Since the Bible is our absolute standard against which we must test spiritual experiences, let's look at nine scriptural tests. I adapted these solid guidelines years ago into my own style from the ministry of the great British Bible teacher Derek Prince.
9 Tests of Revelation
1. Does the revelation edify, exhort or console? The end purpose of all true revelation is to build up, admonish and encourage the people of God.
2. Is it in agreement with God's Word? "All Scripture is inspired by God" (2 Tim. 3:16). Where the Holy Spirit has said yea and amen in Scripture, He also says yea and amen in revelation. He never contradicts Himself.
3. Does it exalt Jesus Christ? "He will glorify Me, for He will receive from Me and will declare it to you" (John 16:14). All true revelation centers on the person of Jesus Christ and exalts Him (Rev. 19:10).
4. Does it have good fruit? "Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?" (Matt. 7:15-16). The true voice of God will produce fruit in character and conduct that agrees with the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 5:9).
5. If it predicts a future event, does it come to pass? "When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not occur or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You shall not be afraid of him" (Deut. 18:22).
6. Does the revelation turn people toward God or away from Him? Read Deuteronomy 13:1-5 for more about this. If a person's words seem to be accurate but end up turning people away from following Jesus Christ as the Son of God, then it is a mistake to adhere to his or her ministry.
7. Does it produce liberty or bondage? True revelation given by the Holy Spirit produces liberty, not bondage (1 Cor. 14:33; 2 Tim. 1:7).
8. Does it produce life or death? "For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Cor. 3:6). The authentic voice of God always produces growth and life-giving energy, not hopelessness, stagnation or defeat.
9. Does the Holy Spirit bear witness that it is true? The Holy Spirit is called "the Spirit of truth" (John 16:13). His indwelling presence in our hearts and minds provides us with a kind of supernatural common sense about the accuracy of words that seem to be from God. This ninth test is the most subjective and therefore must be used in conjunction with the previous eight standards.
Dr. James Goll is the founder of Encounters Network, Prayer Storm and helps carry on the work of Compassion Acts. For information on his online school visit: geteschool.com. James continues to live in Tennessee and is a joyful father and grandfather today.
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