SPIRITUAL GIFTS FOR THE BELIEVER

THE TEMPORARY SPIRITUAL GIFTS OF APOSTLESHIP, PROPHECY, KNOWLEDGE, AND DISCERNING SPIRITS

Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., Pastor, Grace Bible Church of Costa Mesa, California

Copyright 1995-2014 Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., All Rights Reserved



 

Introduction to the Temporary Spiritual Gifts

There are only nine (9) temporary spiritual gifts. All nine functioned only during the Pre-canon period of the Church Age from 30 A.D. to 96 A.D. The permanent spiritual gifts function during both the Pre-canon period of the Church Age and through the entire Post-canon period of the Church Age. After 96 A.D., all of the temporary spiritual gifts ceased to function as a grace operation because their purpose had been fulfilled according to the Word of God. None of these temporary gifts function legitimately today.

The temporary spiritual gifts were extremely spectacular. They were very evident in a public way, so that people would see how unusual and supernatural they were and so they could draw a crowd. These special gifts were necessary to get the Church started before the Canon of Scripture was completed. These temporary spiritual gifts functioned in place of the completed Canon. Their purpose was to draw attention to the message given by the person with the gift. They were meant to establish the authority of the communicator and were all removed between 70 and 96 A.D. while the Canon was being circulated throughout the Roman world. A temporary spiritual gift was one used during that period and has never been used since except as a satanic operation.

Gifts and signs which accompanied the apostles at the beginning of the Church Age, such as miracles, healings and tongues were temporary spiritual gifts and were all sovereignly bestowed by God the Holy Spirit according to 1 Corinthians 12:11. The distribution of these temporary gifts involved the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God the Father. No believer ever earns or deserves a spiritual gift. It is a gift from the Father. For that reason, at the completion of the Canon of Scripture, the temporary gifts ceased to function. The Holy Spirit withdrew these temporary gifts in the Post-canon period to focus our attention on the Word of God. Everything we need is in the Word. God the Holy Spirit reminds us in 1 Corinthians 13:10 that we have something more marvelous, more wonderful, more powerful and more important now. We have the completed written Canon of Scripture - the perfect Word of God.

But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. (1 Corinthians 12:11)

but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. (1 Corinthians 13:10)

The Gift of Apostleship

The first of the nine temporary spiritual gifts was the gift of apostleship. Only 12 men had it. This gift conveyed absolute authority over all the local churches. When the 12 apostles died, the temporary gift of apostleship died with them. This was a spiritual gift of absolute authority, evidently over all of the local churches extant during the apostleship period. It began with the start of the Church Age in 30 A.D. and continued until the completion of this period in 100 A.D.

This is not to be confused with pastor and minister who is a teaching pastor and has authority delegated by the Scripture over one local church. No pastor can tell another pastor how he ought to run his church. Every pastor has delegated authority and is responsible and accountable to their own congregation. Local churches exist in a constitutional and congregational form of government. They are self-governing, self-propagating, self-supporting and they "call" a pastor. He then exercises authority given him by the Word of God. This is not to be a tyrannical or dictatorial type of authority, but established on the basis of virtue love toward the entire congregation. That same principle applied to the apostles. There were 12 apostles to Israel and the Church. Judas Iscariot was replaced by the apostle Paul as one of the 12.

The temporary gift of apostleship died with the apostle John. After his death, there were no more apostles. John is the last of the apostles and died sometime between 96 and 100 A.D., probably right around 98 or 99 A.D. The Book of the Revelation was given by the Lord Jesus Christ (the Patmos vision and the vision in Rome) to John on the Isle of Patmos. He was getting all of the information relating to the contents of the Book of the Revelation, and that took place in 96 A.D. He then was released from his banishment to the isle of Patmos and returned to Asia Minor. John probably returned to the area of Ephesus as there was a heretic by the name of Cerrinthus making inroads with his false doctrine in the Church of Ephesus and he had to contend with that. Later on, a group of apostates became carried away in their false doctrine, emotional behavior, and demon doctrine such that they took John and boiled him in oil. John survived this attempted murder. They couldn't kill him. This is a great example that you are not going to die until it's God's time for you to die. When he finally did die, he was the last apostle and it was the end of the gift of apostleship.

If God wanted apostolic succession throughout the Church Age, He would have made it very clear through His Word that this was a permanent spiritual gift. He did not. The New Testament says nothing about the gift of apostleship going beyond the 12 apostles. When they died, that gift died with them. The gift of apostleship was the third temporary spiritual gift to be removed. The gift of apostleship was absolute authority over all the local churches in the Pre-canon period of the Church Age. Now, that type of authority is delegated to the minister of the local church by the Word of God and is resident in the pastor of one church. The pastor has this authority, but no pastor has the right to tell another local church how they should operate. Every local church is autonomous, which means self-governing, self-propagating and self-supporting.

