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A335 The Gift of Discernment

1 Cor 12:10  “To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:”

COL 327 “The talents that Christ entrusts to His church represent especially the gifts and blessings imparted by the Holy Spirit. “To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.” 1 Cor. 12:8-11. All men do not receive the same gifts, but to every servant of the Master some gift of the Spirit is promised.”

RH 10-26-05 “The Lord provides men and women with all that they need. And his gifts are bestowed upon those only who can make a proper use of them. To some he can grant greater discernment than to others, because he sees that they will use this gift to his glory. When a laborer desires heavenly wisdom more than he desires wealth, power, or fame, God will not disappoint him. Such a worker will learn from the Great Teacher not only what to do, but how to do it in a way that will meet the divine approval.”

Not all have the Same Gift

ST Mar 8, 1940 “Not all the gifts are imparted to each believer, but to every servant of the Master some gift of the Spirit is promised, according to his need for the Lord’s work.”

12MR 250 “Then I saw that God had not given to Brother Bates the gift of discernment; but his gift was to talk the Word.  None had a gift like his.  He could talk to a small company when there were no more than two present, as well as to a large company.  This gift is greatly needed in the church. I saw that he had prepared the way in many places for the Lord to speak through visions. The angel then pointed to Brother Bates and said, Be careful how thou treadest, lest the flock be torn. Draw near to God..”

Discernment Can be Taught

Ezek 44:23-24  “And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.

Without Understanding, Discernment may be Perverted

Gen 27:23  “And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau’s hands: so he blessed him.”

Ezra 3:13  “So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.”

Jonah 4:11  “And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?”

2SP 380 “Simon did not discern the application which Jesus designed to make, but he answered him, “I suppose that he to whom he forgave most.” Jesus replied, “Thou hast rightly judged.” This answer condemned Simon. He had been a great sinner, and also a loathsome leper, avoided by all. He had come to Jesus piteously imploring his help, and He who never turned a deaf ear to human woe, had cleansed him from sin and from the terrible disease that was upon him. Simon was humbled, but he had been a proud Pharisee, and he did not look upon himself as being so great a sinner as he really was, and he had now become self‑sufficient and lifted up in his own estimation. He had exalted himself as far superior to the poor woman who anointed the feet of her Lord. In entertaining Jesus at his house, he thought he was paying him marked respect; but the Saviour was lowered in his estimation when he permitted the devotion of Mary, who had been so great a sinner. He overlooked the miracle which Jesus had wrought upon him in saving him from a living death, and coldly reasoned with himself if Jesus could be the Messiah, and yet stoop to receive the gift of this woman. He thought that if he were the Christ, he would know that a sinner had approached him and repel her. He did not realize that he himself had been a greater sinner than she, and that Christ had forgiven him as well as Mary. He was ready to doubt the divine character of his Master because he imagined that he detected in him a want of discernment.”

Ability to Discern Natural, but Not Spiritual!

Mat 16:3  “And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?”

Luke 12:56  “Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?”

False Discernment

RH Mar 12, 1895 “He who opens his heart to the suggestions of the enemy, taking in evil surmisings, and cherishing jealousy, frequently misconstrues this evil‑mindedness, calling it special foresight, discrimination, or discernment in detecting guilt and fathoming the evil motives of others. He considers that a precious gift has been vouchsafed to him, and he draws apart from the very brethren with whom he should be in harmony; he climbs upon the judgment seat, and shuts his heart against the one he supposes to be in error, as though he himself were above temptation. Jesus separates from him, and leaves him to walk in the sparks of his own kindling. Let no one among you glory any longer against the truth be declaring that this spirit is a necessary consequence of dealing faithfully with wrongdoers and of standing in defense of the truth. Such wisdom has many admirers, but it is very deceptive and harmful. It does not come from above, but is the fruit of an unregenerated heart. Its originator is Satan himself. Let no accuser of others credit himself with discernment; for in so doing he clothes the attributes of Satan with the garments of righteousness. I call upon you, my brethren, to purify the soul‑temple of all these things that defile; for they are roots of bitterness.”

