To learn more about developing and growing in discernment, about the wisdom of God, as opposed to the wisdom of the world, and about what a healthy church looks, and behaves like, consider listening to or watching the following sermons exposited by Dr. Richard Caldwell:
Listen to the Audio Podcast
This week on the Straight Truth Podcast, Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot come together to discuss Christian discernment. Two specific questions were submitted regarding a recent sermon by Dr. Caldwell. Why is the world a poor counselor to the church when it comes to setting the church's agenda, and how can Christians cultivate a life of godly discernment?
Dr. Caldwell tackles the first question with a simple straight forward answer. The church cannot takes its counsel from the world because of the world's spiritual condition. Even though men in their fallen state can recognize certain things about what’s right and what’s wrong, they have no real answers or solutions to fix what is wrong. Outside of Christ, man has no access to the answers or solutions. Man lacks the wisdom of God, and this wisdom only comes through Christ.
Dr. Caldwell shares Ephesians 4:17-21. He explains how this passage describes our past lives before the Lord saved us and how it also describes where all lost humanity is right now. He further shows us a stacking up of terms that describe our minds, our thinking, and thought processes before knowing Christ. He also takes time to explain the contrast that’s drawn in the passage between those who are "in Christ" and those who are “in the world”.
The Church Is Misguided
He asks us to consider some of the terms: darkness, ignorance, futility, and hardness of heart. He then asks us, why would the church adopt such a counselor? Why would we want to walk in this manner of thinking that we knew before knowing Christ? Therefore, this is the reason he says the church is misguided when it begins to speak as the world speaks, etc., because it is operating in the wrong wisdom.
Dr. Philpot asks, so then what does the Christian do? How do we cultivate discernment when it comes to these matters? There seems to be a bombardment of things that come at us. We seem to be continuously fed by the world's information whether we want it or not. How does the Christian go about rightly assessing these things that are going on around us?
In response, Dr. Caldwell says, it is discernment that is needed, and discernment, that must be exercised. To do this, we have to understand what it is. Discernment is the ability to set our approval on what God approves and to reject that which He disapproves. It is the ability to recognize the difference and to put it into action, in our lives, by choosing and doing that which pleases God. There is only one way for that kind of discernment to be developed.
The Knowledge Of The Word Of God
That is with and through the knowledge of the Word of God. This teaching is found in the book of Hebrews. It is those who are mature, who have their powers of reason and recognition trained by the practice of the Word of God. These know Scripture, they are saturated with truth, and consistently make choices on the side of truth. As we grow in this manner, our desires and aims are to please and honor God, and not men.
So then, says Dr. Philpot, discernment can indeed be taught, learned, and exercised, and we find that the main source for it comes from the Word of God. But, what about our emotions and experiences, would they be a source of discernment alongside the Bible?
Dr. Caldwell gives an emphatic no, telling us our emotions are untrustworthy. Our emotions do not always cooperate and agree with the truth. We thank God for them when they do, but our emotions were never meant to guide us. Emotions were and are, to respond to the mind, and the mind is to be filled with God's truth. The same is true concerning experiences. In both instances, we need to go to the Word of God.
Agree With The Word Of God
We need to agree with the Word of God and bring our emotions and experiences in subjection to the truth that we find within its pages. Dr. Caldwell tells us that when we get into the culture's way of determining truth, we then allow our emotions and experience to dictate how we think. We cannot allow our emotions and experiences to color our thinking; they are untrustworthy sources. Discernment is found in Christ and His Word.
Lastly, Dr. Caldwell shares he believes what we are suffering from, both in the church and in the culture (Christians living in the culture), is weakness. We have forgotten what the Bible teaches about Christ’s Church. One key element lacking for many to develop discernment is the lack of attendance and participation in a healthy Bible-teaching church. The Apostle Paul writes that the church is the pillar and support of the truth in the world. In this context he is not speaking of the universal church, he’s speaking of the local church.
The local church is where there are elders and deacons, discipline, Bible teaching, and the singing of truth. It's in the local church, where God’s truth is upheld and displayed in the world. So if we want to learn and have discernment, we also have to be part of the church, not just an attendee at our local church, but an active and engaged participant. We have to be a responsible church member and a good church member.
About The Straight Truth Podcast
The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net
The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo. The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.
The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.
The Straight Truth Podcast is the perfect podcast for those seeking to strengthen their faith, to be informed on how to broach difficult topics with a Christian point of view, to share their faith with unbelieving friends, to challenge the status quo of their own beliefs by viewing them under the lens of the Scriptures, to interpret current news events from a Biblical point of view, and more.
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