Discretion and Discernment Part 2

V. We should attempt to make a distinction in things even if our standard is not flawless. A. Since we are sinners in a sinful world, our best attempts will be imperfect. 1KI 8:46. B. Because your standard is not 100% flawless does NOT mean that it is 100% flawed! C. God looks at the heart even though the outward performance may be lacking. 1KI 15:11-14; 2CH 30:18-20. D. Those who are most forward to criticize your standard are those who likely do not have a good standard themselves or who simply want to find fault.

VI. We should so live that we reprove all evil. EPH 5:1-17. A. We must maintain clear separation from the works of darkness. EPH 5:11; ROM 13:12. 1. fellowship: a. Partnership; membership of a society. Also, in political sense, alliance. Obs. b. Participation, sharing (in an action, condition, etc.); ‘something in common’, community of interest, sentiment, nature, etc. 2. Scripture is filled with warnings against joining with others in evil enterprises. PRO 4:14-17; PSA 1:1 ct/w PSA 119:63. 3. The church must not have fellowship with idol religion or unrighteousness. 2CO 6:14-18; 1CO 10:21. 4. In proving all things (1TH 5:21), we must reprove certain things, making a difference. a. Reproof may be open and confrontational. LUK 3:19. b. Reproof may be simply following God in spite of others. HEB 11:7; MAT 12:41. B. Do not give unbelievers the impression that you condone their ungodliness. 1CO 10:27-29. C. Avoid even the appearance of evil. 1TH 5:22. D. Our religion is not pure and undefiled if we are not unspotted from the world. JAM 1:27. E. Those who partake with the children of disobedience are in a shameful state of sleep and death from which they are called to awake. EPH 5:14 c/w 1CO 15:34. F. Rather than being indifferent to what goes on about us, we must be awake and circumspect. EPH 5:15. 1. circumspect: Of persons: Watchful on all sides, attentive to everything, cautious, heedful of all circumstances that may affect action or decision. 2. Prudent men measure the implications of actions, speech, company or circumstances and take appropriate measures. PRO 22:3.

VII. We must steer between the extremes of lawlessness which allows anything and abstinence which forbids the enjoyment of lawful things. A. There is evil to be abhorred and good to be held. ROM 12:9. B. God gives us all things to enjoy. 1TI 6:17. C. God severely condemns those who forbid as a matter of doctrine that which God allows. 1TI 4:1-5; COL 2:20-22. D. However, we are to use all things under law to Christ. 1CO 3:21-23; 9:21. E. Liberty is not be construed as a license to exploit the flesh. GAL 5:13. F. Discern not only what is lawful or unlawful in God’s sight but also what is expedient. 1CO 6:12. 1. expedient: Conducive to advantage in general, or to a definite purpose; fit, proper, or suitable to the circumstances of the case. 2. It is hard to walk at liberty when you have let a liberty have power over you. This applies to associations, appetites, entertainments. a. Can you get through a day without your particular liberty? If not, then it isn’t much of a liberty. b. If your liberty is more important to you than your known duty, consider. c. If your liberty hinders the effect of God’s word on you, consider. LUK 8:14.

VIII. Young people obviously lack discretion/discernment (JON 4:11) and need to learn it. A. NOTE: Experience is a powerful school but often has a high tuition. Young people can save much in tuition costs by learning from other’s errors instead, and by resolving that God knows best what is good for them. B. Wise Solomon dedicated much of his instruction to facilitate discretion in his son that he might save himself. PRO 1:4; 2:11. C. Young women need to learn discretion and mothers that fail to instruct them thus are not doing them any good service. TIT 2:5. 1. Dinah was defiled for lack of discretion. GEN 34:1-2. 2. Women in general need to respect PRO 11:22. c/w 1PE 3:3-4.

IX. Do not confuse education, knowledge and insightfulness with the N.T. gift of discerning of spirits. 1CO 12:10. A. Men may have a natural inclination by genetics, learning and self-discipline to be of a keen discerning character, as do some creatures. PRO 30:24-28. B. Someone may by wisdom have acute perception of others. NEH 6:12; ACT 23:29. C. But the N.T. gift of discerning of spirits was special. 1. Peter by this gift knew that Ananias and Sapphira dissimulated. ACT 5:3, 9. 2. Paul by this gift knew Elymas to be a child of the devil. ACT 13:8-11. 3. Paul by this gift knew that one of his “supporters” was under the power of an unclean spirit. ACT 16:16-18. 4. This gift was a sharing of the omniscience of Jesus Christ Who knew what was in men. JOH 2:24-25 c/w HEB 4:12-13. 5. This special discernment, like the other miracles of the apostolic era, was seasonal until the completed body of apostolic revelation was completed. No man today has this gift other than Jesus Christ. D. A misguided use of perception may conclude that a wheat is a tare when God only knows who are truly His own. MAT 13:30 c/w 2TI 2:19; JOH 7:24.

VIII. The more we grow in love of God, His truth and others, the better will be our discernment. PHIL 1:9-10. A. “Some Christians are more affectionate, and less knowing; others are more knowing, and less affectionate; it is well when love and knowledge go and keep pace together...” (John Gill) B. With learning and loving, we will better know how to save others. JUDE 1:22-23. C. Thankfully, the way of Christ accommodates even the foolish wayfarer. ISA 35:8. 1. “Note, The way to heaven is a plain way, and easy to hit. God has chosen the foolish things of the world, and made them wise to salvation. Knowledge is easy to him that understands.” (Matthew Henry) 2. PRO 4:18-19.

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