Genuine Discernment

January 29, 2002 PM
Pastor Chris Abernathy
Columbus, Georgia

If you would, open up your Bibles with me to the book of First Corinthians chapter twelve. First Corinthians chapter twelve. Tonight the title of our message will be “Genuine Discernment.” Genuine discernment. In First Corinthians chapter twelve beginning with verse four, it says,

4. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

5. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

6. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

7. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

8. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

9. To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

10. To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

11. But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

Let us pray.

Most holy and gracious heavenly Father, we thank You that Your Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Father, we ask that You would hide Your son behind the cross, that Your people would see You and not me. Father, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, oh Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

Father, I thank You that every principality and power is bound and forbidden to operate. In Jesus’ holy and blessed Name. Amen.

One of the things it said in verse ten was “discerning of spirits.” What is discernment? Discernment is being able to perceive what is obscure. In other words discernment is being able to perceive what is in darkness, not by your flesh, but by the Spirit of God.

In the body of Christ, especially in the New Testament church we have been taught to discern everything. In some cases we have come a little bit discernment crazy. But it is time that we understand real discernment and how it is actually birthed. Glory to God.

When we looked at the prayer of the apostle Paul in Philippians chapter one and verse nine, he said,

9. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

When we look at that word “judgment,” that word means “discernment.” Discernment is birthed from a abounding love.

Let me explain something to you. You cannot truly discern anything by the Spirit except the love of God is abounding in your heart. All other types of discernment is pure flesh, and is judgment by the flesh.

When love leaps from one person’s heart to another, that person is truly able to discern what’s God and what’s not. That person is able (glory to God) to look at that person, no matter what they have on, no matter what’s going on in their life, and discern what God discerns about them.

True discernment is rooted deeply in love. It is committed to love. And it is even committed to sacrificial love if need be.

In Romans five and five it says that the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us. Real discernment is birthed from the heart. Or real discernment is birthed from your spirit man. I must be preaching to myself tonight.

You see, too many times in the body of Christ we’ve been trying to discern each other. But that discernment has only been birthed out of criticism. Hello, somebody. It has not been birthed from real love.

Because if it was birthed from real love (glory to God), it would be able to give their brother or sister the benefit of the doubt, because they don’t know what’s going on in their lives. Real discernment is birthed from a spirit of love and not from a spirit of criticism.

It’s easy to criticize somebody. You see, when a person has lost the respect that we can give them... Because most of the time it’s about something that we heard, not actually something we’ve experienced ourselves. Oh hello, somebody.

We go by what somebody else tells us. And immediately when we see that person, we begin to discern, not righteous judgment, but with the discernment of the flesh.

There’s a gift of discernment in First Corinthians twelve. Glory to God. But if I’m in the body of Christ I have been given spiritual discernment. And I must be able to discern spiritually and not according to my flesh.

When I talk to people, a lot of times they tell me they discern this about a particular person. You didn’t discern it. You saw it with your natural eye. Spiritual discernment is not seeing with the natural eye. Spiritual discernment is seeing with the Spirit, a spiritual eye. Glory to God.

If I discern something about you, it had nothing to do with my natural... Oh, you don’t hear me tonight. The only thing I’m discerning is maybe one of your faults that you may have. And I didn’t discern it by the Spirit. I discerned it by observing it, by being around you long enough.

Stop listening to what other folks got to say about other folks. Hello.

Let me explain to you what discernment is there for. It’s there that you may get down on your knees and pray for somebody. It’s not there so you can get on the hellephone and try to prove how spiritual you are. Oh, it’s hitting somebody in here. Especially when we don’t like what somebody says, immediately we done discerned something wrong about them.

Discernment, real discernment is birthed from a spirit of love. Why? Because when I come into your presence, the love of God is leaping forth from me. And if the love of God is leaping forth from me (glory to God) He’s going to tell me everything that’s around me. Why is He going to tell me? Because I know how to keep my mouth shut.

See, we begin to take these gifts. And we use them to manipulate people into the way that we want to manipulate them into. If we don’t want somebody to like somebody because we don’t like them, we got something... Oh, you don’t hear me tonight.

Have you been discerning by the Spirit? Or have you been discerning by the flesh?

Let me give you a case in point.

It’s easy to tell a flamboyant homosexual, isn’t it? But what about when they’re dressed just like you and me? What about when it’s a man that doesn’t have any feminine characteristics about him? What about when it’s a woman that doesn’t act like a man? Just as feminine as she can be.

You would never know except you saw them or the Spirit of God told you about them. But as soon as we see the one that’s flamboyant, “Oh, it was the Spirit of God that told me.” The Spirit of God ain’t told you nothing. Because He knew He couldn’t tell you. Because He couldn’t trust you with it.

That’s what I’m talking about. Things that are not easily seen with your natural eye that has to be revealed to you by the Spirit of God. Now stop judging your brothers and sisters. Because you don’t know the situation. And you don’t know the circumstance.

Real spiritual discernment. See, I’m trying to get the devil up under your feet tonight. I’m trying to get you to put the telephone down.

Spiritual discernment, it comes from a spirit of love. Many times we have operated in false discernment. Many times we have tried to discern through suspicion. You cannot discern anything through being suspicious. You cannot discern anything by being in a spirit of fear. And you cannot discern anything by a spirit of mistrust.

