Reading 6 – Friday, December 14, 2018
“… TRY THE SPIRITS”
By D. L. Monterroso, Guatemala
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal…. to another distinguishing between spirits, …” 1 Corinthians 12:7, 10.
There are differences in the spiritu- al gifts, but there is only one Spirit. Every person is granted a manifestation of the Holy Spirit that is especially for him, although all of the gifts are for the purpose of edifying. Thus, in the church are different gifts and functions given by the Holy Spirit to perfect His beloved church. In 1 Corinthians 12:31, we see how God works in each believer who permits the Holy Spirit to use him. “The perfection of the church depends not on each member being fashioned exactly alike. God calls for each one to take his proper place, to stand in his lot to do his appointed work according to the ability which has been given him.”–(Letter 19, 1901) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1090.
No one is everything in the church. “For the body is not one member, but many.” 1 Corinthians 12:14. One part of a body does not fulfill all of its necessary functions but constantly depends n the other parts. In the same way, in the church, no brother, sister, or minister is the whole body. We read: “No one man, whether a teacher, a physician, or a minister, can ever hope to be a complete whole. God has given to every man certain gifts and has ordained that men be associated in His service in order that the varied talents of many minds may be blended. The contact of mind with mind tends to quicken thought and increase the capabilities. The deficiencies of one laborer are often made up by the special gifts of another;…” –Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 521.
Discernment of spirits. Among the spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit imparts to the church is the gift of being able to discern what spirit a person has in him, as 1 Corinthians 12:10 says: “Discerning of spirits.” The thoughts expressed in writing or in preaching can bring favorable consequences or be destructive for the church. This is a constant danger that the believers face, for we live in a very solemn, difficult time in which we must be guided into the correct path. There is no time to lose; and many times on the path we travel we hear strange voices urging us to do the opposite of God’s original plan.
The apostle Paul, directing his eyes on and inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote in 1 Timothy 4:1: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” This is a warning that we must pay close attention to, for the time of grace is rapidly ending. We are going to see more defections from the faith, and we must be on guard and discern the dangers that we will face.
Test the spirits whether they are of God. We are living in times when the deceptive power of Satan is becoming stronger and stronger, so we must ask God for the spiritual discernment to recognize when error is mixed with the truth. Extraordinary events will occur that confound human reasoning and test our faith. If we dig deeply into the Scriptures, we will be protected, for through the Bible we can counteract and unmask the error. In 1 John 4:1 we read: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
Thus, false prophets or preachers may seem to have a true message; but when it is mixed with error, it is the most powerful trap that the enemy uses. Let’s read a statement in Selected Messages, book 1, p. 122: “We have far more to fear from within than from without. The hindrances to strength and success are far greater from the church itself than from the world…. But how often have the professed advocates of the truth proved the greatest obstacle to its advancement! The unbelief indulged, the doubts expressed, the darkness cherished, encourage the presence of evil angels, and open the way for the accomplishment of Satan’s devices.” And in Acts 20:29, 30, the apostle Paul warned the believers: “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”
Lying spirits. Satan is trying to destroy the faith of God’s people in relation to sound doctrine and will use leaders in positions of great responsibility, because he knows that their influence is vital to cause confusion. The Holy Scriptures and the Spirit of prophecy warn us about this: “The princes of Judah were like those that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out My wrath upon them like water.” Hosea 5:10.
“In the future, deception of every kind is to arise, and we want solid ground for our feet. We want solid pillars for the building. Not one pin is to be removed from that which the Lord has stablished.” –Maranatha, p. 192.
As we have seen, God’s people need to be able to recognize the spirits of deceivers. Every individual has to be very clear about the message, for the purpose of such attacks is to destroy the truth. There are four important points of Biblical doctrine that are especially under attack.
- The Sanctuary. “The enemy will bring in false theories, such as the doctrine that there is no sanctuary. This is one of the points on which there will be a departing from the faith.” – Maranatha, p. 192.