RH Sept 15, 1891 “The Saviour discerns a value and dignity in every soul, because of the image of God which it bears. He died that your children might have the gift of eternal life.”

OHC 19 “Satan has summoned the hosts of darkness to war against the saints. We cannot afford to be indifferent to his attacks. He comes in many ways, and we must have clear spiritual discernment, that we may be able to discern when he is seeking to gain possession of our minds. God calls on those on whom the light of truth is shining to take their stand in His army. He calls upon them to show their loyalty by walking in the light He has given.”

RH Nov 6, 1883 “The greatest calamity that can come upon any people is to be blindfolded by Satan so that they cannot discern his devices. He frequently works in disguise, clothing himself in the garments of righteousness, so that those who have not spiritual discernment know not that it is he; and often before those in responsible positions awake, Satan obtains a foothold, and doubt, unbelief, and infidelity are leavening the camp. None need to cultivate unbelief, or fear that they shall have too great faith. Unbelief, like an obtrusive, poisonous weed, grows without cultivation, while faith needs to be carefully cherished, or it will die out of the soul.”

Spiritual Blindness

3T 324 “According to the light that God has given me in vision, wickedness and deception are increasing among God’s people who profess to keep His commandments. Spiritual discernment to see sin as it exists, and then to put it out of the camp, is decreasing among God’s people; and spiritual blindness is fast coming upon them. The straight testimony must be revived, and it will separate those from Israel who have ever been at war with the means that God has ordained to keep corruptions out of the church. Wrongs must be called wrongs. Grievous sins must be called by their right name. All of God’s people should come nearer to Him and wash their robes of character in the blood of the Lamb. Then will they see sin in the true light and will realize how offensive it is in the sight of God.”

The Need to Discern our own Real Condition

Isa 7:15 “Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. “

MB 9 “And as one is drawn to behold Jesus uplifted on the cross, he discerns the sinfulness of humanity. He sees that it is sin which scourged and crucified the Lord of glory. He sees that, while he has been loved with unspeakable tenderness, his life has been a continual scene of ingratitude and rebellion. He has forsaken his best Friend and abused heaven’s most precious gift.”

5T 134 “Those who are spiritual discern spiritual things.”

Solomon Sought the Best Gift – to Discern

1 Ki 3:9  “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?”

1 Ki 3:11  “And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;”

Conflict and Courage 189 “The language used by Solomon while praying to God before the ancient altar at Gibeon reveals his humility and his strong desire to honour God. He realized that without divine aid he was as helpless as a little child to fulfil the responsibilities resting on him. He knew that he lacked discernment, and it was a sense of his great need that led him to seek God for wisdom. In his heart there was no selfish aspiration for a knowledge that would exalt him above others. He desired to discharge faithfully the duties devolving upon him, and he chose the gift that would be the means of causing his reign to bring glory to God. Solomon was never so rich or so wise or so truly great as when he confessed, “I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.”

Spirit of God Gives Discernment

1 Cor 2:14  “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

1 Cor 11:29  “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”

RH April 1, 1890 “The gold that Jesus would have us buy of Him is gold tried in the fire; it is the gold of faith and love, that has no defiling substance mingled with it. The white raiment is the righteousness of Christ, the wedding garment which Christ alone can give. The eyesalve is the true spiritual discernment that is so wanting among us, for spiritual things must be spiritually discerned.”

RH Nov 29, 1892 “The truth is efficient, and through obedience its power changes the mind into the image of Jesus. It is the truth as it is in Jesus that quickens the conscience and transforms the mind; for it is accompanied to the heart by the Holy Spirit. There are many, who, lacking spiritual discernment, take the bare letter of the word, and find that unaccompanied by the Spirit of God, it quickens not the soul, it sanctifies not the heart. One may be able to quote from the Old and the New Testament, may be familiar with the commands and promises of the word of God; but unless the holy Spirit sends the truth home to the heart, enlightening the mind with divine light, no soul falls upon the Rock and is broken; for it is the divine agency that connects the soul with God. Without the enlightenment of the Spirit of God, we shall not be able to discern truth from error, and shall fall under the masterful temptations and deceptions that Satan will bring upon the world. We are near the close of the controversy between the Prince of light and the prince of darkness, and soon the delusions of the enemy will try our faith, of what sort it is. Satan will work miracles in the sight of the beast, and deceive “them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast.” ”

God’s Word Gives Discernment

Heb 4:12  “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Obedience to Commandments gives Discernment

Eccl 8:5  “Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.

