The Lost Christian Virtue of Discernment
By Bobby Blakey on June 14, 2015
1 Thessalonians 5:19-22
The Lost Christian Virtue of Discernment
By Bobby Blakey on June 14, 2015
1 Thessalonians 5:19-22
This is a rush transcript.
[00:00:00] We'll grab your Bible and open it up to 1 Thessalonians 5. We're looking at the end of the book here. In fact, next week we will finish the book of 1 Thessalonians. Is that exciting to anybody here? Anybody been here from the beginning?
[00:00:17] Yes, we will be finishing. We're going for the most encouraging sermon in the history of the world next week. So you want to be here for that as we finish the book of her, says Loney's. There's a rumor even that the ice cream truck will be here. Free ice cream for everyone to celebrate the end of our first book of the Bible, sauterne with being a first Thessalonians Chapter five versus nineteen to twenty two. We'll be looking at here this morning. And I just want to remind you that this book that we're opening up to right now is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. That's what it says about itself. That's what God says about the book that he has given, that this book is a flashlight for you in a dark world. Anybody remember what flashlights were? Anybody remember those? Now we just use our cell phones. You know what I'm saying? And we grew up around in the darkness trying to trying to find our way. I remember the first night that I moved here to Huntington Beach, the first night in our new house. It was a hot night here in Huntington Beach, which I was told didn't happen. You know, when you read the real estate literature, it's like everybody's just basking in the ocean breeze, like you're saying hi to dolphins every morning when you wake up here. But no was hot. And I was walking around and I kept, you know, messin with. But the gauge inside my house, why isn't it getting cooler? Why am I not feeling anything blow around here? And next thing you know, I've got my cell phone and I'm walking around the side of the house, all around the house, the perimeter, looking for the AC. And I found out we don't have any AC here in the age.
[00:01:55] You know what I'm talking about? And I've now I look at that picture of just a man lost in the darkness. All right. Looking for something that he's never going to find some kind of relief that he's never going to get. That would be me.
[00:02:10] That would be you. That would be any of us without this book right here. The only way you know anything about God, the only way that you can be saved by Jesus Christ is because you found the flashlight and it lit up your life. This book right here is how we know who God is. You have a relationship with God today. It's because of the Bible. And so it's going to instruct us today about how we're supposed to think specifically about itself, even about the spirit inspired prophecy that has been recorded and passed down to us here in God's holy word, a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Let's read our for versus here this morning versus Aloni in chapter five, verse 19. It says, Do not quench the spirit.
[00:02:58] Do not despise prophecies, but test everything and hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
[00:03:09] Four clear commands, three different sentences. All of them seem to me to be centered around one thought here. And when it says do not quench the spirit, do not despise prophecies. What is it talking about their. And it's hard when I've been thinking about preaching this text to us here this morning. I think that when we hear The Spirit thinking about the Holy Spirit and when we hear about prophecies, I think it's going to be hard for us today with our understanding to get to what they would have understand stood as the Thessalonians. Because when we hear the Holy Spirit talked about today, it's like he's going to do something miraculous in our midst. It's like he needs to fall on us because we because he's not really with us. So fall on us again like fire from the sky. We hear a lot of interesting stuff about the Holy Spirit these days. And then when we talk about prophecies, last person I had a conversation about prophecy with, they told me that that somebody they knew at a church prophesied over their son and told their son that he should stick with football because God was really calling him to that sport.
[00:04:18] That was the example of prophecy.
[00:04:21] So I'm concerned that when we here don't quench the spirit and don't despise prophecies, we're gonna think about something that's going around today. Maybe. But really, I think this is talking about, hey, don't quench the spirit. Don't decide to despise prophecies. And how does the spirit work? What is a prophecy? Well, it's this book right here. The Spirit inspired holy word of God. Prophetic recorded once and for all. In fact, this is a different context because I'm not I'm preaching to you the scripture. I'm not saying new scripture here. And I think we can all agree on that, hopefully everybody here can agree this morning that new scripture is not being written somewhere in the world. Right now, we have the prophetic word. We have it all the way through the future in the Book of Revelation. We have the word of God. It is complete. But these people, when they get this letter at their church and they read this letter from Paul, they are actually getting scripture brought to the same. And I bet by this time in the book, the spirit is really stirring something up within these people, they would have read the entire book of First Thessalonians all the way through in one sitting. It's taken us to it's going to take us 28 different sittings to get through this thing. They would have read it all at once. And I'm sure their hearts would have been stirred up. I'm sure they would have been convicted of sins. They would have been encouraged about good things. And at the end of the letter, what he wants to say to them as they're hearing the letter is don't quench the spirit, whatever the spirit is doing right now. Hey, don't extinguish the fire. That's really what it means. And hate. I'm giving you a prophecy. That's what this is, this is a word from God. In fact, we've looked at some things about the future, specifically in First Thessalonians. It not only is a word from God. That's what a prophecy is. It's something that God speaking through a man or an official word of God. But this also has the other connotation of the definition of prophecy. It's about the future. It's about something that's yet to take place. It's got that going on here to. And he's saying, don't despise prophecies. Don't look down on what I'm giving to you here in this book. I think he's talking about their response to his letter of First Thessalonians, their response to scripture. I like the Holy Spirit is not mentioned that much in the book of First Thessalonians. Go back to Chapter one and let's just how would they have thought about the Holy Spirit? I know how he's talked about today. I know how people refer to him now. But how would they have thought of him? Well, he's only mentioned a few times in the book and right away at the beginning in chapter one, verse five, it says, Because our gospel came to you not only in word, I wasn't just preaching to you the gospel, but it also came in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. So when I preach to you the Gospel, Paul, saying the gospel came to you with the Holy Spirit. So here's one thing the Holy Spirit does, is he empowers the gospel preaching. Look at verse six. Very next verse. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word. They're hearing the gospel. They're receiving the teaching in much affliction. And it was hard when you received the word, but you did it with the joy of the who does it say there was spirit? So so far, what have we said the Holy Spirit is doing here in First Thessalonians? Well, the Holy Spirit is in the speaking of the gospel, and then he's also in the receiving of the word. So the connotation with the Holy Spirit has to do with scripture. I mean, that would I would love if our church. When we hear the Holy Spirit. The first thing that we would think of is that he uses scripture to work in our lives.
