There are lots of people claiming to speak by the Spirit of God these days and the Bible indicates that it will increase in the last days. Not only will it increase, but it will apparently get harder to sort out the real ones from the impostures. That is if you don’t know God’s litmus test.
Take a look at the following two passages:
Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and [that] no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 1 Corinthians 12:3 (KJV)
Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God. 1 John 4:1-2 (NLT)
Did you notice that they both address those claiming to speak by the Spirit of God? The first begins with our go to passage for understanding what the gifts of the Spirit are and how they operate. In the second, John tells us how we can discern whether those claiming to speak a word for God, more specifically, those claiming to be prophets, are genuine or not. Combining the two, we form our litmus test:
1) Does this person confess that Jesus Christ is Lord?
2) Does this person acknowledge that Jesus Christ came in a real body?
As simple as it may sound, it is extremely important to establish the authenticity of the speaker before you are so mesmerized by the charisma speaker, that you throw your due diligence out the window! I heard one prophet say that many in the Body of Christ today are star struck. I would have to agree.
The Lord showed me another way to judge whether the content is from God or not. Once I was replaced at a church by a pastor who was much more seasoned and more educated than I was. I had given it my all at this church and one thing I was quite sure of was that every sermon that I preached, was one that God had given me. How did I know, you may ask? Because before giving the message, I was empty; I prayed and waited on God till he gave me what to say. Trust me that is not just a nice thing to say, but it is the honest truth! The new preacher came in, and the members would brag about how wonderful he preached. It seemed as if some of them really wanted to make sure I heard it! No doubt it did sting really bad because the same people had given me a lot of critique, and not all it was constructive.
After some time had passed and after much prayer,the Lord took me back to painful transition from the former church. I was reminded how some bragged about how smoothly he spoke, how without missing a beat in his sermon, he would slide his coat off and with ease lay it on the chair, and how great his jokes were. Not that everybody was so shallow, but I particularly remembered the ones that repeatedly bragged on him while I was around. Then the Lord gave me this portion of scripture: “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (2 Cor. 4:5 KJV). Not only did it set me free, but it gave me a benchmark for preparing a sermon – remove as much self out of it as you can. In other words, you want the hearers to focus on the contents and not the speaker.
Discerning those claiming to speak by the Spirit is one of utmost importance and a very timely topic as well. John goes on to say that the person that does not confess that Jesus came in the flesh, or had a real body, as the NLT puts it, is not of God, but such a person has the spirit of antichrist (1 John 2:3). As for the timeliness of this litmus test, John, earlier in the chapter, links the increase of these antichrist spirits with the last days: “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (1 John 2:18 KJV). Now if that verse doesn’t unstruck the star struck, I don’t know what will!
… look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Luke 21:28