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Discerning False Teaching

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Jesus Calling

Discernment - Experience and Feelings

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. - 1 John 4:1

There are times when we've done as scripture tells us, tested the spirits, and we find no problems. Yet, we have been deceived. Discerning the true from the almos true can be very difficult. Here are a few quick ways, call them tests, that can be used to discern false teachers and false teaching.

1. If the teaching focuses on having an experience or on feelings, it is most likely a false teaching. This is particularly true if it is an estatic experience that is being sought. What does scripture promise Christians? The fruit of the spirit, which includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are gifts we receive the moment we become a Christian. While we can quech the Spirit and not fully experience these gifts, they are ours.

All of these gifts of the Spirit are attitudes. For example, Biblical love is not a feeling. Biblical love is an attitude of serving others... loving them with your actions, not your feelings.

What about joy? Isn't joy a feeling? Biblical joy is an attitude. You can be terribly unhappy and still have joy. Joy comes from the knowledge of God's promises, and the knowledge of who God is... we can thoroughly trust Him and His promises. His greatest promise is that of the kingdom for those who are trusting Him as their Savior. It is from this promise of the Kingdom that our joy, peace and contentment flows.

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; - Colossians 1:9-10

The foundation of Christianity is knowledge. If a teaching is promising you an experience or wonderful feelings, it is a false teaching. If a teaching says that you MUST have a certain experience or feelings, then it is definately a false teaching.

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