[00:08:04] That's what it's referring to here.
[00:08:06] Now there's another connotation in chapter four, verse eight. Here's another reference to the Holy Spirit. Therefore, whoever disregards this disregards not man. And this is talking about not living in impurity, in sexual morality, but in holiness. Therefore, whoever disregards this disregards not man, but God who gives his Holy Spirit to you. Anybody ever thought about why he's called the Holy Spirit? Because the main thing that he's interested in is Your Holiness. That's why we call him the Holy Spirit. He uses the scripture to make you holy. That's what the Holy Spirit does. And so don't extinguish that fire. Don't quench that flame. If God uses his word, see, the spirit convicts you of your sin through the preaching of scripture.
[00:08:56] And you've got to run with that. You've got to let God do his work that he's going to do through his word. I think that's what our passages talking about.
[00:09:04] And if you study in the Bible without teaching on the Holy Spirit scripture, it's like they're almost synonyms for the Holy Spirit and how he inspired scripture. Go to John Chapter 14 or Jesus introduces to his disciples the Holy Spirit. And it's clear two themes over and over in John, 14, 15 and 16, as Jesus teaches his disciples. He's about to leave. He's going to send them the Holy Spirit. Start with me and John, 14, verse 16. You'll see these two themes over and over. Same themes that we see in First Thessalonians. One, the Holy Spirit is going to teach you, too. He's going to make you holy. That's what the Holy Spirit does. And it says it here. And John, 14, verse 16. And I was the father. And he will give you another helper, someone who's going to come along side of you to be with you forever. Even the spirit of what is he called here? The spirit of what truth. So we look at Jeff, we can know what he does by his name's the spirit of Truth. The Holy Spirit, the helper. Even the spirit of truth. The world cannot receive him. It neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in. You jumped down to verse 26 a little bit more. It's sprinkled throughout these chapters that we refer to as the The Last Supper, the upper room discourse. Jesus teaching his disciples, John. Fourteen twenty six. But the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name. He will. Here's what he's going to do. Teach you all things.
[00:10:40] And bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Here's my concern. I'm concerned if we ask people today, what is the Holy Spirit going to do? I'm a concern that people would say, well, he's going to lead me based on my emotions and my experiences. Well, he's going to guide me through some some subjective sense of spirituality and he's going to show me what I'm supposed to do in my life. I think there's an element of truth to that. But let me tell you how he's going to work through those emotions and how he's going to work to guide you where he wants you to go primarily through the scripture is how he's going to do it.
[00:11:15] That's what it says here. Jump to chapter 15, verse 26, chapter 15, verse 26.
[00:11:20] But when the helper comes, whom I will send to you from the father, the spirit of just the gays, you don't get it before truth. Who proceeds from the father? He will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness because you have been with me from the beginning. So the Holy Spirit, he's going to reveal things and ultimately he's going to reveal those things to the disciples. And ultimately the disciples are going to write those things down and they're going to come down to us in this book. That's how we're really going to access him. In fact, let's just go to one of the disciples who was here hearing this teaching, who this would happen to, who the Holy Spirit would inspire. Let's go to let's go to second Peter and let's hear straight from the spokesperson of the disciples how he thought about the Holy Spirit and prophecy. Let's try to get it not in our mindset today, but into the mindset of the guys at the time of the Bible, into the mindset of Peter, into the mindset of Paul and the other apostles when they thought about the Holy Spirit. What did they think when they heard the word prophecy? What did they think?
[00:12:27] And here's a great example. I mean, this this is powerful example of Peter.
[00:12:32] Peter is someone who saw a lot of the things that people would associate the Holy Spirit with people today. If you bring up the Holy Spirit, they would they would talk about miracles. They would talk about healings. They would talk about speaking in tongues. A lot of people that I talk to, these are the first things they think of when they mentioned the Holy Spirit.