The Gift of Prophecy

Prophecy Included Foretelling and Forthtelling

The second temporary spiritual gift is the gift of prophecy. The gift of prophecy enabled the possessor of the gift to foretell events pertaining to the Church Age not in the Canon of Scripture at the time that the gift of prophecy was given. Such prophecies included the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Second Advent, the Millennium and eternity. Although there was mention of the Second Advent, the Tribulation and the Eternal State in the Old Testament, there was information given to New Testament prophets not yet in the Canon of Scripture. That information was given under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and was included in the New Testament Canon.

This was a temporary spiritual gift. 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 says that the gift of prophecy will fade away or fade out of existence. The partial, in the Pre-canon period, was the temporary spiritual gifts which would be done away with once the Canon of Scripture (the perfect) came in 96 A.D.

Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. (1 Corinthians 13:8-10)

The gift of prophecy included foretelling which was predicting future events as well as forthtelling which is simply giving the message from the Lord. The forthtelling component of the gift of prophecy is necessary at all times and is still in operation today. The minister of the local church, who is a teaching pastor, forthtells the message from the Word of God. Those in the congregation with the permanent spiritual gifts of teaching and the gift of exhortation or encouragement do the same. They forthtell or they give the message from the Word of God. It applies to anyone who is giving forth a message from the Lord. For instance, whenever you give the Gospel, you are forthtelling. Forthtelling is having divine viewpoint from the Word of God in your soul and sharing it with someone else. When you give forth a message or a viewpoint or a principle from the Word of God, you are forthtelling.

Many of the Old Testament prophets were national leaders, such as Elijah and Isaiah, and were the final authorities on Bible doctrine. The temporary spiritual gift of prophecy for the Church Age was not related to national leadership and functioned only within the Church. To be a prophet in Old Testament times, they received prophetic information from the Lord as well as contemporary information. They received information that they were to communicate to their contemporaries as messages from God. Once they preached it, they reduced it to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Old Testament prophets both foretold and forthtold.

The Message of the Gift of Prophecy

The gift of prophecy the Church Age usually included either a message of divine guidance, a warning of judgment, or a prediction about the immediate future. In Acts 11:28-30, Agabus the prophet predicted the near-future famine and economic depression. In Acts 21:10-12, he warned Paul not to go back to Jerusalem. Other men with the temporary gift of prophecy included Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen, and Paul, according to Acts 13:1.

And one of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders. (Acts 11:28-30)

And as we were staying there for some days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, "This is what the Holy Spirit says: 'In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'" And when we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem. (Acts 21:10-12)

Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. (Acts 13:1)

In exercising the temporary spiritual gift of prophecy, the prophet must receive his message from God or he must declare God's will to someone in terms of prophecy of future events. The prophecy must be doctrinally accurate. Because of the tremendous amount of eschatology in the New Testament epistles, the writers, who were apostles, also had the gift of prophecy. The gift of prophecy warned about judgment on sin, indicated the will of God regarding current events, and predicted future events during the Apostolic Age. However, the gift did not extend into the Post-canon period because of the doctrine of historical trends. The doctrine of historical trends means that even though history is the record of man's thoughts, decisions, actions and motivations, it is Jesus Christ who controls history. As goes the believer, so goes the historical trends at any point in any generation of the Church Age. Believers are not only the products of their own decisions, but the nation in which they reside is affected by their good or bad decisions. The pattern of historical adherence to the Laws of Divine Establishment and growth of the believers within that nation results in prosperity. The pattern of historical disaster from a nation's collective rejection of the Word of God begins with economic depression, moves to moral and immoral degeneracy, and ends in military disaster. Every function of the gift of prophecy during the Pre-canon period is fulfilled by the doctrine of historical trends during the Post-canon period.

The Men with the Gift of Prophecy

The men with the gift of prophecy depended on their knowledge of the Old Testament, but most importantly, they would receive new information under the inspiration ministry of God the Holy Spirit. If they happened to have the gift of apostleship, much of this information was already put into the New Testament. The apostle Paul had the gift of prophecy. He used it in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 when he was speaking of the Rapture of the Church. He used it in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8 when he spoke about the Tribulation period and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. These are all future events, or eschatology which means the last or final things.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he may be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; (2 Thessalonians 2:3-8)

The apostle John also had the gift of prophecy. He talked about the personal antiChrist as he would exist throughout the Church Age in 1 John 2:22 and 2 John 1:7. He spoke about the spirit of antiChrist in 1 John 4:3, and the eschatological or future antiChrist who will be the Jewish dictator of Palestine during the Tribulation. He also wrote about everything from the trends of the Church Age, throughout the Church Age, right down to the Rapture. He included the Tribulation, the Second Coming, the Millennium, the Great White Throne Judgment and the Eternal State, all of which is contained in the Book of the Revelation.

Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antiChrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:22)

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antiChrist. (2 John 1:7)

and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antiChrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. (1 John 4:3)

The completion of the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ completed the Canon of Scripture or the Bible as we know it. John used his gift of prophecy in writing this last book of the Bible. John and Paul had the gift of prophecy. This gift related the plan of God to time, future time, and the foretelling of future events. So, upon the completion of Scripture, prophecy was no longer necessary. All prophecy is now in the Bible.

Prophecy Versus Predictions

You might ask about Nostradamus and all the predictions he made. They were very abstruse and nebulous. At one time he predicted that "a city in the west will perish in an earthquake." Everyone thought that he must mean Los Angeles and that it's going to be wiped out someday. This is assuming a bit too much because when Nostradamus lived, there were hundreds of cities to the west of him. It could be any city such as Paris or London. It was simply a satanic ploy and a counterfeit prophecy. True Biblical prophecies were fulfilled exactly as they were predicted in the Bible in complete detail. Hundreds of them having been fulfilled in history. You cannot say that about some vague or abstruse predictions that you may make. Predictions having several different interpretations by many different people at many different times.

When the Bible predicted the destruction of the City of Babylon, it took place exactly as predicted. All of the prophecies fulfilled in the first coming of Christ were fulfilled in that minutia of detail. They were fulfilled in such a way that absolutely defied all the laws of probability. They could not have occurred simply by chance. That is why we believe the Bible is the revealed and inerrant Word of God. You should listen up, pay attention, and believe it. You should believe it when it says in Acts 16:31 that if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you will have an eternal relationship with Him. The Bible tells each of us that we will have the wonderful possibility of a life of great meaning and purpose and definition. This potential becomes reality as you grow up spiritually under the power of the Spirit and the power of the Word of God.

And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household." (Acts 16:31)

That's how Jesus Christ becomes number one in your life. That's how you fulfill your destiny within the plan of God. There is no other way. The Word of God is the greatest miracle we have and five words from the Bible are more important than 10,000 words spoken in different tongues or languages as stated in 1 Corinthians 14:19-20. The Bible is our great miracle. It's an absolute tragedy that so many have such an abysmal ignorance of the Word of God - especially among believers today. If you are growing spiritually, you should continue in your intake of the Word and you should share it with those near you. You should look for opportunities to relate it and communicate it to other people in a conversational way. Today, all prophecy is contained in the completed Canon of Scripture - the Word of God. We no longer need the gift of prophecy.

however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind, that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue. Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be babes, but in your thinking be mature. (1 Corinthians 14:19-20)

The Gift of Knowledge

The third temporary spiritual gift was the gift of knowledge as stated in 1 Corinthians 12:8 and 1 Corinthians 13:8. This was a spiritual gift whereby the person knew a Church Age doctrine without studying it before there was a New Testament Canon in writing. The gift of knowledge was also the ability to know definitely what was to be included in the Scripture and what should be excluded. This knowledge was provided directly by God the Holy Spirit who inserted previously unknown or "mystery" doctrines of the Church Age into the person's soul as doctrine understood and believed. This was just as we have from Bible truth after having heard the teaching from a pastor-teacher.

For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; (1 Corinthians 12:8)

Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. (1 Corinthians 13:8)

The gift of knowledge was the ability to know definitely what should and should not be included in the Canon of Scripture. The Greek word for knowledge in 1 Corinthians 12:8 is GNOSIS. There was a process, from 30 A.D. to 96 A.D. when all the Books of the New Testament were finally written, gathered together, put into one body, and then circulated throughout the ancient world. When the Canon was completed, the gift of knowledge was no longer needed.

1 Corinthians 13:8 mentioned that unconditional love never fails, but where there are prophecies, they will cease. Where there are tongues, they would be stilled (they stopped in 70 A.D.), where there is knowledge, it will pass away. It will vanish away. Again the part moving toward the whole. When the Bible is completed, there was no further need for the gift of knowledge.

