March 30, 2009
Discerning John the Baptist

Matthew 3

Who couldn’t use a little discernment? We desperately need the Lord’s help to determine truth and reality in a world filled with confusing grey areas and insidious deceptions.

John the Baptist was a man of tremendous discernment. This rough and rugged preacher came thundering onto the scene of staid, orthodox Judaism with a message that rocked the whole Jewish nation. John’s job was to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. His message was simple: “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand” (v. 2).

As the multitudes flocked to hear this unique prophet and to repent of their sins, John discerned that some of them were frauds. The Pharisees and Sadducees came to check him out, not to repent. John saw the reality hiding behind their religious exterior.

A discerning spirit is one that is in tune with the Spirit of God. As John lived in submission to the Lord, he gained insight which was beyond anything that could have come from his own mind.

He saw the situation from God’s perspective and delivered a strong rebuke to that “brood of vipers” (v. 7). Although we may never be as forthright as John, there will be times when a discerning spirit will lead to confrontation.

God wants His children to develop spiritual discernment in order to be guard against deception. We must know how to recognize erroneous philosophies of this world as well as false doctrines that sneak into the church. What’s more, insight from the Lord can guard us in our relationships and even help us see the truth about ourselves.

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