[00:12:52] In fact, I got into a car accident with one guy and I told him I was at church and I worked at a church.
[00:12:59] And he said to me, Oh, wow. Are you speaking at tongues over there? I mean, are you lay in your hands on people in healing? Do you prophesy sometimes at your church, like you're like. I'm like, what do you mean? New revelation or preaching? The word is like, no new stuff. I'm like, yeah, I don't do any of that. And he jump to You don't believe in the Holy Spirit at your church?
[00:13:17] Was his conclusion. I couldn't get into it too much with the guy because the accident was my fault. And I felt I felt really bad. Right. But but I tell him I'm not laying hands on people and and doing miracles like the apostles were in the Book of Acts. And he says, Oh, so you don't believe in the Holy Spirit. That's his association. Now, here's somebody who did miracles, who spoke in tongues, who did amazing works of healing. This is one of the apostles. In fact, he did stuff greater than all of that stuff in my mind. He saw Jesus Christ in all of his glory. That's something that Peter's got. That he has on I mean, there's only a few people that were still alive on planet Earth that got the glimpse of the revelation of Jesus Christ that is to come. And we know that Peter, James and John, they got a glimpse of Jesus Christ in all of his godliness on the Mount of Transfiguration. I mean, talk about the ultimate spiritual experience. Talk about the ultimate way where you would think. Well, I'm sure I know about God and God's guiding me because I actually saw Jesus in all of his glory. Well, look what Peter has to say about that experience here in second Peter, chapter one, verse 16. Let's please get this passage. He says, for we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. But we were eye witnesses of His Majesty. We're not making this up. These aren't stories we cleverly schemed. No, I saw him in all of his glory when he received honor and glory from God, the father and the voice was born to him by the majestic glory. This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased. We ourselves heard this very boy spawn from heaven. We were with him on the Holy Mountain. I mean, that's amazing. You think that's got to be the top experience of your life?
[00:15:04] And then look what he says in verse 19. Plot twist here. Amazing statement. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed. Hey, I saw Jesus on a mountain in all of his glory. And now let me tell you something I'm even more confident about, even more sure about than seeing Jesus with my own eyes. The prophetic word. What does he mean by prophetic word?
[00:15:30] Well, keep reading with me to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns in the morning, star rises in your hearts. Man, you better be paying attention to this flashlight out there in the darkness. Knowing this, first of all, that no prophecy of scripture immediately taken prophecy to scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. Nobody's writing scripture of themselves. No prophecy was ever produced by the will of man. But men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Who does it say there? I was on a mountain in Israel and I saw Jesus Christ in all of his glory. And I heard God speak to me and let me tell you something even better.
[00:16:14] And that my friends with the Holy Spirit wrote through his men in the Scriptures. That's what he's saying right there. You say in this book right here, he'd rather have this book right here than go back on the mountain and see Jesus and all of his glory. That's amazing to me. He calls it more sure the confidence that we can have that the Holy Spirit has moved on men and has prophesied through them. That's the process.
[00:16:42] So point everyone, let's let's get it down like this. We need to take everything back to the Bible, take everything back to the Bible, and let's say you're not feeling this sermon right now because you're thinking why. I think the Holy Spirit does lead me in in unique ways and I might be open to speak. People speaking new prophetic words today. Well, let's let's let's play that out. Let's say you get a strong sensation that the Holy Spirit wants you to move to Idaho. Idaho. Holy Spirit is leading you to Idaho. Now, how do you know if you should go to Idaho? My friend. How do you know that's the spirit? How do you know that's just not where you want to do or what your wife wants to do to ultimately to figure out if something's really inspired by the spirit or not?
[00:17:28] What would you have to compare it to? What is your only source of authority that you can really find out once and for all what the spirit said?
[00:17:36] This book right here.
[00:17:38] I mean, you and I cannot really have confidence that the spirits leading us in something, if it contradicts the scripture that he inspired. We're going to have to check every new prophecy that someone is supposedly speaking on behalf of God with the word that we know for sure is from God. We're going to have to check it here. And if it doesn't match up, then is it from God? Is it of the Holy Spirit? Absolutely not. If it contradicts the Bible. I had somebody say to me one time, it's the Holy Spirit. Right now is leading me not to go to church. What do you guys think?
[00:18:08] Was that the Holy Spirit's leading right there?
[00:18:10] OK, so you can put the Holy Spirit label on every anything that you want, but the truth is, whatever the Holy Spirit is leading you to do will not contradict this book.
[00:18:20] In fact, it will come straight through this book. So. So we got to take everything, every message that we hear, every thought that we think and we have to compare it to what we know, that sure what I'm saying is. Don't let your own experience interpret scripture. OK? Always make sure that scripture interprets your experience. Who has authority in your mind is what you felt.
[00:18:47] Is what happened to you? Is that what you're sure of things that you've witnessed with your own eyes? Or does scripture have the place of utmost authority in your life? You think it's this way. But Scripture says it's another way. Who do you go with at the end of the day?
