November 13, 2020

Dr. Oliver Wagner
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
1 John 4:1
One of the many spiritual gifts God gives the Christian Church is spiritual discernment. God’s Spirit is at work in us to help us know what is truth and what is error, what is from God and what is in opposition to God. In the time of Christ there were “many false prophets and false messiahs” speaking lies and claiming to be what they were not. “Do not let them lead you astray” the Savior cautioned. 

Today’s message is about an important and timeless task for God’s people: the ability to discern right from wrong, good from bad, truth from falsehood. Discerning lies from truth and those who lie from those who tell the truth remains a high calling for God’s people today. Seeking truth is vital to our faith and witness.

A story. When I was a young teen I recall asking my parents if I could do something with some friends. It was one of those teenage ventures that was beyond my years and experience, and in truth, I was a little afraid of going. Still, I asked for permission to go and do. “We’ll talk about it” my parents told me. Sometime later my mother said “Your father and I talked about it and here is what we decided: we don’t think it’s a good idea for you to do this. But we are not going to stop you from going. We’ll let you make your own decision. And we know you’ll make a good decision.” End of story. I didn’t go.

So much of life is about who or what we believe and why. So much that matters comes down to the decisions we make and the paths we choose (or avoid). In a word, life is defined by one of our most important callings: discernment. I believe faithful discernment requires trustworthy  sources of information, seeking wise council from others, praying for God’s direction and keeping an open mind and heart.  
God of grace and truth, you call me to love you with all my mind and all my heart and to follow in the way of Jesus Christ. Give me a deep desire to seek your will and the courage to do it. Amen.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009