For example, the Book of Jude was to be in the Bible, but not the Book of Enoch. The Book of Enoch had a lot of spiritual truth in it. It contained a lot of historic information, but it didn't fit the standards, the rules and regulations determining which books were inspired and those which were not. To be included, the book had to be written by an apostle or a close associate of an apostle. Nobody really knew who wrote the Book of Enoch. This book was circulated in the first century about Enoch who prophesied, seven generations from Adam, and information about his life and ministry. Not being written by an apostle or close associate, it was not to be included in the Canon.

In 1 Corinthians 12:7-8, Paul is saying that to each believer in the Church Age, the manifestation of the Holy Spirit is given for the common good of the body of Christ. Spiritual gifts are for the uplifting, edification, and the building up of the local church in faith and for the common good of fellow believers.

But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; (1 Corinthians 12:7-8)

Paul speaks of the gift of knowledge being done away with in 1 Corinthians 13:8. The Greek word here is gnosis and is used here for a message from the Lord. Agabus is an example of someone with this gift of knowledge and communication of information. Agabus is mentioned in Acts 11:28 and Acts 21:10. Agabus had the gift of prophecy and he shared his knowledge with his contemporaries. He had this companion gift of knowledge so he was under the control of the Holy Spirit. Bible doctrine went into his human spirit. From his human spirit it went to his left lobe where he accepted it by faith and communicated it. He communicated it to the Christians from his right lobe and application to his own life. This is the temporary spiritual gift of knowledge. We are not talking about knowledge per se. There will never be a time when knowledge fades out of existence.

Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. (1 Corinthians 13:8)

And one of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. (Acts 11:28)

And as we were staying there for some days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. (Acts 21:10)

During the Millennium, the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters that cover the sea according to Isaiah 11:9 and Habakkuk 2:14. Throughout eternity, we are going to feed upon the hidden manna. The hidden manna is knowledge or information from God. The hidden manna is Bible doctrine concerning the Eternal State or heaven. It is so marvelous and fantastic that it is beyond human comprehension. Paul received that hidden manna when he was stoned to death on the road to Lystra in Acts 14:19. His spirit and soul went into the presence of the Lord. He received the hidden manna, but was forbidden to communicate it. Why? He was forbidden to communicate it because we wouldn't be able to understand it. The beauty of heaven is that you won't have to take it by faith. You will be there eventually and will experience it for yourself. We are to look forward to this according to God’s plan for our lives. Until that time, we are to live our lives as unto the Lord here on Earth. In heaven, you will understand everything and heaven will be yours forever and ever. Faith will not be needed in heaven because faith becomes sight in Heaven. Faith is a system of perception concerning time only. It does not pertain to the Eternal State or hidden manna.

They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)

"For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea." (Habakkuk 2:14)

But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. (Acts 14:19)

The Gift of Discerning Spirits

The fourth temporary spiritual was the gift of discerning or distinguishing spirits. This was the spiritual gift for the detection of false doctrine, those teaching it, and distinguishing between spirits according to 1 Corinthians 12:10. With the completion of the Canon of Scripture, this gift was no longer necessary since the New Testament contains true doctrine and thereby exposes false doctrine. The word "spirits" in 1 Corinthians 12:10 refers to either an elect angel or a fallen angel. There were teaching angels in the Pre-canon period of the Church Age as opposed to teaching demons and their doctrine of demons and demon influence.

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. (1 Corinthians 12:10)

This was the gift of knowing what was true, and what was false. It was given in the Pre-canon period of the Church Age through the intermediary of a teaching angel. These angels were in effect during the Pre-canon period. This was in contrast to information that was given, not through a teaching elect angel, but a teaching demon. All pseudo concepts related to spiritual things emanate from his majesty the devil.

The gift of discernment was the temporary gift of the ability to detect heresy in the Pre-canon period of the Church Age. This gift could detect whether a person’s message was correct or not. If the message was not correct, the one with the gift would say the message was not correct to those near him. They would tell others that they should not listen to what was being said. They still loved them with unconditional virtue love, but they were to stop listening to them. Under the power of the Holy Spirit, since He gave these gifts, it was His decision to give these gifts to see that they were used correctly, and that they had the ability to detect heresy in the Pre-canon period of the Church Age.

To illustrate how the gift of discerning or distinguishing spirits functioned, image you were taken back in time to the year 60 A.D. along with all of our technological advances. Suppose you were watching your television in the Pre-canon period of the Church Age along with someone who had the gift of discerning spirits. They would be able to immediately and with complete accuracy determine which teachers on TV were false teachers. Let’s say you turned to a channel with someone like Jimmy Swaggert on it. That person would immediately know the one teaching like Swaggert is a known false teacher. You would then be able to turn channels to find something spiritually edifying.

