Cultivating Spiritual Discernment (1John 4:1-6)


Sermon Outline


  1. Introduction – A Story on Spiritual Discernment or lack thereof
    1. What is Discernment?
      1. Ability to decide between truth and error.
      2. Ability to judge well
    2. What is Spiritual Discernment?
      1. Distinguishing right and wrong in the areas of spiritual teaching and living.
      2. Recognizing the difference between denominational distinctives and true Christian teaching that sets one apart from the universal church
  2. The Need for Spiritual Discernment
    1. False Prophets abound (1Jn 4:1, Mt 7:15, Dt 13:1-4, Phil 1:15-17, 2Pt 2:1)
      1. Don’t believe every spirit
      2. Test the spirits
    2. Truth and Error really exist (1Jn 4:6)
    3. There is an Enemy (Eph 6:12)
  3. How to Cultivate Spiritual Discernment
    1. Know the Word
    2. Live by the Word
    3. Pray for increasing discernment and wisdom.
  4. Some things that we shouldn’t appeal to in order to establish or deny the presence of the Spirit
    1. Novelty, Newness, and Supernatural events.
    2. Emotion and Feeling
  5. Some tests for Discerning the spirits at work in a place
    1. Is the Incarnation of God into human flesh announced and embraced? (1Jn 4:2-3, Mt 10:32)
    2. Is the Incarnation recognized as a necessity for the atonement of sin? (2Cor 5:21)
    3. Are people being led to Christ?
    4. Are people being led to cherish and embrace the Kingdom of God over the world?
    5. Is there a commitment to the Word of God as delivered by the apostles? (1Jn 4:6)
  6. Conclusion (1Jn 4:4, Jn 16:13)



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