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"If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we should reap material things from you?"

 

 

 

 

 

Evangelism:
The Time Is Now!

Section 4, Chapter 5

How to Discern What Is
Truly Jesusí Voice

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INTRODUCTION

This Chapter is taken from my Advanced Textbook titled, Relationship With Jesus The Key To Effective Ministry.79 This Chapter on principles of discernment really constitutes the intent and goal of both the Basic and Advanced School of Evangelism Textbooks written by this author. This Chapter is a summary of these two books. For this reason the reader, when possible, should make the effort and exercise the discipline necessary to go through both the Basic and Advanced schools of evangelism. The goal of both the Basic and Advanced School of Evangelism is to teach you how to discern Jesusí voice in all aspects of your walk with Him. The importance of that is that it will lead you into Jesusí full purpose for your life in a spirit of love and Jesusí presence, with the least amount of wrong roads as possible. Therefore, do not cheat yourself by limiting yourself to this summary alone, but make plans to go through both these schools when Jesusí will for your life and sufficient time make that possible.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Acts 14:22 "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." He states here that we will not be able to avoid trials in life. So learning principles of discernment is not a guarantee of total avoidance of trials, but a guarantee of having the best tools to know clearly Jesusí direction in your life no matter what your circumstances are.

Covered in this Chapter are,

  1. Foundations Necessary for Discernment

  2. Required Conditions for Discernment

  3. Required Motivation for Discernment

  4. Primary Principles for Discernment

  5. Miscellaneous Principles for Discernment

NECESSARY FOR DISCERNMENT

The first step to knowing what is truly Jesusí voice is understanding foundations necessary for discernment. The first foundation necessary for discernment is understanding that Jesus is the answer to all our discernment needs which involves what it means to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. Accepting Jesus as Savior means that we put our trust in Him and what He did on the cross and that alone to save us from the penalty of sin, nothing else (Rom 10:9-10, 4:25).

Accepting Jesus as Lord means three things: First, that Jesus loves you and has a present and eternal plan for your life and that He is the ONLY way to that plan. (John 10:10; 10:1, 9; 14:6). Second, receiving Jesus as Lord means to repent of any known sin as outlined in the Bible (1 Cor 5:11-13, 6:9-10, Gal 5:19-21 and not limited to these passages). Third, receiving Jesus as Lord means recognizing that you are no longer under the ritual of the Law for salvation or sanctification (Rom 10:4, Acts 13:38-39, 2 Cor 3:5-6); and since we are not, recognizing that confessing Jesus as Lord now means to obey His will and plan for your life revealed through His Holy Spirit (Heb 3:7-8, Matt 7:20-23, 1 Cor 3:10-15). Finally, this involves understanding that you personalize making Jesus as Savior and Lord of your life by simply entering into a personal relationship with Him. Jesus said in the Gospel of John 17:3 that knowing Him is eternal life and the way we come to know Him according to the Apostle John and Jesus Himself recorded by John is to invite Jesus to come and live in your heart and live with you as Savior and Lord of your life (John 1:12, Rev 3:20).

The second foundation necessary for discernment is knowing how to approach Jesus for the answer to your needs. This involves: first, understanding the relationship of the Trinity (John 5:19, 10:48-50, 16:13-15). Jesus only acts out of the initiative of the Father and the Holy Spirit only acts out of the initiative of Jesus. Second, this involves understanding Jesusí desired relationship with the church (John 17:18, 20:21). Jesus said in John 17:18 "As You [Father] did send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world." Jesus did not act or speak out of the initiative of His soul or flesh, but only out of the initiative of the Father through his human spirit. Jesus wants us to walk with Him in this same kind of relationship.85 Third, this involves understanding that man was created a tripartite being with a spirit, soul and body (Gen 2:7, 1 Thess 5:23); and that Godís order for man is to be ruled over and led by the Holy Spirit through manís human spirit, not through his soul and flesh. Fourth, this involves understanding the importance of approaching Jesus through worship and praise in Spirit and truth with uplifted hands (Ps 100:4, Jn 4:23-24, 1 Cor 14:13-15, Jude 20, Lam 3:41, 2 Tim 2:8). Jesus is the answer to our needs (John 14:6). The importance of worship is that it gets your eyes off of yourself, the problem; and onto Jesus, the solution to your problems. The importance of praying in the spirit is that it is the Holy Spirit praying through you to Jesus the answer to your needs. We need to pray for interpretation so we can bring our mind, our soul, into unity with our spirit and thus pray in truth and according to Godís will about the need. (See Chapter 2 in this Section).

