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.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

The Discipline of Discernment, Chapter 10 (Study Notes)

[The following are my teaching notes for Chapter 10 of Tim Challies’ The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment, which I am teaching through in a Sunday school class at Kosmosdale Baptist Church.]

I. Verify

A. Prepare: “Consider why you feel this is a teaching or decision that requires discernment.”

B. Ask What Is Being Said: “An important prerequisite for discernment is to ensure that you fully understand what is being said.”

II. Clarify

A. Consider both your understanding of the issue and opposing understandings.

B. Ask What Is At Stake: “Determine what possible truths from Scripture could be violated by the idea you are considering…” (and to what level of importance for the gospel or church unity these truths reach).

III. Assess the Issues

A. Assess Importance: “Is this a first-order doctrine?” (i.e., is this doctrine essential to the gospel?)

B. Test: “[D]istinguish between what is good and evil, separating truth from error and seeking points of departure” judging the doctrine under consideration by the standard of Scripture.

C. Pray: “[A]cknowledge your dependence upon God… the source and power of discernment,”

IV. Pray

A. Admit your dependence upon God in all matters of discernment and in understanding the truth of Scripture.”

B. Examine You Instinct: “Note whether your mind and heart immediately reacted with acceptance or with hesitation” (though this in not determinative, it can still play an important role, especially if you have been immersing yourself in Scripture).

V. Assess Your Instinct

A. Again, note your first instinct and “why you feel this way”.

B. Listen to Conscience: “Scripture warns against violating the conscience, because acts taken against conscience cannot arise from faith.”

VI. Assess Your Conscience

A. Ask: “[D]oes [a teaching] nag your conscience and make you uncomfortable?”

B. Test with Scripture: “We test a doctrine or teaching not by immediately embracing it, but by comparing it to the unchanging standard of Scripture.”

VII. Search the Scriptures

A. Observe [the Scriptures] singularly: Pay careful attention to God’s Word itself before moving to interpretation.

B. Observe [the Scriptures] carefully: “Do not rush”.

C. Observe [the Scriptures] thoroughly: Pay close attention to context.

D. Observe [the Scriptures] systematically: “Begin with verses that discuss the subject in the broadest terms and from there move to verses that discuss it in greater detail.”

E. Observe [the Scriptures] intimately: “Read with the mindset that you are receiving a message from your heavenly Father to you, his child.”

VIII. Observe the Scriptures

A. Observe each passage prayerfully”.

B. Be able to summarize what each passage teaches.

C. [C]ompare several sound Bible translations”.

IX. Compare and Contrast

A. Compare passages that seem unclear with other passages of Scripture from sound Bible translations.

B. Investigate: Turn to resources such as Bible dictionaries, commentaries, sermons, study Bibles, or pastors.

X. Research

A. Be able to summarize relevant information gleaned from the resources mentioned above.

B. Interpret: “Look to the whole of Scripture to ensure that the interpretation you draw from one passage is consistent with the rest of the Bible.”

XI. Summarize

A. For each passage examined, be able to express the thought of that passage in a sentence or two.

B. Seek consensus: “We search for teaching from discerning Christian leaders to learn what conclusions they have reached on a particular topic and, as importantly, the Scripture passages upon which they based their conclusions.”

XII. Expand Your Research

XIII. Conclude

A. Be able to summarize your conclusion about the teaching under consideration.

B. What Are the Points of Agreement? “Return to the issue and look first for areas in which the Bible agrees with what has been said or done.”

XIV. Make a List

A. Be able to articulate points of agreement.

B. Are There Points of Departure? “[L]ook for ways in which [a particular teaching or practice] departs from God’s Word.”

XV. Judge

A. Once a doctrine or practice has been judged in light of God’s Word, our only choices are whether we must abstain or hold fast.

B. Abtain: “We are to understand that evil assumes many different forms, and we are to ensure that we avoid whatever forms evil may take.”

XVI. Hold Fast: “That which is good is that which honors God.”

XVII. Apply

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