Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
Discerning of spirits. This is supernatural revelation, or insight into the realm of spirits to detect them and their plans and to read the minds of people (Mt. 9:4; Lk. 13:16; Jn. 2:25; Acts 13:9- 10 16:16; 1Tim. 4:1- 4 1Jn. 4:1- 6). Jn 2:24 says, "Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men". Jesus did not trust Them as He knew they were not genuine in faith and character. This is an example of the gifts of knowledge and discerning of spirits (1Cor. 12:4- 11). Paul is an another example that he had the gift of "Discerning of spirits" (Acts 13:10; 14:9; 16:18; 1Cor. 13:2). As we are approaching the end of end times, it appears that false prophets and false teachers outnumber the true ministers of God. Note the term "many" in these references: 1 Jn 2:18; 4:1; Mt 7:15,22; 24:5; 2 Cor 2:17; Phil 3:18. Yes, the enemy usually comes in "like a flood" (Is 59:19). Jesus spoke about "rain," "floods" and "winds" in the context of false ministries (Mt 7:15,25). Paul spoke of "winds" of doctrine and tossing "waves" (Eph 4:14). The different spirits can operate through any of the ministers of the New Testament Church (Eph 4:11). We read about false apostles (2 Cor 11:13), false prophets (Mt 7:15), false evangelists (Gal 1:6-8), false shepherds (Jn 10:12) and false teachers (2 Pet 2:1). As we come to the end of the endtime, the deceiving spirits will be hyperactive. This was "expressly" predicted by the Holy Spirit (1 Tim 4:1). The effect on careless believers will be a "departure from the faith." The Greek word suggests a slow and an unintentional going away from the faith. It will not be a total and sudden rejection of the faith but a drifting away in stages. All the apostles were vehemently against the preachers operating with different spirits. Note Paul's language as he referred to these ministers: "Deceitful workers" (2 Cor 11:13), "troublemakers" (Gal 1:7), "false brothers" (2:4), "witches" (3:1), "dogs, evil workers" (Phil 3:2), "enemies of the Cross" (3:18), "deceivers, cheats" (Col 2:4,8), "frauds" (2:18), "liars" (1 Tim 4:2), "proud men" (6:4), "corrupt men" (6:5), "vain babblers" (2 Tim 2:16), "cankers" (2:17), "captives of the devil" (2:26), "imposters and evil men" (3:13), "idle talkers" (Tit 1:10), "subverters" (1:11), "divisive men, heretics" (3:10). Paul's very first instruction to his secondliner Timothy was, "Charge them not to teach any other doctrine" (1 Tim 1:3). Many strange phenomena and experiences are reported these days all over the Church. The most important gift needed for the Body of Christ today is the "Discernment of Spirits."
The discerning of spirits was crucial in the early church because Satan tried to falsify/counterfeit the work of God and the Word of God. Today, the Spirit especially uses the written Word to give us discernment (1 John 2:18-24; 4:1-6). Since there are no prophets in the church today, we need not worry or be preoccupied about false prophets; but we do have to beware of false teachers (2 Peter 2:1).
Here is an example of what I would call discerning of spirits: At our church a few years back, our pastor and another member had been on an outing together. When they entered the church at the opposite end of the sanctuary (near the pastors office), our pastor immediately turned to the member and said “There is a demon in here. I can feel it”. They searched the office area and both entered the sanctuary. There was an old lady in the back acting really strangely. The pastor asked her what she wanted. (He knew it was her) She made strange noises but would not answer him. He the told her “in Jesus name, leave this place”. She made wild noises then jumped in the air and ran screaming from the church and was still screaming as she ran down the street. The member was a relatively new Christian and was pretty shook up over the entire episode but fully corroborated the story. The amazing thing to me was that our pastor knew it the second he entered the church though she was in a completely different area of the church. He did not need to see her to discern the spirit.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.