Discerning of spirits, Gift of
The Discerning of Spirits
Pastor Keith Hassell
KENNETH HAG1N: "The discerning of spirits gives insight into the spirit world." Concerning Spiritual Gifts, p. 66
LESTER SUMRALL: "The discerning of spirits is the divine ability to see the presence arid activity of a spirit that motivates a human being, whether good or bad." The Gifts and Ministries of the Holy Spirit, p. 76.
DENNIS BENNETT: "By the gift of discerning of spirits the believer is enabled to know immediately what is motivating a person or situation." The Holy Spirit and You, p. 143
HOWARD CARTER: "We might say that the discerning of spirits is a gift of the Holy Spirit by which the possessor is enabled to see into the spirit world. By this insight he can discern the similitude of God, or of the risen Christ, or the Holy Spirit, or cherubim, or seraphim, archangels, or the hosts of angels, or Satan and his legions." Questions & Answers on Spiritual Gifts, p. 98
I. DEFINITION: The gift of the discerning of spirits is an instantaneous and divine insight into the spirit world for the purpose of distinguishing the spiritual source behind a condition, activity, person, or operation.
II. What the Discerning of spirits is NOT
A. It is not metaphysical
B. It is not thought reading
C. It is not psychological analysis
D. It is not extrasensory perception (ESP)
E. It is not a process of the mind
F. It is not "discernment" or the "gift of discernment"
G. It is not the "gift of suspension"
H. It is not the "gift of criticism" or "fault-finding"
I. It is not the "discerning of devils" nor the "discerning of evil spirits"
III. Types of Discernment
A. Natural Discernment: Judgment we pass on people and circumstances, and on ourselves which is derived from teachings received in our homes, society, environment, and culture
B. Spiritual Discernment: Discernment derived from a mind renewed in Christ
(Romans 12:2; Hebrews 5:14)
C. False Supernatural Discernment: Discernment derived from the operation of evil spirits in a person's life (Mark 1:24, 34; 5:7-8; Luke 4:41)
D. Discerning of spirits: Discernment derived from the Holy Spirit concerning another spirit.
IV. The Discerning of spirits may involve three distinct realms: The Human spirit, the Holy Spirit, and demonic spirits.
A. Examples of Human spirit (1 Corinthians 2:11)
1. Spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3)
2. Sorrowful spirit (1Samuel 1:15)
3. Troubled spirit (Genesis 41:8)
4. Broken spirit (Proverbs 15:13)
5. Haughty spirit (Proverbs 16:18)
6. Humble spirit (Proverbs 16:19)
7. Angry spirit (Ecclesiastes 7:9)
8. Rejoicing spirit (Luke 1:47)
9. Strong spirit (Luke 1:80)
10. Lack of rest in spirit (2 Corinthians 2:13)
B. Examples of Holy Spirit
1. Spirit of Wisdom (Isaiah 11:2)
2. Spirit of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2)
3. Spirit of Counsel (Isaiah 11:2)
4. Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13)
5. Spirit of Truth (John 4:24)
6. Spirit of Life (John 6:63)
7. Spirit of Holiness (Romans 1:4)
8. Sprit of Adoption (Romans 8:15)
9. Spirit of Intercession (Romans 8:26)
10. Spirit of Power (Romans 15:19)
11. Spirit of Love (Romans 15:30)
12. Spirit of God's Son (Galatians 4:6)
13. Spirit of Prophecy (Revelation 19:10)
C. Examples of Demonic spirit
1. Unclean spirits (Matthew 10:1) ;
2. A dumb spirit (Mark 9:17-29)
3. A deaf spirit (Mark 9:25)
4. Evil spirits (Luke 8:2; Acts 19:15)
5. Spirit of sickness (Luke 13:10-13)
6. Spirit of divination (Acts 16:16-18)
7. Spirit of the world (1 Corinthians 2:12)
V. Examples of the Discerning of spirits in the New Testament
A. Jesus and Nathanael (John 1:47)
B. Jesus and Peter (Matthew 16:22-23)
C. Jesus and James and John (Luke 9:54-55)
D. Simon, the Soothsayer (Acts 8:18-23)
E. Elymas, the Sorcerer (Acts 13:6-12)
F. Paul and the girl of Ephesus (Acts 16:16-18)