Try the Spirits

Mike Miller




Prayer List


Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

For a person who is trying to serve the Lord, one of the most discouraging things is the apparent lack of spiritual discernment in others. Especially, those older, experienced Christians or those in leadership positions that can't seem to tell the difference between true spiritual life and phony acts put on by professionals who make their living by making merchandise of the people of God. I have noticed through the years that LOST young people have absolutely no problem spotting a phony, and they do it immediately. It is very confusing to them when older, experienced Christians who are the pillars of the church fall for some show that is put on by an insincere imposter who makes a living by fooling people who sit in church pews. It makes them very skeptical of the work of God and discourages them greatly from wanting anything to do with the church. It MUST be REAL or we are making a mockery of God, his Son, and his Church, as well as the Word of God. AND if we sit there and fail to recognize the difference between what is real and what is not, we are putting a great stumbling block in front of the unsaved.

For some reason it seems that the prevailing attitude is that you aren't supposed to judge such things. You are just supposed to swallow anything and everything that comes down the pike saying they are representing God. Tolerance of false prophets and imposters seems to be evidence of spirituality. However, that is a far cry from how the Bible instructs us in these matters. The spiritual man "judgeth ALL things." He can tell the difference between what is real and what is phony. "Touch not mine anointed," YES - but there is a universe of difference between an anointed man and one who isn't. The difference is FIRE. God showed his acceptance of Old Testament offerings when He answered by fire. His stamp of approval on a New Testament man of God is fire, also. When a message and the messenger is accepted, approved, and sent of God his preaching will be accompanied by fire. It will be undeniable. The fire doesn't depend on whether the crowd accepts it or not. When there is no fire you better ask yourself some questions.

You would be foolish to deny that the fire is missing from the churches. Missionaries are usually as powerless in the pulpit as one of the kids from the children's church. Most of them have been to school and "learned how to do it." It is all mechanical and put-on and as powerless as can be. They have a plan and they are working their "plan," and that is all it amounts to. Most evangelists have their repertoire of pre-fabricated messages and are as dry and empty as a desert. There is no REAL FIRE! It is an act that only produces, at best, an emotional stir that is lost by the time the parking lot is empty. Because there is no fire in the churches many preachers are turning to modern hellish music and dropping any standard of righteousness to get people to come and to stay. That is a very poor trade for the true fire of God.

Phonies don't produce fire - they only entertain the people. They may be able to sing well, or play some instrument well, but the fire is missing. They may talk about Jesus and the plan of salvation but without any fire. They may scream and yell and jump the pews, but the REAL FIRE of God is missing. They may tell long, sad illustrations and bring the crowd to an emotional high to the point they are weeping, but it is an act of man, not an act of God. God doesn't play on your emotions to reach you - He sends a man of God to PREACH the TRUTH to you! When you hear the truth, the truth will set you FREE, and THEN your emotions get involved, but they are not the means to make you hear or understand the truth.

A word of caution is called for here. I understand that there is a danger of becoming TOO critical. I have known people who have failed in this matter by getting in the ditch on the other side. They cannot do anything but find fault with every missionary, every evangelist, every Sunday School teacher, or preacher they cross paths with. This is poison that will also destroy the church. God is not pleased, and we do not have the right to have a condemning attitude toward everyone who doesn't see eye to eye with us on every jot and tittle. I am not advocating having a bad spirit - I AM advocating that Christians, and ESPECIALLY leaders in the church, perk up and start recognizing the difference between phony put-ons and truly spirit-filled men of God.

It WILL NOT WORK if we just put our blessing and stamp of approval on EVERYONE who stands behind the pulpit. You can be assured that the sheep will scatter when that is done because there are some of them who can recognize a phony. The man who is called of God to lead God's people is commanded to "reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." He is to "reprove the unfruitful works of darkness." About those who have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof, we are commanded: "from such TURN AWAY" (2 Tim. 3:1-5). He is to warn the people of false prophets and false teachers. That doesn't seem to be a problem in fundamental churches IF the phony is on TV or radio or in some other denomination or group. The preacher can blast them then! But it IS a problem when the imposters present themselves behind THEIR pulpit. Then there seems to be some kind of taboo about correcting the bad doctrine, bad behavior, bad testimony, bad character, and lack of fire.

God's judgment came upon Israel many times in the Old Testament. We are told plainly that one of the main reasons for the degeneration of the people to the point that God had to judge them was that the prophets failed to show the difference between clean and unclean - between the holy and the unholy:

Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. Ezek. 22:26

To them, it was "all good." You are just supposed to love everybody and find fault with no one (except those who dare to condemn certain behavior in others). Their message was always, "Peace! Peace!" when there was no peace. Such sorry devils bring God's judgment upon the land. The crowd at church may applaud for them and fawn over them, but they are an abomination to God and will have their part in the lake of fire with the rest of the devils! They better enjoy their easy life now because one of the hottest places in hell is reserved for those who deceive people about their soul for their own selfish gain. God is profaned among the people because of men like these.

The standard should be high for those who lead God's people. It should also be high for those who have been on the journey for a long time. Again, in the Old Testament we see that before judgement came they were making priests of the lowest of the people:

So they feared the LORD, and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. 2 Kin. 17:32

Many do have high standards for those in leadership, but they have standards that do not really matter to God. Their standards have to do with education, achievements, talent, and what influential people they know. None of these things matter to God and you cannot find in the Word of God where He ever called a person based on these things. The Apostle Paul had all those things but he counted them as "dung." They weren't worth much to him, were they?

What matters to God is that a man is REAL - that his heart is true. His character is not going to be like that of the "lowest of the people." He isn't going to be lazy! He isn't going to be dishonest! He won't have his hand out all the time and be one who feels that the church owes him a living. He will be a GIVER himself, - of his time, his money, his LIFE for God's cause and to help others. He will have a river of living water flowing out of him and God will anoint him and fire will accompany his preaching and his life.

There IS a difference! If we fail to notice it; if we fail to SHOW it to the people - the church is dead! The fire is gone, and the sheep will scatter. It is NOT a sin to discern between good and evil - it is our duty before God! It is not pleasing to God when we fail to mark those whose character and life are not becoming to the ministry of the gospel. When the wolves come the hireling doesn't say anything - he flees, because he is a hireling. (John 10:12-13) But the good shepherd will recognize the wolf and drive him away because he loves the sheep. He won't act like the wolf is a sheep and turn him loose in the fold. When the pastor shows the difference he finds that it is much easier to win the skeptical sinners. It is VERY important and it's time God's people woke up and realized it.

Back to top