[00:19:03] Peter's saying, hey, I've seen it and it's awesome, I saw that, I heard the voice of Majestic Glory, but at the end of the day, I'm going to go with what the Spirit inspired these men to write, because they did make it up on their own.
[00:19:14] The Holy Spirit move through them. It's his word working in us. Don't extinguish the flame. Don't despise the prophecies that we have collected here in this book. Don't do what Joseph Smith did or what Mohammed did.
[00:19:30] I mean, these guys, they have really gone on a bad path and they have taken so many souls with them. Right.
[00:19:37] Because they supposedly heard from an angel. I mean, if you study the history of Islam in the history of Mormonism in this country, there are a lot of similarities. It's basically an angel talking to one guy who writes a new book. And then just leads a ton of people in this direction.
[00:19:55] And both of these men, whatever spiritual being was presenting to them, these revelations. If they had taken what they were hearing back to the Bible and compared it to scripture, neither one of them would have started the religions that they founded. Joseph Smith, let's start with him. Joseph Smith claims that one day when he was walking in the woods, God, the father and Jesus the son both appeared to him in the woods when he was a young man. That's what he claims. That's the beginning of Mormonism, not just this Angel Warren eye. He goes above and beyond that and he says that he saw God, the father in the woods and Jesus Christ. Now, how does that compare to scripture, my friends? Is anyone seeing God, is God walking around in the woods with his son, Jesus Christ, hanging out with young men in upstate New York? Is that what's going on?
[00:20:52] I mean, if you had it, I mean, any Mormon person, if they compared that claim to scripture saying no man can see God and live. I mean, people are having visions of God. I mean, here they're just hearing God speak.
[00:21:09] And here's a guy claiming I saw God. Well, that's not what the Bible says. Then you got the Prophet Mohammed, who speaks well of Abraham, who speaks well of Jesus, and he refers to Jesus in a very respectful way. He refers to Jesus as a prophet.
[00:21:24] In fact, if you ask the average Muslim around here on the streets of Orange County, right, if you talk to them and many of them are very friendly around here, and if you ask him, hey, who is Jesus? What are they going to say? Well, Jesus is a he's a prophet. Is Jesus Christ a prophet, my friend?
[00:21:40] I'm pretty sure that when Jesus asked who do people say that I am, one of the answers given was that you're one of the prophets and that was the wrong answer. Anybody else ever read that passage before? Because Jesus is the Christ the son of the living God. See? And on this rock of who Jesus is, he's going to build his church and the gates of hell will never prevail against it. So if Mohammed had gone to the scriptures that he supposedly knows a little bit about and speaks about respectfully, he would have seen that he was given out the wrong Jesus to people if they had taken it back to the Bible. Just imagine if those guys, instead of hearing whatever they were hearing, who knows if it was some kind of angel demonic voice coming to them, who knows what actually happened. But if they had just compared it to this book, they could have tested and seen whether it was from the Holy Spirit or some other kind of spirit. And how many souls wouldn't have been affected by their false teachings.
[00:22:42] And I wouldn't want to be a part of misleading anybody about who God is or specifically who Jesus Christ is based on my own personal experience or my own personal feelings. I don't want to say anything to anybody about Jesus. That doesn't come explicitly from this book because it doesn't matter what I think or I've experienced.
[00:23:01] This is more sure.
[00:23:04] Go to Galatians, check chapter one. I don't know if you guys are reading through, we do this thing called Scripture of the Day. It's on the back of your handout. In fact, if you have your hand out out and you're taking notes, flip it over real quick. Or even if you're not taking notes, just grab your hand out.
[00:23:19] Out. And I want you to know that we are trying to get in the Bible Monday through Friday and on Sunday here at this church. And we just pick a chapter. We're going up way through the New Testament at one chapter a day. And we would love for everybody to be reading this chapter together and talking about it. And we just started the book of Galatians. And if you were reading this with us, you would have come to this passage here in Galatians, chapter one, verse six. Look at it with me, Galatians, chapter one, verse six. I am astonished. This is strong language from Paul to the these people in Galatia. This is not a happy statement that he's about to make here. I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him. Who called you in the grace of Christ and you're turning to a different gospel. Not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and they want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we. Paul now referring to himself, even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preach to you. Let him be a curse. Not the worst thing you could say about somebody right there.
[00:24:28] Let him be damned.
[00:24:31] Let him be cut off from God's presence forever, if somebody is preaching a gospel contrary to the one revealed by the Holy Spirit through the prophetic word of scripture. Let him be a curse, as we've said before. So now I say again, if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you receive. Let him be a curse. And I think it's so interesting that there where he just makes this statement, even if an angel tells you something that's different than this book. Don't believe it.
[00:25:00] And how many souls won't be deceived and on their way to destruction? If that had happened with either Joseph Smith or Mom.
[00:25:09] If people could have gone back to the scripture and compared that message that they were here and out there and taken it back to what the spirit has for sure prophesied hearing God's word they would have seen, this doesn't add up. The Jesus. I'm being told about by this angel of a Jesus. Now I'm telling other people about doesn't match the Jesus here in this book.
