exist today? Yes, there are theologians or Bible scholars who are gifted by God to unmask false teachers. They have a special ability to think carefully, critically, and analytically. They are the church's guardians of truth. Some teach in seminaries while others do such things as write books.
In whatever capacity they serve, they give clarity and insight to help us know right from wrong. You need to learn from what they teach and write. You also need to follow the example of other mature believers. As it takes years of parental training for children to become mature, so it takes years of godly training for believers to become spiritually mature. It's not a matter of praying in the evening, "Lord, give me discernment," and then waking up the next morning and having it.
Spiritual maturity is the result of being nourished by God's Word.
Related The Dividing Line: The Difference Between Discernment and Deception
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