In this series of sermons on spiritual gifts, our founding pastor, preaches on the gift of discernment.  Here are some excerpts:

“…I’m afraid it is neither untrue nor uncharitable to say that there are pastors of large congregations who are Satan’s servants, masquerading as servants of righteousness, false shepherds, who teach false doctrine, and thus lead the sheep astray… Remember, Satan targets every Christian as a prime object of his attack, and in order to distinguish the genuine from the spurious, we need the gift of discernment…”

Definition of a False Prophet

“Now a preacher may be termed a false prophet if he can be found guilty on one or both of two counts…”

“…I would cite Oral Roberts as guilty on the first count—heretical teaching. He has always taught that a Christian is not filled with the Holy Spirit if he does not speak in tongues; and that is heresy. He has also taught…”

“I would also cite the Bakkers and Jimmy Swaggart as guilty on the second count—that of immoral conduct. Before the Bakkers’ indiscretions blew up in their face, I believe I saw them only once or twice on TV, and that was quite enough…”

The Test

“…In a word, does the teaching in question maintain the honor of the Lord Jesus Christ as God Almighty and Savior of sinners, and does it lead to holy living? Yes or no?…”

“Brothers and sisters, the Church needs more discerning Christians, and you should be one of them!…”


The Gift of Discernment. Graham has a lot more to say about this topic. If you would like to learn more, please download and read the attached transcript of the sermon, as the above excerpts do not even scratch the surface. If you would like to do a word search on the transcript, download the file, and then open the file with your web browser after downloading and use your browser’s find feature.

April 10, 1988

1 John 4:1 and 1 Corinthians 12:7, l0

Rev. W. Graham Smith

Download Transcript (PDF)