I have noticed this sermon from a very reputable pastor in a church in Connecticut, USA. The purpose here is not to point my fingers again to anyone here out of personal malice, certainly not the bretherns which I have crossed words with above. It is to edify us all, me included, that God's teaching alone is the abolute reliable objective standard, and His Word settles it, it is then the final authority and we must accept it.
Need: "Today when globalization and the Internet push together differing cultures with varying beliefs, leaving many unsure of what is God's truth, how are we to discern His truth with any certainty?!"
1. In 1 Corinthians 12:1-2, the Apostle Paul prefaced the start of his teaching on spiritual gifts with a revelation about the need for his Corinthian believing readers to DISCERN TRUE from FALSE SPIRITS behind ALL teachers, Bible Know. Com., N. T., p. 532f:
1. Though the English translations have Paul at 1 Cor. 12:1a introducing the chapter by referring to "spiritual gifts," he did not
write the actual word for "spiritual gifts
" which is charismaton
(as in verse 4), but "spiritual things
," or pneumatikon
, U. B. S. Grk. N. T.
, 1966, p. 605.
2. Then, he referred to the pre-salvation days of his readers when they were misled unto worshiping idols, 1 Corinthians 12:2.
3. Accordingly, in view of their pagan heritage and how it had once left them vulnerable to being spiritually deceived, and possibly still left them concerned about being deceived, Paul did not want his readers to be ignorant of "spiritual things" regarding true and false ministries:
1. In their pre-salvation days, Paul's readers had been misled in many ways by false teachers to end up worshiping idols, 1 Cor. 12:2: the words hos an ['agesthe 'apagomenoi] ("howsoever you might [be led astray]") show that, prior to their salvation, Paul's readers had "followed every teacher but the end was always idolworship," F. W. Grosheide, 1 Corinthians, NICNT, 1980, p. 279-280.
2. Thus, the Corinthian believers were either still vulnerable to deception, or were concerned about being vulnerable to it, or they were still vulnerable to false teachers, Ibid., Bib. Kno. Com., N. T.
3. Paul accordingly wrote to inform his formerly pagan readers about discerning true from false spiritual ministries!
2. Paul thus provided a TEST on DISCERNING FALSE from GOD'S TRUE SPIRITS that are BEHIND ALL TEACHERS, 1 Cor. 12:3:
1. Paul claimed that no one who speaks spirit-related ideas by means of the Holy Spirit of God says, "Jesus is accursed!" (1 Corinthians 12:3a)
2. Also, Paul claimed that no one is even able
) to say, "Jesus is (the) Lord" except by means of the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:3b. By the term, "Lord" in such a context, Paul meant Jesus as the Creator God, cf. Colossians 2:9; Ibid., U. B. S. Greek New Testament
3. This test along with Scripture passages elsewhere reveal one can test a teacher's salvation status and empowering spirit that is behind his spiritual teachings to discern whether he is from God (as follows):
1. Once a party believes in Christ as his Savior, he is indwelt forever from that moment forward by God the Holy Spirit, Eph. 1:13-14.
2. Indeed, if one does not have the Spirit, he is not saved, Rom. 8:9b!
3. The Holy Spirit always honors and glorifies Christ, John 16:13-14.
4. Applying each of these truths, we know that (a) one who asserts spirit-related ideas is of God providing he glorifies Jesus and confesses Him as God, or that (b) one is unsaved if he either curses Christ or fails to be able to confess Jesus is the Creator God!
3. However, 1 Corinthians 12:3 allows ROOM for ERRANT WORDS by TRUE CHRISTIANS, so we add FURTHER clarifications from SCRIPTURE on TESTING ALL TEACHINGS by all teachers:
1. God has several subjective
means of testing for His true teachings:
1. True and false teachers are in time exposed by their "fruits", their works and the effects of their lives, Matt. 7:15-20; 1 Tim. 5:24-25.
2. God wants us to discern error through staying with what God has previously let us be taught and also become convinced was true, and that were taught to us by godly men, 2 Timothy 3:13-14.
3. The indwelling Holy Spirit also provides a subjective signal on the degree of credibility of what a believer hears, a signal in his human spirit [that can be objectively verified by Scripture], 1 Jn. 2:20, 27.
2. However, subjective experience can deceive due to sin in men (cf. Deuteronomy 13:1-4 with 1 Timothy 4:1-2), so God has an objective
and thus sure
test for truth -- His written Word
1. Isaiah 8:19-20 claims Scripture is the starting point of God's light.
2. Jesus told his hearers to test His acts and works in view of the Old Testament to verify His identity as Messiah and God, John 5:39.
3. Jesus exampled the right way to interpret Scripture in Mark 12:18-27 -- to use the normal, litero-grammatico-historical method.
4. Thus, those who teach accurately are Biblical, and we can discern this fact by checking written Scripture in its normal meaning like the Bereans did in evaluating Paul's teaching, cf. Acts 17:10-11.
Lesson Application: (1) May we trust in Christ as Savior from sin to be saved and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, John 3:16; Romans 8:9. (2) Then, may we TEST the spirits of ALL TEACHERS using 1 Corinthians 12:3, and (3) heed Scripture's subjective and objective guidelines on TRUE TEACHINGS by godly teachers.