And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Discernment part 5

Not an alarmist

You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. Galatians 5:7-9

It is my hope that you do not perceive this as an over reaction to a simple question. I am only following suit with what the apostle Paul did when he too faced a church that lacked discernment. When you think about it, many of the epistles were written with a correction of false doctrine in mind, and in encouragement not to give in to poor discernment.

Consider what Paul was writing to the Galatians. They were falling into a false doctrine regarding circumcision. They had begun very well, but now a “new teaching” came along and ensnared them. In verse nine we have a clear understanding, a little leaven leavens the whole lump. Christ Himself gave warning to beware of the leaven of the scribes and Pharisees. So I now must ask, not on my authority, but upon that of the bible, the word of God, be discerning.

What are the results of failure to be discerning? It seems that as we continue to read Galatians five we find them, it is a falling captive to the works of the flesh. Discernment follow the Holy Spirit and leads to spiritual fruit, evidence of God in you. Otherwise we walk in the flesh, can not please God, and remain in our sin.

What is going on in the church?

For the LORD spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: "Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken." Isaiah 8:11-15

And when they say to you, "Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter," should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness. Isaiah 8:19-22

These verses bring to mind what we see happening in the church. The church (and I use the term loosely here) has rejected the fear and word of God and has become like the world. They listen to Oprah, Phil, and others. The distressed and hungry and enraged can often be a description of the church. Their ears are dull of hearing; they can not perceive the word of God. We are not to fear what the world fears. (Some need to read 1 Peter when it comes to fear and politics) God is to be our sanctuary.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Let us return to the word of God. It is here we gain competence. Competence comes however with the experience of using the word of God, by applying it in all types of situations. God again calls us to listen to His wisdom and search the word of God for answers. True the Bible may not help you with Algebra II. But, He is the maker of Algebra II and when we study this mathematical discipline in awe of God it give us a greater appreciation for Him and therefore becomes an act of glorifying worship. The essence is this, God’s word does pertain to every aspect of life, He seeks to give us the right fitting desires of our heart, when we acknowledge Him, even abilities in Algebra II.

So what makes a good book or teacher?

A good book is one that upholds the sovereignty and holiness of God and in the end brings me a sense of awe in His majesty.


Websites for book reviews and The Shack

Books on Discernment

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, Gordon Fee

The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment, Tim Challies

A Call For Discernment, Jay Adams

Christianity and Liberalism, J Gresham Machen.

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