DISCERNING OF SPIRITS
The Scripture says, “To another discerning of spirits” (I Cor. 12:10).
Discerning of spirits refers to the following:
• Human spirits;
• Demon spirits; and,
• The Holy Spirit.
This is not the Gift of Discernment, but rather, the Gift of “discerning of spirits.”
It is true that when a person comes to Christ, their capacity of discernment increases greatly, which it definitely should; however, this is not what the Holy Spirit is here addressing.
One of the reasons that so many modern Christians are falling for so much false doctrine is that there is so little “discerning of spirits” in Operation at this present time. As a Minister of the Gospel, oftentimes I will watch Christians fall for things that are so obviously wrong, yet, they seem to not know any better. The modern church, due to falling away from the Administration of the Holy Spirit, has come to the place that it little understands the difference in evil spirits and the Holy Spirit. That is tragic! But, it is true. Entire religious denominations are being led astray and, I might quickly add, denominations which once had the Flow and Moving of the Holy Spirit.
I read a letter the other day written by a leader in a Full Gospel denomination, so-called, who was castigating this Ministry (Jimmy Swaggart Ministries), and extolling the greatness of the Purpose Driven Life system. The tragedy is, this leader in that denomination didn’t even have enough spirituality to know and understand that the Purpose Driven Life scheme is totally of man, which means it is not at all of God. He did not have enough discernment to know that, much less the Gift of “discerning of spirits.” When Believers, so-called, begin to stray from the Word of God, which must be the criteria for all things, then the Working, Moving, and Operation of the Holy Spirit begins to fall by the wayside as well. That’s the tragedy with modern Pentecostal denominations. For the most part, they have embraced humanistic psychology, which means they cannot at the same time have the Moving and Working of the Holy Spirit. Either one cancels out the other. If you are going to embrace humanistic psychology, you cannot have at the same time the Holy Spirit. If you follow the Ways of the Spirit, you will not want or desire the ways of humanistic psychology. The two are antithetical, meaning, “being in direct and unequivocal opposition.”
Some years ago, Frances and I were in a particular city in a crusade. It was Saturday night.
After the service ended, Frances motioned for me to come to where she was, as she was speaking with two people, a man and his wife.
We walked over to a place to where we could have a little privacy, and Frances mentioned to me that this couple was having marriage difficulties. I did not know them and neither did Frances.
At any rate, as we were standing there listening to them, all of a sudden, the Lord spoke to my heart and told me what the problem was. I discerned the spirit of lying in the dear lady who stood before me. Now, the Lord does not reveal these kinds of things to me often, but that night, He did.
I called her to the side, out of earshot of her husband. I then said to her, “Sister, your marriage is in trouble, in serious trouble, because you are being unfaithful to your husband.”
Her eyes grew wide in astonishment because she knew that I did not know her or anything about her. I said, “You are having an affair with another man.”
She dropped her head and began to sob, admitting that it was true. I then said to her that she would have to tell her husband of this problem and repent before God, and that it must be broken off instantly.
We then went back to where Frances and the lady’s husband were standing. I said nothing to him, leaving it up to her and to her discretion. Frances and I prayed with them, and they left.
I received a letter from her some weeks later. She told me how that she had done exactly what I said, repented before God, broke off the thing, and had related everything to her husband. She went on to tell me that it looked like their marriage was going to be saved.
Now, in that particular episode, not only was “discerning of spirits” in Operation, as I discerned a lying spirit in this dear lady, but also, a “Word of Knowledge,” which related the situation that had been happening and was happening then, and also a “Word of Wisdom,” which stated what she must do and how that it would turn out alright if she obeyed the Lord.
As we have already stated, many times these Gifts work in tandem with each other.
DIFFERENT KINDS OF TONGUES
“To another diverse kinds of Tongues” (I Cor. 12:10).
The “kinds of Tongues” refer to different languages but unknown by the speaker.
This is proven, as we have already stated, from Acts 2:5-13.
It must be understood that Paul is speaking here of the “Gift of Tongues,” and not the Tongues that are used in our everyday prayer language and worship. Many non-Believers get this confused, thinking that anytime a person speaks in Tongues, it’s supposed to be interpreted, and if it’s not interpreted, that proves it’s not real. They totally misunderstand the situation.
In fact, one might say for the sake of clarification, that there are two types of Tongues. They are:
• The Tongues that one receives when one is baptized with the Holy Spirit. They are to continue to use these Tongues, praying in the Spirit and worshipping in the Spirit, which they should do on a daily basis. However, even though anything and everything that God does for us is a “Gift,” still, Paul is speaking in this Twelfth Chapter of I Corinthians of the nine Gifts of the Spirit. In other words, he delineates these Gifts as it regards these particular nine Spiritual Gifts, one might say. What I’m saying is, our prayer language is not the Gift of Tongues of which Paul here speaks. It’s not meant to be interpreted and, in fact, is not to be interpreted. It is simply worship of the Lord, which within itself, and as we also have explained in another Chapter, is extremely beneficial to the Child of God.
