DISCERNING THE SPIRITS
1John 4:1; 2Cor. 10:3-5; Eph 6:10-18
1John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2Corinthians 10:3-6 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh (4) (for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds), (5) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; (6) and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience shall be made full.
Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. (11) Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (12) For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (13) Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand. (14) Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, (15) and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) withal taking up the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (18) with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints,
Discernment is the ability to see into the spirit world and to perceive the operation of that world. The Bible says we should "try the spirits" to see whether or not they are of God (1John 4:1).
THIS IS A COMMAND, NOT A SUGGESTION OR AN OPTION.
- How do we "try the spirits"? (1John 4:2-3) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
- Knowing the Spirit of God is the key as we "try the spirits."
- The Holy Spirit enables you to recognize other spirits.
- As you know Him, you will be able to know the operation of other spirits, for truth is found only in the Holy Spirit.
- If you know Him, you will know them because you must compare them to the truth found in God’s Spirit.
THREE REALMS OF DISCERNMENT
There are three different realms in which we need discernment.
We must be able to distinguish between:
a. the Spirit of God,
b. the spirit of the enemy, and
c. the human spirit.
That is what 1Cor. 12:10 means when it speaks of "discerning of spirits" (plural).
HERE ARE SOME BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF EACH OF THESE REALMS.
- The Spirit Of God (2Kings 6:15-17): The city of Dothan was surrounded by enemy forces. The prophet Elisha had the ability to see into the spiritual realm, but his servant Gehazi did not. Elisha prayed for him, and God opened his eyes to see God’s spiritual forces amassed on the hillsides around them. 2Kings 6:15-17 ASV And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, a host with horses and chariots was round about the city. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? 16 And he answered, Fear not; for they that are with us are more than they that are with them. 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Jehovah, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And Jehovah opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
- The Spirit Of The Enemy (Acts 16:16-19): The Apostle Paul was followed by a woman who was actually speaking the truth—"these men are servants of the most high God which shew unto us the way of salvation."
- Some Christians might have said she was of God, but Paul rebuked the evil spirit and commanded it to come out of her. – Acts 16:16-19 ASV And it came to pass, as we were going to the place of prayer, that a certain maid having a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much gain by soothsaying. 17 The same following after Paul and us cried out, saying, These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim unto you the way of salvation. 18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, being sore troubled, turned and said to the spirit, I charge thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And it came out that very hour. 19 But when her masters saw that the hope of their gain was gone, they laid hold on Paul and Silas, and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.
- The Human Spirit (Gen. 27:22-23 and Jer. 28:1-3, 15-17):
- In Genesis 27, we learn how Isaac, a mighty prophet of God, lacked discernment to tell which one of his sons came to receive the blessing. He depended on his natural abilities instead of the Holy Spirit.
- In Jeremiah 28, the prophet Jeremiah discerned that a prophecy given by Hananiah regarding the sacred vessels was spoken from his own spirit.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE DEMONIC SPIRITS
Here are six ways that can help you recognize when an evil spirit is at work in the life of an individual:
- Regression: Regression means "to draw back, to pull away." The first thing to look for in recognizing demonic spirits is spiritual or emotional withdrawal. That person will also begin to lack hunger for the things of God. They withdraw from church, God’s people, and His Word.
- Suppression: Next, the person begins to suppress everything. They are unable to express their emotions, rejoice in the Lord, or praise God. They become emotionally isolated and have no joy.
- Depression: The next step in the downward spiral is depression. The spirit becomes broken and crushed. They can’t break through emotionally or spiritually, so they become depressed and give up.
- Oppression: I believe demons actually enter and seize control somewhere between depression and oppression. Demons may not be there at regression. They may not even be there at the suppression level or when a person is first depressed. But depression is a big door wide open to demonic spirits. If depression is not dealt with, demonic forces will enter and gain control of the mind. A person can become oppressed– so weighed down that they are unable to function–as the devil binds their mind with their past guilt, failures, and sins.
- Obsession: Obsession is when someone becomes preoccupied with an idea, emotion, hurt, or anger. Satan has such a stronghold on them that everything is now focused on one lie.
- Possession: Obsession leads to possession, a condition where people are under total and complete control of a demonic force.
- Now here is the danger: Regression, suppression, depression, oppression, and obsession are all mental – but not possession.
- Possession is spiritual. If a person does not deal with the first five levels, demon spirits will move from the mind into the person’s spirit and seize control of their whole life.
- The good news is that at any point in this cycle, A PERSON CAN RECEIVE DELIVERANCE!
WE BATTLE SPIRITUAL FORCES––
- We do not battle flesh and blood: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Eph. 6:12)
- It is the demon spirit behind a problem or situation that you must go after with your spiritual weapons of warfare: "...the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." (2Cor. 10:4-6)
- The gift of discernment enables you to battle in the spiritual realm.
- It is a gift from the Holy Spirit imparted into your life.
- Discernment is developed by prayer and the Word, praise, and the power of the spoken word.
- Prayer and the Word: The most powerful weapon is prayer, and prayer is fueled by the Word of God.
- The Word gives you the ability to discern between good and evil – Ezekiel 44:23 ASV And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.
- Prayer reveals things you do not know – Jeremiah 33:3 ASV Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and will show thee great things, and difficult, which thou knowest not.
- Prayer moves you from the carnal to the spiritual, and the Word gives you the power you need when you get there.
- Praise: Satan is crippled when you praise the Lord – Psalms 8:2 ASV Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou established strength, Because of thine adversaries, That thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
- God does wonders when you praise Him (Exodus 15:10-11). Exodus 15:10-11 ASV Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: They sank as lead in the mighty waters. 11 Who is like unto thee, O Jehovah, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?
- The high praises of God execute vengeance upon the enemy – Psalms 149:6-9 ASV Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, And a two-edged sword in their hand; 7 To execute vengeance upon the nations, And punishments upon the peoples; 8 To bind their kings with chains, And their nobles with fetters of iron; 9 To execute upon them the judgment written: This honor have all his saints. Praise ye Jehovah.
- Power of the Spoken Word: Numbers 14:28 declares, "Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you."
- Start confessing God’s power, and He will act upon what you speak.
- You overcome demonic forces by the blood of the Lamb and by the power of the spoken word –
- Revelation 12:11 ASV And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony; and they loved not their life even unto death.
THE DISCERNING OF SPIRITS IS SUPERNATURAL INSIGHT
INTO THE WORLD OF THE SPIRIT––INTO THE SPIRIT REALM.
A. There is no distance when we are operating in the spirit.
B. We do not have to have the gift of discerning of spirits in operation to deal with these spirits.
C. This is very important and MUST be remembered:
We deal with Demon Spirits with the Word and the Name of Jesus.
THERE ARE AT LEAST FOUR CLASSES OF EVIL SPIRITS
A. Wicked spirits in high places.
B. Rulers of the darkness of this world
(the most intelligent type that we have to deal with here on earth).
- Ephesians 6:12 ASV For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
- 2Corinthians 10:3-6 ASV For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh 4 (for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds), 5 casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; 6 and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience shall be made full.
THE MIND IS THE DOOR TO THE SPIRIT.
2Cor. 10:5 (above), Romans 12:2 ASV And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2 ALT And [you are] to stop conforming yourselves to this age, but [are] to continue being transformed by the renewal of your mind, in order for you to be proving what [is] the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
- This is the only way the devil has of getting to your spirit.
- Don't think Satan's thoughts after you think God's thoughts.
- Isaiah 55:7-8 ASV let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto Jehovah, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah.
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Mail: Pastor Ira L. Hargis
9238 Columbia St.
Sapulpa, Oklahoma USA 74066
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