ST June 9, 1881 “God’s law is spiritual. It takes cognizance of our most secret thoughts, purposes, and motives. The judgment, the will, and the affections must be controlled by its precepts. Its principles require love to God and to man; without this love, external compliance will not be accepted. This law is the standard of Christian character. Like a faithful mirror, it reveals to the children of men the defects in their moral character. It makes them watchful against temptation. It teaches them to be exact in judgment, and correct in spiritual discernment. The law of God is holy, just, and good. When our lives conform to this standard we are happy.”

To Discern between Right and Wrong

Heb 5:14  “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

Mal 3:18  “Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.”

RH Jun 21, 1898 “The gift of correct example is a great thing. But many gather about the soul an atmosphere that is malarious. These know not, in this their day, the things that belong to their peace. They have, to a great degree, lost the faculty of spiritual discernment. They call good evil, and evil good.”

14MR 341 “We are to watch for souls as they that must give an account. We are now having opportunities to improve in spiritual discernment and in the knowledge of the will of God concerning our individual selves. A higher spiritual tone is required of us. The Lord would have us spiritually minded, that we may be able to see the working out of His plans in our lives. We are to be laborers together with God in accomplishing the work that He would have done. Wherever we are, we are to reflect light.”

2SM 15 “We may expect that everything will be brought in and mingled with sound doctrine, but by clear, spiritual discernment, by the heavenly anointing, we must distinguish the sacred from the common which is being brought in to confuse faith and sound judgment, and demerit the great, grand, testing truth for this time. . . .”

To Discern the Greatest Gift

DA 112 “None among the hearers, and not even the speaker himself, discerned the import of these words, “the Lamb of God.” Upon Mount Moriah, Abraham had heard the question of his son, “My father, . . . where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” The father answered, “My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” Gen 22:7, 8. And in the ram divinely provided in the place of Isaac, Abraham saw a symbol of Him who was to die for the sins of men. The Holy Spirit through Isaiah, taking up the illustration, prophesied of the Saviour, “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,” “and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa 53:7, 6); but the people of Israel had not understood the lesson. Many of them regarded the sacrificial offerings much as the heathen looked upon their sacrifices,‑‑as gifts by which they themselves might propitiate the Deity. God desired to teach them that from His own love comes the gift which reconciles them to Himself.”

CS 19 “How great was the gift of God to man, and how like our God to make it! With a liberality that can never be exceeded He gave, that He might save the rebellious sons of men and bring them to see His purpose and discern His love. Will you, by your gifts and offerings, show that you think nothing too good for Him who “gave His only‑begotten Son”?”

ST Feb 21, 1878 “And when the very best gift that Heaven could give, was sent to them, the gift of Jesus Christ, they would not accept it. Pride and ambition, love of applause and display, had so hardened their hearts, and blinded their minds that they could not discern Jesus Christ in the Man of Nazareth.”

DA 111 “The Saviour’s glance seems to penetrate heaven as He pours out His soul in prayer. Well He knows how sin has hardened the hearts of men, and how difficult it will be for them to discern His mission, and accept the gift of salvation. He pleads with the Father for power to overcome their unbelief, to break the fetters with which Satan has enthralled them, and in their behalf to conquer the destroyer. He asks for the witness that God accepts humanity in the person of His Son.”