• The Gift of Tongues is that which Paul is here addressing. In fact, he goes into detail in the Fourteenth Chapter as to how this Gift is to be used. In other words, speaking with other Tongues, whether in worship or whether as a Gift, is explained in the Fourteenth Chapter of I Corinthians. He says the following:
1. For the Gift of Tongues to be as helpful as the Gift of Prophecy, Interpretation of Tongues must be brought into play as well.
2. When it is time to preach to the congregation or to teach the congregation, one certainly should not try to do so in Tongues because, as would be obvious, the people would not understand what is being said. That’s the reason the Apostle said, “So likewise ye, except you utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken?” (I Cor. 14:9). What was taking place was the following.
Many of the Corinthians, not knowing or understanding how the Gifts should operate in the services, that is, when they came together to worship the Lord, were blurting out in Tongues, and doing so constantly, which hindered the service. Paul went on to say that while the one speaking may be blessed, no one else is (I Cor. 14:16-17).
3. Inasmuch as “the spirits of the Prophets are subject to the Prophets,” meaning that no one is forced by the Lord to do anything, if one feels he has a message that is to be given to the Church, he should wait till the appropriate time (I Cor. 14:32).
4. And, when the utterance is given and properly interpreted, with both being from the Lord, it will “speak unto men to Edification, Exhortation, and Comfort” (I Cor. 14:3).
“THE INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES”
Paul said, “To another the interpretation of Tongues” (I Cor. 12:10). As we’ve already stated, it’s only utterances that are given in Church Services, and given at the appropriate time, which are to be interpreted and, in fact, are meant by the Lord to be interpreted.
And, we must remember, this is an interpretation and not a translation. These are two different things. It is the Gift of “interpretation of Tongues,” and not the gift of “translation of Tongues.”
Concerning this Gift, the following should be noted:
• Tongues and interpretation of Tongues equal Prophecy regarding significance.
“I would that you all spoke with Tongues (refers here in this instance to one’s prayer and worship language), but rather that you Prophesied (now reverts to this particular Gift of the Spirit): for greater is he who Prophesies than he who speaks with Tongues, except he Interpret, that the Church may receive Edifying” (I Cor. 14:5).
• The one who has the Gift of Tongues, meant to be uttered in public services and interpreted, the Scripture says he should also “pray that he may interpret,” in other words, pray that the Lord would give him, as well, the Gift of Interpretation of Tongues (I Cor. 14:13). This is for the obvious reason. If it is a small assembly and the person with a Gift of Tongues has to depend on someone else, the other person being the interpreter, and that person is not present, this presents a problem. So, the one with the Gift of Tongues should pray that the Lord would use him or her as well, as it regards the interpretation of Tongues. In fact, this is the ideal!
• In a public service, the Holy Spirit through Paul said that utterances should belimited “by two, or at the most by three,” meaning the individuals who are giving the utterances in Tongues, which are meant to be interpreted (I Cor. 14:27).
• If thereis no interpreter present, the individual is to “keep silence in the Church; and let him speak to himself, and to God” (I Cor. 14:28).
TO PROFIT WITHAL
Again we go back to the words of Paul as he introduced the Gifts. He said:
“But the manifestation of the Spirit (pertains to that which the Gifts make manifest or reveal) is given to every man to profit withal. (If the Gifts are allowed to function properly, which they definitely will if the Holy Spirit has His Way, the entirety of the Church will profit, which of course, is the intention of the Holy Spirit)” (I Cor. 12:7).
“The Master comes! He calls for thee,
“Go forth at His Almighty Word;
“Obedient to His last Command;
“And tell to those who never heard,
“Who sit in deepest shades of night,
“That Christ has come to give them light!”
“The Master calls! Arise and go;
“How blessed His Messenger to be!
“He Who has given you liberty,
“Now bids you set the captives free,
“Proclaim His mighty Power to save,
“Who for the world His Life-Blood gave.”
“The Master calls! Shall not the heart,
“In warm responsive love reply,
“Lord, here am I, send me, send me,
“Your willing slave, to live or die;
“And an instrument unfit indeed,
“Yet You will give me what I need.”
“And if you cannot go, yet bring,
“An offering of a willing heart;
“Then, though you tarry at home,
“Your God shall give you to your part.
“The messengers of peace upbear,
“In ceaseless and prevailing prayer.”
“Short is the time for service true,
“For soon shall dawn that glorious day,
“When, all the Harvest gathered in,
“Each faithful heart shall hear Him say,
“‘My Child, well done! Your toil is o’er;
“Enter My Joy forevermore.’”
(This message was derived from the book, “Brother Swaggart, Here Is My Question About The Holy Spirit”.)