Discernment

OnceWasLost

Super Moderator
We began the book of Philippians last Wednesday night and something struck me in the text. Here is why and I'll explain the verse at the end.

Reading through the news, on any given day, we are able to stories that are of interest to the church, or at least they should be. In the last few weeks alone we have heard of the pressure on Houston pastors to turn over emails and sermon notes. The Southern Baptist Convention is openly discussing what it's stance on homosexuality should be. We are treated to the morally vacant celebrity types like Dolly Parton (a professing Christian) who tell us the only thing that should define marriage is love. Then there are those who look at Israel as the aggressor and the palestinians as the victims. Story after story can be cited that shows a church adrift in these days.

In my view these and other such problems being witnessed in the church have a few contributing factors.

1. Biblical Illiteracy:

For people to hold the views we are being asked to consider, we must conclude they are, at least, unaware of Scripture. Another possibility would be that they know Scripture, but simply reject its authority to speak on such matters. Either option is troubling for the future of our faith and nothing indicates a course correction. This problem is not without precedent, in fact it was a problem with Israel in times past. It's disturbing to know the historical result when we consider our current condition in light of that history.

Hosea 4:4-6

4“Now let no man contend, or rebuke another;
For your people are like those who contend with the priest.
5 Therefore you shall stumble in the day;
The prophet also shall stumble with you in the night;
And I will destroy your mother.
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,

I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.
Notice the problem is with the people and the priests, (modern pastors) nobody was immune. It was based of their lack of (obedience to) knowledge, begun by the priests and accepted by the people. It would lead to a removal of Israel as a nation and so the posterity of their "children" would never materialize. History records this event as Assyria came and removed Israel from existence as a kingdom. It wasn't that God quit speaking, they had His Law, they had prophets (like Hosea) they simply quit listening and obeying Him. A situation we see repeating before our eyes today in the modern church.

2. Rejection of God's standard of Holiness.

As with Israel, so it is with the modern state of the church. God clearly spells out what is Holy and acceptable to Him, so we can't plead ignorance. What we get instead is "God is love, He knows my heart." Indeed, He is loving, and He does in fact know the heart. He said so in Jeremiah 17:9-10 and that assessment doesn't bode well for those who seek to dismiss their actions, hoping for grace. Great violence is done to the text by those seeking to live as they wish and who reject the clear teaching of scripture. So we are treated to words like contextualization and other dismissive philosophies within unbiblical exegesis. These modern gnostics tell us we weren't there when Paul wrote and we don't know the people in the churches, so we can't be dogmatic. Fools! Read Paul's words to Timothy (last I checked, not a church) 2 Timothy 3:16 and the verse ends with a factual statement that Scripture is brought to bare in order that people could be corrected and instructed in righteousness. That goes to lifestyle and holiness at the core. So, we cannot be cavalier and dismissive of The Word and what it says on matters of morality and holiness.

3. A view of eschatology that invests itself in wordly pursuits.

Is the return of Jesus an imminent event, or are we building a kingdom for Him? Is He soon to establish His Kingdom when He comes to judge mankind, or has that already happened in some way of twisting history to fit your sensibilities? As you look at the church landscape it becomes clear the church is heavily invested in this world and seems intent on being here a while. This is especially troubling when we consider John's admonition to break from worldliness.

1 John 2:15

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
But for a small few, there is an urgency to the moment and they are likely the ones who take a view Jesus' soon return. I don't suppose there are many on the permissive, religious left, who would be expecting a rapture of the church in the near future. Of course that problem is directly attributable to problem 1. above.

So, what did Philippians have to say that started me thinking about this?

Philippians 1:9

9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,
That word "discernment" is the Greek word (aisthēsis αἴσθησις) and it is only used here in Philippians 1:9 The KJV translated the word as "judgement"

Looking at the immediate context of the section Paul is explaining how he prays for them. How they have this abiding relationship and how his desire and prayer for them is to grow in love, knowledge and discernment. Love (agape) would abound and increase. Knowledge (epignosis) that is not simply abstract and of the head, but of the heart. A knowledge only made possible by knowing and then living The Word. Finally that they would use "discernment" (aisthēsis) to be judicious and critical of thought to determine what verse 10-11 instruct.

10. Approve those things that are excellent. (Test or examine those things which are surpassing and godly)
That they would be sincere and without offense. (This requires a heart that is without pretense or ulterior motive. Their conduct must be above reproach, even though their message may arouse hostility and and anger, yet the delivery of that message is loving, firm, accurate and pure.) All while keeping an eye on the prize, awaiting The Lord's return.

11. Being filled (to overflowing) with fruits (evidence) of righteousness (acceptable life before God) Abundant fruit, which is honoring His Word and demonstrated, naturally, in a transformed life. Not sullied by worldliness and compromise, but a sanctified and unique child of The King.

To the glory and praise of God. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:16
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
How is this possible without knowing His Word and being obedient to it? How can a church present itself as a work of God when it denies His authority and dismisses His Word? Will we be a light that shines in darkness or be more like those of history who knew better, but loved the world more than God?

Jeremiah 5

30“An astonishing and horrible thing
Has been committed in the land:
31 The prophets prophesy falsely,
And the priests rule by their own power;
And My people love to have it so.
But what will you do in the end?
 

gooddocmike

Follower and Believer of Christ
This is a very needed and timely teaching OWL! A BIG AMEN for posting it. This not only needs to be heard from the ears of the pews, but needs to ring over and over in the ears of so many in our pulpits! We so often see pastors today that know Paul's words, but openly choose to ignore Paul's words. Men Paul warned us of when he wrote, "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."(2 Timothy 3:5). Paul's words point directly to so many who speak from our pulpits today, and they were very "dogmatic" in their warning.

Great Study!
 

Carl

Well-Known Member
My heart cries out for the wrong message that is being put forth from pulpits these days. I recall seeing other threads where a post says there is a separation taking place in the churches.

18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. 1 Kings 19:18 (KJV)

God Knows His Own!

26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

John 10:26-28 (KJV)
 
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