FE 309 “Though the Jews had the Scriptures which testified of Christ, they were not able to discern Christ in the Scriptures; and although we have the Old and the New Testament, men wrest the Scriptures to evade their truths; …”

RH May 5, 1896 “Nicodemus was unbelieving. He could not harmonize this doctrine of conversion with his understanding of what constituted religion. He could not explain to his own satisfaction the science of conversion; but Jesus showed him, by a figure, that it could not be explained by any of his precise methods. Jesus pointed out to him the fact that he could not see the wind, yet he could discern its action. He might never be able to explain the process of conversion, but he would be able to discern its effect. He heard the sound of the wind which bloweth where it listeth, and he could see the results of its action. The operating agency was not revealed to view; men could not tell whence it came, or whither it went. They could not define by what law it was governed; but they could see what it produced by its action. No human reasoning of the most learned man can define the operations of the Holy Spirit upon human minds and characters; yet they can see the effects upon the life and actions.”

DA 520 “The [rich young] ruler was quick to discern all that Christ’s words involved, and he became sad. If he had realized the value of the offered gift, quickly would he have enrolled himself as one of Christ’s followers.”

(Australasian) Union Conference Record, Dec 1, 1900 “Every man and woman may become a worker of sharp discernment, conscious of the possession of sacred gifts. Yet we must be guarded lest we place the good work accomplished to the credit of our own smartness and capability, and lose sight of the words of Christ, “Without me ye can do nothing.” It is the privilege of all to rejoice in God for the influence they possess, and to give God thanks for the increased bestowment of the gift. Let songs of joy ascend because of the accomplishment of the work. And angels of God will be present to administer that peace and grace and love and energy that should characterize the work.”

3T 443 “All who have spiritual discernment may judge of the tree by its fruits.”

5T 233 “… the eyesalve is that spiritual discernment which will enable you to see the wiles of Satan and shun them, to detect sin and abhor it, to see truth and obey it.”

Five Wise Virgins

ST Aug 13, 1894 “All who wait for the heavenly Bridegroom are represented in the parable as slumbering because their Lord delayed his coming; but the wise roused themselves at the message of his approach, and responded to the message, and their spiritual life was replenished. Their spiritual discernment was not all gone, and they sprang into line. As they took hold of the grace of Christ, their religious experience became vigorous and abundant, and their affections were set upon things above. They discerned where was the source of their supply, and appreciated the love that God had for them.”

6MR 269 “The special testimonies given to our office in Oakland are in every way appropriate to the Echo Office. Where is the spiritual eyesight, the spiritual discernment of the men at the head of the work? Nothing should be handled by the youth in the Office that will sow one seed of questioning or doubt in regard to the authority or purity of the Old Testament Scriptures. It may be thought that the truth which we advocate is an antidote that will counteract all the infidel sentiments placed before the youth, whose minds so eagerly grasp anything new. But how can God prosper the Office unless those at the head of the work shall discern good from evil and righteousness from sins? (“The Echo Office and Commercial Work,” March 31, 1898)

CW 173 “I felt grieved and heartsick as I looked at the representation on the first page of the “Signs” to which I have referred. I asked myself, “What do these things mean?” I was so distressed in mind that I became sick in body. I went to bed at eight o’clock, and slept for a short time, about an hour, I think. Then I seemed to be standing before those in responsible positions in the Pacific Press, bearing them a message. The Spirit of God came upon me, and I could not forbear speaking. I cannot now write all that I said. I asked, “Where is your spiritual discernment or your good judgment, that you should thus sow tares among the wheat? Nothing is to appear in our literature that does not represent truth and righteousness.””

1SM 358 “there are souls who realize that they are in need of something which they do not possess‑‑gold of faith and love, white raiment of Christ’s righteousness, eyesalve of spiritual discernment. If you possess these precious gifts, the temple of the human soul will not be like a desecrated shrine.”

GW 166 “Habitually dwelling upon Christ and His all‑sufficient merits, increases faith, quickens the power of spiritual discernment, strengthens the desire to be like Him, and brings an earnestness into prayer that makes it efficacious.”

GW 340 “Ministers cannot carry the burden of the work while at the same time they are carrying the burden of farms or other business enterprises, having their hearts on their earthly treasure. Their spiritual discernment is dimmed. They cannot appreciate the wants of the cause of God, and therefore cannot put forth well‑directed efforts to meet its emergencies and to advance its interests. The want of a full consecration to the work on the part of the minister is soon felt all through the field where he labors. If his own standard is low, he will not bring others to accept a higher one.”

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