[00:25:31] So we've got to take everything that we hear, every kind of message, whether it's a preaching at church, whether it's something you hear on the radio, whether it's something a Christian friend says, do you even if it's just some kind of secular program that's coming to you through the Internet or TV or some kind of way that's giving some way of thinking, some kind of message about reality that has a spiritual nature. We have to take everything that we're hearing all of the time and wonder, is that really what God has said in his word? We have to learn how to think this way. You have to have a biblical grid that every single thought gets filtered through. We take every thought captive to obeying Jesus Christ and we think about how does that compare with the Bible?
[00:26:13] Go to Acts Chapter 17. Joining me to Acts Chapter 17. And you'll see here this church in Berea. Now, we've referred to Act 17 a lot in our study of Thessalonians, particularly at the beginning of this study. And if you want to catch up on old Thessalonians sermons, they're all on our Web site. They're well kept there on Compass, HP dot com slash sermons. If you want to go now that we're at the end, if you want to go read, listen to the stuff that we learned at the beginning. We looked at Act 17 a lot because that's how the Thessalonians Church got started and there wasn't really a church there. And in came the gospel in the word of the Lord rang out. And it really got exciting there. And Thessalonica very quickly. But go to the next city that Paul and Silas, they literally have to flee to this place called Birria. And here they meet some interesting people acts. Chapter 17, verse 10. The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Birria.
[00:27:15] And when they arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue. This is how Paul did it. He went into the Jewish synagogue and he preached that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ. Now, these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica. Wow. So here's a real complement to a to a group and Thessalonica that he's already said good things about an hour letter.
[00:27:33] But now he says this group's even more nor noble. Why? They received the word with eagerness. They were ready to hear it. Examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
[00:27:48] So the apostle Paul comes in, he's preaching the gospel. He's using the Old Testament scripture at that time to show you that Jesus must be this one that you've heard about the Messiah, the holy and anointed, one who comes from God to save us from our sins. He is preaching to them from the Old Testament. And they are referring to the scripture to see if the apostle Paul is telling them the truth. In fact, it says that they studied the scriptures. They examined the scriptures. They took a close look at the Bible daily because they always wanted to make sure that what they were hearing matched with God's word. So that's a phrase that we use to this day. You maybe have heard it at church before where we throw out things like, well, that person, he's a real Buri�n. He knows his Bible. He compares what he's hearing to the Bible. He really takes it seriously. That's a good example that's held up for us. And because they heard Paul preached the true message and they saw there it was in the Old Testament, it says in verse twelve, many of them therefore believed with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. I mean, so there was a great response to this gospel message because they compared it to the scriptures, how much are you and I comparing everything that we hear to the scriptures?
[00:29:06] I mean, I hope you're not taking my word for it. I hope whenever you hear a sermon here at this church, you're going back. We've got those questions on the back. We've got notes. Maybe you've taken up the different versus that we went to. And you're trying to think that this guy really get this text right this week, because I don't know about this guy sometimes. And you're looking at it. And you're examining it to make sure that's really what the scripture said. Somebody at that ad is somebody that's your friend here at church. They throw out something to you? Well, you know, it's always like this. Do you just blindly accept everything that people say because they're friendly people and you like them, or do you think. Hmm.
[00:29:42] I'm wonder if that's really what God said in the Bible. I wonder where they're getting that from. And you test it. You examine it. So many people are deceived and they don't even know it because they're not checking. They're not testing.
[00:29:58] That's what we're gonna be commanded to do. Go back to First Thessalonians, Chapter five. I hope that we'll be a church of baryons, examining the scripture every day. We'd love to have you there on Scripture of the day, constantly getting in the word, encouraging one another, building each other up, making sure that we really know what the Bible says, that we're taking every thought and thinking biblically about it. Because the second part here, it says a couple of things. Don't do don't stop the spirit when he's moving.
[00:30:25] Don't extinguish the fire of the spirit working with India. Don't despise prophecies. Don't look down on a word from the Lord. But here's the positive. What you're supposed to do. Verse 21. Test everything. Hold fast. What is good? Abstain from every form of evil. Here's your here's your command here this morning, your action step test, everything. And this is what we would call discernment. Right.
[00:30:54] I'm able to look at a thought. I'm able to look at an idea and I'm able to separate what's true about it from what's false about it. What's good about it. From what's evil about it. Because you notice how there's a lot of half lies out there.
[00:31:08] A lot of half truths. Right.
[00:31:11] Is it so? So let me ask you this, if it's a half lie and a half truth, which one is it, my friends?
[00:31:18] So who's who's who's discerning? That's the word we used. Who's separating when you hear something? A lot of it might be good, but then there's a little bit that's not from God's word.
[00:31:29] I mean, we've all experienced this where somebody is preaching and you're like a man, they're firing on all cylinders. And then they get into a and it's like, whoa, how did we get here? I'm not as familiar with this. I don't know, chapter and verse on this thing that you're saying right now. This is interesting to me.