REQUIRED CONDITIONS FOR DISCERNMENT

There are two required conditions for discernment: First, understanding the importance of unconditional surrender and commitment to do Jesusí will. Jesus said in John 7:15-17 that the Father will only reveal His will and the truth to a person who is first already 100% committed to do His will. If you are asking Jesus to show you His will and plan for your life but are getting no answers, it may be because you havenít come to the place of being willing to do that will no matter what it may require.

Second, understanding the importance of aggressive pursuit of a pure heart. Jesus said in Matthew 5:8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." What does it mean to have a pure heart? Paul gives us the answer to this in 1 Timothy 1:5. He states, "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, and a good conscience and a sincere faith." Having a pure heart according to this verse involves, one, striving for love from a pure heart; two, doing all you can to maintain a clear conscience; and three having a sincere faith based on the Word of God.

Gaining a clear conscience involves repenting of any known sin, asking forgiveness of anyone you have wrongly offended, and such things as returning stolen property or the monetary value thereof. It involves correcting past wrongs you can correct. If you cannot, then it involves spiritually breathing about the issue before God.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:23-24 that a pure heart involves having right relationships with others.

"If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering."

This means doing whatever we can to be at peace with our brethren in the faith. Sometimes, though, no matter how hard we try we are not able to reconcile a bad relationship. Jesus will not hold us accountable for this, but before He will reveal Himself to us it involves our making the effort (Rom 12:18).

The Apostle Paul again tells us in 2 Timothy 2:15 and 3:16-17 that we stand approved before God and have a pure heart when we handle accurately and line up our lives with the truths of Godís Holy Word: the Bible.

REQUIRED MOTIVATION
FOR
DISCERNMENT

The next step to discerning what is truly Jesusí voice is understanding what the required motivation for discernment is. This is discussed extensively in Section 3 of the Advanced Textbook titled, "The Salvation Work of Jesus". Simply stated, it states that the required motivation for discernment is asking Jesus the question: Jesus, in what vocation, life-style and relationship with the opposite sex can I best be a light for you? (John 4:34-35, Eph 5:15- 17, Matt 5:16).

PRIMARY PRINCIPLES FOR DISCERNMENT

Now let us look at primary principles for discernment. The first primary principle of discernment is understanding that we look to Jesus first for the answer to our needs and not to the Bible or man. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 and John 5:39-40,

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."

"You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life, and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life." (See also Jer 17:5-8, 2 Cor 2:9-10)

The second primary principle of discernment is that once we have received what we believe is an answer to our need from Jesus, we need to ask ourselves the question "Does it line up with Godís Holy Word the Bible?" Isaiah said in Isaiah 8:20 "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn." Jesus said in John 8:47 "He who is of God hears the words of God." (2 Tim 2:15, 3:16-17; Heb 4:12, 5:13-14). Jesus and the Word of God are one and the same. The reason we turn to Jesus first and not to the Bible is because only Jesus knows what principles of His Word apply to any one given situation. Jesus will never lead us contrary to the Word of God. Therefore, when we receive what we believe is an answer from Jesus concerning our need we need to ask ourselves if it lines up with the Word of God. If it does not, the voice or leading is not from Jesus or the Holy Spirit and is therefore to be rejected (Matt 24:35).

Once we are certain that the answer we have received from Jesus does not contradict the Word of God, we then need to ask ourselves the question, does it contradict Godís authority? Whenever authority does not contradict what the Bible teaches on moral conduct, we are to submit to it. Paul wrote about governing authority,

Romans 13:1-5 "Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. . . . for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil."

Paul states about parental authority in Ephesians 6:2-3,

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth."

Paul states about the relationship between a man and his wife,

Ephesians 5:22-24 "Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything."

Ephesians 5:25 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her."

