Discretion On Having Discretion I. Scripture commends the exercise of discretion. PSA 112:5; PRO 1:1-4; 2:10-20; 3:21-22. A. Discretion: “The action of separating or distinguishing....The action of discerning or judging; judgement; decision, discrimination.” B. Discern: “To separate (things, or one thing from another) as distinct; to distinguish and divide.” C. There is a distinction to be made in things! EZE 22:26. D. Hence, standards need to be maintained so we can distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. II. We are instructed to be “...proving what is acceptable unto the Lord” (EPH 5:8-10). A. Prove: “To make trial of, try, test.” B. We are commanded to “...prove all things...” (1TH 5:21). C. The purpose for proving all things is to determine if it is good and therefore acceptable to the Lord. D. This process of proving obviously calls for discretion. E. The standard for this proving process is God's will. ROM 12:1-2. 1. We are commanded to understand God's will. EPH 5:17. 2. God's will is revealed in His word. PSA 119:1-3, 9, 11, 104-105. 3. The standard is not the world. EPH 2:2. 4. The standard is not our thoughts and feelings. ACT 26:9. a. PRO 14:12. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” b. Our heart is not to be our guide; it is to be guided. PRO 28:26; 23:19. 5. The standard is not our circumstances. a. Circumstances appeared favorable to Jonah going to Tarshish but God had commanded otherwise. JON 1:1-3. b. Some open doors lead to elevator shafts or jail cells. F. Growth in and usage of the word of God will exercise your senses to discern both good and evil. HEB 5:12-14. G. PRO 7:1-4 shows how intimate we should be with the Scriptures and thus how significantly they should figure in our decisions. 1. We should keep them like the apple of our eye. 2. We should bind them to us. 3. They should be written in our heart. 4. They should be as close as a sister. 5. They should be part of our family. III. 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. IV. We should so live that we reprove all evil. EPH 5:1-17. On Having Discretion Page 1 A. We must maintain CLEAR separation from the works of darkness. 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. V. 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. VI. The following questions suggest Biblical guidelines for conduct. A. Does God's word forbid it? See ECC 12:13; 1JO 3:4. B. Does it have the appearance of evil? 1TH 5:22. (1) Discretion is much needed in the area of appearance. (2) This is especially so where physical beauty is concerned. PRO 11:22. (3) Older women need to impress the need for discretion upon younger women. TIT 2:5 c/w 1PE 3:3-5. C. Does it provide an occasion to be tempted to sin? See PRO 5:8; ROM 13:14; EPH 4:27; MAT 26:41. D. Does it hinder the effect of God's word upon me? See LUK 8:14. E. Does it dominate me? Can I take it or leave it? See 1CO 6:12; 9:27; COL 3:5; PHIL 4:5. F. Do I have doubts in my conscience about it? See ROM 14:14, 20, 23; 1TI 1:19. G. Will it offend a brother so as to hinder his conversion or growth? See ROM 14:21; 15:1-2; 1CO 10:32-33. H. Will it embolden someone else to sin? See ROM 14:13, 21; 1CO 8:9-13. I. Can I do it to God's glory in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ with thanksgiving? See 1CO 10:31; COL 3:17. J. Would I want to be found doing it at the second coming of Christ? See 1JO 2:28; LUK 21:34-36. K. Does it violate the rule of those who exercise legitimate authority over me? See EPH 5:24; COL 3:20, 22; HEB 13:17; 1PE 2:13-14. VII. You know you're on safe ground when you are obeying a commandment or exercising discretion. ECC 8:5. VIII. Let Solomon's prayer be that of all who reign in life by Christ Jesus. 1KI 3:9.

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The Cincinnati Church is an historic baptist church located in Cincinnati, OH.