[00:31:46] And so just because somebody saying a lot of good things doesn't mean they're also saying some false things in there. And how are we separating what is true from what is false? That's something that he's saying to these people to test everything. This isn't just for the the Bible nerds among us. This isn't just for the pastors or the people who've been walking with the Lord for a long time. Now, every Christian person that heard this letter, everybody in the church that's on eiche, hey, don't believe anything at face value. Always compare it to the scriptures. That's what he's saying right here. You could be being lied to. Don't even really don't even believe what I'm saying here in First Thessalonians, which is scripture, which is from the Holy Spirit. I think he's even telling him test what I'm saying right now to make sure it's genuine and true.
[00:32:33] Don't take anybody's word for it. Take the word for it. That's what he's saying right here.
[00:32:39] Go to first John, Chapter four, and you'll see this same command here said a little bit of a different way that opens our eyes to see the spiritual reality behind this. If you don't think that there are forces working that would like to deceive you.
[00:32:54] There are spiritual beings running rampant all over our planet that would like for you to think. Mostly true thoughts about God. And then a few thoughts that are way wrong about God. They'd like you to live mostly a righteous life. And then a few things that are way sinful in your life as well. And they don't mind if you know a little bit of the truth. Just as long as you've got some error and some sin in there, too, then they've got you. That's how demons work. That's how Satan works, Satan does walk around looking like evil, Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, and he presents just enough truth to deceive you.
[00:33:30] And then he mixes in some error and he's got your right where he wants you. And if you don't separate the truth from the air, Satan will own your thinking.
[00:33:39] And it happens in churches.
[00:33:42] Habit. I guarantee you, after this service. Hopefully not in the service. You guys can check with your scriptures later. But after this service, as we have donuts and coffee here at Compass Bible Church, someone in this room will say something to someone else in this room that is completely not found in the Bible.
[00:34:00] I guarantee you it's going to happen. Can I get a man from out of town? Have you ever had donuts and coffee here at this church? All right.
[00:34:07] I mean, well-meaning, good intention, people who've heard something from somebody and they're passing it on to you and their original source is not chapter and verse scripture, my friend.
[00:34:18] And the line of deception gets passed down and passed down and passed down. I don't want to be a part of it. You don't want to be a part of first. John Ford puts it like this same word as in our text, beloved. Do not believe every spirit you should be naturally suspicious is what you say. Test the spirits to see whether they are from God for some false prophets have gone out into the world.
[00:34:42] Is that what it says right there? There's a few bad guys out there. You got to watch out for most of them are good for bad guys. No.
[00:34:50] What does it say, my friends, many false prophets, many false prophets have gone out into the world by this, you know, the spirit of God, every spirit that confesses that Jesus is the Christ, he's come in the flesh, he God becoming man, that person is from God. But every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.
[00:35:11] This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard was coming.
[00:35:14] And let me tell you, his spirit, Satan and his demons. There are it's already in the world already. Little children. You are from God and you've overcome them for. Here's the good news. He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. Well, who is he? That's in the world. That's Satan. He who is in you. The Holy Spirit is greater than Satan, the one who's controlling the prince of the power, the air controlling the system of darkness right now. So they're from the world. Therefore, they speak from the world and the world listens to them.
[00:35:43] But we are from God and whoever knows God listens to us. Whoever is not from God does not listen to us.
[00:35:52] By this, we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Two spirits always competing for your thoughts and you have to separate them. This is true from the Holy Spirit. This is false from Satan. We have to be thinking like this.
[00:36:08] I mean, there's going to have to be time where you're going to think about a thought and it's not going to rub you the right way. And you're gonna go to the scripture. You're gonna talk to a friend. You're going to set up a meeting with me. And we're gonna get into something. And you're going to realize Satan was trying to lie to me through that.
[00:36:24] And I had to figure it out. That should be a regular experience for us. Now, this isn't just so we can know what is true.
[00:36:32] This is so we can know what to do, says hold fast. What is good? Abstain from evil. So this isn't just about thought games, world views that we're talking about. This is how do you make a decision about what you're going to do in your life? You've got to be thinking biblically. You have to have the Bible so saturating your mind that you're making decisions based on scripture. Go to Romans Chapter 12 that start to get into now discernment leading to what we're going to do. Just a couple more passages. Good turn. Everybody grab your Bible and turn to Romans Chapter twelve. And it's is such an important verse. Romans Chapter 12 is where the whole Book of Romans turns from expressing theology about God to applying that theology to our life and practice. And it says the only response based on the the goodness of God, the mercy of God presented in Romans one through 11 is give your life completely to God as a living sacrifice, lived to worship him, give your life completely away to Jesus Christ. Well, how do I do that? Verse two, here's a verse I wish everybody at our church would have memorized and try to live this way every single day. Romans Chapter 12, verse two Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that by testing you may discern. And that's a full definition of our word right there. That by testing you may discern what is the will of God. How do I know what God wants me to do? Well, I've got to test it and discern and see if it's true. See if it's error, see if it's good, see if it's evil. And when I do that, rightly, when my mind is renewed, I will be able to figure out what God wants me to do, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
[00:38:16] Now, you've heard this idea that when you come to church and the Bible thumpers up there speak, and that would be me, that I'm brainwashing you right now. Have you heard about this this hour? Getting painted by the world today. This is brainwashing compass, brainwashing church. That's what we're doing right now. OK, and everybody here is gonna be like good cookie cutter Christian walking out of here. Very moral. Very correct. That that's what the world thinks about it. It actually says the exact opposite here in this book, in this verse says, don't be conformed to this world. It actually is the idea here of that word is that the world has a cookie cutter. And it wants to make you thinking godless thoughts like everybody else in the world is brainwashing you. The world is pressing you into its mold and it wants you to believe the same lies that everybody else believes. The brainwashing isn't happening in here. The brainwashing is happening all day long out there. That's what it says right here. So don't be conformed to that. Don't go along with the brainwashing of the world that everybody else is believing, no, here's what you get to do, very excited. You get to be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
[00:39:24] By fresh thinking.