Jesusí Word clearly teaches us that if a woman is married, she is to submit herself to her husband just as a single woman is to submit herself to the Lord. We are to submit our lives to the Lord 100%. Therefore, a woman is to submit herself to her husbandís leadership in the home 100% so long as it does not contradict the moral teaching of Scripture. For a woman to submit herself to her husband is to submit herself to Jesus. To not submit to her husband, according to the word of God, is to not submit to Jesus. It is not rebellion against her husband but against Jesus. What this means in practical terms is that when a woman believes that Jesus is leading her to do something with her life which would effect her relationship with her family, the way she can know for certain that it is of Jesus or not is by bringing the issue to her husband. If he agrees and gives her his support, then it is truly of Jesus. If he does not agree then it is Jesus telling the wife that this subjective impression is not from him and is to be rejected. If the husband is wrong, Jesus can change his heart in time (Prov 21:1, 16:1); but in the mean time the wife is to submit to her husbandís decision. To not do so would not be rebellion against her husband, but Jesus. If anyone rejects this teaching of Scripture, Paul gives the following admonition in 1 Corinthians 14:37-38,

"If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lordís commandment. But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized."

Jesus and the writer of Hebrews states about Pastoral authority,

Matthew 23:3 "Therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them."

Hebrews 13:17 "Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you."

When Jesus gave me my specific spiritual calling as an Evangelist Overseer Teacher and told me he wanted me to go to a specific Christian University, I went to my Pastor, told him what I believed Jesus was telling me. He prayed about it and told me he believed it was of Jesus and that I should go. That was the confirmation of Godís Word that I was heading in the right direction and in the center of His will.

Paul states about your relationship with your employer,

Colossians 3:23-24 "Whatever you do, do your work from the soul, as for Adonai rather than for men; knowing that from Adonai you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is Adonai-Christ whom you serve."

When working for an employer, Jesus expects us within the moral bounds of Scripture to submit to what our employers ask us to do. At the same time Jesus expects the employer to honor his contractual agreements made with his employees and clients. Jesus Word states in Psalms 15:1 and 4:

"Yehovah, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill?. . . . He [who] swears to his own hurt, and does not change."

Concerning friends, the Apostle Paul wrote Ephesians 5:21 "And be subject to one another in the fear of Christ." Sometimes when we feel Jesus is leading us in a certain direction it may be wise to ask close friends opinions who know us well, our strengths and weaknesses. They would know if we are making a wise decision or not. Of course friends are not first authority over Godís Word, governmental authority, parental authority, or employer authority on the job. If their advise is not violating these authorities you should take into consideration their expressed concern. The Bible states in Proverbs 15:22 "Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed."

In our fourth primary consideration of discernment we need to ask ourselves the question, "Do circumstances and provisions confirm it?" The Apostle Peter states in 2 Peter 1:10-11,

"Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you."

When Jesus told me he wanted me to go to a far off Christian University and confirmed this to me through my Church and Pastor, I said the following to Jesus, "Jesus you may want me to go to this School but I have no money. If you do then you will have to come up with the money so I can. Until then I wait." If Jesus is really in something then He will supply the material means to see it a reality.

Later, in that same summer, I got a call from the Christian University telling me they would provide financial means for me to attend. They did and I went that fall to school. I also graduated from there with a degree in Pastoral theology. That degree ultimately proved He really did call me there. (See also Phil 4:19 and Eph 3:20).

In our fifth primary principle of discernment we need to ask ourselves, "Does it contradict past light?" When Jesus tells us to do something and confirms it, He will not come along later and tell us to do something else which would contradict previous revelations. The Lord said through Malachi 3:6, "For I, Yehovah, do not change." Hebrews 13:8 states "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever." Jesus, speaking through the Apostle John, stated to the Sardis church who were apparently not finishing what he called them to do,

Revelation 3:2-3 "Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. Remember therefore what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent."

New light will never contradict past light, and normally Jesus will not give us new light until we have followed the light He has given us.

In the sixth primary principle of discernment, we need to ask ourselves the question, "Does what I believe is Jesusí voice line up with my human limitations?" Jesus created us to be human beings. Human beings need a certain amount of sleep each night, three meals a day, and a certain amount of relaxation. If what you think is Jesusí voice to you is keeping you from getting your necessary sleep each night, or is not providing for rest in your week, or providing you the means to eat properly, the voice is not from Jesus and is to be rejected. The writer of Psalm 127:2 states, "It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep." (See James 3:17 and Chapter 3 of this Section).

