Saturday, January 19, 2013

Oh no, I touched the Lord's anointed!: Developing Biblical Discernment

I enjoy listening or watching an array of mature preachers. John MacArthur, Steve Lawson, Phil Johnson, Jim McClarty, Steve Hadley, Paul Washer (and here) and Don Green are my most frequently visited go-to men. In his latest sermon, Pastor Don Green of Truth Community Fellowship is preaching through 1st John. In this sermon titled Developing Biblical Discernment, he used the following verses:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-6)
In this day and age, (as it has always been) there are competing claims to spiritual authority. There are new philosophies of ministries that come and go with each passing year. There are ongoing claims of charismatic phenomena as the proof of anointing, Pastor Green explained.

It would be a travesty if our God of truth would have in His creation people who lyingly speak in His name when they are actually giving voice to demons- and give us no way to discern them. But, get this- just because there is confusion and deception, does not mean we cannot find truth. We can. We are each commanded to test spirits and discern the truth, and in the verses Pastor Green preaches on, it becomes evident that the Lord provides a way to do so.

Of interest to me, because it happened to me, lol, is the part where Pastor Green states directly, that when you hear someone tell you, "Touch not the Lord's anointed," run. He said,
One of the first things that mark a false teacher: they claim to be the Lord's anointed. Then they are going to tell you, "Don't touch the Lord's anointed." As soon as someone says that to you, get away from them. Because they are trying to exempt themselves from the tests of discernment. No one has a right to tell you 'don't examine my teaching', 'don't examine my life', because Christ himself tells us to do exactly that. As soon as you hear that, warning bells should start in your mind. Something is not right here ... When a man says "don't touch the Lord's anointed", figuratively speaking, that is exactly when you should most smack him with the test of biblical discernment.
False teachers are not simply people who are making a mistake. False teachers give voice to demonic teachings. They are a mouthpiece for satan. The verse says "this is the spirit is antichrist." Green said, "This is the same spirit that will rise up at the end of the end of days in the Tribulation and oppose Christ."

I say to us all, we become so inured to some of the passages in the bible, familiarity breeding over-familiarity, that we lose the import of the warning. This is the spirit of antichrist. Therefore think of this: every time you encounter a false teacher you are entering a mini-tribulation.

Green said, truth is absolute. There is no such thing as relative truth. It's an utter fallacy to believe we can have "your truth" and "my truth" all the while each are saying completely contradictory things. Truth belongs to God- he has revealed it in scripture. He has called His people to discern truth from error. He has called us to test the spirits, test the prophets, and not try to accommodate those who lie and reject that which is false. So, how do we do this, the biblical way?

Don Green explains it in his sermon "Developing Biblical Discernment" (1 John 4:1-6), giving three tests for discernment in his hour-long sermon. The three tests for us to perform of all those who claim to speak for God are--

--examine their manner of life,
--examine their confession of Jesus through their teaching,
--examine their view of scripture.

We arrive at the end of the sermon with confidence, not worried about false teachers, because as the verse says, "we have overcome them." We still have to practice discernment, but we do so from a position of strength, not weakness. The Lord Jesus gives us so many magnificent gifts! Discernment is one. Please give a listen.

4 comments :

  1. Sadly, it is true, the only way to sift through it all is the personal commitment to know the truth, be established in it, and to walk by faith, not by sight.
    There are so many things looking for that number one spot in our hearts looking to sit in "authority" over us.

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  2. I must say this hits very close to home...my family, as of this past Sunday have left a "Mega Church" in Tulsa because they have allowed the t.v. shows Cheers, The Cosby Show, Brady Bunch and Simpsons to be incorporated into our service as of recent. There are many other "red flags" in the past year that the Holy Spirit has shown us this past year. We are attending our first service at a new church tomorrow and believe God is going to show us where to be planted very soon.
    Elizabeth, thank you for creating this blog as I've been reading it for about the past 6 months or so.

    God Bless,

    Jeff Esau

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jeff Esau,

      God bless you for having the courage to speak up and then to leave your former church. It isn't easy, and it isn't something to be taken lightly. I'm sad that the leaders at your former mega-church have allowed secular television shows into the sanctuary! We are supposed to be apart from the world, focused on honoring Christ- who is the only one to have come from heaven.

      Bless you at your new church! I hope the visit turns out to be satisfactory and that the pure milk of the word is preached there.

      John MacArthur at Grace to You website began a new series a few weeks ago about the importance of attending church. Part way through, due to the high volume of similar remarks in the comment stream, the writers paused to make a note to readers. The comment stream from readers was fairly unanimous in that they agreed it is important to attend church- the problem was what you dealt with: gross blasphemy, un-doctrinal preaching, and general worldiness. MANY people out there are suffering from spiritual oppression because of secular worldiness that has crept into their church. You're not alone.

      I was inspired by the Grace to You responsiveness to pause the blog series and make a direct response, but saddened that there was such a volume of people, like you, struggling with this very issue. Here is the "Note to Readers" offering encouragement, and it includes several links showing what to look for in a new church, which I have also posted below in hopes it might help someone else.

      A note to our readers by John MacArthur
      http://www.gty.org/blog/B130118

      What to look for when choosing a new church home
      http://www.gty.org/resources/questions/QA121/what-should-i-look-for-when-choosing-a-new-church-home

      why should people leave their church
      http://www.gty.org/resources/questions/QA120/When-Should-People-Leave-Their-Church
      ----------------
      Church membership series

      part 1 Local church & why it matters
      http://www.gty.org/blog/B130111

      part 2 church membership in the new testament
      http://www.gty.org/blog/B130114

      part 3 membership is fellowship
      http://www.gty.org/blog/B130117

      Maybe someone else going what you're going thru, Jeff, will find these links helpful. Have a worshipful Sunday, andkeep me posted on how it's going :)

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    2. My understanding of what "attending church" church looks like is being/ has been challenged.

      Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

      "Touch not the Lord's anointed" What is being said is "I am above reproach" Too many are desiring people to follow them while they themselves are not willing to be accountable to the truth.

      You cannot lead people to Christ if you don't follow Him yourself.

      John 1:1

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