Many people today do not believe the doctrine of the sanctuary, and as reformers we must know that the sanctuary is at the very center of Christ’s work for man. The correct understanding of the ministry of the heav- enly sanctuary is the foundation of our faith; through the different compartments of the sanctuary and its utensils, Christ is teaching sound doctrine.
- Divinity. “Before the last developments of the work of apostasy there will be a confusion of faith. There will not be clear and definite ideas concerning the mystery of God. One truth after another will be corrupted.” –Maranatha, p. 192.
Another disturbing issue is the attack on God, as stated in the previous paragraph. Many do not understand the divine unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. There are people who question that which is divine and have concepts very different from what the Bible and the Spirit of prophecy teach in relation to Divinity, and this can only create confusion. Some say that the Holy Spirit is not part of the Godhead; others argue that Christ is a whole, the Father, and the Holy Spirit all at the same time. But when we read the Bible and the Testimonies, we see that the Godhead is the perfect unity of the three heavenly Persons. Let us consider some statements concerning this. “But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep your- selves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 1:20, 21.
“When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” Acts 7:54, 55. These Bible texts each show the three Persons of the Godhead.
“The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit receive the believing soul into covenant relation with God.” – Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, p. 163.
These statements identify the Infinite Powers as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. “The Godhead was stirred with pity for the race, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit gave Themselves to the working out of the plan of redemption.” –Counsels on Health, p. 223. Who formed the plan of redemption? Inspiration is very clear about this: It was the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
“There are three living Per- sons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit–those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will cooperate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ.” –Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7 (1905), pp. 62, 63; Evangelism, p. It is inspiring to see the statement that we are baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
- The Human Nature of Christ. We read in 1 John 4:2, 3: “Here- by 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 2 John 1:7 states: “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” The Bible and the Spirit of prophecy confirm that Christ took human nature upon Him- self.“He permitted Him to meet life’s peril in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 49.“If He did not have man’s nature, He could not be our example. If He was not a partaker of our nature, He could not have been tempted as man has been.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 408.
“In our conclusions, we make many mistakes because of our erroneous views of the human nature of our Lord. When we give to His human nature a power that it is not possible for man to have in his conflicts with Satan, we destroy the fullness of His human- ity.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 929.
“In His humanity, He laid hold of the divinity of God; and this every member of the human family has the privilege of doing. Christ did nothing that human nature may not do if it par- takes of the divine nature.” –Signs of the Times, June 17, 1897.
This is a topic that the enemy uses to deceive many people, so we must be very careful. The one who teaches contrary to what is written in the sacred Scriptures and the Testimonies is identified in the Bible as deceitful and having the spirit of antichrist. Let us ask God for the Holy Spirit to discern this subtle deception.
- The Sabbath and God’s law. “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” Daniel 7:25.
This prophecy will be repeat- ed. The severe persecution that God’s people suffered for 1,260 years will soon take place. God’s holy day of rest, the seventh-day Sabbath, will be a stumbling block for many. We must be very careful to guard the edges of the Sabbath, for it will soon be the line of separation between the obedient and the disobedient. God’s approval will be upon those who are obedient by faith to the fourth commandment despite persecution by the religious and political powers at the end of time.
Our only security
“Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures, and who have received the love of the truth, will be shielded from the powerful de- lusion that takes the world captive.” – The Great Controversy (1888), p. 625.
“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness; from such withdraw thyself.” 1 Timothy 6:3-5.
“Many know so little about their Bibles that they are unsettled in the faith. They remove the old land- marks, and fallacies and winds of doc- trine blow them hither and thither. Sci- ence, falsely so-called, is wearing away the foundation of Christian principle; and those who once were in the faith drift away from the Bible landmarks, and divorce themselves from God, while still claiming to be His children.” –(Review and Herald, December 29, 1896) Evangelism, p. 362.
We will soon close another year, and the big question we must ask ourselves is, How will we be able to discern the dangers and deceptions of these end times? The apostle Paul wrote: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 2 Corinthians 13:5. And he also wrote to Timothy: “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” 1 Timothy 4:16. May God bless His people greatly with the anointing of the power of the Holy Spirit so they will discern the dangers of the last days! This is my sincere wish and prayer.