1. Saul (now called Paul) is given the spirit (gift) of discernment. Without God-given discernment, we will overlook dangers to God’s work in others that must be confronted.
2. Paul is filled with the Holy Spirit, not only for the purpose of discernment, but also grace and wisdom to confront what is spiritually dangerous.
3. Being able to put a biblical name on opposition follows the instruction of 2 Cor. 10:4-6. Remember it is the Word of God that is the tool of warfare, not the frustration of the flesh (Eph. 6:16).
4. When confrontation is done in the power of the Holy Spirit, the enemy is not just stopped, but punished for interfering with God’s work.
5. The very person that Paul protected from this attack (the proconsul) “believed when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.” God’s work will always strengthen what the Holy Spirit has started in an individual.
6. Beware that “the teaching of the Lord” is our tool, not human contrived ideas that distort His truth.
I fear that we lack spiritual discernment more than we realize because we have not learned early as Paul did to be filled with the Spirit. That discernment must result in Spirit-filled action that glorifies and strengthens God’s working in individuals. If we are not concerned about God’s glory, we will not understand the importance of this passage and how it causes missions to be effective.