Thursday, May 31, 2007

C.J. Mahaney ~ Discerning the Heart

  • Exodus 20, Romans 1, 1 Thess. 1:9, 1 Corinthians 10:13-14
  • This culture has distanced itself from the idea of idolatry (as outdated worship of ancient magical objects etc.).
  • Idolatry is the most frequently discussed and most seriously condemned sin in scripture.
  • Exchanging the truth for a lie is THE worst trade.
  • Colossians 3:5
  • Often we are no better at recognizing idols than the secular culture.
  • Understanding idolatry will give you new eyes.
  • DEFINING IDOLATRY: and idol is a substitute for God. Anything or anyone you serve or worship or love in place of God.
  • Idolatry can come as an over-attachment to something that is, in itself, perfectly good.
  • Idolatry: "The evil in our desires usually does not lie in what we want, but that we want it too much." John Calvin
  • What do YOU want too much?
  • Discerning Idolatry: The source of idolatry is the sin within.
  • "The human heart is a factory of idols...every one of us is, from his mother's womb, an expert of crafting idols." John Calvin
  • Identify idols through scripture. (Hebrews 4:12)
  • Identify idols through the Holy Spirit. Appeal to him to help us search our hearts and to illuminate scripture.
  • Identify idols through the church. We can't effectively discern idols on our own.
  • We need a different perspective; we are oblivious to some sins, but to others, it is OBVIOUS.
  • We need to INVITE their perspectives.
  • Identify idols through circumstances.
  • How can I determine if I want something too much?
  • What is our response if we don't attain it - or if it is taken away?
  • The test of adversity reveals our hearts.
  • Idols dissillusion and disappoint.
  • When you experience the test of adversity, God is examining your heart.
  • Prosperity is a test too. Heros of faith often failed the test of prosperity before the test of adversity.
  • We often will know people who experience the gift/test of prosperity just when/where we are experiencing adversity.
  • 1 John 5:21
  • The fruit of identifying idolatry:
  1. Growth in godliness.
  2. You will grow in gratefulness to God.

Al Mohler ~ Discerning Culture

  • Coral and scarlet snakes look almost identical, but one is poisonous and one is harmless.
  • Discernment is knowing what's a truth issue and what's a taste issue. One of the signs of maturity is discernment.
  • 5 WRONG ways to discern culture:
  1. Lets get completely wet. Let's just assume that it's fine.
  2. Let's stay completely dry. Let's completely separate ourselves from the culture.
  3. Lets just take a dip. Just drop into the culture where it's convenient - assuming you can dry off.
  4. Let's take a sip. (You can't just "sip" a culture. It takes serious study.)
  5. Let's just watch an aquarium. Just looking at the culture from the outside doesn't really help. You have to get in and learn all of their symbols, the way they think etc.
  • Matthew 22:23-46
  • The two main criteria for influencing our culture comes down to "love your God" first and "love your neighbor".
  • Nothing tells us so much about ourselves than our loves.
  • We have to become somewhat adept in the culture to reach the people - because they are in the culture...they ARE the culture.
  • Our citizenship is in heaven, wherever we are, we are still resident aliens.
  • We could just sit around, waiting for the heavenly city, but we must realize that it is on earth that we must work to make God's love known.
  • Our knowledge is not limited to what this world tells us. We don't examine the Bible with the culture, but the culture with the Bible.
  • God established different cultures differently and REVELS in it.
  • God is ruling over all cultures. All cultures, however, are fallen.
  • Every culture becomes a source of seduction.
  • We were created to create things, but then we look at all of the "wonderful" things we create, and think of ourselves as "creator".
  • All of our music, art, architecture etc will pass away...will burn.
  • We are not saved from culture - we are saved from sin. We are left in the culture to be agents of God's love.
  • We are not to be "lone rangers". We should be in a church where we can grow/encourage each-other.
  • Discernment means we are like fish, swimming in a large, toxic sea. We don't jump out of the water (culture), we are there to change it.
  • You will never be away from the culture. It will be there wherever you go. But we are called to have discernment to step back from it. We need "detox" from time to time.
  • Until Jesus comes, we are to be discerning Christians in a fallen world.

Mark Dever ~ Discerning Doctrine

  • How do we tell the difference between the primary doctrines and the secondary doctrines?
  • What is orthodox? What is true? How can we help each-other follow truth?
  1. Do we follow commands to purify or unite?
  2. What are common fights Christians have?
  3. What are we together for?
  4. What must we agree upon?
  5. What may we disagree about?
  6. How can we disagree well?
  • False teachings will come - we must be on our guard.
  • How do we stay on our guard?
  • We can be too exclusive OR too inclusive in our view of doctrine.
  • Truth and humility are friends.
  • Anything other than the truth flatters us. We need to know the truth to be truly humble.
^3. What is the purpose of disagreeing with this person? Circumstances matter on the level of agreement you need with others.
  • What does cooperation mean?

^4. What must we agree upon?
  • We should pursue truth in every area.
  • True fellowship can only be had with Christians. We must have the same sort of understanding.
  • We must understand the importance of the doctrines. Like the body, some parts we can do without...and some we can't.
  • How can we decide what we must agree upon?
  1. Through the Bible.
  2. Through the church. (We are not to be "orphans".) Galatians 1:8-9
  3. Through our conscience. Note: Our conscience is not always accurate. It is inherant, but not inerrant. We need our consciences to be taught by God's Word.
TEST: How Important is This Doctrine?