It doesn’t operate in that realm. Listen. It doesn’t operate there. It operates in a holy atmosphere, in an atmosphere (glory to God) with the Presence of the Lord in it.

You cannot try to operate with spiritual discernment based on your past experiences. You see, many of us go into a place trying our best to discern something wrong, because of something that happened in our past. “I ain’t found nobody right yet, so I know they ain’t right either.” Oh, as preachers we find it all the time.

But let me explain to you what your discernment is for. It’s for the body. That’s what it went on to say in the Word. It’s to keep the devil out of the camp. It’s not to put my brothers and sisters down, but it’s to get the devil out of the camp.

Those that operate in true spiritual discernment, God will make them watchmen on the walls.

Let me tell you about a true watchman. A true watchman doesn’t go around looking all spacey. They ain’t seeing nothing, because God ain’t showing them nothing. They’re looking with their natural eye.

A person that operates in true spiritual discernment, you won’t know that they’re discerning you. Because they come to a place of maturity in that gift. And they don’t have to prove to you how spiritual they are.

Some people make you uncomfortable to be in their Presence, because it seems like they’re always looking for something. The only reason I want someone to be uncomfortable in my presence is if they’re being convicted by the sin that’s in their life, and the Christ that’s in me is shining forth.

Real spiritual discernment, that’s what we need. False discernment, it’s time for it to go. False discernment looks at the outer appearance. But true spiritual discernment looks inside of the thing.

When we see people on the streets, immediately we judge them by what they have on. We judge them by the way their hair is fixed. But real spiritual discernment may show you that that person didn’t have a father. They grew up in a shelter. Oh, you don’t hear me tonight. That’s what real spiritual discernment’s going to do. It’s going to assess the situation to try to bring Christ into their life. That’s what it’s there for.

John seven and twenty-four. It said, “Do not judge from the outer appearance, but judge with righteous judgment or discernment.”

I need insight that comes to me from the Spirit of God. I need Godly motives. I need agape love. And I need the ability to see past the natural.

We don’t spend enough time with our brothers and sisters to find out why they act the way they do. All we know is there’s something we don’t like about them. And immediately we cut them off, and we avoid them. But real love is going to get to the root of it. Why is there bitterness? Why are they lashing out? What happened? How can I pray for them? That’s what it’s all about.

Don’t tell me you saw something. You ain’t seeing. Because if you really saw, if you told me about it, your heart would be so full of love about it, to the point where you say, “Lord, please help them.”

I’ve been saying these things lately because I’m trying to get us to a point where we are truly unified and not divided.

You know she lie all the time. You need to bind up that lying spirit. You know he don’t want to do nothing. You need to bind up that lazy spirit. Stop talking about each other.

When a person don’t want to do right and they know they’re doing wrong, the Lord will take care of them. He will take care of them. He (I promise you) will take care of them.

And that’s a problem right there. Mercy. That’s a problem sometimes. You want to know why? Because we pray for mercy for people too much. If you keep praying for mercy, then that person that you’re praying for going to keep acting the way they do.

True discernment. Real discernment.

If I can’t go to God in love for my brothers and sisters, then my discernment is not true. If I already got something in my heart about them, ain’t no need of me trying to pray for them. I need to pray for me, that I can get my heart right.

Don’t tell somebody you’re going to pray for them, and you done cussed them up one wall and down the other. Oh, that’s what you’re feeling in your heart. Give them to Jesus. And then get on your knees and pray for you.

My motives, everything, have got to be right. Without love I will continue to judge my brothers and sisters too harshly, to harshly.

Saints of God, listen. It’s time for us to unite. There are going to be things that are said that are going to cut you, things that are done that your flesh will not agree with. But those are the times that you have to really check yourself.

Because the Word of God is true. Let every man be a liar. If it’s in the Word and it cuts you, it cut you for a reason. Hello, somebody. It cuts. And when something cuts it hurts. But it’s a part of the maturing process.

Let your spiritual discernment of your brothers and sisters be real. Because love precedes discernment. If there ain’t no love there, the discernment is all wrong. If you got something in your heart, your discernment is going to be off. Because the devil done got in it. And he’s going to distort things to the point where you could never comprehend it. You’ll always be off until you get your heart right.

Don’t try to prophesy with your heart wrong. Because without love it’s like sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. All these gifts work by love. To hear God speak to my spirit I must be at peace, according to Colossians three and fifteen. It says, “Let the peace of God rule in your heart.” Let the peace of God rule in your heart.

If my discernment is going to be right, then I must have peace. If I don’t have peace, then I can look for flaws in what I discern.

Now let’s start over. What was it that you discerned by your natural eye or by your natural ear? And you said that God showed it to you. Think about it, who the person is. Now repent about it. Because you been judging them for quite some time.

There’s a difference. Because the Bible says when you see your brother overtaken in a fault, you that are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness. There’s a difference in a person having a fault, and you discerning something by the Spirit. Always remember that.

“I discerned this about him. I discerned that about her.” You just saw one of their faults with your natural eye. Pray for those two. But just don’t say God was the one that showed it to you.

Come on, give God a handclap of praise.

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