Literature Ministries International
- By Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
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HOW TO TEST THE SPIRITS
…try the spirits…
1 John 4:1
How is this testing to be done? How are we to know whether certain spirits are true or false?
There are those who claim that the gifts of the Spirit are absolutely essential, and that unless men and women are able to manifest certain gifts of the Spirit, they have not received the Spirit. They say, for example, “You have not received the Holy Spirit unless you are able to speak in tongues or have done this or that.” They refer to a particular gift, and they say that if you have not experienced that, you have not received the Spirit, in spite of the fact that the apostle Paul asks the question, “Do all speak with tongues?”(1 Corinthians 12:30). The whole of chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians is designed to show that the gifts are distributed by the Spirit. He may or may not give these gifts, and the manifestation of gifts is not an essential proof of the possession of the Spirit.
But let me go on to particular matters. A very dangerous way of testing or examining the claim to having the Spirit is to judge in terms of phenomena, as in the gift of healing or the particular result of a ministry. These are the tests that are put up. People say, “Surely this man must be right. Haven’t you heard what he has been doing? Haven’t you heard of the cures he is able to bring about? Look at the results he has had.” The test of phenomena, taken alone, is an extremely dangerous one because evil spirits can work miracles; our Lord warned His followers that these spirits would be able to do such marvelous works.
The fact that people are full of fervor does not imply that they have the Holy Spirit. Evil spirits are often very fervent. Great excitement is not a proof of the Spirit; great energy is not a proof of the Spirit; much assurance or confidence is not a proof of the Spirit.
A Thought to Ponder
The test of phenomena, taken alone, is an extremely dangerous one because evil spirits can work miracles.
From The Love of God, pp. 21-22.
Today’s devo is taken from Walking with God Day by Day © 2003 by Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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