[00:39:27] Where does that come from? It comes from the spirit, comes from prophecy. It comes from the scripture as we get into God's word. Don't be conformed, be transformed, and what's the difference? My mind gets renewed, so let's get this down for point number two. Two things we're told to do. One, we want to stop the brainwashing. Two, we want to start the renewing.
[00:39:49] We want to hold fast to what is good. That's the renewing. We want to abstain from every form of evil. That's the brainwashing. Let's just get this right in our minds how it works, though. The world is trying to brainwash us. And we get renewed when we come here together. And we open the scriptures every Sunday morning. Man, do you ever feel like your mind is renewed when you leave here in the morning?
[00:40:10] Do you feel like we'd like you're seeing the world a lot more clearly all of a sudden when you spend some time in scripture, hopefully as you grow as a Christian like Hebrews 514 says, you'll constantly be practicing daily in your own life, discerning between good and evil. As you learn how to study the scripture for yourself, you'll be able to hear thoughts and decide what's true about them and what's not. As you're reading the Bible day in and day out on your own life, as your mind is constantly being renewed. Now, let's just let's just take a scenario. How would I figure out what God wants me to do in my life? How would I know the will of God? Let's talk about one that comes up regularly around here.
[00:40:49] Let's talk about moving. OK. Maybe you know somebody right now who's trying to figure out if they I mean, real scenario. Somebody is trying to figure out they came to our church. If they're moving to Idaho or not. Right. Now, I'm here in Huntington Beach where we don't even need a C, and I'm thinking, why would you want to move Dita? You know what I mean? But there's some compelling reasons to move. Dita seems like a lot of times people find jobs that sound very compelling to them. And what really sucks them in is do you realize how much houses costs in Idaho? I mean, do you realize the price of land over there? Do you realize that for what you're paying here, you could be living like a king in Idaho right now, say?
[00:41:29] And so I have people who come to me and this is the basic assumption of what they're saying. I've got a job and I have a place that I could have a house. So clearly, the spirit is leading me to Idaho because, look, he's already provided this job and he's already provided this place to live. So that must be him telling me to go to Idaho.
[00:41:52] Maybe you thought those kind of thoughts. A lot of people expressing that kind of thought right here at our church. And then you're out here, ICOM fuddy duddy pastor coming into the conversation, killjoy, which is one question. Hey, do you know if there's a good church in Idaho? Because I know it's God's will for you to have a job. That's good. Praise the Lord for that. And I know it's God's will for your family to be provided for to have shelter, to have their physical needs met. Hey, praise the Lord for that. But I also know that it's the will of God for you to have a pastor who preaches you the word and to have brothers and sisters where you love one another. Do you know that's in Idaho?
[00:42:29] Because if you don't know, don't go.
[00:42:33] Because that's God's will. And people just assume there's gonna be a good church anywhere out there. And so they just head off. I've had so many friends. Burned, some of some of my friends have even gone out, checked out the churches where they moved to where they had the great job that the Lord provided and the great house that the Lord provided. And they couldn't find the great church that God provided. And they moved back for the church. Because they knew here's God's will for my life to make disciples of Jesus Christ. That's his will for me. And that's thinking biblically. That's comparing well, I feels good to move to. I know right now.
[00:43:11] Well, hey, what does the Bible say? The Bible says. It feels good to lead someone to Jesus Christ. Can you do that in Idaho? Well, we can do that anywhere, really. Where's the support structure that's going to equip you to do that in Idaho? If you don't know, don't go. Go to Ephesians Chapter five. Turn to a fusion's chapter five with me.
[00:43:32] And you'll see here another cry for discernment, another cry, hey, man, it is so dark. Even the things that claimed to be light are dark. We gotta get our flashlight out. We got to start shining it around it. It's a it's a prophetic word that we can have confidence in a lamp that light up the path before us.
