Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

The Discipline of Discernment, Chapter 3 (Study Notes)

[The following are my teaching notes for Chapter 3 of Tim Challies’ The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment, which I am teaching through in a Sunday school at Kosmosdale Baptist Church. In the following outline, material placed in brackets represents material I have added for teaching.]


I. The Key to Discernment: Knowing God/ Truth (Rom 12:9b)

A. “Because God is truth, knowing God and knowing truth are inseparable.”

B. “Before God will address conduct, he chooses to address character. Once he has molded and shaped our hearts, he is ready to train us in wisdom and understanding.”

C. “Truth comes first and application of the truth follows later. And so we must know God’s truth before we can know God’s will.”


II. Wisdom

A. "So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?" (1 Kings 3:9 NASB)

B. “The Fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov 1:7).

C. Wisdom May Be Distinguished From Discernment:

1. Proverbs 26:4-5,

4 Answer not a fool according to his folly,
lest you be like him yourself.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
lest he be wise in his own eyes.

2. Proverbs 29:7,

A righteous man knows the rights of the poor;
a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.


III. Discernment in the Original Languages

A. Space Between

1. “So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?" (1 Kings 3:9 NASB)

2. He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples; (Isa 2:4a)

B. Understanding

1. Lean not on your own understanding (Prov 3:5).

2. Daniel was given understanding of dreams (Dan 10:1)

3. ‘Understanding the times’ (1 Chron 12:32)

C. Skill (sometimes related to “skill with tools or implements”)

D. Judging (1 Cor 2:14-15)


IV. Discernment is…

A. The Skill…

1. Not an inherent [natural] ability

2. It requires practice (Heb 5:14)

B. Of Understanding…

1. Of God and His ways

2. Knowing God Himself precedes [further biblical] interpretation and application

C. And Applying… (understanding is not enough)

D. God’s Word…

1. God’s Word is truth (John 17:17)

2. Scripture is our source of discernment (Psa 119:66, 100, 104)

E. With the Purpose of Separating…

F. Truth from Error…

G. And Right from Wrong. [In this definition, “truth from error” focuses on doctrine, while “right from wrong” focuses on morality.]


V. Further Defining

A. The Source: God

1. (1 Kings 3:9)

2. (1 Cor 2:14-15)

B. The Power: God the Holy Spirit

1. (Prov 2:6-8)

2. (1 Cor 2:11-14)

C. The Process: Dedicated and Deliberate Effort

D. The Heart and the Head

1. “[D]iscernment points us continually to the Scriptures.”

2. “Spiritual discernment is a pursuit that must always engage the mind.”

3. The discerning person acquires knowledge (Prov 18:15 NET).

E. The Purpose: To Glorify God and to Enjoy Him Forever

F. The End: [Glorification]

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