In the seventh primary principle of discernment, we need to ask ourselves, "Is our motivation a motivation of love or of fear?" The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, and peace (Gal 5:22-23). Paul tells us that the love of Jesus constrains us (2 Cor 5:14-15). This is a basic principle of discernment. If Jesus is leading us to do something He will always manifest His love in it and allow us to experience His love in it. When we have doubt about Jesusí leading in our lives, all we have to do is ask ourselves if what we are doing is out of a motivation of love or not and whether or not we see Jesusí love in it or not.86

In the eighth primary principle of discernment, we need to ask ourselves, "Does our heart agree with or condemn us in what we are pursuing?" The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 3:19-21,

"We shall know by this that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before Him, in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God."

Finally in our consideration of primary principles of discernment, we need to ask ourselves "Is it Jesusí time?" Yes, Jesus has told us He wants to do something with our lives, but is it His time? David wrote in Psalm 31:14-15 "But as for me, I trust in You Yehovah; I say, ĎYou are my-Elohim.í My times are in Your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me." (See also Ecc 3, Heb 4). When Jesus tells us that He wants to do something with our lives, He has a specific time and way He wants to bring it about. There is no use trying to rush it. You cannot. Habakkuk wrote about the Lordís prediction concerning Israel and its enemies in Habakkuk 2:2-4,

"Then Yehovah answered me and said, ĎRecord the vision and inscribe it on tablets, that the one who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal, and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay. Behold, as for the proud one, his soul is not right within him; but the righteous will live by his faith.í"

MISCELLANEOUS PRINCIPLES
FOR
DISCERNMENT

Now lets talk about miscellaneous principles of discernment. What do we do when in a storm; that is, when we are in a lot of confusion, getting advice from every direction and cannot think clearly about a matter? The advice that the Scripture gives us is to wait until the storm passes and the waters are calm before trying to hear what we think is Jesusí voice. The Psalmist David wrote in Psalm 32:6 "Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to you in a time when you may be found; surely in a flood of great waters they shall not reach him." David tells us in this passage that when you are in confusion you cannot discern Jesusí voice, so do not try to. Wait until the confusion passes and you are in a state of mind of peace before making a decision about whatever the storm is centered in. The Lord promises us in Psalm 32:8 "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you." But it will come in a time of peace. Do not worry, Jesus will not be late. Never make decisions out of fear. Wait for Jesusí love. He tells us in John 14:18 "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you."

"What if I failed in the past and ran from Jesusí will and purpose for my life? Is His will for my life still possible?" The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8). Malachi 3:6 states "For I, Yehovah, do not change." And 1 Corinthians 13:5 tells us that Godís love does not take into account wrongs suffered. This simply means that once we repent and confess our known sins, Jesus erases those sins from His memory and they are not remembered, and that He therefore relates to us as if we never sinned. In other words, His plans for our lives never change. It is simply a matter of our getting ourselves back on the right track and staying there. The only thing you lose is time. Remember this phrase,

NEVER ALLOW THE SINS OF YESTERDAY
TO KEEP YOU FROM DOING
THE WILL OF GOD TODAY

"If we have sought Jesusí counsel on something, but receive no clear answer, what do we do?" First, close your eyes and picture Jesus standing before you. Imagine your burden is in your hand. Walk up to Jesus and place it in His hands. Now see yourself walking away from the burden. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you." It is now Jesusí burden. Do not pick it back up. Second, if Jesus tells you to do something about your burden, do what He tells you to do and nothing else (Ps 32:8). Third, if He gives you no instructions at present, His word to you then is to trust Him to take care of it in His own time and way. Proverbs 3:5-6 states, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."

"Does Jesus ever use anger to motivate us?" Yes, but this is the exception rather than the rule. What I mean by using anger to motivate us is not Godís anger toward us, but using our own anger to accomplish His own purposes. The implication of Scripture under normal circumstances is no! (Ps 37:7-8, James 1:19-20, Eph 4:26-27).

"I have free time. I have sought Jesusí will in the use of that time but have received no direction. How do I respond to this?" The Scripture tells us in Luke 17:10 "So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ĎWe are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.í"

The implication of this passage of Scripture seems to be that if Jesus has left you with extra time during the week with no specific direction as to how to use it, you are free to be creative and use it to the glory of God in the way that you choose. This means that if Jesus is giving you no clear direction in ministry involvement, then He is telling you to simply make a decision of commitment of involvement until He tells you otherwise. The play-ground is free. I use all my free time to preach the Gospel to men.

ONLY ONE LIFE, IT WILL SOON BE PAST
ONLY WHAT IS DONE FOR CHRIST WILL LAST

 

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