[00:43:53] And you see that here in Effusions, Chapter five in the middle of the darkness here as it's describing this confusion's chapter five or six says, let no one deceive you with empty words. Amen we can be so easily deceived for because of these things, the sins that it was just mentioning, the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore, hey, here's something you really got to do. Make sure you don't become partners with those who are in the darkness.
[00:44:19] And remember, at one time you were darkness. But now you are light in the Lord. So walk is children of light.
[00:44:26] And here's the fruit of light. It's found in all that is good and right and true. And hey, here's what you should be doing as a Christian person. Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Try to figure out what God wants you to do. Hold to the good. Go for it. Get away from anything that's evil in your life. So there's a lot of darkness out there. But you you've got the light. Try to figure out what God wants you to do, try to discern our same word right there. Take no part in the unfruitful work of darkness, but instead expose them.
[00:45:01] Ford is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. Here's a here's something that's not. Chapter and verse in scripture. Who are you gonna make your friends in life?
[00:45:11] How do I know if it's God's will for me to really make this person my close personal friend? How do I how do I evaluate how do I test my relationships even around me to make sure that the people I'm calling my friends are really people that I would want to be walking side by side through life with, like iron sharpening iron?
[00:45:31] I got to use the scripture to evaluate relationships. And sometimes when I read the scripture and what it says a Christian is and then I have my friend. Maybe it's maybe it's a spouse even. Or a child or a parent. I mean, here's somebody I love. See? And I've got the scripture over here. And this person says they're a Christian and they're living this way. And the scripture says a Christian lives this way. That's a very tough place to be, is it not? Because you see, you have experience with this person and your experience teaches you. It tells you this person is saved. I had somebody like this in my life.
[00:46:13] I had somebody who I would have told you was my best friend. He was my college roommate. He was the best man at my wedding. And I would have told you, this guy and I, we are like this. And we had experiences. We had great experiences of worshiping the Lord. We actually wrote worship songs together.
[00:46:32] Powerful times of worship that we had.
[00:46:35] And all my experiences then this guy, he had his struggles and he would come to me and I'd encourage him and it seemed like he would respond. So many experiences that told me this guy's a Christian. I should be friends with him. We're walking in the same direction. And then eventually I started to find out that I didn't know the whole story about my friend. And he would tell me some things, but he wouldn't tell me the whole thing.
[00:46:59] And the truth eventually came out as it always does. Eventually the light shines and it exposes all of the darkness. And my friend was revealed to be someone who I did not know.
[00:47:11] Someone who had put on a mask to me for years of a close personal relationship and I had to decide, was I going to choose my experience with my friend or what God said in the Bible? Was I going to keep calling him a Christian because that's how we've been rolling for years as best men. What was I gonna realize that according to the scriptures, he was walking in darkness and that therefore I probably shouldn't be acting like he's my best friend? I should probably even be talking to him about his sin and removing myself from such a close personal relationship.
[00:47:45] And when you when we're talking about people that you love, it gets tough, doesn't it?
[00:47:51] Who has authority in your life? Does God have authority in this book? Or to the people that you love and your shared experiences?
[00:47:57] Who wins at the end of the day in your life? My friend. So you've got to test everything.
[00:48:03] And you've got to hold to what is good. You have to abstain from every form of relieve evil, even if it's a relationship with someone that you love more than you love yourself.
[00:48:13] You might have to say. No, to that friendship, the way that it is.
[00:48:18] Change it to where you're evangelizing that person. And the truth is, sometimes when we change the nature of our relationship and we try to evangelize that person, they don't respond very well, do they? And we lose a relationship that was close to us.
[00:48:34] We got to test everything.
[00:48:36] It's not going to be easy, but we have to believe what the scripture says over our experiences. And if you have a situation that's going on in your life where you're trying to figure out what God wants you to do, man, I would love to talk to you about it. I'd love for you to talk to your home fellowship group leader about it. I would love for us to be a church that brings back this lost virtue that not too many people are talking about this idea of discernment that we can test everything. And we can hold the what is good and we're not going to have any evil. Let's pray. God, I thank you so much for your word and I thank you that it does revealed to us everything we need to know for life and godliness, that this word that you inspired, that you breathe, it equips us for every good work that you're calling us to do. God help us to believe this. This prophetic word that the Holy Spirit moved men to write. And help us to really study it.
[00:49:31] Examining it daily and to test everything that we are told, every relationship that we have, every inclination of our heart, and to tested according to your word. And to let your word have authority in our lives over our own emotions and our own experiences. God, teach us this.
[00:49:49] We need a lot more sermons like this at our church. God teach us how to test things. How not to believe every spirit, but to examine them. And see if they're really from you and God help us as we're living our lives to discern what what is pleasing to you.
[00:50:04] Renew our minds so that we can see what your will is for every single person here. Maybe you are calling somebody to move to Idaho. Maybe somebody is going to lose a relationship that's close to them here this morning. Maybe is going to talk to a Mormon or a Muslim, and we're gonna get to share with them from scripture who Jesus really is.
[00:50:22] God, I pray that you will show us your will renew our mind to see it so that we can do what is good and acceptable and perfect in your side. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.