Testing Spiritual Experiences
The Reverend Jonathan Edwards of New England
Source: Wikipedia Commons Licence
Two Essentials For Spiritual Discernment
If we are going to discern truth from error, the divine from the demonic, Jesus says in MATTHEW 22:23-30 we need two things -
• A really good knowledge of Scripture - THE WORD OF GOD
• Personal experience of the Holy Spirit - THE POWER OF GOD
Five Tests Of A Genuine Work Of The Holy Spirit
Jonathan Edwards was a pastor in New England, USA, during the revival in the mid-eighteenth century referred to as The Great Awakening, and witnessed a mighty move of the Holy Spirit.
In assessing whether spiritual manifestations were of God or not, Edwards asked five questions:
Q1 Does it give more honour to the historic Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Saviour of the world?
Q2 Does it oppose satan’s kingdom by discouraging sin?
Q3 Does it hold Scripture - the Word of God - in high esteem?
Q4 Does it acknowledge the brevity of life, man’s innate sinfulness, the reality of life after death and that human beings will have to give an account of their lives to God? In the light of this, is there confession of man’s complete inability to save himself and his total dependence on the death and resurrection of Christ as the only means of salvation?
Q5 Do those involved express a love for Jesus Christ and for others, especially fellow Christians?
Jesus' Ultimate Test: What Is The Fruit? MATTHEW Chapter 7: 15-23
“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are really wolves that will tear you apart.
You can detect them by the way they act, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit. You don’t pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles. A healthy tree produces good fruit, and an unhealthy tree produces bad fruit."
"A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire."
Yes, the way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit that is produced.
Not everyone who sounds religious is really godly. They may refer to me as ‘Lord,’ but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven.
On Judgement Day many will say to me,
‘Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized."
The Development Of Creeds
As the church grew so did questions surrounding the fundamentals of Christian faith as individuals raised questions about The Trinity, The Person of Jesus Christ and how a person might be saved from going to a Christless eternity in hell.