  1. How clear is it in scripture?
  2. How clear do others think it is in scripture?
  3. How near is it to the gospel?
  4. What would the effects be if we disagreed in this area?
  1. God.
  2. The Bible.
  3. The gospel.
^1. You must believe in God to be a Christian and put your faith in Him.
^2. The Bible is God revealing himself.
^3. We must agree on the gospel. Without this understanding, we couldn't uphold the truth on the triune godhead.
  • If you uphold the cross, the gospel appeaers there.
  • If they don't believe in the gospel, and don't believe in Christ alone, they aren't Christians.
  • Practice sharing the good news with friends.
  • Share the gospel with others. (Acts 15:30-31)
  • You CAN have disagreements. You can still be Christians and disagree on secondary doctrines. (Romans 14:22)
  • You can work together with another believer as long as you aren't distracted by your disagreements.
  • The Lord may let us have disagreements so we can practice charity.
  • How can we disagree well?
  • What do I owe the person who differs from me? I owe them love, respect, genuine care for them, to listen well, and to go beyond what they said to what they mean.
  • What can I learn from the person I am differing with? Without humility, we can't learn. (Greeks said that the opposite of a friend was a flatterer.)
  • We are to be a witness of the gospel. We are to be known as "for" the gospel first (before we are know as "against" something).

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Joshua Harris ~ Discernment

(Note: These posts which are notes taken from the New Attitude '07 conference may not be entirely complete, but they are all taken straight from my I scribbled furiously away. P.S. I tend to use bullets to organize the points of a message, so that's what I am going to do here.)

  • Humble Orthodoxy is: Applying the established truths to our lives. We want this truth - that has always been - to transform us.
  • You can't have humble orthodoxy without discernment.
  • What IS discernment? Discernment is the ability to judge well. It is close to possessing wisdom. It is the ability to separate apart and distinguish between good and evil, sound doctrine and unsound doctrine etc.
  • 1 Thess. 5:21-22
  • We need to act on what we see.
  • Discernment isn't always easy. You aren't told (if something is wrong), "THIS IS EVIL!" The "evil" in this world is often subtle and mixed in with different things that come towards us.
  • Whether or not we have spiritual discernment is a matter of life-and-death.
  • When it comes to spiritual discernment, it's about our souls. Will we know God for who he is? Will we walk the wide or the narrow path? Will we follow true or false gods?
  • There are 2 paths to choose from: Broad and Easy, or Narrow and Hard. Broad=death. Narrow=life.
  • Discernment matters because our souls are at stake.
  • ALL of us can grow in discernment.
  • We should ask for discernment. (1 Kings 3:9)
  • We are to WORK at discernment. STUDY HIS WORD.
  • Psalms 119:104, Ephesians 5:10, Hebrews 5:14.
  • If you lack discernment, study God's word.
  • If someone has "powers of discernment", that just means they have been practicing it - exercising their "discernment muscles".
  • Romans 12:1-2
  • Discernment: Grabbing hold of the truth and grabbing hold of the life we are to live in discernment.
  • Give God everything that you are - in light of all he has done for you. Not just a Sunday morning or a conference weekend, but every EVERYTHING that you are as a living sacrifice.
  • How do you stay a living sacrifice, so that you are pleasing to Him?
  • (The reason we want to grow in discernment is to know and follow God's will.)
1. Discernment requires RESISTANCE.
  • ("Do not be conformed to this world.")
  • One aspect of discernment is understanding how the world is trying to shape your thinking. You need to know this if you want to faithfully resist it.
  • It takes a lifetime of hard work. We need those who are older and have more experience to help us along.
  • Following God's way involves being rejected by his world.
  • Not being conformed means, most of the time, not fitting in.
  • Discernment dies when we allow our minds to be shaped by the culture just to "fit in".
2. Discernment requires RENEWAL.
  • Renewing takes action, and we have to conscientiously choose to review and renew the truths.
  • The Bible is the truth that needs to reset our thinking.
3. Discernment requires ACTION.
  • Discernment not played out in "real life" is not discernment.
  • We must ACT on God's truth to grow in it.
  • It requires application.
  • We need test God's Word by applying it.
  • We must exhibit to the watching world that we take truth seriously. If the theology you hold doesn't shape how you live your life, you don't really know it.
  • The reason you aren't growing in discernment may be because you aren't applying the truth that God has already shown you. Discernment can crumble.
  • The best way to grow in discernment is to obey God in the ways that he has already made clear in his word. (Even the small ways.) If you don't, discernment will die in your life.
4. Discernment requires THE GOSPEL.
  • We cannot live a Christian life, love, or be discerning if we don't understand that it's not what we have done, but what GOD has done.
  • Discernment is only possible because of the gospel.
  • The only way we can have discernment is because HE first chose us. It was not ANYTHING in us - but he chose to pour out his grace in our lives.
  • If we practice discernment in view of God's grace, we will be practicing humility.
  • Let's not be pre-occupied with discernment, but the mercy of God in our lives.
  • Give up any claim we have on our own lives, and give it all to God.
  • Discernment is just the fruit of living our life for God.


Testing this blog to see how it works - post to follow soon.