On the next channel you might get a Kenneth Copeland-type teacher. He would immediately tell you to change the channel! God the Holy Spirit would make it clear what is false doctrine and who are false teachers. Lets say you kept turning and turning until you hit a Hal Lindsey-type teacher. Your friend with the gift of discerning spirits would tell you the Hal Lindsey-type teacher is all right and squared away from the Word of God. This is someone who is really teaching the Word of God. The same thing would apply if you hit a Charlie Stanley-type teacher. Someone with the gift of discerning spirits would let you know that almost all of the speakers on the TV are false teachers. Even though 99% of those on the TV are false teachers today, it is pleasing that at least 1% are communicating the Gospel and Bible truth.

If we could go back to the Pre-canon period, we would have found that much more of the teaching was true than today. We might find about 85% of the teaching was accurate. There still were a lot of people passing themselves off as false messiahs, trying to take credit for salvation, promulgating false doctrine, teaching Gnosticism, and a lot of perverted doctrine related to the phallic cult. However, there was much more accuracy related to true doctrine than inaccuracy related to false doctrine. This gift of discerning spirits functioned from 30 to 96 A.D. because they did not have the completed Canon of Scripture as we do today.

If you still believe you can have an eternal relationship with God on the basis of your good life, your good work, or your meritorious activities, you have been taught false doctrine and are NOT saved according to Ephesians 2:8-9. You may consider yourself a good, pleasing, moral and righteous person, and you might be an honorable person, but you have to have perfect honor to live with God forever. You have to have perfect righteousness to live with God forever. You cannot have absolute righteousness as something you can produce from your own actions or abilities. No one can. The only one who could was the Lord Jesus Christ because He was born sinless, lived sinlessly, and went to the cross sinless to be our sin bearer. We received His righteousness the moment we received Him as our Savior. You see? That is accurate Gospel information. This is the good news of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is only through your faith alone, in Christ alone.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The doctrine of demons adds to salvation by saying that you must first clean up your life and your bad habits AND believe in Christ to be saved. This is clearly wrong, but it appeals to our sin natures. False teaching and satanic teaching (they are from the same source) want us to believe that we must do something to earn salvation. We cannot. You must realize that God loves you and wants each and every one of us to be saved. Your sins are no longer a problem because Jesus Christ has taken care of the sin problem. The problem is, are you going to believe in Christ or reject Him? Will you simply receive Jesus Christ as your Savior? After salvation, any personal sins in your life become the issue of confession of sins for forgiveness and cleansing, as well as spiritual growth to outgrow your areas of weakness.

In the Pre-canon period of the Church Age, they needed to have the gift of discerning spirits. When the Bible was completed, there was no further need for this gift. All our discernment now is from the intake of and obedience to the Word of God. We are to be stabilized. We are to have great confidence in God. Why? Because we can discern what is right and what is wrong based on doctrine resident in our souls. We can differentiate between the erroneous and the accurate through spiritual growth. That’s what gives us wonderful confidence in the Lord. This is not confidence in ourselves or building ourselves up because we can tell spiritual right from wrong. That leads to a type of academic arrogance where you look down your nose at others who disagree with you. It is simply in great appreciation for the Lord and what He has provided. This is discernment, confidence, and stability through the Word. This really enables us to fulfill our destiny in the plan of God.

You and I are to have discernment today. This is not the gift of discernment, but discernment on the basis of our growing up spiritually. This is like a mature and stable parent telling his child what the child needs to know to be protected. Children do not have discernment. Someone can come up to any little child saying they will give them candy and the child will have no discernment at all. They do not realize, without teaching, that they can wind up being kidnaped or molested. The parents have the responsibility to know what to teach their children. The parents have the responsibility to teach their children never talk to strangers, never get into the car of a stranger, or accept anything from a stranger. A little child does not know that. He or she doesn't have discernment. It is the adult who has the discernment. That's the way it is in the Christian life. Baby believers have no spiritual discernment. They can easily be led astray into error.

There are those who have recently made a decision for Christ and who are making good spiritual progress. For those being influenced by the Charismatic Movement, if your have unconditional love for them, you will point out to them what is true and what is not true. Your need to give that person the ability to say "no" to the Charismatic Movement and to continue saying "yes" to the consistent intake of Bible truth from a pastor-teacher who is squared away with the Word of God. This applies no matter what local church they attend. The important thing is to be in a congregation where you can grow spiritually. Our discernment today is based upon our growing up spiritually under the truth of God. There are no more functioning gifts of discerning spirits today. We have the completed Canon of Scripture today and receive all of our discernment from the Word of God only.


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