And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance (Acts 2:4).
When the Spirit came on that Day of Pentecost, He appeared in two forms: wind and fire. There is no indication that these believers knew beforehand how the Spirit would appear, but when He came, they knew He was there. Once again, only the gift of discernment could impart this knowledge. Another area of discernment is the ability to discern the human spirit—the true character or motive behind a person’s words or actions—even if hidden from casual view. Jesus possessed this ability to an exceptional degree. No one can “see” faith.
We can observe faith in action(verb) as it is demonstrated, but only the Spirit of God can impart the ability to discern faith in another. One area of discernment where we must exercise care, caution, and maturity are in the discerning of evil spirits.
Have you ever been in a place or situation where you simply felt the presence of evil?
What about a time when a rotten or unpleasant odor was present with no identifiable natural source?
Some of the common “symptoms” of the possible presence of evil spirits in a place are an oppressive atmosphere, a sense of confusion, a pervading sense of loneliness or sadness, a feeling of pressure, and depression.
These are just a few examples; there are many more.
1. Why do you think the Spirit appeared in two forms on the Day of Pentecost? What were these, and what symbolism do you see in them?
2. What causes you to believe that the disciples used spiritual discernment to know the Holy Spirit had come and did not think it was merely an unusual work of nature? How is this type of spiritual discernment useful to the Church/Body of Christ?
3. How is the ability to spiritually discern the human spirit useful to you as a believer? How can you develop this gift?
4. Why do you need to exercise care, caution, and maturity when discerning evil spirits? Do you need to be afraid of these spirits? Have you ever been properly trained to recognize and discern these spirits? Please explain your answer to the class in detail.
5. Look at the list of “symptoms” of the possible presence of evil spirits above. Have you ever experienced these symptoms and received the revelation that they were due to an evil spirit? How can you be sensitized to this possibility in a greater dimension? As graphic as this is, have you ever seen such a vision of someone? Why would God use such a graphic picture? Have you or anyone you know, have had a demonic spirit inside of them? If so, how did you cast and expel it out? Did you have assistance? Did you do the necessary work afterward to keep the spirit expelled?
Not every illness is caused by an evil spirit, but we find some people today who are not healed immediately through prayer or the laying on of hands.
In some of these cases, a spirit of infirmity may be at work, which must be taken care of before healing will occur.
In a visionary sense, such a spirit may be revealed as appearing like a leech on a person, sucking the strength out of whatever part of the body is afflicted.