Dare to Discern

It seems that many people are lacking peace and are afraid of disaster. Perhaps, it is partially because we have lost sight of common sense and discernment.

Written by Pastor Mike Biolsi on .

Notes

Just prior to the election, Pastor Len shared with us some sound teaching on government and God – how we do not need to fear because God is in control and because He places leaders.

However, as I watch our country and I see the way people are acting, not just post elections, though it has become more pronounced, I hear people talk about being afraid, I read about people wanting to do away with our constitution and it concerns me.

Listen to what the Bible says in the book of Proverbs:

Proverbs 3:21–26 (NLT) — 21 My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them, 22 for they will refresh your soul. They are like jewels on a necklace. 23 They keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble. 24 You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly. 25 You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, 26 for the Lord is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.

It seems that many people are lacking peace and are afraid of disaster. Perhaps, it is partially because we have lost sight of common sense and discernment.

In an age with INFINITE information, with varying levels of reliability, HOW do you know what is true?

FOOD: coffee/milk/eggs – good or bad?

COFFEE: late 70s & 80s was thought to increase cancer risks. Now it is seen as a health benefit for “most” people.

MILK: depletes the calcium in your bones (saveourbones.com), build the calcium in our bones (nestle)

EGGS: According to webMD they are awesome – according to others they will kill you

Social Media Reports

FACEBOOK: trying to block false news

GOOGLE: trying to block false news

Black Friday: DID NOT originate with the selling of slaves! http://www.snopes.com/holidays/thanksgiving/blackfriday.asp

We have a BIG problem in our society with FAKE news:

IVANKA TRUMP: “I would mace him if he was not my father”. Saw the headline on MSN news page, featuring an article from “the Hill”. Snopes said the quote was from a comedy skit by Conan. [PICS]

Statistics can be manipulated to make a point for either side of an argument

GUNS: the states with the strictest gun laws have the highest/lowest crime rates? According to CBS & Pres. Obama, the answer is LOWEST. According to (forbes – quoting Pew Research and the DOJ) the answer is HIGHEST. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/05/14/disarming-realities-as-gun-sales-soar-gun-crimes-plummet/#33b0ac337de9)

PERHAPS it is the fact that we have so much information at our fingertips, and so much of it can seem to contradict, that we have resorted to the horrible communication vice of “I feel like...”

There is probably no more misused phrase than, “I feel like...” In many cases, there is black and white truth, but when we don’t like it, “we feel like...”

“We should not “feel like.” We should argue rationally, feel deeply and take full responsibility for our interaction with the world.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/01/opinion/sunday/stop-saying-i-feel-like.html?_r=0

We can have so much information that it is hard to know what it true, and then we become crippled and not want to make a stand for anything, or worse, just go by what “feels right” instead of what “is right”.

We must be more committed to discernment: finding out what is actually true and right and acting on it. We need to make sure we are not believing lies, or even worse, sharing lies with others!

This mentality has crept into the church – where we have chosen to accept or believe whatever sounds right or “feels like” it is right.

We have a lot of well-meaning Christians that hear something that sounds good, or sounds Biblical and then pass it along as the gospel. It might be information from a cute saying on Pinterest, a quote from an online website, or even something they read in a book or watched on TV.

2 Timothy 4:1–5 (NLT) — 1 I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom: 2 Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. 3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths. 5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

In 2 Tim, Paul tells Timothy that there will come a day when people will be selective about the truth they want to hear and they will bounce from place to place looking for a teacher that agrees with their view of reality and truth.

Man, does this sound like the modern American “religious” culture.

We are reminded of the need to be faithful to teach what God’s word says, even if it is not popular and even if we end up suffering for it. Why?

  • Because TRUTH is TRUTH – and culture does not change it, and feelings cannot make it go away.
  • Because TRUTH brings PE ACE – and that is something we long for.

How do we become more discerning?

I want you to write the word FAST down the side of your page. Hopefully, this will help you remember what it takes to become more discerning.

FILL your mind with truth

IF we are wise, we choose carefully what we feed our minds:

Proverbs 15:14 (NLT) — 14 A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV) — 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

If you want to be a discerning person, you need to spend time filling your mind with truth. Think about all of the media you digest:

  • TV Radio Movies Books YouTube Facebook

This admonition from God’s Word starts out with, “whatever is TRUE”... think on these things. Fill your mind with things that are true. That means you have to make a decision as to what will be the source of truth.

ACKNOWLEDGE the source of Truth

John 14:6 (NLT) — 6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

Understanding the TRUTH is so important, that it was a part of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples, including you and me!

John 17:17 (NLT) — 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.

  • Jesus IS TRUTH
  • God’s Word IS TRUTH

God does not change, and neither does his truth

Numbers 23:19 (ESV) — 19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

If you are going to be a wise and discerning person, you need to test everything that you hear. In society, you might pick some reliable sites that have proven themselves trustworthy. In the things that weigh on life and eternity, you need to fact check against the Word of God.

STUDY the Word of Truth

That brings up the next point. If you are going to use the Word as your standard, you really need to know what it means.

EXAMPLE: How many of you know what the constitution says about the separation of church and state? Can someone explain? Actually, this is what the constitution reads, “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." (regarding congress)

The Bill of Rights had as a third amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Which was ratified and the first amendment to the constitution.

How many of you have read and studied the constitution?https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs

SO MAYBE you are not a person who particularly cares for political and constitutional things. As a Christian, you are supposed to care about Godly, and Biblical things.  Similarly, we can think we know what the Bible says, and maybe miss the boat altogether. The only way to really know truth is to STUDY God’s word.

2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV) — 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB95) — 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

If you do not know what it says, you cannot present the truth well, or hold other people accountable to the standard of truth.

TEST everything against truth

As pastors, Len and I are committed to teaching the truth of God’s Word. We are passionate about it. We have bible studies for the teens and we have connection groups to learn more. Every week, one of us spends time studying God’s word to put together a message to help you understand the Word of Truth better.

WHY? Because to live for the Truth we have to know, understand and be able to discern the truth.

  • How many of you believe that pastor Len and I preach the truth?
  • HANDS: How many of you check the Bible to make sure of it? (should be every hand!)

Acts 17:10–12 (NLT) — 10 That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. 12 As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.

This group of believers in Berea listened to the apostle Paul and then fact checked it against the Bible. They were kinda the Biblical Snopes for their church – checking the facts to make sure what they were being taught was TRUTH.

In an age where all media is suspect, and all information is questionable, we need to become people of discernment. Not only discerning what is true in our culture, but even more importantly, holding to a standard of truth that has passed the test of time: the truth of God’s Word.

  • FILL your mind with truth
  • ACKNOWLEDGE the source of truth – God’s Word
  • STUDY the Word of God
  • TEST everything to see if it lines up with God’s Truth

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NCF was started in 1987 to minister to the growing population of Fort Drum and Jefferson County. Located in Carthage, just minutes away from Ft Drum, Lowville and Watertown, it is a blended congregation of local and military folks, single soldiers, young families and grandparents.

35206 Sayre Road
PO Box 823
Carthage NY 13619
315-493-3958
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